Letters to the Editor

Letters: When will we stop jailing people for being mentally ill?

Mental health care

Re “ I had a purple elephant in my throat.’ Berkeley literature grad dies alone in Yuba County jail” (sacbee.com, Feb. 2): As the daughter of a psychiatrist who grew up during the Depression sitting next to the current live-in mental patient at the dinner table, I find it more than depressing to read an article that makes apparent how little progress has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesss since then. We jail someone for being mentally ill?

Anne B. Wiley, Sacramento

Keep forest, trees

Re “Future forest health needs fire to fight fire” (sacbee.com, Feb. 5): The author, Debbie Arrington, cites Little Hoover Commission “experts,” who suggest that each acre of California wilderness have no more than 40 trees to prevent massive forest fires. So, in essence, yes, if we get rid of all of our forests, then we won’t have any forest fires. But that is an absolutely ridiculous “solution” to say the least. An acre of a mere 40 trees is not a forest by any stretch of the imagination; it’s a large backyard. I have to believe the lumber industry is behind such a silly idea.

Kim Scioloro, Sacramento

Future of Yosemite

Re “Can anything be done about the gridlock in Yosemite?” (Editorials, Feb. 2): On behalf of the Student Conservation Association, a nonprofit that has been a partner of the National Park Service for 56 years, I would like to applaud the Park Service for trying for so long to reduce the number of cars in Yosemite. Since 1980, Yosemite has struggled with the issue of traffic congestion. Whenever a solution was visible through the windshield of planning, there was considerable support for limiting the number of cars in the park at any one time. Unfortunately, there also was strong public and political opposition. So here we are today, again searching for a way to manage traffic while still providing people the opportunity to stand in awe of the Incomparable Valley. Let’s all hope for and work toward a future for Yosemite that is as bright as the winter sun shining down on Half Dome.

Jay Thomas, Oakland

Park, take the bus

Yes, car traffic is a terrible problem in Yosemite Valley, both at the entrance and inside the park. But the editorial board should have mentioned the year-round shuttle bus into the Valley and the good shuttle bus system inside the Valley. You can drive or take Amtrak to Merced, then hop on a YARTS bus. If you must drive, once inside the Valley, park your car once, then use the park shuttle, rather than spending your visit creeping along in a line of cars and walking to and from the various overflow parking lots.

Stuart Pettygrove, Davis

A museum’s fate

Re “Why some Yolo residents object to arts nonprofit taking over historic home” (sacbee.com Feb. 3): I am distressed by the turmoil over the future of Yolo County’s Gibson House museum and grounds. Stripping the mansion of much of its historical context seems penny wise, but pound foolish. Instead, it might be an opportunity for partnership and growth. Why not establish a process so stakeholders can meet and work together to chart a viable pathway for the future? Include input from representatives of other historic Woodland venues. Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, Ariz., is a fine example of what might be achieved. The campus includes the fully furnished John C. Fremont house, a rose garden dedicated to pioneer women, the first territorial governor’s mansion, a library and, of course, a gift shop. Perhaps county stakeholders will be encouraged to make a site visit.

Elly Fairclough, Davis

Opioid epidemic

Re “Limit painkiller prescriptions to three days, California lawmaker says” (sacbee.com, Feb. 5): California Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez wants to limit painkiller prescriptions to three days at a time. Sure, because of the abuses of Trump supporters in the Midwest and the South, let’s punish the elderly, often desperately ill people who actually need pain medication. Yeah, that’s a great idea. What about canes and walkers? They can be used as clubs, you know?

Richard Vidan, Orangevale

Medical license?

I would love to know where Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, received his medical degree and license. I realize that we have a major issue with opioid prescriptions, but does he even realize that in order for people to receive their pain medication, they have to have a pain management contract on file with the doctor that is the primary prescriber of the medication? If not, I would love for him to spend a day in the shoes of the everyday citizens of California who have to deal with chronic pain that is not alleviated by non-opioid medications. I am quite sure that he and others who have the same mindset would learn a lot and realize they are trying to punish the people who use the medication as directed.

Suzanne E. Ansell,


The painful truth

Re “Opioid abuse in California has a new adversary” (sacbee.com, Feb. 6): I see this as part of the so-called war on drugs, which has been a complete and utter failure. I am sick of this witch hunt and paper trail by legislators and government agencies. I am afraid for ordinary people in pain. Soon these opioid medications will be illegal (I assure you, that time is coming), and then heroin and cannabis use, along with alcohol abuse, will be on the rise. This is happening already. Go visit your local ER. Government needs to keep its nose out of the physician/client relationship. As a registered nurse and citizen who has had to deal with chronic pain himself, I would take the side of the patient.

Robin Mitchell,


Trump vs. Musk

Re “SpaceX’s big new rocket blasts off, puts sports car in space” (sacbee.com, Feb. 6): What a day in America. We witnessed a genius, Elon Musk, successfully launch the Falcon Heavy rocket, replete with a Tesla, and we watched Donald Trump call for a military parade in Washington, D.C. The incongruity couldn’t be greater – someone who looks to the future and the prospect of renewed American space exploration, versus a mental midget who wants to reprise a past most of the world has abandoned. The Pentagon says the cost for such an event would be monumental. And to what end? To please a child, who spent too little time playing with toy soldiers?

Mark Basgall, Sacramento