Letters for July 12, 2001

Hypocritical oath
I continue to be disheartened by the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory view toward gays. My family enjoys scouting and all that it has to offer. The “higher-ups” in the BSA organization who fought for the Supreme Court ruling that allows the ban on homosexuals do not speak for me or many of my scouting friends.

Some may view BSA’s actions in this matter as appropriate. I see them as discriminatory. At first I thought my family would leave scouting because of this ruling. I am ashamed to be affiliated with an organization that would limit its membership in this way. But quitting is not the answer. By continuing in Scouts, maybe in some small way we can help to change this unfair policy.

In part, the Scout Law states, “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, friendly, courteous, kind, and reverent.” Living by these attributes allows us to be true to ourselves and accepting of others. It seems that those who fought for the ban in the BSA organization are teaching members to act one way but through their own actions are disregarding the very law that they work so hard to instill in our boys.

I hope BSA will become an organization that is tolerant and accepting of all individuals, and one that encourages its members to truly live by the spirit of the Scout Law. I urge others who are offended by BSA’s views toward homosexuals to write letters to their local chapters and to the national organization.

Allison Brigham-Finkle

Parade of support
I have been a registered nurse for 27 years, my last 16 years at Enloe Medical Center. Friday night [June 29] the nurses of Enloe, in support of the California Nurses Association’s bill [in the state Legislature] for safe staffing and its struggle with Enloe over negotiating a fair contract, marched 100 strong with their families and friends.

Many nurses in this community and all over the nation are afraid to come out in support of their beliefs and needs in a profession that is losing nurses at an alarming rate due to poor working conditions and benefits. None of my children are planning on being nurses, and neither are any of my friend’s children.

If we don’t make nursing a more attractive profession, competitive in the job market of men and women, there will be very few nurses of the future.

With the help of the California Nurses Association, the nurses at Enloe have taken that first step in creating a voice for themselves and the future of nursing in this community. It was an overwhelming feeling of support and understanding of our struggle when the crowd at the parade cheered and clapped, calling out their support the entire length of the parade. It was a very emotional event for most of us to realize that we aren’t alone. That the people of this community support the nurses who care for them in their time of need.

Thank you.

Paula Helmick, BSN

Recycling with God
I must confess, when it comes to recycling or repairing, I am not your public-service spokesman. Perhaps you too can identify with the convenience of the trashcan or next spring’s garage sale.

We seem to have evolved into a throwaway society that so readily tosses out the old for the advertised newer and improved model. This disposable practice, while beginning with the tangible, has grown and become a trend and mentality that permeates every vein in our society. From our relationships at home to our schools and workplace, we seem to make little effort to restore the worn or broken as we hurriedly unwrap the new and pile the old onto life’s trash heap.

The statistics are staggering when we look at workplace turnovers, divorce rates and, most tragic of all, the murder of the innocent child in the name of choice. If that relationship isn’t meeting our needs, those new employees too difficult to train or that unplanned pregnancy too burdensome, we simply toss them on the fire as an offering to the god of selfish ambitions.

While products of our industry can find some renewed value through the repair shop or recycle mill, one cannot measure the value of a human life or restored relationships. I thank God for not tossing us on the trash heap, but in his love saw value, redeeming us for his own. May we too, see the value of human life and seek to not destroy, but restore.

Dan Bovee

Ask feds for win-win
When the federal government enacted the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) in 1975, a commitment was made to pay 40 percent of the cost for children with special educational needs. Since then appropriations have averaged about 9 percent—much less than the 40-percent obligation. The difference in the “actual cost” for mandated services and the federal allocation must be made up from local school dollars.

In fiscal year 2001, local taxpayers and schools across the nation must make up approximately $10.6 billion to cover the difference between the federal allocation and the mandated costs. In California this deficit is about $203 per year per student, which must be allocated from the regular school budget to cover the mandated costs.

There is little question that the special-education students must be provided with an appropriate education. However, the federal government has not finished the job in meeting the 40-percent-funding commitment. The end result is that the mandated costs have “first call” on all discretionary dollars.

The federal government is presently deliberating whether to increase the funding for IDEA and meet the 40-percent commitment. I ask you to write, call, fax or e-mail our representatives in Washington and urge them to support full funding.

Full funding would be a “win-win” for every child. It would mean full funding for special-education students and would make more “regular funding” available for all students in our schools. It is time for the federal government to finish the job.

Jerry McGuire, superintendent
Butte County Schools

Corporate rules
I hope we are not too late with the new generation of new-car technology ["Street Smarts,” June 28, 2001]. In the race to put men on the moon, as if that’s really important, we languished in a corporate-techno quagmire. Good, creative ideas and inventions were filed away in the basement of giant companies who were myopically looking at the future and seeing everyone, even the family dog, behind the wheel.

If we’d been producing, like we are highly capable of, cars of this nature in the ‘60s, think of the clean air we could be breathing now. As it is, the majority of us, who cannot afford them, will not get behind the wheel of one of these cars until they become used. If there is a short supply it may take longer. The public supported legislation in the past that set efficient auto emission and fuel standards. Those standards were eroded yearly by automakers and elected officials who were in their pockets.

We are not dumb, shiftless people, but we have let this country be taken over by powerful moneyed interests, and this is only one of the glaring examples of that takeover. If we can stop sucking off the corporate tit and get the corporations to stop sucking off the government’s (i.e. people’s) tit, maybe we can grow up and do something progressive about the future in all arenas. Now if someone could retrofit my ‘79 Toyota Corolla, that would be progress. Yeah, keep dreaming.

Moaning Mona
received via e-mail