Ongoing sagas

Responses to my Chico-Oroville questions didn’t stop with the March 27 column. Along with other insights, which I’ll share in a moment, came the following note:

“While I applaud your effort to try to understand the situation, just interviewing a handful of people can’t possibly describe what a town is like (or the feelings between the two towns). There are many people who live in one town and work in the other. These are probably the only people [who] really know both towns, their positives and negatives.”

I absolutely agree. There’s more to this 150-year rivalry than what I’ve gathered from Oroville lunch mates and responsive readers. Thus, the sharing continues, as I’m hoping the discussion does.

• “In regard to your dilemma in understanding the mutual (now somewhat mellowed) prejudice between the populaces of Chico and Oroville, it was—and probably still is—at high school that some of the prejudicial contention begins. Football. Basketball. Team spirit.”

• “Oroville was called ‘the meth capital of the world’ by High Times magazine in the early 1980s. No doubt parents’ fears that their children would be caught up in that plague played a big part in chilling Chicoans’ views of Oroville.”

• “Soon after I moved here (from Southern California), I began to hear the various epithets applied to our town: ‘Whoreville,’ ‘Horrorville,’ etc. I even heard, from an elderly gentleman who had grown up in the Los Molinos area, that when his high school team came to Oroville to play a basketball game, ‘it was a good place to get into a fight.’ “

• “It seems to me that Chico has the university, and we have the county seat and all that entails: plenty of jobs but also the welfare office and the jail. I served on a committee to try to improve our self-image, but it’s really hard to change people’s minds once they seize on a particular idea. There are people here who tell Palermo jokes—since, apparently, everyone needs somebody else to look down upon.”

Continuing along … : As our essay collection last issue illustrated, broader topics weigh heavily on North Staters. That leads to some interesting letters, including those of the mass-mailed variety that, frankly, would waste precious space in Letters were I to print them. Still, as a window into ongoing sagas, here are a few, with the comments they demand.

• “Hillary Clinton murdered Vincent Foster.” Petrified poppycock, but a preview of what’s in store should she win the nomination.

• “The feds also plan to merge the United States with Mexico and Canada into a sovereignty-destroying regional government with open borders called the North American Union by 2010.” Umm, OK, interesting … continuing along:

“Americans need to demand that the feds obey our Constitution now, or we soon will be governed by officials we did not elect.” Such as a president who didn’t win the popular vote?

• “If matters such as wildlife management, family planning, and education were turned over exclusively to the private sector and faith-based groups, our nation would have naturally preserved and protected wildlife, vibrant and growing families, soundly educated children, and a more responsible citizenry.” Giving more power to corporations and ideologues—there’s a leap of faith.

• “When you are young and stressed up … When you are aged and never give up… Viagra gives you confidence in any chance, every time.” Oops, better reset the spam filter!