I just wanted to write to say how much I appreciate Nicholas Kristof’s columns. He writes about world problems that I think many people, especially myself, are not even aware of, and the efforts made by individuals and groups that try to alleviate them. Keep up the good work.
Pat M. Berger
Affront to Summers
While I can’t really speak for the man, I’m almost certain that the late R.W. Summers would take exception to his characterization in The Tribune as a “grave robber” (“Collective effort brings back bones to SLO County,” May 12). In fact, The Tribune once referred to him as “our local scientist.” This from an article in the paper dated Nov. 26, 1883.
The Rev. Robert W. Summers was a local archeologist and naturalist of some repute. His wife, Lucia, was also a “local scientist” of some stature, as many of her botanical samples were purchased by and became the basis of University of California’s Herbarium.
Summers was the founding Episcopal priest of our local St. Stephens, as well as the founding priest of two churches in Washington and Oregon.
A keen collector of archaeological and ethnographic material, Summers acquired objects and hoped to establish a museum in San Luis Obispo but was prevented by a lack of a suitable building and eventually sold the collection to Selwyn C. Freer, who later donated it, along with his own substantial collection, to the British Museum.
A prominent educator, Summers founded a men’s college in Hannibal, Mo., and San Luis Obispo’s first public library, predating the construction of the Carnegie Library that currently serves as our local history museum.
It may not be politically correct to “honor” Summers removing local Native American artifacts, but to describe the man as a grave robber as a nod to current sensibilities is an affront to his memory.
San Luis Obispo
An A-12 alternative
It is not a question of whether the Arroyo Grande Police Department needs a new facility; it is a question of whether we can afford it. For those not currently counting, the federal debt per person is approximately $50,000, and the California debt is approximately $1,000.
We keep kicking the can down the road, which has now become a 55-gallon drum, and it will finish up being an intolerable burden on our precious children.
If the citizens of Arroyo Grande are really up for providing the Police Department with a new facility, why don’t we pay upfront? Assuming that there are 10,000 household residents in the city precincts, we could pay $700 each, and it would be a done deal. No bond issue with interest would then be passed onto our children through more burdensome taxes.
It is neither here nor there for my wife and me on what happens on June 5 because we will not live long enough to be affected, but we are prepared to make the sacrifice now should the rest of our city residents agree.