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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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April 23, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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April 23, 2014
 

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8B Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter EDITORIAL AND OPINION EDITORIAL Paper plays role of moderator during election season Much of the feedback we get from readers isn't in response to stories written by our reporters, or even opinions we offer in this column. The feedback is generated by our letters to the editor. It is one of the most widely read sections of the. paper. With election season in full swing, the number of letters about candidates is naturally on the rise. This is a time when our letters page is often tiflled with fresh voices from people who aren't regular contributors. So this is a good time to go over our policy so letter writers will know the rules before they put their thoughts on paper. First and foremost, Feather Publishing has the timal say about what gets published. It's our job to encourage a lively debate but also to mqderate it. We won't print candidate-related letters that we consider to be too personal or in poor taste. We reserve the right to edit letters to remove personal comments or unsubstantiated claims. The letters must be 300 words or fewer and must include the author's name, phone number and place of residence. Writers can expect a phone call to verify a letter's authenticity. Most of the letters will naturally focus on the only contested election in the county -- the race for District 5 supervisor. Jeff Engel and Jim Judd will be competing for Jon Kennedy's post after Kennedy announced Monday morning that he will not seek re-election. Both Engel and Judd are well respected men worthy of the job. Feather Publishing does not endorse candidates, but we will do our best to make sure we accurately report what each has to say in upcoming forums and debates. Some of that lively debate will surface in letters to the editor. We encourage letters highlighting the pros and cons of candidates and issues. But we will be on the lookout for organized letter-writing campaigns (a flood of letters by a candidate's supporters that say essentially the same thing). When that happens, we will print one of the letters (usually the In:st one to arrive} but not all of them. We encourage writers to focus on the issues and provide the appropriate sources for their facts. Feather Publishing will be especially discerning about letters as the June 3 primary gets closer. If a letter writer tries to deliver a "knockout punch" or a letter that contains information about a ,J :: ::.:':, : candidate:that isn't public kdowledge, the!ettet -: ...... or at least the attempted knockout information -- won't be published. If the letter contains potential breaking news, we will investigate the information and write a story if the news can be confwmed. Everyone likes to have the last word in a debate. That also holds true in letters to the editor. In an attempt to be as fair as possible, we will not print election-related letters the week before the primary. The last election letters will be published May 21. The only exception will be a letter written as a rebuttal to a May 21 letter. Even then, the rebuttal letter can address only the specific issue written about the previous week. As Feather Publishing's copy editor, Ingrid Burke, likes to say when she emafls weekly bits of advice to reporters -- Good writing. Editorials are written by members of the editorial board and should be considered the opinion of the newspaper. The board consists of the publisher, managing editor and the appropriate staff writers. L_:; > Fea00blishmg .00dwspaper For breaking news, go to plumasnews.com " Michael C. Taborski ............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Dan McDonald ......... Managing ditor Jenny Lee ................. Photo Editor Ingrid Burke ................ Copy Editor Staff writers: Laura Beaton Carolyn Shipp Michael Condon Makenzie Davis Ruth Ellis Will Farris Susan Cort Johnson Debra Moore Maddie Musante M. Kate West Aura Whittaker Sam Williams James Wilson Samantha P. Hawthorne Feather River Bulletin (530) 283-0800 Indian Valley Record (530) 284-7800 Portola Reporter (530) 832-4646 Chester Progressive (530) 258-3115 Lassen County Times (530) 257-5321 Westwood PinePress (530) 256-2277 Printed on recycled paper California Newspaper Publishers Assoc. Being a cat owner can get you in trouble My wife, Amy, and I have a pretty good thing going on with each other. For the most part, we get along great. We agree on most points of views and have similar political stances. But, like all marriages, there are certain things we just have to live with. One subject we always disagree on is how to treat our cat, Bruce. In my mind, Bruce is the coolest cat in the world. He's a big o1' ball of fur who's always a delight to be around. In Amy's mind, Bruce is just a cat. She accuses me of being kitty-whipped, due to the way I coddle Bruce. When Amy isn't looking, I'll sneak Bruce human food in his dish. Like most cats, he really loves fish. MY TURN JAMES WILSON Sports Reporter sports@plumasnews.com I put up with the annoying habits of Bruce that he considers funny, like running as fast as he can from one end of the house to the other at 4 a.m. when This week's special days NOT JUST AN ORDINARY DAY COMPILED BY KERI TABORSKI Not just an ordinary day....a sampling of weekly notable special days and facts throughout the year. April 23 Today is Administrative Professional's Day (Secretary's Day). 