Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 6/14

Where are priorities?

Mark Buchman’s Viewpoint was right on the money (“State’s treatment of education is infuriating,” May 30)! Where are our national and state priorities?

At the national level, billions are spent on bailouts, on farm subsides and on subsidies to foreign countries. All the while, billions are lost in tax revenues from offshore American companies.

At the state level, Buchman points out once again that California ranks 46 out of 50 on per-pupil spending. He points to waste in spending in areas other than education and, of course, that should be critically looked at before more revenue is once again taken from our schools. 

Beyond that, it’s time to realize that there is no free lunch. Maybe it is time to reinstitute a luxury tax on items such as private yachts, private planes and nonessential gas-guzzlers. 

Herm Neufeld

Arroyo Grande

Photo criticism

The Greek Festival on June 5 and 6 was wonderful and well-attended.

Now tell me why your photographer took the picture from the back of the dancers!

There was no reason to do this other than it was the only photo you could find or you didn’t have anyone covering and you got a photo from someone’s cell phone. Duh!

Josette Farnum

San Luis Obispo

Oil well valves?

When my granddaughter knocks her milk over, I call that a spill. When BP dumps millions of gallons of oil into the ocean, I call that a disaster.

I’ve worked in the gas industry (propane) all my life. We are regulated by the city, the county, the state and the federal government, among others.

We have to install special valves in our systems, whether liquid or vapor, to protect our consumers. One of these valves is called an excess-flow valve. It automatically snaps closed if there is an excess amount of fuel being released, usually because of a broken gas line.

The other is a shutoff valve. A ball valve can be installed that allows unrestricted flow when open, but can be closed with a quarter of a turn.

Now I don’t know if they make these valves big enough for these oil wells, but maybe they should.

Tom Platz

Paso Robles

Rapid response

Recently, there was a water main on Johnson Avenue that burst, causing havoc for French Hospital, local residents and commuters. Being one of those residents, I quickly filled pots and pans, purchased water and filled the tub, imagining I would soon have no water at all.

However, the city of San Luis Obispo Works Department was on the job and worked tirelessly all day, making sure I had water. Amazing how well-prepared they were for such an event.

You think maybe we could lend them to BP? Thanks to all of the city workers. I love living here!

Bob Canepa

San Luis Obispo

Park panhandlers

There is a blemish in the Paso Robles City Park that consists of young people, usually three to six boys and girls of high school age. The girls ask for money, but the boys can be a perceived threat for a man of my age (81), especially when they congregate nearby.

I do not give money and the joy I get out of being in the park is being destroyed. Recently, a girl asked for coins as I was entering my car. When I refused, she said gutter language to me.

She walked back to the boys who, when they heard her tale, gave me the finger with both hands as well as more demonstrative movements. The park abounds with parents, little children and people walking dogs. Who needs beggars? The situation seems to be getting worse.

I’ve been hit up at least four times lately. I love the park, but when a gang gathers and lingers nearby, I get nervous and start making plans to call for help if need be. I’ve never been physically abused, but the feeling is discomforting. Hopefully something can be done to allow me and others, especially the elderly, to enjoy the park without being uncomfortably disturbed.

Ken Ramey

Paso Robles

Lazy reporting

Regarding The Tribune’s recent story about the Destination Imagination teams who traveled to the University of Tennessee recently: Whatever happened to the five “W’s” of reporting (County Roundup, June 2)?

By not identifying these kids by name, The Tribune did a gross injustice to the young people involved who worked very hard all year on complex routines; who competed in regional, state and global competitions; and who came home with exceptional placement (one of the teams came home a Global Champion).

A couple of days later, The Tribune produced a sports page about five young women, complete with a very large photograph, all identified and titled, “Five begin drive for state titles” (June 4). Our Destination Imagination kids are already world champions.

Very lazy reporting.

I suggest The Tribune log onto the Destination Imagination website and educate yourself about this program and next time, please give credit where credit is due.

Suzanne Hughes

Arroyo Grande

Jobs taken

I find it disconcerting that a group of students from Arroyo Grande High School is trying to justify illegal immigration on constitutional grounds (“Students against law,” June 6).

There are an estimated 15 million to 20 million illegal immigrants in the United States. This country is experiencing a high unemployment rate during this economic period. Some people call it the Great Recession.

Currently, California has an unemployment rate greater than 12 percent. The United States Congress has been debating whether to extend unemployment benefits to millions of Americans unemployed for longer than 6 months.

The federal deficit has been an issue during this debate. It is unconscionable that millions of people, here illegally, have taken jobs from Americans. During this economic crisis, how can anyone justify this situation? Some experts say a double-dip recession is a possibility.

