Williams' suicide is yet another warning

Robin Williams' suicide underscores the tragedy of the effects of mental illness.

Of those who take their lives, 90 percent have some form of mental illness. When someone with this level of external success and financial accessibility to resources cannot go on, it is devastating -- and only serves to remind us of the terrible and horrific struggles so many others deal with on a daily basis.

We need to open our hearts and support appropriate, kind and non-stigmatizing interventions.

Peggy Rahman

Marsha McInnis

Liz Rebensdorf

Local affiliate presidents National Alliance on Mental Illness

Williams deserved better news coverage

I was so disappointed in the coverage of the death of Robin Williams. When the news broke on the afternoon of Aug. 11, the coverage was wall-to-wall into the night, and I assumed that it would be front-page news the next day.

Well it was in another Bay Area paper -- a huge headline and almost the whole front page was devoted to him. The Bay Area News Group, on the other hand, had just a small story on the bottom of the page, and the main article was the East Bay profile about a rapper turned police officer. A nice story, but it could have been delayed a day or two.

Tony Hicks' article on page 3 was wonderful, however, and it should have been on page 1.


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Sherry Hughes

Newark

Officers must be held accountable for deaths

How many times must we relive the nightmare of a young, unarmed, African-American male being shot and killed by the police? This is the question confronting our nation once again; the question continuously haunting the African-American communal psyche.

Michael Brown's murder must be contextualized within the broader historical narrative of racialized violence enacted by law enforcement.

Tragically, it is merely the latest chapter of what feels like an unending canon chronicling the infamous legacy of police brutality nationwide.

Brown's name is now forever associated with other unarmed black victims killed by state-induced violence: Fred Hampton, Amadou Diallo and Eric Garner.

In Oakland, this narrative of young African-American men killed by law enforcement officers is all too familiar: Bobby Hutton, Alan Blueford and Oscar Grant.

Moreover, the agony of these deaths is exacerbated by the slap on the wrist officers frequently receive.

We must foster change. We have to decriminalize blackness, change how law enforcement officers are trained, and legislatively hold officers accountable for their crimes against humanity and our communities.

Dominique DuBois Gilliard

Oakland

Legislation is a bailout for Hollywood unions

Recently, several readers have written letters advocating support for California Assembly Bill 1839, which would provide even more "tax credits" to the California film industry.

These credits reduce the state income taxes of the film industry and are a form of corporate welfare. The writers of these letters, typically film industry union members, claim that without these tax credits film production will continue to migrate to other states.

A major reason film production is leaving the state is because the film unions have driven up production costs through excessively high wages and onerous work rules. Simply put, the film unions have priced themselves out of work and now they want the rest of us to bail them out.

The state will have to make up for any decrease in film industry taxes either by reducing state services, typically those that serve seniors, children, or the poor, or by tax increases.

Tell your state legislators to vote "No" on AB 1839 -- no bailouts for the unions, and no more corporate welfare for Hollywood.

Dick Patterson

El Cerrito