Words do matter
Here’s what I don’t understand: Nobody grows up in a bubble. We are all influenced by our parents, friends, church or by what happens around us. If this isn’t true, why do parents worry about peer pressure with their kids? Why do product endorsements work? What about political debates — aren’t they intended to sway opinion?
Go to a tea party rally (I have) and tell me that what is spoken on the podium is not influencing those followers, because if it was pointless, nobody would ever hold a rally.
But when there is a tragedy such as the Arizona shootings, all of a sudden, the alleged suspect not only acted alone, but was apparently never influenced by anybody or anything. I guess he is the anti-John Donne —an island, never having been touched in any way by human contact.
I am not saying he didn’t pull the trigger. If he is guilty, I am not saying he shouldn’t fry for this. But to say the political tempo of this country right now has no influence whatsoever on a guy apparently interested in politics and seemingly unbalanced is disingenuous at best and not believable.
Either words matter or they don’t. You can’t have it both ways.
Ammo changes needed
I am old, I am tired and my heart is broken. I was unfortunately around for the senseless killings of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the later changes in firearms legislation. Now, we have the ridiculous events in Tucson. We are supposedly about to see new changes in the laws of ammunition purchase. Why?
I have had weapons and ammo around my home since I was 12 years old. I think I have used them well: hunting deer, elk, rabbits and even squirrels and teaching my children the proper use of firearms.
Why on earth are we permitting the sale or even the existence of ammo magazines of more than seven rounds? Semi-automatic weapons are perhaps defensible in some cases, but what possible legal requirement is there for an ammo magazine of such a massive size as used in Tucson?
The National Rifle Association and personal beliefs aside, let’s get serious about protecting the general public and all of us from the all-too-easy multiple-round attacks of a very few nut cases.
Don’t help restaurants
If loaning money to underfinanced restaurant owners is such a good deal, I suggest the Atascadero City Council and Redevelopment Agency members invest their own money and leave the taxpayers out of it (“Atascadero to guarantee eatery loans,” Jan. 3).
This country has had enough interference in the market by governments picking winners and losers while loading more debt on the taxpayers against their wishes. A better idea is for Atascadero to streamline the onerous permit and licensing process for businesses and stop there.
Thomas A. Walsh
I am a local bilingual elementary school teacher. My credentials, experience, stress level, work load, accountability and the responsibility I bear are worth at least $120,000. I am light years away from it.
But I do not want more money. I earn enough to meet my needs. I want fewer students in the classroom. I want to teach curriculum and life skills. I was a happy teacher when I had 20 students and had time for art and gardening.
Now I have about 33 and from day one, I teach them almost exclusively to pass tests. I am retiring early to keep sane. Politicians and the media want me to do a better job but give me more students to work with.
Besides, I alone am not responsible for a student’s scores on that final crucial STAR test that is used to determine whether I did a good job or not.
The other three responsible parties are administrators, families and students. Administrators are being criticized some, but most families wash their hands of their children’s education. Students’ disrespectfulness, laziness and ignorance are tolerated.
I suggest that the scores of students not be used against me and that parents spend mandatory time in my classroom.
People have no voice
The recent ruling by Judge Charles Crandall rejecting action against the Central Coast water board over cease-and-desist orders was not a surprise (“Los Osos group loses suit over tanks,” Jan. 2).
It just shows that the judge agreed that the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board did not act improperly because 45 Los Osos homeowners in the prohibition zone are polluting the ground water.
There are 4,500 homeowners in the prohibition zone polluting the ground water. So why did the water board put 45 Los Osos homeowners as hostage? That is the real matter.
Threats, punishments, fines, lies, denials, obstructionists, some “ordinary” taxpayers fighting a government agency.
No matter how you read it, it seems that “ordinary” people have no voice in courts against a government agency.
Mark Twain’s intentions
I agree wholeheartedly with Leonard Pitts Jr. and Kathleen Parker’s commentaries on the revised edition of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (“Censoring ‘Huck Finn’ is wrong, wrong, wrong,” Jan. 9 and “Mark Twain would find editing offensive,” Jan. 10).
After reading the pieces, I looked through the novel and found on the first page a “notice” and an “explanatory” provided by the author. The “notice” condemns readers searching for a motive, moral or plot in the story.
The “explanatory” tells of the various dialects spoken in the books: “The Missouri negro dialect; the extremist (sic) form of the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary “Pike County” dialect; and four modified versions of this last.”
Mark Twain chose to write “n—” because anything else would not have been true to these dialects. In the time Twain was writing, the characters who use “n—” to refer to slaves would not have used any other words. To change his choice of words is disrespectful to the effort Twain put into his research.
If you feel uneasy with his word choice, accept that is what he intended. The solution is not to simply eliminate that which causes discomfort, but to attempt to understand why it is so.
Brown’s smart choice
Good job Gov. Jerry Brown for taking cell phones from our elected officials (“Brown taking half state cell phones to save money,” Jan. 12). Some experts say that if you’re struggling financially, some of the first things you should cut are your cell phones and your Starbucks. Twenty million dollars is a lot when you’re struggling. Plus, elected officials who are making more than $100,000 should be able to afford their own cell phones.
In response to Myron May’s letter (“What was the cost?,” Jan. 12), the cost of President Barack Obama’s Christmas vacation in Hawaii was about the same as the Bush’s Christmas vacation in Texas.
A crime-free area?
It must be wonderful to live in an area that has so little crime and so much extra money that law enforcement can dedicate 45 to 50 officers to investigate and arrest people for pot.
You must share your secret with the rest of the state so we can all be so prosperous and crime-free.
Katcho’s gas prices
I have an idea on how Katcho Achadjian can demonstrate how great supply-side economics work in a practical application. Achadjian needs to slash the prices he charges for items at his gas stations and sign a pledge that he will never raise prices in the future.
This will allow Achadjian’s customers to keep more of the money they earn. The micro-economy around Achadjian’s businesses will be stimulated, and the money will trickle back to him.
If this brilliant plan causes Achadjian’s businesses to lose money, he will merely need to find a way to operate more efficiently without putting a burden on his customers by raising prices.
If Achadjian still cannot find a way to operate at a profit, he must follow the conservative example of Ronald Reagan. Achadjian should stubbornly refuse to raise prices no matter how much money he loses and build up a debt so massive that his children and grandchildren will be paying on it for 30 years or more.
Many times, I’ve heard a businessman/politician say that government should be run like a business. Just once, I’d like to see these same people run their own businesses with the same standards they have for the government.
Open penny banks
Pity the people trapped in this recession who cannot even earn a modest income on their bank savings. For their part, the big banks and giant financial conglomerates received billions of dollars in federal handouts and without mandates to lend out those monies. The banks are hoarding while making additional billions from next-to-nothing interest rates, while small businesses are starved for loans. Our banks need competition.
This log jam can be broken in part by the revival of penny federal savings banks for the economically distressed. Set a maximum yearly income of, say, $79,000 and certify that the new federal banks offer three percent over whatever are the going bank interest rates.
These “penny centers” are for people who cannot afford to gamble on the stock market and who previously received a decent rate of interest and minimal livelihood from their banks.
If our federal government can do it for the richest among us, why not take action that will really aid the economically stricken? Those banked savings can also be used to aid the small business recovery.
Ira J. Winn
San Luis Obispo