Mailbag: H.B. greater than sum of its parts

Huntington Beach has been halved, and two halves do not make a whole! The California Citizens Redistricting Commission has cut our city in half, with two state senators representing our bifurcated city ("Redistricting changes 2012 electoral battles," Aug. 18). The result of this will be a smaller focus on the larger city. Senate candidates will pay the same attention to Huntington Beach as Midway City. In other words, not much.

The every-10-year political redistricting has resulted in a strange twist of fate that abandoned the city of Huntington Beach. State Senate seats are large by definition because there are so few compared to State Assembly seats. Senate districts must encompass large geographic areas, but are supposed to be based on the same concepts of (1) compactness and (2) communities of interest. The largest community in this area is Huntington Beach, and we have the largest interest in being represented by the same person for a unified voice in Sacramento.

Unfortunately, this will not be the case for us under the newly approved State Senate districts. Huntington Beach has been halved! One new Senate seat extends into Los Angeles County to include Naples, El Dorado Regional Park and Alamitos Beach areas! By voter count, Huntington Beach will look like Los Alamitos and will receive the same smaller city attention.

We are a bigger city and require bigger attention from our state senator. The only hope will be citizen support of the lawsuits being filed against the new districts for failure to create "communities of interest." Please write to the commission with your opinion supporting a whole Huntington Beach in the State Senate.

John Briscoe

Huntington Beach


Mental health care needs angels

I appreciate Benjamin J. Hubbard's take on angels and demons, and the goodness of most people, and I respect the turn to religion to process events such as the tragic massacre in Seal Beach ("Our angels are stronger than demons," Oct. 20). Scott Dekraai was a severely disturbed individual. The tragedy didn't have to happen. I suggest another practical approach that would tap into concrete responses by the angels:

Many people in our society are suffering from real neurobiological disturbances, ranging from depression and other mental illnesses, including PTSD. Programs to help treat these conditions are routinely underfunded, defunded and stigmatized.

Everyone in society is affected by these illnesses. Mental illnesses take up more hospital beds than heart disease and cancer combined, and many (most?) people with mental illness who should be hospitalized or under treatment aren't receiving any treatment at all. Sadly for them (and us), many end up homeless, in the penal system, adding to employers' costs due to absenteeism, consuming precious resources of law enforcement, etc. Society could save money and lives by providing better societal support.

It is estimated that one in four people is affected by mental illness! We, individually and as a society, would do all of us a favor by promoting programs and funds to address the problems. Nonprofits are struggling financially to provide services as they work to eliminate the stigma that inhibits so many of the afflicted from seeking help!

May all you angels tap into your energy and apply it to making a difference via funding for programs that address the core issues and programs regarding mental health.

Karen L. Niles

Huntington Beach

Editor's note: Niles is a volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Orange County Chapter.

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