Letters for July 30, 2009

Look toward the future, BEC

Re: “BEC’s exercise in openness” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, July 23):

I attended the Butte Environmental Council (BEC) membership meeting July 20. Why hasn’t the former executive director, who was let go weeks ago, returned the BEC keys and laptop? I am appalled that the laptop is out there in the community with BEC membership lists, e-mails and presumably many other documents on it. That shows a lack of regard for laws, rules and regulations.

There were other actions discussed in the meeting that were equally concerning. For example, changing grant objectives after the fact so the money could be spent differently than agreed to seems inappropriate at best. Another example was failing to report for months to the board about the financial situation at BEC. I want to know that my donations are being spent wisely and well on behalf of our environment.

It is obvious from information shared by non-board members that there have been many personnel issues over the years. Apparently there have been at least three separate mediation sessions between various boards and the executive director. And yet the problems repeated over and over, through 17 years, without change.

I think this board showed clearly that it has strength, courage and vision. It put the needs of the entire organization before the needs of one employee, correcting years of dysfunction. Hurrah for that! Let’s now focus on what BEC can do and become with effective leadership. Let’s do some succession planning and look toward the goals handed out at the meeting. Engaging the membership is critical to BEC’s long-term success.

Cheryl Leeth

‘No fuel, no fire’

Re: “Snuffing the flames” (15 Minutes, by Therese Marucci, July 23):

I read the article about Sheen LeDuc’s invention of a “fireproof blanket,” and I think it is a great idea: no fuel, no fire. I do believe people would purchase a product to protect their homes from fire.

Hopefully a company will read this article and jump on board with Mr. LeDuc and make it possible to market. I would like to know if there is a follow-up to this story after someone contacts Mr LeDuc.

Gay Goodman

Moondog howls thanks

Re: Arts DEVO (by Jason Cassidy, July 16):

Thanks to Jason for his very kind words about me in Arts DEVO. Thanks also to the more than 200 people who came to my birthday party at the Grange Hall. Dave Guzzetti provided his usual fine food, the Alternators totally rocked, and lots of folks helped with setup, cleanup, etc.

If your real wealth is your friends, I’m a freakin’ billionaire!

BTW, some cards got separated from gifts and I’d love to know who gave me the gorgeous turtle print.

The party concluded with an acoustic jam out on the lawn with Dee Jayx and myself landing the Hip Hop Muthaship in the middle of the folk field. Check it out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk_ad9FqAhu. This geezer’s words of advice: Be compassionate, stay positive, and rawk on!

Jim Dwyer

Don’t blame, just train

Re: “Where is my baby?” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. Lapado, June 25):

As someone who has worked with people with developmental disabilities for more than 10 years, I am saddened and yet not shocked by the story of Dorothy Perry. I have met several parents with developmental disabilities who are successful parents, as well as a few who are not. Just as in the general population, a new parent needs support and encouragement, especially when the baby has a disability.

I’ve seen several parents with developmental disabilities lose custody of their children because it is assumed that they cannot adequately care for their child. Is that true in some cases? Of course, just as it is in the general population. But with Dorothy, I really don’t think it is the case.

This is beginning to become a well publicized case of CPS interfering when it is possibly not needed. But instead of laying blame, to me it just proves that more training is needed. CPS workers need to be educated on what to look for, specifically with a parent with a disability, so that decisions can finally be made through fact-based information, and not just assumptions.

Rebecca Finn

Editor’s note: For an update on the Perry case, see the Downstroke column.

More serious than stitches

Re: “Lesson learned” (Feature story, by Megan Wilson, Oct. 2, 2008)

Your article on DUI cases states, “Neither driver sustained serious injuries, although the motorcyclist had to get stitches on his shin.” That is a bit of an understatement.

I am the motorcyclist that Smith hit. I had a shattered sesamoid bone in my right foot that never healed correctly, so it still hurts when I walk, run or stand.

Also, my back and inner thighs had a combined 2 square feet of dark-black bruising, making it so I could not walk at all for a few days, and not well for about six months.

It irks me to read about Smith minimizing the damage he did, since he has permanently degraded my quality of life. By the way, those stitches pulled the flesh back over exposed bone.

I’m not hoping for any resolution; I just needed at least one more person to know Dylan Smith never completely owned up to what he did.

Calvin Leiker
Pleasant Hill, CA

Suck it up and write

The Suction Dredge Moratorium Bill—SB 670 (Pat Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa)—has passed both houses of the state Legislature by a two-thirds majority and is waiting for the governor’s signature. This is the second time around; last year the governor vetoed it.

