Letters for August 1, 2013

Clarifying vets services

Re “VA ineptitude no surprise” (Letters, by Mike Peters, July 25):

Butte County Veterans Service Office is a different entity than the Veterans Administration (VA), and BCVSO cannot guarantee that veterans applying for benefits through the VA will be determined to be eligible for the assistance they request, nor can we assure that they receive benefits in a timely fashion.

What the BCVSO does is assist veterans in submitting accurate and complete claims, making it more likely for their claim to be successful and awarded as rapidly as possible. Recently, we introduced the Veterans ID card program for Butte County Veterans; this provides a photo ID that certifies the honorable service of the veteran for discounts by local vendors.

While we cannot address the particulars of Joe Grossman’s story, we can say that, in addition to our work with VA benefits, we always respond to phone calls from veterans, follow up with veterans who contact us, refer veterans to other organizations that provide services needed by veterans, collaborate with other agencies in efforts to better meet the needs of veterans, and advocate for the needs of individual veterans and veterans in general. Our office is at 2445 Carmichael Drive in Chico; phone number is (530) 891-2759. The Veterans Service Office can also be contacted at vso@buttecounty.net.

Hannah Williamson
Butte County Veterans Service Officer

Outpatient clinic more expensive

Re “Less paperwork, more care” (Healthlines, by Evan Tuchinsky, July 18):

As one who has had personal experience with this new rip-off, I think something must be said. The Feather River Hospital-based outpatient clinics are taking advantage of some quirk in the Medicare billing practices to charge about twice what two of our local doctors charge for a patient visit. When I called the billing department to question this, I was told the separate charge was for something like administrative services.

Luckily we have insurance and Medicare, so the end result is a $10 or $20 difference in what we pay out of pocket. I pity the patients who don’t have insurance. Still, there has to be some reason Feather River is showing a $150-plus charge for that same, or lesser, service that our heart specialist is charging $77 for. Could it be in the write-offs?

Rich Meyers

Protect our park

Bidwell Park in our new era of Civic Austerity: fire the maintenance people, lock the toilets, turn around and contract with a private porta-potty company. Lay off the park crew and pay a commercial tree service.

Meanwhile, spotted in Lower Park this morning: the usual bottles and cans; a toilet-paper-bedecked alfresco latrine 10 feet from the creek; another squat-spot in the walnut orchard; and, happily, a gorgeous gray fox in a spectacular woodland—a reminder that maintaining the beauty of Bidwell Park is quality-of-life civic-boosterism 101.

We’re turning our most attractive amenity into an attractive nuisance. One of the poorest cities in the nation, Newark, N.J., is spending millions on a project to beautify its riverfront, hoping to attract economic development. We’ve already got what other cities can only dream about. Let’s not squander it. Tell that to our new six-figure economic-development leader.

Alicia Springer Thomas

Spare us your pity party

Re “Injustice served” (Letters, by Jerry Harris, July 18):

Response to Jerry Harris: While it is true there is racism in Chico, I feel your problems do not stem from racism, but from your inability to get along well with others.

It’s unfortunate you chose to drag Anthony Peyton Porter into your negative fantasy. He is a wonderful human being who is writing from the heart regarding his grieving process, and through him many others are coming to terms with their own losses as well.

It is also unfortunate that you took the bigger issue of the Trayvon Martin case and made it into a pity party for yourself. It is not all about you. I have been reading your letters for many years now, and this is an all-time low, even for you.

Lee Dent III

Consider universal care

On July 30, the Medicare program marked its 48th birthday.

Medicare is the national single-payer health-insurance plan that covers the elderly and disabled. It was enacted to ensure financial stability as people aged.

Today, Medicare guarantees health care to more than 50 million Americans. A study from the journal Health Affairs found that those enrolled in Medicare had fewer problems obtaining affordable medical care and higher satisfaction scores than those in private plans. They were also less likely to file bankruptcy due to medical expenses.

Overall, Medicare patients report greater satisfaction and security than those enrolled in private plans. A universal Medicare-for-all plan could guarantee these benefits to everyone. Learn more at www.pnhp.org.

Aldebra Schroll

City manager sing-a-long

(Sung to the tune of “That’s Amore”)

When the moon hits your eye

Like a big piece of pie …


When your city’s in the red

And you can’t get ahead …


When the parks all get closed

If they’ll open no one knows …


When you’re taxed to the max

And the workers get the ax …


When the assets all get sold

And Chico’s out of gold …


When the jobs all get cut

You’ll find one that is not …


Please feel free to add a verse

It won’t even hurt your purse…

That’s amore

Linda Hathorn

An unbelievable gaffe

I have flown Asiana Airlines numerous times. Specifically, once a month from September 1994 to December 1998. The service was always excellent, the departure and landing times were always accurate. I flew the Saturday “red eye” home many times.

I am bemused to learn that KTVU Channel 2 (my hometown TV station as I was growing up) actually made the following gaffe listing the names of the flight crew for Asiana flight 214 as Captains Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Low, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow.

First of all, how can the news anchor of a reputable local station get on the air and cite these names with a straight face without any idea of what she (Cleory I.M. Kluless) is talking about?

None of the above captains’ surnames are Korean (in fact, I believe only Ho is a proper family name). The intern at the NTSB who released the flight-crew names to the media must be getting a lot of guffaws as at least one major media organization fell for it. Lesson learned? Make sure you know what you are talking about before getting in front of a news camera (Fox News and Rush Limbaugh will disagree, but oh well).

Mike Wiedeman