Wednesday, 08 February 2023

Opinion

Have you heard Lake County's "shop local" mantra before? I have. I believe there is a reason why it has not worked in the past. I also believe there is a reason why it probably will not work now.


Most of the folks who reside in Lake County work outside the county. In fact, the fastest growing area in all of Lake County is the gated residential bedroom community of Hidden Valley Lake.


One of the major characteristics of a bedroom community is the fact that most of the residents spend their money where they work rather than where they live especially if there is a long commute to and from work involved. Just asking people to "shop local" is not going to change the behavior of these people.


Rather than PUSHING an agenda on the bedroom community crowd, I suggest a clever enticement. That means a plan needs to be put into place wherein this bedroom crowd comes to figure out for themselves that a change in their shopping behavior is somehow in their best interest.


It was no happy accident that The Foundation Center presentation last Monday at the Greenview Restaurant was packed. No, indeed. The event was designed to be packed. A "pay it forward" strategy was put into place three months prior to the event. Guess what? The public figured it out. People actually realized it was in their best interest to be present. Then, what did many of them do? They actually encouraged other people to attend with them. When people figure something is actually in their best interest they show up.


Make no mistake, there are a lot of worthwhile events taking place in Lake County all the time. For three years I helped coordinate business mixers for a business association free admission, food, refreshments and nice door prizes.


You would think these mixers would be wall-to-wall people every month. Well, that was not the case. Why? I believe the reason is because the public did not themselves figure out that this repetitive event was actually in their BEST INTEREST. I now also believe that my telling them it was in their best interest did not help. No, the public needs to figure this sort of thing out for themselves. When you figure something out for yourself I believe it somehow has more value.


Want an example? Remember Mr. Whipple and that silly Charmin bathroom tissue commercial? I was in the local grocery store not too long ago and alone in the paper aisle. I decided to cross the line Mr. Whipple had drawn in the sand with his words, "Please don't squeeze the Charmin," and squeeze the tissue. But, perceiving myself to be somewhat sophisticated, I decided to squeeze the Scott tissue first and make a comparison.


So, I reached over and squeezed a single roll. I did not detect any special feeling of softness. Now, it was time to squeeze the Charmin. I decided to squeeze it in the same manner I remembered seeing Mr. Whipple do it on TV. So, rather than grabbing a single roll, I grabbed a big package from off the shelf. I gave it a healthy squeeze. Guess what? It self-inflated a little bit. I went to place the package back on the shelf. It did not fit. Well, how much is this package anyway? And, how much is a comparable Scott tissue package? Turns out they are about the same price. Only problem is I cannot fit the Charmin back on the shelf.


So, what do it do? What's easiest. I toss the inflated Charmin package into my grocery cart. Suddenly, it dawns on me what I have done. I have been tricked into getting the Charmin because I could not fit the package back on the shelf. And, that was the whole point of that not-so-silly commercial. Whoever designed that Charmin TV ad was very clever.


Most people do not read the newspaper, listen to the radio or watch TV for the advertising. They do it for the news and entertainment value. But, it is the advertising that pays those TV bills. So, does it not make sense to create memorable advertising the kind that folks need to "figure out?"


Rather than asking local residents to "shop local," local residents should be seeing clever promotions from local businesses.


Can local businesses be clever in promoting themselves? Yes, I do believe they can. I was able to pack out that Greenview Dining Room without paying one cent in advertising. I simply tapped into a need I knew the public had and allowed them to spread it.


Any business can do this. But, they have to do three things:


1) They have to CARE about their audience.


2) They have to CONNECT with that audience.


3) They have to have a DESIGN that people can piece together and figure out.


No one should be TOLD to "shop local." They should instead "figure it out for themselves."


I might add that even the Lake County Business Services Network does not "shop local." I attended the first workshop they put on two years ago. The two keynote speakers were not even residents of Lake County. But, that did not stop them from being selected as keynote presenters.


Honest and truly, what's wrong with getting help wherever you can find it? Now that the Internet enables worldwide communication, what's wrong with getting customers wherever you can find them? If you need a doctor to treat a certain condition, do you simply do without if that doctor is not residing in Lake County? Of course not! Who would be so foolish as to not go where one can get the help he needs?


Well, this idea of helping works both ways. There are caring people around the world with expertise that can help Lake County move forward. Should we not reach out to them and allow them to reach back? Is there something amiss with Lake County reaching out to the world and vice versa? I certainly hope not.


That is one reason why Althea Garner, a former South African turned American citizen in Fountain Valley, California, donated a Ryze network called Project-Middletown to the people of Lake County two years ago. There are actually people around the world on that network who care about this area of Northern California. You can meet them online for free. You can advertise every Saturday four different ways plain text, HTML, audio link and video link.


But, unless you happen to CARE about connecting with people who CARE about you, nothing much is going to happen on that network. Indeed, that network is sadly a reflection of life as it is in Lake County. But, that network can easily change and become vibrant if people choose to start caring about one another. This is not rocket science. It's really quite simple. Some folks call it practicing the Golden Rule. Others simply refer to it as NetWeaving.


Last Christmas I wrote an article for this publication requesting local folks share Merry Christmas wishes audibly with the world via my online broadcasting network. After all, it was people around the world on Ryze.com who went to bat for Middletown and caused the Fox News Channel to visit the town for "Middletown Days" back in 2006. All anyone needed to do was make a local phone call and speak a message of good will. Guess what happened? Not ONE PERSON living in Middletown bothered to make a local phone call and spread some Merry Christmas cheer. (For the record, I did make a call, but I am a resident of Hidden Valley Lake.)


What I cannot figure out is why Middletown folks cannot show care for folks who have obviously already shown care for them?


Perhaps folks here are unaware of the dynamics involved in passing along a passionate message? One passionate person shares a message with just three people. Each one of those individuals passes the message on to three more individuals. And so it goes exponentially. In just two weeks, it is mathematically possible to reach 4,782,696 with a passionate message. Well, people around the world are keenly aware of the power of reaching out to others - both inside and outside their local community. Want proof? Check out the Merry Xmas Middletown Channel.


From what I have experienced in the seven years I have lived here in Lake County (I relocated from Atlanta, Georgia), people here have a baby mindset. They focus primarily on themselves and wonder why others do not pay more attention to them. I know of a nonprofit organization that had two failed fundraising events because their executive board cared nothing about the burden they placed on their own volunteers. All that mattered is what the executive board wanted.


But, since it was the volunteers and not the board members that needed to do the work, it was not much of a surprise to me that the work did not get done. Two failed fundraisers and the dismissal of the nonprofit's sole paid employee was the result.


Caring (including lifting up your neighbor's business) matters. Connecting with others matters. Having a good design matters. If the small businesses in Lake County start doing what really matters, Lake County will have shoppers not just locally ... but from all over the world!


Lamar Morgan lives in Hidden Valley Lake.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

These days, it may be hard for many people to imagine a time in America when women were considered so inferior that they were not allowed to vote; when they were legally denied equal protection under the law in such fields as employment and education; or when conventional wisdom said their proper place was in the home.


It wasn’t until 1920 – almost 150 years after the founding of our country – that women won the right to vote. As is often the case, California was ahead of the curve, offering women’s suffrage in 1911. But the vast majority of American women had to wait for the U.S. Congress and Senate to approve the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1919 (and approved by three-quarters of the states) in time for women to vote in the presidential election of 1920.


Two years earlier, in 1918, four women had been elected to serve in the California Assembly, though all four were voted out of office (defeated by men) in 1924. Only 10 other women served in the Assembly over the next 50 years, and it was not until 1976 that we had our first female elected State Senator – Rose Ann Vuich.


For young people today, those hard facts must seem like they come from an ancient culture on a distant planet, in a galaxy far, far away. History – particularly unpleasant history – has a way of falling by the wayside and being forgotten by those of us living in a much different time.


No one can deny how different things are today. In California, women now play a central role in public life, bringing a new perspective to the legislative arena. As a result, California leads the nation in many family-friendly policies. We were, for example, the first state in the nation to establish paid family leave for workers who need time off to care for a new child or a seriously ill family member.


Women are also making a big impact in many “non-traditional” policy areas. For example, in the California State Senate, women head several of the most influential committees that deal with some of our state’s most intractable problems. These include such powerhouse committees as Energy, Utilities and Communications; Labor and Industrial Relations; Public Safety; Judiciary; Revenue and Taxation; and Budget and Fiscal Review.


In addition, the newly-elected Speaker of the Assembly – Karen Bass – is the first African American woman elected to lead a Legislative house in the nation. In all, 10 women served in positions of leadership in either the Senate or Assembly from the outset of the 2007-2008 legislative session.


And our native daughter, Nancy Pelosi, is Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, putting her third in the Presidential line of succession.


California is also home to the first female astronaut, as well as the first Chinese-American women ever elected to statewide office in the United States.


Still, there are things we can learn from the past. The best-selling author Michael Crichton has written, “…if you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree.”


That’s why both Houses of Congress passed a resolution declaring March to be “National Women’s History Month.” It urges Americans everywhere to honor and celebrate the role of women in our society and asks schools, workplaces and communities to develop information programs highlighting the history of women.


Understanding women’s history can benefit everyone. It helps give men and boys a better understanding of the female experience by recognizing that women have been fighting for equal rights and recognition since the founding of our country. For women and girls, it provides a more expansive vision of their identity and an opportunity to think about their lives on a larger and bolder scale.


There are also more practical reasons to honor women’s history. By recognizing how far we’ve come, we can get a better understanding of how far we still have to go. Equality has yet to be fully attained.


As recently as 2005, women in the United States were paid only 77 cents for every dollar that men were paid in comparable jobs. The gap is even larger for African American, Asian and Hispanic women.


Such gross inequities cannot be tolerated. More than 70 percent of California women are now in the work force; that’s almost double the number of working women in 1965. Many are in low-paying service jobs with few benefits, making pay discrimination even more reprehensible.


With so many women now holding jobs, we must ensure that they are not forced to choose between care-giving demands and employment responsibilities. That’s why we both supported a bill last year to extend paid leave to workers needing to care for grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws. The bill received strong support in the Legislature but was vetoed by the Governor. More must be done.


National Women’s History Month should be a time for all of us to join together to ensure that no one in American society is left behind. It would be a good time to remember the wise words of the great anthropologist Margaret Mead. In order to achieve a richer culture, she wrote, we must “weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.”


Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) and Assemblywoman Patty Berg (D-Eureka) represent Lake County in the State Legislature.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

We in Lucerne extend many thanks to Elizabeth Larson and Lake County News for covering the illegal dumping here, as it happens and after adjudication.


And a big thank you to Lenny Matthews, you are a good friend and neighbor to the folks in Lucerne. Without your assistance I doubt anyone would have ever been held accountable for the illegal dumping at Morrison Creek.


Lenny has provided me her account as a witness of what it took to get this case to court – we already have seen the first dump and know its location in Lucerne. What most of us don’t know about is the other dump she had to deal with while bulldogging this mess to its conclusion.


She called in her original complaint in February 2007 and not being one to give up the good fight, she kept calling, be it Fish and Game Warden Loren Freeman, her Supervisor Denise Rushing, Code Enforcement Department Head Voris Brumfield, District Attorney Jon Hopkins, Sheriff Rod Mitchell, Caroline Chavez of Solid Waste and Ray Ruminski of Environmental Health.


One year later it finally came to court and this is where the second dump comes in.


Lenny went to the DA’s office to speak with the prosecuting attorney Daniel Moffatt, assuming that he would want to prepare his witness. He didn’t but he promised he would call her on Monday, the day before the trial was to start. He didn’t but she rose early and prepared to go to court. She left at 8 a.m., calling the District Attorney's Office repeatedly and getting a recording that the office was open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and as she said to me “then pick up your (expletive deleted) phone!”


She arrived at the court building in the City of Clearlake and “walked into the small lobby through the metal detector (no one was there and it went off). I accessed the building when a man finally showed up and asked, “Did you just walk through the metal detector?” So much for the argument about feeling safe because of metal detectors being installed.


Finding only the defendant Mr. Re in the lobby, she left the building “going back out in the cold to my car, it’s now about 8:40 and the DA’s office finally answers their phone … they attempt to contact Moffatt to let him know I am in the parking lot. About 10 minutes later Mr. Moffatt comes out. Now I’m really pissed! I let him know that it was totally unacceptable, exposing me to Mr. Re, not calling as he said he would. He is not really apologetic and escorts me to their office where he says have a seat anywhere.”


“I look around a room that accommodates two desks with chairs with 4 more chairs, most with items living in and on the seats. 'It shouldn't be long,' he said. He closes the door of the room and is gone.


“During my hour and a half long wait I make a full circle. I'm not any less angry and slowly begin to look around at the deplorable condition of the room. Dirty dishes on the desks, a floor that hasn't been washed in probably a year, blinds torn on the window, parts of the ceiling missing, exposing hundreds of wires and vents. Electrical wires under desks exposed in a jumble. I move on to the books and begin to check out the Law book for the Department of Fish and Game. I had provided both Moffatt and Hopkins with the California Penal Code section that allows me to collect half of the fine imposed.


Moffatt said he had never heard of such a thing ... that morning when I again brought it up Moffatt asked me if I know about Fish and Game and if they would be getting any of the fine imposed. I said , 'You would need to ask Fish and Game.' (Am I the only one wondering why a lawyer from the DA’s Office is asking a witness what the codified laws of the State of California are?)


“It took a while but I found the code section for Fish and Game and fines imposed regarding illegal dumping and the distribution for those fines. Restless, needing to pee and wanting some coffee, I again got pissed being dumped into a room without squat. I got brave and opened the door. Across the hallway there was the break room/stock room/community service followup interview room! Between individuals arriving I glance in. Unbelievable! And I thought the room I was in was bad!


“I began to imagine a fire and just how quickly it would explode. It had stock rooms with boxes shoved in and shelves falling. I found the bathroom down the hall way, the toilet paper holder was stuck, I used a paper towel. Finding myself back in 'the room' once again. In through the door bursts Moffatt with delight stating, 'Good news, he plead out.'


“Just as I was asking what that meant, a uniformed officer from the court came in and said to Moffatt that he was needed back in the court room. He said nothing and headed out the door. I said, 'Wait, can I take some pictures of this office while you’re gone. He stated NO!' (Gee, I wonder why).


“He is gone again this time for about half hour. I am now quite tired of this whole thing and being treated so poorly, without even access to water ... I look down the hallway and there is Loren Freeman from the Department of Fish and Game and Deputy DA Moffatt talking away in the lobby. Then it dawns on me, I probably could have been in the court room for the fruition of all of this but was not even asked. I walked down the hall and greeted Loren ... love that man.” (Lenny is right, we are lucky to have the wardens we have.)


“Moffatt and I return to 'the room' and he tells me that James Re pleaded out and was given a $1,080 fine! I can’t begin to express my disappointment. But I do ask about my half of the fine. He hems and haws, stating that he really isn't sure just how to go about doing that! I suggest to him that it probably should have been done in the courtroom and requested by you to the judge. He says, 'Yes, probably.'


“Now I'm really pissed and he knows it. He tells me he will look into it! Like I really think that is gonna happen!”


It is important for folks to know that Lenny did not report this crime and follow through because of any potential of reward money – it’s simply another way to get through to these miscreants that this behavior will NOT BE TOLERATED!


“I leave and head for Lakeport, go upstairs to the Superior Court Clerk's office and tell my story of woe. Liz Griffin comes out from behind the plexiglass to meet me. She's kind and interested in what I have to share regarding the penal code and every person giving information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person for a violation of 374.3 or 374(c) is entitled to a reward. She gives me her e-mail for me to send her the information, and her direct line.


“Next I go downstairs where the Board of Supervisors are just breaking for lunch. I catch Jeff Smith and share with him the deplorable conditions of the building. The conversation was within ear shot of Ed Robey who states, “The building is in transition and is now under the state.'


“I really don't give a damn what it's under, this is a public building that is not safe or fit for human kind at this time it's in need of help NOW! I feel like I did a complete circle, ending up where this all started whether it’s a garbage dump, a horrible filthy building or just proper etiquette (i.e., would you like a glass of water before I go, the bathroom's down the hallway, etc.). No one seems to be held to any standard of accountability.” Can we expect this to happen to the fourth floor of the courthouse while the powers that be point fingers and say, 'You did it/need to do it – no, you did it/need to do it.'


“This is not an isolated incident, it is all around us today. Frankly I'm sick of it. The donut snatcher gets almost three years and a man who contaminates a town's drinking water with his chemicals gets a $1080 fine, one year of probation and no community service or restitution to the citizens of Lucerne. The County of Lake or the Department of Fish and Game, which spent far more that $1,080 to clean up the dump site and prosecute this case.”


I am sickened also, Lenny. It’s been at least 15 years since I personally became involved in the illegal dumping in Morrison Creek. At that time we were told even though there was plentiful evidence to show who the detritus belonged to, then-District Attorney Steve Hedstrom said they couldn’t prove case. Say what?


At that time, the fine was $500. Not much has changed, my fellow Lake County citizens, it was Superior Court Judge Steve Hedstrom that imposed this paltry sentence for a crime that is very much an offense against every citizen of Lake County and nature. Again, say what?


Lenny Matthews and Donna Christopher live in Lucerne.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}




Hillary takes Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, three of the four primaries. Obama wins Vermont. Hillary sweeps the white vote in Texas as well as the Hispanic vote where she won by a more than a two to one margin. Hillary played the Hispanic community by appearing to be softer on illegal immigration. Obama won all the major urban area in Texas such as Dallas and Austin and all of what's considered the more educated university cities while Hillary does well in rural Texas in the outlying not so populated areas.


Hillary's victories are credited to an effective attack campaign strategy and string of last-minute media ads directed at Obama, questioning his authenticity, his ability to lead and his strength when it comes to issues of national security.


Sports analogies dominate the media response; mostly boxing analogies as in, "Does Obama have a glass jaw?" "Can he take a punch?" Hillary is portrayed as a fighter and is admired for it while Obama is portrayed as being afraid to fight and characterized as a sissy. Obama is even referred to as a "bunny."


Meanwhile the "super delegates" are frozen waiting to see what happens in Pennsylvania, an industrial state like Ohio where Hillary has done better among white workers and where people have lost their jobs as a result of NAFTA-permissible corporate globalization initiatives that enabled them to make decisions to move jobs overseas. Interesting in that Hillary is the candidate who supported NAFTA from the get go while Obama questioned the implications and structure of NAFTA as to how it would affect the U.S. workforce from the start.

 

Most pundits agree that Hillary's campaign has been successful as of late in putting Obama, who was in the frontrunner position, in the defensive mode and they suggest his weakness has been in having to exhaust so much energy responding to a steady, ongoing barrage of attacks from Hillary.


It's thought that Hillary's been successful in taking him off his message. She seems to be getting through in making a case that she is the candidate of solutions while Obama is just all talk. Many think that Obama will be forced to fight Hillary on her terms in a way he is not accustomed to; dirty politics and misleading advertising campaigns that prey on people's fears and that spew out misrepresentations of the truth and accusations, putting their opponent on the defensive.


In the last few weeks, Obama's been shown wearing native attire while visiting Africa, been accused of having secret conversations with Canadian officials regarding NAFTA, been portrayed as a far left-wing liberal and even having Communist sentiments, been accused of lying in his literature about Hillary's platform positions, been characterized as a hysteria-raising, false-hope promising orator who's only strength is making good speeches and getting people excited. He's criticized for making people believe and for those who never believed or who long since stopped believing, it's discrediting their belief as delusional. Hillary's on her game.

 

The Clinton legacy has always been to come out of the corner throwing every punch you can get away with, whether below the belt or not and knowing that the referee may not always be watching and that in the end, people seem to be more impressed with who can beat up their opponent which people see as the kind of strength we need in the White House. They don't care whether it's a dirty fight or not. It's all about who wins.


It's all been reduced to a kind of TV realty show. It's sunk to the level of street fighting and viewers tune in hoping for a good brawl. It's the Roman Coliseum. It's who's left standing after the blood has spilled.


Obama has won more of the popular vote, more states by far and more of the elected delegates and inspired an amazing grassroots movement across the country, the likes of which we have not seen for more than a generation; some say since Robert Kennedy's campaign of 1968.


What's left and what is now the big issue after who wins Pennsylvania next month is that haunting question of how the super delegates will vote and what happens to Florida and Michigan where Obama was not even on the ballot. There's even talk of running a new primary for these states and Hillary's campaign has favored that versus going to the convention where the original decision to not award delegates from these states would more than likely be upheld.

 

With wins in Texas and Ohio, now the momentum talk is in Hillary's corner even after all of her losses in previous states where Obama emerged as the clear choice in overwhelming numbers.


It's worth mentioning that Rush Limbaugh in his national broadcast message to listeners, just prior to the Texas and Ohio primary, directed Republicans to cross over and vote for Hillary in order to help stop the Obama movement or at least slow down its momentum because the Republican Party has acknowledged that they would rather face Hillary in the November general election than Obama, given the national polls that show Obama with a clear advantage over McCain as the Republican Party's nominee.


National polls also show that if Hillary were the Democratic Party's nominee, that Obama voters would more than likely feel disenfranchised by the process and the millions of first-time voters who turned out for Obama across the nation would feel that it's all over and will have lost faith in the system. Many of them would drop out and simply not vote in an election where either Hillary or McCain were the choices given to them.

 

Eighty-five million dollars was raised in the last month of the Democratic campaign. The Republican party raised $14 million during the same period. Clearly McCain has not mobilized an inspired or motivated electorate.

 

Taken from Hillary's speech: "Americans don't need more promises. They don't need more speeches. America needs a President who's ready to work, ready to lead and ready to stand up for what's right. We're ready for health care, not just for some people, or most people but for everyone. America needs a president who's ready to take the call at 3 a.m. to stand up for our country. There's no time for speeches or on the job training."

 

Hillary is bare-knuckle fighting and the Clinton campaign machine is in motion. Though no one can project how Hillary could come out ahead in the popular vote or elected delegate count, her supporters are making the case that there's legitimacy in the super delegate system and that we should go back and revisit Florida and Michigan. It's pretty much what we could have figured.


The decision as to who will represent us in this country could very well have been taken out of the hands of the people. It's not the first time this has happened and it sends a message to the world that while we preach we do not practice.


Howard Glasser lives in Kelseyville.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

Consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors and parties where minors consume alcoholic beverages present a myriad of problems for the minor, the community and law enforcement.


Alcohol is the drug of choice for youth and the leading cause of death among teenagers. It’s involved in the deaths of more teens than all other illicit drugs combined by a four-to-one ratio. Underage drinking is a factor in nearly half of all teen automobile crashes and 50 to 60 percent of youth suicides. Alcohol abuse is linked to as many as two-thirds of all sexual assaults and date rapes of teens and college students, and it contributes substantially to homicides, suicides and fatal injuries.


