Letters for June 12, 2014

A doctor’s take

Re “Health care sabotage” (Cover feature, by Chris Parker, June 5):

Chris Parker’s article is correct. Let me detail what trying to accept ACA (Obamacare) health plans has meant to a small local medical group. We decided to accept the regular Blue Cross and Blue Shield Exchange plans, but not the Medi-Cal ones—the payment rate is too low to be economic for a private provider.

Toward the end of last year, ahead of the Jan. 1 start date, both Blue Shield and Blue Cross did not have the sign-up forms available. Blue Cross eventually did it via an electronic system that we already used, so easy; Blue Shield wanted a complete application from each provider, duplicating the one we have for the regular contract, and no electronic system. It took two to three weeks to find out the payment rates—at first, neither would tell us!

After Jan. 1, Blue Cross took three to four months to pay claims, although under state law they must pay within 21 days. Pay is a relative term; most patients have large deductibles, and we have to get them to pay—not an easy task when most can barely afford the insurance at all. Next problem, most specialists won’t take the insurance, because of the hassles, and so the patient has to travel a long distance to get help. Hardly a good outcome considering the cost and disruption caused by ACA. Something simpler would have been better.

Roy L. Bishop, MD
Argyll Medical Group

Fame or shame?

Re “Cut and run” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, June 5):

It makes for good debate whether Nakamura qualifies for the Chico Hall of Fame or Wall of Shame. The E-R wants awards while the CN&R says good riddance.

Nakamura didn’t create the budget mess; his predecessors did. He could have lied, hidden or ignored it all just like so many others had done. No fun, I’m sure. It created enemies and heartbreak. The CN&R made a good point asking why the City Council hadn’t properly vetted Nakamura to know his past. Why this continues to happen with so many key positions is perplexing.

As Daugherty’s editorial rightfully says, Nakamura is now leaving a huge mess behind. Don’t just give him credit for fixing budgets. Get the town through the hard changes and to the other side, and then and only then have you done your job.

The good news is that Nakamura left after two years. I am sure Chico Unified School District wishes that they had released Scott Brown that quickly. Some of our elected officials have created nightmares that affect our town long after they leave.

Do your homework this time. Find good people who not only manage funds but also manage people properly. Then you have a keeper.

Dominic Tabor

Editor’s note: According to reports in this newspaper, former CUSD Superintendent Scott Brown decided to leave his post after six years.

The first and most tangible conversation I had with Mr. Nakamura was at the Alcohol Summit on the Chico State campus in February 2013. I gave him advice based on my experience as a change agent at a major computer firm: “Communicate, communicate, communicate. Place emphasis on a communication plan and get a competent and seasoned person to manage it.”

He nodded and made mention of the type of person who would fit the bill. When I replied, “someone with a communication degree,” he presented one of the finest duh, dumb-question looks I have ever seen.

Change most often fails, or stumbles, due to poor communication. This is a lesson for everyone in the community struggling to swing the pendulum. Be honest and communicate what people don’t want to hear right alongside what they do, even if your voice shakes.

Bill Mash

Cops and money

Re “Alarms ignored” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, May 29):

Have some Chico homeowners and businesses become pawns in the tension between the City Council and the police department over salaries, benefits and staffing levels?

The recent police department decision to stop responding to any automated security alarms could nudge one toward that conclusion. With this one public pronouncement, the department has substantially destroyed the deterrent value of hundreds of home and business security systems purchased at no small expense by local citizens.

It isn’t that I don’t understand the problem. I do. I understand that when staffing levels go down organizations cannot continue business as usual. But I don’t understand why the department has to make a public announcement that is a virtual invitation for bad guys to disregard security systems; I don’t understand why this has to be an “all or nothing” proposition; and I don’t understand why the department spokesman said the policy change isn’t about money and that once staffing levels improve “other methods may be considered”—whatever that means. After all, staffing is about nothing but money.

I hope the City Council will not let this high-impact policy change go forward without a public inquiry into its cause and need.

