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May 26, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11B COMMUNITY PERSPE CTIVE The meaning of Memorial Day needs to be remembered WHERE I STAND day holiday to enjoy the sun ................................................................................................... and fun? DAVE RUDOLPH The collective conscience of Memorial Day is a very im- portant day to all veterans. No veterans need to be reminded why this day must be com- memorated and remembered. But what about the general public of Amerdca? Do you rec- ognize and understand the im- portance of this day? Do you re- alize the importance of May 30? What does Memorial Day mean to you? The beginning of the summer season, a three- this country demands that all our citizens be aware of and re- call the sacrifices of their fel- low Americans. Far too often this nation, as a whole, takes our freedoms for granted. All Americans enjoy these freedoms, but they were paid for with the lives of others who few of us actually knew. That is why those who gave their all for this nation are collectively remembered on one day. The nation mourns the loss of all Americans who have died defending their country and freedom throughout the world since 1775. These are men and women who have re- mained mostly anonymous ex- cept to the families who loved them. They'came from all walks of life and regions of this country. They all had one thing in common -- the love of and loyalty to our America. That bond cemented ties between them that, in hard times and in times of unbe- lievable hardship, allowed them to overcome any obstacles, and persevere. Who were they? They were relatives, friends and neigh- bors joined together to serve their country: They are the nation's defenders. Memorial Day is, most im- portantly, for honoring and remembering those who died serving our nation. We are re- membering the loss of these defenders, a sense of loss that is all encompassing. We are honoring those who made the greatest sacrifice possible: giving one's own life to pre- serve our freedoms. This remembrance is all-in- elusive, spanning 226 years, some 60 military actions and nearly 1.4 million lives. We can choose our own way to pay tribute. A few moments of personal silence and reflec- tion is an option for everyone. Attending a commemorative ceremony is the most visible way of demonstrating your re- membrance. Whether you do it individually or in a group, it is the thought that counts. This Memorial Day, I invite yon to visit your local ceme- tery as a way to honor the he- roes of America and the de- fenders of freedom. Many gravesites will be decorated with our nation's flag, and some areas will also have a ceremony. In Portola at Shady Grove Cemetery, the local veterans groups will have flags mark- ing the veterans' graves and will honor them with a 21-gun salute, a prayer and by play- ing "Taps" at 11 a.m. May 30. Please consider this your invitation to join them as they honor and remember our country's dead. Separation of duties and offices not WHERE I STAND ' funded programs and the ............................................................................................................ sports that were cut had to BILL WlCKMAN FORMER SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER After reading the latest edi- torial, "The handwriting is on the wall but it's not too late to act," I want to take the op- portunity to comment as well as provide some recent past history that continues to car- ry on today. I was a school board member from 1990 through 1997. During that period, PUSD and the county schools went through the first drastic bud- get cuts that seemed to signal the start of such issues. It was also this same time that many in the county felt that it would be best to separate the two su- perintendent positions that, like now, had been held by a single individual. The budget cuts that oc- curred in the 1993 - 94 time were in the $3 million range and had a profound effect on the schools. There were reduc- tions in programs, layoffs in both the certificated and clas- sifted staff as well as adminis- tration. Sports were already being asked to reduce the number of come up with their own fund- ing to be maintained. There were public meetings held in each community to try and convey the magnitude of the problem. I specifically re- member the meeting in Greenville that was held in the high school gymnasium. The superintendent at the time tried to explain the issues and reductions and possible out- come if the governing board and district administration did not take proper action. What sticks with me to this day is that this meeting was not the type of meeting where the audience wanted to take the opportunity to have prob- lem solving discussions. In- stead, the majority of the com- ments and remarks that were provided were caustic and in- flammatory. The outcome of all of those meetings and governing board action was to try and main- tain as many programs and staff as possible. The down- side was a budget that