Letters for July 5, 2001

Nurses need a union
I am writing in response to the letter written by Janie Kunz ["Beware the battle,” June 14]. I am sorry, Ms. Kunz, that your experience with your union was so unpleasant. I was also disappointed that you didn’t mention whether you are still working as a nurse. I hope that you are.

I am sure that the community and physicians will be displeased if we, the nurses of Enloe, strike. This is the very reason that we chose the California Nurses Association to represent us. The CNA has negotiated 350 contracts over the last 10 years. During that time only 17 strikes have occurred. Also, a majority of votes must be cast by the nursing staff for a strike to occur. The CNA represents 37,000 nurses statewide at 140 hospitals. Not only are they working to make conditions better for nurses, they have also successfully backed legislation (AB 394) that sets mandatory nurse-patient ratios.

Most Enloe nurses have been employed here for 10-plus years. We were long insulated from the effects of the nursing shortage. Times are changing, as you wrote. As staffing was cut and nurses were required to accept assignments they couldn’t manage, many quit. The nursing shortage in Chico was created by this administration’s policies. Those nurses are still here in Chico and just do not want to accept these policies. Those of us who remain have chosen to regain our power with the help of the CNA. We will remain professional even if we have to strike. But we are not willing to simply accept the changes that are occurring in our profession. Not when they are wrong.

Cynthia Tinker, RN

Art rocks
The newly completed stone-and-metal sculpture down at the end of Park Avenue doesn’t seem to make much sense as art. The stones are beautiful but not served by this presentation, either in form, function or substance.

What I see is a sort of immobile Calder mobile—a sort of vestigial Ferris wheel with orthodontics that has nothing to do with the stone that it is. Just what the apparent motive, or motif—which I think comes under “Pending Gravity and Staggering Stones"—describes or has to do with stones is baffling. Because these are stunning stones, basalt columns, essentially one huge crystal (forgive me, you who are geologists), symmetrical yet plastic and varied with wonderful hexagonal or pentagonal sided facets—some of them weighing tons and 20 feet tall.

It seems to me that what these are about, or should be about, is not gravity, in this interpretation, but, rather, the incredible heat and pressure that made the stones and formed then into perfect but infinitely varied forms. And they are glorious; that glory is all they need. The finest of them rival any prehistoric standing stone, such as those in western Scotland, the Hebrides or at Carnac, Brittany, western France; finer than an Egyptian obelisk. It seems a shame to display them in this jumbled proposal.

Malcolm Minasian

Communists and conservationists
I’m compelled to offer a different opinion in regards to Sherri Quammen’s recent letter ["Canaries in a coal mine,” June 28]. Sherri asks for more understanding from conservatives and then paints them with a brush full of mean stereotypes.

There is a pernicious myth that conservatives who support freedom and private-property rights are somehow “anti-environment,” and that anyone who objects to an environmental movement that reeks of communist overtones must want to destroy the earth. On the flipside, we are supposed to believe that pathological liars like Bill Clinton are trustworthy on environmental issues, and that people who rename themselves “Feather” and sleep in trees are playing with a full deck!

Sherri, when you assume that only liberals can be real environmentalists, you are assuming way too much. It was a Republican president who formed the Environmental Protection Agency, and it was Democrat Bill Clinton who allowed a country that is anything but “dolphin safe” to use that label to increase tuna sales in the United States Right now in Third World countries, millions of people are dying of malaria due to the “success” of environmentalists in banning DDT (DDT was used to control mosquitoes, which carry the disease).

Conservatives breathe air and drink water and have the same stake in the environment as anyone else. We believe that taking a serious and responsible look at environmental issues, while taking into consideration economic and human matters, is a far better way to manage the earth than denouncing SUVs at a Grateful Dead concert. If you really care about long-term environmental planning, could it be you’re on the wrong side?

Steve Thompson

Shift in the power paradigm
Immediately after Measure A was so soundly defeated, the local papers were full of speculation and post-mortems as to why it happened. Here are my conclusions about that.

The Otterson Drive issue was important to a relatively small number of people, but for a much larger number of people it had symbolic value. They noted that the good old boys’ club supported the completion of the Otterson Drive extension and the expansion of the Hegan Lane industrial park. Membership in the good old boys’ club includes the conservative members of the Chico City Council, the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce, commercial and residential developers and various power brokers.

The ordinary citizens have observed the machinations and dealings of the club for years. They have watched the flow of influence money and financial contributions to political candidates. Many residents have been left with the feeling that they are powerless, that the power is elsewhere. So, when they saw who was backing Measure A, they decided that at least symbolically they could take back a little bit of the power that the good old boys had usurped over the years. It is very likely there will be more of these “power to the people” events in the coming years.

Paul Smith

Who’s crying now?
After reading Chico Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Goodwin’s column regarding the Measure A special election in the July Business Monthly, I was motivated to offer a few observations of my own.

Goodwin’s crybaby allegations of improprieties aside, the “No” side ran what might be described as a textbook grassroots campaign led by people of righteous conviction who were deeply motivated to stop what they honestly felt was a bad idea. Virtually every penny they raised came from within this community, and they put in thousands of person hours getting their word out to the voters.

The “Yes” side raised around $60,000, a lot of it from out-of-town real estate and developer political-action committees, and tried to run their campaign by remote control through some San Diego consulting outfit. They ended up spending about $15 a vote and still couldn’t shove their bad idea down this community’s throat.

In his column, Goodwin has the temerity to criticize the No side for being politically motivated. Well duh! In this day and age, issues of this stripe are bound to get political. Experience has taught those who oppose the big-money political machine in this community that you have to be serious or your chances of winning go from slim to none real quick.

I agree with Goodwin’s assessment that there are issues still to be resolved with traffic and such in that part of our community. Workable solutions will come about only when those who live there are given the respect and choice they deserve in the outcome.

Dan Carter