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Prop. 13 and health

EDITOR: Now that Houston Herczog's trial is over, we need to take action to prevent future tragedies ("SR man insane when he killed his father," May 22).

I knew Mark Herczog, not well, but well enough to know that he was a nice guy. Because of the history of local police killing mentally ill people after being called to intervene in a crisis, he was not willing to call them for help with his son. He may have died because he was afraid to call the police. There are other families with the same fears.

I came to Sonoma State University in 1976 to study psychology and stayed here to work in mental health. I've watched as the cuts caused by Proposition 13 turned an adequate mental health system into no safety net for most patients and their families.

We must rewrite Proposition 13 so that homeowners can be protected, so that the taxes are more fair and so that corporations and large property owners who don't sell their land can be made to pay their share. Then we can raise enough revenue to support the services it takes to have a civilized society.

BARRIE MASON

Santa Rosa

A distinction

EDITOR: In response to Brad Potter's letter ("A terrible mistake," May 30), I offer the following: A homosexual is a person who is romantically attracted to members of the same sex. A pedophile is an adult who is sexually attracted to children. They are not the same thing. His suggestion to the contrary is offensive.

RICHARD A. DURR

Santa Rosa

A first step

EDITOR: Upon returning from college to Santa Rosa for the summer, I was excited to learn about Sonoma Clean Power, not just because of what it represents today, but because of what it would accomplish in the future.

Much of the debate, including Paul Gullixson's column ("Five myths about Sonoma Clean Power," May 27), ignores what I see as the main strength of Sonoma Clean Power — a more sustainable version of Sonoma County's future, built with local investment.

When it is established, Sonoma Clean Power will exceed PG&E's renewable energy use by an estimated 65 percent, and after five years, it is predicted to use 74 percent more renewable energy than PG&E. This gap will continue to grow as Sonoma Clean Power funds renewable energy projects within the county, reinforcing the local economy with money that is now spent to pay PG&E stockholders.

Supporting Sonoma Clean Power is a significant first step in confronting the climate problem that my generation will inherit.

WILL CARRUTHERS

Santa Rosa

People in need

EDITOR: Clearly the people advocating to close the Sonoma Developmental Center have never been to one of the units where profoundly disabled individuals are kept alive by medical intervention.

Have you ever seen someone with hydrocephaly? At SDC, they receive a level of care no for-profit institution could match. There are people whose limbs are twisted like pretzels. There are quadriplegics who cannot move their bodies at all. They are human beings, they have families who love them, and, frankly, they could be anyone's children with the right amount of bad luck.

I suggest people visit one of these units before deciding that it is too expensive to keep the residents alive. As medical technology progresses, such unfortunates are becoming scarcer, but unless you truly believe you are not your brother's keeper, you have no right to render uninformed judgments about such quality of life issues. The same is true of the behavior units. There is a core population who will, like it or not, require such specialized care 24/7.

For a little perspective, I suggest people try working at a nursing home for a few weeks, or volunteer as a foster grandparent at SDC. You might learn a few things about empathy.

F. SKIP ROBERTSON

Santa Rosa