Probe: October 30, 2001

October 30, 2001

QUESTION: Is it true that when you serve on the Calipatria Unified School District Board of Trustees, you automatically get free health insurance for life? — Tax Payer, Calipatria

You might get the free insurance but there's nothing automatic about it. In fact, there's a big fuss about it in Calipatria now.

Since Section 53201 of the California Government Code became law 20 years ago, only one retired Calipatria trustee has received the benefit — and there's talk that he may not be entitled to it, according to Calipatria Unified Superintendent James Hanks.

The school board will talk about the retiree's eligibility for the free insurance at its next meeting, he said.

Section 53201 was enacted in 1981. It permits a school district to cover a school board member under the district's health insurance. The district may pay for the coverage or require the board member to pay his or her own.


A subsection B permits coverage of retired members who have served 12 years. Again the board would have the option of paying for the coverage or requiring the retired board members to pay their own way.

In 1995 the state Legislature amended 53201 to include subsection C. The subsection permits a district to provide health insurance for retirees only if the retiree pays for it.

That doesn't close the door on free insurance for all retirees. Anybody who was on the board before 1995 and who served a total of 12 years may be eligible for free coverage if the district chooses to pay for it.

There's still a loophole that could make the covered retiree out in the cold without free coverage.

He is eligible for free coverage if the district offered the free coverage to all retirees with 12 years service before 1995. Hanks said he's digging through minute orders to see if it did.

QUESTION: With the World Series under way and the other good sports going on now, what happened to Sports Center 1300? As soon as it was gone I stopped listening to most radio stations.

We need sports. There are a lot of sports fans in the Valley, hardcore Oakland Raider fans, proud San Diego Charger fans and faithful Padre fans and people who like the Los Angeles teams! So I ask the insightful PROBE editors, "Is there anything in the works to bring the sports station back?" — Rabid Fan, emailer

That was a country music station long before it was a sports station. There's nothing in the works to bring back the all sports format, according to Station Manager Tony Driskill. Not enough of those sports fans were tuning in to excite the advertisers who paid the bills, he said.

QUESTION: Why do they put sweet pickles on the "$6 burger" at Carl's Junior? — Fast Food Gourmet, Brawley

Maybe Carl likes sweet pickles or thought you would.

Not that it makes any difference why they put sweet pickles on the burger. If you don't like sweet pickles, say, "Hold the sweet pickles." That's what we did. To test the system, we added, "Put sour pickles on it," knowing we risked confusing the kitchen and getting no pickles at all.

You're right, that's a better sandwich with sour, not sweet, pickles.

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