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Sacramento Bee readers react to Kaiser mental health services, Prop. 31, rail strike
Sacramento Bee - 9/25/2022
Don’t be fooled
“Sacramento CA ballot measure threatens light rail future,” (sacbee.com, Sept. 10)
Measure A is not a true citizens’ initiative. Yousef Baig gets it right when he writes that “wealthy developers and special interests bankrolling the campaign are counting on the ignorance of voters and their frustration over traffic conditions to enable an egregious sidestep of regional infrastructure planning to get what they want.”
Don’t be fooled by the greenwashing of big business and developers who want to line their pockets with taxpayer dollars. Building new roads, interchanges and highways will just enable sprawl and further degrade air quality. We should be focusing on fixing existing roads and investing in effective public transit and active transportation projects.
No more excuses
“Sacramento’s homeless ‘snake pit’ is even harder for women,” (sacbee.com, Sept. 12)
I retired from my 30 year career as a park ranger in 2008. I spent my days cleaning up the messes left by homeless people when they were moved from one place to another during “sweeps.” No permanent housing was available then, and it isn’t now.
There’s plenty of money for sports stadiums, soccer teams and farm-to-fork dining on the Tower Bridge, but office buildings and hotels sit vacant downtown while thousands of homeless people are still camping on the American River Parkway and along our sidewalks and roadways.
Instead of temporary shelters, we need to build housing and services in our backyards. No more excuses or NIMBYism.
“How Kaiser patients had to fight to get mental health care,” (sacbee.com, Sept. 15)
Trying to get care from Kaiser’s mental health section is pure hell, and getting adequate treatment seems impossible.
Your article profiled a mental health professional who ultimately prevailed with help from state officials. But finding and then navigating an entity that can help is a whole separate challenge, particularly for those who are ill and have been beaten down by Kaiser’s countless procedural hurdles.
Unfortunately, having been covered by Kaiser for decades, I notice other areas of deterioration: access to home health; access to medical equipment; access to procedures such as MRIs, PET scans and surgery; and wait times for procedures.
Kaiser was once held up as a health care model. Today, it desperately needs immediate and substantive remedial intervention. Lives depend on it.
“Biden’s tight spot: a union backer out to avert rail strike,” (sacbee.com, Sept. 16)
This is what I and most other Americans want to see from a president. Avoiding this railway strike was huge. I’m not sure people realize the devastating impact the strike would have had.
During the railway strike of 1992, at least we had a functional Congress that was able to rush through a bill to end it. This time, a major economic and transportation disaster was avoided thanks to someone who knows what it is to be a servant of the people.
“California Prop. 31 would ban flavored tobacco product sales,” (sacbee.com, Sept. 16)
While kids should be protected by the Food and Drug Administration ban on tobacco sales to anyone under 21, more than one in 10 U.S. high school students smokes e-cigarettes. Supply chain pathways evidently exist, and the rise of flavored e-cigarettes has rolled back decades of progress in reducing youth smoking.
To truly protect our teens from addictive products with appealing flavors and their associated health impacts, we need to systematically remove flavored products from our communities.
The tobacco-company-funded no campaign has spent only $740,000 — pennies compared to potential revenue — because it knows it’s fighting a losing battle. The facts are against them. The referendum is simply a mechanism to delay the enforcement of the flavoring ban while tobacco companies continue to exploit vulnerable populations.
“Fred Franzia, wine leader and Two Buck Chuck creator, dies,” (sacbee.com, Sept. 14)
I had the honor of knowing Fred Franzia as his attorney and friend for more than 30 years. Fred could be blunt about his beliefs when it came to making, marketing and selling enjoyable and high-quality wine at prices fair to the consumer. He offered no praise for famous companies that also sold excellent wine at what he knew were exorbitant prices compared with their actual cost.
Fred had close friendships throughout a very extensive national and international wine industry family. He was respected, and so was his company. I also knew him to be quietly and generously charitable. You couldn’t find a finer or more decent person.
“Newsom signs environmental bills setting new targets, rules,” (sacbee.com, Sept. 16)
I applaud the governor’s recent climate action — enlarging oil and gas setbacks from homes and schools, establishing clean energy targets and supporting decarbonization policy — and urge Congress to carry the momentum forward by passing the Environmental Justice for All Act.
This bill would codify environmental justice provisions into law to ensure that our new energy system leaves no one behind. Oil and gas facilities and power plants are more likely to be in communities of color and near low-income families, exposing them to hazardous air and water pollution. As a result, those communities are more likely to suffer from asthma, hypertension and other chronic diseases that are both progressive and generational. These are the same communities that are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis.
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