Letters for November 7, 2002

Correction: An article profiling candidates for the Chico Unified School District Board of Trustees ["Schoolboard shakeup,” Oct. 31] mistakenly said that Anthony Watts did not respond to the News & Review’s questions as promised. In reality, Watts did respond via an e-mail message, but for some reason we did not receive it. We regret the error and any confusion it may have caused. Watts’ responses are now linked in their entirety with the original article on our Web site, here.

Numbers on notice
I am contacting you on behalf of Uniprise, a division of UnitedHealth Group, regarding a story in the News & Review titled, “It’s a Numbers Game” [Out & About, Oct. 10]. A chart profiling local companies that have reduced employment in the Chico area since 2000 paints a misleading picture for UnitedHealth Group. It appears the chart mistakenly referred to UnitedHealth Group as “UnitedHealthcare"—UnitedHealthcare is only one division of UnitedHealth Group. And in fact Uniprise, another UnitedHealth Group division, represents a much larger and growing employment presence in Chico. As a result, the chart incorrectly depicted the company as reducing jobs.

The chart should have profiled UnitedHealth Group as a whole, which has substantially increased employment in Chico since 2000. As of Oct. 16, 2002, UnitedHealth Group employs 472 people in Chico, up from 246 employees two years ago (stats from June 1, 2000). And as you may have seen in recent news reports, our Uniprise division continues to hire and hopes to add dozens more employees by the end of this year.

I understand your data was collected from the Chamber of Commerce, which I notice also incorrectly listed “UnitedHealthcare /Uniprise” with 150 employees in its Chico 2002 Economic Profile.

Daryl Richard

Game for war
Paintball. I played it once and lost miserably. Aside from a few welts, however, I found the game to be a great eye-opening experience. It gave me a slight peek into war from a soldier’s perspective. I am not an advocate of appeasing evil to avoid a fight, and it scares me that “the real thing” is so imminent.

Some say we should just go in there and wipe ’em out. Others say we should talk through it and resolve the core issues, whatever they may be. In a perfect world, the peace-seekers would be right (and I would adamantly agree with them), but we’re not dealing with perfect circumstances. I believe that we should take action to protect ourselves and those we love from further destruction. I only hope that we don’t have to go through another incident like the Twin Towers to realize the “game of life” we’re in is calling for the thing we detest—war.

Ever thought that it’s going to get worse before it gets better? I do. Why would the terrorist stop terrorizing, if he were not made to? Like the incident in Chechnya, why should we wait for the mass murder to begin before we put a stop to the evil being carried out?

So now I want war? No, I just don’t think it’s reasonable to fight terrorists with diplomacy. Never was, never will be.

Elaine Morency

Double standards
As a citizen of both the United States and Poland, I was appalled that the presidents of both my countries sent congratulations to the president of Russia for freeing the hostages. I was appalled for two reasons: first, because of the use of the nerve gas that so far has killed over a hundred innocent hostages and probably maimed most of the rest of them for life. And, second, because the Russians shot all but two of the Chechens while they were unconscious.

Killing people while they are unconscious is a hideous, immoral act, totally against the Christian ethic. Such action does not allow for repentance or forgiveness. It is in the tradition of Stalin and Hitler. Terrorists are first and foremost human beings, “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.” They should have been taken to the hospital and given antidotes to the nerve gas along with the hostages. To treat them so unjustly will only create a greater sense of hopelessness and desperation that will inevitably lead to further acts of terror.

Applauding the actions of the Russians who have been committing genocide on the people of Chechnya while condemning ex-Serbian president Milosevic for his part in committing the same crime against Bosnia is an outrageous double standard. If Americans and Poles continue to allow their leaders to sanction immoral acts and double standards, they will both be contributing to the cycle of violence that they both claim to abhor.

Zbigniew Kasperski

Zephyr’s crash
As always, I enjoyed your Best of Chico edition. However, there was one big change that I thought was worth noting. KZFR Community Radio did not even make the top three this year after gaining recognition as Chico’s best last year.

That is just one sad symptom of what has occurred at the Zephyr over the past year. A new regime has invaded the station and proceeded to evict many of the old-time programmers as well as numerous folks who have been instrumental in the development of KZFR. A lot of shows that had been standards on KZFR are now gone.

The Board of Directors and the Program Council are attempting to make KZFR a more “professional” station, in the image of KVMR, Nevada City. Some change is good. However, the transition from a grass-roots community entity where volunteers, programmers and the community came together to create a common “voice” for Butte County to one where a few administrators run roughshod over the programmers and volunteers is what has occurred.

A small group of individuals are now controlling the content of the station. If a programmer does anything that the ruling faction dislikes, there is hell to pay, including (as has happened numerous times during the past year) dismissal and removal from the air of the offending programmer.

It seems that KZFR is well on its way to becoming just another “talk show” station with a few music shows on the side. Some pre-recorded talk shows air as often as three times per week. That is why KZFR is no longer the No. 1 station in Chico. The people running the station are using it as a “bully pulpit” for espousing their political views, and that is leading to the loss of listeners.

Ten-plus years of hard work by numerous people to make KZFR Chico’s No. 1 radio station has been eroded in just one short year by a group of people who believe that their vision is also the vision of our community. Well, the community has spoken and it obviously prefers the relaxed and funky way that the station was run. And, oh yeah, they like more music and less talk.

Pat Brush

Social insecurity
At some point in your work career, have you earned enough “credits” to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits? In addition, are you currently working as a federal, state or local government employee or as a teacher, police officer or firefighter?

If you work in any of these fields, did you know that there is a very slim chance that you will ever see any of those Social Security benefits that you have rightfully earned? This is due to two little known laws known as the “Government Pension Offset” and the “Windfall Elimination Provision” of the Social Security Act. (You can get more information on these laws at the Social Security computer Web site).

If this inequity concerns you—and it should—only Congress has the ability to change laws that govern Social Security. Nothing will be changed until a significant number of potential affected Social Security recipients contact their senators and congressmen. In California, you can contact Barbara Boxer (senator@boxer. senate.gov) and Dianne Feinstein (senator@feinstein.senate.gov) and Congressman Wally Herger (www.house.gov) to urge them to repeal this patently unfair pair of provisions.

Mark S. Gailey