Letters to the editor — Dec. 18, 2019

Legislators’ (in)action leaves much to be desired

Just finished reading a Sequim Gazette article titled “Petition reveals 2,600 opposed to MAT clinic” (Dec. 11, page A-1). Three state politicians were to be at a Sequim City Council work session and hopefully stay to hear concerns about the proposed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facility.

As so often happens with our politicians, Rep. Steve Tharinger did not show up at all, and Rep. Mike Chapman and Sen. Kevin Van De Wege ducked out the back door.

As an old soldier who has seen some combat, I would hate to have to go into battle with the three of them. It looks like the council and planning commission have figured out a great way to shift the responsibility for MAT approval to the city “administrative staff.”

Why would such an important decision be left to non-elected staff? Again, another group that I would not want with me in battle.

It looks like the special interests of the tribe are more important than the interests of the citizens of Sequim.

Bob Travis


MAT issues, clarified

This is in response to the SOS petition and two letters to the editor in the Dec. 11 Sequim Gazette issue:

First, who are the visitors who signed the petition? How many were visitors? Were they bused in from Seattle?

As to the private party last week, it was to honor supporters of the clinic. Yes, there is treatment already available in Sequim, but not wrap-around treatment with counseling, medical and dental services as well as child care.

There will only be 15 patients the first month in order to work out any issues that may arise. There will be security cameras placed at nearby stores. Additional police protection will be provided if needed at the tribe’s expense.

You can’t just walk into the MAT Clinic. You have to have an appointment. The first visit includes a physical, mental evaluation and commitment to the treatment. That means besides getting medication you have to attend group and individual counseling.

The clinic will open at 6 a.m. so clients who are working can come before going to work.

Margot Hewitt


Put MAT clinic away from Sequim

The tribe’s proposed Sequim medicine-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic intends on offering Suboxone, a synthetic opiate. According to the NIH, it has a 49 percent success rate if taken for life, damaging liver, kidneys and brain somewhat less than morphine or heroin.

One shot of Vivitrol also will also be offered by this MAT clinic and actually blocks opiates from the brain for a month while the addict is withdrawing thus preventing them from cheating and allowing them to actually get off opiates.

If you offer opiates to addicts for free they will almost always choose opiates over the blocker shot so both the addict and the taxpayer suffer.

Better to provide them with only Vivitrol like the Russians do in a safe place for them to detox.

We already have underutilized local addict MAT clinics in Port Angeles and Sequim. Call them; I did. If the tribe wants to build a large clinic to import addicts from other areas to seduce them into taking toxic, Big Pharma opiates for life and force the taxpayer to pay for it, at least the tribe should put the MAT clinic a minimum of 10 miles away from our fair Sequim, like Anacortes did.

Sequim police services have only 20 officers. Do you really think they can protect vulnerable our citizens from the 100 addicts who will fail the program every year and wander off into our fair Sequim?

Rick Marshall

Port Angeles

Clarified: Clinic design event private, proposal no secret

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe held a Clinic Design Reveal Celebration on Dec. 5 at the Jamestown Family Health Clinic, thanking those supporting our MAT project. We sent invitations to supporters through emails with a link through Eventbrite; the link wasn’t placed on any public website by Jamestown.

Unfortunately, a person we invited placed the link on a MAT support group Facebook page. Someone from Save Our Sequim (SOS) saw it and placed the link on the SOS Facebook page. I contacted the first Facebook group and they immediately took it down. I then contacted SOS leaders, letting them know it was a private event and the link was accidentally placed on Facebook by others.

We sent responses to unintentional invites stating the event was private, that they’d received the invite accidentally and that their RSVP was respectively declined.

Nothing has been planned behind anybody’s back. We’ve been working in a collaborative fashion (in open public meetings) to attack the opioid crisis with other health organizations for years. We sent out a press release the day the purchased clinic property closed. Those claiming everything has been a secret are wrong.

I’ve spoken to nearly 50 groups and taken calls from more than 100-plus. I’m more than happy to speak to anybody or any group concerning our medical clinic project.

