Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This is Just Insane

E. Fuller Torrey. The Insanity Offense: How America’s Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2012.

Note: These notes use the author’s terminology. 

The author seeks hope for people with severe mental illnesses and their families.  He is troubled that the deinstitutionalization of people with such illnesses such as severe schizophrenia has led to much violence.  He has found over 3,000 cases where a person with paranoid schizophrenia has committed murder.

People became aware of deplorable conditions in mental hospitals with particular intensity in the 1940s and following decades.  This led to patients being removed from mental hospitals. In 1955, there were 558,000 in public mental hospitals (when the national population was 164 million).  In 2006, there were 40,000 in public mental hospitals (with a national population of 300 million).  Many of those who were deinstitutionalized found themselves as victims of violence, were incarcerated, and/or became homeless.

The legal movement to close or reduce mental hospitals argued that involuntary hospitalizations were contrary to our belief in freedom.

The National Mental Health Information Center estimates there are 12.8 million adult (or 5.4% of adults) with a serious mental illness. 4.7 million receive social security for their non-retardation disorder.  It is within this group that exists a subset that creates most of the problems.  England estimates that 10% of its schizophrenics created 80% of totally costs associated with schizophrenia.

The author estimates there are 500,000 “problematic” and 50,000 “most dangerous” people with severe mental problems.  They live primarily in urban areas.  The crimes that often shock the public the most are often committed by people in this group.

The author notes the question facing us is whether or not crazy people “have a right to be crazy”.

Guidelines state a person cannot be hospitalized against the person’s will until they are a threat to themselves or to someone else.  Many families live in fear of a threatening relative, often claiming voices or God is commanding them to commit violent acts.  Yet until a violent act is attempted or occurs, outside help is not available.  Unfortunately, many people have been murdered or harmed before the help is provided.  Conversely, people whose illnesses caused them to threaten others have been killed or injured by those they threatened.

In the 1950s, some conservative political groups believed that mental health treatment was part of Communist-Soviet attempts to control the minds of Americans.  Minute Women, U.S.A, compared mental health hospitalizations to the Soviet concentration camps.  The Daughters of American Revolution noted that 80% of U.S. psychologists were from foreign countries, with many of them from the Soviet Union.  Fiscal conservatives wanted to reduce mental health spending. 

Medicaid and Medicare passed in 1965, providing for benefits for people with mental disabilities.  State governments switched patients from state supported mental hospitals to community settings where the Federal government would pay for the costs of care through Medicaid and Medicare.

Liberals criticized the warehousing of people with mental disabilities in psychiatric hospitals where they were provided with inadequate care.

California responded by passing the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act that diminished mental health treatment in 1969.  The bill passed the legislature unanimously.  Supporters of the legislation believed the patients with psychiatric difficulties were able to make their own decisions as to what treatment they wanted.  It was argued that people with mental health disabilities had lower rates of violent acts than did the general population.  It was not noted that the reason for this lower rate was because many were in institutions where they could not commit violent public acts.

Once California closed psychiatric hospitals, it then faced the problem that it lacked facilities to treat people who sought treatment or met the legal requirements for involuntary treatment.

In 1973, California began closing many psychiatric hospitals.  Governor Ronald Reagan were not impressed that 71% of psychiatrists voted Democratic nor that several psychiatrists had stated that Reagan ally Barry Goldwater was not sane.

California had 37,000 psychiatric patients institutionalized in the mid-1950s.  The deinstitutionalization of patients began under Governor Goodwin Knight, a Republican, and continued under successive Governors Edmund Brown, a Democrat, and Reagan, a Republican.  By 1973, there were under 7,000 people institutionalized as psychiatric patients during Reagan’s tenure.

The number of patient s involuntarily institutionalized by court order decreased by 99% in California from 1969 to 1978.  The average days of hospitalization for those who were involuntarily committed fell from 180 days to 15 days.

Many of those discharged from psychiatric care became homeless.  Many lived in boarding houses in condition worse than they had when institutionalized.  Three studies concluded those discharged lived in ghetto conditions.  Many had not access to psychiatric treatment.  Many eventually entered the criminal justice system.

A 1971 study of the Los Angeles homeless estimated that 30% to 50% had serious mental illness.  They were often victimized with beatings, getting robbed, and being raped.  Later studies confirmed similar results, with one study finding 79% of the homeless surveyed had at some point been in a psychiatric hospital and 74% had been arrested.  This study also found 30% were found to be “too paranoid” to accept psychiatric help. 

