Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 12/20

A real candidate

One of my all-time favorite Republican elected officials is Paso Robles City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Fred Strong.

As a member of the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee for the City of Paso Robles, I worked with the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority and San Luis Obispo Council of Governments board members.

Of all the board members, I feel Strong has worked the hardest for San Luis Obispo County’s interests. Strong is running for the 33rd Assembly District seat, but in my opinion, he should run for governor because his background and education would no doubt bring California out of its present economic slump. His knowledge of water issues would help farmers and environmentalists alike.

Please visit his narrative Web site, www.fredstrong.com/Bio/narrative.html, to view his stunning life credentials.

It is time for Californians to begin electing officials with adequate college degrees and political experience to high key offices and to reject candidates who are college drop-outs or who have no prior political experience.

Sheila Baker

Paso Robles

Kennedy’s communion

As a Catholic who opposes abortion, I also oppose the denial of Holy Communion enforced on Rep. Patrick Kennedy by Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin (Kennedy says his bishop has denied him communion, Nov. 23).

Kennedy’s uncle, John, delivered a speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960 when Protestant voters questioned his faith. He said:

“I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish ... where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials.”

What Tobin chooses to forget is that Kennedy represents his constituents and not his bishop. Tobin has the power to bar Kennedy, but in doing so, he’s resorted to the kind of ecclesiastical extortion that more properly belongs to the 11th century.

I would love to see Kennedy involved in an abortion-alternative organization like Alpha.

I would love a quieter bishop who would use that blessed time to study and reflect.

Hierarchies and republican democracies don’t mix. Since the 11th century, there have been a couple of new developments.

One of them is the airplane, another the Enlightenment. You may have forgotten, especially if your miter is a bit too tight.

Jim Gregory

Arroyo Grande

Comforting decision

On behalf of the Beedle family, I would like to commend and thank Colleen Martin and the Lucia Mar Unified School Board of Education for installing automatic external defibrillators in all of the schools in the district (Lucia Mar prepares to save lives, Dec. 4).

It brings us much comfort knowing that Richard’s heart attack, illness and death inspired the board to take this action. Undoubtedly, many lives will be saved because of their decision. Our hope is that other school districts in our area and throughout California will follow the example of the Lucia Mar Unified School District.

Mary Beedle

Arroyo Grande

Wide world of Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart’s submission of plans for a “smaller” store in Atascadero (still the size of two football fields plus) is a step in the right direction (Wal-Mart submits scaled-down plans, Dec. 10). Apparently, Wal-Mart realized that a smaller store can be profitable and sustainable. But the proposed project is still the wrong size.

Al Norman of www.sprawl-busters.com said Wal-Mart has told Wall Street analysts that it is now comfortable with the idea of building 70,000-square-foot superstores, which are less costly and more efficient for the company to maintain.

Shrinking the new proposal down to this smaller footprint would minimize traffic, air pollution and other environmental impacts and reduce the economic and community impacts on Atascadero.

However, changing the size doesn’t change corporate policies.

These policies and impacts, because of which 10 to 32 percent of people will not be shopping at a Wal-Mart of any size, are still in place: unsavory business practices, labor and environmental law violations, coercion, intimidation and unfair labor practices aimed at blocking union representation, low wages and poor benefits and the driving force behind the massive loss of American manufacturing jobs and of locally owned small businesses across America.

Tom Comar


Vineyard doing fine

On Dec. 3, The Tribune published a Biz Buzz item saying that Salisbury Vineyards LLC (one of our four companies) had filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection (Avila vintner seeks protection, Dec. 3). Since that time, many customers have wondered whether we will remain open for business. The answer is absolutely yes, because this action is a real estate issue and has nothing to do with our wine business.

The filing, a special type of reorganization that allows family farms and fishermen to operate under court protection while creditors are paid off, applies only to Salisbury Vineyards LLC, which owns the 113 acres surrounding Bassi Ranch Estates in Avila Valley.

Salisbury Vineyards LLC operates completely separate from Salisbury Vineyards Inc., our successful core business that handles all of our winemaking and wine sales and farms 65 percent of the 80 acres of wine grapes that we grow. The Schoolhouse tasting room and Salisbury Fine Art Gallery also operate separately and are doing well.

Salisbury Vineyards LLC bought the property in question, one of our four vineyards, last January from the previous owner who decided he wanted to sell to a partner. To protect our water rights and sizable cash investment in the 28 acres of wine grapes we planted, we reluctantly exercised our right of first refusal in our long-term lease and purchased the property using short-term financing. While in the process of setting up long-term financing, we discovered that we needed just a little more time. This was not granted, so we filed for protection under this particular statute. We have a good plan to pay creditors within a reasonably short time. Our family has been farming in California for 160 years and we had to take steps to protect this special piece of land for our future generations.

The Salisbury and Rucks families

San Luis Obispo

Lost my respect

To the people of San Luis Obispo:

I offer a “mitigated declaration” for my inappropriate behavior during a recent City Council meeting. I acted out of frustration in regard to the Laguna Lake dredging issue.

Our City Council members have made up their minds to ignore me. I am very mad about the neglect of Laguna Lake. I went so far as to run for City Council. I got 1,500 votes, thank you.

How about the council agenda? A business item regarding the Laguna Lake dredging environmental document resulted in a recommendation to adopt a resolution approving a mitigated negative declaration. No matter what the citizens want, the staff will recommend a negative finding.

Right before our eyes, we are being used as contributors to neglect. History will show that we, the citizens of San Luis Obispo, neglected a lake that was a great treasure right in our backyard.

We are being socially engineered with ambiguous words meant to confuse. That is why good citizens shy from the strain on the brain at the ballot box. Mitigate negative declaration, wow.

Again, I’m sorry, I confess. I have lost respect for our current City Council.

Arnold Ruiz

San Luis Obispo

This is who cares

A lot has been said in The Tribune’s editorial section about what a conservative or a liberal thinks, most of it a biased opinion. Conservatives are often portrayed as not compassionate to the needy. However, a commentary that ran in The Tribune by Nicholas D. Kristof discussed a difference between liberals and conservatives that was shown by research (Dems not so liberal with their donations, Dec. 24, 2008).

Arthur Brooks cited studies in his book, “Who Really Cares,” that showed conservatives donate 30 percent more to charity than liberals. He was so surprised by his study that he reran it and collected new data, with the same result. A similar study by Google found an even greater disproportion, with conservatives donating nearly double (in both dollars and percentage of income).

Brooks further reported that conservatives also volunteer more time and donate blood more often than liberals. Seems that both sides want something to be done for those in need. The difference may be in whether they are willing to put themselves into it or if they demand that big government does it.

Greg Steinberger

Arroyo Grande