Letters for June 14, 2001

The real tragedy
I read Phil Elkins’ letter ["Enough already,” May 31], and as a Vietnam veteran myself I thought I’d add my two bits’ worth: Yeah, we vets haven’t exactly been given the royal treatment. In fact, that entire generation was disenfranchised. We were the best and the brightest, and we had some ideas on how to make the world (at last) a safe, sane place; unfortunately those ideas didn’t get a chance to be implemented. That’s the big tragedy.

On the other hand, we didn’t lose the war, as popular culture contends. We left Vietnam in 1972, and three years later, in 1975, the South Vietnamese lost, not us. I don’t ever recall losing.

Every professional soldier knows all wars are the same—dirty business. Fifty-two million people were killed in WWII, yet WWII is considered a “good” war. In reality, it was just a bunch of xenophobes gone mad, the ugliest war in all human history.

Maybe someday we Vietnam veterans will get our 40 acres and a mule, but I kinda doubt it. In the meantime I went and got my university degree and am into teaching and Hollywood screenwriting. The big problem in my life is that Hollywood keeps stealing my scripts.

Michael M. Peters
Red Bluff

She was there
I sincerely hope that the people who pick up and read your newspaper are aware of its contents and credibility. Your “news” paper is just another rag-mag full of lies, half-truths and hearsay. I would credit the National Enquirer and the Globe to be more chock-full of facts than the Chico News & Review.

The item ["Murder suspect bagged in Las Vegas,” Briefly, May 31] was intended to be a fictional story, correct? (Low-budget fiction at that.) Your article had no truth in it whatsoever. If you are going to print such high-caliber, life-altering stories, you should make sure that you get your facts right.

The real facts that your story missed are as follows: Never did Chad Smith fire at or point a weapon of any kind at the Las Vegas police or any other officer. A gun or any other weapon has never been recovered from my 1982 Datsun. In addition I, Velvet Bennett, was only charged with one count of assault on a police officer. Plus, Chad Smith has never spent time in any jail or prison for domestic violence, ever!

This information comes from a very reliable source: I was right there. So, before you go to final print with next week’s edition, I suggest that you double-check the smut you are trying to pass off as news. Does the word proofread mean anything to anyone? How about these words: innocent until proven guilty. You should be sued for slander, because the lies that you are distributing are poisoning the truth and misleading to the public. All of which can be and has been very damaging to a person’s life, present as well as their future.

I hope and expect to see a retraction and or a correction to this article. Along with an apology, for all that it’s worth, since the damage that you’ve done can never be undone or compensated for. Quit spreading rumors or quit calling your paper a “news” paper.

Velvet Bennett-Smith

Editor’s response: The information for our story came from a Chico Police Department press release and Butte County court documents. We did make one mistake, however: The police report said that Smith pulled a gun while being chased by Las Vegas officers, not that he fired it, as we said he did. We apologize for this error but otherwise stand by our story.

Fond farewell
As most of my friends, acquaintances and readers would attest, I’m not often short for words. However, I am sad to share that education has lost a true professional educator and a life-long supporter of children and children’s issues.

Tom Evans, who served as Butte county superintendent of schools from 1958 to 1975, was a powerful advocate for children and a great leader in K-12 education in Butte County and California. The recent obituary in the Chico Enterprise Record summarizes his focus on the well being of our youth.

I am proud to be his close friend and fellow county superintendent. I am also happy that John Nopel, former assistant superintendent for Butte County Schools, Duane Powers, former Butte County superintendent of schools and I were able to spend quality time with Tom during his last days.

Thanks, Tom Evans, for all you have given to the schools and children of Butte County. Thanks also for the memories during our last “cabinet meeting.” You are missed.

Jerry McGuire, superintendent
Butte County Schools

Close Cowtown U
The recent purge of pianist Caren Levine ["So Long Sonata,” Backbeat, May 31] proves that Chico State today is still the same shudderingly embarrassing sort of podunk, cowtown college that ran off writers John Gardner and Raymond Carver more than 30 years ago. Genuinely gifted people are simply not welcome at an institution that hires a CIA agent as president, exists to nurture nascent alcoholics toward ag and business degrees, and occasionally inflicts upon the land genuinely dangerous resource-murderers like Jason Peltier and Rusty Areias.

The school should be closed.

Kevin Jeys

Beware the battle
Having just moved to Chico, I am amazed and appalled by the battle being waged at Enloe Medical Center between the nurses and administration. I have been in nursing for 25 years, and the unionization of nurses is all too familiar. Back in the ‘80s, I too participated in the unionization of a hospital back east. We felt that our life at the hospital was intolerable and were justified and proud when we voted to strike. After all, we had the full support of the physicians and community behind us. That is until we actually walked off of our jobs and onto the picket line.

It was amazing how quickly the physicians and community turned on us, and how the nurses who crossed our picket line became the heroes. Ten weeks later, when the strike was finally settled, things never got better. Many of us who were the staunch supporters of our cause ended up in different hospitals because working relationships between the doctors and nurses never recovered. As for the union paying your bills while you’re out on strike, well, we never saw a cent. And, yes, we were represented by the collective bargaining unit of our state nurses’ association.

Times are changing in the world of nursing all over, and change is never easy. You can either fight it or embrace it and grow with it. The only way for the profession to survive is for the nurses to remain professional, not give their power away to anyone else, and never allow a situation to arise where the public can denounce them.

Janie Kunz

The trouble with SSI
Social Security started out as a worthy program but has steadily been getting worse. People have been paying higher and higher taxes while receiving the same benefit (the tax rate is five times higher than in 1950). It is time we privatize, thus allowing people to save more money.

Americans have a very low savings rate; Social Security is a major part of the problem. It reduces savings, because people don’t have the money to save (high SSI taxes), and they don’t have the urgency (SSI will take care of them). If we were to put people’s SSI in IRAs, it would give people a much greater rate of return. Even with the latest ups and downs of the market, it is still up a huge amount from 20 years ago. If people were given a refundable tax credit to see a financial planner, even poor people with little education on investing would be much better off than in the current system that assures they will be poor their entire lives.

Don’t continue the system of continually raising taxes and the retirement age.

Andrew Pierce