Letters to the Editor

Concerns of Red Cross confirmed

The Red Cross is running four shelters in Lake and Calaveras counties, but some have voiced skepticism to the charity’s response to wildfires, calling it slow, unorganized and ineffective.
The Red Cross is running four shelters in Lake and Calaveras counties, but some have voiced skepticism to the charity’s response to wildfires, calling it slow, unorganized and ineffective. Los Angeles Times

Concerns of Red Cross confirmed

Re “Valley fire puts heat on Red Cross” (Editorials, Sept. 27): The actions or reaction of the Red Cross as noted only confirms all my conviction that the Red Cross has gone the way of United Way and other once-helpful charitable organizations: megalomanic administrators at high levels who disdain the original vision and purpose of their organization. I’ll bet they’re well paid, though.

I knew this as I took food and supplies to a local biker group that was hauling them directly to a shelter near Middletown. But I also knew it when, two years ago, our longstanding local chapter of Red Cross volunteers was shut down and wrapped into a “regional” service center. No more CPR training or high school student interns getting community service credit – and no more donations from me.

Janet Levers, Woodland

Provide treatment before danger

Re “Time to adjust Mental Health Services Act” (Viewpoints, Sept. 27): People with mental illness receive four times more treatment in jail or prison than in treatment facilities and have a life span that is 25 years shorter than average, factoring out suicide. Thirty-seven to 68 percent have a co-morbid medical disorder, and more than 10 commit suicide per day in California. If we asked why, we might begin to address the tragedy.

In California, a person suffering from psychosis, hallucinations and delusions has to become gravely disabled or a danger to self or others before he or she can get help, ensuring that many deteriorate to the point they are on the street, in jail or prison, victimized or dead.

Change the antiquated treatment law and provide more hospital beds. Waiting for danger is too late.

Brian Jacobs, Tustin

Bureaucrats hinder help to mentally ill

California voters passed Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, to help the severely mentally ill in 2004. Now, former state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, the principal author, proposes amending it. While largely laudable, his amendments would require an impossible two-thirds majority of the Legislature.

The problem is not with the act but with the bureaucrats charged with enforcing it. Rather than amending it, the Legislature should rein in the bureaucrats who have ignored the needs of the people it was written to help. The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission’s massive administrative budget should be cut and its original oversight powers transferred to state agencies that don’t have an agenda contrary to the voters’ intent.

New legislation should contain a statutory purpose clause admonishing all involved to use MHSA funds to help the severely mentally ill. Only then will mentally ill people be helped, as they and the voters have a right to expect.

Mary Ann Bernard, Sacramento

Activists help destroy forests

Re “End destructive practice of logging forests after wildfires” (Viewpoints, Sept. 27): Few are the Californians who haven’t been impacted by the wildfires that have incinerated millions of acres of our national forests and parks. Be it the King, Rough, Valley, Lake, Butte or numerous other wildfires, hundreds of homes have been destroyed, thousands of people displaced, lives have been lost and millions have suffered from horrendous air pollution because of one increasingly recognized reason; failed federal forest management policies.

Monica Bond decries logging of a tiny fraction of the trees killed by wildfires using environmentalist fantasyland hyperbole that exemplifies the very reasons why our forests are so horrendously overgrown and prone to increasingly destructive and costly catastrophic wildfires. Our forests are being destroyed not by drought but by activist-driven forest management policies exemplified by Bond’s diatribe.

Lance W. Johnson, Shaver Lake

Use some common sense in forestry

Surely, at some point common sense has to come into play against opinions of “scientific experts.” Monica Bond’s advocacy for the benefits of wildfire is difficult to justify as preferable to managed forests.

Bond cites studies that many more acres burned in vast forest fires for thousands of years and in the period of the 1920s to 1930s than now. These studies may be fact, but don’t we want fewer forest fires?

When driving through these “charcoal forests,” one does not get the impression that they are “magical places”; what you do see is horrible, ugly destruction. Do we really prefer that to a beautiful forest or to a new, growing 10- to 20-year-old forest?

Finally, if wildfire is so “natural and necessary,” why do we go to such great expense and cost, and risk lives to prevent and put out wildfire?

James Peace, Sacramento

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