1985 -- Coca Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The public response is overwhelmingly negative and the original formula returns to the market within three months. April 24 1704 -- The first continuously published newspaper, a single page weekly, the NewsGetter, was published in Boston, Massachusetts. 1913 -- The 57-story, neo-Gothic designed Woolworth Building skyscraper opens in New York City. April 25 Today is Arbor Day, celebrating the first Arbor Day which was held in April 1872, where some one million trees were planted in Nebraska City, Nebraska. 1901 -- New York becomes the tilrst United States state to require automobile license plates. April _26 _ Today is National Pretzel Day, Pretzels are believed to be the world's first snack dating back to 610 A.D. in Southern France where monks baked dough in the shape of arms folded in prayer. 1865 -- In Virginia, Union calvary troops corner and shoot dead John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln in Virginia. Aprii 27 2006-- Construction begins on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Center in New York City. Today is National Prime Rib Day. Personal note: I have to dedicate this day to my husband Mike, who is a devoted fan. April 28 1788 -- Maryland (The Old Line State) becomes the seventh state of the United States. 1969 -- Charles de Gaulle resigns as president of France. we're trying to sleep. Or waiting until I'm about to get off the couch to jump on my lap. These are habits that Amy does not put up with, however. She's never been a big fan of Bruce. She won't let him sit on her lap and she rarely pets him. Amy is a dog person who happens to own a cat. Me and Bruce, on the other hand, are pals. Well, the ongoing discussion of Bruce between my wife and me came to a head the other day at breakfast. Amy was telling me a story and right in the middle of it, I interrupted her. "Aaaaawwwww!!!!" I said as Bruce rolled over on tohis back, showing offhis fuzzy little belly. "Seriously? You interrupted me to gawk at how cute Bruce is? You are obsessed with that cat!" Amy said, frustrated. Both of us went on with our day. I went to work and she stayed home until her shift started later that afternoon. By the time I got home, Amy was gone, and Bruce was there at the front door to greet me. After petting Bruce for a bit, I walked into the kitchen and poured myself an after-work glass of wine. I walked into the living room, plopped myself down on the couch, and opened a book. Bruce proceeded to jump up and sit directly on my reading material. Within a few minutes, I started feeling snacky and decided to check what we had in the kitchen. I picked Bruce off me, set him down on the floor, put my book and wine on the coffee table and proceeded into the kitchen. After assembling some cheese and crackers I headed back for the living room. As I got to the doorway, I stopped dead in my tracks. Bruce had his whole head in my wine glasK and was sopping up as much vino as his greedy little mouth would let in. "Bruce!" I screamed at him, while inspecting the damage. It looked like he drank maybe a quarter of a glass. For his little 10-pound body, though, I'm sure that amounted to quite a bit. I looked at the clock and realized that Amy would be home soon. She would not be happy with this. I could just imagine See MyTurn, page 10B REMEMBER WHEN KERI TABORSKI Historian 75 YEARS AGO ..... 1939 J.C. "Stub" Lee became the sole owner of the Town Hall Theater in Quincy when he purchased the half interest of L.A. Schelling. Mr. ScheUing also owns a theater in Nubieber. 50 YEARS AGO ..... 1964 A public breakfast will be held for Congressman Bizz Johnson at Hotel Quincy Thursday. Following the breakfast he will meet with a committee from Chester addressing the flood control .issues. 25 YEARS AGO ..... 1989 Chester's Seneca Hospital, which in March won a property tax assessment election from local voters to stave off a financial crisis, lost key leaders this week. Seneca Hospital Administrator Claire Ku.czkowski and nursing director Glenda Oldenburg resigned. Enloe Hospital in Chico has been under contract for five years to provide administrative services to Seneca Hospital. 10 YEARS:AGO ..... 