Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - January 16, 2008

Letters

Prescription waste

Editor,

I assume you have heard that this is an emerging issue in terms of disposing of prescription medicines and then having them appear in the watershed, etc.

I have scoured the City of Palo Alto Web site and the Web and although it appears there was a bill last year to address this in the California Senate, there does not appear to be any clear direction on how to dispose of old/unused/unwanted medicine.

Calls to local drug-store chains all yielded answers of "Don't bring it here!"

What's the best practice for this and why hasn't anything been done on this by the Palo Alto City Council? Could this be something added to the hazardous-waste collection days? What's the best solution? I don't want to flush it and have it wind up in the Bay.

The City Council has paid for all those "Don't dump here, it flows to the Bay" placards. Global warming is trendy to talk about but we need more practical, immediate solutions. I'm hoping to start a discussion.

Andrew Mackenzie

Stanley Way

Palo Alto

Birth options

Editor,

Kudos to the Palo Alto Weekly for running a story about natural childbirth in the area. I do, however, have a bone to pick with you about offering only part of the story, leaving your otherwise uninformed readers with the feeling that hospitals really are the best way to go, without just coming out and saying so.

As stated by Rollin at Blossom Birth (a fantastic local resource for families), birth really is a very personal experience and it is up to the mother to choose what is best for her and her baby.

What we also have to remember is that birth is largely a cultural experience, as well as a physical, emotional and spiritual one. What our culture teaches us about birth is that it is painful and traumatic and that most of us aren't capable of doing it on our own, naturally.

Women need to educate themselves about their bodies and why they should trust the birth process but they also need to learn how to train for birth, by whatever method they choose.

A large point of your story focuses on a couple who entered in with the best of intentions for a natural birth only to be defeated, but who were saved by a hospital, doctors and medications. They were described as having "researched doulas and practiced breathing, ... even painted puffy clouds on the ceiling of the baby's room."

For a truly informative piece about the choices that go with natural childbirth, how about listing more of the options available to women, such as more well-rounded information on midwives, home births (and state regulations surrounding this choice), birthing centers or hospitals that offer midwives?

You could print a "Birth by the Numbers" chart detailing things such as a woman's age, the birth method chosen, classes utilized by the mothers and interventions necessitated for each method, rather than an entirely uninformative chart on age and ZIP codes.

It would also interest a lot of women to know that natural childbirth with midwives is the norm in a lot of developed countries and that the United States is the black sheep of the world for using doctors as primary caregivers as well as having some of the worst complication and mortality rates in the world.

The Netherlands, for example, has the highest rates of midwife-attended births and the lowest rates of complications.

What women need to know the most is that childbirth is inherently a natural, normal, healthy and safe process, however they choose to go about doing it.

To learn more about the process of birth, as well as about how natural childbirth works (not just a grit-your-teeth-and-deal-with-it method), they can start with "Guide to Natural Childbirth," by Ina May Gaskin, an internationally renowned and doctor-respected midwife. It is filled with personal stories as well as scientifically sound information that is written in an entirely relatable and understandable way.

It provides a strong foundation upon which women can build their childbirth education and preparation.

Britta Chalberg

Santa Cruz Avenue

Menlo Park

WILPF's leadership

Editor,

Thank you for your article on the City Council's passage of a resolution opposing a pre-emptive attack on Iran.

I would, however, like you to know that my partner and I attended an emergency summit to prevent war in Iran (Web site: HandsoffIran.org) and came back to Palo Alto determined to carry on.

We got a copy of a resolution which was being considered by the Berkeley City Council (and later passed). We altered it a bit to fit Palo Alto.

I am a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Peninsula Branch, and our board supported the idea of presenting the resolution to the Palo Alto City Council.

In late April, Lois Salo and I presented the resolution to the City Council and asked them to read the copies I brought along. Judy Kleinberg said they didn't need the copies. As I was being wheeled out, LaDoris Cordell came up to us and thanked us for the presentation, saying that she was interested in a resolution, but that it was important that the request came from the public. She took our ten copies to distribute to the council.

I'm sending this information along because I think that WILPF deserves to be recognized for the leadership role it plays in this community.

Dana St. George

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

Peninsula Branch

Enrollment implications

Editor,

Aside from the academic implications discussed by the Weekly, increased school size implies more pressure on resources that cannot be expanded proportionally. The result will be a smaller percentage of students on varsity teams, more crowded parking lots, bigger traffic jams and more administrative work for the principal.

David Grossman

Christine Drive

Palo Alto

Voter enthusiasm

Editor,

It is encouraging to see the high levels of voter enthusiasm so far in Iowa and New Hampshire. The apathy that has festered these past seven years has allowed corporations to take control of our administration/elected representatives and use them for their selfish purposes.

This is a perversion of the role of government, which is to protect the interests of all the people, not just the privileged few.

I urge all Californians to pay close attention over the next few months to the presidential candidates and vote for the one that will best represent you, not the lobbyists and corporate elites.

Ed Taub

Devoto Street

Mountain View

Comments

Posted by Karin North, City of Palo Alto, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2008 at 4:18 pm

In response to the letter to the editor regarding prescription waste on January 16, 2008, I want to inform readers that there are disposal options for unwanted medicine within the City of Palo Alto. Residents can bring their unwanted pharmaceuticals to the Regional Water Quality Control Plant at 2501 Embarcadero Way, Palo Alto, CA during business hours M-F or to the monthly Household Hazardous Waste Days (the First Saturday of the Month). A list of these disposal locations is located at www.cleanbay.org.


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