Tony St. Amant

The announcement that the Chico Police Department will not respond to sensor-tripped burglar alarms should be a wake-up call to the citizens of Chico that the under-staffing of officers is a crisis demanding swift resolution. In the best of budget times, being a cop is extremely stressful. Now the stress level is ridiculous.

Is there any solution other than raising taxes? We need to hire more officers, and we need to treat them better. You are hearing this from an old-school leftist and peace protester. I don’t like paying taxes, and as a struggling small-business person, it isn’t easy to find the money. But enough is enough.

I am thankful that the department is maintaining professionalism and courtesy, given the conditions they must endure. They aren’t perfect, but they deserve better, much better. And when staffing is adequate, we will get more services that we citizens want and need. City Council, please act on this now, not next budget season.

David Grau

Why so costly?

Re “Return of the spring-run” (Greenways, by Howard Hardee, June 5):

The idea that it would cost $2.2 million to fix the fish ladder in Big Chico Creek seems insane! Did it cost an equivalent amount back in 1958? Do we need giant machinery in there? Isn’t it just concrete and reinforcing bar (rebar)? Couldn’t volunteers put up temporary barriers to divert the water bit by bit while they poured new concrete forms and such?

With good guidance it’d be fairly simple work. If we had a couple of paid project leaders who knew what they were doing, and teams of local conservationist-minded volunteers, it seems it could be done for a fraction of the proposed cost. Just saying!

Jake Davis

On the primary

Butte County Elections Office, thank you for all the work that was done to make it possible for as many citizens as possible to vote in Tuesday’s primary. Voting is one of our most cherished liberties.

My wife and I went to vote at Our Divine Savior Catholic Church Social Hall at 566 E. Lassen Ave. As we opened the front doors, directly in front of us were many Catholic religious symbols and icons that we found intrusive and offensive. When going to exercise our democratic rights, we should not be forced to be indoctrinated with other people’s beliefs. I’m sure there would be more complaints if a less popular religion was being advertised.

Understanding that there may not be enough secular locations available, the location that was used should at least cover their religious-related promotions. People of different faiths or no faith at all might get the impression that the state was sponsoring a particular religion. If we’re forced to use churches, mosques or synagogues, please consider requesting those locations to cover their religious paraphernalia.

Chuck Samuels

Sarcasm intended

Mayor Gruendl, thank you for making our food so safe (signing city of Chico GMO resolution on June 3, 2014). Do you think you and your council may now have time to help make the city safer? Or is this your council’s new Chico way? Shootings, stabbings and high crime rate!

Michael Reilley

Editor’s note

Last week, CN&R allowed a letter writer to call frequent letter writer Rick Clements a liar, referring back to a 2010 controversy in which Clements called a community member’s military record into question. We apologize for the “liar” depiction. At the time, Clements apologized for the charge, saying his accusation had been “erroneous.”

More on the primary

I am writing to express my gratitude to the voters and my valued supporters for the confidence they’ve demonstrated in my ability and commitment to serving the citizens of Butte County. I am honored to be entrusted with the duties of treasurer-tax collector, and dedicated to preserving the tradition of fiscal conservatism and prudent management of public funds for the benefit of the citizens of Butte County.

I’ve never before run for an elected office, and I must say it was quite an experience. I could not have continued to work full-time at the office and achieve the desired result without the stellar efforts of my sister, Dot Morris, who put her consultant business largely on hold to manage my campaign over the past few months—she is amazing. Our husbands, family, colleagues and friends, old and new, reached out to support my quest—thank you so much!

And, I truly appreciate all of the professionals supporting the political process who reached out to us, assisting in making this campaign meaningful, including the local newspapers who endorsed me for office. Last but not least, thank you to Linda Barnes for being a great leader, mentor and supporter, and to my staff, who do a truly remarkable job serving Butte County’s citizens.