Joe A. Fagundes

Morro Bay

All good things

It is true that “all good things must come to an end” and William Johnson’s tenure with Cal Poly is one of those good things (“Maestro’s grand finale,” June 4).

Johnson spent decades leading young musicians for whom music would always be a hobby and never their profession. In addition to teaching us about music, (and marching in straight lines!) he taught us about life, never seeming to mind that many of us would not pick up an instrument after college.

Thank you, Mr J., for the compassion and concern you felt for each of us as young people, for furthering our appreciation of music in all its forms and for the lessons that guide so many of us in our myriad communities across the nation.

May your retirement be all that you have dreamed of.

Lisa L. Peterson (Wheeler)

Nolan County, Texas

Costly nightmare

The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the worst environmental disasters in the world.

Our senators must act to reduce America’s dependence on oil and other polluting fuels.

This man-made nightmare is costing the United States millions of jobs, lost income and is threatening our shores and ocean ecology.

It’s time to end our oil addiction so we can increase our security, economy and reduce the possibility of future oil catastrophes.

Beyond the damages inflicted from events like the BP oil spill, “big oil” continues to pollute the world as a major contributor to global climate change. If this continues, it will cause irreversible damage to our planet.

Climate change causes extreme weather patterns like droughts, floods, increased numbers of severe storms and rising sea levels. The effects of these conditions are devastating to communities worldwide.

President Barack Obama noted this week that the Gulf oil spill is heartbreaking and makes the passage of climate change legislation ever more urgent. The United States Senate must pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation now, because we can’t afford any delays to safeguard our environment, economy and national security from further harm.

Please write to your senators to support this legislation.

Peggy Sharpe

San Luis Obispo

Dunes inaction

Let’s see if I have this straight.

Vehicle traffic in the Oceano Dunes has destroyed a natural crust that keeps tiny silica particles from blowing into inhabited areas in large quantities.

When these particles are breathed in, they remain in the lungs and cause serious problems, some leading to death.

The Board of Supervisors is bound by law to protect the health and safety of citizens.

A process of banning vehicle use in the dunes, together with replanting native plants, would allow Mother Nature to rebuild the protective crust.

Board inaction can result in ongoing health problems for everything that breathes in the areas downwind of the dunes. And, unbelievably, inaction is exactly what is going on in the face of this immediate threat.

I urge the Board of Supervisors to immediately exercise its authority to ban vehicles from the dunes and begin a restoration process.Anything less is willfully allowing public health to be seriously damaged.

David Georgi

Shell Beach

Exercise restraint

Institutions like the CSU and the leadership of individuals like President Warren Baker are invaluable in tough times. However, The Tribune editorial (“How will Poly’s next search differ?,” June 4) rightly questions Chancellor Charles Reed’s comment that other public universities in the nation offer up to a “$1 million per year” figure.

This excess should be contrasted with the modest but effective cost-saving measures of Cuesta College’s Interim President Gil Stork (“Deep cuts are likely for Cuesta budget,” June 4).

Competent in-house candidates like Stork are often overlooked in searches for leadership positions, usually because of the perpetual academic reach for increased prestige and proven fundraising ability.

Under financial duress, however, knowledgeable and talented in-house individuals — especially those who grow and thrive with executive challenge — are truly priceless and deserve a chance to perform, if only for an extended interim.

All Cal Poly faculty know individual colleagues of this caliber. Let Chancellor Reed lead this search with competent restraint and not provide another example of the continuing excess that only worsens California’s financial crisis.

Dan Biezad

San Luis Obispo

Help for kittens

Spring brings San Luis Obispo County a torrent of kittens born to the offspring of cats dumped like trash. As they multiply and become noticeable, many people want them to disappear!

Without intervention by rescue groups and individuals, most of these innocent animals would die terrified and persecuted. POUNCE is a group that has responded to calls for help since 1994.

Kittens found hanging from a fence, litters born under the porch, injured or sick animals needing treatment. Thousands of cats were rescued and adopted. The nonadoptable cats now live in a sanctuary.

We are still helping local cats, donations permitting. Donations are urgently needed now more than ever. With the hullabaloo over relocating our non-adoptable San Luis Obispo cats, donations are down dramatically. We have dedicated volunteers fostering kittens, however, it costs more than $100 to prepare a cat for adoption. More if they have an injury or illness.

The few generous vets who discount their services make treatment possible for the many that come to us in pitiful condition. Stop the suffering! Send your donations to POUNCE, P.O. Box 6075, Los Osos, CA 93412-6075. Call 528-2917, 534-1313 or 591-0202 for adoptions. Volunteers are also needed, call 305-2981 or email at pouncecats@att.net.

Julie Olson

POUNCE Cat Rescue of Los Osos