Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 3/18

Toyota troubles

It appears that Toyota is facing a common engineering problem that is the inability to deterministically reproduce, within a controlled setting, an intermittent error. Complex systems such as those for vehicles are compartmentalized into subsystems, each with a core team. All subsystem functions, interfaces and testing scenarios are well-known to that team.

However, the interaction with other subsystems may not be well understood. Creating integration testing scripts between subsystems is difficult because it involves communication between different groups, as well as with outside vendors who may have proprietary designs not open for review.

The continual influx of electronics into vehicle control systems leads to bigger and tighter bundles of unshielded wires. This increases the probability of electromagnetic interference between these subsystems via the unwanted coupling of signals from one to the other.

Electromagnetic compatibility is the study of unintentional electromagnetic coupling, and I hope Toyota has considered this possibility. Wouldn’t it be great if other auto manufacturers who might be able to shed some light on Toyota’s issues stepped up to help diagnose and solve the problem? I also think that Republicans and Democrats should work together to solve problems — so you can see I live in fantasy land.

Timothy John Peters

San Luis Obispo


I recently received a letter in the mail from the census telling me nothing more than that in a week, I’d be getting a letter in the mail. Boy, our government sure knows how to work efficiently and cost effectively when doing a census.

So should I trust that even though the details are not clear or adding up right now, we should let the government take over even more American industries and that they will be more cost effective than private industry?

I think setting a better example of cost efficiency in areas they control now might be the first step in building trust.

Greg Steinberger

Arroyo Grande

Change the system

We had been lifelong registered Democrats, but we re-registered to vote as Green party. Others we know have re-registered as unaffiliated. Why? The Democratic party does not care about the people because they are not passing a single-payer public option and instead are helping the pharmaceutical and health insurance corporations continue to steal from and kill us.

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss ... we won’t get fooled again.”

The Supreme Court consistently defines “money as free speech” so there is no campaign finance reform that will work, ever. So, to change the corrupt, corporatist-owned two-party system, the only viable current option is instant run-off voting.

Sharon Friedmann

Arroyo Grande

AT&T’s position

I would like to correct misinformation contained in the viewpoint, “Driving while distracted is deadly,” (March 13).

Any loss of life is a tragedy, and our sympathy goes out to the entire Okerblom family.

However, to set the record straight, AT&T has been a staunch supporter of legislation that prohibits distracted driving, including no texting while driving. In addition, prior to the new hands-free legislation becoming law in California, the company produced public service announcements and conducted major media campaigns to educate the public on the importance of not being distracted while driving.

Further, AT&T just launched a major national campaign entitled “It Can Wait” that focuses on the tragic realities of texting while driving, shared from the perspective of surviving family members and friends who point out that no text message is worth a life.

We want everyone to use our products and services, or those of our competitors, safely. We look forward to continuing our efforts in this important area.

Mike Silacci

AT&T External Affairs, San Luis Obispo

Theaters unneeded

I continue to hear about the possibility of the City of Atascadero building two movie theaters right across from each other. I think this is very unnecessary. Instead, the town should focus on bringing in other business (preferably from local sources) and entertaining its teenagers.

Providing alternative forms of entertainment, such as a bowling alley, might help to revitalize the Atascadero downtown area. Also, if the movie theater made the price of movies $5 instead of $10, it would bring in much more business from the junior and high school students.

Creating different jobs for the town, versus two competing theaters, will help the entire community.

Tyler Ingersoll


Day of excess

Yesterday, by 10:30 a.m., already all the bars were full, the college kids were out in force and all were drinking. As I sat in the packed restaurant, the sounds of shouting drowned out my own attempted conversation and a young lady was already drunk and retching in the restaurant trash can. This is the state of our town on St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day has become one thing and one thing only: an excuse to drink. Now, I will be the first to admit as a 27-year-old man, I do not do such, and many people tonight will not. But it is those who do that cause me concern.

Our police force was already mobilized out there and they have a long, arduous night ahead of them. Our tax dollars and our local community pays for what others do tonight. Lest I remind you of Mardi Gras, Poly Royal, etc?

If our beloved city could learn anything from these situations, they would know that there always remains a potential for disaster. It doesn’t have to be so though. Maybe it’s time for that alcohol surcharge tax we’ve been hearing about? Maybe it’s time that we find a way to better prepare our city, to keep ourselves and these kids safe. I am sure St. Patrick would approve.

