Letters for September 8, 2005

Chief criticism
I thought your recent articles about the chief of police were especially interesting [“Chief wants workers’ comp,” Newslines, July 14, 2005]. As I recall, your newspaper did an article on him when he was first hired. In that article, he stated to the effect that there wouldn’t be anything in Chico that he couldn’t handle.

Now, he is claiming job-related hypertension. It’s only been two years and job pressure is causing him stress? I though he said he could handle it all? I suspect that the juicy retirement benefit that goes with such a job claim might have been enticing enough for him to modify his generous ego. (As noted in your paper, chiefs in the California Highway Patrol have come under close scrutiny for abusing this particular aspect of the police retirement system.)

I also noticed that he put in a claim for a bad back. If you check around a bit you’ll find the man is quite handy with a golf club. It’s well known that the man hits the links on a frenetic basis and seems to smack that ball with nary a grimace.

Here is the bottom line. I think the police need to be credible and trusted. It is too bad Chico Police Department is, once again, led by someone who undermines that critical need. Let’s hope that someday we can find the right person for that position. And, it needs to be someone who can finally bring a much-needed change of attitude.

Larry Mills

Live by the rules
I was so disappointed that the CN&R did not publish “The party rules” article in its latest issue. This, together with details of how the writer of that article has suffered egregiously, should be printed and reprinted for weeks and years to come. I think all CSU, Chico students should be forced to read the article—and take a test on it week after week after week. Elementary through high-school students should learn to recite the article each morning. It should be read before each Chico City Council meeting. We could make the end of June “Party Rules” week, a national holiday to celebrate poor, maligned journalists. Maybe we should petition for the writer of “The party rules” to be inducted into the pantheon of famous journalists like Bernstein and Woodward. What do you say? Is anyone with me?

Lynn H. Elliott

K-9 confusion
It has come to my attention that in your cover story titled, “The Lower-Wage Tradeoff” you printed an interview with Brandi Bouldin (aka Brandi Esters). As the president and founder of K-9 Crossroads I feel it imperative that I refute the statements made by Ms. Bouldin in regards to her fluctuating pay rate and hours of service with our organization.

K-9 Crossroads is a fairly new nonprofit organization that trains shelter dogs to assist persons with disabilities. Our organization is comprised solely of volunteers and as of this time we have no paid employees. My board and myself wish to make it very clear that Ms. Bouldin could not possibly be on our payroll as we don’t have one. If fact, Ms. Bouldin has not and never will have any association with our organization in any capacity.

Sean Plummer

Base relief
As with most citizens, I am watching the unfolding news of this country’s most devastating natural disaster in modern history. The plight of the evacuees of this disaster is obviously horrifying. More than a million Americans have been displaced from their homes and sit, a week after the hurricane, in refugee centers all over the country. At the same time, we have resources for housing, education, and medical care sitting idle in many parts of the country.

Closed military bases have the capability of supporting thousands of individuals for extended periods of time. These installations have all the resources these people need, including medical centers, schools, day-care centers, fire and police service and housing. Of course, the government currently lacks many resources due to the allocation of troops and supplies for the war. However, many of these could be recalled, and one or more of these closed installations could be opened. We could provide residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama a relatively comfortable and safe place to live while we rebuild their devastated and destroyed homes.

Matthew C. Bently, M.A.

This is security?
Four-hundred billion dollars go annually to our armed forces and Homeland Security, so where were the plans and leadership when we needed them for the homeland security of New Orleans?

Hurricanes, earthquakes and natural disasters can be expected with statistical certainty. Terrorist disasters are less predicable, but we appear to have plans for those—why not for the more likely events?

Is it not the same effect if it’s a nuclear bomb, nature or neglect that destroys levees or if fire, earthquake or volcanic eruption destroys one of our big cities? One disaster is more difficult to deal with than others—radiation rather than flood damage, disease and food shortage—but they are essentially the same problem.

We should use our skills to target high-risk areas and spend some of the huge sums we have allocated to do neglected remedial work. Earthquake preparedness and fire reduction in our own California valley come to mind.

So let’s ask our congressmen and women to program up our powerful computers and have some automatically activated plans for each major conurbation in the country.

Most people live in 50 major population centers, so we need to plan for their fast, effective evacuation. Decide where residents should be sent in a major event; model the logistics so that there is a minimum of death, destruction and personal tragedy; and assure that the right people and equipment get there fast.

If we do this, our veneer of civilization will not crack so humiliatingly before the whole world.

Alan Gair

Is Venezuela next?
The call by Rev. Pat Robertson for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, democratically elected president of Venezuela, is only the latest atrocity by America’s right wing in world affairs.

Hugo Chavez was cited by John Perkins in his book, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” as one of the new leaders of nations who would not be dictated to by U.S. multi-national corporations or by the Bush administration itself.

Venezuela is one of the world’s largest oil-producing nations, and we know from the Iraqi experience the lengths to which the present U.S. administration will go and the lives they are willing to sacrifice in their relentless quest for a larger share of the world’s oil supply.

The Bush Administration and its right-wing followers have much to answer for in the court of world opinion. Pat Robertson is only one of the advocates for this unconscionable doctrine.

Robert Woods