Letters for April 14, 2005

Painful truth
With the signing of SB899 one year ago, Gov. Schwarzenegger declared that he had kept his promise to reduce workers’ compensation costs to California businesses by 30 percent. Where are we one year later?

Injured workers: Medical treatment for work injuries has been severely limited. Injured workers are being forced to treat only with company doctors. One study shows that benefits to injured workers have been reduced up to 70 percent. The changes have caused lengthy delays in injury claims throughout the state. Injured workers frustrated with the system have joined together to form www.votersinjuredatwork.org.

Employers: Have your rates come down as promised by Arnold? The governor did not really expect a 30 percent reduction; his own budget for the state does not reduce workers’ compensation costs by 30 percent.

Doctors: Numerous doctors in Butte County have stopped treating injured workers. Why? Because the treatment they recommend as reasonable and necessary to help the injured worker is not being authorized.

Taxpayers: Arnold’s plan has shifted the burden for work injuries to taxpayers. As injured workers lose workers’ comp benefits, they seek them from government programs. Federal, state and county disability and medical programs are starting to feel the effects of this shift.

Insurance companies: The “reform” did not require a reduction in workers’ compensation premiums. As a result, the 30 percent reductions promised by Arnold have not happened.

The governor: The governor continues to accept piles of cash from insurance companies and put the burden of workers’ compensation reform on the backs of injured workers and taxpayers.

Steve Foster

Culture poser
As a 24-year-old college student, I admit I only read your publication when I’m waiting for food or an order downtown and there’s a copy nearby. I flip through it occasionally and have been more or less impartial to the views and columns. However, I came across the new “local bastard” column last week and I thought it was a joke.

Really, how many times can you use the word “crunk” (which no one really says) in a one-fifth-page article? For your older audience, this column is undoubtedly not worth a read, and the writer’s attempts to be “hip” and “cool” are laughable to the younger crowd. Everyone I know who has read it agrees. He sounds like someone from another planet who watched MTV for a week and tried to fit in with our supposed pop culture.

As co-director of the Wild Oak Songwriters Guild last semester, I am even more appalled at his mockery of our label as No. 10 on the “things wrong with the Chico music scene.” How can you bash a nonprofit student-run label that is just trying to help young, previously unheard artists have a venue to share their music for free? I’d like to hear a better suggestion for bringing Chico’s up and coming musicians to the public. Do everyone a favor and can this columnist.

Brad Liapis
Received via e-mail

Park place
Re: “Parking Lessons” [cover story] in the March 31 CN&R.

The Chico Certified Farmers’ Market will be one of the biggest losers if a parking structure is built at Second and Wall streets. It will suffer substantial loss of business, as will the Garden Walk Mall stores and adjacently located businesses during the structure’s build-out.

The market has set up here for the last 13 of the 25 years it’s done business in downtown Chico. Market participants have been happy here and are grateful to the city for allowing use of a location that has given us excellent public visibility.

Since the city and the Downtown Chico Business Association have identified the need for another parking structure, why there has been no attempt to promote the lot at the Municipal Center at Fourth and Flume streets for evenings, Saturdays and Sundays? Approximately 130 parking spaces of this vast lot remain empty in this extremely convenient downtown location.

The market has continued and will continue to promote use of the Municipal Center parking lot with signs and rewards for customers who park there. A common complaint is a lack of signage to let the customer know that it is legal to park there.

If parking is such a problem in downtown Chico, then how does the DCBA account for the 5,000 to 8,000 people (their count) who manage to find parking to attend the DCBA’s Thursday night event? The real issue is not parking. If people want what a business is selling, they will find a way to access it.

The Chico Certified Farmers’ Market can’t deny that we are not interested in seeing a gloomy, concrete parking structure rise along Second Street and most likely change our 25-year tradition of operating an open-air farmers’ market in downtown Chico. It is our intention to remain in our current location as long as possible, even if we have to move in under a parking structure.

Terry Givens
Chico Certified Farmers’ Market

Doing our part
Yeah, Chico! Thanks for keeping my faith in human nature alive.

On Thursday, March 31, in the San Francisco Chronicle there was an article concerning a four-year study, sponsored by the United Nations, that tells us, “Humans had ruined approximately 60 percent of ecological systems to meet demands for food, fresh water, timber, and fuel.” The same day the CN&R printed some numbers regarding our dependence on oil ["Downhill from here,” Sifter]. And then, in the same issue of the CN&R, we get notice of a parking garage (where else?) on the site of the Farmers’ Market—yet another shrine to identifying characteristics of humanity: ignorance, sloth and greed.

Nelson Kaiser
Received via email

Ode to Sam
Samuel David Johnson died of a heart attack the morning of April 5 arriving to work at the Feather Falls Casino. He is survived by his wife Jan and two children Jenny and Nick. Sam was born Dec. 24, 1940, in Leesville, La. The memorial service will be April 14 at 11 a.m. at the First Methodist Church of Oroville, 45 Acacia Ave., Oroville. A benefit memorial concert will be held at the Feather Falls Casino Showroom on April 17 at 6 pm. There is a Sam Johnson Memorial Fund at Butte Community Bank in Oroville.

When Sam “The Man” sang an Otis Redding song, you could close your eyes and Otis would be there. Along with his consummate trombone playing he made The Blue Paradise Band a joy to play in.

If ever there was a model personality to emulate in this life, Sam Johnson was the instruction manual. Whenever you connected with those engaging eyes and huge friendly smile, you were going to get a hug that made you feel like the only person in the world.

Sam and I spent many hours playing guitar together. He was like a teenager with the guitar, absorbing every new lick I could show him. He loved the guitar so much. So many of us love you. Goodbye, Sam.

Jim Williford