Letters for July 3, 2008

Immigrant issue a legal distinction
Re: “Across the great divide” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, June 26):

Rocio Guido’s commentary apparently makes no distinction between “immigrant” and “illegal alien.” Is it because she, Rocio, came here as an illegal alien herself and is trying to legitimize her becoming a citizen by calling herself an immigrant?

Let’s have no misunderstanding about this. An immigrant is a person who attains legal status here in a legal way. An illegal alien is a person who commits a crime by just being here illegally. The former should be a welcome candidate for citizenship. The latter will never be welcome because they are criminals of the laws of immigration. There can be no quarter on this!

Grant Johnson

Counterpoint that makes our point?
I am outraged by the lead story about “immigrants.” Both Mr. O’Neill and the CN&R have bought whole cloth into the propaganda spewed by left-wing liberals and ethnocentrist groups, the latest versions of the corporate shill. The CN&R and Mr. O’Neill have shielded illegal aliens under the “immigrant” umbrella.

Let’s get it straight. Illegal aliens are not immigrants! People who immigrate legally to this country respect the United States, learn the language, obey the laws, strive to become Americans, and take pride in being here.

Illegal aliens, on the other hand, come here to exploit our services, our country and our people. I’m sick of hearing that “they come here to work.” Is that why between 20 and 35 percent of the inmates in various jails are illegals?

The woman, Guido, is as criminal as the rest. She still considers Mexico her “home.” So revoke her citizenship and let her go back.

My husband and construction crew lost their jobs to illegals. I’ve had my identity stolen by one I thought was a friend. Illegals look upon Americans in the same way a con man views an easy mark.

Obama lied about the Latino hate-crime rate. The actual numbers show only a 17 percent increase over the past 13 years, while their population has increased considerably. O’Neill should watch Lou Dobbs.

So illegals need to be brought out of the shadows? The only shadows illegals hide under are from the Mexican flags they are waving.

Mary Bailey

Editor’s note: The FBI has compiled hate-crime statistics through 2006; that year’s total for anti-Hispanic crimes is 17 percent higher than the 1995 figure. Compared to 2003, the increase is 35 percent.

Behavioral Health modification
Re: “BCBH: Time for Plan B” (Downstroke, CN&R, June 26):

Are we allowing county bean-counters to run our Butte County Behavioral Health Department instead of medical and clinical professionals?

The Board of Supervisors is requiring Behavioral Health to repay a loan from the general fund. OK, we can do this, without closing clinics or laying off money-making employees.

The answer: Retain the client-serving positions and eliminate, reduce and combine administrators and bean-counters. Reorganize the department, reducing the duplication of costs and tasks in all areas. Honor and accept staff’s willingness to furlough time and roll back wages to those paid prior to the last increase.

Also, the real money is in contracts, so let us determine which contracts are good value for the money and which are a waste of money.

Behavioral Health professionals are trained in conflict resolution, but resolution is seemingly impossible when it appears that the county chief administrative officer refuses to listen, consider and accept rational, logical and non-cost solutions.

Do county leaders want the Behavioral Health Department to fail? After recent events, don’t you think the situation looks suspicious?

Patty Krause

Another budget issue
This summer may be one of firefighting and recovery for Butte County. But there’s another kind of fire on the horizon: Gov. Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget cuts that would pull the safety net out from under abused and neglected children. Moreover, this plan would cost taxpayers more, not less.

There are 670 foster children in Butte County. Even before the state’s current budget crisis, we were struggling. If the proposed cuts become reality, we will lose an additional $1.5 million.

Foster care in Butte County ranges from $5,100 per year in a county foster home to more than $80,000 for a group home. Services that prevent the need for foster care or lead to faster family reunification are more cost-efficient and humane.

In the long run, we save nothing by cutting services. Our state’s current fiscal crisis is an opportunity to take a strong stand for our most vulnerable children and families—while at the same time promoting fiscal discipline and a responsible budget.

Maureen Kirk

Editor’s note: Maureen Kirk serves on the Butte County Board of Supervisors.

Enloe result ‘a shame’
Re: “Cooperation or collision course?” (Downstroke, by CN&R, June 19):

It’s a shame that the poor people voting on the best-offer contract Enloe could make to its lowest-paid employees had to turn it down and have us all face the possibility of a strike.

It’s a shame that the offer Enloe made put CNAs’ top salaries, at the very top of the scale, at the same level as the very beginning salaries of Red Bluff’s St. Elizabeth’s Hospital CNAs.

It’s a shame that one of our two biggest employers here in Chico persists in keeping the lowest tier of our much-needed health-care providers into that euphemistic category, the working poor.

It’s a shame that a city like Chico can’t match Red Bluff in providing a living wage for these good people.

It’s a shame that what goes unrecognized is that unions, not just in the United States but worldwide, have been largely responsible for growing a healthy middle class.

