Letters for March 5, 2009

Speaking up in support of midwifery
Re: “Chico’s first nurse-midwife jumps ship” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, Feb. 26):

When I read that Lisa Catterall is ending her 25 years of service as a nurse-midwife at Enloe “not because she wants to,” my grandmotherly blood began to simmer. And when I read that “a vote taken by eight local obstetricians who deliver babies at the hospital resulted in a majority being against her having her practice under Enloe’s umbrella,” I really got hot.

Then an acronym came to me: WOMB—Women Organized to Midwife Babies. What if all the women in Chico who support the choice of midwifery were to “speak truth to power”? What if the members of all the women’s organizations sent e-mails and letters to Enloe telling them what women want?

Many women want midwives. It is better for the mother and better for the babies. As a social worker for 40 years, I have seen too many adults and children whose sad stories began with a traumatic birth attended by a physician.

This issue is not a health-care crisis due to the economy; it is a crisis in our value system. We can afford what we truly value. Do we value a woman’s choice of a provider, or do the obstetricians get to decide?

I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that gave me hope. It said, “Midwives—back by popular demand.”

Renee Renaud

I just wanted to emphasize what a great loss to our community the closure of the Enloe-based midwife service is. It is an outrage that Enloe allowed the physicians to vote out their biggest competition.

The United States’ maternal/child health-care system is in a crisis. The national rate of cesarean section is 30 percent. This means that one out of three women going into a U.S. hospital to give birth leaves having had major abdominal surgery. According to the World Health Organization, the rate should be 10 to 15 percent.

Cesarean section carries risks to mothers, which are not to be taken lightly! One of the easiest ways to reduce the rate of cesarean surgery is to have more midwives. By supporting the normal process of birth, rates of medical interventions and surgery are decreased, resulting in healthier, happier mothers; healthy babies; increased breastfeeding success; and overall a safer and more satisfying birth experience.

For a town that prides itself on sustainabililty, it is ridiculous that now the midwife and the laboring women will be driving all the way up to Paradise to have the babies up there.

The most sustainable choice would be to have a home birth with a professional midwife in attendance—the least amount of waste, the lowest cost. The national cesarean rate for women planning a home birth with a professional midwife is less than 4 percent. Fortunately, this is still an option for the families of Chico.

Dena Moes

Editor’s note: Dena Moes is a certified nurse-midwife who founded Sacred Ways Homebirth.

Junk mail = cheap mail
Re: “Junk-mail free” (UnCommon Sense, CN&R, Feb. 26):

Did you ever once think to inform your readers what the ramifications of your movement would be? Do you and your readers believe the cost of mailing anything is constant? Did you ever think for one second what the cost of mailing “important” information through the USPS would be if there were no third-class bulk mail? Have you done any homework whatsoever, or do you even care what you are asking your readers to do?

Contact the USPS and ask them what the price of a stamp would be for “important” mail without the support of third-class bulk mailers who pay for about 70 percent of the USPS budget; $5 for one letter, maybe even more! Hello!

Gerry McGrath
North Andover, Mass.

Look at new source
Re: “Vultures circling our precious water” (Guest Comment, by Barbara Vlamis, CN&R, Feb. 26):

“The laughter of fools has always been the reward of any man who comes up with a new thought.”—Stephen Lister

For five years, the Bureau [of Reclamation] has been asked to verify/investigate a totally new non-tributary fresh-water source that could be legally and economically developed to supply a million acre-feet a year for California, and to keep Lake Mead reasonably full and generating 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy without damage to the environment or the water rights of others.

Vultures don’t always circle the dead and dying—sometimes they just enjoy the hot air circulating to new heights.

Ray Walker
Louden, Tenn.

Editor’s note: Ray Walker is a retired water-rights analyst who comments online with the moniker Water Source.

Legalization advocacy
Re: “Ending reefer madness” (Editorial, CN&R, Feb. 26):

Re-legalizing the relatively safe, socially acceptable, God-given plant cannabis (marijuana) answers many problems, since there are literally millions of citizens ready, willing and eager to purchase cannabis legally and the money is changing hands either way with no end in sight.

Another beneficial component of re-legalizing cannabis that doesn’t get mentioned is that it will lower hard-drug addiction rates. DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) will have to stop brainwashing youth into believing lies, half-truths and propaganda concerning cannabis, which creates grave future problems.

How many citizens try cannabis and realize it’s not nearly as harmful as taught in DARE-type government environments? Then they think other substances must not be so bad either, only to become addicted to deadly drugs. The old lessons make cannabis out to be among the worst substances in the world, even though it’s less addictive than coffee and has never killed a single person.

The federal government even classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance along with heroin, while methamphetamine and cocaine are only Schedule II substances. For the health and welfare of America’s children and adults, that dangerous and irresponsible message absolutely must change.

Further, regulated cannabis sales would make it so citizens who purchase cannabis would not come into contact with people who often also sell hard drugs, which would lower hard-drug addiction rates.

Stan White
Dillon, Colo.

Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers don’t ID for age, but they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the children.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits.

The drug war doesn’t fight crime, it fuels crime. Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a cost-effective alternative to a never-ending drug war. As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, consumers will come into contact with sellers of addictive drugs like meth. This “gateway” is the direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe
Arlington, Va.

Editor’s note: Robert Sharpe is a policy analyst at Common Sense for Drug Policy in Washington, D.C.

Care about our care
Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing Wally Herger bad-mouthing government-run insurance. His e-mail to me stated he is for health reform but it should be in the private sector.

Wally has had the best health insurance in the world since the first day he was a congressman. Not only that, he and his dependents have this for life without spending a penny. If government health insurance is good enough for old Wally, it is the least he can support for his constituents.

Medicare and VA medical care are certainly more efficient than the private insurance boondoggles with overcompensated CEOs and 35 percent of premiums calculated as overhead. By going to a national health-insurance plan administered by the government, we will precisely return our health care to the doctors and other medical experts instead of bloated for-profit insurance companies while controlling costs with superior medical care.

Harvey Nelson

Disc-golf proposal
Here’s how to eliminate some of the public’s concern with disc golf in Bidwell Park. Perhaps a system could be set up similar to a lot of the self-contained public camping areas.

A bulletin board and scorecards could show the layout of the course or courses, especially the boundaries. This would help contain the foot traffic. Fees could be set, with charges for nine or 18 holes, and the cost could be adjusted down for children and for the short course. Then a free-standing drop box could be cemented in place, where the golfer would insert an envelope with a fee schedule, information to identify the golfer, and a check or cash.

Also, garbage cans could be placed throughout each course to assist in keeping the courses litter-free.

The cost could be discussed at a public meeting, where the disc-golf community could give their overall assessment of the proposals. This would seem to me to be a win-win for all involved.

Good golfing!

Michael C. Bertolini