could not meet the state minimum requirements. As a result, a state official was sent in to oversee all ac- tions taken by the district ad- ministration and governing board. At that point, no one in the district administration or on the governing board had any authority to take any ac- tion that had a fiscal impact. All local control was lost. Is today's situation any dif- ferent? Some would argue it is because the superintendent and governing board are not listening to all the needs and voiced concerns from Greenville and other commu- nities. Some will say it is not the same because there is a large reserve that was not available during the period discussed above. I say that the biggest differ- ence is that the superinten- dent and governing board are listening and trying to provide what is reasonable given the current and near future finan- cial issues. The state continues to re- duce school funding. In addi- tion, during the 1990s, the school district still had the luxury of healthy 25 percent revenue funding from the For- est Service. At that point in time, the Plumas County necessarily the way to go schools and roads were receiv- ing an average of $6 million per year. There have been articles and discussion over the con- tinued Secure Rural Schools (SRS) funds that are reduced by 10 percent each fiscal year since 2008, and the looming disaster that will occur in 2012, when 8RS is due to go away completely. At that point, the school district faces the real possibility of having a minuscule amount provided from the 25 percent revenue funds because of the contin- ued reductions in the Forest Service timber program. The figures are available to illustrate how vulnerable PUSD is to continued reduc- tfons in this historic bud- getary stimulus from those 25 percent revenues. It would on- ly confuse many to include those figures in this article. The important point is to re- alize the superintendent and governing board are acting re- sponsibly by not draining the existing reserves and risk an- other state takeover of all our schools and programs. Lastly, I would like to add some clarity to the comment, "It's not too late to do a write- in campaign" to separate the two offices of superintendence of schools. During the same early 1990 time period, this same dissat- isfaction over one person holding both roles occurred. A vote was held and, lo and be- hold, Plumas County did in- deed have two superinten- dents. The campaign promise of the candidate at the time was to run the Plumas County Office of Education separate- ly, economically and provide the communities what they wanted. What really happened? Yes, as the editorial states, the dis- trict superintendent "reports" to the county superintendent. However, they have separate authorities and "reporting" is all that is done. The schools, majority of programs and staff are still under the leadership and di- rection of the district superin- tendent and school board. What occurred and would oc- cur again is that a second em- pire was built. The county su- perintendent slowly increased his salary, he hired an assis- tant superintendent, had his own administrative assistant and director of business. In all, that additional, un- necessary second superinten- dent added nothing to pro- grams and staff. It did cost the Plumas County schools, pro- grams and staff a conservative $150,000-$200,000 (not includ- ing retirement and benefits) per year that could have been going back into those areas of Concern. So beware of what you ask when you conspire to lead voters into a write-in campaign. Emotions'at meetings nor- mally can run rampant during trying times, but alI parties need to stay as calm and ratio- nal as possible if all sides are to work together and not be defensive. To attend meetings and lose control, make derogatory re- marks and accusations only leads to the appearance of not having opportunities for con- structive discussions and so- lutions. Might it be a wiser de- cision to try and lead an effort to work with the school board, superintendent and communi- ties more closely to solve our common and often misunder- stood issues? DE E ' TTERS t:o .... DITOR Few and far between As I see it, the conservative political engine is being fueled by greed, bigotry, hate, literal- ism, denial, negativism, hypocrisy, authoritarianism, indoctrination and the "big lie." I suspect some well-meaning but misled conservatives do not fit the above catergories; but what I am seeing on TV, hearing in the street, and read- ing on Facebook and thei.r mailers and their newspaper comments and ads, sensible conservatives seem to be few and far between. I am so glad I am an open- minded, accepting, charitable, democratic, freed0m-loving liberal. Salvatore Catalano Taylorsville Lovely job This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Chester Community Chorus spring concert. The show was titled "Anything Goes," which provided a wonderful plat- form for the rich variety of musical styles and format of song choices presented. The audience was treated to sentimental and nostalgic