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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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August 25, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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ii[Ji~ll~Ji~WiHmlOlimNU~iliJ1~m. . , unaamimiin]mRma~im~wa~u~l~, . ~~~w~,~J,~ _ 10B Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010 Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter DITORIAL and PINION EDITORIAL i After nearly a year of uproar, countless con- tentious meetings, dozens of yard signs and more letters to the editor than any other topic we can recall, it's almost over. We are, of course, referring to Measure B, which would cap the property assessments for a new Plumas District Hospital at $50 per $100,000 of assessed value. Ballots for the spe- cial all-mail election are due next Tuesday, Aug. 31. Results will be posted that night at plumasnews.com. No matter the outcome, which is anything but clear, one thing we do know: we are better off than Modoc County. After a recent vacation to Modoc, one of our staff members reported seeing purple-and- white Save Our Hospital signs. That sent us to the Modoc Record website for more informa- tion. The situation, in short: Modoc has a county- owned hospital, Modoc Medical Center, in A1- turas. The center has operated in the red for years. The county has bailed it out repeatedly to the tune of $12 million. But here's the really messy part: the county used restricted funds to do so. Restricted funds, by law, are intended for particular purposes and can only be spent for those purposes. Mod- oc is now in the position of having to pay back that $12 million. The situation has yielded not one, but two ballot measures for the November election. One would establish a hospital district, thereby converting the county-owned hospital into a district hospital. The second would allow the county to sell $12 - $15 million in bonds to get itself out of debt. Among the hurdles to such a plan, the county has not formally adopted its audits going back to 2007 - 08. Such accounting paperwork is nec- essary to support a bond issuance. The fallout from the situation has been wide- spread. Staff members have been fired, and elected officials have been voted out of office. The grand jury has looked into the situation, and a citizens' group, the Monday Night Group, has asked the state attorney general's office to investigate. The mess threatens to bankrupt the county. Modoc even asked the state for a bailout. In an unusual display of fiscal common sense, the state said no. Our vacationing staff member spoke to sever- al people in Modoc. One, a clerk at the Likely General Store, said she was voting against the hospital measure. She said she would just go to Cedarville for medical care. Cedarville? Turns out the Surprise Valley Health Care District (Cedarville is the population center for the valley) supports a medical center. This is noteworthy, we think, given that the popula- tion of the Surprise Valley is about 1,250. The population of the Plumas Hospital District is more than 5,000. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from SVHC. Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday's elec- tion, surely we can come together to find ways of meeting our future healthcare needs. The task will be a lot easier for us than it will for Modoc. A '" Fea g / Breaking News .... go to plumasnews.com 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 Morea Hill .................. Copy Editor Staff writers: Joshua Sebold Kayleen Taylor Will Farris Ruth Ellis Sam Williams Brian Taylor Barbara France Pat Shillito Susan Cort Johnson Linda Satchwell Feather River Westwood Bulletin PinePress (530) 283-0800 (530) 256-2277 Lassen County Chester Progressive Times (530) 258-3115 (530) 257-53211 Indian Valley Portola Reporter Record (530) 832-4646 (530) 284-7800 MY TURN ALICIA KNADLER ndian Valley Editor aknadler@plumasnews.com My how things have changed in the way we gather.the information we base our opin- ions on. Back when I was a new reporter here, we attended training seminars hosted by the California Newspaper Publisher's Associa- tion, the Sacramento Bee and our own Feather Publishing Company. Over that period of five to eight years, there were a few truths repeated over and over again. Readers want to read and understand the gist of their news quickly; they do not want to pull out a dictionary or read a paragraph over a couple times to make sure they under- stood it correctly. We were told to throw out the old tradition of trying to SClueeze who, what, where, when, why and how all in the first sentence or two. Instead we were to begin with what the story means to the reader: what's in it for them? We were to do that in a nutshell, as short and to the point as we could be. Another truth was that no matter how hard we tried to be accurate and objective, readers would believe what their friends and family members told