Letters From the January 10/17, 2021, Issue

Letters From the January 10/17, 2021, Issue

Letters From the January 10/17, 2021, Issue

Russiagate redux?… Hope for defund… Occupy’s lessons…

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Russiagate Redux?

Re “The ‘Havana Syndrome’ Versus the Secrecy System,” by Peter Kornbluh [Nov. 29/Dec. 6]: Coming so close upon the debunking of the Steele dossier and the Russiagate narrative, one would expect a greater degree of skepticism on the part of Kornbluh and his editors. But no, Kornbluh even suggests that the most likely culprit in this case is (you guessed it) Russia. And what solid evidence does he present to support that hypothesis? Unsurprisingly, he presents none whatsoever. We are still in the Russia-bashing fun house of journalism.
Robert Goldstein

Hope for Defund

It was heartening to read Bryce Covert’s “‘Defund’ Isn’t Dead” [Nov. 29/Dec. 6] and learn that the movement to defund the police is indeed not dead around the country. However, as a New York City advocate actively fighting to remove police from mental health crisis responses, I must point out that things here are far less rosy than the article suggests.

The focus on one social worker’s experience with New York City’s B-HEARD pilot program does not tell the full story. As the article notes, the city’s supposed nonpolice program still involves police as first responders well over 80 percent of the time. And even once all the kinks of the new program are worked out, the city projects eliminating police as first responders only 50 percent of the time. Moreover, the city’s “nonpolice” program continues to be co-run by the NYPD and continues to involve the police-run 911 dispatchers. It must also be noted that the B-“HEARD” program has not heard the call of the advocates, many of whom have lived experience with mental health crises, despite our active endorsement of truly nonpolice models with excellent and decades-long track records, such as the CAHOOTS program in Oregon.

New Yorkers with experience of mental health crisis interventions strongly oppose a police response, according to a recent poll, and advocates propose a truly nonpolice response whose time has more than come. We cannot allow the police to kill, maim, or confine more individuals who experience mental health crises.

Ruth Lowenkron, Esq.
new york city

The writer is the director of the Disability Justice Program of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and a member of Correct Crisis Intervention Today–NYC.

Occupy’s Lessons

Re “Occupy Wall Street: 10 Years Later” [Special Section, October 4/11]: The question has come up what the youth-organized climate strike Fridays for Future can borrow from Occupy Wall Street. The anthropologist Janet Roitman has characterized Occupy as a global conversation about who will bear the burden of fading prosperity. Perhaps a healthy ecosystem can be defined as a new measure of prosperity.

The relevance of Occupy now is the climate movement. That is where our ability to catalyze and stick with good change will be tested.

James Crary

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