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September 8, 2010     Indian Valley Record
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10B Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010 Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter E D I T O RIAL and OPINION EDITORIAL Financial literacy is no laughing matter Labor Day has come and gone and still we have no state budget. But, hey, the Legislature had time to pass a bill that would help educate Californians about "financial literacy., Uh huh. Have our legislators no sense of irony? No impulse to self-protection from ridicule? The mind reels at the possible curriculum: How to pay your employees with vouchers, how to rob Peter to pay Paul, how to avoid bal- ancing your budget ... The measure would create a Financial Liter- acy Fund in the state controller's office to ac- cept private donations that would be used to educate Californians about financial matters. A bill proponent argued, "Financial illitera- cy and the consequences of uninformed finan- cial decisions are a growing problem in Cali- forflia." No, really? The proponent continued, "The creation of a financial literacy fund would provide a cen- tral funding source for organizations who wish to partner with California on financial literacy efforts. In the long run, educating Cal- ifornians would result in benefits to the econo- my by helping to prevent bankruptcies, fore- closures, and job loss." Might we make the outrageous suggestkm that the state get its own financial house in or- der before it starts telling others how to run theirs? Have legislators not heard of leading by example? At least one legislator criticized the move, calling it "unseemly" for the Legislature to be promoting financial literacy while failing to balance the state's budget. It's more than unseemly. Although the bill is easy to make fun of, the state's fiscal irre- sponsibility is no laughing matter. Just ask Feather River College. Because there is no state budget, the school has not received its apportionment money for the last two months -- a total of $1 million. As a result, the school is quickly developing a serious cash ;flow prob- lem: Thecollege is amajor employer in our . ,' . countyand purchases a .wide variety of goods and services from local vendors. Its problem is quickly going to become our problem. Perhaps the college should apply to the new state financial literacy fund to offer additional classes. The first student to enroll should be the state itself. A Feath00ng _0000spaper / 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 Mona Hill .................. Copy Editor Staff writers: Joshua Sebold Will Farris Sam Williams Barbara France Susan Cort Johnson Kayleen Taylor Ruth Ellis Brian Taylor Pat Shillito Linda SatchweU Feather River Westwood Bulletin PinePress (530) 283-0800 (530) 256-2277 Lassen County Times (530) 257-53211 Portola Reporter (530) 832-4646 Chester Progressive (530) 258-3115 Indian Valley Record (530) 284-7800 BE HEARD Don't sit back and let others do the talking for you. Express yourself in our LETTERS TO THE EDITOR On ,z (butte00'ly's) wing ,lnd a prayer MY TURN DIANA JORGENSON Portola Editor djorgenson@plumasnews.com When a butterfly flaps its wings in South America, it affects the weather pat- terns in the good old US of A. So they say. I don't remember who said it or where I read it or how they came to that conclu- sion, but the flapping of that butterfly's wings has become a metaphor for the im- pact we have on one another, no matter how insignificant the creature, no matter how obscure the action. We know this on a personal level, when we snap at the grocery store clerk, who then passes that ill humor along to the next customer in line. We know this on a grand scale, as we watch the economies of the world's coun- tries tumble together. We know this as a society, as the turbu- lence of this recession-depression has us ricocheting off one another, causing change and disturbance in ways we never expected. We are all interrelated, as a species, as a world. Environmental impact statements are an acknowledgement of the interrelation- ship between man and nature and between the members of society. EIRs recognize that a benefit to one segment of society may cost another segment loss. That is their reason for being: to assess and miti- gate the impact of any action on all as- pects of the environment and the people of that environment. To that end, EIRs enumerate somewhere around seven or 11 specific areas (air quality, water quality, noise, etc.) and the compilers decide whether the impact of the proposed action is significant or not significant or somewhere in between. Then, supposedly, the applicant is sup- posed to offer a means to mitigate any sig- nificant unfavorable impact and make it "all better." It's a beginning. It's an acknowledge- ment. It's an attempt, but it doesn't begin to discuss all the ways any action can im- pact the environment, the people and the future of both. For one thing, EIR parameters are nar- row and ignore anything considered in- H&ere in the world? Lucas Donald of Quincy went on a fishing trip in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico. 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 smor- row@plumasnews.com. significant, obscure or hidden. No consid- eration is given to the energetic world and yet, impacts to vibrational frequencies may be the most important of all. And unless the butterfly is an endan- gered species, no account will be made of it either. Secondly, deciding whether an impact is insignificant or significant is essentially a value judgment and as a value judgment, reflects the bias, language and vision of the applicant submitting the EIR and the governmental body requiring it. For example, a certain project may cost everyone in the general vicinity $10. The developer, prepared to spend millions and obsessed with his vision, will find that im- pact insignificant, as will the government, used to thinking in billions. But, to a man who only has $10, the impact is very sig- nificant, even life threatening. What happens to that man is beyond the ken of EIRs. EIRs are not popular. We are an instant gratification society and we instantly whine when anything slows our progress. Add that to the already mentioned inade- quacies of a flawed concept and EIRs be- come an easy target for detractors. But, I am not suggesting that we get rid of EIRs far from it. In fact, I would like to see them taken very seriously, even in the very rudimentary form they present today. Because, they