Wednesday’s Letters to the Editor

Healing the homeless

EDITOR: Many cases of homelessness share some root causes: trauma, addictions and depression. Sonoma County offers housing, talk therapy and bulldozers. We say: “It’s too bad we can’t help these people.” But we can.

The root cause for many homeless people (some research indicates up to 90%) is trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder shrinks the part of the brain that allows for executive function, the hippocampus. It enlarges the amygdala, the part of the brain that increases anxiety and distrust. PTSD causes a physical wound in the brain. It can be fixed, allowing the brain to regrow (neurogenesis) so people can heal.

The Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health are supporting research on more effective medicines. One is available now. Sixty-seven percent of chronic PTSD patients responded to ketamine treatments, combined with therapy, compared with 20% in the control group.

Other ketamine studies found that 65.8% of 111 alcoholic patients stopped drinking for over one year. Also, ketamine significantly reduced heroin addiction. With a healed brain, people can become independent, letting them leave “the system.”

I propose we provide lockable housing with ketamine therapy instead of the nearly useless talk therapy approach, reducing the symptoms and addictions of PTSD, allowing victims to become whole.



Wondering why

EDITOR: I have trouble understanding why Bill Gallaher would want to spend so much money recalling District Attorney Jill Ravitch when she is not running for reelection. And another big question for me is why would he want the news media to continue to bring up the issue that led to his petulant action: namely the abandonment of residents at his retirement homes during the fire. Every time the recall election comes up in the news his abandonment of these confused and elderly residents is brought up. Again and again. If he was hoping that the public would forget his negligent behavior, his continued spiteful recall election has continued to spotlight this in the news.

A lot of money and a lot of humiliation just to try and get rid of a competent, good district attorney who was simply doing her job by prosecuting him. Unbelievable.



Cost and convenience

EDITOR: As a former Sonoma County employee, I believe a relocation of county offices to downtown would only benefit the city of Santa Rosa, specifically for leasing and parking income.

County employees won’t be going out to lunch en masse to downtown restaurants. That isn’t an affordable option for most county workers. I’m not aware of inexpensive fast-food establishments within walking distance from the proposed sites. Also, employees as well as the public would be hard pressed to pay for parking. At most current offices, folks can drive up to the building, conduct their business and leave within a reasonable time.

Some offices immensely benefit the public by being within walking distance to the Sonoma County courts, which will not be relocated.

Attempting to build offices downtown would create a nightmare of congested traffic, noise and disruption to existing businesses, their workers and customers for years.

As a trial, the county should place a temporary modular office in a proposed downtown space to gauge the efficiency of a more permanent plan. Alternatively, this process could also be done at the current offices while new needed construction occurs. Cost and convenience should always be considered.


Santa Rosa

Moving testimony

EDITOR: Listening to testimony of the Capitol Police officers about the insurrection in Washington brought tears, reminding me of my own experience 60 years ago demonstrating for civil rights in the South (“Visceral testimony at hearing,” July 28). I look forward to a time when all that remains to me of Donald Trump is a bad taste at the back of my throat, the bitter residue of four years’ iniquity.



Pacaso’s PR campaign

EDITOR: Pacaso, the billion-dollar venture capital real estate company, just announced it is giving $100,000 to Burbank Housing for affordable housing. The full-page ad in the Sonoma Index-Tribune heralding their charitable giving cost them $2,494.80. They have placed ads in many other newspapers at a much higher cost. All in all, this for-profit business is spending tremendously more advertising their charitable giving program than they are donating. It is a cynical PR ploy.

Consider this: Each of the eight shares of the home they are trying to sell on Old Winery Court in Sonoma is listed at $606,000. (Pacaso paid over $4 million for the house, more than market value.) They are promising to donate $2,500 for each share sold. The median price of a home in Sonoma is well over $1 million. A modest apartment rents for close to $2,500 a month. What will $2,500 buy in terms of affordable housing? A month’s rent? The $20,000 per home sold might pay for a kitchen remodel. How many affordable housing units will $100,000 build?

For more information on how to save our neighborhoods from Pacaso’s stealthy intrusion into our community, please go to



PG&E’s shortcomings

EDITOR: We all know how commonly PG&E’s lack of sufficient annual maintenance to its equipment has played a role in wildfires. It would be interesting to see The Press Democrat do some investigative reporting on why the costs of increased maintenance and vigilance that should have happened as part of PG&E’s daily priorities for many years have to continually be paid by their innocent customers instead of from shareholder profit and reserves.

It seems that senior management’s focus has been on shareholders, not the communities PG&E is supposed to serve. We just got a notice of yet another possible increase in our bills of over 18%. It’s understandable that their deliberate negligence has cost them mountains of cash.



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