Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 12/1


Regarding the article titled, “Better times preceded a bitter end” (Nov. 24): 

Both my wife and I were stunned at the death of Mark Lepley, who ended up homeless despite a seemingly deep support system in the county. And not only was Lepley a native, he was fourth-generation.

I am sure many others were genuinely affected by this story, much of which hasn’t yet been told. I hope The Tribune will expand on it. 

I worked with a socialization program assisting the homeless in Pasadena for more than a year, so I know how horrific the stories can be, especially when drug abuse is involved. 

There are some who choose to live on the streets, but many others have lost homes (and are losing them) due to financial setbacks, marital failures, poor relations with landlords, and, of course, scams by bankers during this recession.

There are alternatives to homelessness (even, sometimes, to joblessness) out there. Information can be found at AMortgageAlternative.com that might be valuable to anyone who has a friend or relative who is threatened with losing their home.

William L. Seavey


Spirit of community

This is a letter of thanks to everyone involved in the Straight Down Fall Classic (Firestone Grill, The Kilt, Sunset Honda, BMW of Santa Maria, Rancho Grande Motors, Cole Chrysler Dodge Jeep Mazda and the city of San Luis Obispo)!

This is an event that hits my calendar as soon as I can get the dates. I have never seen a country club and a community embrace an event to give it such a special ambiance. The entire weekend is extremely special and is greatly appreciated by every participant!

I am clearly aware that this event would not be possible without all the fabulous sponsors and volunteers, as well as the San Luis Obispo Country Club and its staff and members. It has made me develop a special feeling about this fabulous community.

I have created many friendships, as well as become a huge fan of San Luis Obispo! It is a very special place, and this event clearly demonstrates the spirit of this unique community. Again, many thanks to everyone involved. I hope to be back in 2011.

Bill Stines

Columbus, Ohio

Why stay illegal?

Regarding The Tribune editorial about upholding AB 540, the law allowing certain illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates to attend California colleges (“Smart tuition ruling affects few illegal immigrants,” Nov. 21):

To be eligible for the tuition break, these immigrants have already been in a California high school for at least three years. The Tribune’s opinion endorses access to the benefits, privileges and utilization of our educational resources. They may be “the best and brightest of these students when they are ready to enter college,” but they are illegal and are consuming slots for eligible students of taxpaying United States citizens.

As such, why shouldn’t the illegal immigrants be required to obtain legal residency or United States citizenship status in order to be considered for this program? They are smart people and should be able to overcome the challenges of becoming legal, law-abiding citizens. 

Where is our right for them to participate and serve the community (like paying taxes, serving on jury duty, etc.) that is so generously serving them?

Paul Provence

Arroyo Grande

Offerings given

On Nov. 21, the Ministerial Association of San Luis Obispo held its 25th annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in San Luis Obispo (it rotates every year to different member churches).

This year, we honored the gratitude embedded in the spiritual traditions of Native Americans, African Americans, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and several Christian denominations. Every year, those who put on the event reflect that this was our best program ever, and, in the six years that I have been involved in the association, we have outdone ourselves with each successive year.

But this time the real story is the gratitude of those who attended. Although it is difficult to estimate their numbers, no more than about 150 people filled the sanctuary. Yet it is easy to recognize their generosity.

We asked for offerings to support three local charities: Loaves and Fishes, the Prado Day Center and the Women’s Shelter. In these times of economic difficulty for so many, the gathered congregation gave so generously that today I am writing checks for $1,000 to each of the three aforementioned charities. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tony Criscuolo

Ministerial Association of San Luis Obispo treasurer

Just a shrug?

Regarding the Los Angeles Times editorial, “Shut up and be scanned,” published in the Nov. 18 Tribune:

The editorial states, “Equally shrug-worthy are the complaints about safety. About half the machines being deployed use X-ray technology that exposes passengers to radiation, yet the amount is so tiny that it’s hard to take seriously as a health risk.”


