Letters for April 1, 2010

On their way to slaughter

Re “Of horses and heartbreak” (Cover story, by Melissa Daugherty, March 25):

What a terrific article. It is thorough and covers the current horse situation very well. Congratulations to all involved in that rescue.

I live in a town near the Mexican border where four to five truckloads of horses go through a day on their way to Mexican slaughterhouses. I’ve seen what is in those trucks, as the drivers often stop in town for coffee. These horses are not all old and sick.

One day there were two horses down in a truck, probably injured. The driver stopped and put a steel rod through a hole on the side of the truck and was poking at the horses trying to get them up. Of course they could not get up. Some cowboys came by and stopped him.

This is what happens on slaughter trucks. We must get that bill through Congress.

Fonda Ghiardi
Fort Davis, Texas

DA’s ‘heavy-handed approach’

Re “The parent trap” (Newslines, by Leslie Layton, March 25):

I do not see the purpose of the DA’s prosecution of these parents. It will do nothing to make the child able to participate in school. If they are ill, it should be up to the parents, not the school nurse to decide if they should stay home.

I don’t think the DA would like to be told he must appear at work before being determined to be ill enough to stay home! This kind of heavy-handed approach to a non-issue of truancy will accomplish nothing except to make the Glenn County District Attorney’s Office look like total incompetents. The DA’s office should try to go out and find something that actually qualifies as a crime before prosecuting hard-working, well-intentioned parents!

Patricia Hall-West Mulder

This is exactly why our family left California three years ago. My then-11-year-old son’s asthma had to develop into pneumonia before he could get an excuse to not “check in.” There was no staff nurse, so we had to drive to campus to give him meds if he got short of breath.

The school insisted on sending him outside for recess and keeping all the doors and windows open. When asked why, they responded it would be “good” for him, like they knew better than the allergist he had been seeing for three years. We are now happy home-schoolers in Missouri. The aforementioned son has picked up two scholarships since.

The California school system does not have your child’s best interest in mind when they “force” attendance.

Sean Chartier
Lees Summit, Mo.

Picking on John

Re “Taking the measure of John” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, March 25):

I really felt bad for “John” the petitioner. I shop at Trader Joe’s every day. I have signed some of John’s petitions. He was more than upset by the CN&R article. “My girlfriend has chastised me. My father refuses to speak to me,” he said.

John, a 23-year-old, has had his ups and downs in life. He works hard at what he does, and I am sure that there are not many jobs that he can get. He is friendly and intelligent. “Why would this guy pick on me?” He was in more than a tizzy when I spoke with him. “A big newspaper like that—why?”

Trader Joe’s has tried to run him away with a sign that says customers don’t have to talk to him. I spent a half-hour calming him down, and convince him to take this all with a grain of salt. “It was humorous to me, John.”

“Yeah, but not to me because I lost 30 percent of my customers.”

Hey, the guy is not begging like many young people, so let’s give John a break.

Jerry Harris

It’s not about the handicapped

Re “Shark or savior?” (Newslines, by Dustin Hyman, March 25):

This isn’t about helping the handicapped. It’s about attorney’s fees. Most business owners don’t know the complex ADA statutes. ADA plaintiffs’ lawyers never send a simple letter to a business asking them to comply. They immediately file a lawsuit. That is because the ADA attorneys can’t get attorney’s fees by requesting compliance; they only get fees once litigation is filed.

This isn’t about handicapped access. Many ADA plaintiffs’ lawyers and their clients seek out and hunt down businesses that may not be in compliance, whether or not they ever intended to use that business. The hunt is for attorney’s fees, not access.

If these ADA plaintiffs’ attorneys had any balls, they would admit their motives are to line their pockets at the expense of small businesses.

A simple letter to a business explaining why there is a handicap access issue would probably resolve the vast majority of problems. It would be a win-win for all involved, except the greedy lawyers, who would be denied their attorney’s fees.

Steve Trover
Salt Lake City, Utah

Modest safety suggestions

A great big thank you to the Police Department for keeping Chico safe over St. Patrick’s Day!

I’d like to see the police start cracking down on some other holidays, too. I want to see riot gear on Thanksgiving and SWAT teams on Christmas. There should be a curfew on Easter, and all bars should have to close by 9 p.m. on Independence Day. We should make sure to exile all the students on Veterans Day to prevent riots.

This will surely improve our quality of life by making the rest of the time in Chico seem like … a holiday.

Seth Paine

More on the animal shelter

Re “A history of neglect” (Cover story, by Tom Gascoyne, March 18):

Mr. Gascoyne provided a thoughtful analysis of the problems with the city-owned facility occupied by Butte Humane Society. The general reactions of those with whom I have spoken indicate the article has increased awareness of the deplorable physical conditions of the shelter.

I would like to clarify one point in the article. Mr. Gascoyne indicated that I stepped down from the board because I was “reportedly burned out after years of frustration.” I did not speak with Mr. Gascoyne, nor did I step down as president because I was burned out. I put much thought into this decision and acted with the best interests of the organization in mind.

