Sunday, April 16, 2006

Albuquerque Mayor Chavez: "We're not waiting"

When the New Mexico Senate failed to act to pass Kendra’s Law in January, despite overwhelming support from the Governor, Senator Domenici, and a unanimous vote in the House, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez decided that he would not let inaction on the part of the state harm the people he was elected to protect.

"We're not waiting. The consequences are too severe," Chávez told the Albuquerque Journal on Sunday. "When the state fails to act, I am still charged with protecting the public in Albuquerque."

The Albuquerque Journal agrees. To the argument that you need more services before you can implement an assisted outpatient treatment law, the paper’s editorial board had this to say:

That's a pointless chicken-and-egg argument for families of the mentally ill, who say they can't wait for a new program or building. Their loved one is in crisis now. Perhaps once judges start ordering treatment, the state and the health-care community will finally find the wherewithal to assure its availability.

Unwilling to join in the hand-wringing as another Albuquerquean commits suicide by cop or kills a police officer on a mental-health pickup, and unwilling to join in the whining that there aren't enough treatment facilities so it's best to do nothing, Chávez has stepped up to help those who aren't able to help themselves.

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