Letters (Oct. 25, 2017)

by AVA News Service, October 25, 2017

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Letter to the Editor:

Are you tired of long waits in our Coast Hospital’s Emergency Room waiting room, sometimes for hours? Oftentimes the reason is that four or five of the Hospital’s eight ER beds are occupied by 5150s, dangerously mentally ill and psychotic people. They cannot be left unguarded, so hospital staff has to be pulled from other departments to sit at the doors to the ER rooms. This impacts the timeliness of care you receive in the medical-surgical and other departments because those staff members were pulled to the ER.

So you see, clogging up our ER with 5150s has a trickle down effect in other nursing departments. Would-be patients and their families get frustrated with long waits. They may go elsewhere. They may bad-mouth our hospital.

And there’s the Sheriff and police who have, at the moment, no other course of action but to take the mentally ill to Coast Hospital.

Passage of Measure B will cost you a few extra cents on taxable items, but it’s either that or have our hospital and law enforcement bear the financial brunt of this travesty. We can contain them, but really cannot properly treat the victims of mental illness.

Funding a mental heath facility is the only sensible and humane thing to do. Please vote YES on Measure B. If you are computer savvy, please reprint my letter on line wherever you can. Thank you.

Louise Mariana, RN, 37-year employee of Mendocino Coast Hospital


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Dear Editor:

Our family would like to thank the residents of Anderson Valley for their $525.00 donation thus far to rebuild homes with Habitat For Humanity. We have moved the donation jars to AV Market, Rossi Hardware, and The Buckhorn for this week. We plan to continue the drive through Halloween. Thanks so much.

The Kephart Family


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I read today that the fire sprinkler topic is under the direction of the Community Development committee. It was on the agenda for 9/27/16, which was cancelled. The next meeting of this committee focused on the mural competition, and the following meeting was about the Bee Friendly City idea.

I urge you to stop ignoring place this extremely important matter, and deal with it where it belongs,with the CC and perhaps the Public Safety Committee, so it can be seriously addressed. What is the point of painting murals on structures without sprinkler systems? Bees won't fare too well either, if FB suffers the same fate as Santa Rosa. Nor will the FB public. The town cannot prosper without a solution to this issue. Perhaps the grant-writing staff can focus on finding grants to help cover installation costs.

Most of the commercial property now for sale and there are many many listings, is run down and needs expensive renovation, and adding the burden of sprinkler systems on buyers, is discouraging folks from investing here.

Please do not use the onset of the rainy season as excuse to ignore this crucial public safety concern. With global warming, the threat of more serious fires in California will only increase.

Alice & Douglas Chouteau

Fort Bragg

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My wife and I slept through the entire night of the disaster until we were awakened by a neighbor at 7am while fires were raging all around us. We had no warning and could easily have been among those who died in their sleep.

Our society relies too much on technology, which has a habit of letting us down at the worst possible time. Too many people have died in this disaster because they had no warning.

It’s time to install an old-fashioned air-raid-type siren system that can alert thousands of people, especially those who have no nearby neighbors. Many communities subject to possible tsunamis have such systems. Our fire danger and earthquake danger will not get better.

A sheriff’s deputy knocking on doors is the least effective way to warn large numbers of people of danger.

This isn’t a time to find blame; it’s a time to learn lessons and do better next time.

Al Stumpf

Santa Rosa

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To the Editor,

Sheriff Tom Allman’s latest tax increase request, Measure B, states in the Voter Information Pamphlet “Everyone agrees that people suffering from mental illness or drug addiction need treatment”. This may be true, but forcing individuals to enter treatment against their will and cooperation and confining these individuals in a locked facility is an entirely different matter. Given Mendocino County’s poor track record in delivering this specialized care and the County’s past failures in operating a Psychiatric Health Facility, sober consideration by the voting public is required.

The Sheriff has stated publicly many times that he sees individuals with mental illness as “the #1 one public safety concern in the County”. Following the devastating Redwood Complex Fire and the tragic loss of life from this historical event, reasonable people can disagree with this statement. The challenges of climate change and preparing and equipping our local first-responders to confront these ominous threats to our environment and personal safety, feels significantly more urgent.

The history of mental health services within the County, particularly the management of inpatient locked facilities, is a history of conflict, turf wars between agencies and the people who manage these individual departments. The lack of communication and coordination between these departments has also been a prevalent and disappointing reality. These observations have been well documented in numerous Grand Jury reports over the last 20 plus years. The last Psychiatric Health Facility ( the infamous PHF or “Puff Unit” ) closed in November of 2000, as a result of the County’s failure to provide the required medical staff for the unit. Lawsuits or the threat of them hastened the collapse. This failure of Mendocino County to attract and retain credentialed mental health professionals is an existing and on-going obstacle that has not been solved. The most current Grand Jury report confirms this ongoing crisis of qualified new-hires within the Health and Human Services Agency, which for the last several years, has resorted to requesting waivers from state-mandated staffing levels and credential requirements.

Building a new, tax-payer funded $30 million dollar Psychiatric Health Facility will not change the reality of inadequate mental health professionals willing to work in Mendocino County. Buildings don’t heal people. Trained, qualified professional practitioners are what is needed. The County already spends tens of millions of dollars as part of the annual County Mental Health Budget on programs with titles such as Adult System Care, Medication Support Services, Wellness and Recovery Center, Assisted Outpatient Treatment, Mental Health Child and Family Services, Family Wraparound, New Beginnings Campus, Crisis Intervention, and on and on….

