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Focus on disorder helps

by: JIM CLARK, TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JIM CLARK
David Yandell, well-known as a cabdriver and organizer of huge bike and turkey giveaways, also struggles with bipolar disorder. A recent profile raised awareness about the condition, which, as one letter writer notes, “can happen to anyone at any time.”

I would like to commend you on the comprehensive article about David Yandell (The ups and downs of David Yandell, Sept. 19).

This is the first time I've read an accurate account of a person dealing with bipolar disorder. Your report was accurate and honest - it is impossible to detect bipolar disorder from an MRI, brain scan or any other test.

Too many people turn their backs on the mentally ill and are frightened by bipolar disorder. It is a real illness and can happen to anyone at any time.

I also want to commend Radio Cab for putting itself behind Yandell. I only wish there were more people who understood the trauma caused by bipolar disorder.

Leslie Birkland

Southwest Portland

The mentally ill deserve more options

If the professionals who run state, county and local programs for treating the mentally ill would do the math, they would know, confirm and plead that finding a way for the David Yandells (The ups and downs of David Yandell, Sept. 19) of the world to take more expensive, newer medicines would be far cheaper for taxpayers than insisting on the cheapest drugs.

The reason? While lithium is still an effective drug for some people, there are several generations of medications far more effective in most cases - medications that improve the chances for bipolar and other mentally ill people to live independent, productive lives.

We need physicians to encourage patients, to help them find medications that work for them. Whatever the cost of the newer drugs, they are far, far cheaper than hospitalization.

I hope Yandell's advocate can convince the powers that be that Yandell and the taxpayers would benefit from such a scenario. Yandell deserves a chance to weigh all medication options until he finds one that works better than lithium.

Fortunately, our family member in need had a doctor's help, and it has made a wonderful difference.

Roz Roseman

Member, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

Southeast Portland

Support stable school funding now

Just like parent Cindy Young from your recent article (Usual suspects may vote unusually, Sept. 22), I'm tired of Band-Aid approaches to school funding issues.

Unlike her, however, I'm not ready to cut off my children's future in an attempt to spite the legislators. Any medical professional can tell you that you must stabilize the patient before major surgery.

That is why I'm voting in support of Measure 26-84, the local option levy for schools, and am working to have the best medical team available to save our schools until we get to a long-term stable funding solution.

Susan Wilch

Stand for Children

Southeast Portland

Up north, they ask more of developers

Nick Budnick (Vancouver or bust, Sept. 22) described how Vancouver, British Columbia, managed to accommodate a similar population to the Portland region, with half the physical footprint. How? Density.

But Vancouverites also get the amenities developers are required to provide. One of the amenities that caused Metro Councilor Robert Liberty to remark that some areas of downtown Vancouver 'feel like a resort' is parks and greenspaces associated with development on the waterfront and in South and North False Creek.

Our region, too, seeks to accommodate 1 million more people with a reduced footprint. To be successful we must ask more of our development community and of our citizens to expand our park, trail and natural area system.

With passage of Measure 26-80 for a natural areas, parks and streams bond - which involves less than $2.90 per home - will come 5,000 acres of parks and natural areas, protected water quality in streams and rivers, and the 're-greening' of park-deficient neighborhoods.

Go to www.savenaturalareas.org to find out more about Measure 26-80.

Mike Houck

Director, Urban Greenspaces Institute

Saxton's personal agenda rather ironic

How interesting to read the Tribune's account of the Saxtons (Saxton's school switch turns heads, Sept. 26).

While it is commendable for Lynne Saxton to have written a $50,000 seed grant for Portland Public Schools to establish the International Baccalaureate program at Cleveland High School, it seems quite ironic that the Saxtons recognize the need for additional school funds when it serves their personal agenda, but not otherwise.

After all, Ron is seeking elective office by harping about supposedly irresponsible spending by the same schools.

Darryl Willis

Northwest Portland

School districting's a broken concept

I recently read your article (Saxton's school switch turns heads, Sept. 26) about Ron Saxton renting an apartment in order for his son to go to Lincoln High. Your article seems to suggest that Saxton is 'working the system' rather than doing right by his child.

The thing is, your article points out how unnecessary districting is a broken concept. The college system does not district kids, as long as they live in the state.

Imagine if a kid in Medford had to attend the University of Oregon and could not attend Oregon State University if he wanted to. That's fundamentally wrong - why punish people because of where they live?

We need to do away with districting altogether. It's a broken concept that protects schools from having to compete through good teaching and allocation of resources.

Michael Hermens

Vancouver, Wash.