Letters for December 13, 2001

Reade all about it
Butte County has a serious problem. His name is David Reade. It’s been frequently reported that Reade is behind Kim Yamaguchi’s twisted redistricting power grab. Yamaguchi, a small-time realtor, couldn’t possible dream this up himself. Reade wants to be the “Boss Tweed” of Butte County. As “political consultant” to Supervisors Yamaguchi and Curt Josiassen, Reade influences their votes, and Supervisor Bob Beeler follows along meekly.

Yamaguchi pushed through legislation very favorable to a local garbage company. Coincidentally, just a few days later, Reade received a lucrative position as a “garbage consultant” for the same company. The News & Review reported that even Sheriff Scott McKenzie has paid Reade more than $300 for “consulting fees.” David Reade, arguably the master of dirty politics, is associated with Butte County’s top law enforcement officer.

What’s next? The position of Butte County chief administrative officer is vacant. After numerous interviews, Josiassen says he can’t find any “qualified applicants.” He also says, “We are looking for a specific type of person,” and we may have to “do something different” to find an acceptable candidate. I wouldn’t be surprised if David Reade gets this $125,000-a-year job, for which he is entirely unqualified. Yamaguchi, Josiassen and Beeler can legally hand it to him. Reade alone would then control most political and government activity in Butte County.

How can you stop him? The only way is to cut the strings to his puppets—Yamaguchi, Josiassen and Beeler—through recall campaigns.

Ron Sherman

Will it take a strike?
My involvement with the California Nurses Association is out of a sense of responsibility to the nursing ranks and patient care at Enloe Medical Center. Patient care concerns and employee/professional satisfaction have eroded to the point that proactive actions must occur and have occurred. I believe the registered nurses at Enloe have a plan to save nursing at our medical center, to improve the professional benefits and working conditions that contribute to the bleeding/resignations of nurses, and ultimately to improve patient/ nursing care. Yes, Enloe’s patients are our patients, too. I believe the community deserves the best health care possible. Does Enloe?

At what expense will the leadership of our medical center go to deny RNs the same comparable professional benefits established throughout the state of California and to a large extent the country? The California Nurses Association is not out to control and dictate nursing in this state, but rather to protect patient care through advocacy and safe patient-staff ratios, and to better educate RNs in our practice and state-mandated responsibilities. Is this somehow wrong and misleading? Whose misleading whom? Who’s misinformation continues to flow via locked bulletin boards?

When will the continued disrespect of our profession and efforts stop? When there is a strike to prove our resolve? Enloe is prepared. They’ve been prepared from the start and have solidified their resolve by contracting with a strike-breaking nursing staff organization in July, exactly in the midst of so-called “good-faith bargaining.”

To the board of directors, community members and all concerned: Now is the time to take a proactive and appropriate step in the health care at Enloe Medical Center, not the disrespectful, non-professional and isolationist tactics used in these dealings thus far.

Brian Johnson R.N.

All for one
The nurses are working hard with the management team of Enloe Medical Center to reach a contract for the good of all. One thing that seems to stick in the craw of management is the idea of a union shop, which means that all the nurses who benefit pay union dues. The more nurses who support the union, the more power it has to reach goals for both patients and ourselves.

It is normal for management to resist a united voice, or union shop, so it can control the power of the union by making it weak and divided. By having an open shop we allow management to divide and conquer.

Management says it wants us to have an open shop so that nurses will have a democratic choice. We had a democratic election a year ago, and the majority of the nurses chose the California Nurses Association. In an open shop, all the nurses in the bargaining unit receive the union benefits whether they pay dues or not. When there is a presidential election only one president is chosen, but we continue to pay taxes no matter who is elected.

Six Catholic Healthcare West Hospitals have settled CNA contracts in six months from the day they voted in CNA. Their contracts contain the same things we are asking for. With the contract settled, they have moved on to hiring and retaining nurses. Enloe can choose to settle our contract without messy threats of strikes and the expense of costly consultants to thwart the union.

Susie Crawford

No smoking
Tobacco is a highly addictive and damaging drug, especially for women. It can cause not only lung cancer, respiratory diseases, cervical cancer and problems of menstruation and menopause, but for pregnant women it could also cause them to lose their babies.

Exposure to tobacco smoke poses grave risks to babies before and after they are born. Smoking increases the risk that the baby’s birth weight will be less than 2,500 grams. Such babies are more likely to be stillborn, need intensive care in hospitals or die in infancy, if they make it that far. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that infants are three times more likely to die from sudden-infant-death syndrome (SIDS) if their mother smoked during and after pregnancy, and twice as likely if their mother stopped during pregnancy but started up again after birth. Also, if nicotine is present in the breast milk of smoking mothers, then it will be passed on to the baby, causing long-term effects such as lower growth rate and lower intellectual and emotional development.

Trying to break the habit of nicotine is hard, but losing your baby is harder.

Sierra Greenwood

Birdman of Oroville
I have an idea about how to replace needless boredom with interspecies fun for millions of people and tens of thousands of birds. You know when you call those huge nationwide conglomerates, get put on hold, listen to elevator music and hear a recorded message loop telling you how important your call is and how much they care about your business and approximately how long it might be until you can speak to a human? It’s as boring to read about it as it is to listen to. Why not train flocks of parrots and magpies to say, “Your call is very important to us, HA HA HA.”

If I heard a bird laughing at how absurd it is that “I’m important” I would start laughing too. With each call a different bird. How about live canaries singing in the background instead of the elevator music?

Seems like a win/win/win situation to me. The conglomerate wins because it gets happier customers, and the extra cost of a little bird seed on top of the chicken feed they pay their human phone operators isn’t much at all. The birds win because they get someone to talk to and joke around with. The “important people” win because for a few minutes of our lives we can accept and laugh at our status in the overall scheme of things.

Marvin Wisely