In his March 1 letter warning of the perils of socialism, Republican Randall Jordan’s choice of Venezuela as an example is a good one. After a series of economic shocks and attempted coups in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, the people of Venezuela, a democracy, elected Hugo Chavez to lead their country. President Chavez instituted a series of reforms beginning with appointing federal judges sympathetic to his party and limiting freedom of the press.
A compliant congress supported his actions, culminating in a Constitutional Assembly that rewrote the constitution allowing the president unprecedented powers. After Chavez gained control of both the judicial and congressional branches of government, Venezuela essentially became a dictatorship.
Note that this took place in a democracy with a democratically elected leader and a compliant congress.
If this all sounds slightly familiar, it is. I suspect President Trump might wish to establish an oligarchy led by the absurdly rich, rather than a socialist state. Socialism, with its emphasis on redistributing wealth in ways that benefit the majority of the populace and the country as a whole is definitely not in our future!
Michael Morin, Los Osos
Why I go to the polls
Casting my vote in person is a moving, visual reminder of my participation in our democracy. I have even taken my children to the voting booth to remind them of the importance of voting.
I typically vote in the morning so I can proudly wear my “I voted” sticker throughout the day. This is something you cannot get when voting by mail.
When my mother moved to an assisted living facility at the age of 97, I found dozens of “I voted” stickers on the back of her bedroom door. Voting in person was important to her, even if she had to use her walker to get herself to the polling place.
Please retain some, if not all, of the local polling places so that we can continue to feel proud of our participation.
Susan Polk, San Luis Obispo
Yes to Oso Flaco entrance
At a Feb.11 meeting on the public works plan for Pismo State Beach and Oceano State Vehicular Recreation Area we were informed a boardwalk for Oceano Beach is one of the projects included. This boardwalk will extend from Grand Avenue all the way to Pier Avenue. The public works plan also includes an alternate entrance by Oso Flaco and 250 new campsites by Oso Flaco.
Currently Pier Avenue is burdened with being the main entrance for off-road vehicles, causing heavy traffic and accumulation of sand on Pier Avenue. The alternate entrance would help relieve some of the heavy traffic and sand. Hopefully, in the near future, we can amend this public works plan so that it closes off the Pier Avenue entrance and gives Oceano a vehicle-free section of beach.
A vehicle-free safe beach and a redeveloped Pier Avenue with nice places to eat and shop are vital for an attractive image and the economic growth of Oceano Beach.This new boardwalk will help enhance Oceano Beach and help us on our way to becoming the gem of the Central Coast.
Allene Villa, Oceano
Ed Bogusch writes on Feb. 17: “I thought it might be fun to imagine interviewing a hypothetical young person (YP)”
In this fantasy, the YP is portrayed as having the political savvy of a third grader. Way to make yourself seem scholarly, Ed!
Ed’s kryptonite, like many of his myopic conservative friends, is labeled socialism. What they are trembling about is a Stalinistic vision of iron-fisted government control, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The value of democratic socialism in terms of health care is reflected in the vast gulf in results compared to our wonky capitalistic system: In a 2015 comparison to 34 other developed nations, the US ranked 29th in infant mortality and 26th in life expectancy, yet paid the highest percentage of gross domestic product: 16.9 percent. We can’t fix this without a rebuild. Single payer, and the resulting disintermediation of insurance companies, is the best first step. Controlling drug prices, the next.
It is said that “Socialism only works until the rich run out of money.” I reply to that myth by saying: “Capitalism doesn’t work unless some one is victimized.”
Allen Root, San Luis Obispo