Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 10/12

One more venue

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival has now developed into a countywide festival with the intent of bringing exciting new independent films and filmmakers to the small towns surrounding San Luis Obispo. Besides downtown SLO, we currently have venues in Shell Beach, Avila Beach, Edna Valley, Santa Margarita and, thanks to the loyal support of John Roush, the Park Cinemas in Paso Robles.

We know the City of Atascadero and its residents would love a film festival venue as well, but there is no viable indoor place to screen movies there at the moment. We fully support Roush’s plans for La Plaza Cinemas and hope we can add Atascadero to our growing list of festival venues in the near future.

Wendy Eidson San Luis Obispo International Film Festival

A changing strategy

Regarding, “Obama, Afghanistan” (Oct. 1):

I wish to convey my appreciation to Susan Greenaway’s son for his service in Afghanistan. However, I question her allegation that President Obama has handicapped our troops by attending to other affairs instead of consulting with Gen. McChrystal.

Obama has listened to the general and authorized him to share his findings. It appears that our commander in chief believes that a diversity of views should be considered and that life-and-death decisions about our future long-term course should not be made hastily.

Greenaway may take solace that some of the handicaps previously imposed on our troops in Afghanistan are now being addressed. When the Taliban and al-Qaida were in their death throes in 2002, the Bush administration redirected the required military assets to complete the job to the folly of Iraq.

As a consequence, by the time Obama assumed office, the Taliban had regained territorial control of nearly two-thirds of Afghanistan.

Indeed, in stark contrast to Bush, who ignored or silenced military professionals with differing opinions, Obama has approved a troop increase long denied by the former administration.

Furthermore, in the context of Greenaway’s concerns, it is noteworthy that during the period when our men and women were engaged in two wars, Bush took more vacation time than any modern American president.

William Preston San Luis Obispo

Marijuana myths

Andrew Kenny’s assertion that it’s only a matter of time before marijuana prohibition is repealed is absolutely right (“Legal marijuana is inevitable,” Oct. 1). However, I don’t think this inevitability has as much to do with “cannabis smokers of the 1960s and ’70s ... running the country” as Kenny put it, but rather the stark reality that more than 70 years of marijuana prohibition has failed as public policy.

Kenny is also correct that it would be good to develop standardized impairment tests for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana — not because of any future change in laws, but because its use is already so common today.

But the old-fashioned field sobriety test actually works well to detect marijuana-impaired drivers right now.

Lastly, the assumption that “most marijuana smokers grow their own” is downright false. Just like any other agricultural product, most consumers buy processed marijuana and don’t grow it themselves.

The notion that people would resort to an illegal black market to avoid paying reasonable taxes on legal marijuana is also unfounded.

As an example, tobacco products are very heavily taxed yet there is no significant black market for cigarettes, and the last I checked, not too many people were growing their own tobacco.

F. Aaron Smith Marijuana Policy Project, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Sinking opportunity

Though it burned down in 1913, an elegant 225-foot long hot mineral springs bath house built and operated by the Hotel El Paso de Robles was situated directly over the present day sink hole at 10th and Spring streets until it burned to the ground.

City of Paso Robles officials considering this miracle of nature as waste to be disposed of might better visualize the hideous, fenced-off sink hole as a beautifully landscaped  community gathering place.

It could feature a series of tiered, shallow pools and areas for seating, plus a small computer-operated upside-down fountain or water play area where children of all ages frolic through the healing waters in all kinds of weather.

It’s waste disposal site versus destination experience and tourist dollar draw. The choice is painfully obvious.

Abe Perlstein Los Osos

Education’s problem

Obama’s plan to make the school year and school day longer is not the answer to better education. The difference between American education and that of other countries can be summed up in three words: curriculum, focus and discipline.

The reason other countries do better is because the curriculum is more stringent. There are not a lot of “basket weaving” type classes that students can take just to get enough credits to graduate. Math and science courses are revered.

In other countries, the focus is on education. In America, the focus is more on sports and social activities. More athletic scholarships are handed out than scholastic scholarships. I even heard of someone getting a scholarship for cheerleading.

There is very little, if any, discipline in American schools today. In other countries, parents expect their children to be disciplined in order to do well. In America, schools are afraid to discipline because parents will side with their children (believe me, I speak from the voice of experience) and blame the professional educator rather than correct their own children. Children know this and act accordingly.

Until these areas are addressed and improved, we will continue to fall behind other countries.

Adrian M. Hurtado Cayucos

Victims need support

There have been several news stories focusing on the horrific crimes of rape and incest. Roman Polanski was arrested for the rape of a 13-year-old girl, 30 years later. Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, told Oprah and millions of viewers about the incestuous relationship between her and her father. And Jaycee Dugard was returned to her family after spending 18 years as a captive to Phillip Garrido, a registered sex offender who abducted and held her since the age of 11.

These victims are often lost in the horrific details of the crime. What they have experienced is too terrible to think about, so we turn away; blame the victim; try not to think about it. But these victims have to live with what happened to them. And the more support they experience, the better their chance at recovery.

The Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center is here to support survivors of sexual assault through our 24-hour crisis line, a drop-in support group, and individual and group therapy. We also provide support to friends and family. Please call 805-545-8888 or go online at www.sarpcenter.org.

Jennifer Adams SARP Center

Afraid of Beck?

Since moving here more than five years ago, the first reading I do in the morning is the hilarious, amusing Letters to the Editor from liberals. This puts a smile on my face bigger than the comics.

Lately I’ve gotten a big chuckle from the letters regarding Glenn Beck — how he’s racist, a fear monger, hateful — and pleading with us not to listen to him and get brainwashed. The first question popping into my head is why are they so afraid of this man? Simple. Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and company question decisions made by the current administration (you know, like you did with President Bush), only with a difference. They bring out the truth with facts backing them up.

A hot tip to liberals: conservatives have the ability to listen and tell the difference between truth, jokes and when those two go over the top.

Liberals are also afraid of Beck and Limbaugh because they expose the true agenda of the liberals. Liberals are smart enough to know they cannot tell the public their true agenda, because it would immediately be rejected by the public, thus the constant deception.

Bob Yarnall Paso Robles

A fine young man

We were saddened to hear of the recent death of Scott Espig. We knew Scott for a very short time. He always had a smile on his face, a dog anchored to his red truck and country music playing in the background.

Scott always showed up on time, worked hard and did an excellent job. When problems arose, Scott would jump in without hesitation and stay around until it was all fixed. He had a kind heart and seemed to fully enjoy all the work that he did.

I’m glad we crossed paths, and his parents should be proud to have raised such a fine young man.

Tom and Candy Martin Nipomo