I will continue to help Butte Humane Society move toward a new facility, improve the care of companion animals and enhance our numerous programs. Please visit the BHS Web site (buttehumane.org) for up-to-date information as we continue toward a new facility.

Linda Kline

In 2005 I adopted my dog, Gracie, from the Butte Humane Society. It had been raining for days on end when I arrived at the shelter. My soon-to-be new best friend was “sheltered” in one of the outside pens. She was shivering, soaked to the bone, caked in mud and quite ill.

Because BHS had been unable to obtain the needed vaccines, Gracie contracted kennel cough that, left untreated, had evolved into pneumonia. A veterinary visit and a course of antibiotics cured the pneumonia, but to this day Gracie is seriously traumatized by rain. She is, by the way, the most loving, loyal companion anyone could ask for. I owe my gratitude to BHS for this precious gift.

I urge the Chico City Council to act now to fully fund and support Butte Humane Society in creating a new shelter that the animals deserve and our community can be proud of. Please, not one more year of our pitiful eyesore of a shelter crammed between industrial waste and wreckage. I know we can do better for these innocent animals and their tireless supporters at BHS.

Nicki Reynolds

The health-care vote

Re “Whose Waterloo?” (Editorial, March 25):

The vote to pass the health-care bill is a victory for all Americans. It will almost immediately eliminate the obnoxious insurance-company practice of dropping sick customers and imposing lifetime coverage limits. In three months, those locked out of getting insurance because of health problems will be able to get affordable coverage through a subsidized high-risk pool. Medicare recipients will get some relief from the hole in the prescription-drug benefit immediately. Many more benefits will be incrementally added between now and 2017.

The bill’s not perfect; it was watered down in the futile attempt to get the support of politicians pandering to industry and right-wing pressure groups, but it is a major step in the right direction.

Shame on our congressman, Wally Herger, for ignoring the interests of the thousands of his constituents who are suffering or in danger because they either lack health insurance or pay into a private plan that very possibly will not be there for them when they need it. Shame on him and on those who spread fear of a caricature of the bill that they invented in order to avoid dealing with the reality of denying health care to real people that their position entailed.

Wally, along with all of his Republican colleagues, voted against the bill for crass political reasons and should be punished for that in November.

A heartfelt “thank you” to the Congress members who voted for this bill. Finally, a change I can believe in! I finally have a reason to vote Democratic in the next election.

Craig Vivas
Mt. Shasta City

I have been a registered Republican since 1959. On the issue of health care, however, I am extremely disappointed with my party.

I am a senior citizen on Medicare, so I am not hurting in that respect. However, I have a daughter whose individual policy jumped 30 percent this year. My son, who is an hourly employee, is faced with accepting a huge increase in the employee portion of health insurance through increased premiums and deductibles or risk layoff.

The really sad situation is that of a friend of mine, a woman who turned 60 last month. Her individual premium jumped almost $200 a month. Her total premium would amount to 62 percent of her take home pay. She cannot switch to another policy, because she had a mastectomy some 24 or 25 years ago. That is a pre-existing condition. She has been forced to drop her coverage completely and hope that, for the next five years, she does not become sick or have an accident. For even a moderate illness, she could lose everything she, has including her small mobile home.

There are a number of things in the Democratic proposal that I don’t like. Some are even scary. However, something must be done. I am more than willing to work to change the current proposal down the road. We all know that the Republican proposal to start over is simply a ploy to kill any chance of reform.

Robert V. Grignon Sr.
Paradise, CA

Republicans have proven themselves so ideologically driven that they will put their political aims ahead of the people’s business. The health-care bill in Congress is only one example.

Can one imagine that, of the 215 Republican members of Congress, not one could see the benefits in taking health care away from the dominance of the insurance industry?

I talked recently with a person from New Zealand who thinks it’s ridiculous that in the United States the government doesn’t have more control over the medical welfare of its citizens. Another person who is knowledgeable about health care in France feels the same way. Canadians laud their system.

The folks shouting “socialism” need to see reality. Health care for all is truly a right, not a privilege.

Robert Woods

“Radix malorum est cuptiditas.” The root of all evil is greed.

This is clearly the motivation of the tea-party protesters. They don’t care that thousands of Americans are dying every year for lack of medical care, or that the principal cause of bankruptcy is medical bills. They have no compassion even though a large number of the tea party are “good” Christians. What would Jesus do?

Victor Corbett

Crunching the average family

Re “Crunch time for AB 32” (Cover story, by Cosmo Garvin, March 4):

Let’s put the poor and those on fixed incomes back on the tax rolls again, and AB 32 will just do that! Five-dollar gas, doubled electric bills, higher consumer products to fund the green economy. Sure, let’s do it! It will only cost the average family $2,500 a year. They can afford it … and nothing is too good for them

Robert Cooper
Penn Valley