Letters to the Editor: April 17, 2013

In Sympathy

I am praying for the whole Herczog family. Houston should not be added to that statistic of 400,000 mentally ill in prison. In a hospital, Houston can teach doctors more about his disease so this doesn’t happen to another family. I am holding the right thought that he will not be sentenced to prison. I am beyond sad for this whole family.

Via online

What a sad story. My sympathy to the family. I remember Mark, Annette and Marilyn from the mid-1980s in San Francisco. May God have mercy.

San Francisco

I absolutely agree with the thrust of this article. After having known Mark personally, and having a nephew who suffers from this disease, I believe that a delicate balance between mercy, wisdom and keen judgment desperately needs to be exercised. Mark was a deeply caring individual, and probably would be the first to testify on Houston’s behalf.


From NAMI’s website: In 1992, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Public Citizen’s Health Research Group released a report titled Criminalizing the Seriously Mentally Ill: The Abuse of Jails As Mental Hospitals, which revealed alarmingly high numbers of people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other severe mental illnesses incarcerated in jails across the country. A report issued by the United States Department of Justice in 1999 revealed that 16 percent of all inmates in state and federal jails and prisons have schizophrenia, manic depressive illness (bipolar disorder), major depression or another severe mental illness. In the years following these reports, the situation has not improved. This means that on any given day, there are roughly 283,000 persons with severe mental illnesses incarcerated in federal and state jails and prisons. In contrast, there are approximately 70,000 persons with severe mental illnesses in public psychiatric hospitals, and 30 percent of them are forensic patients. NAMI’s position is for treatment, not punishment.

My thoughts and prayers are with all affected by this tragedy, including Mark, his family, friends, acquaintances and our whole community.

Executive Director, NAMI Sonoma County

Internet Access at SSU

Last Friday I went to the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center at Sonoma State University to inquire about SSU’s recently implemented restrictions to internet access. With incredulity, I listened to an IT employee inform me that inside the Information Center (where most people on campus access the internet), the university can do as it pleases with the endowment it received from the Schulz family. I was then instructed to direct my complaint in writing to the Information Center CIO.

In response, Information Center CIO Jason Wenrick explained that because of bandwidth limitations and security concerns, internet access is now only granted at the university to students, staff and faculty (current and former), and, on a temporary basis, to those “sponsored by an official SSU person.”

While perhaps within his legal right to restrict access, I remind Mr. Wenrick that the mission of a public university is to provide higher education opportunities for everyone, not just current students. The university should follow the lead of other public institutions, such as San Francisco State University and the Rohnert Park Public Library, and continue to grant internet access to all.

I am highly skeptical that this new policy honors the spirit with which the Schulz family originally donated monies for the construction of the center more than 13 years ago.

Rohnert Park

Dept. of Milkshakes

In last week’s profile of Pick’s Drive-In in Cloverdale, we accidentally named the owner as Claudio Clow. The owner’s name is, in fact, Claudia Clow. Rather than spend any more time apologizing in print, however, we’re headed up there now to regret the error in person with a bacon cheeseburger and a side of fries.

Pulling up a barstool

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