Letters for August 20, 2009

It’s a people problem

Re “Shopping for schools” (Cover story, by Robert Speer, Aug. 13):

Your article was perfect timing for our local community. As more parents shop for alternatives, public schools must seek to improve. However, we cannot really solve our educational problems without improving the quality of life outside of school. School-reform efforts that do not recognize this reality will do little to make a lasting difference.

The evidence to support this is abundant. Consider the educational innovations and special programs developed and implemented in the last 30 years—the dollars invested in them and the hours given over to them—and yet the educational level of our population has not risen. Student attitudes and behavior have deteriorated.

Locally, the CUSD has faced dramatic declines in revenue, but more concerning is the decline in parental support. When you stated in your article that public education here is reactive, not proactive, and needs to get out in front on issues, it will never be done unless you dramatically improve your vision and leadership.

The good example was at Chico Junior High many years ago when the same principal who started Marsh dramatically turned around a tough situation. That staff showed that positive change could happen in public schools. Chico High ACT then followed suit. It can be done, and that must be remembered.

Bill B. Landess

Two who are skeptical

Re “How Democrats lost $1.8 billion” (Guest comment, by Steve Thompson, Aug. 13):

Instead of offshore drilling, which is a danger to our coastline and doesn’t bring in that much revenue, why not impose a severance tax on the oil extracted and produced within California’s borders? That would more than pay for both health care and education.

We are the only state that doesn’t charge the oil companies—but maybe it’s because the legislators owe their elections and re-elections to their donations.

Suzanne Vert
Santa Rosa

Republicans like Steve Thompson have rational ideas for closing the state’s budget gap without increasing taxes (and even decreasing them for the wealthiest so that those wealthy people can create a wealth of great jobs, increasing the state’s overall wealth), but people don’t seem to take these concepts of fiscal genius seriously.

For example, the (nearly too perfect) solution of drilling for oil off the Santa Barbara coast, generating $1.8 billion over the next 14 years, revenue that will kick ass and hogtie our current $42 billion deficit—hey, git’er dun!

Take the gloves off all the meaningless regulation and let the private markets and financial institutions work their magic, not only with the state budget deficit, but also with your health care, your retirement, and your parents’ Social Security. Still doubtful? I know a guy over at AIG; let me connect you.

Dave Sanford

A ‘boring’ night in the life

Re “A night in the life” (Goin’ Chico 2009, by Katie Booth):

To any new students who read Katie Booth’s article on her routine of getting drunk and smoking three nights a week: If you came away thinking this is cool, adult, or to be emulated, please reconsider. It’s alcoholic behavior, toxic for the body, and can lead to STDs and DUIs. It’s boring and unimaginative in terms of creative things to do in Chico. You can do better.

My sympathies to Katie and her graduating friends who got in a rut of beer pong and beer guzzling and thought they toed a fine line between control and complete mayhem, especially if she figured those were the best years of her life. Check out the CSUC Campus Alcohol and Education Center (www.csuchico.edu/cadec/).

Gayle Kimball

Herger should do homework

Re “Stretching the truth” (From this Corner, by Robert Speer, Aug. 13):

I am a nurse practitioner and have worked in the United States for 25 years. Although a naturalized citizen, I was brought up, trained and worked as a health-care professional in England for many years before emigrating. I have also worked as a nurse in France.

Having read the letter Rep. Wally Herger recently mailed to his constituents, “The Reality of Government-Run Health Care,” I need to point out that some of his comments concerning the British “single-payer” system are incorrect. The National Health Service has been a godsend to the British since its introduction in 1947. “Government bureaucrats” do not deny care for life-threatening conditions, nor do they dictate to doctors how they can or cannot treat their patients.

Actually, it is here in the U.S. (unlike in any other industrialized nation) that care is frequently denied by non-medical bureaucrats employed by insurance companies. One of the main frustrations of U.S. doctors and other health-care providers is the power and control these insurance companies have in medical decisions that, to quote Mr. Herger, “should be made solely by patients and their doctors.”

Of course, approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population is denied health care altogether, other than last-ditch care in emergency rooms, simply because they have no insurance.

Mr. Herger, I respectfully suggest that you do a little more homework before making sweeping and incorrect statements regarding “government-run” and “single-payer” health-care systems in other countries.

Lea McCleary

More on the market

Re “Apples and oranges” (Newslines, by Melissa Daugherty, Aug. 13):

I’ve been a farmers’-market-goer for 40 years. Granted, they were fewer and farther between back in the 1970s and ’80s, but they were there, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Marin County. And I have been a farmer supporter for as many years, visiting farms to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible. I love farm-fresh food!

When Chico started the farmers’ market here, I was thrilled, and I love that it has grown and many more farmers are bringing their beautiful bounty to us. I thank them for their hard work.

In the past I have also been a craft vendor at hundreds of craft fairs up and down the Northern California region. It’s not easy work, and sometimes the payoff isn’t as good as it could be, but it is an honorable way to make a living.

But—please don’t mix my farmers’ market with crafts. I go to the farmers’ market for food. Period.

If the craft people at the market were to have their own day to bring folks downtown, then there might be a lot more room for the farmers. And all this bickering might stop.

Rosemary Febbo

Editor’s note: Rosemary Febbo hosts Mama Rose’s Kitchen on KZFR 90.1FM.

CNR editorial: “…a viral e-mail message that stated, incorrectly, that ‘Some council members are proposing to move our beloved, successful Saturday Farmer’s [sic] Market…”

CNR news story: “By meeting’s end, Councilman Andy Holcombe had directed city staff to investigate the feasibility of relocating the year-round event to the City Hall lot between East Fourth and Fifth streets.”

Would the real CNR please stand up?

(I do appreciate Councilmember Holcombe’s subsequent conciliatory comments.)

Karl Ory

Editor’s note: Mr. Ory is a former mayor of Chico.

No fingerlings sucked

Re “State shuts off suction pumps” (Downstroke, Aug. 13):

You state that suction dredges suck up fish roe and fingerlings with the gravel and river rock. This is false. Dredgers could only get a permit from Fish and Game during the months well after the fish roe have hatched in the river or stream that they are dredging in. In the 20-plus years I have dredged, I never sucked up a live fingerling; they stay away from anything that moves.

Nick Oman
Tobin, CA