Psychiatric services in San Francisco County increased 99% between 1980 and 1993.  Sacramento County jails reported having, in 1995, 28% of its inmates requiring psychiatric medication.  The author notes that prisons had become the largest mental health institutions.

Prison presents problems for mentally ill prisoners.  Violent inmates are sometimes put off by the behavior of the mentally ill and inmates then attack the mentally ill.

No Federal or state government is producing data on the number of violent crimes committed by those with severe mental illness.  It is known there are many instances where this happens.  It is also observed that an increase in managed care and outpatient services seems to lower these rates.

In 1955, California had 37,500 state hospital beds, or 1 for every 352 of the state’s 13.2 million.  In 2003, there were 4,275 such beds, or 1 for every 8,304 of the state’s 35.5 million.

A 2008 San Diego study found that homelessness was the reality for 20% of patients treated for schizophrenia and for 17% of patients treated for bipolar disorder.

A 1999 California study found 20% of state prisoners and 11% of county inmates were severely mentally ill.

Every California county has more people with severe mental illness in prison than in a hospital.

The cost of California prison psychiatric treatments was $21 million in 1993 and $245 million in 2003.

Some opinions have changed over time.  Frank Lanterman, the legislator who sponsored the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, argues the Act needs to be changed.  Ironically, a day before holding  a hearing on allowing court ordered outpatient treatment for dangerous people who refuse to take the medicine for their disorders, a psychotic person drove his 18 wheel tractor into the side of the California Capitol building.  The proposal passed and became law.

Fiscal conservatives fought a movement towards providing more psychiatric services. The costs, in Los Angeles in 2004, for one day of psychiatric hospital care was $607, for prison was $85, for jail was $64, and for a public shelter was $3.  The author notes this failed to consider cost of the numerous criminal justices arrests of people with psychiatric problems.

It is estimated that people with severe mental illness committed at least 4,700 homicides between 1970 and 2004 in California.

In 1972, a three judge panel in the Lessard Decision created specific criteria that made it more difficult to involuntarily treat someone for a mental illness. This overturned 700 years of civil law going back to England that a government is responsible for protecting people who can’t protect themselves.

There is a risk that government may have civil suits for failing to provide proper mental illness care.  A Federal judge awarded $5.4 million in such a suit in 1999.

Dane County Wisconsin has a team of 5 to 15 mental health professionals who take round the clock responsibility for mental health patients.  They provide care including medication maintenance, housing, job training, and rehabilitation.

It was found in a study that 57% of schizophrenic patients studied were not aware they had schizophrenia to a “moderate to severe” degree.  In these cases, the brain often has anosognosia, which means the person in unable to recognize it has a disorder.  With Alzheimer’s patients, anosognosia is a permanent condition.  Anosognosia in schizophrenics exists in the frontal lobes, the parietal lobes, and connections between these two lobes.  Anosognosia thus affects multiple brain areas.  Anosognosia is the primary reason why someone with mental illness does not take their medication for their mental illness.  When the law requires a person to request treatment in order to receive treatment, a person with anosognosia will not be treated.  Sadly, anosognosia is linked to increased violent behavior.

After the Lesard decision, every state by 1980 had adopted laws restricting the involuntary institutionalization of the mentally ill.

A New York study found that mentally ill homeless who were supposed to be but were not taking their medications were 40 times more likely to commit a violent crime and 27 times more likely to commit a non-violent crime than were mentally ill people requiring medication who were in stable housing environments.

Studies indicate that at least 5% to 10% of people with severe psychiatric illness will engage in at least one serious act of violence per year.

It is conservatively estimated that people with severe mental illness commit at least 5% of murders.  About 50% to 60% of murders committed by a mentally ill person are of a family members.  By contrast, a family member is killed in 16% of murders committed by someone without a mental illness.

The violent behavior of a minority of people with mental illness has created a stigma for all people with mental illness.

People with epilepsy are required to make medication before operating vehicles.  The author notes further laws requiring the taking of medication by people with additional mental health issues may be required.

A New York study found that 40%of mentally ill patients discharged from hospitalization are re-hospitalized within six months. An Illinois study found 30% of mental health patients discharged are re-hospitalized within one month.

