Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 11/7

Safe haven from bullying

On Oct. 8, about 200 concerned people met in a candlelight vigil at Mission Plaza. The topic was the recent suicides of several teen (and pre-teen) youths across our country. The underlying cause was bullying in its many forms, all based on the real or perceived sexual orientation of the teens.

At our vigil, we heard personal stories from several students about how they considered suicide because they saw no other way of getting through the constant harassment and bullying at school (and sometimes home). More than one said that it had taken only one person willing to listen about the issue to help them see a reason to stay alive.

We are fortunate to have supportive organizations for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays can be found at www.pflagcentralcoastchapter.

net, while the Gay and Lesbian Alliance provides support youth programs at www.ccgala.org. The Trevor Project is a national 24/7 hotline at 866-488-7386.

The bottom line is to find someone who can be trusted and communicate your concerns about being bullied. We must make our communities and schools safe for everyone.

Dana Belmonte

Atascadero

Lesson learned on H

The lopsided vote defeating Measure H is a lesson to me and I hope to many like me. Yes on Measure H received fewer votes than the number of people who signed the petition to place it on the ballot, which likely means that some of us fell for that seemingly harmless election plea, “We just want the voters to decide,” or we were horrified that the road would apparently ruin the Damon-Garcia Sports Fields.

After signing the petition, I got the facts and voted “no.” Just putting it on the ballot is not necessarily a democratic gesture. In fact, in the case of Measure H, it was an attempt to repudiate more than 20 years of our local democratic process. It seems the main purpose of Measure H was to give further voice to a disgruntled few.

While some ballot petitions are essential to address egregious lapses in the democratic process, Measure H was not one of them. Next time, I’m checking the facts before signing ballot petitions, and I hope others will do the same.

Deb Spatafore

San Luis Obispo

Thanks for fundraiser

On Oct. 23, there was a benefit at the Los Osos Red Barn that my great friends put on for me. You talk about a crazy, knee-slapping, foot-stomping party.

The benefit was a hillbilly theme, and people really came dressed in character. The support of this community and my friends was overwhelming.

I would like to thank everyone who made this a very unforgettable event. There are no words to describe my appreciation and love for you all. The funds that were raised will really help this journey I am on. It is a wonderful feeling to know that you are all there for me.

Holly Gosnell

Los Osos

Club didn’t lose

Regarding your story on our lawsuit over off-road vehicle use at Oceano Dunes (“Sierra Club loses ruling on county Dunes land,” Oct. 26): While we lost the case, we won quite a lot.

The court didn’t say we were wrong; it said we have to wait. We are appealing because the Local Coastal Plan says this land is a buffer, not a riding area, and California State Parks cannot delay compliance with the Local Coastal Plan forever.

Meanwhile, we shot down the argument that the Local Coastal Plan is merely “county planning rules.” It’s a requirement of state law implementing the California Coastal Act. State Parks tried to argue that the Local Coastal Plan was a local regulation that did not apply to them in a related lawsuit that we won last year.

We also established the inconsistency of allowing off-road vehicles on the county’s land, thereby blocking its sale. State Parks may think it would be “settling the matter permanently by buying the land,” but the Local Coastal Plan applies no matter who owns the land. A sale is unlikely with a legal cloud on the title for a land use in violation of the Local Coastal Plan.

For the full story, Tribune readers can go to http://santalucia.sierraclub.org/lucian/2010/11Nov.pdf.

Andrew Christie

Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club director

Bullying’s dangers

One is too many! Have you been following (hopefully with alarm and anger) the recent news about teen (and preteen) suicides? School is only part of a youth’s day, and usually it is the most important part. We all hope that it is a positive experience that will help lead students to happy and productive lives.

But for many, it is a place of bullies and intimidation. Victims of bullying have visible characteristics in common such as gender, size, race, ethnicity, and physical and mental challenges and characteristics that are invisible, such as religious beliefs, medical concerns or being (perceived as) gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Our schools and communities must make it a priority to provide a safe environment for all of our youths. Bullying cannot be seen as, “They’re just being boys.” Previously, tormented kids could find a safe haven at home, but with current technology, “cyber-bullying” can go on 24/7. No one should have to worry about personal safety.

We on the Central Coast are not immune to bullying — it takes place in our schools. Please work with educational professionals to provide a safe environment for all of our students.

Steven M. Click

California Retired Teachers Association Division 23 president

Déjà vu all over again

California must be No. 1 in recycling. We even recycle our governors!

John Kepler

San Luis Obispo

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