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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 9B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Government-funded sciences should be available to public Who owns taxpayer-funded science? From the way many scientists behave, it's not the taxpayers. Many scientific studies funded by federal agencies through grants, contracts or cooperative agreements, particularly those used to justify the most horrendous regulations hide the guts of the science. What the scientists keep secret is the raw data they obtain in the real world and the methods they use to interpret it, as if those were personal possessions. Independent scientist Rob Roy Ramey told me of an extreme example: "A researcher tracked endangered desert bighorn sheep with government GPS radio collars to record precise animal locations for wildlife rangers. "He then reset the access codes so only he could download the data remotely, and refused to surrender the codes. So California Fish and Game had to track down and net-gun the bighorns from a helicopter in order to manually download the collar data, costing a fortune and endangering both animals and people." Agency "science" frequently isn't about data collection at all, but instead is a "literature search," with researchers in a library selecting papers and reports by others that merely summarize results and give WHER_E I STAND Chairman Doc Hastings, ............................... R-Wash., has been RON ARNOLD EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT CENTER FOR THE DEFENSE OF FREE ENTERPRISE opinions of the actual scientists. These agency researchers never even see the underlying data, much less collect it in the field. The agency then holds up those second-hand opinions as if they had rigorously tested them against the data. Using this unscrupulous tactic, you can cherry-pick the literature to make any case you want. With so many federal reports containing no data, only conclusions put forth by another scientist, there is no way to debate, debunk or disprove the underlying facts, even requiring court orders to track down and disclose them if Freedom of Information Act requests are denied, which they frequently are (legally or otherwise). How are we to know that the nation is not paying for mathematical errors, unreliable methods, deliberate bias, peer-revlew collusion, outright fakery, or even criminal activity and fraud? All these allegations against federal agencies have emerged repeatedly and surfaced once again at a recent congressional hearing. The House Natural Resources Committee under investigating secretive and corrupted science, titling this hearing "Transparency and Sound Science Gone Extinct?" A panel of four witnesses honed in on the impacts of the Obama administration's closed-door mega-settlements on endangered species and people. These closed-door Big Green lawsuit settlements use the Endangered Species Act to force agencies to list hundreds of species and make related habitat decisions, not because the science supports the need, but because Big Green settlement deadlines require it. Be forewarned: The Endangered Species Act is not about species at all: it's about land-use control. Everything in the ESA hinges on "critical habitat," land that a bureaucrat can declare useless to public and private users for a species' sake, with devastating impact. Panel witness Damien Schiff, principal attorney of the Pacific Legal Foundation, testified that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service itself "estimated that the annual economic impact of critical habitat designation for the California guatcatcher (a bird) is over $100 million." One of the Natural Resources Defense Council's first publications was "Land Use Controls in the United States," a handbook that appeared in 1977 to teach activists how to separate land from use. The power to impose land-use controls anywhere is the real motive behind all current sue-and-settle back-room species-listing deadline deals between Big Green and President Obama's administration. Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, defended his sue-and-settle deals: "Settlement agreements are often in the public's best interest because we have no effective legal defense to most deadline cases." That's a flat lie. Ashe has a powerful legal defense that he will not use: Demand that the science underlying the species listing be examined to determine whether it is flawed, corrupt or fraudulent. Failure to pass that test could totally invalidate the original listing and everything to do with it. why won't he use that moral, ethical and legal defense as an impartial arbiter? First, his agency authorized funding for most of the science. Second, most of the scientists are on his agency's payroll. Third, politically, he can't try to win because it would make the Obama administration look like it opposes endangered species protection. Directed according to such a mindset, the FWS becomes a political tool using science as its sword and shield; it cannot be an impartial arbiter. And make no mistake, the FWS is rife with malicious officials, as witness Kent McMuUen, chairman of Washington's Franklin County Natural Resources Advisory Committee, testified. His written testimony filled nine pages with outrageous FWS dirty tricks and skullduggery in his county. For example, announcements of critical habitat designations for the white Bluffs bladderpod plant were deliberately kept "under the radar" in Franklin County so it could become law without a big fuss. Only when Hastings asked county officials about it did the impending decision come to light. McMullen said, "An FWS employee that apologized in private to a farm family told them that they had been told to keep the issue quiet and to not inform landowners or locals." The star witness was independent scientist Ramey, a Ph.D. with 33 years of worldwide experience with threatened and endangered wildlife. Ramey hit key points hard: The data behind most ESA decisions is not publicly available. We own it and it should be posted on the Web for independent, third-party review -- and so everyone can examine it, comment on it and thus sap the power of the scientific elite. Your vote is as good as any scientist's but your power isn't. That playing field can be leveled. Ramey also emphasized that peer review is a useful but imperfect filter on information