EDITOR: Tuesday’s article about Sonoma County’s emergency notification system doesn’t call out what is probably the most challenging concern of all (“County seeks better alarms”).
On its first night, the Tubbs fire created the equivalent of the “fog of war.” So much happened so fast, exposing so many people over such a large area to such intense peril at such a difficult time of night, that even the best systems designed with more ordinary circumstances in mind would have been overwhelmed.
Talk and thought about technology and processes are necessary, but it is all too easy in more comfortable times to design our systems for normalcy. We must never forget to stay intensely focused on the almost inconceivable demands of a full-on crisis.
EDITOR: I am disheartened by Sonoma County’s upcoming mental health cuts (“Mental health funds to be cut,” Wednesday). It seems that whenever budgets fall below expectations, social services, and mental health services in particular, are targeted.
Understand this: There has never been sufficient funding for mental health even when budgets have been fat. I know this for a fact as a former executive director of Social Advocates for Youth and the sister of a beautiful woman with paranoid schizophrenia.
My heart breaks to know that nonprofits won’t be able to serve as many clients in the future. Who are these people who receive mental health assistance at local nonprofits? At SAY, they were children ripped from unsafe homes and coping with the resulting pain and confusion, teens who tried to kill themselves and young adults coping with emancipation from the foster care system.
And they are adults, like my sister, wandering amid a world of voices and suspicion.
I am impressed by how this community responded in the aftermath of the fires and raised millions of dollars. What we need now is a massive fundraising drive to fund mental health. But this won’t happen, will it? That reality saddens me.
Insurers and rising rents
EDITOR: My wife and I have been landlords in Butte and Sacramento counties for almost 30 years. We were very disappointed to read how the people in your price-gouging articles are being unfairly treated. It seems to me that insurance companies are the ones creating this by soliciting landlords for housing on behalf of their clients at high rates. The rents you mentioned are within fair market value.
The most egregious offenders are the ones who put up homes that have never been rentals and are charging exorbitant rates. Unfortunately, that appears to be legal.
It is hard enough to make rentals pay off without government intervention. It seems people are being encouraged to get out of the rental market with all of this arbitrary enforcement.
GUY and MARJORIE CANTRALL
Profiting from disaster
EDITOR: So now the county is going to jump on the ambulance-chaser attorney bandwagon and go after PG&E, even before the cause of the fire has been determined (“County plans to sue PG&E,” Wednesday). Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t they the ones who forced everyone off PG&E service and onto Sonoma Clean Power? Maybe it was the “clean power” that caused the destruction? How many of the destroyed structures were still with PG&E?