Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 1/10

Qualified students

According to articles in The Tribune, the new president of Cal Poly, Jeffrey Armstrong, and The Tribune want to encourage “diversity” on the campus (“Rolling out welcome mat for Armstrong,” Dec. 17). I assume you both mean racial diversity. I invite your attention to Article 1, Section 31 of the California Constitution (in part):

(a) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public education.

(f) For the purposes of this section, “state” shall include (any) public university system.

Clearly, “affirmative action” is illegal in California. Persons of all races should be welcome at Cal Poly. But attendance at Cal Poly should be based on merit, not skin color.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, people (students) should be judged by the “content of their character” (merit).

Any attempt to encourage unqualified students “of color” to attend Cal Poly violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the Constitution.

William H. McKenzie

Atascadero

Colossal mistake

The stated reason for invading Iraq in March 2003 was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.” No weapons were ever found. Republican war apologists now defend the flawed decision to attack Iraq by saying that “everyone thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

That is simply not true. Actually, the people who knew the most about Iraq’s weapons programs couldn’t find any evidence of their existence.

Remember the weapons inspectors? Hans Blix of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission conducted 700 inspections between 2000 and 2003, and on Feb. 12, 2003, he reported that he could “not find evidence of the continuation or resumption of programs of weapons of mass destruction.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency monitored Iraq’s nuclear weapons program from 1991 until shortly before the invasion, and the inspector general reported that he “found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program.” Both agencies requested “a few more months to complete their work.”

France, Germany, Canada and New Zealand were skeptical and did not participate in the invasion. The Bush administration ignored the real evidence and invaded Iraq, thereby making the most colossal mistake in the history of our country.

Lee Van Leeuwen

San Luis Obispo

Thanks for cooking

The most wonderful thing happens to us here where I live. Some kind person cooks and delivers our dinner.

Being a “shut-in,” I surely appreciate this deed. Whoever you are, my grateful thanks. You are an angel. God bless you.

LaVerne Hawkinson

San Luis Obispo

Restaurant nightmare

Was the story about a critical lack of eateries in Atascadero creating a need for taxpayer bailout a joke? (“Atascadero to guarantee eatery loans,” Jan. 3.) Only two people would benefit from such an outlandish policy: the lender and the borrower.

I have noticed fewer patrons at my favorite establishments lately. According to staff, it’s not just the economy — it’s “too many restaurants.” There are restaurants just blocks from one another with identical menus, lunch specials and coupons. Atascadero is not a tourist destination and doesn’t need this multiplicity of establishments.

Restaurants are anathema to the health conscious and locavores. They make their money by selling alcohol and all its consequences. For all that, the business would provide only one sustainable income, the owner’s. Even if we needed restaurants, why should a city back a venture that works so much against the community’s best interests?

Instead of waxing poetic about “locals who have to leave town to get a good meal,” fret about a lack of access to the very basics for some North County citizens. We need affordable housing and businesses that pay a living wage to many. Let’s set our sights higher than just one more potential “kitchen nightmare.”

Karen Harris

Paso Robles

Not representatives

Today, the House of Representatives is a misnomer. Instead of beginning the year writing bills designed to develop jobs, improve education or otherwise enhance citizens’ lives, the Republican leadership has made it a top priority to dismantle health care reform.

Are their intentions to replace it with better health care, to focus our financial resources on creating jobs, to tighten our belts during this economic crisis? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding no!

The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency long trusted by both parties, says that the plan to kill our current health care plan will cost us $230 billion over 10 years and leave 32 million citizens without health care.

Are these “representatives,” who enjoy the gold standard in health care, working for us, or their corporate friends and lobbyists? The plan to weaken our country’s health care makes the Republican leadership seem elitist, self-serving and downright mean-spirited. In the process, these folks have shown their real colors. They are not true-blue Americans; they are all about the green for themselves.

Ed Conklin

Los Osos

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