quality, subject to "species cartels" of scientific careerists who fred a cash cow in the ESA. However, it is not a substitute for public access to the underlying data. Ramey's plea was not so much for good science as for good citizenship. What passes for science in today's government is a travesty. Total transparency would help convert Big Green's worshipful scientism back into science. We already have online data repositories such as GenBank for DNA sequences and Dryad for general-purpose data. Federal decision-making can be based on the best data, not just the best data available. Let's make it so. Ron Arnold is a Washington Examiner columnist and executive vice president oF the Center for the Defense o Free Enterprise This article Fwst appeared on washingtonexaminer.com and is reprinted here with ~ion. LETTERS to the EDITOR Guidelines for Letters All letters must contain an address and a phone number. We publish only one letter per week per person and only one letter per person per month regarding the same subject. We do not publish third-party, anonymous, or open letters. Letters must be limited to a maximum of 300 words. The editor will cut any letter in excess of 300 words. The deadline is Friday at 3p.m. (Deadlines may change due to holidays.) Letters may be taken to any of Feather Publishing's ogtces, sent via fax to 283-3952, or e-mailed to dmcdonald@plumasnews.com. Take a stand Since the arrest of Ms. Moore, former manager of Indian Valley Community Services District, for allegedly embezzling $381,000 from we the people of Indian Valley and Greenville, we've had business as usual. Will Ms. Moore take others down with her? Our business folks need to take a stand against the CSD board of directors. This is serious, folks. The pandering and nepotism must cease and desist. No one has an immunity to this breach of the public trust. Stop stressing about losing a few customers. Operating a business in a small community is not for sissies..I know this first hand. We are the shame of Plumas County. Reach down in your gut and find some courage. The board of direct6rs are preparing to defend their complicity in this case using an attorney on retainer that we pay for as a community. Defense hell! Ms. Mopre did not blindfold and handcuff our Board of Directors. This is unconscionable. The only viable options for our board: 1. Forgiveness. (We can't afford it.) 2. Class action lawsuit. 3. Recall. 4. Four of the five board members should show some grace and resign in order to spare the community any more grief. Mr. Shelters would you remain on the Board? After all, you came into this mess. You didn't create it. Your guidance for new members would be beneficial and appreciated. It takes courage, vision, accountability and common sense to sit on the board of directors. We need the people 0f Indian Valley to speak up at the board meeting tonight, January 8, at 6:30 p.m. Remember, folks, Indian Valley is the crown jewel of Plumas' crown. We have so many untapped resources. And, the buck stops with us: We the people. Tamara Talent indian Valley Important part of education Very recently, several more killings have taken place as well as a released report of Adam Lanza's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. why are there so many disturbed young Americans these days filled with hate who are fmding it necessary to kill others? Perhaps the last speech in the musical version of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" gives us a clue. At the end of the musical, Peter O'Toole, as Chips, questions the usefulness of the education offered at his school. He ends his musings with the thought that at least his school taught the students how to behave to one another. Are today's schools neglecting that very important part of an American's education? Salvatore Catalar o Taylorsville Hospital job cuts In the Feather River Bulletin's Christmas Eve edition, I was disheartened to read of the four PDH staff members that have lost their jobs as a result of the hospital's financial trouble. While not shocking, the painful sting is surely felt by these individuals and their families. The changing atmosphere of healthcare is indeed real. The need for qualified hospital staff will continue to substantially increase. According to-the hospital CEO, staffwas added in gearing up for electronic medical record (EMR) implementation. Has this implementation occurred? If so, who will now maintain the ongoing education and training of it? Who will support the changes in workflow and policy that happen with an EMR? Will hospital leadership take on these roles? I would expect the staff that was hired for this purpose would be the most suitable candidates. Financial losses of $80 - $100K per month were cited the elimination of salary for four staff members seemsan easy fix. "The advent of the Affordable Care Act means reimbursement reductions"- the ACA is not new and the idea of the ACA directly causing these reductions is a bit far-stretched. Ironically, a hospital's EMR system could be a facility's big money maker. Well implemented and maintained systems are designed to improve patient care and outcomes, and are rewarded incentives by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, congruent with the aims of the ACA. Finally, with the elimination of the Revenue Enhancement manager position, it seems the CEO's idea of "the long-term viability and security of the hospital" is lost. Surely, his salary hasn't suffered any consequences. To the individuals who lost their jobs, my condolences. Successful hospitals recognize the need for competent people to staff them. Krista Gama, RN Clinical Informaticist Dignity Health Rancho Cordova Finally, a general plan First, a word of thanks to everyone who has been involved in the development of the general plan update. It has been a long, difficult and, at .times, controversial process, but it is now approved. Thanks to so much involvement, it now seems like an improved and reasonable document. The Plumas County Planning Commission, Rural Advocates. of Plumas County, board of supervisors and a great many other individuals are all to be thanked for their efforts. It is a compromise that will not keep everyone happy, and it is not perfect, so it will take improvements and interpretation, but it is a reasonable planning guide for the growth, development and protection of the county's resources. Key goals for