are a beginning. An acknowledgement. A recognition. EIRs force us to verbalize our impacts on one another and upon the natural world with every action we take. And they force us to slow down and think things through. Some Native Ameri- can tribes believe it necessary to find an action good into the seventh generation before it is agreed upon. That requires lengthy discussion, extrapolation and much pondering. It will not hurt us to slow down and con- sider things more fully; it may even do us "much good. Of course, the process can be abused. Opponents of a project can use their de- mands for an EIR as a means to derail a project, and proponents can fill an EIR with boilerplate prose that little resembles the real impacts. All the same, it's a beginning. Someday, we may each of us perform our own mini- EIRs before each and every action we take. We will think befor9 ipeak and speak only if we find it good. And then, surprise of all surprises, we will find ourselves treating others as we would have ourselves treated and working always for the betterment of all. When that day comes, there will be no more need for EIRs. Until then, slog on. R_EMEMBER. WHEN KERI TABORSKI Historian 80 YEARS AGO ...... 1930 Advertisement: A Travelair bi-plane will be in Quincy on Sunday to take up passengers for a full 15 minutes in the air. Stunt flying will also be demonstrated during the afternoon. Ottr - m i 50 YEARS AGO ..... 1960 The public schools of Plumas County opened Tuesday with a total enrollment of 2,855 students, a gain of 110 students over the opening day last year. High school en- rollment figures: Chester High School 217, Greenville High School 262, Portola High School 271 and Quincy High School 508. Elementary school figures: Caribou 11, Chester 277, Grays Flat, 12, Greenville 307, Injun Jim 30, Long Valley 3, Meadow Valley 14, Pioneer in Quincy 304, Quincy 268 and Taylorsville 30. 30 YEARS AGO ...... 1980 Steve Zeigler of Quincy was recently ap- pointed to the Plumas County Fair Board. Zeigler, a California Highway Patrolman is replacing director Hal Leigh, who resigned. 10 YEARS AGO....2000 Headline: Quincy Crazy Quilters orga- nize. Norma Maciel, Bobbi May, Stephanie Horton, Lea Hardee, all Quincy residents have formed a quilting guild with the first meeting to be held at the Quincy Library Thursday. 'uritan heritage is c00live and well Quincy. It seemed to me to be more like a tea party Alice would have attended at the Mad Hatter's. Unless things liave changed, TEA stands for "Taxed Enough Already," not "White Christian Heterosexuals On- ly." I guess more than a few of.the partici- pants failed to heed the organizer's stric- " tures on "any ugly signs. Nothing racist. wait, his mother was born in Kansas, which still makes him a citizen. If we want to go that route, I'm quite sure the Native Americans would be hap- py to evict us all. I got to wondering when Americans be- came so intolerant. After about a week I realized, we have always been intolerant, MY TURN MONA HILL Staff Writer mhill@plumasnews.com I have been at a loss for words for the last three weeks. I've been appalled by the lack of intelligent public and political discourse on everything from "anchor babies" to the recent passage by state leg- islators of a financial literacy act before they managed to pass a state budget. Really? Really?? I mean really??? I hard- ly knew where to start. I was reading John Le Carr6's "A Most Wanted Man," when I came across a new ,, / 1-. 11 ,, word he coined, pomopams. It was a "Eureka!" moment and exactly the right word to describe the politicians who pan- der to the willfully ignorant and intoler- ant populace. Earlier in August, I was stopped at the Meadow Valley post office by a Measure B proponent (sorry, Josh), who wanted to know if I was familiar with the issues. I politely informed him I worked at the pa- per and because of my job I have read every word twice. He brightened, "Then, you read my let- ter:" "Yes, I did," I told him. "I'm probably the most informed voter in the district," forbearing to add that included him. Then there was the recent TEA party in Nothing about Obama being a Muslim. That's not what we're about." "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit- ing the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assem- ble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." If I read the First Amendment correctly, it says Americans get to practice any reli- gion they want right down to believing the earth was created in six days some 6,000 years ago. In addition, Lord save us, even the KKK gets to meet and spout its vile racial epithets. We get to peaceably (and I would hope with charity towards our fellows) say and think exactly what we believe. So who cares if Obama, who for the record is a natural-born American citizen, were in fact a Muslim? His father was a Muslim, but that would be like saying someone is Jewish because her father is Jewish. They are religions, folks. We could have a Chinese American Buddhist for president if she can get elected. So now, some bright spark on the far right of John Birch wants to change the 14th Amendmeht to the U.S. Constitution to exclude citizenship for children born on U.S. soil to foreign nationals. That would take care of Obama's citizenship -- oh, the Constitution and Bill of Rights notwithstanding. The folks who settled the continent were by and large French, Span- ish and English --of the inquisitorial, Huguenot suppression and Puritan ethical persuasion -- who believed it was their god-given right to decimate people of color and religions not their own. By today's standards, Thomas Jefferson would no longer be a revered revolution- ary; he would undoubtedly be proclaimed a terrorist. It's a wonder they didn't burn him at the stake for the Declaration of In- dependence. They certainly would decry it today. The Kingston Trio had a silly little ditty they sang back in the late '50s, early '60s. I've always remembered it: "The whole world is festering with unhappy souls; the French hate the Germans; the Ger- mans hate the Poles; Italians hate Yu- goslavs; SoUth Africans hate the Dutch; and I don't like anybody very much. But we can be thankful and tranquil and proud, For man's been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud -- and we know for certain that some lucky day -- some- one will set the spark off, and we will all be blown away." Folks, try to walk a mile in the other guy's shoes. Even if you never agree with him, you will better understand his ideas and motivations. It could be really useful.