Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 2/05

Doesn’t affect them

If you stop to think about why our senators and representatives misrepresent us so regularly, maybe it’s because their decisions don’t affect them.

Take Social Security.

It is in dire need of funding, affects every American and has had funds stolen to “balance the budget,” yet nothing is being done to correct the issue. Why? It doesn’t really affect the senators or the representatives.

Why is it that Republicans want nothing to do with this health care bill and Democrats would pass anything that even resembles a health care plan? Because when it is passed, it won’t affect either party. They have their own health care plan and benefits that we can only dream of having.

Why are our representatives and congressmen not outraged by the bribery and added cost to the health care bill for votes to pass it? Because they know that eventually it will be their turn to belly up to the trough to get their share for some other bill. They are not paying for it.

Do you get the trend here? Until the Senate and the House have to live with what we live with, they will do nothing. Why? Because it doesn’t really affect them.

Dennis Anderson

Avila Beach

Cal Poly’s challenge

Cal Poly has grown more than 100 years to national and international prominence — more than 60 years as a member of the California State University system and 30 years led by President Warren J. Baker. Cal Poly and the San Luis Obispo community should discuss the challenges and opportunities that will face the next president.

The challenge is the lack of state support for the California Master Plan for Higher Education initiated in 1960. The opportunity is to continue the growth of Cal Poly as a nationally and internationally recognized polytechnic university. President Baker has provided the foundation: outstanding faculty, students and staff, Cal Poly Plan, Centennial Capital Campaign, non-state-funded facilities such as the Performing Arts Center and more than 800 industrial and community members of program, center, department, college and university advisory boards.

Cal Poly’s future should not be constrained to being a member of the California State University system. Its historical roots preceded the initiation of the Master Plan, roots based in the San Luis Obispo community. Cal Poly, led by the next president and with the support of its friends and the San Luis Obispo community, can become a state-assisted, privately-funded polytechnic public university.

James G. Harris

Shell Beach

Keep Bill

I am responding to Robert Dickinson’s call to eliminate Bill O’Reilly from your paper (Feb. 1). I hope that you would not reduce the diversity of the news in order to prevent a reader from getting their intestines in a bind. Please keep O’Reilly. If readers can’t stomach opposing viewpoints, then they should limit their consumption of reading material to fiction.

Kathleen M. Ogle

Morro Bay

Ditch Bill

Get rid of the Bill O’Reilly column. He cannot tell the truth about anything and he turns my stomach.

Carla Lubbering

Paso Robles

Lost the seat

I can’t believe we lost the Senate seat in Massachusetts! This is a result of the president and so-called conservative trash like Max Baucus and Bill Nelson and other phony Democrats in the Senate, not to mention sellout representatives giving in to the criminal health insurance companies. Y’all had better get your act in gear or you will be destroying the Democratic Party.

Clark Davis

Los Osos

More stopping tips

Are you trying to get people killed? Why did you print Doug Odom’s letter “How to stop a car” on Feb. 3? If your car suddenly accelerates and you turn off the ignition switch, you will lose your power steering and your power brakes. On some models, you may even activate the steering wheel lock. In the unlikely event your car does accelerate out of control, first shift to neutral, second apply the brakes and stop, third turn off the car.

Shelby Rinck

Los Osos

Modern cars different

This letter is in response to Doug Odom’s letter on Feb. 3, “How to stop a car.” Shutting off the ignition worked great on your dad’s Model A and most cars up through the 1990s, but in the early 2000s, the engine start/stop button ignition was introduced on many vehicles. There is no ignition key, but simply an electronic module that the driver carries in his pocket.

In order to stop the engine, you have to hold the start/stop button down for three to five seconds. The important point here is the three to five seconds. The driver that couldn’t get his car stopped and crashed was in a loaner Lexus and probably wasn’t that familiar with the start/stop ignition system and didn’t realize you can’t just tap the stop button. As far as shifting the car into neutral, that also may not solve your problem. Most of your newer model cars have computer controlled transmissions, which means the transmission shift lever is not physically connected to the transmission but instead is electronic. In that case, sometimes the computer can override the command from the shift lever and actually keep the car in drive.

One’s last resort of course is braking both by the foot pedal and the emergency brake, which works whether the engine is running or not. In this case, the driver was obviously using the brakes, as physical witnesses to the crash said the brakes were on fire before the crash.

Rick Bauer

San Luis Obispo

Editor’s note: Consumer Reports magazine recommends: First, brake hard. Then put the car in neutral. When you come to a stop, turn off the engine. It is also recommended that if all else fails, turn off the engine.