A study showed that mental illness patients who likely were taking their medication were 3% more violent than others in a 10 week period compared to those who were not likely taking their medication who were 14% more likely to commit violence.  This study concluded that mentally ill people were not significantly more likely to commit violence than their neighbors.  The author notes those with a anosgosia were not included in this study, which skewed the sample. This study also compared rates of crime within the high crime rate neighborhoods were mentally ill people tend to live.

The author supports a law that broadens the scope of requiring involuntarily treatment.  Assisted Outpatient Treatments laws have passed several states to allow for the involuntary treatment of seriously mentally ill people who pose a danger.  These treatments are given to people with past experiences with violence, are substance abusers, have anosognosia, are refusing to properly take their medications, are displaying antisocial behaviors, and have a neurological impairment.  It is noted that 85% to 90% of people in this category are male.

A hospital uses criteria to know when to have extra security on hand.  Using similar criteria as descried previously reduced violent acts in one hospital study by 92%.

The author recommends developing a data base of high risk people by judicial order.  This would be available only to law enforcement officers, authorized mental health personnel, and to a limited degree to firearm dealers who would not be allowed to sell a firearm to a name that checks against this list.

There are numerous ways to move people towards treatment.  Those charged with misdemeanors could be provided the option of taking their medications versus imprisonment. The author also mentions that government benefits could be withdrawn to those not taking their medication. 

State governments are urged to collect more data.  A lack of data is keeping some problems hidden,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

As Santorum Warns Satan is Coming, Read This Book and Survive

Review of “Serpent’s Storm” by Amber Benson.

This fictional book presents a uniquely intriguing perspective on the Devil, death, and unworldly creatures in such a fashion it perhaps may be considered mythological by future generations.  The reader faces an untangling of mysteries presented by supernatural forces and how the protagonist Callie deals discovers the intricacies of death and the limitations of immortality.

Callie, the daughter of Death, who is dating Daniel, the Devil’s protégé who seeks to deliver the Devil out of Hell, as both deal with Thalia, Callie’s sister, who has made her own deal with the Devil so the Devil may rule Heaven.  Thalia seeks to control Daniel and make Daniel the new Death under her control.  Death is in a titanic clash with his archrival, the Ender of Death. Death has been kidnapped and Jarvis, Death’s assistant, is a mystical creature who serves as Callie’s advisor in this complex tale with numerous challenges and plot twists.

Callie goes on her own physical and spiritual journey as she seeks to rescue her father and understand her soul.  The reader gets to delve into her psychological issues as she wonders why she pushes boyfriends away and wonder about life as “we go around and around. We learn, what?”  She seeks to discover what life, death, and happiness all are.

Readers go along on a journey that includes visits to purple jellyfish, struggles to rule the Afterlife.  The stakes are high, as Callie faces deciding between being responsible for the deaths of many innocent people while maintaining her struggles for her cause.  Callie faces personal struggles, for how does one fight evil what one’s own sister is that evil?  Callie discovers she is in the midst of the greatest battle of all, one that challenges God for the rule of Heaven.  She faces that challenging question of what does one ask God when one meets God?

There is strength in character growth as Calli learns to think herself rather than relying on others how to respond.  A weakness of the tale is readers learn of some limitations and abilities of characters as they arise rather than beforehand, which changes previous reader assumptions.

This book is for fans of books about fantasy.  It is one of the better written and developed books in this genre.  The story involves God and is written from a perspective that Heaven and Hell exists, so anyone offended by such may find offense.  There are a few sensuous scenes that may not be appropriate for some young readers yet may be appreciated by older readers.  Overall, this reviewer rates this book highly.

Why do so many reviews of this book use the word "chicken"?

Friday, February 03, 2012

There Were Good Times When Republicans Ruled Harrisburg

Paul Beers. Michael Barton (ed.) City Contented: City Discontented: A History of Modern Harrisburg. Harrisburg, Pa.: Midtown Scholar Press, 2011.

This book is a collection of newspaper column written by Paul Beers that provides us with a history of 20th century Harrisburg.  Harrisburg is a city that, from 1900 to 1905, saw 2,500 new buildings costing over $5 million.  Seven banks arose in Harrisburg from 1903 to 1910.  Harrisburg’s population was 10,000 in 1900 growing to 50,000 in 1910.  An increase in railroad, steel, and government jobs fueled growth with Harrisburg reaching 75,000 in 1920.

A new Capitol building was dedicated in 1906. 27 nude statutes depicting unbroken and broken laws were placed in front in 1911.  The nude sculptures caused controversy.  The sculptor, George Grey Barnard, expected $700,000 for them,  The legislature, some of whom wanted the sculptures discarded, paid him $180,000.