tunes from our oldies but goodies past, as well as famil- iar romantic show tunes and movie themes from modern day films. Upbeat selections from today's current Billboard hits were coupled with popu- lar everyday favorites that of- ten found us humming the lyrics and tapping our toes throughout the performance. From one end of the spectrum to the other, the program nice- ly included something fo'r everyone. The chorus does a lovely job of sharing its talents within our community through dedi- cation and hard work, bring- ing joy to people with their voices. The healing power of music has been well docu- mented over time; it renews one's spirit, and simply makes a body feel good! I, for one, would like to per- sonally take this opportunity to say thank you for the music and for "filling my vessel" via your combined efforts and tremendous generosity of time and energy spent on behalf of others. I look forward with great an- ticipation to the equally ap- preciated upcoming winter concert in early December. Chester Community Chorus rocks! With Gratitude Bunny Pringle Chester Don't fuel it This week President Obama is hosting a state dinner for Mexican President Felipe Calder6n. High on their agen- da is the M6rida Initiative: a Bush-era program to fund Mexico's "war on drugs." Through M6rida, more than $1.4 billion of our taxes have already been dumped into this losing war. Despite a nearly 10-fold increase in U.S. fund- ing for Mexico's military and police, drug-related violence in Mexico continues to soar, claiming over 20,000 lives since 2006. Now Congress is deciding whether to give the faltering counternarcotics pro- gram another year and $310 million of life. We need to attack the root of the problem: U.S. demand. So "long as addicts in our commu- nity continue to provide an ample market for cocaine, car- tels in Tijuana will kill to con- trol that market. Congress should learn from past fail- ures and divert M4rida's mil- lions to Proven demand reduc- tion programs at home. The peaceful future that violence- stricken Mexicans seek cannot be found in the barrel of a gun, but in a well-funded U.S. drug rehab clinic. Failing strategies should be replaced, not perpet- uated. M6rida is built on the false premise that more military presence yields less cartel vio- lence. Though an unprecedent- ed 10,000 Mexican troops now occupy Ciudad Jurez, cartel murders continue to rise there, including the killing of three people linked to the U.$. Consulate in March. We can- not afford to perpetuate M4ri- da's deadly logic. Beyond failing to thwart cartel attacks, the M4rida Ini- tiative has financed increased military attacks on Mexicans' human rights. From 2007' to 2009, Mexico's National Hu- man Rights Commission re- ceived 3,388 reports of human rights violations committed by Mexico's military, a six-fold increase over pre-Mrida lev- els. During the same time peri- od, Congresg awarded the Mexican military over $1 bil- lion in taxpayer dollars. Our taxes should help extinguish Mexico's fire, not fuel it. Tom Neill Quincy Color blind? Bob Beckwith of Quincy, in his letter to the editor dated Ap'ril 28, in regard to being ticketed for a parking viola- tion in Portola, displayed all the anger and emotions that I felt in December, when I was ticketed for parking in a "pink" zone on Portola's Com- mercial Street, specifically in front of Oregano's shop; the zone has since been painted. In several No Parking zones on East Commercial, it hap- pens that the sidewalks are of a reddish-pink tone and blend in nicely with the "pink" zones and in wet weather even more blended. Several off-duty county em- ployees came to town recently to view the curbs that culmi- nated in numerous violations. Ticket violation fines are paid to the county and then the county and city divvy-up. Now, I figure that the city made quite a haul (money- wise) to warrant a look-see by off-duty county employees. Howeverl the city is remiss for allowing our citizens to be cit- ed over and over again by parking in a zone that appar- ently does not register as a red zone. We may be perceived as dumb country folks who are colorblind. When in town, I have per- sonally tracked people down to warn them that they are parked in a "red zone" After 20 or so warnings, I tired of the whole shebang especially after telling some old broad that she was in a no-parking area, to which she said not a word, but jumped in her car and pro- ceeded to flip a U-turn on Com- mercial -- a violation to be sure. To the city I say this -- paint the damn curb the same bright red enamel as the fireplugs. P.S., I have pictures of the curbs and they would amaze you. Marlene S. Keogh Portola Blank check I find it interesting that the Plumas District Hospital board is trying to bait the Tax Limitation Initiative propo- nents into other arguments such as lawyer fees and what our plans for the future of the hospital are. That's not what the Tax Limitation Initiative is about. Do you want to pay $50 per $100.000 of assessed valuation or do you want to take a check out of your checkbook, sign it