Letters for April 4, 2019

Pensions over the public

Re “The problem is pensions” (Letters, by Dave Howell) and “Mark of austerity” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, March 28):

Bidwell Park has suffered deferred maintenance since massive layoffs of park staffers over the last six years. The park division was absorbed into Public Works. Like Dave Howell said, the problem is “the unsustainable cost of government employee compensation.” I’ll add, top-heavy management. Twelve management positions overseeing the park cost over $1 million in total compensation. The park division has only five “maintenance workers,” amounting to less than $300,000 in total compensation. While staff defers maintenance in the park, they continue to pay almost $20 million a year toward their pensions, about $8 million of that toward the pension deficit.

At the April 2 City Council meeting, staff recommends renewal of the CalPERS agreement, requiring employees to pay only 11 percent of the cost of their pensions. As long as the council and staff continue to place the pensions ahead of the public, infrastructure will continue to be shortchanged, including Bidwell Park.

Juanita Sumner


Academic hot air

Re “Hot flash” (Greenways, by Evan Tuchinsky); “Savor the flap” (Chow, by Jason Cassidy); “Poetry, Stonewall art and the airport choir” (Arts DEVO, by Jason Cassidy); and “Mark of austerity” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, March 28):

After reading the customary environmental “tipping point” musings of local academics—(enviably) able to pay their mortgages by saying silly things about peddling around under the leafy canopy of Dear Old Chico—I flip a few more pages and see that beef (flap steak?) is rhapsodized in “melt in your mouth” language. Gosh, I thought beef was the most environmentally objectionable food product on the planet.

Next, we have a flock of high-school-age songbirds, burning barrels of oil winging to the Emerald Isle for a choir gig. Isn’t that the first thing we’d teach our young ’uns not to do, if all this talk of environmental mayhem was more than so much methane escaping the trousers of affluent liberals?

And speaking of the leafy canopy, it should be noted that while the loss of 27 oaks is being rightfully scrutinized, all of our local parks and waterways are being defoliated at ground level; this being yet another campaign in the war on the homeless. We live in a country where homeless men are routinely incarcerated and coerced into providing slave labor. In some cases, clearing the same parkland that might provide minimal refuge when, once again, they are dumped onto our streets.

Patrick Newman


PID, public need help

Re “Long road ahead” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, March 28):

Paradise Irrigation District indicated that its system has benzene contamination, so we have to assume that if the water was turned on to the home, that water infrastructure may be contaminated. Dr. Andrew Whelton indicates that capturing benzene molecules is difficult. He advises specific protocols for accurate testing: allowing the water to fallow for 72 hours and testing two to three locations with one being the water heater.

State Regional Water Quality [Control] indicated to me that they had conducted 20 tests, and none were positive. These tests are expensive, and we have not advised our clients to conduct them. I asked people to please let me know if they had gotten a benzene detect and are willing to share these results. This is important for us to track. Whelton affirmed that he has been contacted by those with contamination issues.

In-home testing is important for the community. The cost of this testing should not be on the citizens. PID is not responsible for this contamination. The district should not be responsible for the cost and manpower needed to do this testing. This testing needs to be done immediately, frequently and the results need to be as transparent as confidentiality laws will allow.

Kristin Cooper


Editor’s note: The author, who was quoted in the aforementioned story, is a co-owner of North State Water Treatment.

Of pills and robbers

Re “Crime of the times” (Healthlines, by Evan Tuchinsky, March 28):

The robberies of pharmacies in Butte County, in which thieves jump over the counters to grab medicines, are another reason for the need for improved Medicare for All that calls for doctors to talk with patients about proper diet and cutting down on sugars, and also exercise. This is also a reason why such a plan must cover and strongly encourage, whenever possible, alternative care such as chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy and supplements, including CBD oil and medicinal marijuana.

If these terrible drugs would as much as possible be strongly discouraged—and that includes benzodiazepines like Klonopin and sleeping pills, in addition to opioids—there wouldn’t be the need for pharmacies to have so many of those drugs in their stores. These drugs simply make people sicker and even cause death.

Walter Ballin


Editor’s note: For more on Medicare for All, see this week’s guest comment on page 4.

‘Plethora of evidence’

Re “‘No collusion’—now what?” (Editorial, March 28):

George Mason and many other Founding Fathers argued convincingly of the need to impeach and expel presidents abusing their office and striving for despotism. We did not need then nor do we need now support derived from a report. We already have a plethora of evidence of Trump’s callous, damning disregard for law, civility and proper use of powers.

It matters less that we are assured of his ultimate conviction than our insisting that representatives honor their sworn obligations to at least chastise by way of impeachment our scoundrel-as-president. Impeachment is itself damning. To not impeach him is to allow unchecked abuse of powers by a conspicuously inept, boorish pretender.

What we have thus far suffered is a restrained Trump. Were he elected to a second term, we may well suffer an even more abusive presidency. Impeachment efforts would at minimum signal intolerance of what is for Trump business as usual. It would also indicate to other nations our unwillingness to tolerate so spoiled a president. Conducting formal impeachment proceedings would be a first step in attempting to heal our damaged democracy.

William Todd-Mancillas


Fire friends revisited

Re “Frank and Molly” (Guest comment, by Ron Angle, March 7):

Recently, in the CN&R commentary, I wrote of my new friends who were trying to get by in the post-Camp Fire era. Molly, a mature and family-oriented formerly stray black and white cat, is doing very well. Frank, an older Paradise renter who lost his residence in the fire, is not doing so well. He is still living in his car. Folks in his position—elderly and a person of color—do not have the social service workers trampling over their feet trying to help. Frank needed some small propane bottles for cooking and heating. As it happens, I had eight bottles I no longer needed.

Which brought this thought to me: What do you have in your garage that you no longer need? Why not have a periodic large community “garage sale” open to those still struggling after the Camp Fire? Let’s give them a personal hand.

Ron Angle


Another view of Israel

Time to look up some history, then let’s take the current affairs in Israel. Its citizens (both Arabs and Jews) have rockets fired at them continually from the Gaza Strip. Some land, some don’t. When the Israelis hit back, they’re criticized for hitting harder. Who is in the right?

No matter your opinion about how Israel was formed in 1948, we must deal with today’s events. Arabs live in Israel as well as Jews. Arabs are able to vote in free elections. Israel gave up the Gaza Strip in a peace deal voted on by Israel’s government. The Gaza Strip has given Hamas (a terrorist organization) a place from which to fire the aforementioned rockets.

Will there ever be peace as long as Israel is surrounded on all sides by terrorists, who have vowed to drive them into the sea? What’s the answer?

For me, it’s for the U.S. to stand strong against Israel’s enemies, to speak out against those who side with Hamas (who use children to shield themselves as they try to kill Israelis).

We have a president who sides with Israel. We must stand up to bullies who attack democracies throughout the world.

Loretta Ann Torres


‘Just wondering’

Since the Hollywood elite are so hell-bent on supporting the Democratic Party platform, which includes socialism, would they be against the government issuing a directive capping salaries for onscreen talent as China recently did?

Just wondering.

John Blenkush

Forest Ranch

Trump’s new nickname

Bluto Trump: That lying 4-F draft-dodger in the White House delights in giving everybody who does not agree with him a nasty nickname, like pencil neck, Hiawatha, stupid, etc. I can’t believe that someone has not come up with the perfect name for him, and that is Bluto, the fat, overbearing, obnoxious bully in the Popeye comic strip. This fits him to a T.

Don Rogers