Letters for April 17, 2008

‘One more black eye on district’
Re: “Boosting from the boosters” (Cover story, by Ginger McGuire, CN&R, April 10):

Your article about PV’s sports boosters is one more black eye on the school district. I was most shocked by the number of innocent people who had been previously accused without merit. A clerk was fired for theft, but now we learn the charges weren’t true. Principals and teachers were wrongly accused.

How many lives were ruined? I can’t remember all the individuals, but dozens of employees were dragged through the mud with false and malicious charges by district officials who have now caused the district to be in a financial crisis. [A high school administrator] callously responded, “If something goes wrong, it is not the district’s responsibility.” The school board and public should not agree.

Instead of cutting programs and services to balance the budget, how about requiring the district staff to pay the boosters and schools back by going door to door to do the fundraisers next year instead of this falling on the labor of the students and their parents?

What a travesty.

Chris Sullivan

CUSD budget burden borne equally?
Re: “Reality paycheck” (Editorial, CN&R, April 10):

First, let me say that not Chicoans alone will suffer the debacle of fools. You mention the complexity of negotiating with teachers and city employee unions and the dire straits that they place the school district and community. But—and here’s the big but—you mention nowhere the exorbitant, possibly inflated administrative staffing levels placed on this same finite resource: revenue.

Have you done due diligence in researching the administrative cuts CUSD is proposing—real cuts, not staffing desk rotations? Have you lobbied for administrative pay cuts or freezes? No, it makes better headlines to bash the very instruments of a city’s and a school district’s success.

Hard times supposedly are upon us; the grim reaper of recession is nipping at the door. Where are the cuts in administration? Are they receiving pay increases disproportionate to the economy?

Owen Stiles

Editor’s note: We did consider administration. The city of Chico is scaling back expenses and has been going without one of its upper managers by having General Services Director Dennis Beardsley double as Assistant City Manager on an interim basis this fiscal year. School Superintendent Kelly Staley confirmed CUSD eliminated the Assistant Superintendent position she previously held, plus four other full-time slots in the district office, and will give no raises until it’s no longer “negatively certified” financially.

U.S. spending priorities are right
Re: “Day of reckoning” (Editorial, CN&R, April 10):

Would it surprise you to know that raising taxes to fund poverty programs merely increases poverty by reducing the capital available to create jobs? The Democrats have already introduced a bill in Congress to raise taxes on people earning more than $31,850 a year—an interesting take on “ending Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.” Next thing you know, anyone earning more than minimum wage will be “rich.”

Would it surprise you to know that the terrorists we’re fighting will slaughter every last one of us if we don’t fight that “unnecessary” war against them? Doggone right we’d better continue that “unnecessary” war “indefinitely,” without a timetable, until the terrorists are exterminated.

If promoting democracy and overthrowing genocidal regimes like Saddam Hussein’s are “hubristic imperialism,” why, we sure could use more of that kind of “imperialism.” Was it “hubristic imperialism” for the rest of America to enforce civil rights in the South? Since when do Iraqis’ civil rights matter less than Americans’ civil rights?

As for too much military spending—if that reincarnation of Nazi Germany in the Middle East known as Iran is able to get and use its nukes, then that would suggest that we haven’t been spending enough on our military. “Programs to combat poverty” won’t mean much in the midst of nuclear devastation and terrorist genocide, which are the ultimate poverty.

Chad Wozniak

Stark sex education
Re: “Help teens make healthful choices” (Guest Comment, by Jill Dwyer, CN&R, April 10):

Jill Dwyer’s column was much needed. Schools should take the forefront in teaching kids about the epidemic of sexual diseases, but schools need letters from parents, which limits the information. “If I wear two rubbers, will I be safe?” “Talk to your dad.” “What does fellatio mean?” “I could tell you, but I’d need a note from your mom.”

There are 24 groups of sexually transmitted diseases, and a monogamous relationship is the only way to go. To scare the hell out of the kids, list some lesser-known STDs: condyloma acuminatum, granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, trichomoniasis.

Look up pictures of venereal diseases on the Internet. You’ll never have sex again.

Michael M. Peters

Re: “The elephant in the exam room” (Guest Comment, by Aldebra Schroll, CN&R, April 3):

The elephant in the exam room that Dr. Schroll describes also sits on the backs of the American public, with its trunk in all of our pockets. The insurance industry profits enormously from our health-care system, and in return provides no health care.

Victor Mlotok, MD

I completely agree that the elephant should be kicked out of the room. But in order to do this, we first need to kick the 800-pound gorilla out of the building. That is the pernicious public—parties (many beginning with the letter P) that want to reserve power but want somebody else to pay.

