Letters to the Editor

Psychiatric breaks, misspent money for mental illness, farm profits and fisheries

This Nov. 4, 2013, file photo shows a salmon making its way up the salmon ladder at Nimbus Hatchery in Rancho Cordova. In control of Congress and soon the White House, Republicans are readying plans to roll back the influence of the Endangered Species Act, one of the government's most powerful conservation tools, after decades of complaints that it hinders drilling, logging and other activities.
This Nov. 4, 2013, file photo shows a salmon making its way up the salmon ladder at Nimbus Hatchery in Rancho Cordova. In control of Congress and soon the White House, Republicans are readying plans to roll back the influence of the Endangered Species Act, one of the government's most powerful conservation tools, after decades of complaints that it hinders drilling, logging and other activities. Sacramento Bee file

Trauma

Re “It shouldn’t take a crisis to address mental illness. There’s a better way” (Forum, June 18): Thanks to Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Dr. Cameron Carter for highlighting the need for better early recognition and intervention for people with acute psychotic illnesses. The suffering involved for these patients and their families is intense.

I’d add one additional issue that colors this dilemma: while we more easily identify as traumatic events such as sexual violence and car wrecks, having one’s own mind’s experience go out of control is itself deeply traumatizing. It’s likely that secondary PTSD in patients with psychotic breaks is under-reported and under-treated. It’s even more essential to work toward policies to help pre-empt and reduce the severity of this very real illness.

Greg Sazima, MD, Roseville

Misspent money

Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Dr. Cameron Carter correctly note that 20 percent of the almost $2 billion raised by the Mental Health Services Act ($400 million) is required to go to Prevention and Early Intervention services. As Steinberg said when lobbying for that program, “We can’t prevent certain mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but we can prevent them from becoming severe and disabling.” That’s what Prevention and Early Intervention funds were supposed to do.

As the state auditor, two little Hoover Commission reports, the Associated Press and Mental Illness Policy Org have revealed, that didn’t happen. Programs to improve grades, eliminate divorce, improve job prospects, reduce bullying, gain comfort with sexual identity, and teach art are being wrapped by counties in a mental health narrative so Prevention and Early Intervention funds can be diverted to them. Rather than create another taxpayer fund that gives counties financial incentive to infuse far more resources into early intervention for psychosis and serious mood disorders, why don’t we ensure that the original $400 million already allocated to that purpose achieves it?

DJ Jaffe, author, “Insane Consequences: How the mental health industry fails the mentally ill,” New York

Salmon

Re “Salmon species will become extinct if state doesn’t act” (Forum, June 18): California Resources Secretary John Laird is right that Central Valley salmon need more water and restored habitat to survive. This isn’t surprising, considering a UC Davis study found the state has promised on average five times more water to various water users than nature provides annually. At what point do we decide we’ll compromise and balance our water use to maintain California’s salmon fishing families and the state’s unique natural heritage?

John McManus, Pacifica

Cap and trade

John Laird’s op-ed cites several strategies to save the salmon including removal of stream obstacles, putting water on the flood plains, removing unneeded dams, installing fish ladders and reducing sediment. However, underlying the need to adapt to climate change is the need to address the reason for needing these strategies. The root causes of our climate changes must come front and center. The climate is warming at an alarming pace. The state needs to recognize and pass the extension of the new cap-and-trade policy, which includes fee and dividend. Republican legislators are key to passing this legislation. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will thank us for paying attention to the root causes of the terrible damage of continued greenhouse emissions to our beautiful planet and all its creatures including the salmon.

Billie Hamilton, Sacramento

Farmers

Re “California farms are thirsty and in danger” (sacbee.com, June 16) A.G. Kawamura: Let me get this straight. During the drought, local water agencies funneled illegal amounts to farmers to grow crops such as nuts and wine grapes to feed the rest of the world? These crops were not feeding a starving and needy world. Feeding these specialty palates was not a humanitarian effort. It was feeding the wallets of speculative farmers and corporations at the expense of our preciously low supply of depleted underground water resources. I get sick and tired of seeing those folksie farmer highway signs crying about job losses dues to supposedly unfair water policies. Get real. This is just more corporate lust for profit at the expense of our precious resources.

Richard Kuechle, Lincoln

Fishermen

I read with interest the op-ed of A.G. Kawamura regarding the effect of water shortages on California farmers. No doubt much of what Kawamura says is true on the effect of water shortages on farmers. However, I object to him labeling the opposition to the hardworking farmer as environmental regulations. Environmental regulations are laws which have allowed farmers to have access to water from the delta. Environmental regulations have worked to save migratory fish from extinction. While it is true that farmers feed America, fisherman feed Amerca, too. If a farmer goes out of business, the land is still available to farm. When a species of fish dies, there is nothing available to fish. I have seen articles pitching the farmer against the environmentalist. The real water fight is between farmers and fisherman. Both feed America. Both help our economy. So let’s quit pitting the farmer versus the environmentalists and call it like it really is. The farmers versus the fisherman.

Eugene P. Haydu, Shingle Springs

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