Reform needed to help mentally ill
Re “Bill seeks more tools to help the mentally ill” (Editorials, May 24): Assembly Bill 2262, which allows judges to divert mentally ill criminal defendants into treatment, is a laudable but incomplete response to the problem.
California needs to reform its criminal justice system so that sick citizens are not prosecuted for minor crimes. The anti-treatment Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, designed to empty our state hospitals during the dark ages of mental illness treatment, was revolutionary and necessary in its time. But it made it far too difficult to hold, treat and stabilize the severely mentally ill who are too sick to know they are sick.
Now the Model T Ford of such state laws, the act should be junked in favor of a modern statute that promotes prompt treatment for those who badly need it, while respecting patient dignity and rights. Properly drafted, such a statute would promote human dignity while saving money and lives.
Mary Ann Bernard, Sacramento
Base sentencing on facts, not emotion
Re “Nonviolent parolees? Maybe not” (Insight, Dan Walters, May 24): It’s unnecessary and irrational to propose overhauling criminal sentencing without knowing the impact of the proposed changes. That’s the major problem with the Determinate Sentencing Law. The state could and should develop sentencing algorithms and a simulation model of the criminal justice system.
In the 1970s, California arguably had the best correctional system in the country. It was data-driven. Actuarial tables showing the risk of parolee failure were developed and are still used. The state should also develop stakes algorithms. Stakes refers to the consequences attached to a potential offense.
The state initiated preliminary steps to design a simulation model of the criminal justice system but failed to develop it. Those two simple developments could reduce the perennial political conflict over sentencing. At the very least, the arguments would be over data rather than emotional issues.
Richard McKone, Lincoln
Hold supervisors accountable
Re “Only better supes will control El Dorado growth” (Editorial, May 23, 2016): The editorial is spot on. Historically, ballot-box planning only compounds already complicated and confusing land-use issues. There’s good reason why land-use decisions are carefully studied by professional planners, then vetted and discussed in a public forum. Elect good representatives to our government and keep them accountable.
Wayne A. Lowery, El Dorado Hills
Better supes isn’t complete answer
We have lived in El Dorado Hills for 27 years and have seen supervisors come and go. We keep hearing about the passage of Measures E and G resulting in lawsuits. Who would file those lawsuits? Probably the developers.
What is wrong with preventing developers from radically increasing preapproved densities? What is so wrong with those profiting from development being required to put in infrastructure first rather than require us taxpayers to provide it later?
The benefit of passing initiatives regarding land use is that once they are passed, unlike supervisors, they can no longer be influenced by developers. E and G are necessary because the board of supervisors have repeatedly abused their discretionary power. Better supes are only part of the answer. Passing E and G is the rest of the answer.
Stephen and Della Clavere, El Dorado Hills
Trump conspiracy fuel powers media
Re “The Trump train fueled by conspiracies” (Viewpoints, May 24): I certainly agree with Michael Gerson concerning Donald Trump fueling conspiracies, but shouldn’t there be more blame assigned to the media for the propagating this bluster?
It’s the media that has truly fueled Trump thus far and continues to give him a free outlet for his distorted views. He seems to have found a magic combination of facts, ideas, tweets, speech, actions, etc., which allow him to grab and hold the daily news cycles. The media is as addicted to this as a person hooked on crack; it can’t wait for another fix.
Like the crack addict, until the media hits rock bottom and realizes it and the country need help, and start to be responsible rather than just grab a rating, the exposure and downfall of Trump seems unlikely.
Bill Carrington, Granite Bay
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