Letters for May 28, 2009

Another plea for single-payer plan

Re: “Case in point for insurance reform” (Letters, CN&R, May 21):

After watching Bill Moyers’ Journal I am convinced that single-payer insurance is the only way economically to solve our health crisis.

Single-payer simply means that the government pays all the bills from independent doctors and other doctors of your choice. This is what Medicare does now—you just expand it to cover everyone and, in so doing, you can streamline it.

The private health-insurance industry must be eliminated, as it has been in every other major civilized country. It is just too expensive to bill hundreds of different companies, with way too much money going to administrative costs that have nothing to do with the health care you receive.

The health-care industry now contributes a half-billion dollars to politicians; this is the reason it is not even being considered by the present government. Merely look to Canada if you think it can’t be done successfully and welcomed by the populace. Get involved, as Congress is going to make the wrong decision by August if you don’t.

Norman Dillinger

Bad sound comes in shape of shell

Re: “Sounding off” (Letters, CN&R, May 21):

Terry Stephenson’s ears don’t lie; the sound at the Friday-evening concerts is bad. Unfortunately, the sound man has nothing to do with it.

The “shell” design of the stage is the culprit. In fact, I have never opened a basic acoustics textbook that failed to state, within the first two chapters, that concave surfaces should be avoided at all cost. The Hollywood Bowl’s Web site is a testament to this fact—it chronicles the failed attempts and millions of dollars wasted in the hope to “fix” the sound and retain the venue’s familiar shape.

Regardless of one’s opinion of the new downtown park’s various features, all residents should be furious at the leaders responsible for the construction of a stage that will never produce “good” sound in its current configuration.

Collin Ross

Revenue-share jackpot

Re: “County fights back on casino” (Downstroke, CN&R, May 14):

Before we build another casino in Butte County, some important questions need to be raised and answered.

First, do the Mechoopda really need a casino? Don’t they already receive $1.1 million each year from the state’s Tribal Revenue Sharing Trust Fund? Where is all that money going?

Second, what exactly will the Las Vegas-based Station Casinos Corp. get from the Mechoopda casino? What are the details of their management contract with the tribe? How does Station Casinos treat California workers trying to join labor unions? What is their track record on labor issues in California?

Isn’t the proposed Mechoopda casino site close to the controversial “New Town” project that was rejected back in 1997 because it would have led to leapfrog development and urban sprawl? Wouldn’t a casino generate the same environmental problems?

Instead of building another casino, wouldn’t it be better to help the Mechoopda by getting our governor and Legislature to increase the size of the revenue-sharing trust fund? After all, the super-rich casino tribes are now raking in $8 billion per year from the gaming monopoly granted to them by the people of California. Certainly they can afford to share a lot more with non-casino tribes like the Mechoopda.

Greater revenue sharing is an obvious win-win solution that deserves serious consideration. Instead of warring with each other, Butte County and the Mechoopda should team up to promote revenue sharing. There are 50 other non-casino tribes and county governments in California that would happily support them!

Michael Magliari

Editor’s note: For another take on this issue, please see Guest Comment.

More about Wright

Re: “Letters from prison” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, May 14):

Regarding the lengthy sentence of young Greg Wright, I refer you the following ruling by a California Appellate Court [Nunez; April 30, 2009] in which the “appellant challenged his sentence of LWOP [life without parole] for the kidnapping for ransom he committed when he was 14 years old. The appellate court vacated his sentence and remanded [him] for resentencing” for the following reasons:

“A statutory scheme that punishes the youngest juvenile offenders more harshly for kidnap than for murder is not merely suspect, but shocks the conscience and violates human dignity. Incapacitating the petitioner for longer than a murderer serves no penological purpose and defies logic.”

The court went on to conclude that “for a non-homicide, no-injury offense, his sentence is so freakishly rare as to constitute arbitrary and capricious punishment violating the Eighth Amendment.”

Let’s bring back Greg Wright for resentencing now before the penal system damages this kid further …

Larry Phipps

What a tragic story. It is hard to review it in any sort of logical manner because it plucks at your heart strings so.

I think everyone would agree that Greg Wright does not belong in the company of murderers and rapists. Obviously we aren’t “rehabilitating” him in any sort of constructive manner. In actuality, we are almost certainly creating a much greater threat in the future—he really will be a criminal by the time we let him go.

That said, I don’t think he should be let off the hook for his actions. That the system is broke I would agree; that he should not have to deal with the consequences of his actions—not at all. I think we are doing a great disservice to our children today when so often they don’t have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

It’s not fair that a kid that hurt no one is sharing a cell with a triple murderer. It’s not fair that his mentation is questionable. It’s not fair that if he were a rich kid he probably wouldn’t be in prison at all.

This situation isn’t “fair” at all. But I do believe more harm would come from not enforcing his punishment than from enforcing it—except, of course, for Greg.

Carrie Summers

Gender inequities

Re: “Why are so few girls playing?” (Newslines, by Sarah Hubbart, CN&R, May 14):

I am a father of a CUSD girl who aspires to play high-school sports. So do her friends. I do not believe that girls are less interested in sports than boys.

The high-school girls I know put playing sports way ahead of other extracurricular activities like theater, art and Future Farmers of America. Besides, Pleasant Valley High School, the school with the worst sports-equity record, doesn’t even have ag classes; as I understand it, you have to be in an ag class to be a member of Future Farmers of America.

The CN&R article states that CUSD holds parent meetings to encourage girls to play sports. I have never been informed of any parent meetings offered by the PE Department to help encourage my daughter to get involved in sports.

My daughter and her brother should have equal opportunities to participate in school sports. That sure doesn’t seem to be the case with the way the high-school sports program is structured.

I know the district is strapped for funds, but girls should not have to bear the bulk of the burden. They already have more than their fair share of gender-related burdens.

Howard Wolff

Access is the issue

Re: “League of their own” (Letters, CN&R, May 7):

In regard to responses to the article “Reach out, black leaders say” [Downstroke, CN&R, April 30], first of all, the term racist was never used, but rather equality and justice—and these are the goals sought.

Many people of different ethnicities have attended Bible services held in my home and places where I’ve preached the Gospel. The Bible, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, teaches that God is no respecter of persons and is God to all people, regardless of their color.

Let’s not confuse the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the real issue here: equality and lack of opportunity. No matter who you are, all should have access and opportunity.

Pastor Stephen Shy

Future grad’s stress

Re: “Graduation bleaker” (cover story, by Meredith J. Cooper, CN&R, May 7):

The story described one of the scariest experiences that every college student must fact sooner or later: finding a job and leaving school. At Chico State, more than 1,000 people just got their diplomas, and one of the biggest things on their minds is employment.

The unemployment rate in 2007 was 4.6 percent. Since then, that rate has grown to an estimated 7.2 percent. This does not include Americans who could not find a job or get full-time employment. If it did, the unemployment rate would be around 13.5 percent. That’s the highest it’s been in more than 16 years.

In high school, people expect you to go to college and follow your passion. But once you do that and get out, your passion may not come with a job.

I’m only a sophomore, and I am terrified for what the market holds in 2012. I’ve been taking odd jobs, trying to broaden my skills just to be prepared. I have also even taken on an extra minor to have more experience at my chosen field and stay in school a little bit longer.

Between news reports and “No help needed” signs, people can’t help but be worried.

Adrienne Neves