Letters for December 22, 2005

The difference
Contrary to what Mary Schmidt might want to think, the different tone of the California Nurses Association and Enloe Medical Center spokespersons does not reflect our different approaches to the bargaining so much as it reflects our different approach to dealing with the press and the public [“Uncivil union,” letters, Dec. 15.] When asked how I expected negotiations to go, I answered with the simple truth based on what I saw at the bargaining table. Hospital spokespeople apparently answered with some nice platitudes about hoping it would not be contentious, which has no relationship to their approach to the actual bargaining.

A few days after your article came out [“Nurses: It won’t be pretty,” Newslines, Dec. 8], things went exactly as I had predicted: The hospital rejected virtually all of our proposals to which it responded. Interestingly, the only issue the hospital gave us an acceptable response for was the one we had taken to the public—just cause for discipline. Our thanks to all the members of the community who helped us win that one small victory.

One final point: Anti-worker folks seem to have a sloppy habit (perhaps intentional?) of lumping all unions together. The “targeting” of Enloe events has been done by a different union—SEIU. They’ve been elected to represent another group of employees at the hospital but the hospital refuses to recognize that election, pretty much forcing them to take extreme measures. Even though we strongly support their efforts, CNA has not demonstrated at any Enloe events—yet.

David Welch, RN

Praise for Joe
Trader Joe’s is hardly a “faceless corporation” as Matthew Martin asserts [“Traitor-Mart,” Letters, Dec. 15]. Unlike Wal-Mart, TJ’s pays its workers well and provides good benefits. We need more businesses in town that treat employees well. It helps put an upward pressure on wages and quality of life which this county sorely needs. I am all for supporting local businesses, but only if they provide excellent service and fair pricing. Esplanade Furniture, Western Tool Supply and Morning Thunder are examples of good local businesses that I recommend to others. But not all local businesses fall into this category and the others can stand a little healthy competition to sharpen customer satisfaction skills. Also, just because Chico Natural Foods and S&S are natural food stores doesn’t make them comparable. CNF is a Co-op and S&S is privately owned. One practices fair pricing and the other verges on price gouging. I love the arrival of TJ’s and hope they thrive here in Chico.

Patricia Kelley

Snacks and wine
There seems to be a misunderstanding about just what Chico newcomer Trader Joe’s is. Yes, its business “headquarters” are in Monrovia, Calif. However, this isn’t a “faceless corporation” that funnels its profits to SoCal. It’s privately owned by German brothers Theo and Karl Albrecht. They also own Aldi supermarkets (in Europe) and hold a substantial share in Albertson’s here in the states. Many people who visit the store believe everything there is organic and healthy. “Natural” doesn’t equate to “organic.” It’s not a “natural food store.” but a grocery store that emphasizes snacks and wine.

Kim Jackson

Do the math
Help me out please. Can someone explain to me how Chico can support two Wal-Mart supercenters without pushing any other businesses out? We have one and isn’t that enough? It seems pretty pitiful when your county’s fourth or fifth largest employer is Wal-Mart.

I work in a local real estate office with more than 50 agents. At one of our meetings I posed the following question: Has anyone sold a house to anyone that works at Sierra Nevada Brewery? Not a manager, but an employee. A few of us raised our hands. What about Costco? A few more raised their hands. Then I asked has anyone sold a house to an employee of Wal-Mart. Not one person raised a hand. What does that tell you?

Steve Kasprzyk

Merry this
Merry Christmas to all? Some people say “Seasons greetings.” How could they! This is Christmas, God damn it! Last week Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a resolution seeking to protect the symbols of Christmas. The same group also passed a $50 billion budget bill that cut funding for many programs that assist the poor, including Medicare and food stamps. And they also extended tax cuts that go primarily to the rich. Merry Christmas indeed!

John Geiger

Housing trend
My 15 minutes of fame not withstanding, I feel compelled to clear up some confusion and inaccuracies concerning my “15 minutes” interview “Home of the Future” in last week’s paper about an energy efficient and “green” house that I am currently building in Chico.

First, the material used for the exterior walls (SIP-structural insulated panel) is made from EPS (expanded polystyrene), an inert and ozone-friendly foam, not “ETS.” The 6 and 1/2-inch wall panels have an R-value of 24—substantially greater than a 2 x 6 wall.

Second, framing members called splines are spaced 4-feet on center connecting the panels. Wood framing is added around windows and doors, and headers are required for spans greater than 4 foot.

Third, though figures vary by building, I am figuring the additional cost for the SIP panels over conventional wood materials to be 15 percent. And, given a 40 percent to 60 percent energy savings, those costs will be recouped in 10-12 years. And after that my clients will continue to save—for as long as they live in the house.

Overall, SIP buildings are vastly more energy efficient, stronger, quieter and “greener” than other building systems. I’m convinced that Chico is going to see a lot more of this type of construction in the years ahead.

Robin Trenda

Damaged rep
I have just returned from an eight-week tour of Ireland, England, The Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain. Sadly, I must report, 90 percent of the fine people I met now hold a negative outlook toward my nation, the United States of America.

They made it clear to me that the main reasons are what they view as our aggressive invasion-without-cause of the nation of Iraq, violation of international laws, abrogation of long-developed treaties, gross lying by the U.S administration and Congress, and kidnapping, secret transportation and torture of prisoners.

It is saddening to me, as a dedicated, patriotic, informed citizen, to encounter this massive loss of trust and credibility for my beloved country.

During a similar visitation of these and other nations 10 years ago, I was delighted to discover that nearly 90 percent of these people held a highly warm and favorable opinion of the U.S.A. It is tragic to witness such drastic shift in public opinion around the world.

Due to what they view as highly “Un-American” policies, hubris, bluster and arrogance, the general populace of Europe today considers (1) The U.S.A. to be clearly an aggressive nation and (2) The U.S.A. to represent the major threat to world peace and stability.

It is plain that it will require years, if not centuries, to institute a new policy of cooperation and peace, to recapture our status as a beacon of freedom, justice, trust, honor and integrity.

Henry Van Amburg, M.D., (retired)