Letters for August 4, 2005

Correction: Last week in Newslines we mistakenly reported that city employee Mike Williams was retiring. Actually longtime employee and building official Dave Purvis is retiring. Williams is serving as the interim building official.

Your hospital
At Enloe Medical Center, patient safety is our highest priority. The CN&R article of July 28 that would suggest otherwise is simply untrue [“Staph meeting,” Newslines].

Patient safety is the responsibility and expectation of every employee and physician. By nature of the severely ill people we care for, every hospital in the nation faces infections. What matters is what we do to prevent them, and what we do once one occurs. At Enloe we detect and investigate any report of a hospital-acquired infection. While every single case matters, one case, or even a few, do not portray an accurate picture of patient safety overall.

As Enloe’s nursing leader, it is my responsibility to continually improve patient safety. As examples, during the past few years we have removed all carpet from inpatient areas, where bacteria can linger. We have instituted a rigorous hand hygiene program including waterless, alcohol hand-washing procedures recommended by CDC, and we have improved management of diabetic and pre-diabetic blood-sugar levels to promote better healing.

Overall, are we perfect? No. But I do believe we are better than most, as HealthGrades affirms with the awarding to Enloe of its National Patient Safety Award in 2004 and 2005, which ranks us in the top 3 percent nationally. We are your hospital and there is nothing more important to us than delivering safe, quality care to you and your loved ones. If you have any concerns or compliments, please contact us directly.

Jan Ellis
Vice President, Nursing Services
Enloe Medical Center

Public silence
A letter to the City Council from the Building Industry Association (BIA), Chamber of Commerce and Chico Economic Planning Corporation reads like a BIA version of the Patriot Act. These three pro-development advocates, along with Councilor Dan Herbert, disappointed with recent City Council decisions such as the designation of Bidwell Ranch as open space, would like to stifle dissent. They want to be free to lobby the council to their own ends without suffering the inconvenience of public objection.

BIA spokespersons are paid for council appearances and for lobbying individual councilors to approve another big development or another Wal-Mart. It’s their job. In contrast, “the public” must take time away from their families and jobs. They volunteer many hours doing their own research and fund-raising to pay their costs. When they finally get to the council meeting they only have three minutes to speak on an issue. The BIA’s proposal to limit public hearings to 30 minutes per side assumes that only two identifiable sides are to be found to any issue, and is a transparent ploy to avoid unfavorable comment. If 50 or 60 people want to speak their minds, they have a right to do so. It’s called participatory democracy. If the BIA can convince 50 or 60 people to speak on its behalf, then I say go for it. They have three minutes each.

BIA’s other proposal to ban signs and banners from Chico City Council meetings ignores an age-old tradition of silent, non-violent, public comment.

Karen Laslo

McClouding the facts
The July 21 article by Josh Indar on the proposed Nestlé water-bottling plant in McCloud was offensive [“Drinking problems,” cover story]. Elements of good journalism include the ability to report the facts and state your views in a manner that does not demean nor degrade. Mr. Indar, and the Chico News & Review, failed in these areas.

The personal attacks upon Mr. Palais, Ms. Snure and the board members of the McCloud Services District, were unnecessary and inaccurate. Why was Mr. Palais’ manner of dress discussed? Since it was unnecessary, was it an attempt to cause embarrassment? Casting aspersions on Ms. Snures’ character and the reasons for her stance was an attack upon a member of the community who has done much and given a great deal. There are five members of the MCSD, not four. Do you know the background of these elected board members? Obviously you do not.

As far as the mill is concerned, it is not “abandoned,” there are still employees of California Cedar Products working at the site.

Finally, I would point out that many who are against the water plant claim to be trying to protect the environment and our water; probably many of them are sincere. However, some opponents of Nestlé want the contract renegotiated and they want more money. Greed is often a great motivator and an even greater destroyer.

Mr. Indar was correct about one thing: This topic has divided our town. McCloud does not need journalistic attacks making things worse. Mr. Indar and the Chico News & Review owe many an apology.

Kelly Claro

No big deal
I found the article on the proposed Nestlé plant in McCloud to be incredibly biased, inadequately researched and frequently offensive. The oft-quoted Sid Johnson may receive his mail in McCloud, but he is not a McCloud resident, MCSD customer or even a resident of Siskiyou County. Your inference that Dawn Snure was perhaps benefiting from the Nestlé presence in her office was interesting, considering that the McCloud Watershed Council (the opposition group, with both Johnson and Lowe as members) have utilized the same office that Dave Palais does, but on different days.

The maximum amount of water—including groundwater—that Nestlé can purchase is 1,600 acre-feet. Your article fails to mention that the mill retained 15 percent of the water rights for its usage when the town was sold in 1963. This 15 percent amounts to more than 1,300 acre feet of water for the mill’s exclusive use, and these rights have gone to every successive owner of the property. The McCloud Service District negotiated these rights away from the current owner a few years ago (yes, those same “two loggers and two housewives” with little negotiating experience), and Nestlé is contracting for little more water than this.

This letter would need to be as long as the article to correct the remainder of the errors. Suffice it to say that if a new lumber mill were to be built on the same site as the old one, this same group would still be screaming bloody murder.

Tony Kydd