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Letters to the Editor December 16, 2009

AMA opinion indicates support in medical profession for reform

I am writing in regard to the Dec. 10 letter, “No overwhelming support for Obama reform among doctors,” written by Dr. Sankus.

I found the reasoning in the article difficult if not impossible to follow. The opinion piece from the president of the local medical society on Oct. 1 included the names of the 14 doctors who signed off on the message. By listing the names, they are making it clear that they do not speak for the entire membership. Including the position or qualifications of an author is an accepted method to allow the reader to judge whether the author is an legitimate source of information.  

The AMA is the largest professional organization of physicians in the U.S. As such, it can be considered to represent a cross-section of the physicians in this country. Although not every member of the AMA would agree with its leadership, the fact that not all physicians are members does not mean that the opinions of the AMA are not a valid indication of general support of the need for health care reform by the medical profession.  

Dr. Sankus became a physician after Medicare was established, but before the health insurance companies intruded into the practice of medicine.  He compares the applicant ratio for his individual school in 1952 to the applicant ratio for the entire U.S. in 2007-2008. It would be more accurate to compare the 1952 stats for his old alma matter to the current stats for his school, rather than assuming that his school represented the average back in 1952.

Helen S. DuVernay
Crescent City


You can’t presume to know the circumstances of each individual

I am a faithful reader and subscriber to The Triplicate, but I have never written a letter to the editor, other than two lines to introduce a letter from my son when he was stationed in Iraq. However, Melissa A. Thornton’s letter (“Blame for deaths is on those who choose homeless lifestyle,” Dec. 15) is my ox-goad.

On the issue of homeless people, she states that she grew up in slighted conditions, made her own way in life, and therefore does not feel sorry for the choice others have made.

Imagine a story such as this the following. (Very similar circumstances were documented by Lisa Ling last year, investigative journalist, in our own capitol of Sacramento.)

Ordinary Joe is having trouble paying his electric bill. He tried to reason with the electric company. They said, “Too bad, here’s a form you can fill out for help on your bill in the future,” and in order to pay his bill and have heat that night, he opts to pay the electric bill and pay his mortgage late, thinking he’ll catch up with his mortgage payment with his next check. He goes to work the next day and is told the company is closing down due to the poor economy. He’s issued a last check, which he takes to the bank and the bank tells him the check is no good.

So, Joe, has no money to pay his mortgage either. He calls the bank, they say, “Too bad, we have to repay our bailout monies.” Joe and his wife hit the streets daily to look for work.  No one is hiring for the well-paying jobs. They can find work to feed themselves, but nowhere near enough money for a mortgage payment. Joe and his wife are evicted.

Joe watches as all their belongings are thrown into a trash truck. He and his wife are left with some clothes, sleeping bags, camping supplies and a tent to live in with several hundred other families in the tent city of Sacramento.  It’s November.  Winter is coming. Joe and his wife have raised their children to believe that they can rise above anything, that homelessness is a choice and now are too ashamed to ask them for help. Can you imagine the shame they must feel?

You can’t presume to know the circumstances of every individual on the street.

Erin Gillispie
Smith River


Why some are more willing to help dogs than the homeless

In her Dec. 8 letter, Diane Blackberry asks why some citizens in our community are more willing to help dogs than we are the homeless people we find in our midst. I may have an answer for her.

I have never had a dog confront me on the street, demanding money. I have never given a dog some money, only to have them spend it on beer, wine, cigarettes, meth, or pot. I have never given a hungry dog some food, to have them say in anger, “I don’t want food, give me money.” Dogs don’t hang out in front of Safeway or Ray’s, “casing” the cars in the parking lot so they may steal stuff from those that are left unlocked.

As far as I know, dogs don’t lure other dogs out of a shelter, only to beat them senseless with a flashlight.

Lawrence Henderson
Crescent City
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