Letters, Feb. 23
Support carbon pricing
The reports of the tragic events in Texas have shown the result of climate change making weather patterns unstable. What is the one nationwide approach to climate change action that would work the fastest and have the most effect?
The Citizens Climate Lobby investigated this and came up with: charge the emitters of carbon pollution (carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases) and return that money to the public, increasing the fee every year. The model was validated by an independent modeling firm, Regional Economic Models Inc. (REMI).
“Carbon pricing” has the endorsement of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, State Rep. Pam Marsh, State Sen. Jeff Golden and the city of Ashland. It has bipartisan support, partly because it doesn’t grow government and doesn’t involve new regulations. I hope that U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz will get familiar with any such bill and give it his support.
Let’s get it done
Mobile crisis intervention teams, based on the CAHOOTS model pioneered in Eugene, provide trauma-informed de-escalation and harm reduction techniques to more appropriately respond to the related crises of untreated mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness that impact all of us here in the Rogue Valley. Experience has shown that law enforcement does not always provide the most appropriate first response for every situation or individual in crisis — nor should they be expected to.
Thanks to amazing leadership from most of our own elected representatives, funding to support mobile crisis intervention programs, based on the CAHOOTS model pioneered in Eugene, could help communities here the valley — but only if we all support pending legislation introduced at both the state and federal levels.
The Oregon bill, HB 2417, will be heard in its first committee on Feb. 24. Co-sponsored by Rep. Pam Marsh and others, this bill creates a $10 million matching grant program for cities or counties, to fund mobile crisis intervention teams to respond appropriately to individuals in crisis on our streets and neighborhoods, with trauma-informed behavioral health or substance abuse interventions and connections to help.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Wyden introduced a federal CAHOOTS bill — and it has been included in the COVID relief package moving through the budget reconciliation process! The provision invests in these services by with enhanced state Medicaid funding for three years, and includes $25 million in planning and evaluation grants. Jeff Merkley is a co-sponsor.
These bills — if passed — could fund a CAHOOTS-like program right here. Our city and county officials should be right on top of supporting them — no more excuses for slow action on CAHOOTS in the Rogue Valley!
Laurie True, Justice and Witness Team, Ashland United Church of Christ