Letters for August 30, 2001

Compassionate conservative
I found the E-R’s August 23 article on the Esplanade House expansion [which noted that it was surprising that Councilmember Steve Bertagna, a conservative, supported the expansion] both perplexing and divisive. Why must conservatives always vote against liberals when the common good of the community is the theme?

From the eyes of this conservative and co-founder of the Esplanade House, I viewed the vote by Councilman Bertagna as a demonstration of his willingness to carefully evaluate all the information on a project in an objective manner, listen to the expert opinions of the city staff, and make his own decision based on what he feels is right for the whole community. We need more politicians like Steve who are willing to assess tough issues from all sides and come to a decision based on the common good of the community they serve rather than simply maintain the ideological divide, as the E-R seems to suggest. This is what George W. means by compassionate conservatism, and Steve Bertagna is a conservative councilmember willing to demonstrate this.

On behalf of all the poor and homeless women and children in this community, and on behalf of the Esplanade House Children’s Fund, we thank you, Steve Bertagna, and all other councilmembers who voted your confidence in us to continue our voluntary service to this community. We will continue to be good neighbors and we will not let you down.

Gary A. Incaudo
Esplanade House Children’s Fund

Flak survivor
As an Esplanade House board member, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who supported us during the difficult process of getting our expansion plans approved. Many people wrote letters of support, made phone calls, came to meetings or defended us when an angry neighbor knocked on their door. Some have sent donations as a gesture of support.

Perhaps our board was naive, but we were unprepared for and shocked by the reaction from north Chico residents, as well as some of the actions of certain city councilmembers. It was a long two months for us, and especially for Coleen Jarvis, who was the lone councilmember who stood by us from the very beginning and took more than her fair share of the flak.

Let’s hope we can move on from here in a positive way; there is so much good work to be done.

Terri Dowd

City should take trash
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, tends to be hardest on the small company and eventually leads to monopolization. The sanitation workers may suffer lower wages, and Chicoans 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 companies. This would lower garbage rates, raise wages, decrease pollution and save our city streets.

John Geiger

Time for reform
The public is fed up with paid-for politics and politicians.

The current scenario in the Butte County Board of Supervisors is a textbook example of what we citizens distrust. Companies aren’t citizens and donate without our advice and consent.

Politicians from the smallest offices to the president of the U.S. are guilty.

The skit is embarrassing. Special interests want favorable treatment and give bribes to candidates. The candidate says this never affects the way he thinks or votes. The donor denies “purchasing access.” It is always similar. We know better!

Mr. “Rich” bought a pardon from President Clinton, didn’t he? And isn’t his surname appropriate? Two thousand dollars can buy half of a county’s trash customers, correct, Mr. Yamaguchi? So obvious! The “return to fairness plan” is reminiscent of “compassionate conservatism": voters and small businesses denied; big donors favored.

San Francisco, Santa Monica, Claremont, Pasadena and Vista have all passed campaign reforms. These ordinances restrict elected officials from accepting campaign donations, gifts, or jobs from anyone with a major municipal contract that requires a City Council person’s vote. State law prohibits public officials from voting on matters involving former contributors that have donated $250 to their campaign within the past year. For more info: admin@consumerwatchdog.org.

Lloyd M. Downs

Support care providers
Thank you for David Glenn’s article [“On the home front,” Aug. 16]. I must, however, point out to Mr. Glenn and his editor that, as set out in guidelines from the President’s Commission on the Employment of People with Disabilities, the way to refer to a person who uses a wheelchair is precisely that, “a person who uses a wheelchair.”

The guidelines, promulgated a number of years ago, have been widely distributed to the media to enable more accurate characterization of people with disabilities. I hope the News & Review will observe them with greater care in the future.

In-home care, by its nature, hampers the ability of many who provide it to advocate for themselves individually and, until recently, collectively. The hours are long, workers are largely isolated from one another, subsistence wages leave care-providers with little or no margin of energy or will with which to engage in political action. The recipients of care are likewise seldom able to speak effectively to policy makers and administrators. They are the poor and disabled, the old and the young, the “most vulnerable” amongst us.

It will take the concern and action of many in the population who are not currently engaged either as providers or as recipients of in-home care to make change possible. Contact the Butte County Board of Supervisors and urge them to act promptly and decisively to authorize the public authority for the approximately 2,000 individual providers of in-home supportive services.

Malama MacNeil

Help for local authors
This is a follow-up to John Young’s review of my chapbook [“Saying Goodbye to Babylon,” Shelflife, June 28]. The larger context the review looked at was the dismal outlook for Chico authors to place their books locally following the close of Tower Books.

The good news is that the new BMU bookstore has a section for local authors (not just poets), and general book supervisor Karen Lynn Sexton is enthusiastic in support of Chico writers. She took multiple copies of two books of mine and urges me to make known her welcoming attitude.

It’s a pleasure.

Sanford Dorbin

Field trip invitation
Teachers and schools are constantly searching for educational field trip opportunities for their students to enjoy and learn from. For this reason, Chico Performances offers several solutions. This season, artists from all over the world, such as Red Grammer, Riders in the Sky and the Peking Acrobats, will perform 29 field trips of music, dance and theater.

This is an opportunity we want to offer every student in and around the North Valley. Our field trips are not only interactive and exciting, but also very inexpensive. For just $3 per seat, students, teachers, parents and chaperones can enjoy live performance! Schools and teachers who are interested, please contact the University Box Office at 898-6333.

Daran Marx Finney
Chico Performances
California State University, Chico