and have PDH fill in the amount each year for the next 30 years? That's what the Tax Limitation Initiative is about. Marty Brutlag Quincy Epitaph The situation with Plumas District Hospital concerns me on many levels. One is ques- tioning the integrity of the hospital board; the other is the consequences of the Tax Limi- tation Initiative passing. The PDH board is individu- als from our community who are elected to manage and guide the hospital. They lend their time and talent, ensuring the hospital delivers high quality health care over the long term by remaining fiscal- ly sound. Collectively, it's ob- vious they've made sound de- msmns over the years. Does it make sense that this board set out to mislead tax- payers? No. Unfortunately, the sale of the first bonds coincid- ed with the Great Recession, the most egregious economic downturn since the Great De- pression. My second concern: The consequences if the initiative is passed. Follow this likely scenario: PDH board and community are back to square one. The clock is ticking on SB1953, the seismic compliance require- ment. The facility continues to deteriorate and taxpayers just wasted $3.2 million. Many of 'us, especially healthcare providers, are discouraged and frustrated. Some staff see the writing on the wall and de- cide to move on. Those posi- tions remain vacant because the hospital can't attract some- one without anything to offer. As they leave, kids go with them, compounding our de- clining school enrollment. Businesses feel the impact as sales suffer. Proprietors wonder about their future, some decide to leave before it's too late. More children leave, property values fall, houses go unsold. Nobody wants to move here. Why would they, with the impending demise of the hospital, empty storefronts and a one-room schoolhouse? Eventually, time expires on SB 1953, forcing the hospital to close. We are now like many other communities, wonder- ing about our future when we once had a chance to secure our destiny. If the initiative passes it'll be bittersweet. Sweet because some voices were heard and due process prevailed. Bitter because it will be the epitaph on our tombstone. Steve King Quincy Clear choice I am writing in support of Chuck Leonhardt for Plumas County assessor. I felt com- pelled to comment in response to Sherry Halverson's letter (May 19) suggesting that Chuck is one of the "good ol' boys'! and is primarily sup- ported by county employees and bureaucrats. I am not a county employee nor a bureaucrat; I retired to Plumas County 11 years ago. I expected to kick back and re- lax; however, I soon found my- self involved in the process to get our community annexed to a local fire district and then elected to the board of direc- tors of that fire district. The annexation process and my subsequent role as a mem- ber of the fire district board of directors has required many visits to the Plumas County Assessor's Office. From my very first visit, I have been im- pressed and amazed at the cus- tomer-friendly environment that Chuck has developed in his office. Chuck's staff is ea- ger to help, and when neces- sary Chuck will get involved to make sure that my ques- tions are answered. Chuck has demonstrated the leadership skills necessary to establish a professional staff in the assessor's office. His knowledge of government law and experience in the real es- tate industry is vital to the \\; assessor's office. I have brought some difficult prob- lems to Chuck and he has al- ways had the patience to ex- plain the complexities in- volved and the willingness to resolve the issue. To me, the clear choice is Chuck Leonhardt for Plumas County assessor. Bob Anderson Clio Informed I find it very interesting to read the recent Letters to the Editor, primarily the letters regarding the upcoming pri- mary election. It is refreshing that we still have some candidates that are running on sincere honesty, integrity, knowledge, experi- ence and a true desire to serve our county. This has been stated numer- ous times by letters from Plumas County residents at- testing to fact that some candi- dates are, in fact, what they say they are and what they will do for our county. A proven track record as county assessor, 13 years and counting, goes a long way in deciding who will win this race. I I believe that the outcome of this election will be decided by a candidate presenting his strengths and not bashing and attacking his opponent. Plumas County does not need a county watchdog to tell us what is right or wrong. As informed citizens, we can make our own decisions and come to our own conclusions. Mr. Leonhardt, you have my vote. Robert Watkinson Whitehawk/Clio Foxhole logic Thank you for allowing this former Quincy squatter to comment on the "candi- dates forum" article that.ap- peared in your newspaper, and 'more pointedly having to do with the race for the coun- ty assessor. It appears that candidate Mike Gardner feels his "Viet- nam experience" prevails over incumbent Chuck Leonhardt's civilian status in fighting the local war on the menacing See Letters, page 12B