Applause X 2

Excellent article by Barbara Davenport on Reality Changers and Christopher Yanov’s effort to help young people like those in the story (“Gangbangers to College Students,” Cover Story, December 24). I applaud Mr. Yanov for his dedication, and more important, I applaud the young people who are striving to make a difference in their lives and community.

Gus Chavez
Former director of EOP and
Ethnic Affairs at SDSU

Better Browsing

I work in Juvenile Hall at East Mesa, and as I was walking to the store yesterday, I saw the Reader (I enjoy browsing through it), but when I read the cover (“Gangbangers to College Students,” December 24), I was interested to read more. It was amazing, what I was reading. I really want to thank you for putting that story in the Reader. It’s just awesome to see these kids’ lives being changed around with the help of people that really care. Thank you for investing your time for these kids. May the Lord bless you and yours. Have a wonderful new year.

Laura L. Valdivia
via email

Naomi? Duncan?

Naomi Wise’s article “Restaurant Porn: Italian Style” (Restaurant Review, December 24) is either one of the worst and most hilarious pieces of writing I have ever read or brilliantly satirical. Only a jaded Croatian beau laid could decide for sure. I have a suspicion she is really another pen name for Duncan Shepherd. Her fascination with Italian waiters seems to be on par with his obsession with how good Heath Ledger looked in his jeans. Fess up! By the way, I have been to Sicily many times, and in fact, old man Busalacchi was literally my godfather. And I know that even though Italian waiters may be charming liars, the food they serve leaves a lasting satisfaction of a Sophia Loren movie, incomparable to an Anna Magnani–type little appetizer. Or instead of Duncan Shepherd, is she really Naomi Watts moonlighting as another illustrious reviewer for the Reader? Ciao, bella!

M. Tarantino
via email

What’s In His Hair?

Is that Lady Clairol or Kiwi (boot) black that Josh “I am not Jewish!” is using in his hair (“Crasher”)? What’s next? Hair transplants? A toupee? Gum resections? When will that goniff crash our party at the Salvation Army senior center?

Andrew Schiffman
via email

You Have No Idea

I am so glad someone had the courage to expose the story in “Go Directly to Jail…and Die” (Cover Story, December 11). My dad was there for two months, and he has diabetes, and he never got medical treatment. He would often get spider bites, and those were untreated also. Instead of treating them like human beings, they get treated like animals. Just because they are illegal aliens doesn’t give them the right to treat them like garbage.

I also read the comments that some of the readers made and was furious. They have no clue what these people have to do in order to cross the border. They have to come here to provide a better life for their family.

Name Withheld

You’re Not Safe

December 11 cover story, “Go Directly to Jail…and Die,” brings back very bad memories for me. The same miserable health care exists for inmates at R.J. Donovan for citizens too. My husband had an infection that was neglected last year at the state prison. When I called to visit him there on a weekend, I was told he was at a medical facility and not at the prison. I absolutely couldn’t get any more information because of HIPPA privacy laws that protect his privacy even from his wife. I was scared he was dying because the next day I got a letter from him so stating and telling me he had an infection and “was cut on at the prison.” He also said he’d been to the hospital and returned and the infection was so bad he said he would die there and could not get any medical attention.

I did not hear from him again for 21 days. He’d written me daily before that. Medical staff at Donovan would not say anything other than he was at a medical facility, though I begged to be allowed to hear one word from him by phone or to be allowed to receive one postcard from him to assure me he was alive. Finally, after going to both state assembly representatives and after calling and talking to people in Sacramento in the governor’s office and still not being allowed one word to prove he was alive, I was allowed to receive a phone call from him. He did get an infection there, and medical staff at the prison cut him so badly to remove an infection in his leg he nearly bled to death. He was moved to a designated hospital that treats inmates for 21 days and kept in quarantine because MRSA is so highly infectious and deadly.

He told me during that time he never saw doctors, only staff, and I know when he was released back to the prison it was into the general population, not a medical bed. He was given pants too short to even cover the wound, no bedsheets, and crummy bandages that left the wound exposed, potentially exposing other inmates to MRSA.

Don’t think for a moment that the community is safe because you are not “involved with criminals” or married to an inmate as I am. You are not safe at all. There are inmates there whose families come and visit — have contact visits. Your kids sit in class next to inmates’ children, or you sit next to inmates’ wives on the bus, who are basically exposed to MRSA and capable of spreading it because the prison medical staff is so badly trained, coldhearted, and cheap they won’t even provide inmates with bleach — plain, simple, cheap bleach — that would go very far to keep the cells and community areas of the prison free from this horrible and deadly disease.

Furthermore, the CDC hides behind HIPPA laws so it doesn’t have to give details of illnesses and deaths at prisons now. Now, due to HIPPA, the deaths are always “due to natural causes.” I assure you they don’t care about the inmates’ privacy as much as they care about not having to spend any money on prisoners’ health care. The reason they say they don’t have to give even a wife any such information is “the inmate didn’t ask for a HIPPA form.” Of course my husband listed me as next of kin. That didn’t matter. The prison doesn’t have to tell the inmates at orientation about the HIPPA form, so of course the inmate doesn’t know to ask for the form.

Now, this year, supposedly after many nurses have quit working there and after another chief medical officer has gotten in trouble and more money is going to be spent on prison health care, I am sure the situation is just as bad or worse: no matter how much money you pay in tax, the CDC just pockets as much as it can, and that place, R.J. Donovan, is a toilet, a cesspool right here in your county.

So, no matter how you feel about illegal immigrants, rest assured that if your son, nephew, husband, or neighbor ends up there, he’ll suffer the same inhumane medical neglect as the immigrant suffered at the neighboring facility, and R.J. Donovan is a breeding ground for an epidemic that could endanger the entire county. Keep in mind that about five years ago, when the governor had to first address no oversight for the medical budget for prisoners, the first approach was to cut out one meal a day on weekends for the prisoners. No, they don’t receive the medical benefits you already pay for. I do believe they are released or killed rather than cured.

Shelly Schwartlander
via email

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


I've heard of people doing crazier things with potatoes (ask rock impresario Kim Fowley about his famous "potato lady" groupie story) - everything is art! Or can be, in inspired hands ---

Log in to comment

Skip Ad