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Coalition Hosting Community Forum on ‘The High Cost of Gun Violence’

The Coalition Against Gun Violence, a Santa Barbara County coalition, is sponsoring a community forum titled “The High Cost of Gun Violence” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library. The forum is free and open to the public.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider will serve as moderator and will be joined by a number of distinguished panelists to discuss one of the most critical issues facing our nation.

The CAGV’s co-sponsoring coalition members include the League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women, Democratic Women, Domestic Violence Solutions, The Glendon Association, La Casa de la Raza, the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee and the Unitarian Society.

The issue of gun violence is important to Santa Barbara as it is to many communities across the country. We will consider the high cost of gun violence not only in terms of lives lost, families shattered and victims injured, but also the impact that gun violence has on the community as a whole, i.e., as taxpayers in terms of the multiple government agencies involved in handling these critical incidents, such as law enforcement, the court system, public school safety and hospital and mental health interventions.

The panelists include:

» Denise de Bellefeuille, Santa Barbara Superior Court judge

» Kris Bergstrom, Santa Barbara Unified School District, Instructional Services Division

» Paul Erickson, M.D., medical director for psychiatry and chemical dependency at Cottage Hospital

» Dr Jamie Rotnofsky, licensed psychologist, forensic/medical/legal consultant

» Suzanne Grimmesey, MFT, Santa Barbara County Adult and Children’s Division chief, Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services

» Frank Mannix, Santa Barbara Police Department deputy chief

» Marisa Martinez, past president of Ventura County Parents of Murdered Children

» Toni Wellen, MFT and chair of CAGV

The Santa Barbara Coalition Against Gun Violence is a nonprofit coalition comprised of 40 member organizations, united against gun violence and committed to creating a safer community for Santa Barbara County residents through its educational programs and advocacy for effective local, state and national policies and legislation.

For more information, call Wellen at 805.684.8434.

— Toni Wellen is chairwoman of the Coalition Against Gun Violence.

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