Letter to the editor: What no means

To the editor:

Let’s be clear about what a Proposition One no vote says. It says no to the five years of good faith efforts county officials and community partners have given to create this opportunity; no to acknowledging the success local programs have made in reducing jail population; no to inmates housed out of county, who want family and lawyer visits and access to quality jail programs; no to reducing recidivism; no to providing female inmates the same housing opportunities males have; no to citizens with mental health issues wanting therapeutic needs met locally, whether in or out of jail; no to improved safety for people experiencing mental health crises, or for inmates and jail staff; no to local citizens willing to assume the civic duty of providing services to those in need via taxation.

A no-jail vote is not simply a vote against enlarging a building. This is an urgent issue involving real humans! It is not a highway bypass we can put off for 20 years. A no vote negatively impacts two very vulnerable groups of people: persons needing mental health services and inmates. Voters opposed to the jail but supporting the mental health initiative: I do not see the logic in helping one group of fellow humans while withholding loving support from another. I trust in the benevolence of my Douglas County neighbors when it comes to the welfare of our fellow citizens.