Letters to the Editor

  • Tuesday May 30, 2006
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Ballot box legislating

I am appalled at the scare tactics employed by the Yes on D campaign. These scare tactics are designed to cover up the real story. Proposition D is a ballot measure sponsored and funded by the Residential Builders Association. Should it pass, Proposition D would allow the Residential Builders Association to build for-profit medical facilities on public land throughout the city.

Furthermore, Proposition D changes the patient admission criteria at Laguna Honda Hospital, which will result in the discharge of 300 patients from LHH. Many of these patients have HIV, advanced cases of AIDS, and suffer from AIDS-related dementia.

Proposition D is ballot box legislating gone awry. It is a perfect example of what a special interest group (Residential Builders Association) can do to further its self-interests. Proposition D is bad for San Francisco, and that is why Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Chris Daly, and an overwhelming majority of elected officials in San Francisco oppose it.

Francis Tsang, MPH

University of California, San Francisco

No on Prop. D

We at the Mental Health Association of San Francisco commend the Bay Area Reporter for coming out against Prop. D, the deceptive Laguna Honda Hospital proposition that will appear on the San Francisco June 6 ballot.

As an organization that is comprised of, supports, and works with individuals with psychiatric disabilities, we find Proposition D offensive and discriminatory. The signaling out and refusing to serve "persons whose need for skilled nursing care is based on a medical diagnosis that is not primarily psychiatric or behavioral" violates a variety of state and federal anti-discrimination laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act.

This proposition also further stigmatizes people with mental illness by suggesting that individuals with a primary psychiatric diagnosis are violent. When in fact, studies have consistently shown that people with mental illness are no more likely than members of the general public to commit acts of violence. If proponents wanted to screen out dangerous patients, they would have banned people with a history of prior violence – the best predictor by all accounts of future violence.

We believe that most people with mental illness are better served in the community. However, as a result of lack of options and budget concerns, people with mental illness should have the right, as others do in San Francisco, to access services at Laguna Honda.

Belinda Lyons, Executive Director

Mental Health Association of San Francisco

Prop. D fails test of clarity

Proposition D should be voted down because it fails the test of clarity. The proponents and opponents have spent their time arguing over what specific sections of the wording mean, including whether they comply with federal and state laws.

The sides disagree on whether Alzheimer's or AIDS-dementia patients would be excluded from Laguna Honda if theirs is a "primarily psychiatric" diagnosis. My elderly mother is in a nursing home back East. The patients in her wing of the facility all suffer from advanced dementia combined with physical disabilities. I wonder if Proposition D would render them ineligible for care at Laguna Honda if they were in San Francisco instead of Massachusetts.

Additionally, Proposition D contains changes to the city planning code, and there is dispute about what these changes might mean for other parcels besides Laguna Honda. 

The issue of Proposition D is of personal importance to those of us in the LGBT community, since so many of us do not have families and children to rely upon if we become disabled, and Laguna Honda is our city's nursing home of last resort.

At best, Proposition D is a poorly written effort to achieve a possibly worthy, but nevertheless ill-defined goal. At worst, it's the product of nefarious forces trying to implement a hidden agenda. Because of this uncertainty, I urge my fellow San Franciscans to vote no on D this June 6.

George Dias

San Francisco

Single payer now

I was so glad to see your article on single payer healthcare ["Senator accuses Reilly of plagiarism," May 25] . Finally the topic is up for discussion in the B.A.R . even if it is about political accusations. With single payer, people with HIV/AIDS or any other pre-existing conditions, could no longer be denied healthcare. With single payer, all Californians would be covered, which means seniors, children, the employed, the unemployed, the disabled, and the homeless – everyone. The fact that Senator Kuehl is so passionate about the issue, and Janet Reilly has made it her number one issue, and Fiona Ma is now a supporter, is immensely exciting.

For people interested in finding out more about single payer healthcare, there are monthly events presented by a local group called Single Payer Now. On May 13 the group had several of the California candidates speak eloquently about single payer, including Speaker Pro Tem Leland Yee, Assemblyman Mark Leno, Mike Nevin, Barry Hermanson, Fiona Ma, and Janet Reilly. On their Web site, www.SinglePayerNow.net you'll find over 50 candidates in the California June 6 primary who support single payer healthcare. I encourage everyone to vote for those candidates.

Every day without single payer healthcare is another day that people are being unnecessarily denied healthcare services and prescription drugs. We need single payer now.

Robert Meslinsky

San Francisco

Dufty needs challenger

I read with much amusement the recent letters slamming the "Dump Dufty" effort [Mailstrom, May 25]. Apparently, we are supposed to support Supervisor Dufty's re-election because he is (1) nice, (2) caring, and (3) a good public servant.

Those are admirable qualities, but this voter will be using a little more critical thinking. Dufty has a few notable achievements, including his hard work to address the crystal meth epidemic and his leadership in establishing some housing for queer homeless youth in the Castro.

Overall, however, his performance stinks. He has failed to support efforts to protect low-income and disabled tenants from eviction. He voted to criminalize poor, Chinese men who smoke in parks while giving a pass to wealthy golfers. He voted for the horrible Comcast rip-off contract. He never came through on his campaign promise to hold an HIV prevention summit.

I hope there will be a strong challenge to Dufty's re-election so that there can be a full debate about how to address the needs of all District 8 residents, not just the Castro business and homeowners.

Ricky P. Thompson

San Francisco

Upset at HRC endorsement

Did you know the Human Rights Campaign has endorsed Representative Mary Bono (R-Palm Springs) in the 45th Congressional District?

HRC based its endorsement on her incumbency, voter registration, (even though current registration puts Democrats and Republicans "in a horse race"), and her vote against the federal marriage amendment (she voted against it, not for everyone's rights, but because "she doesn't want to amend the Constitution"). In fact, when asked why she won't support her gay constituents on gay marriage, she says, "I just can't go there."

HRC's endorsement makes no sense. In fact, HRC only gives her a 66 out of 100 on its own congressional scorecard.

Bottom line is that the Human Rights Campaign is endorsing an antigay candidate, while ignoring a pro-gay Democrat in the race, David Roth.

Write to HRC officials, as I did, and tell them they do not speak for you and withdraw your support and membership. Contact mailto:[email protected] or Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20036-3278.

The HRC, like Congress, must listen to its constituents.


Monica McGee

San Francisco

All over Pride

Well, the "Pride" season is upon us, again. What is this, the 25th, 30th, 35th? I guess I am so proud that I just can't remember when it all started. Yet another parade with Dykes on Bikes (do they still call them that?), drag queens, and men strolling down Market Street wearing little more than a leather jock strap. Great material for the next set of DVDs to be reproduced and marketed by the religious Nazis to their own kind throughout the Midwest and South of this country, you know the ones that voted and blessed us with "W" – twice. My dictionary defines "pride" as "elation or satisfaction at achievements." Don't remember when I "achieved" becoming gay either. Must be getting old. It also, of course, plays directly into the lie that the fanatics like that being gay is a "choice."

It seems to me that it is time for us to achieve equality. We might start by renaming the parade "Equality Sunday." Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue with the fun of "Pride Parade" but it does send a message and more accurately describes what we are about these days, a message that might even resonate somewhere in the tiny little minds of the religious wrong in a way that "Pride" just doesn't. Even they, if only for a moment, should find it difficult to be against "equality." In this country it's kind of like being against motherhood and who knows, it just might change the flavor of the discussion in a way that actually accomplishes something.


David Jonson

Burlingame, California