Letters to the Editor: Easier Lockups Not the Answer

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Marsha Ryle's opinion item points to several serious problems with California's systems for providing mental health care ("Mental Health Laws Ineffective," Aug. 4). It also attacks Senator John Burton for not supporting AB 1800, proposed legislation that would drastically alter the process by which someone is involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.

It bears mention that after well over a year of often heated debate, public forums, and serious study of the topic, the California Mental Health Planning Council, the California Mental Health Directors' Association, the California Network of Mental Health Clients, and many other professional associations and advocacy groups have publically opposed passage of AB 1800 as it is currently written.

I applaud Senator Burton for his work in advocating for positive legislation to help those with mental illness and their families and for resisting the already-too-prevalent, band-aid solution of locking up more and more people for longer periods of time.

Sandi Harrington

Berkeley resident

Parking Lot Protester Ignores Faculty's Needs

Regarding Rick Young's recent opinion piece, I beg to differ ("UC Should Add Housing to Lot," Aug. 8). I don't deny there is a shortage of affordable housing for students, but as an employee at the university, I would currently prioritize parking above student housing.

Especially if it's a parking lot we're talking about converting. Let me begin by stating that I have given up on parking at the university.

I ride my bike to work everyday and park my bike in my office. Once in a while I do drive, however, and it is then that the true outrage begins.

There is no parking. Sure, if you pay $45 a year, you can obtain a parking permit that provides for the opportunity to search for a space in one of the university lots. But unless you arrive before 8 a.m., there are no spaces. If, like me, you balk at buying into such a fiasco and opt instead park on the street, you invariably have to walk about eight blocks just to locate a two-hour zone.

It baffles me that people work at this university at all. Not only do we have to pay for parking, but there is rarely a space left even after we've paid.

Think about it. Parking should be provided free of charge for employees.

What about students? They shouldn't have to pay either, but we don't live in a perfect world. Even at the College of Alameda, they force students to pay 50 cents for day permits.

At least for students that live around campus, they can buy annual city parking permits, which allow them to park in their appropriate zones. Employees have nothing so convenient.

Preserving the Underhill lot strictly for parking instead of adding student housing may sound unfair, but it's not. It won't solve the parking problem, but it may help employees find a place to park so they can get to their jobs.

Aaron Walburg

UC Berkeley employee


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