Not always happy
While I am happy that San Luis Obispo has been designated the happiest place in the country, I can’t help but notice the ways this area is a painful place to live: the number of teachers in the area whose jobs are in jeopardy, the students who experience depressing cutbacks at their school sites and the high cost of housing, all of which are richly juxtaposed against such incongruities as an inflated university president’s salary.
I think the truth is that this county, despite its extraordinary beauty and assets, is out of the reach of so many. For those who have the means to breathe its rarefied air, San Luis Obispo is a happy place. But what about the rest of us?
Health law benefits
Dealing with individual health insurance coverage can be a daunting task. Each year, we assess our few options and make decisions.
For the first time in 20 years of having individual insurance coverage, we were pleasantly surprised. Because of the health care reform law, we were able to reduce our monthly expense by $212, eliminate lifetime dollar maximums, reduce our per office visit expense by $10 and have 100 percent paid coverage on many preventive procedures including immunizations and mammograms. The only drawback was an increased $1,000 per year deductible.
It was our choice to keep our old program or choose a new plan complaint with federal law. Our choice was easy, we chose the new federally-compliant plan.
In our case, government regulation has its benefits.
John and Kay Semon
San Luis Obispo
In the recent letter to the editor titled, “Rest stops” (Feb. 3), I could not help but notice the inconsistency in the author’s logic. First, he states, “A few construction companies must be happy,” and in the same sentence he states the funds should have been “given to Californians and their businesses.” What’s the difference? Basically, this is the same logic conservatives employ in attacking anything they disagree with and, as usual, their logic is full of holes.
Another issue is that California depends a great deal upon tourism. As a tourist, wouldn’t you expect clean and sanitary rest stops along our superhighways? Tourism stimulates local economies and creates jobs for the employees of the happy construction companies.
Plaudits for nonprofit
Central Coast Funds for Children, a nonprofit corporation, is to be applauded for its dedication to fundraising and for providing grants to organizations that benefit children in need within San Luis Obispo County.
This past year, they awarded 28 grants totaling $76,000, putting them over the $1 million mark in overall donations. This total has been accumulating since their incorporation in 1994, and that translates into a lot of fundraising!
The Morro Bay Community Foundation was once again fortunate to be a recipient of a $3,000 grant. The funds from this grant will be used to provide scholarships for needy youth in Morro Bay, Cayucos and Los Osos, allowing the youth to participate in programs provided by the Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department.
I encourage you to attend one of Central Coast Funds for Children’s nine exciting fundraising events happening in 2011. It’s an impressive list that can be found on their website. Thank you, Central Coast Funds for Children!
Morro Bay Community Foundation
My family and I went to an afternoon movie in Arroyo Grande recently. To my horror, just after leaving the theater, I realized that my brooch (which my 83-year-old mom gave me) was no longer fastened on the outside of my jacket.
I ran back into the theater to look for it and retraced my steps, and people joined in helping me look. Someone said to ask for a flashlight.
I ran frantically to someone who I thought might have one. While he was looking, I asked someone behind the popcorn stand if they had a lost and found because I lost my brooch.
She gave me a warm smile and asked me to come to her office. She said, “Is this it?” Immediately, tears came to my eyes.
Apparently, some very kind woman found my brooch in the ladies room and handed it in. How wonderful, how heart warming, that honesty still exists in our modern times.
I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to this stranger. This random act of kindness made me feel like an angel was watching over me. I hope this wonderful woman reads this letter. Thank you for being you.
San Luis Obispo
What about rabbits?
So many times I have read about someone’s concern for many of God’s creatures who are (or should be) on the endangered species list. There is concern for the snowy plover, the giant kangaroo rat, the woodpecker, the polar bear and various sea mammals.
When was the last time anyone saw what used to be the most common sight for anyone traveling the roads in California — the jackrabbit or the cottontail?
Since 2001, I have been spending all my summers in the Pismo Beach area, so I do a lot of driving to and from the Porterville area visiting loved ones. It has been many moons since I saw a rabbit cross the road.
I think it is time for the powers that be to start showing some concern for the old jackrabbit and cottontail. There has been an increase of coyotes, so maybe we should open season on that wily rascal and let the jackrabbit and cottontail begin to flourish again.
As a homeowner in Pismo Beach who is temporarily located out of town, I am amused to read the story about the state of downtown Pismo Beach (“Residents offer visions for downtown Pismo,” Jan. 25).
Is that all there is to improve in Pismo Beach’s downtown? Past mayor and current City Council member Mary Ann Reiss should be really concerned that such complaints of downtown Pismo Beach still linger.
Sidewalks, though a serious problem, are less of an immediate concern in comparison to the looming danger of losing the bluffs.
Again and again since 1996, this Pismo Beach homeowner has pointed out the need to get rid of the so-called restrooms on the pier. The pier itself needs immediate renovation. Finally, execute plans immediately so that not even a trickle of water drops down to the base of bluffs in any part of Pismo.
Unless this is done, there will be no Pismo Beach, let alone a downtown.
Brahama D. Sharma
Recently, I had just finished a leisurely lunch on the Morro Bay marina and was standing at the water’s edge, admiring the view. It was a balmy afternoon. The sky was cloudless and the water placid.
Suddenly, the serenity of the setting was shattered by three gunshots. I watched as a panicked flock of ducks rose above the hill of the small peninsula that forms the marina and flew to the safety of a nearby eucalyptus grove.
My reverie had turned to anger and repulsion. I could only hope the hunter was a poor shot. While I had always been opposed to hunting waterfowl in the peaceful waters of the bay, being an eyewitness made me want to become a crusader.
How ironic that a benign Sunday turned violent should occur just days after the bird festival, which brought together lovers of nature to celebrate the avian species of our estuary.
Perhaps there should have been a National Rifle Association convention held simultaneously. I have begun to think that perhaps the powers that be in the city should remove the label “bird sanctuary” from Morro Bay.
I read in the newspaper almost daily about lucrative public employee pensions in either articles, opinion pieces or letters to the editor.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) reports 81 percent of CalPERS retirees receive an annual retirement benefit of $36,000 or less a year. Is a monthly payment of $3,000 before taxes and insurance deductions lucrative? After many years of state service? I think not.
Yes, there are some who get huge pensions, but they are the exception, not the rule.
San Luis Obispo
Poor word choice
In the opinion of this reader, The Tribune made a very poor choice of language in its recent headline describing public employee pensions as “eating” a tenth of the county budget (Feb. 10).
This reeks of a biased and ham-handed effort to inflame public opinion on what the outcome of the current negotiations should be. The strident language certainly does little to inform a responsible discussion.
More balanced and responsible coverage by Bob Cuddy might have mentioned that public employee pensions are a contractual obligation of the county to its workers. The obligation is arrived at through fair and open negotiations. Employees make matching contributions from their paychecks throughout their careers.
In this economy, an average $24,000 per year benefit upon retirement can hardly be described as a lavish payout for the years of public service involved. Those modest benefits are earned; they are not a gift of public funds.
What is more, balanced coverage of the issue might have mentioned the enormous value of public employee pension plans in attracting quality employees to county service and in providing incentive to retain experienced employees after the investment of public funds in their training.
Our government is broken and our democracy is in grave danger largely for one reason: The halls of Congress are flooded with money from the Corporatocracy. It is open bribery, plain and simple.
Our Constitution, in plain and simple language, says in Article II, Section 4 that “the president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Notice how bribery is placed next to treason, a crime punishable by death. That’s how our Founding Fathers regarded it. If we forbid the lobbyists from buying votes and started indicting members of Congress who take bribes, we will take a giant step toward cleaning up the corruption in our government.