them more than what they read in the newspaper. These days we have a whole new set oL friends and family on facebook.com. And whoa, what a stampede of information that can rope into the mix. Over the past several months since joining Facebook, I have seen good and bad aspects of virtual social interactions. Good is the much closer connection to those one might not otherwise communicate frequently with, or my favorite, share pic- tures with. Bad, well for me, are the negative com- ments friends share, some about local busi- nesses, for example. True; one complaint can pave the way for positive comments in reply, and l, for one, really value open communication. But it's a known fact that people are more likely to take the time to complain than they would be to make a compliment. Just look at the Letters to the Editor section -- in any newspaper. Nothing I've seen on Facebook, so far, compares with the speed of rumors spread- ing across small communities -- that has re- mained the same, thank you. Not trying to be snobby or anything, I think Feather Publishing has done a great job with breaking news on the Internet, like with local wildfires and the recent manhunt in Graeagle. That was better than any major television network news coverage I've ever seen, well except for that infamous day nine years ago in 2001. Recently though, a Facebook comment from a friend of a friend twice removed paved the way to near disaster. "Hey there's this recall," the comment be- gan. And Mr. Friend provided a link to a spe- cial interest website. Anyone else might have read what was on Quincy resident Claudia Barnes (left) is pictured in Buxton, England; with Anne Car- penter, her pen pal of 55 years. Barnes met Carpenter for the first time five years ago when she visited England with her granddaughter, Emily Leonhardt. Next time you travel, share where you went by taking your local newspaper'along and including it in a photo. Then e-mail the photo to smorrow@plumasnews.com that site and stopped there, but a truly snoopy person, like my smirkless self, would go straight t9 the agency responsible for the recall, then to the company that manufac- tured that product. That is when opinions and assumptions change quickly, depending on perspectives. To explore this cyberspace information- gathering concept, I decided to use Wikipedia, a very popular online encyclope- dia that is constantly updated and corrected, or so I thought. For example, on our Plumas County page it quickly recorded the death of our 1st Senate District Representative Dave Cox in July. This is what else Wikipedia had available for county politics: "Plumas County is currently a strongly Republican county in presidential and con- gressional elections. "The last Democrat to win a majority in presidential elections in the county was Jim- my Carter in 1976, although Bill Clinton won with a plurality in 1992. "Plumas County is part of California's 4th congressional district, which is currently held by Republican Tom McClintock, replac- ing John Doolittle who stepped down from his seat due to the famous political-corrup- tion scandal involving the convicted lobby- ist Jack Abramoff. "In the state Legislature, Plumas County. is part of the 3rd Assembly District, which is held by Republican Dan Logue, and the 1st Senate district, which had been held by Re- publican Dave Cox, who died on July 13, 2010. "On Nov. 4, 2008, Plumas County voted 60 percent for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages." Reading this section made me wonder who wrote it, and why. OUt of all the notorious California propositions, was No. 8 the only one important enough to mention? So I started clicking links to read article discussions and find a history of edits to the page, and it took some time to eventually track it down. Scott Tillinghast, who was born, raised and lived most of his life in Houston, Tex., was the one who made that addition Nov. 25, 2008. Well who in the heck is he, I wondered -- click, click. Tillinghast was politically confuSed for a time and changed from Republican to Demo- crat after his college years in !~72, ;J l Dlj. More recently he was treasurer~a 1992 of the Houston Gay-Lesbian P01ifica~,~aucus, and he spentthe first eight years of this decade on the board of the Houston chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Aha, so that is who added information to our Wiki page: a nonresident politician in- terested in gay rights. The references listed at the end of the page are little better when it comes to credi- bility. There are three references, and one links to answers.com, which refers back to and quotes the Wikipedia page. Are they looped, o~ what? So, after discovering several instances of this sort of thing, my always-curious self has learned to work backwards to the source. I hope, when my, memory begins to gray like my hair, I won't forget these valuable lessons. ) I need the government to tell me what to do? and to protect civil liberties and individual tures rise above 85 degrees Fahrenheit be- and human rights, cause most workers, fearing repercussions, They believe the role of the government won't take a break on their own. should be to guarantee that no one is in Ifa boss is that big of a jerk, laws don't need, and they tend to believe that people change that. Find the jerks and nail them. If I are basically good. were an outdoor worker, I would feel humili- Liberal policies generally emphasize the ated to learn there are bleeding hearts out need for the government to Solve people's there who don't think I was smart enough to MY TURN problems, know when I needed to drink water. Conservatives believe in personal respon- The author of the press release, Fran ........................................ B'A'RBARA" FRANCE ........................................ sibility, limited government, free markets, Schreiberg, is an attorney. She wrote, "Call- Staff Writer individual liberty, traditional American val- fornia must do its very best to provide pro- bfrance@lassennews.com ues and a strong national defense, tection for the mo~t powerless among us. One of the fundamental differences be- They believe the role of government These outdoor workers, many of whom are tween Republicans and Democrats is belief should be to provide people the freedom nec- low-wage workers, play an underappreciat- in smaller or bigger government. It is also essary to pursue their own goals, ed and vital role in making California great. one of the issues the Tea Party movement Conservative policies generally'emphasize These are the peo )le who pick our vegeta- has raised the last couple of years: How empowerment of the individual to solve bles, wash our cm's, move our commerce in much interference does an average Ameri- problems, warehouses and c n the docks, and build our can adult want from the U.S. government? I like having empowerment to solve myroads and houses Ensuring their most basic For the most part those in the Tea Party own problems. I was raised by my parents, human needs -- ater, rest, shade won't movement are conservatives and align teachers, spiritual leaders, friends, neighbors cause a ripple in ]e state's grand river of themselves with the Republican Party. and government to believe that by the time I commerce." I know I have had a hard time defining in was 21, I would be an adult and take on the Many of my far ily members were blue col- simple words what a conservative is, or role of a functioning member of society, lar workers, such is Schreiberg describes, should I say why I am conservative, because I was given the right to vote, hold a job, and I never thou ;ht of them as powerless. many of my conservative views are not pay taxes and enjoy the other freedoms af- They were tough, ~ardworking, voting peo- based on politics but on how I choose to live forded an adult as long as I kept the law. Not ple. I wonder if she is backhandedly saying my life. a bad deal. she thinks those x~ho do manual labor are As an adult, I choose to live within a If I kept the law, the law left me alone, dense; uriable to care for themselves; lacking framework of constraints. Gone are the col- Somewhere in the last 29 years that has common sense or, using the nonpolitically lege years of testing boundaries, thus changed, and those in charge decided too correct phrase, are mentally slow. Hmm? putting others and myself in jeopardy. I many adults were not taking care of them- Doesn't sound llke the laridscapers, Army guess you can say I grew up and matured, selves, so the law decided to interfere, depot warehouse ~mployees, construction That's why my question in the headline: A press release went out this week stating builders, farmers land ranchers I know. It Does the government consider me mature or Cal OSHA is looking at heat regulations. The doesn't sound lik~ the seasonal firefighters, still a very young adult who needs to be told writers of the release come from the "you forest personnel even fire camp prison- what to do? At some point after age 18 or 21, aren't capable of caring for yoursalf' group, ers who work in this area. each contributing member of society has to Dr. Gina Solomon, associate clinical profes- I know to whom this liberal attorney is re- take responsibility for his or her actions and sor of medicine at University of California - ferring, do you? B~t to be politically correct, not expect the government to baby him. San Francisco and senior scientist with the disguise her racial bigotry and be part of the Liberals believe in governmental action to Natural Resources Defense Council, said Cal nanny state mentality, she sugarcoats whom achieve equal opportunity and equality for OSHA should consider toughening the stan- she is talking about. Even the seasonal mi- all, and that it is the duty of the state or the , dards that give outdoor workers mandatory grant workers and immigrant workers I federal government to alleviate social ills cooldown breaks every hour when tempera- have met are not powerless and idiots.