Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 12/31

Kennedy’s legacy

Many thanks to Bill Morem for his fine piece chronicling the legacy of Robert Kennedy (“The significant legacy of Robert E. Kennedy,” Dec. 28).

I was especially pleased that The Tribune devoted space to many of the important contributions Kennedy made to Cal Poly in the quarter century before he became its president.

As his assistant from 1963 to 1965, I observed firsthand his talent at shaping the academic, administrative and support infrastructure that permitted both Cal Polys (San Luis Obispo and Pomona) to become the world class universities they are today.

I didn’t always agree with him (especially 10 years later when I represented the faculty as chair of the academic senate), but there was never any doubt that his first priority was always Cal Poly’s best interest.

He may not have been tall, but the height of his contribution to that institution is immeasurable.

Robert E. Alberti

Atascadero

Pricey sewer

Many residents in Los Osos may have just had their last Christmas in town. Because of the county’s lack of innovation to drive down the costs for the sewer, thousands of residents in this “disadvantaged community” are facing record-breaking costs of $200 per month and paying 3.25 percent interest on a 40-year USDA loan, making the sewer the most expensive per-capita project in California.

While most agree that a sewer is necessary, many disagree with the rationale that moved the project forward. The county once said there’s no “perfect project,” but what they have before us is far from perfect, and because of its imperfections, many are concerned about losing their homes and their way of life in this seaside community.

The county’s promises to make the project affordable are merely political platitudes with no substance. While festive Christmas lights hang on houses within the prohibition zone, we remain somber.

Here’s my message to the rest of the county beyond Los Osos: I hope you have a wonderful new year without a lien on your home and a lifelong obligation to pay for the sins of your government.

Aaron Ochs

Los Osos

Respect lost

I was saddened and surprised when I read Lon Allan’s column about how upset he is by TV these days (“Television’s got him shouting mad,” Dec. 28). I am probably the same age or maybe older than Allan and consider myself very lucky to have been given the gift of curiosity and a great memory.

Allan was not at all excited about the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I’ll tell you why I am. In 1939, I was 7 years old and the big news of the day was the abdication of King Edward VIII and the crowning of George VI.

Newspapers and movie newsreels were full of the royal family, including the princesses. So I’ve watched this family since then and have watched them all from toddlers to bridegrooms. Curiosity.

The remark that surprised me was that James Dean and Marlon Brando were at best mediocre. Mediocre? Brando? I have lost all respect for Allan and will bypass his articles henceforth. We are on such different wavelengths, nothing he has to say would be of any interest to me, as I couldn’t care less what planting is going on anywhere in Atascadero.

Patti Launders

Nipomo

Indisputable change

A photo essay in The Tribune, titled “Across the West: Too much rain, lots of snow” (Dec. 22), featured pictures of flooding in Arizona and snowfalls reaching “epic proportions” in Colorado. The recent storm brought record rainfall to Southern California.

Last spring and summer, there were flooded villages in Pakistan and burning forests in Russia, accompanied by an unusual heat wave. But guess what: in our time, extreme weather may be the new normal.

Global climate change means flooding, drought, intense cold, extreme heat, desertification, tornados in unusual places — and this is just the start. Regardless of your beliefs about the cause of climate change, the results are indisputable.

San Luis Obispo County has studied what the effects of climate change may mean for local agriculture, tourism, businesses and the health of citizens and it is planning mitigation measures. However, individual actions are as important as what government and businesses do.

Anything we can individually do to reduce our carbon footprint (driving less, buying a hybrid or electric car, taking fewer plane trips, supporting solar and wind energy projects and cutting back on fuel consumption) will help future generations experience less extreme weather and perhaps, someday, a return to “normal” weather.

Judith Bernstein

Paso Robles

A basic fact

Ralph Bush asks in his letter why we seldom see the other point of view that humans are not causing the climate to change (“Warming a hoax,” Dec. 24). The reason, Bush, is because it’s wrong.

Instead of focusing on the mere 31,487 “scientists” who are skeptics, the news tends to be driven by the other 95 percent of the scientists actually working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate. They, and most any other national or major scientific institution anywhere in the world, accept that climate change is almost certainly being caused by human activities.

