The voters’ will
EDITOR: I take issue with Paul Gillixson’s column (“Do we want to become the mecca for marijuana,” Sunday). Gillixson is a victim of his own paper. No one is advocating what he advanced in his column — except maybe the editors who create these illusionary headlines. (Oh wait, Gillixson is one of those editors.)
The city of Santa Rosa has, against all odds, accomplished precisely what the voters wanted and intended when they passed Proposition 215 nearly 20 years ago. We specifically asked our elected officials to “implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana …”
Northern California is saturated with cannabis cultivation, processing, manufacturing and distribution. The city is setting a regulatory vehicle whereby consumers will have some assurance that what is being made available through permitted operations is produced in a safe manner, is free of contaminants, processed and labeled in a way that will alert and educate the consumer and is going to be distributed in as safe and affordable a manner as can be reasonably regulated.
Problems inherent in a black market cannot be regulated out of existence. The city has created a permitting process that is a benefit to patients and law enforcement. The city is creating a bright line between safe, affordable and regulated cannabis and those operating in the black or otherwise gray markets.
EDITOR: With Donald Trump reiterating his pledge to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, I looked up the West Bank wall in Israel. Based on the price of the Israeli security barrier, the National Journal has estimated that 2,000 miles of fence will cost the United States $6.4 billion. It costs Israel an annual average of $260 million for maintenance for a fraction of the length of our border. You know Mexico isn’t going to contribute a single peso for Trump’s pipe dream.
All well and good for Trump’s psychiatrically disordered thinking, but we are having great difficulty just getting the Republican-controlled Congress to maintain our own infrastructure. As Pogo might have said, we are showing a complete lack of reason or foresight.
EDITOR: The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors established the Independent Citizens Advisory Committee on Pension Reform to review and evaluate progress on the board’s pension reform goals, including a reduction in pension costs from 20 percent to 10 percent of compensation over 10 years.
While some savings have been achieved, pension costs have risen even further and after four years were approximately 36 percent of payroll. Cost containment is clearly not on track. The committee’s report in June made 45 recommendations that should be addressed. More must be done to free resources for needed county road repairs, park maintenance and Sheriff’s Office services.
The supervisors should renew their efforts and extend the term for the citizens committee without further delay.
Kids in need
EDITOR: I work in a group home with boys and young men, many of whom take psychotropic medication and some of whom occasionally require physical containment when they become dangerous to themselves or others. These young people have had a very raw deal in their short lives and deserve much better than they have gotten. What they also deserve is better advocacy and state legislators who have a clue.
Beginning in January, a new law will take effect mandating that all of these young people are to move out of group homes and into foster homes. Group homes are to convert to short term (90-120 day) treatment programs.
Additionally, new regulations are making it increasingly difficult to acquire the medication that some of these young people need to make it through their day.
Most of these children have already bounced through many, many foster homes and land at our doorstep angry, resentful and mistrusting. Healing their wounds takes years, not weeks and requires incredible dedication, patience and a beating heart surrounded by a very thick skin.
I invite anyone who is bothered by the first sentence of this letter (the notions of medicating children or physically containing them) to head on down to the county social service department. They are recruiting.
EDITOR: Just a short time ago, the Catholic community of the Santa Rosa Diocese discovered that we are the only diocese in the U.S. out of compliance with the new regulations protecting children and youth. Now we are faced with Bishop Robert Vasa’s welcoming disgraced Archbishop John Nienstedt into the Napa community (“An ex-archbishop shamed in Minnesota settles nearby,” Sunday).
Many of us are stunned and even frightened. What kind of a shepherd is Vasa? Is he ignorant? Misinformed? Indifferent? Malicious?
I hope and pray that all Catholics, and all people of goodwill in the Santa Rosa area, will express their deep concern. This is heartbreaking. We are not helpless, and we are called to speak up for what is right.