Letters for April 16, 2009

Another survival tip: time banking

Re: “Recession Survival Guide” (cover story, CN&R, April 9):

Thank you for the Recession Survival Guide. As a 12-year member of Valley Oak Village, Chico’s co-housing community, I was especially glad to see Christine G.K. LaPado’s piece on communal living. I can testify that communal living has economic, ecological, and psychological advantages.

There is another way of saving money while creating community connections that is working well for the Chico Women’s Club. It is called time banking. When a member spends an hour doing something for another member, she earns a Time Dollar. Then she can use that Time Dollar to buy an hour of another member’s time.

For example, Renee got a haircut from Liz, who got a massage from Ann, who got help with landscaping from Cheryl, who got a raw-foods consultation from Joy—and on and on it goes.

Time banking is a social change movement that is building community in 22 countries on six continents. Some places have large computerized time banks with a paid coordinator. For more information, go to www.timebanks.org.

The Chico Women’s Club is willing to help other groups start their own time banks. We can be reached at info@chicowomensclub.net. Perhaps someday all the groups could be combined in a citywide network of neighbors helping neighbors.

Recession or no recession, neighbors helping neighbors has survival value.

Renee Renaud

Editorial as good as gold …

Re: “The party’s over” (Editorial, CN&R, April 9):

Last week’s editorial is another good one. Here is a Fiction 59 entry I submitted using the same title:

Bozo Fleetingcash, professor of economics at Fall State College in Dumfoundland, taught simpleton economics. He instructed, “Banking is a party. A high cover charge means rich people will attend. They loan each other money. They scheme to take money from poor people. The party grows. The cops are bribed. When the party slows, they send out for more cash.”

Danny Wilson

… or maybe silver-plated tin

I am both baffled and amused at the wonderful parade of ignorance you published titled “The party’s over.”

Where do I begin? How about the “silver lining” described in paragraph two. So, in the opinion of the News & Review, countless hardworking people around the planet losing their means of support as factories close is a good thing? I’m sure the children of those employees would disagree with you if they weren’t preoccupied with how to obtain food without having an income. Perhaps Al Gore could send them some carbon credits to eat.

Next there is the pathetically uniformed statement “the era of unfettered capitalism has ended.” Unfettered capitalism? I suppose you have never heard of Social Security, Medicare, workers’ comp, environmental review, trade unions, minimum wage, sales tax, use tax, welfare, unemployment benefits, building permits, capital-gains tax, school tax or any of the other hundreds of obstacles that stand in the way of American business ventures succeeding. All are regulations instituted by the left, and now you have the audacity to blame our current woes on “unfettered capitalism”?

Ever wonder why so many American companies have moved their operations to other countries?

As far as a national addiction to credit goes, research the Community Investment Act and you’ll understand in great detail why there is so much bad debt.

Lastly, the notion that people come together and grow spiritually when resources get slim is simply wrong. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Pick up a history book.

Ruben Leon


Re: “This is Public Health” (Guest Comment, by Ellen Michels, CN&R, April 9):

You wake up in the morning, put some tap water in the coffee maker and drink a cup with the morning paper. You read a county has been sued for dumping feces in the water. You choke down the coffee, finding little comfort in the words “the feces is so diluted it is little risk to people.”

You open the door to go to work, and the sky is full of smoke; it being a cold day, the wood stoves are all fired up, and you’re coughing by the time you reach your car. Oh, by the way, classes for smokers who want to quit have been canceled due to budget cuts.

Someone in your office has the flu. Why? The free or low-cost flu clinics ran out of flu shots; if you weren’t there hours before they opened, waiting in long lines, you didn’t get one.

You pick your autistic child up at day care. Unfortunately, your health plan doesn’t cover this ailment; you look for a second job to pay for special care for your sick child.

While fixing dinner, you find on the local news that salad has salmonella. Because the powers that be are so slow, they don’t know what food brands are involved. Do you throw it away or take the chance?

You go to bed thinking, “Dear God, help us. Our lives have been in jeopardy so many times in just one day, I don’t understand why we have to live like this.”

Carol Dutcher

Cultivating an option

Re: “ ‘Need dope? Come to Chico!’ ” (Downstroke, CN&R, April 9):

My idea for selling pot would involve a city meeting where they auction off stalks of the plant to the highest bidder. That way the city would make tons of money!

Darral Good
Shoreline, Wash.

Myth: solar buyback

Re: “Wisdom of the teen-ages” (cover story, CN&R, April 2):

I very much enjoyed reading the essays of our local teens. But I must correct one in regard to PG&E’s willingness to buy back unused power generated by an individual’s solar panels.

My husband and I installed solar panels several years ago at a rental property. When the house was not rented, the energy from the panels went to PG&E and we had credit with them. At the end of the year, I called them and asked when I could expect a check and was told they do not reimburse customers for unused energy.

Adding insult to injury, the credit did not even roll over to the next year, but disappeared. PG&E further insults us by charging us a fee of $4.29 per month to be hooked up to the grid. We called PG&E numerous times and even contacted the Public Utilities Commission, but no one seemed to be able to help us.

It is somewhat of an urban myth that you can sell unused power back to PG&E. Don’t count on it.

Jeanne Foreman
Forest Ranch

Right-of-way right-on!

Every weekday afternoon, at Second and Main, drivers speed through red lights and park in the middle of the intersection, blocking cross traffic and crosswalks, rather than wait for the green light. Doing so, they threaten the life of every pedestrian and bicyclist they come near.

Weekends are worse, with people pushing baby carriages and walking to the farmers market.

Here is a good use for cell phones: Every time you see that, call Chico PD and/or the CHP. Just a few days of police presence would calm things down and generate fines for the city. Win-win!

Nelson Kaiser

Saluting the flags

Heartfelt thanks to all who are involved in adorning our streets at this time of year with those lovely Earth flags. Just such a heartwarming experience to see them blowing in the breeze against the budding greenery of spring.

It just means the world to me to be a part of a community that is mindful of the bigger picture and the vital necessity to love and honor our Earth and its global community. I remain hopeful for our children, our future, and I am incredibly grateful to be a part of this conscientious community of Chico, Calif.

Naz Esposito

Support this plan

President Obama has proposed a bold, ambitious energy policy that focuses greater reliance on non-carbon-based alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, geo-thermal and tidal generation, and will secure lasting economic growth and national security for future generations. His plan will boost local economies and jobs, take the first steps toward limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and finally end America’s addiction to oil.

Obama’s energy plan deserves our full support. As citizens concerned about the country we will leave our children and grandchildren, we must not sit on the sidelines for this debate.

The fossil-fuel industry is gearing up to defeat Obama’s energy plan. They are counting on well-heeled lobbyists, campaign contributions and misleading television advertising to thwart America’s transition to a green economy.

Let’s not wait until the planet has warmed another degree, or wait for gasoline to hit $4 a gallon again, before we take action. Tell your lawmakers to get ahead of the curve, as we once did in America, and start us down the path toward a sustainable energy future.

John Drzal


Re: “To China, with smiles” (Newslines, by Sarah Hubbart, CN&R, April 9): The info box highlighting the Global Good Deeds event tonight (April 16) implied it’s for health-care professionals only. Medical projects also require the assistance and skills provided by non-clinical individuals, so anyone who is considering humanitarian service abroad is urged to attend. The event runs 6:30-8 p.m. at the Enloe Conference Center.