the county plan include logical zoning for growth; protecting openspace, especially our meadows; protection of individual water rights as well as county-wide efforts to protect and improve our water resources; promoting reasonable economic development, businesses, resource use, and sustainable evelopment; protecting the beautiful environment that we have here; protecting and promoting the local rural ranches and their lifestyle; enhancing county resources to promote tourism and recreational opportunities; and protecting the great rural lifestyle we have here in Plumas County, with a minimum of government regulation. Itwill be up to the Board of Supervisors as well as individuals to ensure that the plan protects the interests and rights of the individual, as well as promoting the common interests of us all. I trust the new general plan will work as well as the old plan has for the past 20 years. Again, many thanks to all of the citizens who have worked hard to make this plan a good, comprehensive, workable and realistic document. Gordon Keller Taylorsville 'Botched' was wrong word In your headlines in the Dec. 24 paper regarding Alan Frazier's murder of Dr. Gholdoian and critically wounding two other innocent people was supposedly due to a botched surgery. Botch in the Webster's dictionary is defined as to do something badly; to ruin something because of carelessness or lack of skill. I doubt very seriously that he had a botched surgery, only complications from the surgery. Unfortunately, all surgeries run the risk of complications. Prior to any surgery, a patient is given an informed consent that outlines the risks involved in the surgery to be performed. With a little research, you could fred out that Mr. Frazier undoubtedly suffered from a complication due to his vasectomy called post-vasectomy pain syndrome (PVPS), and not a botched vasectomy. This is a complication that can occur with any vasectomy, and to imply that these doctors botched the surgery is totally unfair to both of these physicians at Urology Nevada. Plumas District Hospital has been very fortunate to have such outstanding urologist from Urology Nevada as Dr. Freeman and Dr. KaneUos on our visiting staff, both of which are friends and associates of Dr. Gholdoian and Dr. Lajeunesse. And it is also very unfortunate that EPHC may not have the services of Dr. Lajeunesse at their facility in the future. Greg Perkins Quincy Arming teachers not the answer Lassen County is considering a policy of allowing teachers to carry guns at school. I can see one advantage and three problems with this idea. The advantage is in response time. In rural areas, a few ' distracting circumstances could easily make response slower than usual. Having a firearm already in the school would help assure that someone would be trying to limit a shooter's carnage quickly. The three problems have to do with bonfusion, escalation and authority. Under the "active shooter" doctrine, the police do not automatically wait to cordon, evacuate and call for specialists (negotiators, snipers, SWAT). Instead, the closest patrol officers will be plunging into chaotic circumstances almost immediately. If, just once, a good guy mistakenly shoots another good guy, the policy of arming teachers will be thrown out nationwide. We wouM be back to square one on how to handle the school shooting threat. Escalation is another problem. Every tough arrest is i otentially deadly for armed police officers. About 10 percent of officers killed by firearms are victims of their own weapons. Do we want that kind of risk for every junior high school teacher who has to step into the middle of a campus fiSfflght? The danger of escalation is less than with felons and drunks, but still beyond what we can fairly ask educators to manage. Lastly, children should be given every chance to learn that legitimate authority comes from representing the shared values of a community. Rules and authority should be enforced with appropriate sanctions without the means of deadly force lurking just beneath the surface. It is hard enough already to keep kids from deciding that "might makes right," which is exactly the frame of mind that supports criminal behavior. On balance, the problems outweigh the advantage, Scott Corey Quincy Contact your elected officials... PLUMAS COUNTY SUPERVISORS - 520 Main Street, Room 309, Quincy, CA 95971; (530) 283-6170; FAX: (530) 283-6288; E-Mail: pcbs@countyofplumas.com. Individual supervisors can also be e-mailed from links on the county website, countyofplumas.c0m PRESIDENT - Barack Obama, the White Hbuse, NW Washington, D.C. 20500. (202) 456-1414. Fax: E-mail: whitehouse.gov / contact / 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. 202-456-2461. U.S. SENATOR - Dianne Feinstein (D), 331 Hart Senate Office Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3841; FAX: 202-228-3954; TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501. District Office: One Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco, CA 94104; Phone: (415) 393-0707; Fax: (415) 393-0710 Website: feinstein.senate.gov. U.S. SENATOR - Barbara Boxer (D). District Office: 501 I St., Suite 7-600 Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 448-2787; FAX (916) 448-2563; OR 112 Har Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3553. FAX (202) 228-0454. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 1ST DIST. - Doug LaMalfa. Washington, D.C. 20515. (202) 225-3076. lamalfa.house.gov. DISTRICT OFFICES: 1453 Downer St., Suite #A, Oroville, CA 95965; 2885 Chum Creek R., Suite #C, Redding, CA 96002. | STATE SENATOR, 1st DIST. - Ted Gaines. State Capitol, Room 3070, [. Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 651-4001, FAX: (916) 324-2680. El Dorado I Hills Constituent Service Center. 4359 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 112, E1 Dorado Hills, CA 95762. (916) 933-7213, FAX (916) 933-7234; Redding Constituent Service Cer~ter. 1670 Market St., Suite 244; Redding, CA 96001, (530) 225-3142, FAX (530) 225-3143. STATE ASSEMBLYMAN, 1ST DIST. - Brian Dahle, State Capitol, Room 2174, Sacramento, CA 94249, (916) 319-2003; FAX (916) 319-2103. District Office, 2080 I-remsted Dr., Ste. #110, Redding, CA (530) 223-6300, FAX (530) 223-6737. GOVERNOR Jerry Brown, office of the 'Governor, Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814. Website: gov.ca.gov/ 916) 445-2841. FAX: (916) 558-3160. State