Traverse City Record-Eagle


October 20, 2013

Letters to the Editor: 10/20/2013

Don’t blame the ACLU

A recent letter to the editor rightly criticizing our current mental health system erred in asserting that the American Civil Liberties Union “was instrumental in eliminating mental hospitals as they felt it put a stigma on those receiving treatment in these institutions.”

The writer may have been referring to the ACLU’s 1973 landmark “Willowbrook” case (New York State Association for Retarded Children v. Carey), which became an impetus for a nationwide revolution in the care of mentally challenged people. Willowbrook was an infamous “warehouse” on Staten Island where the mentally ill were routinely restrained, over medicated, neglected, and abused. Robert Kennedy described it as “a snake pit,” and Geraldo Rivera conducted an award-winning investigative report entitled “Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace.”

The ACLU’s class action suit was brought to protect the civil rights of the patients. Its successful conclusion was responsible in part for improved standards of care and oversight mechanisms. Blame for the demise of qualified, well-run mental health institutions rests not with those who assisted victims of the system, but with state and federal funding cutbacks and regressive state policies, like those under Gov. John Engler, that sent mentally ill patients to the streets.

Marvine Stamatakis

President, ACLU of Northwest Michigan

Steve Morse

Suttons Bay

Chair, Legal Committee, ACLU of Northwest Michigan

Should preserve history

I appreciate Loraine Anderson for being “spot on” regarding Mr. Con Foster and his contributions to the “Queen City of the North.” Her Oct. 6 column detailed the history and enlightened the public regarding the legacy of a man who had a vision for Traverse City.

The engraved “Con Foster” stone should not be covered up and should be displayed as built for everyone to see. Our history is our history and important to every thread that makes up the fabric we call Traverse City, our home.

I cannot believe the Film Festival is allowed to cover up the “Con Foster Museum” building stone. The building was named for Mr. Con Foster and should remain as such. Would we cover up the name Lincoln on his memorial? We have a rich history and we should preserve it by not following the yellow brick road.

Judith Nemitz

Traverse City

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers