Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 7/26

Get serious, Tarica

Joe Tarica, in his column titled, “Sierra Club gets all upset about fish” (July 17), argues that it is “fear-mongering” to point out the safety risks of the densely packed spent-fuel pools at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant because Pacific Gas and Electric Co. plans to store some of the radioactive wastes accumulated since 1984 in dry casks.

Contrary to Tarica, the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Court of Appeals take these issues seriously.

Spent fuel must be stored in pools for a minimum of five years to cool down before being moved into casks. The National Academy of Sciences finds that terrorist attacks on spent fuel pools could release large amounts of radioactive materials.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit will hold a hearing Nov. 4 regarding the possibility of a terrorist attack on the dry casks at Diablo Canyon.

This lawsuit, filed by the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, contends that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has failed to recognize that a cask could be punctured and its contents ignited, allowing radioactive cesium to contaminate a large area downwind. The resulting damage to public health and the environment would be catastrophic.

Jane Swanson

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace

Shame on Congress

An open letter to Congress: What good are you? I’m sorry, but I don’t see you doing anything at all for us, absolutely nothing to help anyone but the rich people of the United States. Our country has been completely and irreparably corrupted, especially during the eight long years of President George W. Bush, and you can’t do one thing to help us?

And Mr. Democrat, please don’t take this the wrong way, but you and your colleagues are accomplishing absolutely zilch, nada, zero, nothing. You hold the majority in both the House and the Senate, yet you let a few loudmouthed shills for the rich and powerful run our government.

The bills you have passed are so watered-down that they’re like the soup we’ll all be standing in line for. I thought that the majority ruled, but I guess I was wrong. And now that corporations can buy every politician without limit, we don’t even need to bother voting.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves, but the Democrats more than the Republicans because they have the majority! Please, in the next election, just step aside and let someone else have a shot, because they could do no worse. What good are you?

Rex Farris

Grover Beach

Capps is a B.U.M.

I know “throwing the bum out” is a hackneyed political expression, but I thought I would take a different tact and explain what my acronym stands for and how it applies to Congresswoman Lois Capps.

B.U.M. stands for banal, unaware and milquetoast, based on her performance these past 18 months. Certainly banal is a perfect description of her actions and speak louder than my yawn.

Remember when she so wholeheartedly supported the health care bill, the one they promised would reduce health care costs? Maybe Capps was unaware that just the opposite would take place, because starting January 2011, my health care cost will go up an extra $100 a month. Way to look out after the middle class, congresswoman.

Lastly, I view my congresswoman as a milquetoast based on her presence at a San Luis Obispo town hall meeting regarding the aforementioned health care bill, where she had a sergeant-at-arms filtering the questions, thereby guaranteeing softball ones. Beyond that, she also had two other panelists to deflect any heat away from her — thus, the milquetoast.

If you want a boring, oblivious, cowardly representative, vote Capps back in for nth time, and let’s keep getting the same old runaround.

A.B. Solomon


Don’t vote Whitman

I am a registered Democrat. In more than 60 years, I have missed very few elections. I feel it is a privilege and duty to vote. I was seriously considering voting for Meg Whitman. How refreshing! A woman and a noncareer politician. Maybe she could fix California.

Thank goodness the truth came out. For 28 years, Whitman was “too busy” to vote. Maybe her polling place was too far away or she didn’t have a stamp to mail in her absentee ballot. Shame on those who may vote for her. Shame on Whitman.

June Grandfield

Arroyo Grande


Recently, as I was taking out my curbside waste barrel, I noticed the Obama for President sticker I had placed on the lid two years ago. It brought back memories of when I felt hope. That morning, I had just read the article titled, “U.S. nuclear spending may increase as weapons decrease” (July 15). Oh, the Orwellian sound! Today, I feel betrayal and disillusionment.

As far as President Barack Obama’s war/nuclear weapon policies go, I refer to Father Daniel Berrigan, a legendary peace activist.

When asked to sum up his feelings about war/nuclear proliferation, he said, “The only message I have to the world is: We are not allowed to kill innocent people. We are not allowed to be complicit in murder. We are not allowed to be silent while preparations for mass murder proceed in our name, with our money, secretly.

“... Our plight is very primitive from a Christian point of view. We are back to where we started. Thou shalt not kill; we are not allowed to kill. Everything today comes down to that — everything.”

It begs the question, especially from Christians, can you live with that?

Craig Kelso

Paso Robles

Blocking legislation

With regard to extending unemployment payments, Gilbert Zepeda (“Not the answer,” July 22) asks: “How can the minority block any proposed legislation in the House of Representatives?” Actually, Republican representatives can’t block easily and rarely do. The bill to extend unemployment benefits passed in the House of Representatives 272-152, with 31 Republicans joining the majority.

For Zepeda’s information, this bill was delayed in the Senate, where archaic rules allow a single senator to block any appointment, and 60 votes are required to stop debate. That is why the bill took so long to pass.

The so-called “minority” of 41 Republican senators has blocked and delayed almost all the bills that President Barack Obama has proposed in spite of extensive concessions from the Democrats. For example, the recent finance bill lacked several meaningful controls.

Zepeda also decries deficit spending, suggesting huge budget cuts and tax breaks as the solution.

I would suggest a tax increase of 1 percent for people earning more than $500,000, because that was a key part of the solution for the deficit in California in the early 1990s.

For my vote, I would never trust a politician who thinks we can really eliminate deficits purely through spending cuts.

Ralph A. Jacobson

San Luis Obispo

What will fill void?

Tea party members want more freedom, less taxes and smaller government.

A return to an earlier America where “rugged individualism” and “free enterprise” made for a simple life with few restrictions on a citizen’s choices.

They believe that this can be achieved by cutting taxes, rolling back government regulation and weakening or eliminating government-run social programs that were developed as a reaction to the Great Depression.

This rosy vision of an earlier America ignores the boom and recession cycles that increased in frequency and severity until the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The reality is that our society, overall economy, financial and industrial systems have all become increasingly complex. Everything and everyone is now interdependent. Additionally, huge corporations have become extremely powerful worldwide organizations with the ability to affect our daily lives.

Tea party goals fit in nicely with corporate goals: tax cuts, less government regulation and privatization of Social Security and Medicare.

If you roll back the authority and functions of our government, then the resulting void will not be filled with more individual freedoms. It will be filled with more power and influence for the mega-corporations and result in less individual freedoms.

Tony Aycock

Grover Beach