Letters for August 30, 2012

Making up is hard to do

Re “Romney-Ryan’s con game” (Editorial, Aug. 23):

Unfortunately the statement in the Aug. 23 editorial that hospitals and other providers can make up reductions in Medicare/insurer payments (estimated at 30 percent) by having more insured patients is not reality.

Health-care providers have managed a 20 percent to 30 percent cut in payment rates over the past 10 years by becoming more efficient, cutting costs, adopting technology. Most are working flat out seeing Medicare and insured patients; the uninsured and Medi-Cal patients go to subsidized clinics that are paid 20 percent more than private providers already.

There is little capacity in Chico for physicians to see more patients. We have just lost two primary-care physicians from the community who are not being replaced. With low payment rates, high costs and self-employed status, it is very hard to recruit to the community.

A 30 percent cut in payment rates without allowing providers to balance-bill the lost revenue would lead to a serious physician shortage and question the viability of our hospital and medical groups. To really save health-care costs we need tort reform, cheaper medical education, less costly regulations and an acceptance of evidence-based medicine.

Roy L. Bishop MD

Mercury in the mouth

Re “Look at the evidence” (Letters, by Michael Jones DDS, Aug 23):

Silver fillings have no silver; they are 50 percent mercury, the second-most-toxic substance on earth, plus filler. You should run, not walk from any dentist who recommends placement of this deadly poison in your teeth two inches from your brain, where it probably causes Alzheimer’s and cancer.

A much better alternative to the mercury amalgams is composite resin fillings, which do not endanger your health. Fluoride is a deadly chemical with zero health benefits. Its main use, besides a toxic additive for toothpaste and water, is rat poison. The dentists complete their trifecta of poisons with X-rays when they are not really needed, which probably contributes to cancer.

Be proactive in your health care and check out anything your dentist or doctor says on the Internet or at the library.

Al McKnight

I am a retired certified dental technician. Silver mercury fillings are highly toxic. Mercury in fish is banned from our markets. Waste Management classifies it as toxic waste and will not allow it in its regular landfills.

Some dentists still use it to fill cavities just inches from the brain. The silver mercury mix leaches into the blood stream and over time turns dark and ugly in the mouth.

I’m surprised in these times when “thinking green” is popular that it’s still legal in California. There are many materials, light-cured acrylics, castable porcelains—that restore teeth back to their natural beauty. I believe silver-mercury fillings are dangerous, especially in children. I had all my silver-mercury fillings removed, and I feel much better.

John T. Cooney

Shining a light on teaching

Re “Teachers and their bosses” (Guest Comment, by Jaime O’Neill, Aug. 23):

O’Neill mentions the “pay and perks” gap, presumably between full-time teachers and administrators. He doesn’t mention the real second-class citizens at Butte, the part-timers.

Part-time instructors have little hope of ever getting hired full time. Part-timers get paid just for the hours they teach, and are limited to nine hours a week. That’s poverty level for any size family. They get no money for correcting papers or class prep, which often takes a good two hours more for every hour spent teaching.

Part-timers get no medical benefits, so they are a cheap hire. Part-time teaching is better than no job at all—but that’s about it.

O’Neill speaks from a position of privilege about more-privileged administrators. OK, but as an unemployed former part-timer, I have no sympathy.

Ed Schilling

I have always wondered why an overwhelming number of administrators at Butte College have never taught in a real classroom or did so for only a short time. I believe it is the Peter Principle at work, big time.

Administrators spend weeks going to conferences listening to other administrators and consultants (their friends) discuss the new “make work” plans like TIM and master plans for the thousands of grand plans that end up in the rotating file. All this to justify their existence.

Let the teachers direct the colleges and have funding to attend at least one conference to update their knowledge!

Mary Winslow

As an elementary teacher in San Diego, our biggest hurdle for success was not our students, budget or lack of computers. Repeatedly, it was because of the poor administration and their total lack of ability to do anything but send out memos from others who pushed the next panacea on the staff. Most of us shook our heads how so many who either never taught or were poor when they did would be in positions of influence for our district.

Look around at most schools, regardless of their level. The most creative minds are not the ones hired as administrators. Unfortunately, they’re the ones who won’t question, won’t rock the boat, and therefore the results are predictable.

Butte and Chico State professors are discouraged, and Chico Unified has a legendary reputation for its dysfunctional administration. For education to improve, it will require more people like O’Neill to say what most teachers are thinking but are reluctant to say.

David Chan

McEtchin’s the man

Re “Paradise man will run” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, Aug. 23):

Mr. McEtchin’s work is highly respected by his fellow outsider artists. He’s the real deal.

He’s also right about the sculpture garden idea and how it would benefit the area’s economic development. The Paradise Town Council could use someone with his imagination. Or better yet, give him the $35K to create his sculpture garden on public property and invite other local talent to show their work as well.

