Gallery B

Unleashing The Wackos

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The Insane Impact Of Teabag Sequestering

By James Donahue

The City of Santa Cruz, California, has for years been known for its street artists, writers and historic charm. It was common to hear music as young starving artists performed on city streets with their hats out for donations from passers-by. Off-beat writers like Robert Anton Wilson dined in some of the town’s quaint little restaurants. Everywhere you looked there was something interesting occurring.

That was then. Now, thanks to major cuts in government assistance programs to states, Santa Cruz, like cities all over America, have lost their charm. People are staying at home behind locked doors rather than deal with what awaits them on the open streets.

Instead of music from the starving artists, the streets are encumbered by demented characters begging for "spare change" and wandering around aimlessly with no apparent place to go. Drugs are a growing problem as is violent behavior. An understaffed and overworked police department has lost its friendly hometown edge and turned to harsh enforcement behavior.

For the first time any of the locals can remember two Santa Cruz police officers were recently killed in a shootout with a suspect in a sexual abuse case. The man who opened fire on them had just been released from a mental institution in another state.

And there lies the crux of the problem in Santa Cruz, San Francisco and so many other towns and cities across California and the nation. Because of the sequester . . . the federal spending cuts imposed by right-wing tea-bagger influenced Republicans in Congress, states, counties, cities and school districts are finding themselves financially squeezed and forced to cut public services. Among the hard hit has been mental health services.

The State of Nevada has been handling this problem by simply busing hundreds and perhaps thousands of mentally ill patients into other states and just dropping them off, with no medications and no place to go. California, because of its mild climate, has been a popular destination.

Santa Cruz doesn’t get all of the Nevada cases, but the community is getting its fair share. And it has changed the climate of the city and created a major social problem for everybody involved.

The City of San Francisco recently filed suit against the State of Nevada and the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, seeking reimbursement for the care of the indigent patients that have been "dumped" into California. The suit alleged that the Nevada mental health administrators are "intentionally and wrongfully" issuing bus tickets out of town without making proper arrangements for the care of these patients once they arrive at their destination.

Some believe a similar practice may be going on in other states because of a growing budget crunch.

The federal sequester mindset is hitting the nation in so many other ways that it is almost impossible to put it all in perspective. Things we regard as important like child care, shelter and food for the unemployed and poverty stricken are eroding. Local food pantries are becoming overwhelmed in attempting to make up the difference as government food stamp programs are trimmed.

Meat, vegetable and local sanitary inspection services are losing manpower as the nation opens its doors to more and more food imports from around the world, where sanitation concerns are not as strictly imposed.

Our infrastructure is crumbling while the flooding, violent storms and other issues brought on by global warming is bringing down power lines, washing out roads and bridges and mixing raw sewage with fresh water sources.

Is it not due time to clean house in Washington? We believe the tea baggers and other ultra conservative Republicans pack their bags and vacate the premises. After over a year of non-accomplishment we propose that this gang also return the money spent on them so it can be used to help feed a lot of very hungry people, or give comfort for a lot of very wounded and sick military personnel returning home from unnecessary wars abroad.