The new 633 room Capitol as 23 times than was the burned Capitol it replaced.  It was built with 1,100 carloads of Vermont granite. In 1906, the Capitol had the world’s most expensive lighting system, costing $4 million.  Half those costs, though, were illegal payments to contractors.

In 1900, the Capitol had 300 employees working for 11 departments plus 14 boards and commissions for a state government budget of $17 million.  By 1920, there were 1,400 working for 20 department and 15 boards with a state government budget.

By comparison, in 1812, there were 50 state employees working for a state government budget of $336,819.15.  Governor Simon Snyder didn’t have an office and all his work was kept in his pocket.

 An Executive House for the Governor was created in 1858.  Harrisburg has an agreement that if the Capitol ever leaves Harrisburg, it will be given $20,000.  This would repay $20,000 Harrisburg paid for the Governor’s Mansion in an effort to keep the Capitol in Harrisburg.

People then drank water from the river which they also dumped their waste.  One year, 27 died from typhoid and 13 from diphtheria in Harrisburg.  Vance McCormick, Chairman of the Municipal League and a City Councilman, led a successful effort for a $1.1 million bond issue for public facilities for clean water.  $1.1 million was about what all homes in Harrisburg were worth.  The drive lasted nine months and helped elect McCormick Mayor on his “Anti-Typhoid Ticket”.  At the same time, the blond issue was approved by 7,319 to 3,739.  The Municipal League spent over $10,000 and printed over 200,000 flyers in support of the bond issue.

Mayor McCormick instituted street sweepers, a new practice that continued until the 1950s.  Many city streets were also paved for the first time during McCormick’s term.

Harrisburg had a zoo from 1927 to 1945 with as many as four lions, four bears, one tiger, and others. 

Harrisburg was a mixture of neighborhoods.  Social events happened in neighborhoods and were most self-contained.  The entire neighborhood thrived or declined.

African Americans lived in segregated neighborhoods.  William Howard Day, an Auditor General clerk, was probably the first African American state employee in 1872.  Day later became the first African American School Board President in a Northern state.  In 1925, 13% of African Americans in Harrisburg and Steelton owned their own homes.

Sibletown in Harrisburg is the oldest African American neighborhood in Pennsylvania.  It was the only African American community in the nation carried by Barry Goldwater over Lyndon Johnson by 378 to 303.  Pearl Bailey lived in Sibletown.

Over 30 people used to drown annually in the Susquehanna River.

Harrisburg once reached over 40 million cigars manufactured in the King Oscar, Sweet Girl, and Owl brands.

Railroads were an important business. Political boss Harvey Taylor supported railroad interests.  The Republican Senate President Pro Tem once, perhaps jokingly announced “The Pennsylvania Railroad having no most business in this chamber, we stand adjourned.”

There is no 8th Street in Harrisburg.  It is now a rail line.  As many as 15,000 Harrisburg residents worked for the railroads.  Most jobs began early in the day.  Nightlight past 9 pm was minimum in Harrisburg.  Railroad people traditionally went straight home to get up early and did not drink as much as others did.  Many joined the Prohibition Party and followed Harrisburg’s Rev. Silas Comfort Swallows, who ran for Governor, coming in second, and for President as the Prohibition Party nominee.

Railroads jobs then were not available to African Americans.

Ed Beidelman was Harrisburg’s Republican laeder from 1912 to 1929.  Beidelman was a railroad counsel who also had labor interests as he helped create laws establishing workers compensation, protecting street car motormen, and requiring a full crew complement on trains.  Beidelman also served as Lieutenant Governor.

The Depression claimed the Harrisburg Cigar Company and its 900 jobs as well as the Harrisburg Shoe Manufacturing Company and its 500 jobs. There were 12,000 steel workers employed in Steelton and only Pittsburgh then produced more steel.

Harrisburg used to have a trolley system with 130 trolleys serving the area.  The rise of automobiles killed the trollies.

The rate of Harrisburg high school graduates going to post high school education did not rise above 30% in 1937.

Harrisburg schools were then so segregated that a Mississippi member of Congress noted that his states’ schools were more integrated.

The Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association, the older state government press association, began in 1895.  Reporters have a Capitol office on the E (Enteral) floor.  In the 1880s, several state legislators doused a Patriot report with water from a fire hose as they believed him drunk. 

