Letters for March 28, 2013

Cover story: two views

Re: “Searching for snipes” (Cover story, by Don Regis-Bilar, March 21):

About one month ago, I met Don as he was palling around with CN&R News Editor Tom Gascoyne. Introductions were made, greetings exchanged and the two of them went on their way. My initial impression of Don was that he was an at-ease fellow, intelligent, soft spoken and casually dressed. Yet, I suspected there was more to know about him than what I was able to initially perceive.

Last Thursday I picked up your latest edition and, like most people, immediately scanned the front page to see the lead story. To my surprise there was Don. I got into my car and immediately read the article. And when I finished I read it again.

I knew I had missed something upon my first encounter with Don. He is a very talented writer. The piece he authored is insightful, moving and compelling. I had no idea Don has struggled as he has described. But I have no doubt he will recover. Maybe his writing abilities will be a key component of his recovery. Perhaps the CN&R can be a small building block, too. Good luck, Don.

Terry Moore

The author is a Chico police officer.

Don entrusted me with a draft of this article back in January. He wanted my feedback, which I gave. He thanked me. An hour later he said, “You were trying to tell me it was a little timid.”

“Indeed, Don, timid is an excellent one-word description.”

Don went on to describe his abuse at the hands of both parents and his personal difficulties as a child, young man and into adulthood. It was wrenching. I interjected, “That’s not timid, Don; that’s the honesty that will make the piece shine.”

I ran into Don at the City Plaza the day “Searching for snipes” hit the streets. He was so happy to see me and have a true friend to talk to. “I’m surprised how stressed out I am about the article,” he said.

We had lunch, and we talked and shared our friendship. I asked Don how many of the homeless in Chico have serious mental illness. “Oh gosh, at least 50 percent.” I concurred.

As we went our separate ways, Don said, “I’m so glad I met you today, Bill. Talking to you was exactly what I needed. I feel so much better now.” I replied, “I’m proud of you Don.”

I look forward to having Don’s valuable “draft” opinion of a third-person piece on the 50 percent suffering the cruel realities of severe mental illness, with no safe place to call home.

Bill Mash

Grand jury challenged

Re “Rogues’ gallery” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, March 21):

Sharing Robert Speer’s ongoing frustration with state Sen. Jim Nielsen’s misrepresentation of his actual permanent residence, I submitted a formal Butte County Grand Jury complaint on this issue on Oct. 10, 2012.

My intent was to suggest that Butte County Clerk-Recorder Candace Grubbs may have been complicit with Tehama County officials in rubber-stamping Nielsen’s misleading residency in his run for the 12-county 4th Senate District (which includes portions of Butte County).

Ms. Grubbs is on record as having said (when Nielsen was a state assemblyman) that, as long as Nielsen owned property in the 2nd Assembly District, he could register to vote and run for office there even if he slept outside the district on most nights. This statement clearly runs counter to California Government Code Section 24001.

My contention to the grand jury stated that there should clearly be some sort of inter-county oversight in place to ensure that a candidate who intends to run for office in a 12-county district does, indeed, permanently reside within one of the counties in that district.

I sincerely hope the grand jury acts on this concern. We’ll see when its final report sees the light of day on July 1.

Mark S. Gailey

The story’s other side

Re “It’s union vs. union” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, March 14):

BCEA represents the largest group of employees working for Butte County. While we are preparing for negotiations on a new contract, and others are still negotiating on last year’s contract, you have attempted to show management that their employees are divided and leaderless. You are wrong.

Butte County claims to have money problems and puts the blame and the cure on its employees. The county did not want to have a two-way conversation about their labor costs and benefits. However, BCEA continues to meet and confer and was able to make a rotten deal less rotten.

Getting a bad deal is not due to employee representation, as UPEC signed off on the same deal for one of its groups and refused to accept it for another. Thus the county forced the deal on them, as allowed by law.

Members of BCEA are planning for their next contract, and our battle should be with Butte County, not with a rival labor group trying to force themselves on us at the request of a few disgruntled members.

BCEA and its members should have had a response in your story. We are local, we are your neighbors, we are many, and we are easy to find.

Randy Frieze

This stinks too

Re “Sewage smells” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, March 21):

Sewage is not the only problem with this building. I have contacted the owners of the DownLo on multiple occasions and spoken to their managers regarding their broken lift for persons with disabilities. The DownLo has participated in [the Halloween festivity] Treat Street with no way for persons with disabilities to gain access to their establishment.

The signage on the lift says to use the call button to contact them, but the call button does not work. The phone numbers the city Finance Department and Downtown Chico Business Association has for them do not work, and they do not have a listed telephone number that is easily obtainable. Calls to the phone number listed for Lost on Main go unreturned.

If the DownLo is actually as responsible as the city says it is, they will get their lift fixed and stop offering to carry disabled persons down the stairs to their facility. And as far as the University Bar goes, they may have an operational elevator, but they have no way to contact anyone to use it.

Becky Barnes-Boers

The author, who uses a wheelchair, is an advocate for the disabled.

The impact of inflation

Re “A vision of the future” (The Greenhouse, by Christine LaPado-Breglia, March 14):

As reported, Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, proposed the notion of a negative interest rate on savings so that money loses value when kept in a bank, rather than being spent immediately, so it will “be recirculated into the economy quickly.” I found this to be curious, since that is the prevailing situation in our economy.

The current average nominal interest rate paid on savings is 0.2 percent per year, while the most recent inflation rate (CPI-U) is 2.0 percent. Thus the inflation rate is 10 times as high as the relevant interest rate, meaning that money held in savings accounts increasingly loses value. The real interest rate is -1.8 percent per year.

Also, banks and credit unions lend the money to those who want to spend more than they have, which puts it into the economy. So the money gets used until the saver needs it to spend himself or herself. Checking accounts typically already incur direct fees.

Am I to understand that he is recommending the status quo?

Patricia J. Lindsey, Ph.D.

A liar or an idiot?

Re “Notes from a gun nut” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, March 14):

Jaime O’Neill is either a liar or an idiot; which is it? He says he loves guns, owns four handguns, and has loved guns his entire life. Then he rails against the National Rifle Association, a group of target shooters and hunters whose main goal is to protect our constitutional right to own firearms. I’m guessing idiot.

Bill Smith


Our Healthlines feature last week, “The fourth dimension,” incorrectly identified Ben Mullin, director of cardiopulmonary services at Feather River Hospital, as an M.D. He is a registered respiratory therapist.—ed.