Sneezing in Sacramento + A little bit of CARE + Grim COVID milestone reached

·3 min read

Happy Sunday, opinion fam. This is Robin Epley with The Bee Editorial Board. I hope you had a great weekend in the warm sunshine, but if you’re anything like me, you probably spent most of it inside.

Why? Because the pollen count is absolutely off the charts in mid-May, and the only advice doctors seem to have for the allergy-afflicted is to stay inside. It’s giving me flashbacks of being stuck inside the classroom while everyone else was outside enjoying recess.

The world allergists operate in is surprisingly interesting. I began digging after I found out the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America declared Sacramento one of the “Least Challenging Cities” for seasonal allergies. It ranked the metropolitan area 95th out of 100 major metropolitan cities for allergy suffering.

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Obviously that’s ridiculous. I have a pile of used Kleenexes in the trash to prove it, and a boatload of childhood trauma left over from a life spent suffering through springtime here.

But I was shocked to find out that there are multiple national allergy and asthma groups dedicated to helping sufferers find relief. One of those groups is the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation of Northern California, which has a giant list of the potential irritants lurking in our neighborhoods. One of the more interesting things I didn’t include in my story was that the single biggest allergen is often unmowed grass.

“Wild and unmown grass produces more pollen than a well mowed lawn, but the pollen flies everywhere and your symptoms may be from grass pollen that has traveled a fair distance,” according to the Foundation of Northern California.

So as a new homeowner, I would just like to apologize to all of my new neighbors. I don’t actually own a lawnmower yet.

From Sacramento, With CARE

Metro columnist Melinda Henneberger wrote a poignant piece last week on an old friend who could have benefitted from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s controversial mental health proposal, Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court — or CARE Court.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, speaking at a mental health treatment center in San Jose in March to announce his CARE Court proposal, a program that would target people suffering from psychosis who have lost their ability to care for themselves.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, speaking at a mental health treatment center in San Jose in March to announce his CARE Court proposal, a program that would target people suffering from psychosis who have lost their ability to care for themselves.

Henneberger’s old friend Joe Slovinec could have used “some new and even desperate measures” as he battled schizophrenia, and coercion — while not always necessary — is sometimes the only course of action that will work. “The new system would let family members, first responders and behavioral health providers petition a civil judge to initiate a CARE plan that could last for up to two years,” Henneberger wrote.

“What we’ve been doing for the last 40-plus years has not worked. As state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, has said, ‘these are people who are trending toward death.’ Their stories do not end well. And as much as I appreciate the effort to protect their civil liberties, I care more about keeping them alive, and maybe even helping them to have more of a life.”

One Million And Counting

Deputy Opinion Editor Josh Gohlke wrote a beautiful column this week on the United States reaching a grim milestone: “How a million American COVID deaths somehow understates the enormity of the loss”

From that story:

“These deaths need not have been prevented through economically and socially devastating lockdowns or an improbable triumph over anti-vaccine misinformation. Even now, governments, businesses and people in the most careful corners of a careful state are forgoing precautions with minimal downsides, such as indoor masking and workplace, school and restaurant vaccination requirements. That speaks to an even farther-reaching American disaster: the perpetual triumph of individual whim over collective wisdom.”

Opinion of the Week

“Now that Kiley is the official MAGA candidate, I would ask him a few questions, which, sadly, he doesn’t want to personally answer because cartoonists are so scary.” — Jack Ohman on Rocklin Assemblyman Kevin Kiley earning (though “earning” feels like the wrong word to use here) Donald Trump’s endorsement in California’s 3rd Congressional District race.

Got thoughts? What would you like to see in this newsletter every week? Got a story tip or an opinion to tell the world? Let us know what you think about this email and our work in general by emailing us at any time via opinion@sacbee.com.

Stay spicy,

Robin Epley

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