Letter — Out of sight, out of mind
I read with great interest Steve Stroot’s letter regarding the “Tahoe Opportunity Project” and was disappointed to find yet another waste of public funds. As I read the piece, I knew the name sounded familiar and was appalled to learn that a former friend and co-worker of mine had indeed left to work for this project. I talked to her and learned a bit more that changed my opinion substantially.
As it turns out, the federal grant that allows this project to operate mandates that only persons with “persistent or severe mental illness: can participate.
Now I suppose we could cruise through town in a large van rounding these people up for deposit outside of Winnemucca. I suppose the local recreation economy would be happy, and these unfortunates would at least be out of sight and out of mind (no pun intended).
The public has struggled to solve the problems presented by the mentally ill. During the Reagan era, many state and local institutions for the mentally ill were closed so that (what later was called) “a million points of light” could take over and save the public oodles of money.
That actually didn’t come to pass.
The mentally impaired simply started clogging our jails and costing even more than before. Because they were “jail inmates,” we didn’t have to be as sympathetic, and we could at least sleep easier, I suppose.
The truth about “Tahoe Opportunity Project,” as in most things, may be closer to the middle of these two ideas than anything else. It would be helpful to hear from the project itself.
On the other hand, I’m reasonable confident that at least my source did not have a “persistent or severe mental illness.”
South Lake Tahoe