Unspun Logo

It Takes A…

Posted by Rick · December 5th, 2003 · No Comments

Nope, not a Village. It takes a little girl.

My first thought when I decided to write this morning was “Some people are going to read your post as a case of sour grapes because a little girl made the front page of the Fresno Bee and you didn’t.”

So I’m going to ask you to read the post and focus on my point. If you do, you’ll realize my “complaint” here has nothing to do with grapes; this is not a fruity argument.

This blog entry is occasioned by the print version of today’s Fresno Bee, which I spotted when I stopped for a bite to eat this morning while running errands. The front page article is titled, “Child’s Call to Aid the Zoo.” The story is about a nine-year-old girl whose parents gave her a dollar to donate to the Chaffee Zoological Gardens. According to the story, she wrote a letter asking others to donate as well and this has resulted in dozen’s following her lead. I’ve since found links on the Internet showing this was publicized at least at the beginning of December on Channel 30 Action News. A Fresno Bee online opinion column also publicized this. Both stories are dated December 3, 2003. Please read them: If this little girl gets you to donate to the zoo, we all win!

So you don’t misunderstand me, let me repeat what I just said: If this act of a nine-year-old girl is the spark that will get people going, I’m all for it. Somehow, someway the people in the Fresno/Clovis area — if not elsewhere as well — need to wake up to the fact that the Chaffee Zoological Gardens are not going to miraculously heal their management and infrastructural problems all by themselves. They need money. And they need lots of it.

I’ve been writing to various people and have met with Ralph Waterhouse, Director of the Chaffee Zoological Gardens, as well as Susan Karby, Executive Director of the Fresno Zoological Society, to discuss plans for how to implement programs to heighten public awareness of the zoo and its needs. In both face-to-face meetings and numerous email exchanges with both of them, I’ve also discussed how to raise funds and repeatedly pointed out to them and others that if everyone in Fresno and the surrounding communities would donate just one dollar, that alone would potentially result in one million dollars in donations. Yep, one million — at least! On the advice of a friend, I even wrote to a couple of Fresno City Council members and forwarded them copies of the plan I proposed. And just last month, after I wrote about the situation again here on this blog, someone forwarded the information to a local mayoral candidate Sue Saigal who, according to Bill McEwen at the Fresno Bee, “would make a good City Council candidate but doesn’t have the name recognition or political experience to win the mayor’s race.” She responded “I have to admit he does make several excellent points.” (By the way, she was talking about my comments on the Chaffee Zoo, not regarding McEwen’s comments about her!)

In April of 2002, I wrote a letter to the editors of the Fresno Bee concerning Dr. Paul Chaffee and the need to honor the accomplishments of him and other Fresno citizens. This letter was written in the face of complaints from a local businessman that he didn’t know “what a Chaffee is.” It was — and continues to be — no surprise to me that “Doc” Chaffee’s accomplishments are unknown: The Chaffee Zoological Gardens website, as one example, contains not even one mention of “Doc” and word given to me by inside sources who wish to remain anonymous is that there has been an active desire on the part of some parties within the zoo’s management structure to deliberately suppress talk about “Doc” because it outshines their own need to be recognized. My letter was never published.

The thing that bothers me isn’t that this little girl is getting publicity for her act of challenging others to donate to this cause. What bothers me is that this is what it takes just to start getting people’s attention. Where has the Fresno Bee been for the last few years? Where were they when I was trying to reach out to various individuals not only about the needs of the Chaffee Zoo, but with an actual plan? (To those who might say it is an imperfect plan, it is, nevertheless, a plan and when it was formulated it even had some business support behind it.) What has the Chaffee Zoological Gardens done to help itself?

Oh well, if it takes a little girl to wake a village, then so be it. All I really care about is that the Chaffee Zoological Gardens — which represents the blood, sweat and tears of a multitude of Fresnans, including “Doc” Chaffee, and which represents a unique opportunity for Fresno to stand out among other cities not just in California, but elsewhere — gets the funding that it needs.

The Chaffee Zoological Society does have a donation page

The Chaffee Zoological Gardens phone number is (559) 498-2671

Click Here to Email the Chaffee Zoological Gardens

The “snail mail” address is:

Chaffee Zoological Gardens of Fresno
894 West Belmont Avenue
Fresno, California 93728

You can probably mail donations there if you wish to use a check instead of a credit card and/or if you are uncomfortable with their online payment system. (I am uncertain whether they are using a secure server or not; it appears to be merely a webscript [ASP] that may email your information to zoo personnel.)

Categories: Fresno-Clovis

Tags: · , ,

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment