Local doctor speaks out on Chapa-de issue | TheUnion.com

Local doctor speaks out on Chapa-de issue

I was shocked and enraged when I read the grossly inaccurate “Other Voices” you printed on Feb. 18 regarding Chapa-de’s withdrawn plan for a medical clinic on Sierra College Drive. The piece was written by Linda Davidson, a person I have never met and about whom I know nothing. However, this person had the nerve to (inaccurately) comment on my activities, acquaintances and motives despite the fact that she knows nothing about me.

She also baldly slandered two Grass Valley mayors in the same column! Why would you print such a thing? You must allow me to clarify the record since you allowed Ms. Davidson to muddy the waters with her falsehoods.

First of all, yes, I was fired by Chapa-de for no reason in 2000. Four other women were fired the same day, and a Chapa-de board member was secretly removed a few days later. This was apparently an old-fashioned purge for political reasons. Our firings were so egregiously improper that the National Labor Relations Board sued Chapa-de on our behalf. The case is in the process of being adjudicated in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, since Chapa-de claims that the court has no jurisdiction over them. However, the Court disagrees and has ordered Chapa-de to obey summons and subpoenas. The case should be heard in the near future and we will win.

Secondly, I am not a close friend of any planning commissioners or staff. I have a cordial professional acquaintance with the chair, Lisa Swarthout, but have never met any of the rest of the board. I was extremely careful to act properly when communicating with the Planning Commission, since I knew Chapa-de’s history of suing people who displease them, and I did not want to see any of the planners get sued!

I wrote a letter to the Planning Commission, which was distributed to all the members by the staff of that office. This letter was public record and was not in any way kept secret or responded to by anyone. I am not the only person who wrote a letter against Chapa-de. I wanted the Planning Commission to know the history of this group with respect to their improper claims of sovereignty when dealing with employment issues in the past. No member of the board ever spoke to me about any of my comments.

Thirdly, I never planted any ideas about casinos. The first I heard of this idea was from a Union reporter who asked me if I had heard such a thing. I said I had not. When I did speak to the Planning Commission in an open meeting, I stated clearly that I did not think there was any plan for a casino, however, it was not impossible to add a casino to an existing clinic property, as has happened in Southern California. Since the governing tribe of the clinic is a gaming tribe, their attorneys are gaming attorneys, and the clinic director is a gaming tribal leader, I don’t think it is unwise to spell out in advance that a casino would not be welcome on that property. However, I did not publicize or promote this idea in any way.

Ms. Davidson seems to ignore the fact that the clinic plan was approved by the planners, so how can she feel that I swayed anyone’s opinion? I never attended any City Council meetings, and I was not the one who appealed the Planning Commission’s decision.

Just to anticipate the next nonsense, I do not know Steve Enos and have never met him. Councilman Enos appealed the plan on his own on the basis of traffic issues. I did not encourage him or participate in any way. How is it my fault that Chapa-de withdrew their plan? It is not.

Finally, to suggest that anyone in the city government has discriminated against Indians or women in this matter is insulting and frankly ludicrous. All the people Ms. Davidson blames are women themselves!

Where did Ms. Davidson get so much wrong information? It is my feeling that Chapa-de, with a long history of bullying behaviors, has planted ideas and phrases in the mouths of community members, hoping to gain public support on their behalf so that they do not have to comply with planning guidelines.

I want to remind everyone that Chapa-de already has a clinic in the area and that no one is being turned away or not treated because they can’t build a huge new building. If they can afford to pay two high-priced Sacramento attorneys to attend all these meetings, they can afford to do the proper traffic study. To claim that they can’t afford to correctly build their clinic is directly refuted by their director’s own public comments that Chapa-de has lots of money and that cost is not a factor in their planning. If they need this clinic, as they claim, then let them do it by the book, like any other business would do. Don’t ask for special treatment because part of their work is with Indians.

Dr. Sara Richey lives in Grass Valley.

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