Letters for August 16, 2001

Garbage vote stinks
So the City Council, in its great wisdom, has voted to deregulate the garbage companies in Chico. The “free market at any cost” majority on the council has forgotten some of the basic truths of unregulated capitalism. An unregulated market may not lead to decreased prices. Also, it tends to be hardest on the small company and eventually leads to monopolization. The sanitation workers may suffer lower wages, and the citizens of Chico will suffer increased pollution and pavement problems.

Since a garbage company is basically a utility with fixed costs, it is ridiculous to think that adding more companies will lower garbage rates in the long run. A large company that can afford to lose money in the Chico market will undercut the rest and drive them out of business. Then they can raise their rates sky high. In the meantime the smaller businesses will have to cut wages to try to compete. The rest of us will have to suffer dozens of giant squealing, smoke-belching trucks on our increasingly pot-holed streets.

The City Council should do what many other cities have done, run their own municipal garbage company. This would lower garbage rates, raise wages, decrease pollution and save our city streets.

John Geiger

Hypothetical teachers’ raise
The hypothetical CEO of a large corporation realized that over the past few years, due to financial constraints, employees had not been adequately compensated for their efforts. Income was up this year, and in order to maintain the quality of employees, reward excellent service as well as attract new talent, a clear message was sent to the management teams scattered throughout the state: Make up for the sacrifices employees had made over the years by providing them with a sizable raise.

Funds were allocated and disbursed among the local businesses. All over the state, employees were granted large raises. The employees felt valued and realized that past sacrifices were not made in vain.

However, in one district management determined funds should be spent in other ways. A paltry bonus was offered to the employees combined with demands for additional time and effort. The employees felt frustrated, disrespected and undervalued. Assessment tools used by the corporation clearly indicated that they did a superior job. Conflict ensued, and all parties involved wasted valuable time and energy in negative ways. For years afterward, the feelings continued.

This hypothetical situation mirrors that of the one currently ongoing between Chico Unified School District and the teachers. The governor realized that teachers had not received cost-of-living adjustments for many years due to the state’s financial situation. Funds were given to school districts to compensate teachers fairly. Why does the district ignore the purpose of those funds and disrespect the work of its teachers?

Linda Elliott
Library Media Teacher, PVHS

Mayberry’s no Oroville
The story “Empty Promise” [July 12], which included District Attorney Mike Ramsey’s impression of Oroville in the 1950s, brought back fond memories of the role that the Feather River played in the life of the Oroville community during that decade. However, unlike Mr. Ramsey’s recollection, the Oroville that I remember from those days had essentially little or nothing in common with the Mayberry, N.C., portrayed on TV’s The Andy Griffith Show.

Oroville, from my perspective, was then a unique, thriving, racially diverse community that was full of quality activity and opportunity. Whereas the Mayberry of TV fame is an unexceptional, bucolic and sleepy little backwater community made up exclusively of white people and a place where still-water fishing is considered the height of excitement.

It was truly a privilege to have lived in and experienced Oroville and the surrounding area before the waters of “Lake Oroville” inundated some of the most beautiful country in God’s creation and threw Oroville into an economic slump from which it is still trying to recover.

Dick Bjork

Yahoo Hauling
With the quality of life eroding in favor of urban sprawl such as the 20th Street mess requiring streets through the Toys R Us and Wal-Mart parking lot, why in the name of free enterprise did the City Council vote to let any yahoo with a garbage truck conduct business here in town so a few tightwads could save a few bucks?

I could imagine the local day workers stepping out of the Butte County Jail cruise our neighborhoods getting an eyeful of everybody’s possessions on their trash routes.

Thanks, City Council. Oh, by the way, Steve Bertagna, I have a slogan for your supervisorial campaign. I stole it from Simon Bar Sinister of Underdog fame: “I want money and power!”

Guy B. Morey

Financial advice
The CSUD Board of Trustees’ refusal to consider reasonable increases to Chico teacher salaries withholds public money at the expense of public good. The state allocated a 10.9 percent increase to the district to make up for years of under-funding. The district is not investing the money in the people on the front lines of educating our children. Teachers’ salaries are falling behind, while the cost of living in Chico continues to rise.

Teachers are a valuable commodity and are increasingly in short supply in California. As a financial-aid adviser at CSU, Chico, I help administer numerous state aid programs aimed at attracting capable students to the teaching profession. How many CSUC students observing the way this district is treating its teachers will decide to pursue professions with better pay and more respect? If the district continues to stonewall negotiations, how many of Chico’s excellent teachers will decide to find districts where the work they do is valued?

I am new to the Chico area, and my children are enrolled to start school at Forest Ranch Elementary Aug. 20. I am eager for them to begin school, but not at the expense of what is right. The Board of Trustees needs to make a good-faith effort to compensate teachers fairly.

Christine Connerly
Forest Ranch

Pizza hazard
I was in Pizza Face when a woman fell into the trap door. I was there with my young son and was watching him like a hawk because the door to the basement was open with no barrier when we entered. I heard one employee say to the other, “You can’t leave that open when there are customers in here.” The other replied, “But I’m not finished getting what I need from the basement.”

The hole in the floor remained open for the next 15 minutes without either employee using the stairs to the basement. The woman who fell purchased a slice of pizza and a soda and walked to the end of the counter where the cheese and hot peppers were located. As she sprinkled the cheese she took half a step back and disappeared right in front of my eyes.

I believe it is appropriate for your paper to print this type of information. Area residents deserve to know when local businesses have such a blatant disregard for their customers that they have an unmarked hazardous situation in place often enough that not one, but at least three people have fallen through. For Mr. Pico to say that they deserved it was extremely nasty ["Face Reality,” Letters, Aug. 2].

Barbara Segal