<b>Scandal and reform</b>

EDITOR: As a former executive director of the Sonoma Developmental Center, I am mortified but not surprised that events have progressed in such a lamentable way ("State acts on abuse reports," Thursday). However, it does not need to be the mess it is.

As executive director from 1980 through 1987, with the help of a knowledgeable headquarters staff, we rescued a lost license and managed to achieve accreditation under the toughest standard in the United States within that period of time. Other similar facilities performed similarly after being found seriously wanting in terms of poor treatment and failure to provide needed therapies.

I was astounded at the Department of Developmental Services assertion that the current criticisms and citations have nothing to do the problem with policing. Anyone who knows anything about the history of large congregate facilities in our country knows that needed changes and reforms have always proceeded on the heels of scandal and almost never on the heels of goodness and a wish to do the right thing.

Keep the pressure on. There is a lot more to discover.