Letters for January 11, 2007

Diversity double standard?
Re: “Liberals flex muscles” and “Keep your eye on ’em” (Downstroke and Cover Story, CN&R, Jan. 4):

Good for you for pointing out about those liberals filling the commission spots with no minorities. Even the CN&R, in its Who to Watch in 2007, featured an Italian American, Tom DiGiovanni, and a Scottish American, Paul McIntosh.

Kudos to you.

Al Crocker

Bad prescription for health care
As expected, our governor has come forward with a “plan” for California’s health insurance crisis that will have about as much chance of success as the Bush plan for Iraq.

What Arnold’s plan will not do is provide affordable, reliable, equal coverage to all the people of California. What it will do is provide an enormous windfall to the health insurance companies while worsening the financial squeeze on many low- and moderate-income families.

The individual mandate to buy insurance is probably the worst feature of this disaster. Under this mandate, many low-income families will be required to pay far more than they can afford for insurance with a deductible so high that in normal years it will provide them with no coverage at all.

In addition, the governor’s proposal will do nothing to reduce the key drivers of high health care costs: insurance company profits and overhead, predatory pricing of prescription drugs, and bloated executive salaries.

Unfortunately, Democratic legislative leaders have advanced plans that are only marginally better, since they too share the goal of covering a few more people without disturbing any of those bloated costs mentioned above.

The real answer, as always, is the solution used by most of the rest of the industrialized world: simple, affordable, single-payer health coverage. Think of it as Medicare for everyone. Write your legislators and tell them so.

David Welch

Remembering John LaPado
John LaPado was on my mind a lot these last few months … and I thank him for that. He was everywhere, giving us yet one more sweet melody, yet one more ironic comment. Lots and lots of us soaked it up—the music, his wit—all the while moved by the devotion of his family and friends who organized, e-mailed, taxied and schlepped.

In the emotions stirred by the benefits and the jams and other John-encounters of late, I realized how connected he is to many of the things that made me fall in love with Chico in the first place.

It goes back in the very early ‘80s. My friend Beth was living out near the river among the orchards in a house full of musicians, including John. She was an aspiring musician and admired his playing and his knowledge of music.

She rode her bike into town a lot, and sometimes I would ride back out with her. Chances were good that an assortment of shaggy guys (cuties to a one) would be playing music. These were the musicians who, in one combination or another, have consistently made the sounds that get me up out of my chair and into a throng of sweaty, wild, bodies.

It was all just beginning for me in Chico that fall: the bike, the orchards, the light, the river, the music, the dancing.

I will miss John, how he always made me laugh … and, yes, dance.

Mary Gardner

TV news blues
It seems that local news on television is having a major identity crisis. Nowadays every time I click over to channels 12 or 24 (and to a much lesser extent 7), there’s a new slogan or a new face up and running.

I remember when the two stations advertised themselves as NCN, or Northern California News. Then for some reason they scrapped the three-letter logo right after viewers had gotten used to it and went back to calling themselves by their individual call letters. Now we’ve got Action News, a cheesy-sounding identity that I thought most TV stations had stopped recycling decades ago.

When it comes to the people on the news, they seem to be out the door right after we get used to them. The ones with any kind of talent are often gone after a year or two. But why do the other good ones leave? Are they being underpaid? Matt Keller, Maureen Naylor, Rob Blair, Matt Gebhart, Jeff Deal, Arran Anderson, Chad Abramson, Eric Laughlin, Christina Werner, Louisa Hodge—the list goes on.

In conclusion, I think the broadcasting of local news is a crucial element to this region. We are lucky to have it. While some of my friends and colleagues have started turning to the Sacramento stations with the expansion of cable, I still have faith in the idea of news being as local as possible. But please, 12 and 24, figure out a game plan and stick with it.

Colin Nicholson

A second bad review
Today [Jan. 5] was an important day—the swearing in of Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of our state, California, to his second term—but you would not have known of this by watching the local channels.

Again I am disappointed with the way the media decides what is important to us the public. When I telephoned Channel 12, I was told that it was an oversight by their producer; she apologized and hung up. An oversight—how does a producer of the news forget that the governor is being sworn in today?

Not everyone agrees with our politicians, but by votes we the people put them in office, and it should not be up to the news media to decide whether officials should get TV time. It’s rude and it’s wrong, and I more then likely will never watch North State channels again. This deeply offended me.

G. Willett

‘High price’
The war in Iraq has cost us $600 billion, and the government will need more than that before the troops come back. Think of all the poor people who could have been fed and clothed for that amount of money.

When the Japanese and Chinese foreclose on our loans, the Democrats may regret the war’s length and expense. Well, the Republicans will have to find a way to pay for the war until it ends.

Twenty-five thousand wounded and several thousand killed—a high price to pay for Iraqi oil underneath the desert.

David Lorenz

Muddle in middle
Am I alone in wondering what has happened to such established descriptive terms as “working class” and “blue-collar workers,” about people who still compose a substantial segment of our society? Issues like low income, poverty, struggling people and families have been wiped off the table by conveniently lumping them in with the “economically challenged” middle class, who might have problems by having overextended themselves in their effort to acquire mansions and luxury cars.

In my opinion, it is done in an effort by the media to distance themselves from displaying interest in the affairs of common people, in this elite-driven society of ours, so far removed from the principles of a real democracy (i.e. rule of by and for the people). If the working poor among us have been elevated to such lofty status, they certainly don’t need to be acknowledged, because they have made a real Houdini disappearing act—a sleight of hand unequalled in the annals of indecency.

Josef Bahlke
Red Bluff