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Coastal Voices: Ignoring race won't solve real equality issues

I’ve been giving some thought to Evelyn Cook’s opinion piece “We Are All Just Shades of Brown” that appeared in last Saturday’s Triplicate.

She expressed annoyance with having to check a box on government forms for her race — which is white — and argued “the little boxes divide us by race and keep reminding us of our differences” and are used by the “same racist system . . . to decide who gets a larger or smaller share of tax-dollar benefits, special privileges, and protections.”
 Well, I don’t think any of us recently checked a race box and suddenly experienced the discomfort of remembering what race we were. “Oh my Gosh — I forgot I was white. And look here — female. Curse you, Uncle Sam for bringing it to mind.” 
But criticism of Ms. Cook’s analogy aside, I do understand that lots of white folks, especially in rural places where there are fewer minorities to speak about their experience, tend to have the same world view that Ms. Cook expressed: white people are the victims of racism, especially promulgated by government rules and regulations. We need to stop paying attention to race; it leads to more racism. 
Admittedly, the worldview Ms. Cook expressed is progress compared to the kind of racist ideals that suggested black and brown people were lesser human beings, shouldn’t have the right to bear arms, shouldn’t have fishing rights, shouldn’t be able to attend white (read: well-funded) schools, and shouldn’t ride in the front of the bus. 
But suggesting the election of President Obama proves that we’re all equal now ignores the very real racism that still exists in our country — and our community for that matter. This racism is deeply connected to economic class as well, and hides behind and inside many of our institutions and policies. It is revealed in outcomes.


Another View: We are all just shades of brown

One of my pet peeves has to do with those little boxes on government forms that require applicants to check off their race. I know that I’m supposed to check “white” or “Caucasian” but I refuse.

I don’t consider myself white because I’m not an albino. And none of my ancestors hailed from the Caucasus region, so in reality I’m no more a Caucasian than I am an Eskimo.

As far as skin color goes, my part-Italian ancestry gives it a hue that’s closer to caffè latte than it is to cream. It doesn’t take long in the sun to turn brown. Since I don’t feel honest checking a box for white or Caucasian, I usually leave it blank.


Coastal Voices: DN Health Care District wants to hear from you

As a senior physician in Del Norte County, three term chief of staff of Sutter Coast Hospital and incoming chair of the Del Norte Healthcare District, I review the history of local health care and seek your input.

After inviting Sutter Health to this community in 1985, the Del Norte Healthcare District enjoyed a collaborative relationship with Sutter for many years. That all changed in 2010 when in violation of California law, Sutter Health began implementing patient care policies at Sutter Coast Hospital without any input from hospital physicians. I removed those illegal policies from Sutter Coast, which was later cited for its misconduct by the Joint Commission, the certifying body for hospitals nationwide. Sutter Coast CEO Mitch Hanna has the report.

In 2011, the Sutter Coast board voted in secret, over my objection and the deliberate exclusion of this community, to transfer hospital ownership from Del Norte County to a multi-hospital corporation in San Francisco.


Another View: A religion of peace? Read the Koran

If Islam is truly a religion of peace, as at least two U.S. presidents, numerous pundits and even the Pope would have us believe, why do so many Muslims in so many nations spend so much time, effort and money slaughtering noncombatants? 

Why did Muslims slay 2,977 innocents on Sept. 11, 2001? Why have Muslims committed 42 acts of terror on American soil since that tragic day, killing 89 people and injuring 334?


Coastal Voices: Where do your property taxes go?

I recently paid my property tax and decided it was time to find out what I was paying for. I found the Del Norte County site on the Internet: Board Of Supervisors, Resolution # 2013-039 - Allocation Fund.

There is a list of groups (by percentage) getting a share of our tax dollars. One of the groups that jumped off the page was the “Del Norte County District Hospital Board,” at 2.8 percent (annually) of my tax dollars.

There are two boards:


Coastal Voices: Healthcare Dist. mired in secrecy, extravagant spending

As a board member of the Del Norte Healthcare District, I have raised concerns regarding the transparency of the decision making process by the District. As a government agency, the district is required to follow the Brown Act, a state law that requires that all decisions must be made in open public meetings following advance notification of the action that is being considered. There are few exceptions to this legal requirement.

My primary concerns center on the extravagant sum of public money that has been spent on legal fees over the last three years and the secrecy that has surrounded these decisions.

In 2012, the district sued Sutter Health to prevent the conversion of Sutter Coast Hospital to a critical access hospital. I initially supported the legal action due to the purported facts that critical access was limited to a maximum 15 acute beds and profiteering was occurring. Once those myths were dispelled it became apparent to me that legal action was not worthwhile.


Another View: Taking stock of the good things we have here

As a new year begins, and an increasing number of disturbing events unfolds around the globe, it may lift our spirits to look at some of the good things we have going on here at home.

In days of yore, when Del Norte downpours never seemed to cease from November to April, grumbling about wet weather was the favorite local pastime.

But after four years of drought, forest fires and water restrictions, the only thing I hear these days on the subject of rain is approval and relief.


Rising seas are transforming Del Norteís lakes and cliffs

A fundamental change occurred in Del Norte county during 2015, with little notice or news. Lakes Earl and Tolowa have become the Tolowa Estuary.

Tidal flows now pulse in and out of the estuary through the beach berm at the former breach site, even at the lowest tide there is a wide channel where once there was a beach berm holding the water in the lake.


Coastal Voices: City should consider cannabis economy

My name is Robert Derego. I spoke at the Crescent City Council meeting on Dec. 21 that was addressed in the paper as "City favors pot ban."

The printed article said something to the effect that I did not "believe that something that could make so much money should be banned." I did not say that it quite that manner, probably a more accurate generalization would have been "something that is becoming now known more as benign than illicit with such a large market value and historical geographical association to our North Coastline should be considered in balance with the economy.".

I do not know that I said "believe" so much as cited actual revenue numbers and studies attesting to medical cannabis efficacy and its regulations association with several reductions of harm, including no increase in teen use and reduced consumption of more dangerous drugs.


Coastal Voices: Let's shine a light on Sutter's secrets

I write to address Sutter Coast Hospital CEO Mitch Hanna’s false allegations against me, as printed in the newspaper, and to ask Sutter to release its secret documents, so our community can learn the truth about Sutter.

After reading this article, please join me in asking the hospital board of directors to release the documents, which Sutter was required to produce in my lawsuit against Sutter. I think community members would be interested to learn how the Sutter Coast board and Sutter Health executives really operate.

To the wonderful Sutter Coast employees, please know this: I deeply appreciate the care you have given me. My suit against the Sutter Coast board (which includes local residents and Sutter Health executives) was filed to hold Sutter accountable to the promises it made to my late husband Sonny when he gifted his land to Sutter Coast: that Sutter would operate a locally owned, acute care hospital, not a downsized Critical Access facility with a 25-bed limit and a restriction on how long patients could stay.


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