For all you skeptics out there, please understand a basic fact: Humans are powerful, and billions of human beings burning fossil fuels for more than a hundred years are a force of nature.

Dean Thompson

Los Osos

God bless teachers

Regarding Roy Berger’s letter titled, “Teacher stress” (Dec. 29):

Berger’s insensitive, asinine and rudimentary comments recommending that teacher Jim Gregory hire out students to do his work as a stress solution are absolutely ridiculous!

First, it is Gregory’s job as a teacher to grade his students’ homework. He does this job diligently and insightfully, with input only a teacher can have on the many assignments that students complete. That is why he has a teaching degree (something students don’t have). He gets to know each student through their writing and brings out the best in each of them.

Conscientious teachers like Gregory are overworked and underpaid. They are essential in helping our children become successful, well-educated, productive members of society. Gregory has inspired my daughter with his passion and love of what he does to become a history major in college. His students are blessed to have him and his unique teaching abilities, which helped him earn teacher of the year.

Why don’t we pay our teachers more? Why can’t we work on class sizes to reduce the student-to-teacher ratio? Teachers are performing miracles every day with what they have to work with. God bless them all, especially Gregory!

Leaette Yracheta

Arroyo Grande

Emphasize science

I am very concerned about the recent Tribune article discussing how science fairs are being cancelled around the country due to budget cuts (“Science fairs struggling during budget crunch,” Dec. 26). Science fairs are an excellent way to inspire innovative young minds to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

It has been repeatedly predicted that the vast majority of future jobs will require applications of those subjects. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that we must provide an educational system that places a much greater emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics content for all of our students.

I want to encourage every parent, teacher, principal and school board member to become an advocate for STEM education. Mentor your children to get involved with science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities and courses, both in school and out, such as local science fairs, science clubs, engineering academies, math clubs and robotic clubs.

Consider attending the inspirational STEM Showcase, which is being hosted this year by the San Luis Obispo Discovery Institute and the Grover Beach Exploration Station. Information is available at institutefordiscovery.org. The children will create our future.

Derrick R. Lavoie

Paso Robles

Heart too small?

Regarding Bruce Tinsley’s “Mallard Fillmore” cartoon that ran on Dec. 25:

Although I disagree with Tinsley’s character’s politics, I always read it. How saddened I was when I finally read the Christmas strip because it reminded me so much of the Grinch.

Tinsley actually only wished “a blessed Christmas to all those who believe.” What about all those who don’t believe? We are supposed to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, but if they don’t believe, how can they have a merry or a blessed Christmas?

Perhaps Tinsley’s heart is two sizes too small (as was the Grinch’s heart) and he simply can’t expand his heart to everyone. Poor Tinsley.

Shirley Bianchi

Cambria

A righteous anger

If the Los Osos sewer was a cruise ship, the engines would be out, the passengers would all have the flu, a 50-foot wave would be off the port bow and Capt. Gibson would be at the helm singing blah-blah-blah. Heck of a job, Bruce.

The boys down at county government see the project as a macho, ego power game that they can only win by crushing Los Osos.

They do not understand that the people of Los Osos are filled with a righteous anger against the people who have sworn an oath to serve and protect the people whom they govern.

Jack Campbell

Los Osos

Invasive woodsmoke

In our county, one can go to many public places without having to breathe secondhand cigarette smoke. However, this clean air zone has not been extended to the space around one’s home when a neighbor feels inclined to burn wood or pellets in a fireplace or stove.

Smoke from the chimney may drift blocks away before dispersing, settling into others’ yards and entering open windows. Contrary to popular thought, some people do not enjoy that “woodsy” smell in the air that, at times, can linger for hours.

Although wood fires add a rustic and traditional character to a home on a chilly day or evening, those by-products issuing from the chimney can become a source of irritating secondhand smoke to others nearby and may not only be annoying, but are likely unhealthy to sensitive individuals.

Neighbors, please enjoy those fireplaces most conscientiously and perhaps consider using a cleaner-burning fuel than logs to warm your home.

Deven May

Santa Margarita

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