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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
March 3, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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March 3, 2010

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6B Wednesday, March 3, 2010 EDITORIAL and OPINION Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter EDITORIAL Hospital discourse needs to shift You know the conversation has reached a certain pass when one of the protagonists comes late, leaves, comes back and leaves again, while another one sits at the back of the room reading a book. Such was the case at Plumas District Hospital's community fo- rum last week. Discussion of how to pay for a new hosPi- tal in the Quincy district has reached a kind of wait-and-see status. Both the district and the five men who are suing it to force an election on their tax limitation initiative have confirmed they are in negotiations. The PDH board was scheduled to discuss the litigation in closed session Monday, March 1. Meanwhile, the USDA has notified the dis- trict that it is eligible for the agency's Com- munity Facilities Loan Program. The dis- trict must now submit a full application, a process that could take four to six months. The district hopes to get funds to replace the $12.1 million in bonds that it decided not to issue last month and the $4-$5 million the hospital had always planned on financing it- self (the gap between what the bonds--both the aborted ones and the $3.2 million al- ready issued--would pay for and the $20-$21 million the project is estimated to cost). Chief Financial Officer John Nadone said he really had no idea how much money might be available through the USDA pro- gram or what conditions might accompany the low-interest loan. At this stage of the game, everyone has had ample opportunity for a soapbox mo- ment. (Indeed, some of the soapboxes are sagging from overuse.) Not much was asked or answered at last week's meeting that was new. The public discourse seems to have divid- ed into two camps: the angry and distrustful versus the earnest and committed. The dis- cussion consisted mostly of accusatory ques- tions ("Why didn't PDH...?,) interspersed with declarations of undying love for the hospital. This isn't getting us anywhere. In fact, the question-and-answer format may even have grown counterproductive: The hit-or-miss nature of such an approach makes it easy for important facts to get overlooked. For instance, toward the end of last week's meeting, in response to an audience ques- tion, Nadone said that if the district did not issue any bonds this year (doing so is un- likely given that the USDA application process won't play out until next Septem- ber), taxpayers will see zero assessment from the hospital on their 2010-11 tax bills. That's right: Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Goose egg. The district has another forum scheduled Tuesday, March 9, at 6 p.m. at the Quincy li- brary. We encourage the board to consider a different format for the upcoming meeting, something that will open up the conversa- tion rather than encourage the repetition of what are by now well-worn tropes. Such repetition encourages entrenchment and not the collaboration we need to resolve the question of how to pay and how much to pay for a new hospital. A .. Feath0000hmg 00spaper go to Michael C. Taborski ............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Delaine Fragnoli ........ Managing Editor Diana Jorgenson .......... Portola Editor Alicia Knadler ........ Indian Valley. Editor Kate West ............... Chester Editor Shannon Morrow ..... ..... Sports Editor Mona Hill .................. Copy Editor Staff writers: Joshua Sebold Will Farris Sam Williams Barbara France Susan Cort Johnson Cheryl Frei Feather River Bulletin (530) 283-0800 Lassen County Times (530) 257-53211 Portola Reporter (530) 832-4646 Ruth Ellis Brian Taylor Pat Shiilito Linda Stachwell Westwood PinePress (530) 256-2277 Chester Progressive (530) 258-3115 Indiari Valley Record (530) 284-7800 J;ooa' stamps: Don't throw out the baby... +i ! i:: ::i::i i:ii:.i . ............... --- -,-: =- ..:.!i !::2! i: MY TURN JOSHUA SEBOLD Staff Writer While working on a recent article on the increasing level of requests for assis+ tance being received by the Plumas County Social Services Department dur- ing the downturn I found myself on The California Department of Social Services website looking up information on food stamps. Out of curiosity I clicked on a link , about program information for Califor- nia, thinking it would provide a written description of the state program. The page did display a two-sentence summary of the program, but more inter- estingly, it also featured a listing of sta- tistics about people who use the service. The federally funded program has al- ways been a target for people who want to cut down the size of government. Many argue it is a wasteful system that encourages people to sit on their laurels and live a life of ease, with no motivation to ever get off the program. Others argue, particularly in Califor- nia, that programs like this are filled with non-citizens and encourage people to come to the U.S. to live off of public as- sistance. Many of the statistics, taken from the 2007 fiscal year, suggested a very differ- ent picture of who3vas receiving the ben- efit and for how long. The first thing that jumped out at me was that more than 92 percent of the re- cipients were U.S. citizens. Another suggestion by many: People receiving public assistance have more kids, was refuted by the average house- hold size of 2.5, that's actually lower than Where in the world Linda Randall visited the London Bridge, which was used in England for more than 100 years before being dismantled and rebuilt in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Next time you travel, share where you went by bringing your local newspaper along and including it in a photo. Then e-mail the ". photo to smorrow ' ' ' '+ the overall average in our country of 2.59. Another interesting statistic was that only 14.5 percent of families had been on the program for five years or more. Also compelling is the fact that only 17.4 percent of the households had a source of income. Finally, 75.3 percent of households had a female head of the residence. If you combine those