Letters for October 1, 2009

The causes of furloughs

Re “More on furloughs” (Letters, by Tim Hansen, Sept. 24):

Despite the arrogance and ignorance oozing from Mr. Hansen’s brief tome, I welcome his input into what is an “appropriate” furlough plan for me. Indeed, assuming Mr. Hansen comes with great expertise on academic issues beyond my 40 years, I suggest he address the CSU Chico faculty in total on their furlough plans.

Before then, I would have Mr. Hansen consider two realities. First, the UC teaching load is at least half of the CSU’s. Thus it is easy for UC officials to impose a non-class furlough schedule. Second, faculty are not paid to “serve” students. If that were so, bringing coffee and donuts to class would be enough.

Finally, furloughs are easy to criticize. Unfortunately, Mr. Hansen and the CN&R editors are not prepared to take on the structural problems facing California that made furloughs a necessary evil. Hopefully that will change. I suggest they Google “Repair California” and get involved in confronting the structural problems with California’s constitution, etc. Much “appropriate” advice and action is needed.

Beau Grosscup

Walmart or weed patch?

Re “My vote on Walmart” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Sept. 24):

So Walmart has kept prices low by imposing low wages? I look forward to your article comparing Walmart wages and benefits to those of Target and Kmart, its major competitors. It took about 15 seconds on Google to find that only a few Costco workers are unionized. Surely you have interns to check this stuff.

Perhaps you could include Forever 21 in your comparison, since a heck of a lot of people seemed to want to work there.

Since the City Council cannot legally discriminate against Walmart in favor of its competitors, I guess the vacant lots between Target and Walmart and between Walmart and Wittmeier should remain weed patches forever?

Elden Cross

Become one of us

Re “Homelessness and you” (Guest comment, by Jessica DePriest, Sept. 24):

First off, I would like to praise you [Ms. DePriest] for writing this article. I agree that there is a homelessness problem in America, and I am sorry you are an involuntary member.

I do not agree, however, that the “egotistical college kid who brings money into Chico is at least half responsible for the vandalism, DUIs, and assaults that happen in this town.” There is a small percentage of Chico State students who give a bad name to the rest of the students.

I was once in your shoes. I got a divorce and was homeless. Many nights, all I had to sleep on was my motorcycle. Try balancing that! While I was homeless, I was addicted to meth and alcohol. Eventually, I picked myself up and got back on my feet. I sobered up, found work and I am now a student at Chico State.

I firmly believe a formal education is one of the few ways you can “rise” above the situation you’re in. If you don’t like the “college kids,” try joining them. You can earn money through grants and scholarships while you are in school. As a student, you also have housing assistance.

Chico State is really a wonderful place to be. There are many people here who are willing to help you, without bias.

John Zepeda

Good project, good site

Re “Good project, wrong site” (Newlines, by Robert Speer, Sept. 17):

One forgets that Honeyrock [Christian Ministries] has been in its present location for more than 36 years, and Honeyrock has the right to sell its property to whomever it wants. There have been several general-plan adoptions during this time. Hundreds of adults and kids have attended the Honeyrock facility over the 36 years, and none of the neighbors seemed to complain about their usage, which is very similar to the Indian Health Services’ intended use.

The property has been for sale for around two years; if it was economically feasible to put in an orchard and vineyard, then why hasn’t an offer from one of these critics come forward?

Even though there is an ag overlay, the area has Class III soils, which are not the best soil conditions for most ag purposes. There are several citrus farms and vineyards in the area; most of these are not full economic units—i.e., being fully supported by the crops raised and sold. Plus most of these are older orchards and vineyards, with some new plantings here and there.

The intended project will be shielded by land and landscaping and will use only two to three acres out of 32, with an extensive greenbelt around the project. So the impact to the neighborhood is minimal. This is a good project in a good area/neighborhood, and the concerns of the neighbors seem to be more self-serving than logical, especially since Honeyrock was there long before most of the neighbors were.

Jim Ramsay

Wally’s still telling stories

Re “Big time for Wally” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Aug. 27):

Wally is at it again, this time spreading disinformation by e-mail designed to scare people into thinking that health-insurance reform will cut their Medicare benefits. The [Democrat-sponsored] House proposal will actually increase Medicare benefits in many important ways, including enhancing pharmaceutical coverage and decreasing out-of-pocket expenses for many things, including preventative care.

Medicare recipients and taxpayers currently subsidize a program called Medicare Advantage that is unavailable to many residents of sparsely populated areas, including Wally’s congressional district. This program run by private HMOs charges the government 14 percent more than they would pay for the same services under traditional Medicare. Medicare recipients in this area pay $43 per person per year in extra premiums to subsidize this giveaway. The bill being considered would cut this unfair subsidy and save taxpayers more than $100 billion in 10 years.

Where is Wally’s supposed commitment to fiscal responsibility? Why is Wally using a wasteful program that does not benefit his district as a tool to frighten people out of supporting reform? As usual, he is simply reading from the playbook of his party; in this case to stifle attempts at reforming the disaster known as our health-insurance system for cynical political gain. This system will cost Americans about 45,000 lives this year due to its failure to insure millions of its citizens.

Craig Vivas
Mount Shasta

The money flow

When the economy collapsed into a precipitous slide toward a major depression, the Congress and White House reacted by enacting massive bailout and spending programs resulting in huge deficits.

At first, like many of my Republican counterparts, I was appalled. I accepted the argument that we were mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren. However, after giving it serious thought, I realized there was a major flaw in that line of reasoning.

Almost all, if not all, of the funds dumped into the U.S. economy will eventually return to the federal coffers. It does not matter whether it was in the form of bailouts, stimulus packages, federal projects or federal payrolls; the money began to filter its way throughout the economy.

As the money passed from business to business, it revitalized the demand for loans, manufacturing, sales, purchases, services and payrolls. Each time a dollar changes hands, the federal government is there to take a bite out in the form of taxes, fees, fines, penalties, etc. Ultimately, the government will recover almost every dollar. Even U.S. dollars that go outside of the country eventually return to the U.S. economy to complete the cycle.

Yes, there are huge deficits now, but as the economy recovers, we will see those deficits begin to evaporate, just as they have in the past.

Robert V. Grignon Sr.