Letters for September 9, 2004

Sphere of expansion
Karen Laslo’s letter [“Anti-incumbent vote,” Sept 2] criticizing Councilor Larry Wahl for seeking to expand Chico’s sphere of influence is short-sighted. In case Karen hasn’t noticed, Chico’s suburbs already sprawl to the county borders; it is just that the development is being done under Butte County standards rather than city standards. Does she really prefer the judgment of the Butte County Board of Supervisors to that of the Chico City Council?

Chico is the economic engine driving growth in Magalia, Paradise, Durham, Gridley and Orland. Chico General Plan standards for compact growth, bike paths, parks and sidewalks are far superior to county standards. Many of the infrastructure problems we have resulted from development occurring in county areas that were later annexed by the city.

Expanding the Chico sphere of influence allows far-sighted planning to avoid these problems in the future. Karen Laslo’s “head-in-the-sand” attitude exemplifies the myopic vision of our current aging group of “environmental” leaders in Chico. True environmentalists have a broader vision than that.

Michael Jones

Rights and wrongs
Certainly, no thoughtful and caring person is enthusiastic about the prospect of dope-sniffing dogs visiting our local schools [“Just say no to drug dogs,” editorial, Aug. 26].

However, in our zeal to promote and protect the “rights” of juveniles over recent decades, we have overlooked the very important right of our children to be free of exposure to unhealthy and toxic substances as they interact with their peers on high-school and intermediate-school campuses.

Our reliance on education alone as the major deterrent to youthful illegal drug use has failed miserably precisely because children and teenagers do not generally make their decisions based on a rational analysis of long-term risks and benefits. Rather, they tend to act on impulse and often gravitate toward activities, like drug use, that appear to be fun and exciting. Therefore, any effective school drug-use policy must contain components that restrict and monitor access.

Unfortunately, because of the depth and seriousness of the problem, additional unpleasant measures will probably also be required before we can guarantee every Chico family that our public schools are, indeed, drug free. These will likely include closed campuses, curtailment of automobile availability, drug testing and restrictions on the use of backpacks. Without such measures and guarantees, it is quite likely that our public schools will continue to lose enrollment to private schools, charter schools and home schooling.

Carl Ochsner

What do you know?
I am moved to respond to the negative review of the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? [Filmshorts, Aug. 26].

The piece begins with the reviewer’s admission “I’m a bit out of my element here…,” and that is apparent. Considering the film has been selling out at theaters all over the country, I am encouraged to learn that there are increasing numbers of people who are willing to expand their thinking beyond the Hollywood-formula violence-fests that pass as cinema.

Far from being “New Age touchy-feely,” this film incorporates cutting-edge scientists, mystics and scholars whose brilliant minds delve into the nature of reality. Their fascinating ideas are combined with a dramatic narrative and engaging animation to provide a user-friendly picture of quantum physics and the mind-body connection.

The increasing study and acceptance of the relationship between science and spirituality is a welcome relief from the dogmatic fundamentalism of atheism, materialism or religion.

For anyone else who is confused or feeling out of their element with regard to abstract ideas like the nature of God or the power of thought, I would invite you to visit the Spiritual Enrichment Center in Chico (California Park Pavilion).

Karen Kahn

Positively repugnant
Perhaps I was naive in assuming that, with all of the criticisms that the Republican noise machine has been leveling at the “negativity” in Sen. John Kerry’s campaign, they would take the opportunity presented by their own national convention and make the most of it by showing America their positive side. After all, when you continually attack your opponent for being “negative,” it seems to me that the most effective way to capitalize on that would be to stress your own innate positivism.

Where was the positivism at the Republican national convention? Was it in the ugly, hateful and falsehood-laced attacks on John Kerry during Dick Cheney’s acceptance speech? Perhaps it was in the “Purple Heart Band-aids” handed out to convention-goers, a disgusting ploy that effectively spat in the face of every man or woman ever wounded in an American war.

Yes, surely we’ve seen this week that the Republican Party is a haven of positivism and progressive thinking. Why, if they get any more positive, I think they might just have to break out the burning John Kerry effigies and have a big bonfire to celebrate just how positive they really are.

Adam L. Brinklow

Pop goes the weasel
Here we go round the “Mull Kerry-Bush.”

Stephen T. Davis

No D in Butte County
The organizers of Measure D, the anti-genetic-engineering ordinance, have intimated that farmers favor the measure. Nothing could be further from the truth! The vast majority of Butte County farmers are against the ordinance on the basis that it limits their freedom to farm their property as they see fit under the existing federal genetic-engineering regulations.

Most Butte County growers also feel the ordinance’s language is too vague and, depending on legal interpretation, could have wide-ranging ramifications not even foreseen by the drafters. It is possible the present rice varieties grown in Butte County would be disallowed under the ordinance. The rice industry was a $112 million business in Butte County last year. It’s mind-boggling to think of the economic impact on the county if the crop could not be planted next year!

Butte County farmers are so concerned about this measure that they have formed a group to oppose it. It is called Citizens for Accountable Agriculture. The committee is comprised of Butte County farms, ag businesses and organizations and can be reached at info@noond.org or P.O. Box 3271 Chico, CA 95927-3271.

Measure D will not address anyone’s concerns about GE crops. It will just add more unneeded regulation and expense to an already overburdened Butte County budget. Join the real Butte County farmers and Vote NO on Measure D in November.

Tom Dowd