Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

When doing the right thing gets you in hot water

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by WauwatosaNOW's silence about yesterday's censure of Supervisor Lynne De Bruin. When I've asked my own supervisor, Jim Schmitt, about social issues in the past, he's told me that Tosans tend not to be very interested in those issues.

In case you don't know the situation, De Bruin acted as a whistleblower, revealing remarks made in closed session by the county's mental health administrator, John Chianelli. Chianelli said that putting men and women patients in the same unit was useful, even necessary. "Putting 24 aggressive male patients into a male-only unit would increase the level of violence in the unit."

But the trade-off is sexual assaults. According to federal health inspectors, 11 patients were sexually assaulted at the county Mental Health Complex last year, including a pregant woman who was raped on a unit.

Chianelli's comment certainly looks like "oh well: but at least no one got killed."

The use of girls and women to "calm" boys and men is nothing new. I remember getting seated next to a couple of wiggly, disruptive boys, with instructions to see that they behaved. That was a long time ago. But only a couple years ago one of my daughters was given the same unoffical function in a Tosa high school.

It's old as the ages, this observation that women can have a calming effect on men. Of course, we can also have an arousing effect. . .

Schmitt was one of 13 who voted to censure De Bruin. I'm sorry he joined the majority in saying protecting the confidentiality of the meeting is a higher good than exposing a deep problem that affects the health and safety of citizens.

Censure or no censure, calling out Chianelli and the Board was the right thing to do. If you have knowledge like that, you need to act on it.

Of course, you'll pay the price. For awhile. People often suffer for doing the right thing. But let's hope that exposing this bit of dirty business to the light of day will lead the rest of the lawmakers to do the right thing. Chianelli needs to go, and the beliefs and policies De Bruin exposed need to be cleaned up.

Thanks, Supervisor De Bruin, for your "willful act of misconduct."

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Page Tools