Size and scope
The Tribune ran a story Tuesday regarding the the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District and its projected budget shortfall. To begin with, I thought air pollution control came under the direct aegis of the county government. Why is it a separate district? Does that not increase cost of operation?
The article went on to say that the organization had 24 employees. What do all of those people do relative to pollution control? With a budget of $4.4 million, reportedly most of which goes toward salaries and benefits, it would appear that the air pollution control district is a very good place, from a dollar point of view, to work.
I’m sure some important work is done by many of those fine people, but I question the size and scope of their charter relative to lean and efficient government.
San Luis Obispo
Don’t move to amend
Jeff Hellman (“Reclaim government,” letters, May 18) must not have read the Citizens United decision. Otherwise, he would not have repeated the same blatant mistake President Barack Obama made in his 2010 State of the Union speech that triggered Judge Samuel Alito’s reaction, “Not true.” The Citizens United decision dealt with restrictions on “independent expenditures” by corporations, unions and other organizations.
The decision expressly did not eliminate the prohibition on foreign corporations getting involved in American politics. The court stated on Page 46: “We need not reach the question whether the Government has a compelling interest in preventing foreign individuals or associations from influencing our Nation’s political process. Cf. 2 U. S. C. §441e (contribution and expenditure ban applied to ‘foreign national(s)’).”
The rationale in the Citizens United case is expressed best by Justice Antonin Scalia in his concurring opinion: “(T)he individual person’s right to speak includes the right to speak in association with other individual persons.”
The amendment proposed at www.moveto amend.org , on the other hand, would virtually eliminate political free speech by anyone but the “press” and open the door to a totalitarian state.
College and jobs
I am compelled to comment on F. Stewart Thomson’s letter published May 21, in which he asserts that college is not for training to get a good job.
Mr. Thomson is correct that many students are attending college to pursue degrees in philosophy, ethnic studies and similar degrees that will never result in employment. These degrees that will not result in employment should only be offered in non-tax-supported universities. Taxpayers should not be forced to finance this waste of resources.
Does Mr. Thomson think that our international competitors such as China, Korea and India educate their students in subjects that will not result in jobs that will contribute to their economy and competitiveness in the world market?
Good work at Lopez
On April 28, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined with other community organizations for a day service to benefit Lopez Lake Recreation Area. Besides the donation of money and supplies at more than $10,000, about 400 members of the LDS Church and Arroyo Grande in Bloom showed up in the morning to paint, clear trails and fire pits, build fences and clear beaches.
More than 1,500 hours of volunteer work were completed in just one morning. Because of budget cuts, the recreation area has had many projects neglected for several years.
All the supplies were donated by generous local companies. Thank you to Jeff Brough of Brough Construction, United Rental, Ken Pinio of CalPortland, Richard Lawrence Trucking, Brisco Lumber and private donors for your dedication to improving our community.
Santa Maria Stake President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Fearing for the city
In response to all the letters supporting Jamie Irons, Christine Johnson and Noah Smukler in the Morro Bay election:
I see that Betty Winholtz sent out a postcard touting these three candidates and chastising the current council for spending tax dollars to keep the sewer plant where it is.
While a City Council member, Winholtz and her cronies unsuccessfully sued the state over improvements to Morro Bay State Park to the tune of nearly a million tax dollars and drove Duke Energy out of town at the cost of a million-plus dollars a year in income to the city. And she blames the current council for the current monetary problems.
One of her candidates has no experience governing, one has limited time as a Planning Commission member, and one is acurrent council member who is aligned with environmental groups.
I wonder who will be making the decision if all three are elected. The current council works very well as Noah presents a good environmental argument most of the time and has been known to use common sense. The others, I’m afraid, will fall to the will of the Winholtz group and destroy the city.
Sometimes saying thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough.
Garden House has been in operation for the past 12 years in Morro Bay. To my knowledge, we are the only assisted living facility in the state that raises funds so we are able to subsidize room and board rates for our residents. In all of that time, Neil Farrell with his humorous editorials and Dave Congalton with his “Hometown Radio” show have been supporters when we planned a fundraising function.
Last week, we had a very successful Dinner & Bunco Party in Morro Bay at The Lodge that was generously sponsored by Jim and Nancy Dougherty.
Special thanks to Dave Congalton, Judy Salamacha, Cal Poly Sigma Kappa Sorority, Morro Bay Quota Club, Morro Bay Seniors, Los Osos-Baywood Kiwanis and all of the wonderful table sponsors and merchants who donated items to help our event be successful.
Current board works
Vague generalizations from the candidates seeking to replace Supervisors Jim Patterson and Adam Hill are unconvincing. Where’s the beef? Does Ms. Debbie Arnold really believe Patterson is responsible for the current unemployment rate? And that banning plastic bags drove Scolari’s out of business, as suggested by a recent op-ed? Where’s the proof?
I have friends on all sides of the political spectrum. Despite our differences, we want our supervisors working together to address important local issues.
It is possible that, if elected, these candidates may be more moderate and less divisive than their campaign rhetoric, but as candidates, both Debbie Arnold and Ed Waage have tacked to the extreme, embracing ideology over discourse.
They parrot talking points, as though the word “overregulation,” repeated mantra-like, will magically solve problems, despite competing land-use priorities and dwindling resources. They want to eliminate “smart growth,” but what alternatives do they propose? Unfettered growth? How’s a voter to know which specific services they will cut as they slash budgets?
Unlike campaigning, governing requires more than rhetoric. Our current board works well together, with collegiality among all five supervisors, and minimum ideological rigidity. Do we really want our board to resemble our dysfunctional Congress, with gridlock replacing government?