Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 7/21

Efficient homes

This is from the EnergySavvy website: The average home in the United States wastes about 30 percent more energy than an efficient one does. The amount of energy wasted per year by 75,000 of those homes equals the energy content of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The current cost to clean up the Gulf oil spill is $40 billion. The cost to retrofit 75,000 homes for energy efficiency is $1 billion.

San Luis Obispo County has about 90,000 homes, so by improving just the efficiency in the homes in our county, we could offset the BP Gulf of Mexico catastrophe. Additionally, for years into the future, those homes will continue to reap the benefits of lower energy bills, greater comfort and improved air quality for the occupants. 

I know that the local economy, especially the construction companies, could use a shot in the arm. What better way for us to help that economy while at the same time improving our homes’ efficiency and helping end our addiction to oil?   

Troy Spindler

San Luis Obispo

Skewed priorities

Thank you Leonard Pitts Jr. for your column titled, “For the future: Who was LeBron James (July 16)? Everyone I have talked to also thought the LeBron James saga to be absolutely ridiculous. I have said for years, decades actually, that Americans have their priorities screwed up. The largest contract for a professional athlete that I am aware of could pay the salaries for 6,300 teachers for an entire year! 

I have not attended a professional sporting event in many years because of the insanity of it all. When I graduated from high school almost 50 years ago, I tried out for the Dodgers. I did so well they asked me to join their organization. There were no bonuses, free agents or any of that stuff. 

There was loyalty to the team and the fans. Players played because they loved the game. The starting salary that everyone got was, as I recall, just less that $18,000. Not bad for the time, but I was the first one in my family to have a chance to go to college and that is what I did. 

Rick Tibben


Check sources

I was surprised by Dane Howell’s letter quoting Christina Romer’s 2007 study about the negative effects of tax changes on gross domestic product so as to rebut Shirley Bianchi’s Viewpoint supporting targeted tax increases (“Taxes’ effects,” July 16). 

So I read Romer’s 68-page study. I find that Howell cherry-picked the conclusions of the study to support his ideological contention that raising taxes lowers economic output. Not necessarily.

It depends on the circumstances. 

To quote from the study: “Finally, we find suggestive evidence that tax increases to reduce an inherited budget deficit do not have the large output costs associated with other exogenous tax increases.  This is consistent with the idea that deficit-driven tax increases may have important expansionary effects through expectations and long-term interest rates, or through confidence.” 

Well, well. Isn’t this exactly the situation America finds itself in now? This is yet another example that behooves the reader not to take the word of the letter writer but to check original sources for themselves before drawing conclusions that can be taken to the bank. 

Dan O’Grady


Not so good

I am terribly afraid that I may do something dreadful the next time I hear a well-meaning cashier say at the conclusion of a sale, the ubiquitous phrase, “Have a good one!” It has gotten so bad that I want to scream, “Have a good one WHAT?!” 

The sentence deserves a noun, not an adjective, as in, “Have a nice day” or “Have a nice frankfurter.” But, for goodness sake, say something. Give it the noun it deserves!

And how ubiquitous, everywhere, is the phrase used?  Yesterday, I concluded a flight reservation with United Airlines. United’s reservations are serviced by employees in India. At the end of the conversation, the reservationist said (and I swear this is true) in almost perfect English, “Have a nice one.” Oh, my!

There is no doubt in my mind that given the communication vehicles we enjoy today, the phrase will migrate to China. And at that point, upon reaching China’s billion-plus people, all will be lost.All I can say, when that happens, is “Great, have a good one.”

Francis X. Dennen

San Luis Obispo

Some truisms

Dane Howell (“Taxes’ effects,” July 16) rightly points out that a Demo-crat had the nerve to admit that cutting taxes helps the economy grow. Were running a government successfully as simple as embracing this single truism.

I submit that running a government as complex as ours in times as difficult as these requires recognizing the existence of more than one truism. Here are four more to consider:

One, if you don’t educate your children, they will make less money, contribute less to society’s coffers and we’ll all be the less for it. Education, to be fair, must be supported by tax dollars.

Two, research and development should focus on more than the manu-facturing of weapons. Tax dollars must be used to make our nation competitive with the Chinese and the Europeans. The alternative is to become a technological backwater.

Three, to rebuild a sick, oil-dependent economy, we must invest tax dollars in renewable energy. This will have two benefits: it will grow jobs and it will combat global carbon dioxide levels, which are now dangerously high.

Four, if we keep cranking up the military budgets, we will run out of money.

Tea party-like simplifications do not solve long-term problems that require complex solutions.

Tom Neuhaus

San Luis Obispo

We’ve been burgled

The letter that appeared on July 2 by Charlie Lawrence, “Time to wake up,” is one of the best I have read in a long time. It was especially poignant on the eve of July 4 when our patriotism was at its peak.

I find it very difficult to be proud or patriotic considering the condition we have brought upon ourselves by electing presidents and representatives who have undermined our economic protections over the years.

Beginning with Ronald Reagan, the controls on banks and corporations were underfunded or eliminated. This had the same effect that seriously reducing our police forces would have on the incidence of burglaries.

We have been burgled.

The laws have been changed, however, to make it legal and that is the part that our legislators have played. Restrictions on media ownership have been abolished so most of the major media are now owned by a very few people with common interests. So now, the news you get, if any, is what these few owners want you to know.

John Maxwell Gault

Los Osos

Sliding scale

To raise revenue, the state needs to create a sliding scale for punishment (fines and costs) like we have for income taxes. The more you make, the more you pay. It should be progressive.

Take for instance, the average costs of a driving under the influence offense. If the average worker makes $40 thousand a year, then DUI fines and court costs could total more than 12 percent of your yearly income. Why not make the cost across the economic spectrum progressive?

By definition, a fine is a penalty for an offense. Our Constitution guarantees equal justice. How can someone making $500,000 dollars feel as punished as the average worker when their total costs equal less than 1 percent of their annual income?

I am not an economic analyst or accountant, but I can forecast a major improvement in our state budget with such a change in payments for bad behavior. We don’t need new taxes. We need a program that raises revenue progressively among everyone in the state when they break the rules.

D.C. Harris

Paso Robles

Destructive animal

I commend the out-of-state letter writer for seeing what is right in front of our own faces (“Destructive vehicles,” July 16). I am one who agrees the dunes should be a preserve and not a race track for ATVs. Man is by far the most destructive animal to date.

If the real reason we are here is to watch over the Earth, we are doing a lousy job of it. BP and other corporations are the biggest perpetrators of environmental imbalances because of bottom-line greed. If world leaders don’t get control of these international corporations and regulate them, we are doomed.

What will it take for us to wake up and smell the pollution? It pains me to see small businesses dropping off the map because companies like BP, Exxon and other big oil companies go unregulated worldwide. Of course, some regulations exist, but not with enough power behind them to make them effective enough.

I commend a few groups for going after the big companies, but they can’t be effective without backing from people and government support.

Raymond C. Porter

Paso Robles