Letters for September 22, 2005

Leave those kids alone
This letter is in response to the photo and caption published on page 11 of the Sept. 15 News & Review. The caption said I was persuading Ms. Eberling and Ms. Furr to keep their pro-peace signs at a distance so as not to “politicize the children.” This was just part of the story.

Prior to my conversation with Ms. Furr and Ms. Eberling, I was handed a couple of political fliers that were being distributed to children and adults. I went to Ms. Furr and Ms. Eberling and asked them not to “politicize the event” because it was a family event to raise funds for Ident-A-child, a local nonprofit organization. Azad’s Martial Arts Family Center has been doing the Family Fun Day event for years on the same day as Taste of Chico to raise funds for local non-profit organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Butte Humane Society and so forth. The city of Chico Fire Department was sharing our stage that day for the 9/11 tribute. After it was determined that neither Ms. Furr nor Ms. Eberling had anything to do with the fliers, I personally went to them and told them they were welcome to stay at the venue. I hope this letter will help establish the fact that I am not an anti-peace citizen as has been perceived by some people.

Pranab Banik

Prop 75 targets workers
In the special election to be held in November, Proposition 75, the “Paycheck Deception Plan,” is unnecessary and unfair. This initiative is aimed squarely at teachers, nurses, police and firefighters. Why target the very people who take care of us all? Recently, teachers fought to restore funding the state borrowed from our public schools but never repaid. Nurses battled against reduction in hospital staffing to protect patients. Police and firefighters fought against elimination of survivor’s benefits for families of those who die in the line of duty.

Every member of these unions already has the right to opt out of having their dues spent politically; however, this initiative would prohibit public employee labor organizations from using dues or fees for political purposes unless each employee provides prior consent each and every year on a specified written form.

Corporations (which outspend unions 12-to-1 in the political arena) would not have to go to shareholders for the same consent. The real agenda of this proposition is to weaken the voice of public employees and strengthen the political influence of corporations.

Backers of 75 say they want to protect workers’ rights, but that’s not true. They’re against the minimum wage, against protecting employee health care, and against the eight-hour work day. Backers of 75 aren’t for working people; they want to silence working people who stand against them. If you don’t believe it, check into the background of its lead sponsor, Lewis Uhler.

Vote no in November.

George Young

Union label
I have three kids attending Chico Unified schools. They bring home a constant stream of requests for funds from the teachers, administration and PTA. If I was low-income, I would feel less than welcome at the public schools. The Grand Jury pointed out that explicit or implied charges for attending school is not legal. When the Chico teachers union threatened to strike a couple years ago, I recall the school board protesting that there were insufficient funds for a big salary increase.

The teachers got their raise anyway. But a consequence has been a weakening of the foundation of our democratic society; that is, free schooling for all. As the teachers use our kids as an army of cute fund-raisers, I hope they are also teaching the kids that politics is the process of allocating scarce resources. And that among the reasons the district lacks funds for supplies, uniforms, field trips etc, is that the teachers union successfully managed to get a disproportional share of scarce resources directed to their own salaries.

By the way, I always vote for school bonds and other increases in school funding. But I am voting for Prop 75, to prohibit public employee labor organizations from using dues or fees for political contributions unless the employee provides prior consent each year. This will reduce the invidious effect the teachers’ union has on California.

Michael Jones

Easier said than done
Communication within a family is vital. But with teenagers, it is not always easy. I am a mother of a 17- and 21-year-old. I was a foster mother for 10 years to 12 children between the ages of 5 and 16.

Communication is not always stress-free with every family. My foster children knew they could count on me for food, shelter, education and advice, but to truly feel open with me to discuss personal feelings, worries, and needs was sometimes difficult for them. I felt reassured that teenagers could go to local health clinics that would help them because they were professional, safe, legal, knowledgeable and confidential regarding medical services. I knew they would keep my child’s well-being and safety as their priority.

It is so important to talk to children at any age! It would be wonderful if every family were able to do that. But it’s not realistic for the government to expect every family to communicate with their children about all subjects.

There are so many reasons why teenagers can’t talk to their parents regarding some of their intimate details of their life. I talk to my teenage daughter about everything, but I don’t want the government taking an option away from her if she chooses to seek advice elsewhere. If a family member needs assistance, doesn’t it make sense to make sure they get help in a safe, professional setting?

Please vote no on Proposition 73.

Anne Medeiros-Robinson

No on 73
Proposition 73 on the special election ballot appears on the surface to have one fairly reasonable intent—that by mandating written physician notification to the parents, a girl under 18 years old who decides to have an abortion has the counsel of her parents.

However, the idea that positive family communication can be constitutionally mandated is a farce and an obvious attempt to prohibit access to abortion. If the parent doesn’t have to give permission, what then is the point if not the hope that the abortion will be prohibited? The amendment allows for “judicial relief” if a girl is coerced to have an abortion, but none if she is coerced to not have an abortion.

The proposition also includes monetary damages against physicians for violation of requirements, which include notification to the state that an abortion was performed. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the first year start-up costs to the state for this will be $350,000 with an ongoing annual cost of $150,000. This doesn’t include costs to physicians for notification and reporting, and their risk of being fined for being out of compliance. How can this not be another attempt to limit access to abortion, while burdening taxpayers with additional costs?

I believe the real cost is in the message to our young females; that at the point of conception their personal privacy ends because we as a society do not respect them, believing them incapable of making important decisions. Please vote no on Proposition 73.

Paralee Cooper