We all fail in our responsibilities: the patient who “shops” providers until he finds one who tells him what he wants to hear; the politician who promises what he knows he cannot deliver (except by passing a negative legacy onto the next generation); the parasite who creates bureaucratic paperwork without contributing to the success of the system; the proctor who improperly denies coverage to protect his insurance company’s bottom line.

And, yes, the provider, who consistently runs on an unacceptably late schedule, or who refuses to grant a needed “short notice” appointment to an established, responsible patient, or who places a sign directing patients to confine complaints to the reason for which the appointment was scheduled even if they have suffered a troubling new symptom.

We need to admit to ourselves, and each other, that we will be forced to continue to pay increased costs for increased care. I can only hope that somehow all of us (society) can come together to address the problem in a realistic and unselfish way.

Paul Cella
Butte Valley

Dr. Schroll makes an excellent point when she says that to listen to a patient is critical to healing. As an RN, I have spent more than 29 years working with patients. Much has been happening in the field of psychology regarding “empowerment therapies” or “energetic psychology” that cuts the time necessary for effective healing. Of course, it will be a long time coming before this approach is covered by any insurance companies.

Sharon Cardenas

Gone, not forgotten
Re: “My dark chapter, his bitter dish” (Cover story sidebar, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, March 27):

In “Of kitchens and kilns,” Jaime O’Neill describes the life of Angelo Lucido, local restaurateur. O’Neill wrote an addendum [the sidebar that’s subtitled], “If a man can change over two decades, why dredge up old gunk?” O’Neill speaks about Lucido’s “tragic, fatal auto accident,” then writes: “Small towns and small people have long memories.”

By saying this, O’Neill has insulted the memory of a loving couple, Mike and Debbie Doda [pictured]. As pedestrians, they were both killed Aug. 10, 1980, by drunk driver Angelo Lucido. Their memory is not “old gunk,” nor are those who remember this wonderful couple “small people.” I am personally insulted by Jaime O’Neill, and the editor of the CN&R should not have printed those words.

Mike Doda was an elementary-school teacher who was very beloved by his students. He was known by his friends for his kindheartedness. Mike was 30 when he died.

Debbie Doda was an amazing artist. She was employed by the Art Department of Chico State while working for her degree in art. She was known by her friends as a person who was truly accepting of others, just the way they were. She was 26 when she died.

It is tragic that their deaths happened, but they happened, and Angelo Lucido paid society for his crimes. I am sure that he is haunted by it.

If we can learn anything from this, let us learn this final lesson, once and for all: Never, never drink and drive. Never.

Name and city withheld by request

A healthy example
Management at Enloe has changed, but Enloe’s treatment of workers seems as outmoded and needlessly costly in time and energy as the tactics used in the past in the attempt to derail CNA organizing.

A few days ago, my daughter was describing aspects of her administrative job at a Midwest hospital. It’s located in a community similar to Chico: corn/soy agriculture with a sizable university campus.

When I asked why there were never any labor issues at her hospital, the reply was immediate: “We pay Chicago suburban wages and have good employee relations.” (Except for managers in dietary and environmental, all workers are on the hospital payroll.)

As the [service] workers at Enloe continue in their struggle to formulate a respectable contract, it occurs to me that maybe it isn’t management holding things up, but some arcane, obsolete philosophy on the part of the Board of Trustees. It makes me want to see their names in bold print on a billboard. They’re probably our neighbors.

When we see them, we could remind them of the not-so-ancient concept of fair wages and respectful attitudes in the workplace, not to mention health insurance.

Enloe doesn’t even have to come up with Chicago suburban wages. All that’s being asked for is a par with Red Bluff.

Carol Eberling

Editor’s note: Enloe’s service workers have planned an “informational picket” at the hospital for Friday (April 18) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The union members participating will do so on their breaks or off time.

‘Not so bad'? Uh …
John McCain has such a reputation as a maverick that I fear many think he is a “progressive who supports the war, but maybe he’s not so bad … “ The info below came through my e-mail this week, and I want to pass it along.

• McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He says his position has “evolved,” yet he’s continued to oppose key civil-rights laws.

• McCain’s reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but he voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.

• McCain said, “I do not support Roe v. Wade. It should be overturned.”

• The Children’s Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator for children. He voted against the children’s health-care bill last year, then defended Bush’s veto.

• One of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires, McCain says the solution for people facing foreclosure is to get a “second job” and skip vacations.

• A fellow Republican senator called McCain “erratic” and “hot-headed,” saying: “The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine.”

• McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are lobbyists.

• The pastor McCain calls his “spiritual guide,” Rod Parsley, believes America’s founding mission is to destroy Islam.

• McCain positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a zero from the League of Conservation Voters last year.

Please vote wisely.

Emily Alma