While many believe that underage drinking is an inevitable “rite of passage” that adolescents can easily recover from because their bodies are more resilient, exactly the opposite is true. The brain changes dramatically during adolescence and this growth can be seriously inhibited by alcohol consumption.


The damage alcohol can cause to the adolescent brain is often long-term and irreversible. Even short-term or moderate drinking impairs learning and memory far more among youth than adults. Adolescents need to drink only half as much as adults to suffer the same negative effects.


Youth who begin drinking alcohol before age 15 are four times more likely to become dependent on alcohol than those who wait to begin drinking until age 21. In 2006, of the 797 clients enrolled in outpatient treatment services at Alcohol and Other Drug Services, 24 percent of the clients were under the age of 18. Of these, 38 percent reported beginning to drink before the age of 12, which is twice the rate for the state.


Because of the negative consequences of underage drinking coupled with the fact that, on average, young people begin drinking at 13.1 years of age it is critical to address youth access to alcohol proactively through all sources, including social sources.


In addition, home parties have repeatedly been identified as the primary source by which youth obtain alcohol. Studies indicate that most underage drinking “occurs primarily outside commercial establishments and most often in residences and open areas like beaches and parks.”


National research shows that 57 percent of minors reported drinking at friends’ homes and that one third of sixth and ninth graders obtain alcohol from their own homes.


If you are a parent interested in preventing the use of alcohol or drug in your home or if you are a youth that is interested in making changes in your community please call Carrie White, prevention specialist for the Lake County Alcohol and Other Drug Services, at 263-8162 ext 228.


Team DUI is a group of individuals and local agencies who are seeking to reduce underage drinking and drinking and driving in our community.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

This is not your grandmother's old age. Some time ago, a smarty-pants columnist wrote that the baby boomers, used to getting their own way in just about everything, would change the nature of nursing homes as they aged. They're aging. The first of them, born in 1946, hit 60 last year.


It's no secret that our older population is increasing in size, and living longer. That means more of us are going to develop chronic conditions of some sort and need more medical care, probably some stays in nursing homes.


At last Tuesday's Board of Supervisors hearing on Sutter Lakeside's plans for change, we heard medical director Dr. Diane Pege say that medical care has changed radically. Because of the near-miraculous nature of today's medical technology, operations which used to require several days hospital stay now are outpatient surgery. You're in and out on the same day, with no need for heavy duty nursing care.


But if you live alone, as more of us do now, you may not feel able to go home and back to fully taking care of yourself – shopping, cooking, bathing, dressing. A convalescent home could be just the ticket.


But will we tolerate the typically awful food of nursing homes? The constant blare of competing television sets from every room? The distressing and rather frightening presence of mentally ill patients mixed in with those who only have a broken ankle?


Probably not. At the Tuesday hearing, Sutter Lakeside CEO Kelly Mather said chronic conditions are the big problem, and full hospital care for most of them is just too expensive, and unnecessary.


Time for some change


We're in a transition stage, and those are always uncomfortable. It's a relief to know that Sutter Lakeside has been working to upgrade the standards at a local nursing facility. We certainly need a new model. Many convalescence periods don't need fancy machinery or 24-hour nursing, just a cheerful setting, a little peace and quiet, maybe some intensive physical therapy, at which Sutter Lakeside excels, and which they can certainly provide in a less expensive setting.


There are serious questions about why hospital care and insurance are so expensive, and why insurance is so complicated. The hospitals didn't create that situation. They buy expensive technology because we want all the latest gadgets, just as we want prescriptions for all the latest drugs we see advertised on television. Insurance is a world unto itself, which many legislators have allowed to run wild as the campaign contributions roll in. Those are issues to deal with on a political level.


On a personal level, we need to examine our assumptions. Is a high-tech hospital the only place for long-term recovery, or the best place to give birth or to die?


Maybe not.


Sophie Annan Jensen live in Lucerne.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

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