There are many reasons to support this bill, but three that stand out in this year of budget woes are: 1) the negative effect that dredging has on the state’s fisheries, and therefore the economic impact on the commercial salmon fleet; 2) the $1 million-plus that administration of the program costs the California Department of Fish and Game in excess of the fees it brings in; and 3) the fact that approximately 3,000 recreational dredges are permitted. California taxpayers are subsidizing the recreation of this small portion of society while we close state parks for lack of funds.

This bill calls for a temporary moratorium on suction dredging in California’s waterways so the DFG can do environmental studies to quantify its effect. The DFG was tasked to do this study in 2004 and has made no progress yet. I urge you to write Gov. Schwarzenegger asking him to sign SB670.

Rich Meyers

Shelter in sight

I volunteer with Butte Humane Society and have a plea because BHS is absolutely deserving of a new state-of-the-art shelter. They’ve identified an ideal location, the old Chico Grocery Outlet store on Park Avenue, with four-plus acres! The shelter folks have big plans and are in the process of this major capital campaign to help not only build a new green shelter with solar power, renewable materials and rainwater harvesting, but also a grand center where people and animals can come together.

The current shelter is very old and leaky, with poor ventilation, lack of intake and adoption space. Overall, it’s way too small for the number of animals they rescue. Also, 50 percent of the dogs are subjected to the weather and elements, as there aren’t enough kennels to keep them indoors.

Chico temperatures can range from 20 degrees in the winter to 118 degrees during the summer. Indoor kennels make it more comfortable for the dogs and help them get better faster when sick. Cat rooms are always overcrowded, and a new shelter will offer more catteries and the opportunity to move cats and kittens up for adoption faster.

BHS is a low-kill shelter that takes in all types of animals and rescues animals from high-kill shelters across California. They euthanize an animal only if it’s too sick to live a healthy life after treatment or if it has extreme aggression. After almost 100 years, they finally have a terrific springboard to get a new shelter built for the thousands of animals that they care for yearly.

Please help and support BHS and allow this dream to come true; the animals deserve it!

Megan Rawie

‘A Wall Street rat’

Miracles never cease. The failed banks we rescued with billions in taxpayer-funded bailout money, according to reports, seem to have been surprisingly successful in generating very sizeable profits during the past quarter.

Based upon their past conduct and modus operandi, I smell a gigantic Wall Street rat and can’t escape the gnawing feeling that such positive bottom-line figures are actually comprised of transformed and reassigned bailout funds masquerading as profits. Lack of oversight and accountability is well documented, along with the reluctance and unwillingness of banks to provide credit and stimulate the economy, for which these funds were intended.

Such “positive” reports will undoubtedly be the basis for generous performance bonuses awarded to the very same people partially responsible for the financial meltdown and overall dilemma this country—and the world—finds itself in today.

The concept of democracy denotes politics from the bottom up; just ponder how far removed from it we find ourselves these days and what the chances of reversing that trend are.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff

We can’t wait anymore

The House and Senate are working on legislation to reform health care in America. Quality affordable health care that is accessible to all Americans is long overdue. The Congress is scheduled to go on recess in early August, thereby delaying the completion of their work on this vital legislation.

During the one-month recess when members of Congress will be on vacation: 143,250 people will lose their health-insurance coverage; 53,507 people will file for bankruptcy because they can’t pay their medical bills; 1,265 people will die because they lack coverage.

We need a robust public option that is available nationwide on day one (no triggers) and is accountable to Congress and the public. The public option will provide consumers with a choice operating alongside private insurers that will generate competition and promote greater-quality care at lower costs.

The American people have been waiting for 60 years, since Harry Truman’s presidency, for nationwide, affordable access to health care. We cannot wait. Congress should stay in D.C. and finish its work on the health-care bill.

Helena Kay

Welcome back, Chad

Yes, it’s true: After a two-year battle, I have overcome my leukemia and can now look forward to however many healthy and productive years. And so, from time to time CN&R readers will be treated to my hard-right views as well as my unwavering support for civil rights, affirmative action, reproductive choice, gay rights, etc.

My beef for this week: The roundabouts being built on Manzanita Avenue between East Avenue and Vallombrosa Avenue. It is hard to imagine a more shameless waste of public monies at a time of such budgetary stringency, the more so given that this project will not expedite traffic flow but rather will create serious hazards to drivers passing through this corridor. Anyone who has driven in England will immediately appreciate that roundabouts are not the be-all and end-all of traffic safety.

How many teachers could have been paid with the funds being thrown down the toilet of this utterly unnecessary and inadvisable project? How many of the numerous genuinely needed road projects in Chico could have been financed? Budgetary control begins with refusing to fund every pet project and saving the monies in question for times and projects of real need.

Chad Wozniak