Everyone in Washington

should be ashamed of deal

Regarding the House vote to approve the fiscal cliff bill:

Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, issued a statement saying, "Without this legislation, an average $5,030 tax increase would be felt by New Jersey families - the third-highest in the country. ... With my constituents struggling to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on top of years of a stagnant economy, I'm not willing to place additional financial burdens on them in pursuit of the elusive 'perfect deal.'"

Shame on you, congressman. Instead, you have raised taxes, increased the debt by several trillion dollars over 10 years and we can expect to lose 100,000 jobs over six months. The deal contained not one dollar of spending cuts.

But the deal does extend film production tax credits for the Hollywood crowd and a tax credit for Warren Buffet's railroads. What a terrible piece of legislation.

Tell me, congressman, why I should not join the many Republicans who did not vote in the last election? They see no difference between the parties. All that is seen are politicians who are just "personalities," all doing the same thing - searching for more spending and power with no regard for the consequences.



County needs guide

for mental health services

Why did 26 people have to be murdered at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.? The tragedy brings to the forefront glaring cuts in mental health funding and the increased need for mental health and substance abuse services.

A 2011 National Alliance on Mental Illness report, "State Mental Health Cuts: A National Crisis," showed the drastic cuts in services for adults and children.

The sad truth is that of the 45.6 million adults with some type of mental health illness, only 17 million receive services. We must educate front-line professionals in the area of mental health screening. Emergency rooms, jails, senior care facilities and shelters are filled with people who could benefit from treatment.

We in Atlantic County need a resource guide of services offered to mental health consumers. We are one of the only counties in New Jersey lacking such a document for mental health providers, courts, police, families and primary care offices. The services provided by the state are complicated. Very few mental health professionals in private practice are aware that the county has designated beds in Burlington County at Hampton Behavioral Health Center and its affiliate Summit Oaks Hospital in Union County.

NAMI is a resource for advocacy, education and support for families. We offer a no-cost, 12-week life-changing course "Family to Family" for family members who need assistance.

I invite family members who have loved ones with significant mental health issues to attend our monthly NAMI meeting for support and education. This month's meeting is 7 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Absecon Methodist Church.



Debra Y. Silver is president of the NAMI Atlantic Cape County affiliate and chairwoman of the Atlantic County Mental Health Board.

Congress dragged us

over the fiscal cliff

I found the Jan. 2 headline, "House pulls U.S. from fiscal cliff," disturbing.

In my opinion, and as evidenced by its record-low approval rating, our leaders in Washington are in the midst of an unprecedented abuse of their powers.

For The Press to imply that the Congress Clown College saved this country from the brink is outrageous. What the headline should have said was, "Washington bozos drag U.S. to the cliff, dangle it over the edge by its ankles and then pull it back to safety by doing the job they're supposed to do."

Heroes? Hah. What a crock.



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