In the 1860s, Simon Cameron, a political boss, was upset that the Patriot had written that African Americans should join the Union Army.  Cameron had four Patriot editors illegally imprisoned for 16 days.

The Patriot deemphasized Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and gave more prominence to other stories, such as a drunken brawl between friends.  Lincoln would lose Adams and Cumberland Counties in the 1864 election.

In the 1970s, Speaker Jack Seltzer claimed the press made “the public image of the legislature lower than whale manure.”

Fiction works based upon Harrisburg include “A Rage to Live” and “Ourselves to Know”, both written by John O’Hara and James Boyd’s “Roll River.”

Harrisburg, along with other Pennsylvania cities, lost about one fifth of their population to suburbs from the 1960s to the 1970s.  This shifted political, economic, and social power towards the suburbs.  The State Senator representing Harrisburg from 1964 on did not live in Harrisburg.  By the 1980s, only one county judge was from Harrisburg.

There was a riot in Harrisburg in 1969, resulting in one death, eight arsons, and 103 arrests.  That year marked the last time Harrisburg schools had more white students than African American students.

As population shifted to the suburbs, an economic plan was offered to help the declining city.  The Greater Harrisburg Movement attempted a response by forming in 1972.  William Keisling was its Executive Directdor.  Harrisburg formed in 1972 to develop Strawberry Square shopping and office space as well as City Towers residences.

Harristown was developed according to the philosophy of Elenezer Howard that a public authority with the ability to plan and own land for public purposes is necessary.  The state government leased offices from Harristown worth $480 million in obligations.  State Sen. Richard Tilghman sued to prevent the state form doing this, yet his suit was unsuccessful.

From 1956 to 1975, Harrisburg lost 700 businesses. Retail was 70% of Harrisburg businesses in 1950 and 11% in 1975.

17,000 pounds of untreated mine acid went into the Susquehanna River in 1970.  Governor Raymond Shafer and Attorney General Fred Speaker quickly provided $1 million in response to this environmental disaster.

Hurricane Agnes hit in 1972, flooding 6,000 Harrisburg homes, destroying 83 of them.  616 businesses were destroyed.  There were $200 million in damages, of which insurance covered $5 million.

The flood cost Harrisburg city government $3 million.  The Federal government did not act to provide flood protection.  A future flood will likely take the same path as happened during Agnes.

Harrisburg built a “Rolls Royce” incinerator that cost $1 million in annual mortgage payments, even before it began operating.  Harrisburg offered “maid service” trash collection where garbage collectors went up driveways for up to 40 feet to collect trash.

Municipal debt increased from $8.8 million in 1965 to $25.18 million in 1979.  Harristown had $150 million debt yet had almost $500 million in long term lease commitments.  In 1977         , the per capita local debt of a Pennsylvanian was $330 while this per capita debt for a Harrisburg resident was $3,185.

Harrisburg has one water filtration plant providing 15 million gallons of water per day. It has not been updated much since it opened in 1940.  The Agnes flood destroyed Harrisburg’s other filtration plant.

The “Rolls Royce” incinerator would financially succeed only if more affluent suburban communities joined in using it.  They declined to do so, opting to send their trash to distant landfills.  In 1969, the incinerator had $20 million in amortized bonds.  Operational difficulties drove the bond costs to $20 million.  The incinerator has the capacity to handle 720 tons of trash daily.  To be financially successful, the incinerator needs to operate at 85% capacity.  It generally runs at 60% capacity.

In 1958, there were 98 African Americans employed in state government.

The Republican Party, through the days of Harvey Taylor, engaged in “400 votes of six pages of the calendar” voting in the African American precincts.  This was a process where a voter would put a calendar page into the ballot box.  Inside the calendar was 400 ballots all marked for Republican candidates.  City Sanitation Inspector Charles Franklin was indicted in 1965 for voter tampering in the predominantly African American 7th Ward.  This was a precinct that produced a 400-0 vote in 1947 when Franklin worked at the polls.  In 1963, all of the 12 candidates Franklin supported received exactly 627 votes with the 12 challenges getting 52 to 54 votes.  In 1964, Harvey Taylor won Franklin’s precinct  by 640-4 while Goldwater carried it by 378-303.  This was the only African American Goldwater won in the nation.

The first African American firefighter in Harrisburg was hired in 1973.  The first integrate public housing was Morrison Tower which opened in 1976.

