Letters for April 2, 2009

County libraries need support …

Re: “Little libraries, big challenges” (cover story, by Robert Speer, CN&R, March 26):

A fabulous article by Bob Speer on Butte County Library traditions. His piece really lets everyone know what is going on with our county library system.

As Library Director Derek Wolfgram mentioned, county cuts to library funding couldn’t come at a worse time. This is a time when so many of our community, from children to senior citizens on fixed incomes, to the unemployed and even homeless, really depend on and make use of our wonderful libraries.

We are all fortunate to have such a system throughout Butte County. As librarian [Cynthia] Pustejovsky mentioned, there is indeed “wonderful support” from all the library communities. I certainly hope the people of Chico can see the value of our Chico branch as well.

Join the Chico Friends of the Library. Make use of your library. And, let’s all encourage the City Council to find a way to continue the city’s portion of funding to keep our Chico Branch Library open for use in the evenings and on Saturdays. Though I have a vested interest, being a library employee, I would love to see Chico step up and somehow continue current funding for 20 to 25 hours a week.

I hope we can be looking at our future and not sliding backward on library funding since this budget issue will be coming up soon. Let’s find a way to keep the great hours, great services and great tradition continuing at the Chico Branch Library as well.

Byron Fountain
Chico Branch Library

… but so do other public services

Re: “County to shut two fire stations” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, March 26):

This same board that was trying to find a way to pay for fire protection, libraries and other vital county services had no such problem earlier in the day granting pay raises to all assistant department heads.

With hundreds of employees facing layoffs, and thousands more willing to take pay cuts to help save a few co-workers, this action was just absolutely mind-boggling.

When I get the word that my job [in the county probation department] is over, I will proudly leave the office knowing that I have done my part to keep the gluttons at the public trough well-fed.

Randy Frieze

In last week’s article about the supervisors shutting two fire stations, the journalist wrote that “they really had no choice Tuesday.” This opinion belongs on the opinion page. Supervisors always have a choice when they vote, and I am glad that [Jane] Dolan and [Maureen] Kirk recognize that cutting basic fire protection services in a fire-prone area makes no fiscal sense at all.

On the Ridge, we need additional protections above and beyond the minimal services we have had. The idea of a fire protection district arose after the fires this past summer to provide additional protection, over basic service.

While the supervisors have a difficult job in this economy, fire stations are among the most basic of services that our current taxes provide, and we do not want to be re-taxed for that basic service. We pay many taxes already. It is irresponsible for our supervisors to leave our fire stations without firefighters any time of year.

Robin Huffman

Editor’s note: Robin Huffman is a former Paradise town councilwoman who ran for the Board of Supervisors last year.

More on midwifery

Re: “ ‘We’re not the bad guys,’ Chico OB/GYN insists” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, March 26):

I would like to respond to some comments made, continuing the dialogue about midwifery in Chico. First, I want to clarify that I do not hold an adversarial stance toward physicians. I have great respect and appreciation for the OBs in our community. The most successful health-care systems in the world utilize both doctors and midwives, both hospital and home birth. I believe in women’s right to choose with whom and where they give birth.

My statement [in a March 5 letter referenced in the story] that midwives reduce C-section rates is not opinion, it is fact. Here is the data: U.S. hospitals that have nurse-midwifery services have a 13 percent lower-than-average cesarean-section rate. In the Netherlands and Sweden, 70 percent of pregnant women are cared for by midwives; their cesarean rate is between 7 percent and 10 percent. In the U.S., where only around 10 percent of women have midwives, our cesarean rate is 30 percent nationally.

A concern was raised that women with medical complications may dangerously choose homebirth. Well, it is the midwife’s job to screen prospective clients for the medical appropriateness of birth at home. I hold a master’s degree in nursing from Yale University. I am trained and qualified to make such an assessment. Throughout the pregnancy and labor, I continue to assess the safety of proceeding with birth at home.

My hope for this community is continued and evolving cooperation among doctors and midwives, for the benefit of mothers and babies.

Dena Moes

Editor’s note: Dena Moes is a certified nurse-midwife.

Losing model? Really?

Re: “A losing model” (Letters, CN&R, March 26):

Rodney Jenkins of Biggs may do well to open his eyes. The American business model has brought chaos to the globe, disenfranchising billions of the world’s poorest people on behalf of U.S. corporations for whom the game is now pretty much up, and would be in total if not for the “socialist” bailing out with taxpayer money.

“Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has little to do with business and a lot to do with awareness. We are but part of a very complicated natural system in which you can’t keep on taking without putting something back.

Sustainability is a word often bandied around without much thought as to what it means on an individual level. This country, some 5 percent of the world’s population, uses close to 40 percent of the world’s available natural, irreplaceable resources on a daily basis—or about six times more per head than Europeans, who are closest to us in wealth and live in far more densely populated areas.

If one views the European “socialist” model in terms of individual contentment, one can plainly see that they don’t go around murdering each other en masse, as in this country, and the suicide rate is also formidably lower. People don’t lose their homes for being unable to pay medical bills, and it’s pretty hard to buy a new car that gets less than 45 mpg.

From this view, European-style “socialism” looks to me to be pretty successful.

Richard Camborne
Grass Valley

Flying birds, not fruit

Re: “Bye-bye, birdies?” (EarthWatch, CN&R, March 26):

Yes, bird numbers are down, but there are things we can do to help stop the decline. Many of our birds, even here in Chico, are neotropical migrants, meaning they winter in Central and South America and come to North America for the spring and summer to breed and rear their young.

One of the biggest problems affecting our migratory songbirds is the booming export produce business. Developing countries to the south of us either do not have sufficient rules on agricultural chemicals or the infrastructure to support them.

When U.S. consumers demand summer fruits and vegetables in winter, they generally come from countries that are frost-free year-round or are in the Southern Hemisphere. The demand encourages farmers in these countries to liberally apply toxic chemicals to their crops. These chemicals, along with the loss of habitat created by converting native vegetation to cropland, have led to a precipitous decline in the number of birds that make it back to the U.S. for breeding season.

What can we do? Shop local! Eat fresh fruits and vegetables in season, and canned or frozen produce in winter. Check the label that identifies where your produce comes from. Grow your own—nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato. Preserve your own—many vegetables keep perfectly in your freezer, or learn to can your own.

Imported produce is only one of the factors affecting bird populations. For more information on ways to stop the decline in bird numbers, contact your local Audubon Society (www.altacal.org).

Scott Huber

Ol’-time musicians

Like many a music fan, I enjoy immensely following the CAMMIES. Of course it’s true, while many faces change each couple of years, some well-loved performers you see year after year.

The only thing I don’t get is why there’s no light shined on some of the old-time Chico musicians who everybody has danced to? I’m talking about musicians who grew up playing at Chico High back in the day, who played the old downtown haunts—the Silver Room, Nashville West—who’ve played all over Chico and Butte County at civic club dances, weddings, holidays, grange hall dances, CARD dances.

Some of these musicians have been playing three and four nights a week for some 70 years. Why not mention them too?

I’ll name one: Don Melerio, the drummer in Charlie Robinson’s band. Don has been playing music around Chico since the 1930s, and I never see his name mentioned.

Bruce Werlhof

Editor’s note: Thanks for saluting him! His bandmate Charlie Robinson has been a CAMMIES nominee in previous years and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.


Re: “Silence makes us all complicit” (Guest Comment, by Caspin Lange, CN&R, March 26): Due to an error in editing, the country where hospitals were investigated for organ transplants was misidentified. The 50 hospitals are in China. This been corrected online.