Wants mental health spending, not office

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 23, 2013 

I am thrilled that the county has finally decided to go forward with building a jail that is the right size for our community. After years of ridiculous proposals (820 beds? 660 beds?), I hope the sheriff and executive will listen to what the public has been telling them - that we need a facility around 500 beds.

However, I am very concerned about some unresolved issues. The sheriff still is planning to build a giant new office and sprawling warehouse, clocking in at 70,000 square feet. This proposed facility would bigger than the Ferndale Haggen. In this tight economy, does the sheriff really need to spend all that taxpayer money on his office?

Let's try something else. Le's try actually funding mental health programs in Whatcom County and stop treating the jail like a holding cell for those who are sick. Imagine how safer and healthier our communities would be if we had a strong and vigorous mental health system in Whatcom County. I hope the sheriff and the executive see the wisdom of this approach.

Benjamin Heckendorn

Bellingham

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