Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 10/26

Sarmiento missed

Graciela Sarmiento was my friend, my doctor, my role model. Her compassion for people was obvious the first time I met her.

I lost my insurance because of a work-related injury. Sarmiento treated me with acupuncture for free because it was the only option to relieve my pain. Not only was she a doctor, she was also the best acupuncturist I have ever been to.

Sarmiento volunteered her time treating the homeless, the poor, recovering drug addicts and the uninsured because she loved helping people.

Community Health Center, where Sarmiento worked, was building a new wing onto her office because she had so many people who wanted her for a doctor.

Sarmiento was raised in Peru and always greeted me with her lovely accent, “Hello, my darling.” There will be many grieving people in this community for a long time.

My life is better for having known her. I will miss her warmth, her love and her presence for the rest of my life.

My heart goes out to her family and the other members of that flight and their families.

My hope is that I will meet her again and hear the lovely voice that says. “Hello, my darling.”

Rachel Shoemaker

Arroyo Grande

Exciting opera

I think one of the most exciting things that has happened with Opera San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Arts is getting a contract with the Metropolitan Opera Company to broadcast 12 live, high-definition video productions at the Performing Arts Center.

I recently saw “Das Rheingold,” and although Wagner is not my favorite composer, I was mesmerized by the fantastic set, singing, acting and music.

What I don’t understand is why there has not been more support for this project. I would have expected at least one feature cover article in Ticket, but all I see is Cal Poly Arts’ paid advertisement.

Twenty-five dollars per ticket for any seat in the house, including parking and box office fee, is an amazing price and certainly doesn’t cover all the costs. The company is still looking for underwriters for specific operas to help with expenses.

I urge everyone, even people who say they don’t like opera, to at least try one production. The next one is called “Don Pasquale,” a comedy by Donizetti. How can you go wrong for such a price? Give it a try. You won’t regret it.

Caroline Gmelin

Los Osos

A fresh vision

Over the past several weeks, a good number of Cambrians have asked for my input regarding the upcoming election for the Cambria Community Services District.

My response has been to support the two candidates who, I believe, will bring a fresh and much-needed vision for the future of Cambria. I believe Harry Farmer and Valerie Bentz will seriously look at fiscal waste, resolve our crumbling infrastructure and take a good, hard look at the choice of a fiscally sound, environmentally responsible alternate source of water for our town.

Farmer and Bentz will represent the needs of our town, and in so doing, keep Cambria, a jewel of the Central Coast, the way so many of us want it to remain. Support Farmer and Bentz in their campaign to make a real difference to our wonderful town.

Tina Dickason


Change dynamics

I have attended nearly all Templeton Unified School District school board meetings over the last five-plus years, providing comment and direction from the public podium. I think I have gained insight into the history of the current board members and perspective of board dynamics as a whole.

While the last year has seen extraordinary events at the Templeton Unified School District school board meetings, my belief is that those extraordinary events are merely symptomatic of the pervasive dysfunction that has taken root within the board.

The dynamics and make-up of the school board need to be changed. Personal issues and shady dealings need to be done away with so that the real job of supporting public education in Templeton can be addressed.

The new board will have the responsibility, among other tasks, of hiring the new district superintendent, which in turn sets the stage for the future of our schools. “We the people” have a chance to turn the current tone of the board around and create a climate of respect, support and excellence in our school district.

I urge you to join the parent organization, Templeton Eagles-Parent Endorsed, and the Templeton Teachers Association in voting for candidates Nelson Yamagata and Lisa Hammond for the Templeton school board.

Greg O’Sullivan


Energy & commitment

I’m writing to offer my strong endorsement for Atascadero City Council candidates Tom O’Malley and Brian Sturtevant, as well as Joe Modica for city treasurer. Together, these three have the energy and commitment to build and sustain a common-sense governing coalition. Their steady hands will guide the city through these turbulent times.

For sure, we are losing a valuable progressive voice on the City Council with the departure of Ellen Beraud and she will not be replaced. But as mainstream conservatives, I trust Sturtevant and O’Malley will take my opinions seriously, approach their jobs with humility and search for broadly acceptable solutions.

Under the leadership of Wade McKinney and Jim Lewis, our city staff has been nationally recognized for exemplary performance and Modica deserves some of that credit.

Unlike their opponents, O’Malley, Sturtevant and Modica have the right political temperament and creative spirit to move the city forward. They are dedicated to crafting policy that we can all support, and for that reason, they deserve your support.

Michael Latner


Proven experience

I have followed the campaign for sheriff of San Luis Obispo County with interest. After all, the financial responsibility of the Sheriff’s Department will fall on all taxpayers of this county, whether we receive their services directly or indirectly. This makes it doubly important that our choice has experience in financial management, as does Joe Cortez.

There is always a crush for each candidate to tout his supporters and list those associations that back them for the election. I think we should all pay close attention to these groups because “we are known by the company we keep.”

We all know that our local governments are in a financial state that decrees that there be tight fiscal responsibility and reform in the way that our tax dollars are spent. There must soon come a time when the sheriff and the representative unions will have to sit down together and reassess the impossible pension obligations the county now experiences.

Cortez, through his experience as police chief of Pismo Beach, has broad management and proven fiscal experience. I support Joe Cortez for sheriff and hope that you will consider him for your vote.

Carol Roberts

Grover Beach

Educator and leader

On behalf of the Lucia Mar Unified Teachers Association, we endorse Mark Millis for school board.

