Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 1/22

New spending priority

There has been much discussion about the economic downturn. Businesses are failing, nonprofit organizations cannot meet their goals, government agencies are scaling back services and families are having difficulty paying bills.

My hope for the future is that people will begin to connect the dots. According to the National Priorities Project, an organization that tracks federal spending, $915 billion has been spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

Our share of that cost in California is $115 billion, and here in the city of San Luis Obispo, it adds up to $101 million.

Imagine the good that could be done in our local communities if that money was available for health care, police and fire protection, library services, mental health and veterans care, homeless services, improving infrastructure and education.

Dwight Eisenhower said it well: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Our wars are costing us dearly. When we support war, military spending takes away from our needs at home. It’s time to connect the dots.

George Griffin

San Luis Obispo

Right is out of ideas

The columnist Victor Davis Hanson and his ilk are either stupid or think the American public is (“From conservative felonies to liberal misdemeanors,” Jan. 15). To equate Trent Lott’s comment that he wished an avowed segregationist had been elected president so we wouldn’t have had these “troubles” (i.e. equal rights) with Harry Reid’s comment that the American public was more likely to accept an African-American candidate who was light-skinned and well-spoken is deceptive nonsense.

One must presume that Hanson is trying to stir up debate on this issue because the right-wing is totally out of any constructive ideas.

Fortunately, Leonard Pitts Jr.’s column on the same day, same topic, provided the logic and coherent analysis missing from Hanson’s (“Reid used wrong language but got it right,” Jan. 15).

Rick Derevan


More jobs needed

Regarding the “upset” in Massachusetts: I believe the election of Scott Brown was not the result of the pending health care legislation (“Republican win in Massachusetts jolts Democrats,” Jan. 20).

The problems facing the people of Massachusetts and the country in general can be traced to one word — jobs. President Barack Obama has utterly failed to stem the flow of job losses in the U.S.A., which has resulted in record levels of unemployment.

I compare him to a doctor treating a broken leg (lack of health care) while the patient is bleeding to death (unemployment). Unless the bleeding is staunched, the patient will die. I hope the president can hear me. We need jobs now, and there are no excuses for failing in this regard.

Robert Matano


Train trip too long

I thought I’d take the train on a leisurely trip between Grover Beach and San Francisco, leave the car at home and have a nice weekend in the city without worrying about city traffic or parking. Ha!

Amtrak’s online reservations proposed putting me on a bus from Grover Beach to Hanford, then catching the train from Hanford to Stockton and finally a three-hour bus ride from Stockton to San Francisco, a nine-hour trip total. The return would only be eight and a half hours, but still require two bus rides and two transfers.

I thought this was just an online glitch, but the real person answering for Amtrak confirmed there is no train service, even if I left from San Luis Obispo.

Since when did Amtrak become a bus company? And when does bullet train service begin?

Steve Key

Pismo Beach

Activist judges

Parts of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform have just been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Activist Republican judges legislating from the bench have ruled corporations are people, have constitutional rights and can contribute an unlimited amount of money to political campaigns.

I am expecting the usual conservative contributors to this newspaper’s opinion and letters page to express outrage regarding the court’s ruling; after all they constantly cry about “activist judges legislating from the bench.”

I predict the silence on their part will be deafening.

Joe Hugh