Letter to the editor: Fiester conservation easement should stand; 1A not a scam | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Fiester conservation easement should stand; 1A not a scam

John Warner

I’d like to respond to a couple of pronouncements seen in the Summit Daily News opinion section over the past few weeks:

1. Per your columnist Susan Knopf’s analogy using the impermanence of marriage as it relates to the permanence of conservation easements, I find this analogy unfortunate in a society where the divorce rate is 40%. Who would ever create a conservation easement if the chances were 40% that it would be condemned? I do agree with Knopf’s “shout out” to Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence’s attempts to rethink this poorly conceived Fiester Preserve condemnation.

2. I am concerned with the latest criticisms regarding the proceeds from the 2018 voter approved tax increase known as 1A. As the vice president of Building Hope, I object to the characterizations that the proceeds of 1A are used for “administrator and support staff rent and mortgages.” The facts are that since 2018, Building Hope and others have used these funds for the mental health of Summit County. For instance, Summit County’s suicide rate has been halved, there have been more than 1,000 people trained to engage the community regarding mental illness destigmatization, suicide prevention, etc. Because of 1A funds, a mental health navigation system is available that ensures that people in crisis can get help quickly. Additionally, because many 911 calls concern mental health-related issues like substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health crisis, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, with the help of the 1A funds, has rolled out the System-wide Mental Assessment Response Team program, which consists of a two-person team of a law enforcement officer and a behavioral health specialist. This will hopefully lead to appropriate referrals versus costly and unhelpful incarceration.

Thank you for reading this and please realize that 1A is not a scam.

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