Letters, August 21, 2018

Published: 8/20/2018 5:31:40 PM
Effectual care not the norm

I moved to Greenfield in 2012, in part because it reminded me of a late 90s NYC, in short, home. Bearing witness to folks trying to get by just like me, living paycheck to paycheck, wrestling with unforgiving aggregate debt, gave me pause to recognize what I considered a whitewashed town, to be a livable and relatable city. I have worked as a social worker here for five years and have been remunerated at the librarian’s salary my mother earned in the 80s.

Shuttering state hospitals sans suitable aftercare for people who were traumatized prior to their hospital admission and likely traumatized throughout hospital treatment may be correlated with the current ongoing crisis of mental health care today. In the 90s, then Mayor Giuliani resorted to shipping bodies of humans, homeless and oftentimes very ill, under the cover of night to jails and prisons in upstate N.Y.

An increase in social support agencies arrived on the scene, not to reap stores of federal money, but because there are innumerable individuals in great pain with no resources. The government prefers it this way, no longer footing the cost of state hospitals while miserly insurance companies now pay for providing a whisper of mental health care for people in need of so very much more.

Since working in public health, I have yet to witness effectual care as the norm, instead adequate treatment is an anomaly and occurs when underpaid individuals working for understaffed agencies do more than they are tasked with; thank goodness for the interconnectedness of humanity. Mayor Martin, how much of Greenfield’s budget will pay for MORE: housing subsidies, social programs, and subsidized mental health services?

Louisa Khettab


Greenfield schools need more money?

Here we go AGAIN. Each year the school department of Greenfield asks for more taxpayer money. Now they want to reopen the Green River School.

Let’s see: hire more teachers, provide transportation, pay for heating and electricity, for roughly 15 students. The cry this last budget process was we will need to lay off teachers and cut positions.

From where and whom is this windfall coming from this time? I was always taught that when times are tough, you make do with what you have.

Linda Clark


Comerford impressive

I’ve recently had the chance to meet Jo Comerford, the write-in candidate in our district for state senator, and I’m very impressed by her grassroots experience and her knowledge of how government works.

What I noticed about Jo is that she is very well-spoken and a great listener. I think these skills make her an excellent candidate to represent the people in Franklin County.

I’m pleased to know that her children are in public schools and that a well-funded public school system is one of her top priorities. She strongly supports Medicare and a single payer system based on patient-centered care.

The state Senate on Beacon Hill is going to be dealing with our state health care system during a chaotic time in Washington. She is compassionate about the many tens of thousands of low-income and elderly people in our state who might be at serious risk by policy changes at the federal level.

I also like that she’s been endorsed by former Congressman John Olver, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, District Attorney David Sullivan, former Amherst State Rep. Ellen Story and former GCC President Bob Pura.

I’m voting for write-in candidate Jo Comerford, because of her commitment to public education, affordable healthcare, key social net programs for low-income people, including elders and our disabled citizens.

JJ (Joseph) White


Doktor’s the choice

Why Christine Doktor for the 1st Franklin District?

For every voter, the answer is personal. For me, Christine is a neighbor, friend and co-worker on the board of the Old Creamery Cooperative in Cummington, where she has dived into her complicated tasks with energy and skill. I’ve also known Steve Kulik for years and am confident that Christine would be a great replacement as our state rep in this district.

Christine grew up in Peru, a town just west of the district, and developed her legal skills in a Manhattan law firm, a pretty unusual progression, then brought those skills and advocate’s passion back to Western Massachusetts. While in New York she handled both commercial litigation and pro bono advocacy, including immigration, disability and Holocaust reparations cases.

Back home, Christine’s civic and legal advocacy ranges from championing rural education and a vibrant village center to advocating for divorced women and their children. She lives on a Cummington farm with her partner and two children and has the experience, empathy and savvy to advocate effectively for our rural communities.

Please join me in voting for Christine Doktor on Sept. 4 to represent the 1st Franklin District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Wil Hastings


Favors solar array project

As a long time resident and an abutter of the proposed solar project of the “Clean Energy Collective,” I wish to voice my approval and support for the design and operation of this array.

This company has the “know-how” and ability to mitigate any of the objections posed by some residents. I love this town and the beautiful view from my kitchen window, which faces the field, yet as my neighbor, Mr. Fulton does, I feel the pull of positive and negative parts of the project.

Surely the environmental benefits outweigh the less desirable parts. Solar power is essential to our county and the world.

In my conversations with the company officials, I found them sensitive to the concerns of abutters and answered all my questions fully (example: siting the array behind the row of lushly leaved trees which will shield most of the panels) where possible.

I recall when the first cell towers were erected here, some people were disturbed. Now with our use of cellular services so commonplace – they are hardly ever noticed and we depend on it.

In the 1930s folks were even apprehensive of electric lights which began to replace oil lamps.

Yes, I am that old – “fearing” the unknown – is often the case, until understood.

As we have had explained, the taxes paid to the town and discounts available to town buildings and residents who choose to “buy into” the community power are noteworthy – in my opinion.

Roberta O’Keefe


Thank you in Northfield

Thank you to the Northfield Highway Department for taking on the paving project at the Northfield Elementary School parking lot and basketball court. By completing the project “in house” and not hiring an outside contractor, Tom Walker and his crew are saving Pioneer Valley Regional School District from a huge expense. Great job.

Paul Prest


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