Gregg Payne
Prescott, Ariz.

Keep on truckin’ those fish

Re “Salmon return, but not for good?” (Earthwatch, Aug. 23):

During the recent collapse of our Sacramento salmon populations, three studies in three consecutive years (two by the Coleman Hatchery folks and one by DFG in conjunction with DWR) proved that our salmon do not survive their trek down the river anymore. In all these studies, between 92 percent and 100 percent of the test salmon released upriver died before even making it to the Golden Gate.

Yes, maybe we need to stop trucking our fish, but not now! Different studies by the National Academy of Sciences and others also point out that unless we drastically reduce the water we export to the south (most of it to growers in the San Joaquin Valley), we will lose our salmon populations completely.

If DFG halts the trucking this fall, they will do nothing but hasten the extinction of our once proud salmon runs. Halting the trucking of our salmon before fixing the things that kill them on their way down the stream is nothing short of idiocy. Looking at the implications, it’s really no wonder why people are so frustrated with government overall.

Mike Hudson
President, Small Boat Commercial Salmon Fishermen’s Association


Sneaking one by us

Have you heard about SB 1018? Have you heard the part of it that allowed the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to join two Canadian provinces to form a private corporation in Delaware for the purpose of buying and selling carbon credits, and how the Legislature exempted it from the Bagley/Keene Act.

That means they don’t have to tell us anything about what they’re doing. This bit of legislation, the implementation of “cap and trade,” was a trailer bill to the budget bill. To avoid having to get a two-thirds majority to pass a bill, all the Democrats in Sacramento have to do is assign it $1,000 and they can attach it to the budget bill, which, as you know, they need only a simple majority to pass.

Here we have a public agency, made up of unelected people, joining up with two foreign provinces to form a private corporation to buy and sell carbon credits. And the public has no right to know anything about it.

This bit of legislation will cost California businesses and consumers billions of dollars a year. Do you think we’ll see even more businesses leaving California? Will all of our California-educated college graduates be leaving the state with them?

Ralph Whitcher

No respect for democracy

Re “Another bad pot plan” (Editorial, Aug. 23):

The recent actions of three Butte County supervisors show their complete lack of respect for our democratic process. By voting to move ahead with an ordinance that bans all outdoor medical marijuana only months after voters rejected Measure A, they are spitting in the eyes of the very same voters who elected them to office.

The previous ordinance failed in every city and supervisor district in Butte County; it even failed to pass in the unincorporated areas. After claiming to be “fiscally conservative” and in support of “smaller government,” the supervisors are now taking us down the rat hole of government bureaucracy, excessive regulation and unnecessary spending.

The supervisors took an oath to uphold the California Constitution, which prohibits introducing any similar legislation for one year after voters have rejected it via referendum. Is it that they do not think the voters are intelligent enough to make good decisions? Or perhaps they do not understand the law and are too caught up in their extreme dislike of the cannabis plant to think clearly. Either way, their recent actions will leave behind a legacy of lawsuits and a mountain of debt for Butte County, all in the name of the never-ending war on marijuana.

Jessica Allen and Kelly Meagher

Quit the cursing!

Can we do anything to control the very real violence of outbursts in foul language in central downtown?

As observed—unprovoked violent outbursts (plural) in foul language by a stall employee at the farmers’ market; a smoking customer outside a caf” who erupted in foul language at a request for a cigarette from someone down and out; and an unsavory customer of another caf” who exploded in foul language when someone suggested he not drop his lighted cigarette butt on the sidewalk.

Surely such behaviors are totally unacceptable, and especially on a relaxing Saturday morning downtown!

Brian L’Anson

Terrorists creating terrorists

I define terrorism as actions taken that create a state of terror in the general public.

Drone bombings in countries of the Middle East have created a state of terror in the general public in these countries. The bombings thus constitute terrorism.

We have become terrorists creating more terrorists.

Norm Dillinger

Winnemem have given enough

Re “Ghost tribe” (Cover story, by Marc Dadigan, Aug. 2):

The Winnemem Wintu will lose more than 50 additional sacred sites due to the Shasta Dam. They lost hundreds of sacred sites, a way of life and the McCloud River, which had been their home for thousands of years. They were displaced by that dam.

Thanks to the Elders, they didn’t lose their religion, culture and all of their language. The sacred sites that are left on the river are utilized by this tribe to this very day. Now they want to raise the dam. When is enough, enough?

The Winnemem cannot afford to lose any more for the greater good, when they have already paid a very costly price with “no compensation.” The government promised to remove all of their ancestors’ burials, give them like-land to live on and compensate them for infrastructure. They did move some burials, but the rest was not “honored,” like most of the treaties between Whites and Indians. That legal document was not worth the paper it was written on.

