mailboxIntervention needed

Dear Editor:

I have been passionately involved in mental health issues since 1995 and have served on the Okanogan Behavioral Health Board (OBHC) for the past two years. Changes are coming to OBHC as a new CEO is replacing the very successful tenure of Roger Bauer. As an interested observer I attended the Community Roundtable held Nov. 8 in the Twisp Valley Grange. The topic of the homeless traveler, as the Methow Valley News called her (Nov. 13), came up. I was quoted as saying “Everyone has a right to choose their lifestyle,” when, in fact, someone else said that at the meeting.

Persons who have a mental illness such as schizophrenia and similar brain chemistry disorders often prefer being outdoors and traveling. This is a symptom of their condition and puts them in harm’s way due to their vulnerability, lack of proper nutrition and sanitation, weather conditions and many others. The disorder causes paranoia, delusions, and can be accompanied my multiple, often negative voices that direct their self-destructive behavior.

I do not know the particulars of this traveler, but I strongly favor more intervention in the care of persons with mental illness. It is a travesty that this society allows its mentally ill population to go untreated, living homeless in streets and cities throughout this country or is housed in jails to be neglected in a decompensated and psychotic state.

Beverly Zwar, Methow

Editor’s note: Zwar was misquoted in the above-cited article. The News regrets the error.


Better use for tires

Dear Editor:

With regard to the free tire recycling event held recently at Methow Recycles: While I appreciate the efforts of all involved especially the volunteers, I think there was a more creative option that was overlooked. Rammed-earth tires are great building materials that can be used in retaining walls, root cellars, room additions and energy-efficient homes called Earthships.

I have seen the first Earthship that was built in the Methow Valley, and I heard the community got involved mostly to gather the tires that would be needed.  I wonder how far we have come in the 20-plus years since it was completed.

By my estimation, about 300 tires could build the walls for a small house, so it bothers me to see that all those tires were gathered for recycling rather than to build the walls for a house. The tires could have been sorted to get the appropriate size for an Earthship, or something. I would guess that about two-thirds of those tires could have been used in this way.

Why isn’t there some kind of advocacy group that could coordinate the details of this kind of thing?

Several small houses have been built using tires by groups in Haiti following the earthquake.

Earthships are very energy-efficient, and the thick tire walls are fundamental to this type of construction.

There may have been enough tires gathered on that single day to build the walls for an 800-square-foot house or about eight root cellars, or eight additions onto existing homes.

I would suggest that the next time they have a tire collection event that the tires would be stockpiled, if necessary, and donated to someone for their construction project.

Where is the spirit of Methow Resource Recovery? Certainly repurposing old tires in this way makes more sense than retiring old pianos to a field to watch them rot. That’s not music to my ears!

Brad Campbell, Twisp


Up to us

Dear Editor:

I appreciated your editorial comment about Initiative 522’s defeat: “Let’s hope the corporate giants won’t be able to buy their way out of it for much longer” (Nov. 13). It is strange that Washington state’s constitution-based initiative procedure allows for campaigns run entirely from out-of- state funds.

OK, to be fair, a few hundreds dollars of the anti-522 money did come from Washingtonians The rest of the record $20 million-plus in “no” funds came from out-of-state agribusiness and chemical companies.

Unfortunately, the five conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices made it clear in cases like Citizens United that, under their bizarre view of the “founding fathers’ intent,” corporations are “people” who can buy elections even if they can’t vote in them. The Supreme Court has also upheld strict voter ID laws clearly and openly intended to make it harder for the poor and elderly to vote.

On the optimistic side, in a strange and almost unimaginable change of heart, the ultra-conservative federal appeals court judge Richard Posner admitted that he “may well have been wrong” in his major case (affirmed by the Supreme Court) upholding one of those harsh voter suppression laws.

Given the conservative nature of our U.S. Supreme Court, I don’t hold out hope for a return to democracy from that direction in the near future. Only “we the people” can stop corporations from buying the elections, if we have the will to do it. We didn’t show that will during the I-522 voting.

Randy Brook, Twisp


This is impartial?

Dear Editor:

Excuse me – did I miss something? I thought the idea of an appointed hearing examiner to evaluate county development proposals was to improve the review process by having a single, knowledgeable, impartial person consider these projects, instead of a committee of volunteers with assorted backgrounds (“Beardslee tapped as hearing examiner,” Nov. 20). Was it my imagination that “impartial” was a desired quality in this quasi-judicial appointee?

Must be, since the person chosen for this new position interpreting our land use laws is one whose business for over 20 years has depended on getting paid by developers; who throughout those years has represented developers “hundreds of times” at hearings concerning their proposals; who is not a lawyer; and who is a founder of the county Coalition for Property Rights. The other applicant for the position was a lawyer who is a land use hearing examiner for many Eastern Washington counties and cities and is secretary-treasurer of the Washington Hearing Examiners’ Association. Perhaps the county commissioners would care to explain their reasoning in making this selection. Or, more likely, perhaps they wouldn’t.

Melanie Rowland, Twisp