2004 Dyer Mountain Association, providing a model, maps and other data, presented a plan for the development of Dyer Mountain to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors of Plumas, Lassen and Sierra Counties at the Northeastern California Board of Supervisors meeting this week. The proposed ski resort and golf course of the Dyer Mountain project involves 700 acres of private property. Note: items included in the weekly Remember When column are taken from our bound newspaper archives and represent writing styles of that particular period. The spelling and grammar are not edited, so the copy is presented as it actually appeared in the original newspaper. O ligopolie.s gouge Americans with Cellphones. Despite the extraordinary cost of service and equipment, a cellphone is a luxury that few people live without. In fact, it is not unheard-of to see a homeless person walking around with a cellphone pressed against his or her ear hole. Even young children and technologydlliterate grandparents are equipped with a cellphone these days. The need to have instant gratification and instant communication is dominating society to the point of sacrificing necessary expenses just to afford a $200 to $300 luxury bill. However, rather than thinking of it as a luxury, it is generally considered a necessity-- even though people often go beyond the minimum services and opt for unlimited everything, just to be safe. It is that kind of demand that gives United States cellular companies the ammunition they need to gouge customers. In 2009 consumerreports.org reported that the average family pays $600 a month for cell service, while more advanced users were paying upward of $1,800 month. A lot has changed since 2009, however, but prices continue to rise. In the United States, AT&T customers with two lines can expect to pay $130 a month, plus fees and taxes, for 10 gigabytes of data and unlimited talk and text; Verizon Wireless customers pay about $180 for the same services; T-Mobile charges $120 a month; and Sprint customers pay about $140 a month. In the United Kingdom, the average cost of a service plan is around $54 but you can pay as little as $18 a month for a pay-as-you-go SIM with unlimited data and texts. Compared to other countries, the U.S. ranked three out of 10 (one being the highest) in a list of countries with the most expensive cellphone bills. But why is there such a huge fluctuation? The answer is explained in one word: oligopoly. Accordingto Princeton.edu, an oligopoly high cellphone bills lowest service rates in America -- sadly, it also has less coverage throughout America, otherwise I would never have left its side. In its latest move, T-Mobile released its "uncarrier plans" that Chief Executive Officer John Legere believes will heat up the industry. He said the wireless industry MY TURN is broken and T-Mobile is prepared to fix it. ............................................... "We are either going to take over this SAMANTHA P. HAWTHORNE Staff Writer shawthorne@plumasnews.com occurs when the decisions of one firm (in this case, in the wireless industry) influence the decision of another frn. In the United States, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile control the majority of the mobile market, and have been taking advantage of that by employing principles of oliopolyf When companies are in a place where an oligopoly would be beneficial, the players often get together and decide on the rules of the game -- basically, "How much should we charge, what kind of fees should be tacked on, how can we screw our customers?" The goal is to kick out the competition so customers only have one option -- theirs. In the mobile wars, AT&T and Verizon take the lead with a two-thirds share in the market; and Sprint and T-Mobile follow behind them. The amount of competition has been gradually shrinking in the past few years, as the larger companies buy out the smaller companies. In the last year, however, T-Mobile changed the game by separating itself from the oligopoly and publically declaring in one of its commercials, "I can't do this anymore." The message was referring to the longstanding industry norm of termination fees, sneaky overage charges and other underhanded business practices. While prices in the U.K. still beat out T-Mobile, the company has one of the whole industry, or these bastards will change and we'll still be wildly successful," he said during this year's International CES. Of course his attitude does not sit well in an oligopoly, where the goal is to trap consumers in a pool of high prices with nowhere to turn. In an article in The New Yorker, Tim Wu said, "... Our scrutiny and regulation of monopolists is well established -- just ask Microsoft or the old AT&T. But when three or four tin:ms pursue identical practices, we say that the market is 'competitive' ar/d everything is time. To state the obvious, when companies act in parallel, the consumer is in the same position as if he were dealing with just one big firm. There is, in short, a major blind spot in our nation's oversight of private power, one that affects both consumers and competition." Considering the trends in health care, banking, television and wireless service, Americans are being held hostage by oligopolies -- something the Federal Communications Commission is supposed to protect us against. Last December the FCC was urged to create a wireless taskforce to help combat these issues, and ensure the market is competitive. To date, however, no such group has been enacted. Unless someone steps up to the plate and actually puts public interest above capitalism these gouging practices are bound to continue, leaving Americans with less and less money in their pockets. i , J