Letters to the Editor

Innocent victims of Genny’s world

Even in tough financial times, Genevieve Lucchesi wore stylish dresses she found in thrift stores and was meticulous about her hair and makeup. Genny Lucchesi never begged for food or money, but a small cadre of midtown residents kept her fed and clothed. Delve into her personal life and she’d respond with steely silence.
Even in tough financial times, Genevieve Lucchesi wore stylish dresses she found in thrift stores and was meticulous about her hair and makeup. Genny Lucchesi never begged for food or money, but a small cadre of midtown residents kept her fed and clothed. Delve into her personal life and she’d respond with steely silence. Bee photo illustration

Innocent victims of Genny’s world

Re “Homeless in Sacramento: A death on the streets” (Page 1A, Oct. 25): In reading the story of this woman’s life and death, my compassion and sympathy go to her children. Genny had many people willing to help her and was offered many options over the years. Her poor children were innocent victims and had no options to get out of their hellish nightmare, except to leave home at a ridiculously young age. My heart goes out to them.

Sophie Tramel, Fairfield

Matsui should seek Laura’s Law funds

The day before The Sacramento Bee ran the article about the death of Genny Lucchesi, who was homeless and mentally ill, Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, sent a letter to her colleagues in Congress saying she would not support a bill to make federal funds available for Laura’s Law in Sacramento.

Matsui’s rationale was that the court orders “do not provide any treatment services.” But treatment services were offered regularly to Lucchesi. She did not accept those offers, though, because she was so mentally ill that she did not recognize that she needed help.

Residents who care about the seriously mentally ill should call Matsui and urge her to support the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which would deliver federal funds to Sacramento for Laura’s Law. With Laura’s Law and federal funds, Lucchesi would likely have been sent to the head of the line for services, rather than to the morgue.

Kathy Day, advocate and former member of the Sacramento County Mental Health Board, and DJ Jaffe, executive director of the nonpartisan think tank Mental Illness Policy Org.

No easy answers for homeless, ill

Thank you for your article about Genny Lucchesi. It’s always good to put a personal face on a problem that people who aren’t involved – myself included – have been opining about.

Her story does seem to support Erika D. Smith’s assertion that many homeless people don’t want government help. I guess the question is, what do we do about it? Should we do anything? Seems as if the only way to get Genny off of the street would have been by force, and I question whether that would have been good for her. Perhaps she could have been diagnosed and treated. Or perhaps the loss of her freedom would have put her over the edge.

As with everything else in life, the problem is much more complicated than most people realize. But I will say that it is sad in a country that prizes freedom that there are no places, at least without strings attached, for people like Genny to go.

Dawn Wolfson, Cameron Park

Sad non-treatment of our mentally ill

It is absolutely unacceptable that a mentally ill person is allowed to live this way in California and beyond. So what if she denies help. Give it to her anyway! Force her into a clean and safe living environment, run by people who care. Give her medications that we know will work and spend the time with her on counseling.

As a society, we have gone too far by “allowing” schizophrenics to roam the streets and live like animals. We wouldn’t let our pets live like this! Maybe she would have run away anyway, but we’ll never know because we did not take that one, albeit somewhat distasteful, step of forcing her to face her demons.

Spare me your “freedom” speech. I’m not suggesting we go back to the bad old days of locking people up in horrible mental asylums run by mental health workers who are only there for a paycheck or for more nefarious reasons. We can do this the right way if our tax dollars and private donations are used wisely to fund proven treatments and safe environments, and if family members or caring trustees are given legal power to help their loved ones.

Shannon Erdell, San Diego

Dan the Man, fighter of injustice

Re “Dan Delany, 1934-2015: Fighter for the poor started Loaves & Fishes” (Page 4B, Oct. 26): I knew Dan Delaney quite well. I was arrested with him at the gates of Mather Air Force Base protesting the nukes on the base, spending five days in the county jail. I stood with him at Aerojet protesting their weapons production. I will never forget him. One of the few real Christians I’ve ever known.

Wiliam J. Hughes, Sacramento

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