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Mental health cuts

EDITOR: We all lose. Mismanagement of taxpayer funds by Sonoma County’s Department of Health Services, resulting in layoffs and severe budget cuts, creates a losing situation for all concerned (“Deficit threatens health jobs,” Wednesday).

Both public and nonprofit employees lose employment. Consumers of behavioral health services lose their support network and risk decompensation, hospitalization, incarceration and homelessness. Families must pick up the pieces (when they can). The community pays an even higher price for emergency, incarceration and homeless services.

Those responsible must be held accountable, and Sonoma County must continue to provide such sorely needed behavioral and health services.

If not, we all lose.

MICHAEL BREWSTER

Santa Rosa

Choosing a sheriff

EDITOR: We have three good people running to serve as Sonoma County Sheriff. A well-reported, thought-provoking campaign has shown that they all bring solid character and high intentions to public service.

The main thing is: We’re voting for a sheriff — someone who can run the complexities of an ever-changing organization delivering a huge array of services, often life-or-death in nature, all the time. The position demands a tremendous amount of administrative responsibility, up-to-date technical competence and experience with nearly every single social issue faced by our communities.

We see Capt. Mark Essick as a sheriff who, like former Sheriffs Bill Cogbill and the late Mark Ihde, already has the confidence of those he works with and serves. His endorsements come from active and retired law enforcement officers, community leaders, business people and agricultural organizations. He is the only person running with that depth of support. Essick’s greater breadth of experience, combined with his MBA training, will be invaluable in managing the growing budget challenges of the office.

The three candidates are exemplary community leaders, each with separate strengths to contribute. Mark Essick is the one best prepared to be our next sheriff.

MICHAEL P. MERRILL

and MAUREEN McDANIEL MERRILL

Windsor

Immigration data

EDITOR: D.P. Hall wrote about “liberal bias” in Tuesday’s letters to the editor column. Although the United States does admit more immigrants than any other country, based upon population, the U.S. is only 29th on a list of migrants per 1,000 population. Singapore admits 13.10 immigrants, and Canada admits 5.7 immigrants per 1,000 population. The United States admits 3.9 immigrants per 1,000 population. We have a vast country with a need for immigrants who work in our fields, factories and homes.

As for the United States and climate change, Hall should be happy that President Barack Obama’s plans to decrease greenhouse emissions are working. The current administration is rolling back successful programs putting corporate greed above existential climate change.

CHARLES RAIT

Santa Rosa

Gun permits

EDITOR: I’d like to thank The Press Democrat for its in-depth look at our candidates running for Sonoma County’s next sheriff (“Bringing change,” May 6). For those who didn’t read the entire article, I would like to highlight one paragraph in Mark Essick’s review: “He is the sole candidate to say he would expand the criteria for issuing permits allowing people to carry a concealed firearm to allow more people with demonstrated safety concerns to be armed.”

There are two issues here that concern me. One is the phrase “demonstrated safety concerns.” I think it’s important to know what specifically these would be. The second is the idea of allowing more people to carry guns, concealed or not. We are all aware of the increase in attacks involving guns nationwide, and I feel this expansion could possibly lead to more tragedy in our community.

Voters should be aware of Essick’s stance if they are to make an informed choice for this important post.

HOLLY J. PIERCE

Santa Rosa

The #MeToo question

EDITOR; In an election year for the next governor of California, I ask how come the #MeToo Movement has not asked Gavin Newsom to stop campaigning for this position? The reply is that there was no sexual harassment when Newsom, as mayor, and his best friend’s wife had an affair while she was working for him. Newsom and the woman both said it was consensual and the San Francisco city attorney made a statement that there were no laws broken or ethics violations.

Yet what about a hostile work environment created for other women working in the mayor’s office or city government? Don’t you think that many knew about the affair but would not say anything publicly worrying about the retribution from a powerful mayor? How about the public money payment to the woman? She received the quickly approved money from a catastrophic-illness program.

Worse was the fact that Newsom, the woman and her husband, who worked as the chief of staff for the mayor, wouldn’t cooperate with investigators from the City Attorney’s Office. So how come Newsom got off with no punishment?

Politics should not lessen what he did because Newsom is a liberal Democrat and many like his policies. Otherwise the credibility of the #MeToo Movement is being tested.

ANDREW SMITH

Santa Rosa

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