The honorable thing to do would be to carry through with the first order of business with the tribe, whose land they stole. If not, then the Winnemem Wintu Tribe still owns that land.

Helene Sisk

The lesser evil is still evil

It’s becoming quite clear that the GOP wants to see President Obama re-elected. The sheer audacity of the RNC to prop up a candidate similar to the current occupant of the White House will not soon be forgotten.

Obama and Romney agree on government health care, continuation of endless wars, love the Federal Reserve, big bank bailouts, extension of The Patriot Act, need for the National Defense Authorization Act, assassination of American citizens, persecution of whistleblowers, suspension of habeas corpus, and both have a proven record of voting against the Constitution.

We have no choice this election, only a continuation of more of the same failed policies. I have often been reminded that I should vote for the lesser of two evils, but my response remains that a vote for the lesser of two evils is still evil. I refuse to vote for the continuation of recycled evil, courtesy of both parties.

It is time to erase the letter after the name and inspect the individual without interference of political-party nonsense. If another four years of President Obama scares you and your solution is to elect Mitt Romney in his place, then you are part of the problem. Both parties are hell bent on continuing more of the same failed policies and furthering us deeper into debt enslavement. It is time to stop voting in fear and vote instead on principle. As Voltaire once said many centuries ago, “It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”

Nelissa Goedhart

Let’s hear it for Jim’s

On July 21st, my beloved 1988 Toyota pickup was stolen from in front of my house. Left behind were some personal documents giving me a clue to who the thief was. After the police came and filed a police report, I was extremely agitated because they had no interest in pursuing the person who had dropped personal items while stealing my car.

A broke college student working two part-time jobs to keep my head afloat, I was lost and angry because my only mode of getting to and from jobs was stolen from me.

Three weeks later, I got the much anticipated call that my truck had been recovered! Unfortunately, I was down in Southern California visiting family, and had no way to go pick it up. To add to my grief, my stereo, iPod, and various other items were stolen from inside of the car.

After calling three towing companies that refused to help me because I was not present to sign the appropriate forms, I called Jim’s Towing. The amazing people at this company were more than eager to go out of their way to help me get my car towed to my house instead of putting it in an impound lot. This act of kindness saved me the cost of impounding my car for a week until I returned to Chico—more than $500. I want this company to be recognized for this, and I highly recommend Jim’s Towing to anyone who finds themselves in a sticky situation.

Amanda Ribbers

Help stop the suffering

The same abuses that were just documented at Central Valley Meat—the Hanford slaughterhouse where workers were caught electro-shocking sick and injured cows in the face—are taking place at countless factory farms and slaughterhouses around the nation.

When undercover investigators from PETA went to a Pennsylvania factory farm that supplies milk to Land O’ Lakes, they found sick cows with swollen udders, gangrenous teats, infected hooves and oozing sores. The farm’s owner and one of his sons electro-shocked cows who were in too much pain to stand up, and the owner’s son even kicked a cow and jabbed her with a pocket knife.

PETA’s investigators have seen workers at a New York dairy farm cutting calves’ horns out of their heads without pain killers; they’ve caught Iowa hog farmers slamming newborn piglets’ heads against a concrete floor; they’ve videotaped employees at a chicken slaughterhouse in Alabama beating, throwing, and decapitating birds, and much more.

The only way to be sure that farmed animals do not suffer on your behalf is to stop eating meat, eggs and dairy products. Visit www.PETA.org for free vegan recipes and product suggestions.

Heather Moore
PETA Foundation

Norfolk, Va.

A pumpernickel query

Many, many decades ago my college roommate and I would occasionally invest in a gustatory delight. We would go to the local mom and pop grocery and pick up a fresh loaf of pumpernickel (looked like a large, brown cannon ball flattened on the bottom), a jar of limburger cheese, a red onion for slicing (thinly) and some beer. What a treat!

We would indulge ourselves until the jar of cheese was empty and the onion almost gone, and of course the beer was gone. We’d take the empty limburger jar and secrete it in someone else’s room.

The point of this discourse is a query: Where in the Chico area can one get real, fresh-baked pumpernickel bread. The plastic-wrapped sliced stuff that can sometimes be found in supermarkets is not even closely related to the real stuff.

Warren Dodge

A matter of principals

Re “Teachers and their bosses” (Guest Comment, by Jaime O’Neill, Aug. 23):

I agree entirely with your final thought that administrators ought to teach. The term “principal,” as in “school principal,” is clipped from the phrase “principal teacher.” This etymology parallels “headmaster"—the head teacher. Somewhere education went in a wrong direction when the principal became something other than an excellent teacher.

Murray Suid