Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 4/29

We should decide

Like a lot of people, I am not happy with the way the government is working. I get e-mails all the time from friends complaining about what the government is screwing up now. I got a lot of e-mails about the fact that Congress is exempted from the health care plan.

I agree that if it is good enough for us, it should be good enough for them. The same applies to the old joke about how to fix Medicare. Easy, just make it the health care plan for Congress.

It got me to thinking. We the people should control Congress’ benefit package. We should decide how much they make. We should decide what their health care plan should be. We should decide how their retirement plan should work.

The people should vote on all those things.

I think if we could take away their perks we would get a different kind of representative. We could teach them that they are not all that high and mighty, that they work for us.

Everyone tells me that this is a good idea but I have no idea how to implement it. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

Bill Bright


No beer at movies

Quoting a marginally moral character from a morally questionable film (“Pulp Fiction”) to rationalize the sale of alcohol in a movie theatre shows a glib illogic on the part of The Tribune as well as a careless disregard for the well-being of the community (“Beer at the movies not a bad thing,” April 23). The “aqua vitae” of alcohol is a lie.

M. Power Giacoletti

San Simeon

Fact versus opinion

The rise of fascism is often preceded by populist anger, fuelling the success of the future dictator and founded on the repetition of stereotypes.

Donald Hirt’s claim that thanks to the federal takeover of student loans, leftist college professors will face fewer challengers to their liberal indoctrination, mirrors the current swell in populist anger against liberals and public programs of all stripes (“Socialist control,” April 24). I have been a college professor for 28 years. I would like to assure Hirt that he needn’t worry about liberalism in colleges. On the political dimension, there is quite a bit of diversity on campuses.

Most professors are professionals: they do not use the lectern as a bully pulpit. Administrators do not admit students based on political beliefs. And most students are intelligent enough to be able to separate fact from opinion in their classes. I know that when I let slip the occasional liberal-slanted opinion, I see a few eyes rolling upward.

I hope the readers of Hirt’s diatribe can separate fact from opinion. If you love our country and what we have achieved as a people, you will embrace differences rather than engaging in polemics.

Tom Neuhaus

San Luis Obispo

Pay up for bus

Funding for education is being reduced. The place to cut back is not the teachers and classrooms but the bus system. Charge each student a dollar to get on a school bus. If they do not want to pay, let them walk or let their parents take them. Education is much too important.

Bill Denneen


New columnist?

Are there any columnists who deal with our foreign policy, particularly on Israel’s expansion into Palestinian land? I’ve been reading The Tribune for 20 years and do not recall anyone who defended the rights of the Palestinians. Have I missed someone?

Recently, Charles Krauthammer’s column argued that Israel has tried to get Palestinians to compromise but they are unwilling and too divided (“Israel and the Biden incident,” March 19). President Barack Obama doesn’t under-stand that.

The president is defended, however, by David Remnick in a short piece in the March 29 issue of The New Yorker. He describes the irrational expansionist dream of Israel’s leader and the anti-Semitic assertions of the expansionists against Obama.

Our president is taking on a very important problem that others have found too difficult. We should have a columnist who is as fair-minded and knowledgeable as Remnick in our paper.

Ken Rice


Not that liberal

I freely admit to holding some liberal views. However, accusing The Tribune of being ultra-liberal is akin to believing Cub Scouts are a dangerous paramilitary group.

Logan J. Bertolette

San Luis Obispo

Bike posse

At Oceano Elementary School, we have a bike club called the “Oceano Bike Posse.” We formed this club after our friend, Captain Juan Guerrero (who was injured in Iraq by a roadside bomb and had to have 14 surgeries on his leg), came and talked to our school.

About twice a month, we ride in his honor from Oceano to downtown Arroyo Grande to get ice cream at Doc Burnstein’s, and sometimes we stop at our favorite bike shop, Ira’s, to get some high-quality bike parts.

We want to thank the driving public for their patience and understanding when they encounter us on the street. We know that we are inexperienced riders and sometimes we get a little excited by the freedom of the road.

Our teachers are educating us about the laws and responsibilities of being part of moving traffic.

The bike posse is thankful for the wide space that drivers allow us and the smiles they give us when they pass by.

The Oceano Bike Posse says thank you to all the motorists of the Five Cities who make our ride to honor Captain Guerrero (and get ice cream) a positive experience.

Oceano Bike Posse

Kristi Hall’s fifth-grade class

Blame game over

In response to Victoria Grostick (“Where were they?” April 19):

I will agree that the Bush reign became greatly disappointing on many levels at best. The blame game is over! There were protesters across the country, just less organized and sleeping. As for President Barack Obama’s lowering of taxes and his health care ploy, get ready ... they have served dessert before the main course and people know it just doesn’t feel right.

Today’s protesters make no disguise about their feelings for this president. They represent the best of America and are not apologetic to do so. The events I have attended have been full of energy, excitement and they have been civil. People are engaged and they clearly realize what is at stake.

You cannot spend more than you make.

You cannot place the burden on some and not others.

You cannot give what some have worked and sacrificed a lifetime for to those who have not.

That is what is shameful. How I chose to be generous is a personal choice. When it is taken without permission, it becomes stealing and that my friend is why our numbers are growing. You have just awakened a sleeping grandma! November 2010!

Sherma McElree

Pismo Beach

Value-added tax

Obamacare is now law and the government will have to come up with real money to pay for it. One idea being circulated is a national consumption tax called a value-added tax.

For example, take a 10 percent value-added tax on an auto part. A mining company sells iron ore to a steel company, collecting a 10 percent value-added tax for the government.

The ore is converted to steel and sold to the parts manufacturer with the steel company collecting a 10 percent value-added tax. The steel company subtracts the value-added tax it paid and the difference goes to the government. And so it goes up the chain, with lots of opportunities for mischief.

In contrast, consider a retail sales tax on the auto part to the end user. The 10 percent tax is added to the price of the purchase and shown on the sales slip. A retail sales tax is transparent, simpler and resistant to political manipulation. Guess which tax the politicians and advocates of big government favor?

Go to www.FairTax.org for details about a retail sales tax and how its substitution for the income tax would benefit the nation. One perk is that April 15 would just be another day.

Richard Riggins

Pismo Beach

Keep the trees

This has been a hard year for our trees here on the Central Coast.

We lost four during the storm in January and then had four others removed fearing they could do major damage to our house or our neighbors. This has been repeated by many living here in our beautiful forest.

Then it is reported that nearly 350 eucalyptus trees will be removed near the Santa Rosa Creek (“CCSD plan: Cut 344 eucs, plant native foliage,” April 1). I know they are non-native, but they have created part of our wonderful landscape for more than 100 years and are a stopping place for the monarch butterflies.

Wouldn’t it be better to put crews to work taking out the very invasive pampas grass and Scotch broom covering our roadsides and hills? Why not start planting native trees including the sycamore? As they grow and mature, then begin removing what is undesirable.

My husband and I chose to live here where we are fortunate to have both the ocean and the trees. Please don’t remove the trees.

Nancy Warrick