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Coastal Voices: We all need a balanced perspective

First may I say I appreciate the changes I see coming about in all different areas of the Triplicate, since the change-over of editor, etc. I am not a subscriber, as having lived elsewhere in prior years I have read more “balanced” papers. Many times I may have been heard to say, or heard said, “Why waste my money? There’s not much of interest in this paper.” 


Coastal Voices: The Triplicate: What are my expectations of it?

I could write this Coastal Voices Op/Ed and simply wish everyone a very happy and healthy new year. That would certainly be safe and benign. However, the subject of my opinion contribution is none other than the messenger herself, the Triplicate. 

Over the last several months my focus of criticism is the thrice-weekly published Triplicate of which I hold the opinion is not representing the community well and systemic changes need be implemented so all of us feel invested and have a voice in the community. 

 


Coastal Voices: Police must be held to a higher standard

We hear about police who abuse their power most often, simply because we can’t pat everyone on the back for doing what they’re being paid to do. With classism and corruption, along with the militarization of officers, comes victims that are all races and genders, and we need to realize that this is a problem that affects everyone. The police force, along with many prosecutors and judges, need to be scrutinized. Protesters across the country and around the world are speaking out against the abuse.

Black civilians need a spotlight, because they are being targeted far more frequently and violently than the rest of us. This is not pointing at individual officers, except perhaps those we have conclusive evidence against that have not been punished. I also understand police apprehend truly dangerous criminals. There is a decided difference, however, in how they handle white and black suspects, whether they prove to be innocent or not. And this is not just a police vs. criminal scenario, since black off-duty cops often get physically harassed and brutalized by white officers. 


Coastal Voices: A group dynamics lens for community building with social capital

Community leadership seldom has one leader and effective leadership is critical to how a shared goal is implemented, for solving problems, and completing projects. 

As a social entrepreneur, community building facilitator, and through pure personal interest and obsession, I am curious about processes that impact human behavior, impact models, and pathways for change within community social movements. Through attending the Ford Family Foundation’s Leadership Institute, I learned an array of strategies, styles, and models for community leadership. In addition to understanding my personal approach, I particularly appreciate lessons about group dynamics. I’m reminded of how critical relationships are to effective change and sustainable systems. 


Coastal Voices: Sutter’s financial records don’t support its claims

As a former hospital administrator now retired in Crescent City, I became very interested in the ongoing community concern over Sutter Health’s effort to transfer ownership of Sutter Coast Hospital (“SCH”) out of the community, and to downsize the hospital by 50 percent in order to qualify for higher Medicare payments under the Critical Access Hospital program. Sutter Health executives have promoted both of these changes as necessary steps to restore profitability to the hospital.

But is SCH really losing money as the Sutter executives have so often claimed? Sutter refuses to release its internal financial records so I reviewed the most recent publicly available financial data for SCH, Mad River Hospital in Arcata and St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka.


Coastal Voices: Still time to make charitable donations

As we get closer to the end of 2014, thoughts go to finding the perfect gift for loved ones. ’Tis the season of giving: of gifts, of parties, and of donations to charities. Some 40 percent of all individual charitable donations are made in December.

I first experienced my own taste of “philanthropy” when I was very young from my parents. My parents raised us seven kids on a very modest budget, but always found a way to give back. 


Coastal Voices: Sutter Health: ‘We plus you’ or ‘smoke plus mirrors’?

As you read this article please ask yourself if Sutter is acting like a for-profit or a not-for-profit corporation.

It’s been just about a year since the webinar report of Sutter’s $170,000 “independent” Strategic Options Study that was followed by an extensive radio and newspaper advertising campaign. Ironically, after two years of Sutter Coast Hospital denying they were considering downsizing the hospital to Critical Access, “the Study” reported the bestoption was to convert to a Critical Access hospital. That means more money for Sutter Health. Go figure.


Coastal Voices: Looking beyond the obvious for a Thanksgiving miracle

It was a cold November day in Brookings, the wind-driven rain looked to go to flurries as the sun began to set and the temperature dipped. Jake, just turned 29, had got a late start to work, fixing dinner for his step-brothers and -sisters back in Crescent City, and a later start on life, pumping gas in Brookings to pay for his tuition.

Jake’s parents never known, the Robertsons had adopted him years ago. Somehow the joy he took from tutoring his step-brothers and -sisters led Jake to decide to become a teacher. He’d bloomed late, after having had a taste of the overnight pleasure you could take from a bottle, a bag or the street girls in Eureka, who wrote their name in neon, and thought he knew what he wanted out of life. But tonight, as the rain and cold stung, he was doubting it. His best pal had shacked up with his girl; his pump jockey pay wasn’t enough for next semester’s tuition. For a minute, he thought about bailing and heading for the momentary comforts of Eureka, when the cashier yelled out, “Jake, pump on 3.” 


Coastal Voices: Panhandling epidemic a product of governance

It seems a Coastal Voices piece is the only effective way to deal with our Board of Supervisors, so here goes. I, as is true of just about everyone I know, do not have an affectionate place in my heart for panhandlers, especially those who are aggressive. 

“Aggressive” means touching or kicking your car, cussing at you when you look the other way, flipping you the finger, or making other nasty gestures when you won’t stop to give them money. We know from lots of data collected over the years by credible sources that panhandling is most often a business of sorts, oftentimes lucrative. By virtue of their existence on our streets, panhandlers actively working our county insult us for having entrusted bad political representatives with elected public office. 


Coastal Voices: Board lacking respect for vets

Recently, I’ve been reading about the bantering between members of our local Board of Supervisors and I am appalled at the lack of professionalism among members of a panel which is supposed to be focused on the needs and priorities of our community.

For over a year I’ve been volunteering at our local Veterans Hall weekly and have become acquainted with many veterans for whom I have the utmost respect. The public might not be aware of the fact that our county is home to approximately 4,000 veterans, many of whom are housebound and lack resources, which include basic necessities such as access to medical care, transportation and food. Many are homeless.


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