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Side-effects of cutbacks

EDITOR: Unfortunately, cuts to services for mental health outreach and treatment not only impact the clients who desperately need those services, it will inevitably result in increased costs to the county (“Mental health funds to be cut,” Jan. 31).

As your journalist Martin Espinoza pointed out in his piece on Aug. 13, 2017, “jail cells have essentially replaced hospital beds of Sonoma County’s most severely mentally ill residents” (“Jail cells substituting for psychiatric beds”). Emphasizing the stark numbers, 40 percent of the 1,100 county jail inmates suffer some form of mental illness, Espinoza wrote.

Failure to respond to the demand for mental health services will only increase the demands on the jail, which will inevitably require additional correctional officers or impact requests for overtime; all expensive alternatives.

My only request is that the Board of Supervisors consider all the consequences of their budget decisions before acting.



The abortion debate

EDITOR: Columnist David Brooks isn’t the only one who is wrong on the abortion debate (“Internal note to Democrats: Time to rethink abortion stand,” Saturday). Everyone on both sides is. According to the studies I’m familiar with, the best ways to reduce elective abortion are comprehensive sex education beginning in the fifth grade; universal access to health care, including birth control; a strong social safety net; a high minimum wage and generous parental employment benefits.

Banning abortion by law leads to unqualified providers performing abortions on the black market, resulting in harmful consequences for many of the women involved, including death, the birth of babies who for one reason or another will never be able to function in society and the birth of babies into family situations that are known to foster mental illness, social alienation and criminality.

The whole pro-life/pro-choice narrative is a destructive one. If the pro-lifers really were pro-life, they would support the effective policies noted in the first paragraph. And it is these same policies that will give the pro-choice people a real choice.


Santa Rosa

The walls

EDITOR: Years ago I visited the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall. Now one is irrelevant and the other removed.

Using the wall-building money to pay for social improvements for our southern neighbors would do much to improve everyone’s quality of life.



Enigmatic Trump

EDITOR: DACA — Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals — is an Obama administration policy that allows children brought here illegally to apply under certain conditions for permission to live and work in the United States. They are referred to as Dreamers.

In that context, President Donald Trump’s comment that “Americans are dreamers, too” doesn’t make sense as his reference was to Americans who are citizens already.

Every statement Trump makes is an enigma that allows an imposing definition for those less fortunate of common sense. Our union is indeed under threat, but it’s from within — complacency, division, ignorance, bias and a lack of understanding something other than yourself.



Supervisors should go

EDITOR: By all accounts, people in the path of the fires didn’t receive notice. Most people’s first knowledge was their neighbors frantically banging on the door, the sound of the fire crackling nearby, dogs barking, etc. I see that the Board of Supervisors has commissioned a study to determine the reasons for the failure (absence?) of the alarm system (“County seeks better alarms,” Jan. 30).

One can think of the five supervisors, together, as serving as the CEO of a good-sized corporation. While they wouldn’t be expected to direct the day-to-day operations of departments under them, like a CEO, they are responsible for overall performance.

From my viewpoint, it seems crystal clear that the Board of Supervisors failed totally its mandate to make certain that the Fire and Emergency Services Department had adequate notifications in place for any and all emergencies. Because of that failure, many people lost their precious possessions, and other people died. Died.

In companies, when people die, CEOs have apologized publicly, begged forgiveness and resigned. Apparently our supervisors are intent on placing the blame on the emergency management department or anyone else named in the study and has no intention of taking responsibility themselves.

Shouldn’t they admit their failures, apologize and resign?

Shame on them.



Price-gouging charges

EDITOR: How can you judge landlords who responded to insurance companies’ pleas to get people into homes when all around there are Airbnbs, hotels and even people surrendering their homes for $10,000, $15,000 and $25,000 a month?

These amounts are highway robbery. Yet it’s said that this is OK because they weren’t rentals to begin with. This makes no sense.

It’s the bidding wars among the insurance companies that have subjected these landlords to this situation. Don’t you think the insurance companies should be on the hot seat?



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