Letters for December 8, 2011

Build for the future

Even with the building slowdown, I see gas stations being built from Tahoe to well past Fallon and within a wide circle of influence of Reno.

Gas stations occasionally need to replace their older tanks/systems under general maintenance, which of course means they need to tear up the lot to do the work.

Reno and Nevada are talking green. I have an idea that would take money to implement, yes, but could encourage dealerships to bring in more fuel efficient vehicles and people to buy them.

New gas stations would be asked to install a “compressed natural gas” (CNG) system, a universal electrical charging station, diesel and maybe a “hydrogen” fueling point. Older stations during their renovations would also be asked to install the same, depending on available room.

Any building takes money, and renovation costs are hard especially on family owned/franchised gas stations. Grants, low-interest loans and other incentives could be offered for operational and new stations.

The units may be underutilized initially. However, if they are installed, and the dealerships and citizens know they are available, we could be the state that others want to follow and that gives automobile factories the incentives to develop/build even more “green” vehicles.

Gregg E. Zuelke
Silver Springs

Or stay home

Re “Burning occupation” (Editorial, Dec. 2):

Occupiers are right about one thing: There is a serious need to address the relationship between business and government. I don’t know what sleeping on public land will accomplish, but if they could harness their efforts in one direction, do some homework and coalesce, they might be very successful.

The issues that should concern Occupy Wall Street should come from the front pages of our newspapers every day. For example, in October, when Congress determined that the scant tomato paste on school-lunch pizza satisfies the nutritional requirement for vegetables, OWS should have been on it.

Names and information about the companies lobbying congress should have been splashed on every OWS protest sign across this nation—ConAgra, Del Monte, Coca Cola, Schwann—along with the names of legislators sponsoring the bill: Udall, Crapo, Risch, Snowe, Ayotte, Jahanns, Hoeven, Murkowski, Johnson, Nelson and Kohl. OWS should habitually, systematically ask U.S. representatives to account for their votes.

And if they have time left over after battling the corporate take-over of our federal government, OWS protesters might even care to examine the cozy relationships between local government officials and the many city and state businesses that enjoy preferential treatment at taxpayer expense. Of course, that could compromise the cozy relationship between occupiers and the Reno City Council. It’s ironic.

But they must do it together, in a single, loud voice. Make demands, get specific, get mad, get going. Don’t just organize, do something.

Tracy Figler

Missed the local angle

Re “Junkie” (Arts & Culture, Nov. 17):

Thank you for your cover story about addiction. I agree with your opinion that anti-drug media messaging focuses on non-users in an attempt to keep them from trying drugs. I also agree that it would be helpful to our society if we looked at addiction more along the lines of a chronic disease. You cite a particular anti-drug message that has been running in Washoe County and concludes, “By focusing only on the addictive behavior rather than the underlying causes of addiction, media has created and perpetuated an image of a dangerous, self-centered monster, that can’t be saved.”

In January, through Join Together Northern Nevada, a large media campaign was launched to combat use of heroin in our community. It is a series of four black and white commercials that you can view at JTNN.org. These are our spokespersons:

The mayor of Reno, Bob Cashell, and his son, Patrick. Patrick was a 10-year meth addict, now in recovery.

Ginger and Craig Paulsen speak about their beautiful daughter Sabrina who died from her addictions at 24.

Tammy Rieken talks teenage son using heroin in her home and how she wished she knew.

Fourteen-year-old Grant Davis talks about his sister, a heroin user.

These are not national ads. These are people right here in Washoe County, and I would say heroes of our community, who are willing to talk publicly. Their family members are not “dangerous, self-centered monsters that can’t be saved.” The addicts are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and that is the light they are shown in. They are addicts, loved and cared about.

This ongoing heroin campaign is one of the largest anti-drug campaigns to run in Washoe County. I think perhaps you used a national anti-drug campaign to support what I feel is a valid point. But you failed to look at our own community and the conversation we are encouraging about addiction through our campaign. If the mayor of Reno and his son are willing to stand up and say, “It can happen to anybody,” then the community of Reno is not a town that calls its addicts “monsters.” Good article, but I think that you should acknowledge the efforts of our local heroes who are putting a family face on addiction. Your article sold their efforts short.

JTNN offers a free support group for parents of children of any age who suffer from addiction. The group is led by a licensed counselor and meets Thursdays 6-7:30 p.m. at 811 Ryland.

Laura Newman
Join Together Northern Nevada

That figures

Re “The plight of the paper pushers” (feature, Dec. 2):

I loved your story on the plight of the public paper pushers. I am a federal employee, and I care deeply about my work and the veterans who are impacted by my work. (I don’t work for the hospital.) I am tired of my work being solely about the numbers I produce and not the overall product and its impact on my “constituency.” Can I even surprise you more? I make a very good wage, and I’m a union member, and I would be perfectly willing to take a lower wage.

The public perception about the average government worker is so out of kilter with the reality, it makes me want to cry. I am very troubled about the shallow research done, then presented as “in depth” reporting when people want to bash all workers—private and public. I’ve heard a very old phrase about liars figuring and figures lying. The numbers can be skewed to support any point anyone wants to make, and we’ve become so lazy we believe everything we hear.

When people are bad mouthing the average worker, why aren’t they asking questions about the complete picture? I have never heard of any corporate or government manager offering to take a cut in their wages, bonuses, benefits and pensions, when they are talking about cutting wages, benefits and pensions of their employees.

Why hasn’t there been any “in depth” research into the wages, bonuses, benefits and pension plans of the managers and elected government officials who brought us the current economic woes? And while we’re at it, why hasn’t a factual unbiased study and report been done about managers and government officials, their wages, bonuses, benefits, and pensions? A study minimally examining the full wage, bonus, benefit, and pensions received by managers and elected officials; how much productive work these people actually perform as compared against non-management level employees of the private sector and government operations (a tangible product); increases or losses in their overall income, benefits, and pensions; as compared to their workers.

I have more respect for the person who cleans toilets and takes pride in the quality of their cleaning than I do for the average manager. And elected officials … well, for the most part, all they care about is prostituting themselves to the highest bidder; passing trite, useless, unenforcible legislation to placate the “little people” (i.e. the American voter).

Renee Cotter