In November 2016, Dr. Marvin Trotter, one of the most respected physicians in Mendocino County, testified before the Board of Supervisors that the solution to mental health disorders is not more 5150 admissions, but professional outpatient therapy, medication, effective case management and housing. Locking people up who are experiencing acute psychiatric crisis is by definition, a failure of the system. Constructing a new building for the confinement of these individuals will be a monument to this failure.

What will produce real change is greater accountability and performance within the existing mental health programs. A Mental Health Czar needs to be appointed by the Board of Supervisors to mandate and enforce this change. Tax payers must demand this before another $38 million dollars in needless taxes are taken away from our local economy, giving the average hard working, productive citizen nothing in return. Vote NO on Measure B.

David Roderick


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We need sirens to warn residents of impending disasters. I am a longtime resident of Santa Rosa, but I was born and raised on Long Island. Each day at noon the local fire departments in many communities would sound sirens that reached far and wide. No TV, cellphone or internet needed.

We live in a high-risk fire zone. I appreciate the efforts of the officials knocking on doors in the middle of the night, but they cannot possibly contact all those in harm’s way. No one could. We cannot put residents at risk of little or no notice like this ever again.

Kathleen Zack

Santa Rosa

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Dear Editor:

Jerry Philbrick, pre-retirement, was a crackerjack logger and he has always supported youth sports and the local community. I must take issue with some of his Letter to the Editor printed in the 18 October AVA. Since I am not as familiar, as apparently Mr. Philbrick is, with the precise language of Governor Browns's signing of "the bill to shorten sentences for criminals who have committed violent crimes with a gun" and the "bill to be a sanctuary state" or his "veto of a bill to clean around the PG&E lines and poles," I can neither agree nor disagree with Governor Brown's actions. I am not in favor of indiscriminate use of poisons. Although I think that illegal immigrants who commit meaningful crimes should be tried and deported, there are many hard-working immigrants, like my ancestors, that do the jobs that local dope growers shun. The list of these jobs is too lengthy to enumerate. Owning at least my share of firearms, and having little faith in the ability of law enforcement to protect my family or my property in anything approaching a timely fashion, I wish to continue to enjoy my right to own guns. However, I have not any objection to banning automatic weapons (aka machine guns) nor restricting high capacity magazines even though I recognize that they might prove useful in the case of armed insurrection. Nor do I have a problem with handgun registration, background checks and restrictions on the ability of certain people to purchase weapons.

In the matter of the NFL controversy, a player who kneels with his hand on his heart during our National Anthem (blessings on America) is showing respect while exercising his First Amendment rights and to label them anti-American touches, in certain cases, on slander. By my understanding, they are protesting the racist treatment received by many in these United States; the ability to murder an unarmed brownish man with no consequence. This is a worthy protest.

President Donald Trump foments hatred and racism while lining his own pockets and those of his friends (examine his tax plan). It is class warfare using "divide and conquer" tactics. He outsources his own manufacturing. He is willing to risk the lives of both his and our grandchildren for profits. He encourages fascism.

My belief is that Mr. Philbrick and this writer agree in some areas. We both think that the mainstream Democratic party consists of "politically (in)correct nice" people who refuse to acknowledge reality. We both believe that an informed, knowledgeable citizenry is necessary for an effective democracy. And maybe we both believe that youth's fascination with, and dependence on "devices," coupled with television as babysitter, will destroy this grand experiment, democratic government.

Peter Lit


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Letter to the Editor

Expanded Thinking on Measure B

We need a place on the Coast and Inland to help people in early stage crisis. People could come voluntarily for the necessary days to receive support for recovery and avoid hospitalization. Many people can receive help in Crisis Residential Treatment and return quickly to their home, family and community life.

We need a place where people can voluntarily go to receive support to overcome addictions/cravings, to recover and resume family and community life with community support for the person and their family members. Community supports can include multiple treatments such as: counseling, acudetox, support groups for wellness recovery, mindfulness, and more.

We need one local hospital where people in advanced stage crisis can receive support and various treatments to recover from a psychiatric break. From here, a person might move to Crisis Residential Treatment, or return home with plans to manage their own health using various community supports.

And, you might give some thought to the high costs of not voting YES on Measure B.

Sonya Nesch


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Dear Editor,

I’m an old guy, and I’m just waiting for someone or something to snuff out the last candle flickering in the cellar of my soul.

Ken Ellis

New Bedford, Massachussetts

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They don’t teach respect anymore since the liberals took over the schools. No respect whatsoever. Our younger people don’t know anything about Vietnam, Korea, World War II, World War I, and even the Civil War. Or 9/11. They have no knowledge of the courage and suffering that existed in those conflicts in order to protect our liberty and freedom. That's why our young people, and not so young, are so disrespectful of our flag.

The black hoodlums and others who are kneeling down when the National Anthem is sung don’t even care that lots and lots of people who made the ultimate sacrifice were black. So they are disrespecting their own race.

There are so many liberals in our high schools and colleges that are so liberal that our young people don’t even say the Pledge of Allegiance anymore. Political correctness has run wild. In North Korea if you don’t respect the flag you get shot. I think that is what we should do here! Get rid of these rotten, anti-American liberal sons of bitches once and for all. Maybe Donald Trump can straighten this mess out.

Also, it is becoming an epidemic of robbing, raping, murdering and all kinds of crime in this country. And then you have people like Governor Kim Jong Un Brown who lets criminals commit a violent crime with a gun and then wants to take our guns and gun rights. I don’t think our country has ever seen a bigger liberal jackass than our Governor.

Oh, well, it’s gotta get better, it can’t get any worse. Good bless and good luck to Donald Trump

Jerry Philbrick


PS. It’s high time that the white people in this country start standing up for themselves against political correctness bullshit — especially when it comes to white people.

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