It’s just a shame.

Maria Phillips

Are you serious, CN&R?
Re: “A serious disconnect” (Editorial, CN&R, June 19):

Am I losing it, or did I just read an editorial in your paper asking that the government force people to live in city limits? Yep, there it is: “Clearly, we can no longer afford to allow people to build homes in outlying fire zones. Barring adequate sources of water, home construction must take place inside city limits.”

The premise is so laughably weak. Let me get this new enlightened leftist policy straight. The federal government must save people from the remote danger of a fire by telling them where to live and eliminating rural property ownership. These citizens must live in a densely populated area where they will be subject to vastly increased risk of robbery, assault, murder, fraud, auto accident, disease and liberal editorial nonsense.

Baffling, truly.

Ruben Leon

Editor’s note: County planning commissioners, in considering updates to the general plan, made recommendations along the lines of our editorial.

Drill down on numbers
Re: “Oil tradeoff” (Letters, by Loretta Ann Torres, CN&R, June 19):

Loretta Ann Torres’ recent letter urges us to act and write our representatives about drilling for oil in America. She argues that conservationists are the cause for less domestic drilling and thus higher prices. She cites the recent lie by George Will and later Vice President Cheney about China drilling “50 miles off the coast of Florida” (Cheney’s office later acknowledged he was mistaken).

According to the House Committee on Natural Resources, the fact of the matter is drilling leases went up 361 percent between 1999 and 2007, with 10,000 drilling permits stockpiled.

Is there really a shortage? I don’t see or hear of gas lines. Or could the price increases be partially caused by the devaluation of the dollar?

We’re $9 trillion in debt, paying a billion a day in interest on all the money borrowed, and the Federal Reserve is expanding the money supply. Maybe inflation is a big part of the problem.

We need an open and honest energy policy that takes us off petroleum, not lies from our politicians and media. Write that to your representatives!

Paul Ellcessor

A discovery motion
Re: “Both Mr. Wrights deserve prison” (Guest Comment, by Mike Ramsey, CN&R, June 19):

Would you please, Mr. Ramsey, show us some proof that the allegations that sent the young Mr. Wright [17-year-old Gregory] to prison for 22 years are correct? Without a trial, there has been no public record.

Donna Peterson

Heads-up on heads-up
Please call 533-6038 to be notified of broadcast spraying in your neighborhood. You will be calling the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District, and asking to be put on their list.

However one weighs the risks of West Nile Virus and the risks of the pesticides, knowing when your neighborhood will be sprayed allows you and your children to go indoors and shut the windows.

Brian I’Anson

Hmmmmm …
I am a progressive, a liberal, a contributing member of MoveOn.org. I believe that I will, come November, hold my nose and with shaking hand vote for John McCain. This would be the first time in my 57 years of existence that I’ll have voted for a Republican for president.

My reasons for this action are simple: I want to see the total failure of the Republican Party.

The next president is sure to face at least five very major problems. These are (in no particular order): Iraq, global warming, how the rest of the world views the United States (see: Iraq), the base dichotomy between the rich and everyone else, and a very poor economy. I posit that the economy under a Democratic president will seriously tank—those on Wall Street have been waiting to “drop the other shoe” (read: recession or depression) till after the election.

What we must do to ensure some sort of responsibility is to elect Democrats to have a strong majority in the House and Senate, and governorships, then have McCain in the White House.

With a majority, we can ensure responsible choices for the Supreme Court (remember Judge Bork?). A Democratic majority can try for some fiscal balance, can instigate environmental protections and can redraw trade laws.

But, most important, we can let the Republicans finally take the blame for what they’ve done to our country and our world—and maybe, just maybe, we can be done with the Republican Party forever.

John Bilinsky

Ostrich syndrome?
I’ve been feeling pretty stressed when I read some of the newspaper headlines, so I went to some of my Republican friends and asked for their help. I’m feeling so much better now and wanted to pass this along to any other readers who may be struggling in the same way.

Ice caps melting? Biggest floods in Midwest history? Worst fires in California history? No problem! Just close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears and repeat: “Climate change is all a liberal hoax. It’s not happening.”

Biggest federal deficit in history? Value of the dollar at an all-time low? State budget in collapse? Schools cutting programs left and right? Not enough resources to fight those fires? No problem! Same maneuver, but this time repeat: “No new taxes. No new taxes.”

Most expensive war in history, all financed with debt and based on lies? U.S. prestige at an all-time low? U.S. known as the land of torture instead of the land of liberty? President illegally intercepting millions of Americans’ phone calls? New reports that most of the people rotting in Guantanamo were never guilty of anything? No problem! Just do the same thing, but this time repeat: “War on terror. War on terror”

There. Isn’t that easy? Don’t you feel better now? Me neither.

David Welch