Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for Aug. 10, 2023

Gun Rights

Surgeon general report on gun violence would help

Thank you to the Marin IJ for reporting the actions by the Republican Party and the National Rifle Association to stifle gun violence research in California (“GOP, NRA target California’s gun violence research,” Aug. 2).

It was a major step forward in 2019 when the Trump administration authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to allocate $25 million for firearm safety research, so it was disappointing to hear that the GOP may trigger a government shutdown unless this funding is now eliminated.

Perhaps there is another path forward in compromise. The landmark 1964 U.S. surgeon general report titled “Smoking and Health” enlightened America about the health risks of smoking and, along with the 40 subsequent reports it inspired, helped to drive the smoking prevalence from 42% to under 14%.

Democrats could ask that the funding be redirected to support the effort spearheaded by Rep. Barbara Lee — along with 50 other members of Congress — to commission the first surgeon general report on firearm violence prevention.

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An alternative would be for Gov. Gavin Newsom to direct the California surgeon general to prepare a similar report from our state that could be a model for the rest of the nation.

— Dr. John Maa, San Francisco

‘Concerts on the Green’ in Novato are a big hit

I attended the free July 21 Moonalice show as part of Novato’s “Concerts on the Green” series. I had a great time.

The entertainment was excellent and the space was packed with an enthusiastic audience. Thank you to the Park and Rec Commission and city staff for making this community event a success.

I encourage Novato residents to share in the fun and get to one soon.

— Peter Tiernan, Novato

Novato should protect mobile park residents

Novato officials have been offered $30 million for Marin Valley Mobile Country Club and the land it sits upon. That’s where 315 homes are located.

Marin needs this affordable housing for low-income and very low-income people. The idea that a sale is even being considered is desperate, unjustifiable and unconscionable.

I recently moved to the park after caring for my elderly, sick father. Following his death, he left me just enough to remain living close to family and friends. As a single, aging woman with health conditions and a low income, I am very concerned that I may need to leave the area if this sale becomes a reality.

If the community was purchased by a private owner, we would need to recognize that the new owner is in the business of making money. I worry that rents will go up and financially fragile residents like me will be driven out.

Many residents here risk losing their investment in their homes. In this disaster scenario, we would no longer be able to live with friends or family nearby. Studies show that having loved ones close allows people to age well.

To expect seniors like us to uproot and rebuild a new life is unrealistic, unconscionable and, frankly, something few of us can muster the energy for at this stage of life. Novato can find another way to alleviate its financial crisis without selling Marin Valley. Instead of putting aging seniors at risk of displacement, city officials could say no to the sale and raise the sales tax.

I hope, pray and urge Novato to do what is right.

— Paula Capocchi, Novato

Expand Medicaid with parallel provider push

I found the recently published commentary by Markus Bjoerkheim and Liam Sigaud (“Medicaid expansion is hurting the mental health of the needy,” July 30) to be completely misguided.

First, I fundamentally disagree with the headline. Second, while the authors may be correct in their premise that newly enrolled Medicaid beneficiaries are straining an already underfunded system, I believe that we can all agree Medicaid should be further expanded. Once that happens, we can recognize the need for creating a parallel effort to ensure enough providers for those beneficiaries.

If the authors had focused more on the shortage of mental health providers rather than attacking the expansion of Medicaid to millions more deserving and equally needy people across the U.S., the column would have merit. The commentary appears to be saying we should not have expanded Medicaid in the first place.

— Kathryn Peisert, San Rafael

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