Letters for April 24, 2008

‘City organization is dysfunctional’
Re: “Chico’s leadership gap” (Editorial, CN&R, April 17):

Your recognition of “Chico’s leadership gap” is right-on, but your suggestion that the mayor be given greater authority or an elected mayor be considered are not the answers. My answer is to just follow the city charter, as it was intended by the Chico voters.

The city charter established a council/manager form of government, with the City Council assigned the responsibility of establishing “policy” and the city manager given the responsibility of “managing” the city within the policies adopted by the council.

Recent City Councils decided to become “managers"—generally for the benefit of their voter supporters and constituencies, instead of considering the long-term needs of the city. The best example of their “miss-management” is the “structural budget deficit” problem that has been on the horizon for several years and brings the city to the brink of bankruptcy.

The present city organization is completely dysfunctional. It is made up of too many departments that operate like independent fiefdoms and will resist any real change unless an experienced manager undertakes a reorganization to carry out the council’s policies in a timely manner and properly manages Chico’s finances.

The present city manager may undertake eventual reorganization and assist the council in resolving its perilous financial problems. But for some time, he will be fully involved in attempting to correct the “structural budget deficit” that has been handed him by the council.

Although I’m not a great supporter of consultants (there have been too many in recent years) for special studies, the council may want to contract with a management firm that has experience in helping other cities with similar organizational and financial problems.

Fred Davis

Editor’s note: Mr. Davis is a former Chico city manager.

Quality of care extends to caring
Re: “Enloe employees to picket” (Downstroke, CN&R, April 17):

Enloe is a level 2 trauma center. When comparing wages and benefits, they must compare to level 2 trauma centers north of Sacramento. Sutter-Roseville and Mercy-Redding are both level 2 trauma centers. Comparing to anything else is comparing apples to oranges.

Redding and Red Bluff are lucky communities to have great hospitals, with boards and administrators who care for their communities (patients and employees). Chico has a hospital with a board and administration who have demonstrated they don’t. They have shown it by how they treat their health-care workers. Enloe could start by giving an industry-standard contract, living wages and benefits.

It’s Enloe’s turn to start the healing.

Emily White

Enloe’s Board of Directors insists our CEO focus on quality management to bring the hospital back in line with state MediCal and Medicare standards. We got cupcakes for passing inspection. Let them eat cake!

There’s money for expansion to make our hospital world class and viable. There’s cash for Planetree’s positive experience. There are also big bucks for administrators who presided over Enloe’s lapse to the brink of losing access to public reimbursements.

Employees deserve fair compensation for services rendered, not serf wages keeping us bobbing near the poverty line.

Peter Calo

Re: “Feast on Table Mountain” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, April 17):

Great story by Jaime and great photos by Karen [O’Neill]. I have done a lot of photography there, and many of my photos are posted on the Web site of the Plumas County Visitors Bureau, which likes to attract visitors based on our natural assets: fall colors, waterfalls, and spring wildflowers.

Interesting how people are attracted to superlatives—compare every cliff to El Capitan, compare every waterfall to Feather Falls or even Yosemite, compare every wildflower display to Table Mountain at its peak—and come away disappointed by anything less.

I have been trying to promote the idea that Table Mountain—every place, really—is interesting and important throughout the year, and that people need to take a closer look, expend some effort to look and learn, and adopt nondestructive ways of visiting—no litter, no tire tracks in meadows, don’t pick the wildflowers, don’t make lots of noise, etc.

Joe Willis

Give a hoot(ie)
Re: “Spring cleaning” (Backbeat, CN&R, April 17):

I don’t like your comment about Hootie & the Blowfish. Why not go to Hootie.com and read their Foundation page? They not only were very successful and continue to record and tour, but they spend a considerable amount of their [energy] making sure that the children of South Carolina have music, sports and educational advantages.

You should be so lucky to have had their success and to know the meaning of community.

