<b>Laura's Law update</b>
EDITOR: Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 585. This legislation clarifies that Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63) funds may be used to fund Laura's Law, an assisted-outpatient treatment program that mandates court-ordered treatment for some individuals who are severely impaired by their mental illness. There are numerous restrictions to this law, i.e. there must be a "clinical determination that the person is unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision."
A study led by Duke University, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, highlighted the success of Kendra's Law in New York. Like Kendra's Law, Laura's Law mandates not only that the patient accept treatment, it requires the mental health system to provide it.
Do we need Laura's Law? We know that every community has had heartbreaking instances of violence and death. Many of these have included individuals who have suffered from mental illness. If the public knew there was a robust treatment system available, and that system held the ill individual and the mental health system both accountable, maybe more mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters would seek help.
We can use Mental Health Services Act money to help fund Laura's Law and the services that support it.
<b>A pledge for our times</b>
EDITOR: From 1954 to present, the following has been considered the official Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
For your convenience, I offer a new, more realistic and updated Pledge of Allegiance: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation OMG, infinitely divisible, with liberty and justice for some."
<b>Helping young people</b>
EDITOR: I was quite upset after reading about the Social Advocates for Youth informational meeting ("SAY meeting stirs neighbors' ire," Sept. 26). The residents of east Santa Rosa are working hard to prevent SAY from helping 18-24-year-olds who have aged-out of our foster care system.
These young people are not different from those living in east Santa Rosa, except they are poor. Through no fault of their own, they have had challenging lives, but that doesn't make them gangsters or criminals. They weren't raised in a safe household, nor did they attend the community's finest schools and, unfortunately, at 18, they are not going off to a freshman year at a good college. Instead, they are put in the position of having to support themselves. How many 18-year-olds do you know could do that?
Now these young people have a chance to live in a safe, peaceful place with adult guidance, and people would deny them this because they think they are so different from themselves. Instead of forming groups to prevent this worthwhile project, I challenge them to think of ways to help these young people stay on the right track to becoming good citizens of our community.
EDITOR: "But we must move with a sense of urgency," warns Eric Pooley in his opinion piece about curbing climate chaos ("What new climate report says, what needs to be done," Friday). Our relentless spewing of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has to be curbed drastically if the planet is going to continue being habitable. The good news is that you needn't feel helpless; there are numerous actions that you can take.