Letters for June 21, 2007
‘Tip of a $200 million iceberg’
Re: “Line-item veto” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, June 14):
The fact that the city is in a financial crisis is no surprise to those of us who are dedicated budget watchers. What is a surprise is the scope and depth of the problem.
Even a superficial review of the proposed budget indicates the much-publicized $56 million, 10-year general-fund deficit is the tip of a probable $200 million iceberg. This is predicated on two major items in the proposed 2007-08 budget: $58.8 million in funds such as gas tax revenues that are projected to be transferred to the general fund to reduce the deficit; and the omission of increased staffing requirements for the next 10 years.
Other areas of the budget also appear to be in trouble. Infrastructure requirements (police, fire, new street construction) and road maintenance and reconstruction (all funded from different budget revenue sources) are not included in the financial overview. In addition, the redevelopment agency budget must be reviewed in terms of the impact on the general fund and infrastructure plans. The total 10-year revenue shortfall for city/redevelopment requirements will probably be closer to half a billion dollars.
CN&R has done a remarkable job of publicizing the city’s financial problems. Richard Ek’s thorough research and excellent reporting on city employees’ pay and benefits packages [”Breaking the bank,” March 29] should be mandatory reading for all taxpayers, and Evan Tuchinsky’s column “Line-item veto” is a great kickoff for community-wide discussion.
The financial mess is in the hands of the City Council’s Finance Committee. I hope the CN&R will keep close tabs on its meetings.
Breaking the law enforcers
Re: “Mean streets” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, June 14):
I feel sorry for cops—it’s not John Wayne work; it’s picking up drunks. About half of all police reports are from people calling up the police to use them for their own personal vendettas or because they want attention. Half of all police deaths every year are suicides—it’s depressing work, like being a human-garbage collector.
Michael M. Peters
You have done a tremendous service to the ongoing debate about the sorry state of our so-called “health care system.” Finally, a newspaper has provided fair coverage of this issue, mostly by including SB 840, authored by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, into the mix of bills that deserve serious consideration. As one of the active members of OneCareNow, I am deeply grateful for your endorsement of SB 840.
Reading the articles brought three points to mind:
1. On many occasions, Gov. Schwarzenegger has explained his disdain for the “hidden tax” caused by the uninsured. I do not disagree with his opinion, but he leaves out many effects. The uninsured are not only taxing the insured, they are also taxing the hospitals and the public health infrastructure and budgets.
2. Apparently, handing out information face-to-face may still be an effective means of educating the citizenry.
3. If “the system itself is failing people,” then why in blazes would we choose to continue utilizing that same system when logic and good planning would dictate jumping to an entirely new system?
AARP, one of the sponsoring organizations of Chico’s “town hall meeting” with Gov. Schwarzenegger, has sponsored similar events around the state. As an AARP member, I previously trusted that AARP—a nonprofit with a mission statement to lobby on behalf of its 38 million senior members—would be an advocate for the best interests of seniors. However, there seems to be a conflict of interest between its mission statement and its profits from selling health insurance policies.
In March, when I received my AARP Bulletin, I saw Arnold splashed on the cover, dressed up like a doctor, selling his health-care plan. The timing coincided with AARP advertising its 2008 plans to offer new health insurance policies. Why is the governor selling insurance instead of representing the interests of the people of California?
Norma Wilcox, R.N.
Power point I
Re: “Meanwhile, professor Sharma says …” (Letters, by Brahama D. Sharma, CN&R, June 14):
Yes, pollution is pollution (and heat from jet fuel is heat), but the critical question is how much. Electric cars produce three times less carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline cars, according to EVWorld.com. That figure is based on recharging cars from coal-fired power grids. They can also be recharged from solar panels. Power for grids is also becoming cleaner with renewable-energy sources.
Using less energy means following the path of least resistance. By going with the flow of people’s current habits, the transition to sustainability occurs peacefully. People at peace have fewer burning desires to consume energy. A mind at peace is open to seeing connections, so it naturally makes current decisions with the future in mind.
Power point II
Re: “A smoked red herring” (Editorial, CN&R, June 7):
Your editorial implies that I have no interest in alternate energy or conservation. That’s not the case; I’m very pro alternate energy. Ironically, today [June 13] is the one-year anniversary of the solar power project for Little Chico Creek School that I spearheaded as a CUSD trustee.
My skeptical interest in climate change has to do with my meteorology background. If we are going to make wholesale policy changes based on the science, it needs to be bulletproof. When science becomes politicized, we have to look closer. That’s what I’m doing.
Re: “Parenting” (From The Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, CN&R, June 14):
As an African-American sculptor and writer newly arrived to the Chico/Paradise area, I want to express my views on this article. Maybe it’s because I have lived in Sweden for most of my life that I don’t get Mr. Porter’s views on raising children. At first I thought it was a joke, and I would get the kicker (not his ass kicking of his sons, but a funny, upside end to his article). If he was joking, it was a bad joke.
He writes that he would kill his sons for a host of offenses if they didn’t obey his fascist thinking and orders. My siblings and I were brought up with this fear of father that he talks about. If we didn’t obey my father’s commands, we would get the hell beat out of us, and that included my mother. Lucky for us, he died at an early age. In spite of it all, we managed to love him.
Mr. Porter’s “old school” parenting shows his exiguous mind. This article would have never been accepted in an African-American newspaper, and yet a liberal 99.9 percent white publication chose to run it. I can well understand why Europeans think that we are the most violent people in the Western world.
Editor’s note: Anthony Peyton Porter’s column, covering whatever subject he chooses, runs weekly.
Re: “Welcome back, Kuyper” (Downstroke, CN&R, June 14):
This letter is in regard to Action News weatherman Dave Vanore. From a viewer perspective, the station’s decision to demote him appears to be one of the biggest lapses of judgment by a management team ever made. My guess is that the decision-making process was money-driven, and if so, I wonder just how much it will help with improving the good old bottom line.
Why would a business like television that relies so much on viewer trust cut its primary ties with someone who has sailed to the top of the familiarity scale in the community? From my experiences with watching people on television, whether small scale or large, it seems the ones who really make their mark are the ones with a big batch of charisma. Vanore not only had that covered, but he also had a great talent for telling a good weather story.
Perhaps it’s time for a change in one of the larger offices over there off Eaton Road.
Don’t poke the ‘PIG
Re: “Oink oink” (The Days of Lore, by Mark Lore, CN&R, June 14):
Though I’m sorry to learn that one local radio source for hip-hop music has been eliminated, I am overjoyed to learn of KPIG’s arrival. Mark Lore writes that KPIG is “more in line with our fair, white-bread town of Chico, and it’s no doubt a savvy business move.” There may be truth to the statement, and while I long for more local diversity, I feel the words are dismissive of KPIG.
KPIG, out of Freedom (Santa Cruz County), is a legendary station with a varied and intelligent playlist, a sense of humor, and a huge Internet following. Chico joins San Francisco and San Luis Obispo in choosing to welcome this radio station into our daily lives. How did we get so lucky?