Several state legislators went to Moose Lodge 107, a few blocks from the Capitol, in 1969.  An African American legislator, Leroy Irvis, was denied service.  He sued.  The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Moose, a private lodge, had a right to restrict service to members.

Harrisburg remained mostly racially segregated.  It was called the “Mississippi of the North”.

In 1969, Central Dauphin passed Harrisburg as Dauphin County’s largest school district.  Harrisburg’s school budges tripled from 1968 to 1983 to $30 million. From 1980 on, the state government ended its commitment that it had done to provide half of local school costs.  City schools like Harrisburg require more spending on special programs, truancy, etc.  Harrisburg hit its debt limit in 1973 and received court permission to go $1.6 million further in debt in order to pay expenses.  A Middle School was building under the “classroom without walls” philosophy that later was shown as a failure.  The school soon needed walls and a new roof.

In 1969, 16 of Harrisburg’s 18 grammar schools were racially segregated, with schools having from 95% to 99% African American pupils.  Harrisburg’s schools were desegregated in 1970.  43% of pupils were transported to schools.

The new Harrisburg High School lost its only 1971 football game at the predominately white Cedar Cliff High School.  A Confederate flag flew on the Cedar Cliff side. Racial agitation resulted.  Only African American students were arrested with three given of them prison terms.  The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association did not reprimand Cedar Cliff but placed Harrisburg on two years of probation with limited practices.  A District Justice from near Cedar Cliff observed the penalties appeared one sided based on the events observed.

The United Republicans, also called the United Arabs, unsuccessfully tried to defeat Harvey Taylor for control of the local Republican Party.  One of the members of the insurgent group, John Shumaker, would return 21 years later and be elected to the State Senate.

Harvey Taylor was 88 years old and was Senate President Pro Tem when he faced reelection in 1964.  The long-time local political boss had successfully helped guide much of Governor Bill Scranton’s agenda through the legislature.  Taylor even helped pass a $5 commute tax that upset some constituents.  He also tried unsuccessfully to defeat an old ally Blaine Hocker for reelection to the state legislature.  Taylor did not bother to fill the League of Women Voters questionnaire, assuming his reelection was assured.  Taylor was upset by William Lentz by 3,249 votes.  Taylor would later be defeated running as a Nixon delegate in the 1968 Republican Primary.  Taylor lived to be 106.

Mayor Nolan Ziegler in 1957 had the foresight to realize what Harrisburg needed to survive.  He urged the legislature to either allow Harrisburg to annex its suburbs or that it receives payments from tax exempt properties.  The legislature did not agree.

Harrisburg reportedly had 38 houses of prostitution during World War II. Author John Gunther quipped that Harrisburg was the only cith both the Army and Navy wanted quashed.

An independent audit of city finances in 1967 discovered numerous irregularities.  The Police Chief pled guilty to larceny.  A Charter Commission was formed and John Lynch, a Democrat, received the most votes to serve on the commission.  In 1969, Democrat Harold Swenson defeated incumbent Mayor Al Straub by 50 votes.

Mayor Swenson produced the city’s first capital budget in 1972, which was $3.6 million for public service upgrades.  When Harrisburg Railways began planning closing its local rail lines, Swenson created local bus service with the Capitol Area Transit  Authority in 1973.  Harrisburg began fluoridating its water in 1970.

In 1978, in his third week in office, Mayor Tim Doutrich faced a $300,000 in emergency snow removal costs when up to 20 inches of snow hit Harrisburg’s 450 miles of streets.  This caused the city’s Moody’s bond rating to be lowered.  Harrisburg had $30 million in needed water system repairs but no means to obtain the funds.  A third mill special property tax was approved for two new fire stations.  Meanwhile, the city incinerator was losing about a million dollars a year.  The city budget was underfinanced and unable to meet bond payments. It was a budget Doutrich refused to sign.  Doutrich was defeated for reelection by Stephen Reed.

Democrat Reed defeated Republican Doutrich by 8,782 to 3,731.  Reed earlier won a primary over Councilman Earl Gohl by 292 votes.

Mayor Reed and Council President Gohl quarreled for two years.

Harrisburg has received various visitors throughout its history. Oscar Wilde described hotel sofas in Harrisburg as “hideous”.  John O’Hara also wrote about disgraceful hotels in Harrisburg. Charles Dickens was upset in 1842 when observing state legislators in Harrisburg spitting tobacco juice onto the House floor.