Letters for July 21, 2005

There are successes
I am writing in regard to misconceptions about Behavioral Health Alcohol and Drug Services in your article on methamphetamines ["'Butteants’ and ‘methamphibians': a horror story,” cover story, June 23].

First, I respect and admire my colleagues at Butte County Behavioral Health Adult Services, who work with Drug Court. I’m aware that those programs have good outcome measures. Likewise, residential treatment facilities like Skyway House have dedicated addiction counselors who have many success stories to tell.

However, I work with Youth Services, and there is no funding for drug and alcohol treatment per se. In addition, working with the adolescent population has its own unique set of challenges. The adolescent brain is undergoing major functional changes, and it is a time of emotional turmoil. Additionally, many teenagers think they are indestructible and do not recognize they have a problem or have not yet admitted to themselves the negative consequences on their lives. Most of my clients receive outpatient drug and alcohol education counseling, and some go home to parents who are still using drugs.

I agree with Judge Stevens: Some addicts do recover from crank. Yet usually they recover only when the “system” has some real leverage over them, such as when Children’s Services will return their kids only if they get clean, or when the addict faces incarceration, as in Drug Court. As a counselor working with youth and the youth probation system, I don’t usually have that kind of leverage. So in truth I don’t have as many success stories as Judge Stevens does.

I do have success with youth in recovering from marijuana, alcohol and tobacco. Unfortunately, most kids who get hooked on methamphetamines, heroin or OxyContin usually end up in a long-term, serious downward spiral.

I wouldn’t do this work if I didn’t have hope. I continue to plant seeds because I occasionally get clients who come back years later and thank me for the help they received from our counseling services. Our agency works very hard in partnership with the courts to help people recover from addiction.

Yet, as the judge knows all too well, the meth problem in Butte County, and across the nation, is way out of control. I believe this was the point of the News & Review’s article—that we have a public problem that is not being adequately addressed, and this problem is ruining the lives of families in Butte County.

Donald Primer
senior mental health counselor

General Plan sneaking through
The Butte County General Plan will soon be updated, but the new version may not reflect your best interests. A company engaged to complete the General Plan is projected to complete preparation of responses to comments from the public by July 15, with the final version ready July 22! When and where were the public meetings? Were you aware of any? Contact your county supervisor and request that public meetings are held so your concerns can be heard. As a voter and taxpayer your views will be considered.

The CN&R reported that a developer wants to construct 10,000 homes between the Chico airport and the Tehama County line. This would not be permitted under the present General Plan and can happen only if the General Plan is revised to allow it.

Butte County’s General Plan will guide development for years. If you care about the land, the quality and quantity of your water, the environment, traffic, noise, etc., you should care about the General Plan. You can bet that developers have made their wishes known.

The Rock Creek Coalition was formed to promote responsible development in Butte County and changes to the General Plan that will protect the environment and the quality of life for its citizens. This coalition is sponsoring an informational meeting on Thursday, July 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Chico City Council Chambers in downtown Chico. Speakers will include county supervisors, a City Council member and others. Please attend; it’s very important.

John Woods

Payback time
This superintendent took Chico through a travesty. Now it’s time to clean house and make apologies to many people.

The biggest irony? Do you remember how the district insisted that vandals had to be repaid out of school funds for reported overpayment of penalties? This was over an unintentional overpayment by the courts.

Now it turns out that our high schools have been charging illegal fees for years. One teacher shared his department has collected almost $20,000 a year for almost 20 years. That’s $400,000! Add other departments that sold textbooks and charged fees, double it for the other high school, and we’re looking at millions of dollars in refunds that legally must be returned! We’d better see consistency. Surely, the district will insist that good citizens deserve repayment just like the vandals, right?

Millions of dollars owed! Can the District Office really claim they didn’t know about millions? How long will it take to get our refunds? Will the district contact the district attorney and turn in themselves? Now we have a recommendation to have even greater district oversight of school site money. Oh, sure. Let’s have the fox guard the henhouse. I wouldn’t let this superintendent or CFO handle money at McDonald’s.

The repayment of millions of dollars will bankrupt our district. There is one person I can think of who has the ability to raise those funds, but our superintendent unfairly attacked him for giving our students and teachers too much.

Elizabeth Atterman
San Anselmo

Union don’ts
Regarding Carol Eberling’s letter [“We can’t hear you,” July 14]:

Here are some facts.

There were three voting units consisting of Enloe employees and two units for Crothall employees. The Service and Business units’ vote was divided nearly in half. The Technical Unit voted overwhelmingly to remain free, demonstrating that SEIU’s statement that “the majority of Enloe employees wish to unionize” is untrue. As a member of the Technical Unit, my democratic vote has yet to be honored by SEIU. My voice has been heard only by Enloe. Other than my employer I have no way of fighting for my right to remain union-free. As an employee of a company, I cannot hire an attorney to have my vote honored. It just does not work that way.

The whole community of Chico and surrounding areas are being fed information that is simply not true. If not for Enloe fighting for me, I would be forced into a union that I neither want nor need. Unfortunately, those who wish to remain free of union control have no choice, as California is not a “Right to Work” state. How democratic is that?

Crothall employees still work at Enloe and have insurance benefits with their company. I’ve been at Enloe for 18 years and have never had free health insurance for my family.

Last, if you want to drive 60 miles to Redding, hey, go for it. You can spend all those dollars on gas, oil and wear and tear on your car and you can become part of their union and start paying those dues.

SEIU does not speak for me.

Debi Yeager