Letters for May 28 

Readers debate the rent squabble at 138 Monte Cresta, plus which side are truckers on.

Page 5 of 6

Let us work for real change now, rather than suffer real chaos later?

Michaelf McCarthy, Hayward

What's the Deal with In-Home Services?

Since 1994, I have been on the In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) that pays for my overnight care as a result of my physical disability, cerebral palsy. For over nine years my IHSS was active in Alameda County. In 2004, ten years later, I transferred my case to San Francisco. In November of 2007, my fiancée and I moved back into Alameda County where I was told my IHSS would be transferred back to and until this took place San Francisco would pay for my IHSS. As of March 31st, San Francisco IHSS — after much delay — would not be involved anymore and Alameda would take over effective April 1st. However, I did not see an intake worker until April 14th and as of yet my case is still pending.

My workers have not been paid for a month and I was informed on May 1, 2008 that the client rights advocate for IHSS had turned my case over to the director of IHSS who I have been unable to get a hold of. In the IHSS telephone information system, my case has been pending since November 20. My providers are average people who are proud of what they do for me and they deserve to get paid. If I do not receive my IHSS payment soon, one of my attendants who has been with me for ten years will be forced to go on unemployment and the other will be forced to look elsewhere for work.

I have spoken to my intake worker once and the client rights advocate on several occasions. After the home visit where I was assessed, I was told that IHSS would enter my information into their system and that my workers would be paid very soon. I wonder how a government agency can get so backed up and so discombobulated that it puts people like me at risk of not being able to do my activities of daily living at risk for bedsores, health and safety issues along with losing great in-home care attendants who know and understand the severity of my condition. If IHSS is not operating effectively, then why do my workers have to go without pay?

Nick Feldman, Berkeley

Negativity and Magical Thinking

It is fatalism when a person refuses to do anything to make their future better. Either that, or a person may have "magical thinking" including the belief that some external power is going to fix their problems for them. People who are addicted to gambling might be suffering from the magical belief that the next roll of the dice is going to make them a fortune, and save them from all their problems. In the process of having this belief, the gambler loses everything they own. It's not something I'm an expert on. I stopped buying lottery tickets in 1985 when I realized I was wasting my money and couldn't afford it.

Our President is criticized for his policies and may be suffering from this magical and delusional thinking I speak of. For example, he refuses to address the catastrophic damage being done to our environment, one symptom of which is global warming. Is it that he assumes he will be indoors (with the air conditioner on) most of the time since he needs a lot of security anyway? Or does he believe that some external force such as God is going to swoop in and fix everything? (He may be right; however it may end up being God acting through Hillary Clinton who will save us from global warming and the other problems Bush hasn't addressed.) Does Bush simply believe that it is inevitable that we must ruin the Earth's environment, and it is pointless and a waste of time to try to stop it? That would be fatalism and a dismal view.

The Republicans believe we live in a hostile and threatening world. They believe that we need to take extreme measures to protect ourselves from the threats that loom everywhere. They're more than willing to relinquish their right to privacy, liberty, and free speech in order to keep safe from the bad guys. They think there is some good reason to have an endless war in the Middle East, that this does something for us. They have a lot of fear that warps their minds.

It is inconceivable to many Republican politicians that we could just stop going to war, and focus on being positive. (We did that for eight years with a Clinton as President, and we somehow managed to survive it.) Republicans seem convinced that the world is constantly on the verge of ending. Republicans forget that this too shall pass.

If the Republicans were less warped and dismal, they might see the folly of investing all of these trillions of dollars and all of these human lives in a pointless war that we can't win, or for that matter, in any war.

If General Petraeus were as successful at a Las Vegas casino as he currently is at the Iraq war, he would be penniless and would have to panhandle for bus fare back home. Fortunately for Petraeus, being unsuccessful gives him job security.

It shows negativity that our government won't disengage from the Iraq war. If the war continues for decade upon decade as the Republicans envision, the drain of lives, hope, and resources that this war creates over time will ruin our country. The only thing stopping us from leaving Iraq is the fear of our politicians.

Opposing alternative fuels and alternate sources of energy is a sign of extreme pessimism. There is a faction in the country that says we will always need petroleum and coal to run everything. You can see them express their viewpoint on many television ads. I assume this faction consists of mostly Republicans. The willingness to switch to newer, cleaner, greener power sources shows willingness to move into the future.

In short, it shows negativity and/or magical thinking if you don't engage with your problems to solve them. This appears to be a trait of the Republican politicians in the past few years. (Note that I am not criticizing members of the general public who are Republican.) If you're doing something to realistically fix your situation, you're probably more of an optimist. This is something to look for when voting.


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