Highlights, lowlights from the news of the week – Chico Enterprise-Record

BLOW — We’ve devoted quite a bit of space to the topic of “Letters to the Editor,” especially ballot letters, which dominate our site at this time of year.

So we decided to stop and say thank you to some of the people who are doing a great job of writing letters that should set the bar high for others.

We speak of letters that share the writers’ thoughts on why they support a particular candidate or issue, and we manage to do so without delving into the mud-slinging that all too often dominates forums like this.

We begin with Nancy Park’s letter, sent out Monday, explaining why she is backing four candidates for Chico City Council. She managed to praise something unique about each of the four, without once firing volleys at the other side of the ballot or making subjective claims about why the opponents are such “terrible” people, to use just one overused word.

And Matt Gallaway’s letter, explaining why Measure H deserves our support, even though Conservatives don’t usually advocate new taxes, really hit the high water mark.

In both cases, these authors went beyond the typical narratives and actually taught many of us something new—while staying polite. That is a productive use of a letter.

On the other hand, we have returned letters to writers for using irritating terms like “great wizard” and several times “stupid” and “idiots” in descriptions of candidates who, for the most part, did not owe much except being brave enough to volunteer for public service.

Thanks to those who keep it positive this time. We’ll also be highlighting a few more over the next two weeks.

FAIL — It is shocking to know that there was yet another shooting at Teichert Ponds.

Timing was also important.

On October 16, a man was injured when shots rang out in his tent. Three people have been arrested in this shooting, which came just days after charges were dismissed against a teenager suspected of shooting dead two homeless people in 2021 – one fatally. It was decided that the suspect’s claims of self-defense were strong enough to drop the charges.

Of course, this latest shooting raised concerns on several fronts. Were the shootings connected? (They weren’t.) Did dropping the charges against the teen contribute to a sense of “it’s okay to shoot the homeless”? We should all hope that is not the case.

Between those shootings and the shooting of two homeless men in City Plaza last year and the shooting of five people at a party in Chico last month (allegedly by a 16-year-old boy), the disregard for human life and the safety of others is disgusting.

Our thanks go to our police department for the speedy arrest of three suspects in this latest shooting.

BLOW — Chico’s Ice Rink in the Plaza is returning for a second season, and we’re excited.

While some continue to portray the rink as some kind of gruesome, money-stealing disaster, we don’t see it that way at all. The ice rink was a nice addition to the downtown Chico square – seriously, could there be a nicer place for an attraction like this? — and it’s pretty hard to put a price tag on the joy it’s given thousands of people.

It also brought a lot of foot traffic (and money) to downtown. It’s difficult to count the extra funds injected into restaurants, shops and bars, but it was significant.

And yet some insist on repeating false claims like “The city lost $300,000 as a result” and “It really hurt the Paradise rink.” First, those who repeat that “$300,000” claim conveniently omit the revenue the rink generates, both in terms of user fees and sponsorship money. It came within $30,000 of breakeven, and now that many of the start-up infrastructure costs have been covered, it should do better this year. And we haven’t seen any evidence that the ice rink has hurt business in Paradise. If anything, it probably got more people interested in skating again.

Anyway, we’re looking forward to it coming back. Opening day at the ice rink is November 17th.

FAIL – Chico City Council voted 5-2 to no longer allow “parklets” on sidewalks outside of downtown restaurants, and while we understand the reasoning, we’ll still regret it if they go away.

These parklets have been an economic lifeline for the half-dozen or so restaurants that started operating them during the height of the pandemic, and they’ve no doubt saved a fair number of jobs. They also helped alleviate some of people’s fears. It wasn’t the same as sitting in a restaurant, but at least people were able to have relatively safe social experiences again.

On the other hand, the original existential crisis is behind us and a number of business owners and others found the Parklets “ugly” and will not miss them a bit.

All in all we will.

Hits and misses are compiled by the editors.

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