Millis unequivocally meets the requirements for this position. He is a seasoned civic leader with a proven ability to set policy while being responsive to the community. His 18 years on the Arroyo Grande City Council, including as mayor, provide him with a deep appreciation for the community and the way decisions are best made.

Equally important, Millis thoroughly understands the public school system. A retired teacher with more than 30 years experience teaching government at Arroyo Grande High School, Millis worked side-by-side with students, parents, teachers and administrators.

This experience is invaluable to a school board that oversees the county’s largest school district. It seems not only reasonable, but essential, that at least one of the board’s seven members have hands-on experience as a teacher. We are fortunate to have a candidate with experience as an educator as well as in civic leadership.

Finally, Millis is a good listener and a genuinely nice guy. He raised a family in the area and is now enjoying retirement. We appreciate his dedication to our community by offering his candidacy for school board.

Sharon and Steve Scudder, Angie King, Shawna Quintana, Traci Cajas, Kathy Mihlhauser, Leila Johnson, Debbie and Randy Huhn, and Joan Scicchitano

A special interest

On Nov. 2, the citizens of Atascadero have the opportunity to select their next City Council members to serve them for four years. I’m supporting Chuck Ward to be one of those people.

Since being appointed to the Planning Commission from a pool of 10 applicants, Ward has proved that he is a compassionate person who truly does have a special interest for Atascadero and all of its citizens.

After two tumultuous years of city government, prior to Ward’s appointment, he was a fresh new look for Atascadero. I’ve observed Ward’s participation on the Planning Commission and I’m impressed by his thorough knowledge of the issues, his fairness to the applicants and, most of all, his independence. In fact, we have voted opposite on a couple of occasions.

Ward will bring a wealth of knowledge to help deal with the tough financial times that are ahead of us. And above all, Ward is a true American, having assisted with the construction of the Veterans Memorial and the Purple Heart Trail projects, only because he cares.

For “A better Atascadero,” I urge you to vote for Chuck Ward, as he stands out far and above to be your independent representative on the Atascadero City Council.

Bob Kelley



If you’re interested in electing an extremist, right-wing, uber-conservative lawyer to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, look no further than South County candidate Mike Zimmerman.

According to information published in The Tribune (“Battle of conservatives in S. County,” Oct. 10), Zimmerman apparently does not believe in modern scientific methodology as he does not believe in evolution by natural selection, does not believe in human-caused global warming and does not believe in the conclusions drawn from a carefully done scientific study of the causes of degraded Nipomo Mesa air quality.

But he believes in offshore oil drilling and guns too, that’s for certain. He even assures us in his voter information statement that he is a supporter of the Second Amendment. Of course, we are left to wonder if he believes in the other 26.

So voters who favored Jim Guthrie in the primary election find themselves in the classic catch-22 situation and, to prevent an even worse outcome, must hold their noses and vote Paul Teixeira for supervisor. Some choice!

Will Power

Arroyo Grande

Think of Lincoln

In response to Kem Weber’s letter to the editor (“Character qualities,” Oct. 22): When Weber wrote that Mike Zimmerman was a twice-failed candidate and thought it was part of his nature/character, may I remind the writer that Abraham Lincoln ran for office many times before he was elected. So he was a multi-failed candidate, one could say, before he proved himself as one of the most beloved politicians as our 16th president.

I’d like to point out other similarities by noting that Lincoln was a farm boy, as is Zimmerman, and they both became attorneys. How ironic is that. I don’t want to take this too far, but think about it.

I should add that when I’ve attended functions where Zimmerman was present, he always seemed to exude quiet confidence and never was one to glad-hand potential voters — a charming trait that I appreciated in the hubbub of this election season.

Nancy Watson

Pismo Beach

Serve all

Betty Winholtz is not only a businessperson in this community, she is also a professional educator who is service-oriented. She also has good general business knowledge.

We need a mayor who will serve all the people of Morro Bay and do so professionally in manner and appearance. She researches all issues, truly listens to other points of view and makes decisions accordingly. She treats all people with respect and genuinely cares about their concerns.

Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. The same outdated Hawaiian shirt worn by Bill Yates is not professional and a signal to me that Yates is still thinking of another time and place. The message he sends with his Hawaiian shirts is that he would rather be in Hawaii on vacation than in Morro Bay. Morro Bay is not Hawaii.

As for making proper business decisions, how about the untimely and costly purchase of the Brannigan’s property and the old skating rink he had such grand plans for? His past record as a steward of the city’s budget has been bad.

Winholtz has demonstrated that she has the intelligence and good judgment to be mayor.

Betty Wenger

Morro Bay

Right for the job

I ask your readers to join me in voting for Ian Parkinson for sheriff. The Sheriff’s Department needs someone with Ian’s interpersonal skills and political acumen. He will bring his enthusiasm, communication skills, law enforcement professionalism and leadership to the position.

Capt. Parkinson, as second in command of the largest police force in the county, manages more personnel, a larger budget and operations than the other candidate did in his entire career. He is a visionary leader and was the lead facilitator of the San Luis Obispo SWAT. He consolidated six different municipalities in the county into one well-trained team. He displayed a collaborative management style and technical expertise.

Please go on line to www.parkinson4sheriff.com to learn more about his plans to implement change. Note the long list of endorsements Ian has received from other leading law enforcement officers, elected representatives and citizens county-wide who believe he is the right man for this job.

Ian Parkinson is in the prime of his law enforcement career and our county will only benefit from having him lead the Sheriff’s Department.

Dee Lacey

Paso Robles