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Letters to the Editor March 27, 2014

Jefferson could better support psychiatric care

California has been closing psychiatric hospitals and reducing the number of beds for patients requiring acute inpatient care over the past 15 years.

A total of 44 facilities have been eliminated for various reasons including the elimination of psychiatric inpatient care or the complete closure of hospitals. This reduction represents a loss of approximately 24 percent in services.

The elimination of about 3,000 beds is a startling fact when one realizes that 26 of the 58 counties in California have no inpatient psychiatric services at all, including Del Norte County.

Del Norte County pays an exorbitant amount of money to treat psychiatric patients out of county within the existing mental health system in California. With recent trends in California this situation will only deteriorate further.

Additional local psychiatric facilities could be an important priority in the state of Jefferson to better treat its citizens. Jefferson’s opting out of the multi-billion-dollar high-speed train and delta water tunnel projects would easily finance this and many other important programs in the new state.

Joseph A. Lavender, Crescent City

Shame on judge and educators in Mann case 

I’m not usually a risk-taker, but by addressing the elephant in the room of educators, I am taking an uncomfortable risk. Morally, I cannot let this go.

In response to the March 8 article in the Triplicate, “Mann case is under review,” I wonder: How can the judge, while planning to be out of the country, drop a bomb like that: “A new sentencing ... will be considered by visiting Judge Richard P. Kalustian after the defendant spends 90 days with the California Department of Corrections.”

It just seems so unfair to the victim’s family. On behalf of the Jones family, the Native American community, and all others who honor justice, I feel outrage and sorrow. I can be sure that had the tables been turned and the Native American (or any average citizen) had killed someone while driving under the influence, he would have had the book thrown at him on all counts. And, he may have even admitted his guilt.

Kendra Jones, I wish for you and your family strength and support in your pursuit of justice, truth and forgiveness.

On behalf of the education profession (I know I’m not alone), I feel shame. We, as educators (teachers, administrators and support staff), have a moral responsibility to teach our young people to make wise and informed decisions and to be accountable for their mistakes. One way of accomplishing this is by presenting ourselves as models of honest, responsible citizens who respect our fellow humans and the laws designed to protect them.

Sadly and importantly, Judge Kalustian is setting forth an extremely dangerous precedent in the justice system for future cases of this difficult nature.

Louise Mason, Crescent City


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