Letters to the Editor

Readers views: Hasty story had no news value + Cruz has wrong opinion of Sul Ozerden

Hasty story was inflammatory, without news value

I’ve known and worked with Laura Hasty, a volunteer board member at Gulf Coast Mental Health, and respect her as a person, a community activist and volunteer, and as a skilled professional. I am responding to your front-page article on Sept. 20 with the headline “Red flag’ at mental health agency may mean ethical violation.”

Where is the news value in putting an inflammatory headline about her involvement with GCMH on the front page and thereby implying wrongdoing? Hasty disclosed the rental agreement when she agreed to join the board and serve pro bono because she wanted to help our community and is passionate about being an advocate for mental health services. Was there a legal technicality that she was unaware of? Possibly. Even if there is, the situation certainly doesn’t warrant that type of damaging and suggestive Sun Herald coverage.

The financial mess at GCMH was years in the making before Hasty joined the board in 2016. She has invested a huge amount of her time to try and make a positive difference.

The bottom line with the Sun Herald’s reporting of this situation is that a community volunteer who was doing her best to help others has been publicly embarrassed and her ethics questioned for the first time in a long and successful career on the Coast. But, worst of all, who would want to volunteer at GCMH or any other nonprofit organization if this is what the potential outcome can be?

Deb Hilgeman


Speaking up for Sul Ozerden

With the recent report that Ted Cruz has voiced his negative opinion of the appointment of Sul Ozerden as a federal appellate court judge for the Texas-Louisiana-Mississippi region, I can’t stand by without speaking up.

I have known the Ozerden family for over 30 years. Sul’s parents were great public servants along the Coast and have left a legacy of splendid characters, impeccable humility and the highest of integrity. Sul is a complete mirror of that. He has always and will always be a high road kind of guy that I’m honored to call a friend.

Now let’s talk about the condemning voice. Ted Cruz showed a complete lack of everything Sul finds as automatic. His opinions wavered, his ideas waned and his following drifted as far as one can imagine.

No wonder he does not see eye to eye with Sul. They are cut from different cloths. Mississippi cloth is pretty impressive from where I stand.

David Shoemake