The applauded spruced up old hospital site becoming a locked mental hospital is right out of Greek mythology, the tale of the Trojan horse. The hospital board is attempting to persuade this community the prettied up building is a solution for the taxpayers. The Greek named Sinon was left behind to persuade the Trojan enemy that the horse was an offering to make Troy impenetrable and despite the warnings of others the horse was taken inside the city gates and ultimately not for the benefit of the city.

The Planning Commission recently voted to prohibit tattoo parlors, adult entertainment and marijuana dispensaries in the downtown area. They are all legal businesses; yet their votes said essentially: “No, our children will not be better for having these businesses, no matter how many jobs or sales tax dollars they will bring.” I believe it is fair to say most people in this community would agree.

Over the last year I just felt something was amiss. I just could not understand the reasoning to recruit a 44-bed locked facility. What is happening in our beautiful community to cause this many people to have such severe mental illness?

Evidence shows that the initial lease negotiations were specifically designed to eliminate any opportunities for other interested partners. This was not disclosed to the public and other opportunities were brought before the board. The primary concern was that this facility does not meet the needs of the vast majority of the district’s residents; concerns that did not include discrimination against the mentally ill as their basis or reason.

The community is not educated to the alternatives for treatment of the severely mentally ill. This is as offensive to the morals and ethics of this community as if an adult entertainment production company, a tattoo parlor, or a marijuana dispensary were to pretty up the place and become the new tenant.

We urge the board to fairly terminate this lease and to survey what would benefit the people the district serves, as required by the purposes of Special Districts.


Betsy Tunnell


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