William Johnston

San Luis Obispo


Something is severely wrong with the report about the Assembly money race (“The money race is on among candidates for local offices,” Feb. 22). Why is Matt Kokkonen not listed at the top, even though he raised the most money in the six month time period by a long shot?

The Tribune made a big deal about Katcho Achadjian having raised more money than Etta Waterfield during the last half of the year. But Kokkonen, a fiscally conservative financial planner, raised more than both of them put together in only the last two months and beat them handily. Yet The Tribune basically ignored him and only made a passing reference to his results.

I am very upset about this kind of favoritism and bias. It is not proper reporting. Even if you do not like Kokkonen’s fiscal philosophy, your reporting should be objective and accurate, not an early endorsement of liberals.

Amanda Stearns

Shell Beach

Parole problem

As a law enforcement professional for 36 years, I take exception to The Tribune’s position on early prisoner release (“Reducing the inmate population,” Feb. 18). I agree that allowing early release to the elderly and infirm can be an effective way to ease overcrowding without significantly affecting community safety. Beyond that however, things become a little more complicated.

My concern is the notion that low-risk offenders will be released on nonrevocable parole, meaning they will no longer be under parole supervision and must be prosecuted for new violations rather than simply being returned to prison for parole violations.

The Arroyo Grande Police Department recently uncovered a large burglary ring that led to the recovery of more than 800 stolen items. This case was discovered when an alert officer investigated a parolee’s minor parole violation. The same is true for the recent discovery of a large counterfeiting ring operating out of Oceano. Again, it was a minor parole violation that led to cracking the case.

Without the threat of being sent back to prison for a parole violation, there is little inducement for parolee suspects to cooperate with the police. Sadly, it is our law-abiding citizens that will pay for this folly.

Joe Cortez

Pismo Beach

A wine idea

On a recent trip to South Carolina, I found myself eating at a four-star restaurant that was packed. I noticed that many of the tables had two or three bottles of wine going at the same time and so I asked the waiter if they had a sale going on.

He told me that the owner provides lockers for his clients and the customer stocks his locker with his own wine. There was no corkage fee, just the monthly bill for the locker.

I thought this was a great idea, more wine sales, constant income for the restaurant owner and happy, loyal customers. I am not sure if it’s legal in California, but it might be something to consider.

Thomas Mills

Paso Robles

No-clue Pitts

Regarding Leonard Pitts Jr.’s commentary, “On race and the tea party, on American fear and pity,” Feb 28:

Pitts, and his inability to accept that millions of Americans do not agree with the policies of President Barack Obama and his party, is the epitome of eastern media bias and their irrelevance to the national discussion on the future of America. His article represents the intellectual bankruptcy of the extreme left, who always draw the conclusion that “it must be racism” if people have legitimate policy differences with the administration.

I spoke at three of the tea parties in San Luis Obispo County last year. The people who attended were frustrated with an unresponsive political system that was putting the nation and their families at long-term financial risk. The tea party attendees observed a Congress that disdained them and refused to listen to them even though a million marched on Washington, D.C., last summer.

Pitts calls us racist because he hasn’t got a clue. The first time I voted for an African-American for president was in 2000; his name was Alan Keyes and his opponent was George Bush. The left scorns Keyes because it has to, as the very existence of prominent, conservative African-Americans is an indictment of every premise of the American left about America and its people.

Al Fonzi


Particulate issue

Surely, the Public Health Department has the clout to protect Nipomo Mesa residents from particulate pollution caused by Oceano Dunes off-roaders. This is not an issue to be debated by off-roaders or politicians because it falls into the realm of public health. A recent Tribune editorial summed it up: public health trumps recreation (Dec. 13).

As a Nipomo Mesa resident, I don’t want my property value to decrease as a result of pollution, but if it does, so does the county’s tax revenue. It seems likely that the lost tax revenue from Nipomo Mesa would exceed any revenue generated by the Dunes.

More importantly, the costs to treat lung disease are astronomical, not to mention human suffering and potential lawsuits.

Ann Brooks

Arroyo Grande

Vote conscience

What a mess the two predominant political parties have made of our government.

Unfortunately, it’s all about power, not who is the most qualified candidate. It’s time for the silent majority (the independent, nonaffiliated voters) to speak up and elect representatives without a party agenda. Republicans and Democrats, don’t let a political party tell you how to vote, vote your conscience! Try to send the right people to Washington.

Tom Hulbert

Pismo Beach