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Thankful for story

EDITOR: As the father of a young adult child with significant psychiatric and developmental issues, I can only stand up and applaud the incredible cover story in Sunday’s Press Democrat regarding local efforts to cope with the burgeoning mental health care crisis (“Crisis care: ERs take brunt in psychiatric shortfall,”). The overall result is a comprehensive look, from both a practical and personal perspective, at a problem that is as complex as it is acute.

My daughter has been in the Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital emergency room several times, as well as stays at Behavioral Health facilities. Considering the article’s depth, I can only add my voice from a lifelong journey with her beginning in Los Angeles 25 years ago.

While the strain on emergency rooms and service sectors is the tipping point, I would add that the people performing those services — nurses, case managers, service coordinators and doctors — are more dedicated and capable than any I have ever encountered. These professionals are as much in need of our collective support as the clients they care for.

It is also important to recognize Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane for the leadership role she has shouldered in pressing the case for adequate mental health care at a legislative level. This issue speaks to the heart of who we are as a community.

JOHN BRODEY

Santa Rosa

Rudderless ship

EDITOR: “Give him a chance” remains the mantra of the right. Really? Elected in November, Trump has had nine months to get this together. His ignorance of the job is now clearly showing (along with that of all those other “outsiders” who surround him). The ship of state is rudderless with this person at the helm. It’s now become dangerous.

To many liberals, I say “You got us here.” How? You didn’t show up to vote because you insisted on some kind of purity and a desire to select people because you like them rather than their experience.

Can we put an end to that nonsense now and vote next time for whomever has a “D” in front of their names? It’s about the party platform, folks; nothing else. And the R’s are beating the pants off you because you fail to learn.

We are left with the fact that we now get this comedy act for three and a half more years. You better hope he’s not impeached, because the guy behind him would be even worse, and he may actually get things you disdain done — and get re-elected in 2020. Just hope that the man-child with the levers doesn’t nuke anyone until then.

BOB MARKETOS

Petaluma

Eroded quality

EDITOR: The editorial on school choice that the Press Democrat reprinted from The Orange County Register correctly points out that school choice is popular today with many African American and Latino parents. Yet its argument that what black and Latino parents “actually want is the freedom to choose” is nothing but the kind of pro-market rhetoric that conservatives have long used to try to discredit public institutions.

Contrary to what these free-marketers would like us to believe, choice has become popular with many black and Latino parents not because public schools deny them freedom of choice but because segregation, racial discrimination and lack of investment have eroded the quality of public schools in their neighborhoods.

Although more choice may give some African-American and Latino students the chance to attend better schools elsewhere, it does little, if anything, to address these inequalities of location, race, and wealth that trap so many low-income African American and Latino students in failing schools. In fact, because choice plans individualize the solution to these inequities without doing anything to increase the supply of good schools, in the long run they will only make the inequalities of educational opportunity they purport to solve even worse.

HARVEY KANTOR

Santa Rosa

Homeless solutions

EDITOR: This is regards to two items about the homeless in The Press Democrat on Tuesday. One was on page two and concerned the widening of the legal net to enable police to jail more homeless by “upgrading” certain behaviors from infractions to misdemeanors. It should be understood that on any single night, one-third of the inmates at the city jail are homeless persons, costing the city and county $16 million annually.

In addition, I am guessing that ambulance calls and emergency hospital stays might cost an additional $10 million annually, a total sum equal to 520 mini-houses with full plumbing for the homeless.

That, however would raise the political problem of where to put such houses, given much ignorance and fear among so many in our community about all issues regarding the homeless, exemplified by a letter to the editor Tuesday that was full of sarcasm, contempt, and mockery of the homeless (“Downtown trials”).

We are already spending substantial sums to address the homeless, as misdirected as it is. What is lacking are two things: A community that leads with compassion instead of fear and a lack of a real plan and the leadership to accomplish this from our city and county. Mayor Coursey, your “solution” may please downtown merchants, but it’s no solution.

TERRY ROWAN

Santa Rosa