As a trained nuclear industry radiation-worker I am frequently exposed to sources of radiation, it’s part of the job. But I know the source, the dose rates and the amount of my exposure; it is all shown and recorded by monitoring dosimetry that we are required to wear at all times.

Annually I get a written report from my employer disclosing my exposure. Since the effects of radiation are cumulative over time, will TSA provide the unwitting flying-public with dosimetry, and can passengers now expect to receive an annual report of radiation exposure from the TSA?

Shrug-worthy? Naïve may be a more appropriate word.

Lew Morris

Pismo Beach

Good cops

In response to Shirley Bianchi’s Viewpoint regarding the state of modern-day police work, I agree with Bianchi completely (“Get facts straight about police work,” Nov. 26).

California lags behind the rest of the country in many areas, but not in the quality of our police officers. California’s police officers are better educated, better trained and, not coincidentally, better paid than their colleagues throughout the country. They are worth every penny.

As a 26-year law enforcement officer, I fully understand that statistically, less than 1 percent of the population could do my job and the job of Bianchi’s daughter, who is a local police officer. That’s not braggadocio, simply a statement of fact. Today’s law enforcement officers are required to be equal parts computer technician, psychologist, use-of-force expert, legal expert and public relations representative. Try to find someone with only a high school diploma to fit that bill.

In reality, most of us will go through life never needing the services of our police professionals. But if you do, trust me, you would be fortunate indeed to have an officer with Bianchi’s daughter’s abilities, skills and credentials dispatched to respond to your service call.

Gary Joralemon

Arroyo Grande

Missing something?

Over the last few days, I’ve been reading articles in the newspaper about illegal immigrants. There was one about reduced tuition for illegal immigrants, another from Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado touting the wisdom of the Supreme Court decision to allow reduced tuition for illegal students and yet another one about the burden on taxpayers for public services for illegal immigrants.

I know I’m getting old, but my dictionary says that the word illegal means not legal, unauthorized, unlawful and illegitimate. Am I missing something?

Mike Weston

Arroyo Grande

What was real cost?

I read with interest Thomas Friedman’s commentary (Nov. 19) that contradicted reports stating Obama’s Asia trip cost $200 million a day. That was a pretty suspicious figure, wasn't it? Eagerly I searched for actual figures. If he did not travel with 3,000 people, including Secret Service agents, how many did he travel with?

If he and his entourage did not take up the entire Taj Mahal Hotel, what percentage of the hotel did they take up? What were the actual daily expenses?

Hmmm. No specifics in that long, long two-column article. How can Mr. Friedman make such a challenge without providing the “real” information?

If Bill Clinton spent $5.2 million a day (adjusted for inflation) traveling with 1,300 people to Africa two years ago, then the expense of taking 3,000 people along would be at least $10.5 million a day, which is still a lot of money.

In America’s current financial straits, I can't help but wonder how much money could be saved by examining such expenses, and maybe reducing aid to foreign countries as well.

Joyce Albright

Los Osos

A loss to community

We’d like to thank a member of our community who has spent three years working with remarkable grace, intelligence and dedication for the kids in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District.

During her term on the school board, Kathryn Rogers worked to bring new ideas and fresh approaches to some of the difficulties confronting both students and educators. With a strong focus on student achievement, Rogers is firmly committed in her belief that all students in our district, including the outliers at either end, can do better.

During the recent controversy regarding the book “Kaffir Boy,” Rogers contacted the author directly, brought him to San Luis Obispo and gave a standing-room-only audience the opportunity to hear this man’s remarkable story.

Instead of this book being banned, her actions enabled the community to come together in an experience of shared learning. Her years serving on the music education committee for the San Luis Obispo Symphony brought an important perspective on the value of music and the arts to education.

Rogers lost her bid for re-election by a nose. The loss to our students and community will be far more difficult to measure.

Lynne O’Connor and Ken Rothmuller

San Luis Obispo