With a more set construction budget, Jamestown’s contribution for this project will be nearly $4 million.

For those in our community choosing recovery, we will be there to help.

Brent Simcosky

Health Director, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

MAT clinic unnecessary

An extraordinary outpouring of opposition to the chosen location of the planned medication-assisted treatment (MAT) business at the Sequim City Council meeting on Dec. 9, with more than 2,600 signatures along with letters and pictures representing voices of reason and good judgment!

We were disappointed state representatives could not stay to witness this unified stand against an unneeded facility based on the number of people in local treatment programs.

Common sense: If a 400-patient facility is built, there must be plans to eventually accommodate transient patients from outside Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Sequim doesn’t need or want this business. We have enough local resources to treat anyone seriously wanting help.

Olympic Medical Center would presumably benefit financially by being relieved of this treatment burden, but we citizens of Sequim strongly object to being forced into a position of becoming financially and lawfully liable for “Title 70” patients.

To illustrate the point, an example: A troubled patient leaves the MAT campus and walks to the nearby Seventh Avenue overpass. On medication and despondent, this person climbs over the low handrail, falling to their death. The victims family files suit charging the city did not adequately access the surrounding hazards and is therefore negligent in providing a safe environment.

Is it wise or fair to expect our small city, with limited resources, to become a liable caretaker for so many? We are not without compassion but know this business is ill-suited for our unique and proudly cared-for city!

Gary Miller


All about the money?

Well, it’s almost laughable reading the full-page ads taken in the Sequim Gazette by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, touting their “concern” for the drug addicts.

Have they shown in the past, their concern, by catering to the “gambling addicts” or “marijuana addicts” (which the tribe sells)?

The tribe still hasn’t explained “exactly” how they will control the many addicts they treat daily. Will the addicts be immediately bused back to their origin, or released into our community, or held in a room (and Medicaid charged) until bused back?

By the way, Medicaid will be charged $450 per addict by the tribe, compared to the $20 that BayMark Health Services in Port Angeles charges for their services.

Also just remember, that $7.2 million state grant for the clinic by your “Democratic” representatives (who control the state legislature) is your tax money and some way it will come out of your pocket.

Finally, this overloading of our police force and change in our culture can only bring our small community terrible difficulties. If our city council had any moxie, and care for our community’s safety, it would bring its decision to construct this rehab clinic to the vote of the people of Sequim — or tell the tribe to put the clinic on their reservation!

But … I guess it’s all about “money,” folks.

Travis Williams


Council’s vision is off

With reference to “City council votes down manufactured home park” (Sequim Gazette, Dec. 11, page A-1):

With all due respect for our vaunted Sequim City Council, I believe they have their priorities skewed.

Driving around Sequim one notes the plethora of well kept mobile home parks, such as the West Alder Estates on West Spruce Street.

In my opinion the city council should be working on ways and means to keep the regional medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic out of our fair city.

Ethan Harris


Uphold the Constitution, rule of law

Apologists for President Trump complain that lawmakers supporting his impeachment would nullify the votes of 62.9 million voters who cast their ballots for him. I am not impressed. Trump lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

Or, consider Richard Nixon. He was reelected in a “landslide” in 1972. Yet two years later the House of Representatives impeached him. In those days, Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater led a delegation of GOP senators to the White House to tell Nixon he must resign or face conviction and removal by the U.S. Senate. They believed the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law more important than all those folks who made a mistake in their vote.

The House has presented proof that Trump is guilty of an abuse of power in flagrant violation of his oath of office. He attempted to extort from the Ukraine President a promise to announce on American TV an investigation of Joe Biden. Trump froze $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as a weapon, hoping to force Ukraine to bow to this “favor.” Thanks to a whistle-blower, he was caught.

The high command of the Republican Party approves foreign nation’s meddling in our elections. Barry Goldwater — and his fellow Arizona Senator, John McCain — must be turning in their graves.

We should give thanks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff for standing in defense of the Constitution and our voting rights.

Tim Wheeler