Here are five things that caught my attention!
Finally!: For years, leaders have called on the county to develop a network of Mobile Crisis Response Teams (MCRT). These are teams of trained clinicians who along with peer support specialists (people with lived experience) can respond to individuals in need of mental health treatment or suffering from substance abuse issues. Right now, we send the cops to everything. But if the person isn’t a danger to themselves or someone else, we don’t want the cops responding (and they don’t want to respond either). I am thrilled to say that our system is finally up and running countywide!
Partisanship and COVID Deaths: I don’t understand why people make political decisions that go directly against their own interests. It is perplexing when the areas most dependent on Obamacare health insurance voted for candidates who pledged to repeal the thing they depend on for healthcare. Same thing is happening with COVID. A recent NPR study found that Trump-voting counties were much more likely to believe false statements about COVID-19, much less likely to be vaccinated, and not surprisingly three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those in blue counties. It shouldn’t be shocking. What is surprising though is how long this partisan gap persists, as we close our second full year of this pandemic, and the craven nature of our politics that has Republican leaders, many of whom know better, trading people’s lives for short-term political gain.
Bob Dole: Senator Bob Dole passed away this week at the age of 98. He was a throwback to a different era of Republican and a different era in our country. One of my favorite presidential campaign political books is Richard Ben Cramer’s’ “What it Takes” (it is 1,200 pages so if you are coming, plan to stay for a while). Cramer tells the incredible story of Dole’s injuries in combat, the way his small Kansas town helped him recover, and how it shaped his life and our nation. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on every issue, but I’ve always admired and appreciated his love of country, commitment to the public, and his work on behalf of our veterans. He believed in what this country could accomplish if we practiced a less selfish politics. Here are his final two op-eds on the topic that were published after this death–it is worth a read, and isn’t 1,200 pages:).
Worst take ever: I’ll admit that I am a critic of the NCAA. They are a multi-billion dollar machine that profits off the uncompensated labor of student-athletes. So I am not surprised their leader would be out of touch enough to publicly state that “the hardest job in America is being a university president”. I’ll concede being a university president has its challenges, but if you ask me, the hardest jobs are the ones that don’t pay enough to make ends meet while the costs of everything are rising. Ask the athlete who can’t afford clothes while the fruits of their labor are being stolen might be harder. Or maybe the minimum wage janitor who works the night shift cleaning the office of the university president could be considered tough. How about the single mom working three jobs with the dream of getting her kids to college? We could do this all day.
Diaper Drive: I don’t know how many diapers I used everyday as a kid, but I sure remember how many I changed per day as a parent! They’re expensive. One in three families experience diaper needs. It is a real problem that hits working class single moms the hardest. IF you can find childcare, you have to leave your little one with 7 to 10 diapers every single day. My wife has led the effort to address diaper needs in our community. Next week, she is having her annual diaper drive. You can stop by and drop off diapers (any size) and enjoy a holiday party! Or you can just donate to the effort! I hope to see you there!