Thank you so much for dedicating two issues to the issues of mental illness in our community. As a Palo Alto resident and employee of Momentum for Mental Health I was so proud to pick up this week's issue. However, your article failed to mention the importance of providing services to those without county benefits.
The La Selva Group is a division of Momentum for Mental Health that provides needed mental health benefits to clients with private insurance or who pay privately. This ensures that no one slips through the cracks when help and services are needed. In addition, there are many private practice therapists (myself included) who are willing to provide support to families and clients alike. Thanks for drawing attention to such an important need!
Ross Road, Palo Alto
Healing the mind
I read the cover stories with great interest in the Palo Alto weekly on Feb. 14, 2014. Living unhoused, residing on the "streets," in shelters and finally and fortunately ending up at the Opportunity Center, I'm very familiar with the issues addressed. Palo Alto is a standard bearer in a progressive and a caring attitude as exemplified by the Opportunity Center. It provides an environment where one can address their living situation if one so chooses.
One of the most redeeming virtues of humanity is our desire to help and implement actions to alleviate another's suffering. Most are familiar with the rewarding feelings it brings. However, that energy often goes astray and becomes what has been described as "compassionate burnout" and "idiotic compassion." That approach doesn't really benefit anyone, either the giver or receiver. Sometimes, we can only express kindness and maybe pray in silence. It's heartbreaking indeed, to see someone alone in their suffering. Alas, we can never heal everyone but it's a noble effort to try.
Encina, Palo Alto
It's odd that the writer who is "sickened" by the misguided perception of comfort of a few over the needs of many blames increased stress from traffic and parking on opponents of density. Density equals wealth, and wealth does some great things. We would never have had a great University of California had not the Americans appropriated the pastoral landscape of Mexican California and filled it with high producing enterprise. But concentration of wealth also means concentration of economic and political power in the hands of the few, to the detriment of the many.
Look at Buena Vista. That's dense enough for anybody. But Palo Alto wouldn't allow the tiny homeowners to own the land under their tiny homes; they could only rent it. When Palo Alto took over, instead of zoning its new residents "trailer park," it zoned them "rental housing." The rent that they paid over the years would easily have paid for the land many times over, but they weren't allowed to occupy it as owners, only renters, and thus they can be driven from their land. The RVs and little cottages down on Tyrella and Fairchild, which once were Navy housing, are also on the block. It doesn't matter how well-planned and livable your dense housing is, it's still rental housing, still vulnerable, still expendable.
Owning your own home used to be what set America apart from the Old Country, and it's still the American dream, but it's been stolen by the relentless pursuit of money.
Alma Street, Palo Alto