Deborah Vanderberg
Los Angeles

Woe is he
Re: “U.S. spending priorities are right” (Letters, by Chad Wozniak, CN&R, April 17):

I’ve read Chad Wozniak’s letters for some time, and he never fails to stupefy me with his unbridled hostility toward countries he doesn’t like—mainly, Iran.

Chad likes to boost the kind of imperialism that has gotten this country involved in a hopeless war in Iraq. His logic is that terrorists are out to slaughter every last one of us, that they want to eradicate our freedoms and our way of life.

I’ve observed that people in the Middle East just want us the hell out of their countries. They’re frankly tired of insatiable economies like ours exploiting their resources and leaving the common citizens to fend for the scraps.

But let’s take his idea of promoting democracy at face value. Mr. Wozniak might be surprised to learn that the U.S. has stood by and done blessed little in places like Sudan and Liberia while “genocidal regimes” snuffed out incredible numbers of people. We don’t seem to get involved in places like those … probably because they have nothing for our corporations to pump or mine.

Mr. Wozniak never proposes invading China, a place that could use a dose of democracy. If we did that, we might have to pay more at Wal-Mart—ouch!

I guess Iraq is truly where the action is. It certainly is where most of this nation’s treasury is headed. Perhaps that’s why we can’t fund programs for the poor in this country.

Edward Booth

Sacrifice for survival
Re: “Reality paycheck” (Editorial, CN&R, April 10):

The last paragraph is right on the mark. “The employee unions need to ask themselves: Do we want higher pay and raises and fewer members, or contracts that maintain high staffing levels and keep colleagues working?

The United Auto Workers faced a similar dilemma some years ago. It took a while, but the union finally realized that in order to have any sense of survival, wage and benefit concessions would be necessary.

Employee unions in Chico need to come to the same realization and make the difficult concessions in order to protect what they have and at the same time help the city through its financial crisis.

B.T. Chapman

Editor’s note: For more on the budget deliberations, please see In My Eyes.

Can’t afford not to
Re: “Whiter shade of pale” (GreenWays, by Sena Christian, CN&R, April 10):

According to the article, the current environmental movement is “white and classist.” True or not, that concept of exclusivity and separateness is a problem the environmentalists should work to change.

However the movement is being seen, climate change is much bigger than polar bears becoming endangered in the Arctic. Everyone is and will continue to be affected as resources dwindle and toxins become more and more prevalent.

“Being green” may be a trendy thing for many liberal, educated, white folks, and there are plenty of ways to spend a lot of money doing so. But, making a difference, doing what we can to help minimize our negative impact, is not a “matter of privilege” and does not “require money, resources, and leisure time.”

Remember reduce, reuse and recycle? There are many ways we can all save energy, resources and money. Everyone plays a part; everyone has the opportunity to help. This is a good thing.

Let’s do what we can no matter our income.

Lilita Mclain

New favorite food
Re: “Leaning to the left” (Chow, by C. Moore, CN&R, April 3):

I am 14 years old and my diet is very limited. At the age of 2, I was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue disease. In English, that means that I am gluten intolerant and cannot eat any foods that contain wheat, oats, barley or rye.

I never thought I would be able to eat pizza until I was on my deathbed shoving in all the foods I could never eat before. I was thrilled when I heard that Left Coast makes a gluten-free pizza, and I begged my parents to order me one right then and there!

Left Coast is very concerned for their gluten-intolerant customers. They make the batter early in the morning so that it is not contaminated by the other wheat flour used in their pizzas, and they use special utensils and pizza pans. They were so friendly when we ordered our first gluten-free pizza.

I remember taking my very first bite of the pizza—it was amazing! Who knew that bread, tomato sauce and cheese would taste so wonderful together? I didn’t stop eating until I had eaten eight pieces of pizza and felt my stomach busting with pleasure.

Left Coast is a great place to eat pizza, especially for those who have never been able to eat pizza because of their dietary restrictions. I give them five out of five stars on their terrific service, delicious cooking and great atmosphere. I am happy to say that pizza is now my favorite food!

Jessica Mosbarger