Marin IJ Readers Forum August 6, 2022 – Marin Independent Journal

Kaiser explains visiting policies during the pandemic

As Chief Medical Officer of Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center, I would like to thank the Reverend Carol Luther for her recently released letter raising concerns about patient visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Importantly, we also want to clarify that our visitor policies are determined by the Public Health Department, based on county transmission levels (significant, high, or low/moderate) reported by the Centers for Disease. Control and Prevention. Our commitment to safety is unwavering; our policies are intended to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, as well as to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff.

At the time of Luther’s visit to Kaiser Permanente San Rafael, transmission in Marin County was classified by the CDC as “high,” causing Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center to enforce extensive visitation restrictions.

We recognize that it can be disappointing not being able to visit a friend or loved one in hospital. Throughout the pandemic, we have helped patients connect virtually and over the phone with their support systems. We also have staff to provide emotional and spiritual support.

There are always exceptions to our visitor policies for those visiting pediatric patients and patients with disabilities, as well as palliative and end-of-life patients. We review other exceptions on a case-by-case basis. As visitor policies vary depending on transmission rates, we encourage everyone to check with their local Kaiser Permanente hospital for current guidelines before visiting.

— Dr. Naveen Kumar, San Rafael

The narrow passages should have been repaired in less than a year

I am writing about the IJ editorial on the decades-long project to widen the 101 freeway from Novato to Sonoma County (“The 101 Narrows project is worth the long wait”, 31 July). The editorial celebrated the start of work on the final segment. This project has already taken 20 years and will take another four, at best.

During this time, millions of hours of personal time have been lost in traffic, billions of pounds of carbon dioxide have been added to the atmosphere by idling engines, thousands of children’s “keys to lockdown” lacked the involvement of their parents and the mental health of many was damaged by continual frustration.

All of this should have been done in a year.

There is nothing to celebrate. Those whose misdeeds, embezzlement and inaction have interminably delayed this project deserve strong condemnation.

— Chet Seligman, Point Reyes Station

A third major party could do wonders for the American system

I am writing to you regarding Nick Clark’s recently published letter to the editor about the Electoral College. While I really have no opinion on his position on judicial review, I believe his assertion that the Electoral College was created to “prevent the excesses of the majority” indicates a lack of knowledge about the history of our country.

One of the main reasons for the implementation of voter selection of the president was a compromise by northern states to secure ratification of the Constitution by southern slave states.

In James Madison’s electoral model, Virginia obtained three-fifths electoral representation for each slave. Virginia’s electoral weight partly explains why so many slave-holding Virginians occupied the White House in our early years.

Clearly, the Founding Fathers did not foresee the future en bloc allocation of a state’s voters to a single presidential candidate. This was done by the states themselves, which increased the likelihood of a president being elected without a popular majority.

Clark’s point that Congress and the presidency could be under single-party control was not a concern at the time the Constitution was drafted. The Founding Fathers did not envisage the creation of political parties, in particular a two-party system. It seems clear that, in their minds, each elected official would vote his own individual conscience without the external influence of another power such as a political party.

In my view, the best hope for breaking our national gridlock and creating a less politically partisan Supreme Court would be the rise of a viable third party to dilute the power of the Republican and Democratic parties. Another option would be for states to move to proportional electoral vote allocation, like the process in Maine and Nebraska. Either of these results is, of course, a bit long.

—Michael Sillman, Larkspur

Raising the Kent Lake dam is the best way to increase supply

According to the Marin Municipal Water District report online at, an average of 43,000 acre-feet of water per year is lost from all reservoirs due to excessive runoff, which equates to 1.5 years supply for residents of Marin County.

This report also indicates that on average, over the past 12 years, Kent Lake has discharged an additional 14,000 acre-feet per year beyond the 10,000 acre-feet of environmental flow needed to support fish habitats.

The Kent Lake watershed receives the most rain of anywhere in Marin. The cost of raising the Kent Lake Dam is a one-time expense that can be amortized over the next 50 years or more.

In addition, fish habitats downstream of Kent Lake will benefit from greater capacity, as there will be more capacity to draw during drought years.

Raising the Kent Lake Dam does not violate California fish habitat laws. Releases to the environment can continue as before. Certainly, the California legislature recognizes that increasing Kent Lake’s capacity during heavy rain years will benefit both Marin residents and fish. It will allow a more regular flow in drought years.

A careful reading of the MMWD online report indicates that raising existing dams, including at Kent Lake, is by far the most cost-effective long-term solution.

—Jeff Koblick, Ross

Pelosi shows his friendship to both China and Taiwan

The California Democratic Party’s 2022 Platform on International Relations promotes dialogue with the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan.

I believe that the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, demonstrates the very important friendship that the American people have for the Chinese people and for the Taiwanese people.

— J. Patrick Goggins, Mill Valley

Health officials need to be clear about monkeypox

I find Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent declaration of a state of emergency over monkeypox a ridiculous response to a virus that has so far primarily affected a specific subset of gay and bisexual men. . Instead, we should step up our efforts to share safer sex education for everyone, especially if they have sex with multiple partners.

Our medical and political leaders in California look so stupid ignoring reality, seemingly not to offend. It seems they are all controlled by the Democrat agenda. This is yet another reason why Americans’ trust in the medical establishment has plummeted.

It reminds me of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that started in the 1980s. Back then, intravenous drug users who shared needles and sexually active homosexuals were the main targets. Of course, the impact of HIV on hemophiliacs has been horrific and a tragedy in itself.

As before, so far it seems that gay women and heterosexual people who practice safe sex or monogamy have little to fear.

It seems like we’ve gotten to the point where we can’t tell the truth, so as not to offend too much. To be honest, I think we hit that milestone years ago. We will end up regretting it, and sooner than we think.

—James Quigley, San Rafael

Melvin B. Baillie