Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 12/22

Citizens’ options

Regarding San Luis Obispo’s 50 top paid public employees:

The Tribune article that states a salary range of $108,000 to $160,394 illustrates the continuous burden placed on city taxpayers by bloated compensation and pension contracts (“Overtime is big in top SLO salaries,” Nov. 7). The salary range increases to $311,420 for 51 employees when the city manager’s base pay plus her other forms of compensation are included.

Notice that a police officer with overtime makes more than everyone except one captain and the chief. Pensions are 81 percent to 90 percent of the final year’s salary.

Is the city headed for bankruptcy? How did we get there? Unions hold city officials hostage by infiltration, demonstrations, endorsements, campaign contributions and the threat of lawsuits. The results are continuously increasing sales taxes, parking fees, documentation fees, fines and new rental property fees.

Some excuses are that “we have to be competitive with neighbors” or “we cannot attract qualified candidates” or “we cannot retain employees.” Nonsense. There are too many citizens available for 40 hours per week of entry-level service. The budget gap is finally being addressed by a “fiscal sustainability task force.” For example, pay raises are being postponed.

What can citizens do? Some options are initiatives, referendums, voting booths, recalls and organizing and attending city meetings.

Werner Koch


Smart a priority

It is my understanding that San Luis Obispo County is getting a new sheriff. I would like to see him prioritize the Kristen Smart case. Fourteen years is way too long for parents to wait for some answers and peace of mind.

I really feel there are answers out there and they need to be found and dealt with. You have a huge community commitment to solve this case so now is the time to do it.

Lori Novak

San Diego

Helping to educate

It is heartening that, in a time of staff cuts and declining investigative reporting, The Tribune had the vision and resolve to test local compliance with the Political Reform Act (“In test of access, 6 cities fare well,” Dec. 19).

A functioning, representative democracy requires public access to information about their government and elected officials.

Thank you for helping educate citizens (and local bureaucrats) about the public’s timely right to know about potential financial conflicts of interest among local decision makers.

If you don’t use our freedoms, we lose them. Please keep up the gutsy, relevant reporting.

Geoffrey Land

San Luis Obispo

A secret location

If the government really wants to avoid worldwide embarrassment and keep classified secrets secret, they should keep them in the same place as President Barack Obama’s college transcripts and birth certificate.

David T. Manion


Sex not for politics

Much ado these days about “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Having enlisted more than a half century ago at the age of 17, I feel I need to comment.

Personally, I think we probably have issues of higher national interest than the bedroom sexual habits of a minority of people.

Sex should not be an issue for politics. And as for “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I really don’t have a firm opinion one way or another. The deciding factor should be the effect on the rest of the troops and the ability to accomplish missions.

Unfortunately, advocates and opponents alike are able to come up with “impartial surveys” that support both sides of the issue. So, since there is no way to know the accuracy of these surveys, I think you can just ignore them.

However, the one thing you cannot ignore is your own life experience in the barracks. I can’t help but wonder how many of the advocates of repeal have ever experienced barracks life and the 20-man shower stalls that are (or were) part of it.

Is it possible that those who have had that experience tend to line up on the side of no repeal, while those favoring repeal can only imagine the experience?

Donald Anderson

Arroyo Grande

State in decline

The residents of California have clearly stated a choice. It is hard for some of us to understand this choice because we read, listen to news, listen to talk radio and think.

We elected a governor who is a profligate spender of public money, even though he rejects the limousine and the mansion. A man who has never in his life had real-life job experience. He has always fed at the public trough.

We live in a beautiful state with vast resources. We are destroying our state by placing a small fish above the feeding of the poor that the Democratic Party is always so concerned about. We want sustainable power, but please don’t disturb the kangaroo rats while you are generating it.

When I was young, people used to take government jobs because, even though the pay was less, long-term benefits and security were assured. Now, the government workers and the union workers who work for the government get higher benefits, earlier retirement and higher pay than people in industry. The only thing they do not have is any way of sustaining that situation.

When the state declares bankruptcy, where will those great pensions be?

Earl Kaplan

Arroyo Grande

Sold down the river

Who says you have to work to be successful? The Republican Party has repeatedly said no to everything for four years and now they’ve gotten more than they could have ever hoped for in the form of a Democratic president who works for them.

Any other time in history, when a president declared that the American people were being held hostage, a declaration of war was not far off. But since democracy is no longer mandatory in the Senate, because of the Republican-required supermajority, the legend of the conservative David slaying the liberal Goliath will ring in the ears of all Democrats in perpetuity, as if they had just pulled their heads from a Sunday morning church bell.

Too bad they didn’t pull their heads from somewhere else before allowing their president to sell them down the river. We’ve seen the X generation and the Y generation, now get ready for the O generation. That’s a zero because that’s the percentile chance that our children have for any future.

Rex Farris

Grover Beach

License renewal

In his letter titled, “Inadequate studies” (Dec.16), Eric Layman states an opinion that we, the ratepayers, should demand that PG&E complete a comprehensive seismic study before re-licensing Diablo Canyon.

While on the surface this may seem like a good idea, it ignores an important fact. It takes years to plan and implement California’s electrical energy needs. Although the two Diablo licenses will not expire until 2024 and 2025, if those licenses are not renewed, PG&E will need as much time as possible to plan and implement alternative plans to replace the power that Diablo currently provides.

Regarding the seismic study, a preliminary study completed by the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that Diablo Canyon’s existing design already accounts for the largest potential earthquake that could be generated from the newly discovered Shoreline fault.

Pursuing a decision on relicensing now is the reasonable and responsible thing to do. It should also be pointed out that even if the licenses are renewed, any new information on seismic or any other safety issue that adversely affects the conditions assumed when the licenses were granted would result in the revocation of those licenses.

Dan Koehler


Addicted to vehicles

Vehicles on Oceano Beach? Our culture has become addicted to vehicles. They have taken over our lives. They make our air unfit to breathe. They use a fuel that is running out.

We import this fuel from cultures we oppose, making them richer. Vehicles make bicycling and walking dangerous. The gas tax is used to promote even more vehicle use, a vicious cycle.

The mouth of Arroyo Grande Creek has become a “road.” It has five endangered species. Oceano Beach is unique and special, a place to go to listen to the waves. State Park rangers should be leading nature walks on Oceano Beach, not driving and directing traffic.

Gale McNeeley

Santa Maria