Letters for September 13, 2001

War on youth
I am shocked by the current efforts of the city of Chico and Chico State University to make criminals out of the young people (400 during a weekend) in our community.

“Operation Trap Door,” using undercover agents at parties and on the streets to cite minors for possession of alcohol (MIP), resulting in a $250 fine and a one-year suspension of their driver’s license, is bad social policy. These young people now have a permanent criminal record that may well impact and potentially destroy their careers. On job applications and when applying for professional licenses (teaching credentials, etc.) they must report that they are criminals.

These same undercover police are not using their trickery at the concerts in the park, where we know many citizens are violating the alcohol law. How many of the officers or administrators responsible for this “war on youth” would also be criminals had such practices been in effect when they were college students?

We need to be teaching responsibility, encouraging our youth to work with us, putting an end to binge drink, putting an end to drunk driving, putting an end to the disruptive behavior often associated with alcohol. Instead we are building a wall, making meaningful dialog harder, if not impossible.

Many of those cited were not being disruptive, had designated drivers, were not abusing alcohol. Making criminals out of “underage college students” will do little or nothing to stop minors from drinking and often punishes those who may be making an effort to be responsible. The proposed $65,000 to hire a new police officer at the university to enforce the laws against alcohol could be much better spent on existing educational programs that have proven effective but are woefully under-funded (i.e., CADEC and the Counseling Center).

What was wrong with the first-time warnings or requiring community service for those caught with alcohol (without the criminal record)? Using fraud, deception and trickery is no way to teach young people about responsibility.

In my capacity as a concerned and caring citizen of this community,

Paul Persons

Question of values
Your readers may not be aware that the Enloe case management department is going through a refinement process, as the administration is calling it. Case managers are the nurses and medical social workers who help the patients and their families coordinate go-home plans. They also provide emotional support.

This refinement is really a restructuring of a system that was in need of some refinement. Before, it took 20 nurses and social workers to provide these services to patients in the main hospital, the rehab center and the extended-care unit. Now, what took 20 will be done by 16. The hospital is going to increase the number of non-licensed case management assistants and expand their duties to assist the nurses and social workers. When you cut through all the rhetoric, what it really means is that they are doing away with nursing jobs.

They have told the case managers to stay positive. These women are required to reapply and re-interview for a position in a department where they are already employed. They have complied, knowing that they will be either one of those who are awarded positions or one who is forced to look elsewhere for a job. If it is not one of them, then it will be a friend. How can they remain positive?

One of this administration’s core values is to value relationships. This refinement leaves me wondering what relationships they value. Certainly not those between co-workers. Do they value the relationship between nurse and patient?

Cynthia Tucker

The last straw
After the Monday-evening meeting we attended between the Cohasset residents and school district officials, we would say that Superintendent Scott Brown is done blowing smoke up our …!

Today the school district had a truck full of straw delivered and put down in the logged area, despite our request that wood chips, not straw, be used as dust control for our children! The straw is a fire hazard and a breathing hazard to our children and will introduce noxious weeds not only on the school grounds, but also on surrounding properties.

The school board officials publicly indicated they wanted to work with us and yet seemed to once again leave us out of the loop in a decision to use inappropriate erosion-control material.

They take our wood and leave us straw: It reminds me of the Three Little Pigs. It seems they, like the big bad wolf, are huffing and puffing to blow our little schoolhouse down. After attending the recent Arlo Gutherie concert, I have been inspired to even stronger protest. Something has to be done to make the school district understand that they work for us! This is not their private preserve.

Perhaps we should strap ourselves to some bales of hay and sing some of Arlo’s protest songs. Better yet, it’s time to go down to the next school board meeting and sing his father Woody’s song to all of the taxpayers! “This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land.”

Anyone want to join me?

Perry and Cherie Johnson

Gang of knuckleheads
Yesterday I received the redistricting referendum petition in the mail. I took it along to a family gathering and offered it to my Rush Limbaugh-listening, arch-conservative-Republican, ex-brother-in-law just as sort of a joke. I expected to see him get all red-faced and buggy-eyed as he launched into a lengthy diatribe in which he would defame Jane Dolan and question Bob Mulholland’s lineage.

Imagine my surprise when he took my petition, thanked me for the opportunity to sign it and proceeded to explain how what Kim Yamaguchi and the rest had done was just plain wrong.

If this is any indication of how conservatives are feeling on this issue, Kim and the rest of those knuckleheads are in big trouble. Good. They’ll get what they deserve, and maybe Butte County will get supervisors who are good leaders instead of power hungry, revenge seeking demagogues.

Based on how quickly my first petition filled up, the entrepreneur in me is thinking I could probably charge people a couple of bucks to sign the thing. I sure hope they printed enough of them!

Dan Carter

Daily constitutional
Do you know the significance of Sept. 16? Of course, it is Mexican Independence Day and will be celebrated and covered in the media in depth.

Do you know the significance of the date Sept. 17? I hope you answered yes, but most of the citizens of California—no, make that the United States—have no idea of the importance of that date, the day the Constitution of the United States was signed at Independence Hall in 1787.

I hope that you will agree that the remembrance of this date is important to all Americans, including yourselves, for without this document a lot of us would not be here today, we probably would not have the jobs and incomes we enjoy, might not be living in liberty in a free country, and in fact, California might not even exist as a part of the United States.

In years past, there has been little if any coverage or even acknowledgement of this treasured day, and maybe it’s about time that some attempt is made to correct that situation.

We are asking for this publicity not just as members of the Free and Accepted Masons, but also as concerned Americans.

Silas B. Wrigley,
Master 2001 And the 400 members of the Chico-Leland Stanford Lodge, No. 111, F&AM