last three statis- tics you can make a reasonable guess that many of the people who are on food stamps are single mothers who have lost their jobs or can't afford childcare. They receive public assistance while their children are very young and get out of the program as Soon as their children are old enough for school and they can return to work. The question then becomes, "What would these people do if they didn't have food stamps?" Maybe they would have to leave their children at home unattended while they went to work. Is that really better than the cost of the program, to have children growing up without an adult around? Will that lead to a more productive so- ciety and lower crime rates? Even when it comes to people on the program who don't have kids, doesn't it seem worth it to let them get back on their feet for a little while ffthey're go- ing to find a job and get back to work? Isn't that better than putting them in a position where they might choose to turn to readily available sources of short-term income like crime? The average household receives $259 in aid per month. If you think about it, housing someone in jail or prison for crimes like robbery or selling drugs costs just a little bit more than that $259 per month. It seems to me that many of the argu- ments against food stamps and similar programs are based solely on ignoring the facts and looking for easy political talking points instead of addressing real issues. The overwhelming majority of people receiving food stamps are American citi- zens who have no source of income; chil- dren to feed; and get off the program as soon as they can. That's what's going on in the real world;yet that reality is so often ignored by people in the political world, who are just looking for the next way to get peo- ple scared, angry and ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater. REMEMBER WHEN Plumas County: "Guns of the Navarone" ........................................................................................................................................................ starring Alan Ladd, Jeanne Crain and Frankie Avalon is showing at the Town KERI TABORSKI Hall Theater in Quincy all week. Historian " The Plumas County Board of Supervi- sors this week authorized expenditure of 80 YEARS AGO... 1930 county funds of $700 to help pay for the Miss Anita BoRon, costumed as a domi- construction of the Portola swimming pool. no and C.N. Erwin, costumed as an Indian squaw were awarded the best costumes at 30 YEARS AGO...1980 last Saturday's masquerade ball held in Resignation of Archie A. Hamlin of Quincy. They carried off the honors in the Graeagle from the Plumas County Fair field of some 100 entries representing every Board was announced this week. He served character imaginable including simple as director of the Plumas County Fair for cowboys and Indians to the ornate member 28 years. In other Humas County Fair of the Russian ballet. Board action, Fair Manager C.W. Adams announced that Barbara Mandrell will be 50 YEARS AGO... 1960 the headliner at the Saturday night grand- Advertisement... The picture made in stand show. After several years of negotiations the Plumas County Board of Supervisors has agreed to pay the United States Forest Ser- vice $90,000 fop the acreage now being rent- ed for the county fairgrounds and adjoin- ing campground. 10 YEARS AGO... 2000 Several challengers face run-offs in the November election. Plumas County Superi- ' or Court Judge top vote-getter Garrett O1- ney will face off with Craig Settlemire. In- cumbent Plumas County Board of Supervi- sor Fran Roudebush will again face-off with B.J. Pearson. Ken Nelson will be in a run-off with incumbent Supervisor Phil Bresciani, Harry Reeves and Jack Dunn. Incumbent Supervisor Meacher will run- off with Nathan Tucker. A plea for sanity: Enough with MY TURN ALICIA KNADLER Indian Valley Editor Indian Valley is such a beautiful and peaceful place; just taking a slow drive around the valley is all I need to improve my outlook on life. But soinetimes, even here, ugliness ap- pears, like in the otherwise bucolic open- ing scene of the movie "Blue Velvet." That's exactly what it's felt like around here in recent months, with scandals here and there, some making headlines in the newspapers. Sometimes it seems like the slightest whiff of scandal is all it takes for the Snidely Whiplashes and Hedda Hoppers the in our community to start twisting their mustaches or rubbing their hands to- gether in evil glee. This was a particularly disgusting, cynical theme played out for days re- cently; each time I was out in a public place I heard people talking about a scandal, sharing rumors, and supposi- tions and the opinions based on them. I heard these rumors in the grocery store, in the post office and at lunch--my big ears could not escape the barrage of what seemed like malevolent spite, or malice. So here I am, not to preach to readers about their morals and motives, but to plea for sanity. I, for one, don't like the recurring vi- sions of that "Blue Velvet" grass; it makes me feel like there's a monster lurking in our midst. Instead, I would like to share a mes- sage posted by one of my Facebook friends. "Look for the good in others, not the bad," she wrote simply. That is why it all surreal-- because that is exactly what I was doing. rumors already! I knew all those rumors and supposi- tions just couldn't be true--I have faith in the people of this community-- especially the ones who spend so much of their free time in community service. The things these rumormongers are willing to believe only compound the trauma that almost the whole community feels at such times. When I hear them talking, I can't help but picture the stereotypes I grew up with on television. Instead of tongues wagging like the Hollywood gossip gal's poison pen, I wish I'd witnessed more of a Dudley Do-Right-like loyalty. So please, have faith in your neigh- bors, be brave enough to seek the truth or just stop talking so loudly in public settings--it's a really shameful thing to do. If it doesn't seem so shameful to you, then maybe I'm way off my mark, and Hopper was right after all. "Nobody's interested in sweetness and light," she once said about her career as a gossip columnist. BE I-I E/kinD Don't sit back and let others do the talking for you. Express yourself in our LETTERS TO THE EDITOR