Peggy Moak

Give John a boat

To many people in this area, the name John Scott means nothing. John Scott is the owner of Scotty’s Bar & Grill as well as a public boat launch. John is a very kind and generous man. He has been called a “hero” by many.

John saves many lives each year as the river gets inundated with tubers and fishermen. He will get a call for help and drop everything he is doing to jump in his boat and go out onto the river in search of the person in need. John has never asked for anything in return. A smile and a thank you will always suffice.

The Butte and Glenn County sheriffs’ offices also respond to these calls with all of their “expensive” life-saving equipment. The outcome is always the same: John Scott has already taken care of the situation. Then John goes back to Scotty’s and the sheriff’s rescue waits for the TV camera crew.

Times are tough for our counties right now, but there should be a way to provide John with a boat for these types of rescues. With all the property that is confiscated by law enforcement every year, I think they could “squeeze” out a boat for river rescues. This makes perfect sense. Neither county is out the money and John will have a boat for rescues—after all, John is the first responder out on the river!

Sam F. Netto

Thanking Thurza

The Realtors had a party the other night to celebrate one of our very own, Thurza Andrew, who has been an inspiration to so many of us for so long. For more than 30 years she taught and inspired her students at Butte College and sent them out to help people in our community.

In her spare time she traveled the world and graced us with her stories of foreign places. Thank you to Dave Donnan for facilitating this party and Ed Burns for allowing us to use the Crystal Room. Most of all, thank you, Thurza, for a stellar career and making us proud to be realtors.

Geri Lee

‘Poisonous speech’

Re “It’s called editing” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, May 8):

I certainly believe in free speech. Voicing one’s opinion gives way to others voicing theirs, and offers all parties new perspectives that will lead to better understanding. Yet sometimes free speech becomes an obligation. This is particularly the case when something so egregious is stated that one is compelled to respond in order to neutralize the poison in a transgressor’s words.

I believe Anthony Peyton Porter’s writings on Sid Lewis fall into the realm of poisonous speech. He has the right to believe that having sex with children is natural, and that those who are opposed to this practice are Puritans, or that a man has a right to masturbate in front of his 17-year-old housecleaner because he is in his own home. Mr. Porter has the right to believe this, but don’t we have the obligation to make it clear that this is a dangerous belief and will lead to severe harm if left unanswered?

Daniel Barth

Regarding fracking

Members of the StoptheButteBan.com are the Western States Petroleum Association, Independent Oil Producers Agency and the Independent Petroleum Association. These same businesses are lobbying to pass Senate Bill 2274, the fast tracking and authorization to export liquid natural gas (LNG).

SB 2274 will allow the global sale of our natural gas, destroying our nation’s energy independence goals and increasing domestic prices by two or three times. These greedy businesses think you are dumb enough to fall for their false title of Butte Citizens Against Higher Energy costs.

Japan is currently paying $13.90 MBtu for natural gas, three times our domestic price. Can you afford to pay global energy prices? SB 2274 is good for greedy energy corporations and Wall Street, but it will harm U.S. consumers and manufacturers. Please tell Congress “no” to energy exports and selling off our energy independence and our children’s future energy reserves.

Dave Garcia

Focusing on good stuff

We have focused in the past on what is wrong in our political and economic systems and have created fear. What you focus on expands.

Today I would like to focus on what’s right. We live in a beautiful place [with] wonderful parks, rivers and lakes where we can walk, read and enjoy our wonderful life; loving, giving, joyous people we can attract with just a smile and a friendly word; a fine library, where we can learn about anything; loads of live entertainment both in music and theater; access to fine medical care and fine food; healthy lifestyle farmers’ markets and health food stores and caregivers; churches, where love and friends can be found; good people in local government. We have a warm place to live, cars to drive, and the ability to travel freely and express ourselves freely.

[We also have the] ability to be creative in whatever we do; a mind with thoughts that we can change to make our lives better—a free message on your computer to start your day on a positive note at www.tut.com or www.abraham-hicks.com.

Live it and love it. Enjoy.

Norm Dillinger