Pay out of whack
When I first ran for City Council, binding arbitration for police and firefighters was on the ballot.
In my candidate’s interview with the unions, I said I did not support it. I did not then, or ever, receive their endorsements.
I support unions, labor and collective bargaining. Police and firefighters protect the health, safety and welfare of our community, as do teachers, nurses and the people who pick up our garbage. They all deserve our respect and gratitude.
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I do not support one group of employees putting themselves above all others who provide multiple services to our citizens. Binding arbitration did just that.
The city has five bargaining units. Binding arbitration applies to only the Police Officers Association (POA) and the Firefighters Association. When the POA came to the table with an unheard of 71 issues, it was clearly an attempt to drive the negotiations to an impasse. It worked.
What the Oakland lawyer awarded the POA was completely out of whack with the pay scale of the other city employee contracts. The award undermined the fundamental effort to maintain fairness and equity among employees.
We must not let this happen again. Please vote yes on Measure B.
San Luis Obispo
Not a fear tactic
This letter is in response to Naoma Wright in regard to her support of Measures A and B (Tribune, July 15).
The statement that “people will die” if Measure B passes is entirely possible and not a fear tactic. Let me explain: if Measure B passes, the city will have full power to cut staffing. That means there won’t be enough firefighters and would force the closure of at least one station in your city. That means the response time to a life and death emergency will be dramatically impacted.
A longer response time means your chances of surviving that emergency go down. That is not a lie, that is a reality.
As far as Measure A, pension reform, the firefighters are not opposed to pension reform. In fact, during their last contract negotiations with the city, they wanted to increase their contributions. But guess what, the city said no. All but one member of the City Council, including the mayor, solicited and received the endorsement of the fire department for election because these people gave their word they would not try to repeal binding arbitration.
Do you really want people that go back on their word to have total control over your safety? I don’t. Vote NO on Measure B.
San Luis Obispo
When the city of Morro Bay, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, the San Luis Obispo County Health Commission, the city of Grover Beach and the city of Arroyo Grande took formal action to urge the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to provide consumers with an opt-out from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) wireless SmartMeter program, many of us were relieved.
We had been fighting for this option to protect our privacy, security, health and property. By our local governments joining 40-plus other cities and counties in California resisting mandatory installation, the CPUC directed PG&E to come up with an opt-out option, which PG&E did.
As it stands now, the CPUC is considering PG&E’s proposed opt-out plan and will provide consumers with final opt-out plan in the near future.
In the meantime, PG&E agreed (4/26/11) to honor customers’ requests to not install a SmartMeter until the opt-out option is final. Call PG&E to refuse installation, and get a confirmation number. If PG&E installs despite your refusal, and you encounter problems maintaining your old (analog) meter, contact the CPUC to complain.
Also, post a note to installers on your front door and your utility meters (electric, gas and water) that read, “Do not install SmartMeters, homeowner is pursuing legal CPUC opt-out.”
Taxes and jobs
The Republican mantra always rails against “job-killing taxes.” Turn that around; examine tax policies which neither kill jobs nor create them.
First: During President Bush’s years, huge tax breaks destroyed the surplus and resulted in job losses, in spite of two wars and huge deficits. President Obama insisted those war costs be in the budget.
Second: Hedge fund managers, essentially day-traders, have bonuses/pay taxed as long-term capital gains. State employees rarely/never receive “bonuses.” If they do, it’s taxed as salary, not long-term capital gains.
Third: Tax breaks that actually create new jobs certainly are deserved. But why does big business get a break for moving jobs or creating new ones outside the U.S.?
In summary: Cut the tax breaks that do not create jobs, increase tax rates on net earnings above 2 or 3 million bucks a year, don’t spend government money on foreign goods and — to our two state “representatives” — explain why you did not trust your constituents to vote on tax increases.
Ralph A. Jacobson
San Luis Obispo
Stand up on water
In the July 2011 issue of the Paso Robles Magazine, Jim App said the water rates proposed in 2007 were “virtually identical to those recently adopted.” After all the citizens of Paso Robles have been through with the water rates, I’m glad to say the 2007 plan is nothing like the rates adopted in 2011.
With the 2007 plan, our seniors would have been paying $85 per month, even if they used no water. The current rates cover the cost of the water treatment plant. The 2007 plan didn’t.
“Pay as you go” cut $40 million in finance charges. Now, Mr. App wants to add financing back in.
Only because of thousands of Paso Robles citizens stood up and insisted on a better rate system, and on cutting back spending, did we get to the current rates. Millions and millions of dollars were cut, plan after plan.
Since our elected representatives won’t stand up for us, let’s tell Jim App we will not stand for millions to be added to the $120 million that Nacimiento water is already costing us!
What’s so terrible?
I overheard a conversation at the gym the other day. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but we were in close proximity to one another. I wish I had spoken up, but my proper upbringing didn’t allow me to cut in.
One woman was telling another about her recent trip to Texas. She commented that she could never live there, because it’s so “conservative” and that the people are “prejudiced.” When the second woman replied, “They can’t all be that way,” the first woman backtracked and said, “There are signs on marquees at fast food chains that say, ‘Pray for Grandma Jane’ or ‘Congratulations, Terry. God Bless!’ It’s ridiculous!” She was really disgusted.
What I’d like to ask her now is: What’s so terrible about that? What’s wrong with community? What’s so appalling about people practicing their faith in love?
I find it funny when I hear self-proclaimed liberals preach tolerance, then turn around and bash a segment of the population who is trying to live out what they say they believe.
Food for thought.
Keep eye out for Lyme
What a painfully accurate article by Bill Morem. I have been suffering with “undiagnosed” Lyme for 40 years. I have been diagnosed with everything from rheumatoid arthritis to chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disease, fibromyalgia and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), when all along it was Lyme! I am infuriated by the ignorance that exists in the medical community. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to Lyme!
Who would have ever thought that a small little tick that crawled into my ear canal when I was 10 years old in Arizona could cause so much physical suffering and financial burden? Please take every word of this wonderful article seriously and watch your loved ones like a hawk.
If you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia or you just feel crummy all the time, see a Lyme-literate physician and get accurate testing to rule out this epidemic bacterial illness.
If you have been to doctor after doctor, had test after test and feel nothing but broke, it is up to you to educate yourself and rule out Lyme disease.