Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 2/7

Forever a choice

Monica Lee’s letter triggered memories of a day almost 40 years ago (“Time to remember,” Jan. 21).

I escorted a friend to a New York City abortion clinic in the early 1970s. She had taken the Greyhound bus from Pennsylvania. One of the women waiting in the clinic had traveled on the same bus as my friend. She was a waitress from Cleveland and had four children to support. She had no husband, child support or money.

She had the abortion and rode home back to Cleveland that same day through the night. Her recovery time was on the bus because she had to go back to work the next day.

Through the thin walls of the clinic, I heard a counselor advising an older couple about their daughter’s abortion. She was a teenager with the mind of a 5-year-old, who couldn’t understand pregnancy and childbirth, let alone rape. It was recommended that she be sterilized to protect her from the not uncommon rape of a helpless female.

I will always carry those conversations in my head. They are as fresh today as they were 40 years ago. Those women needed more than prayers. The culture of privilege, racism and rape doesn’t go away.

May our daughters and granddaughters forever have a choice.

Jill Dubois

Los Osos

No appreciation

If Supervisor Jim Patterson doesn’t like the dust, odor and flies that he associates with the Templeton livestock auction yard, he should consider moving to a more urban environment (“Templeton housing project OK’d by board,” Jan. 26). He has no historical appreciation for Northern San Luis Obispo County.

Richard Placak


Constant competition

Yes, Phil Dirkx is definitely over the hill with his Jan. 21 diatribe about charter schools (“Charter school divides our students into haves and have-nots). Karl Marx couldn’t have said it better in his “Communist Manifesto.” Dirkx’s logic illustrates the “dumbing down of America” theory as he supports saving or uselessly spreading a small amount of money across an entire school district.

Does Dirkx believe that simply because a 3-year-old spoiled brat (with only the education of a 3-year-old) wants to attend Harvard, he should be deemed “chosen” and allowed to matriculate there? If there is a job opening for only one person and more than one qualified person applies, are those not hired branded as “leftovers”?

Should a person who’s afraid of water and can’t swim be considered for an ocean lifeguard position because he wants a sun tan? Survival in our society requires constant competition for acceptance, whether on a social or business level. Every day brings chosen versus leftover decisions.

Parents of those “chosen” charter students will contribute vital support, creating a win-win situation, and the relatively small amount of money spent will pay large dividends. Dirkx, support your local charter school today.

Hildy Owen

Morro Bay

Decision a mistake

A recent article described the allegation by the police and firefighters’ unions that a task force report requested by the San Luis Obispo City manager was biased and its facilitator, Michael Gunther, was somehow also biased (“SLO unions call economic study biased,” Jan. 22). This allegation misses the point regarding the present situation facing the city and its budget problems.

I know Gunther. He has done excellent work for my law firm regarding business development. He is not only ethical, but an exceptional facilitator. Complaining about Gunther is akin to killing the messenger and ignoring the message.

It is critical for everyone in the city of San Luis Obispo to fully discuss and understand the issues facing us due to the budget shortfall. Proposals are simply proposals and need to be fully vetted to determine their applicability.

The decision by the unions to not participate within the task force was a mistake. The days of posturing and spinning need to end. We as a community must marshall all assets and ideas to address these issues. This is a common need that should become our goal. This is the time to raise, discuss and explore all options.

John A. Spatafore

San Luis Obispo

Coffers raided

Arrogant and insulting. What was the CSU Board of Trustees thinking as it raided our public coffers to lure incoming Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong from Michigan (“$350,000 salary approved for new Poly president,” Jan. 27)?

Ask students who see tuition increases and diminishing class options. Ask CSU staff and faculty, dealing with salary freezes and furloughs, who are hired at lower rungs on the salary ladder and expected to “earn” over many years a salary comparable to the senior colleague they may have replaced. Ask Warren Baker who, after 32 years of service, is having his ending salary exceeded by the new guy who has yet to prove himself on the job.

What is the Cal Poly Foundation thinking by offering a $30,000 annual salary supplement? Ask alumni and businesses who contribute foundation dollars to aid students and various Cal Poly programs. The cliché is always that such extraordinary salaries are necessary to attract the best talent. In the happiest place in the world? Really?

Gary Beall

Avila Beach

Embarrassing salary

The new president at Cal Poly will be getting a salary that is embarrassing for me to contemplate. The base salary is $350,000 plus $30,000 from the Cal Poly Foundation, a $12,000 yearly car allowance, housing in the president’s house worth probably $60,000 and health and retirement benefits (“$350,000 salary approved for new Poly president,” Jan. 27). Wow!

That adds up to about $452,000 plus health and retirement benefits. I don’t begrudge a person earning as much as possible, but when one feeds at the public trough, I think a lot more restraint could be made — especially considering that people living on Social Security are not getting a cost of living increase this year, people are being forced from their homes due to unsound lending practices and the downturn in the economy in general. Get real.

Jim Weir


Dangerous meters

Aside from natural disasters, a new and very serious threat to our health has arrived in the form of Pacific Gas and Electric installing so-called SmartMeters at our homes and businesses.

Electric, gas and water SmartMeters that bathe humans, pets, wild animals and birds with continuous radio frequency radiation in a wide arc surrounding said meters are really, really dumb and dangerous.

Ask our county Board of Supervisors to enact a moratorium against installation of PG&E wireless SmartMeters until AB 37 (sponsored by Assemblyman, Jared Huffman) is law and provides for the safer, more secure, wired SmartMeter option.

In the meantime, download and print your own “Do not install the SmartMeter!” sign at: http://turn.org/downloads/No-Smart-Meter-Sign.pdf. Place the sign inside a Ziploc bag and post in a conspicuous location by your electric, gas and water meters. Remember, it’s what you cannot see that can hurt you.

Abram Perlstein

Los Osos

NightWriters contest

Americans are on the hunt for relevance and meaning. We’re downsizing our “needs” and working on our better selves.

So what does that mean for writers? Here’s what I’ve learned in the 14 years I’ve been a member of SLO NightWriters: no matter how well-intentioned I might be, if I don’t spend time every day at my computer or notebook, my creative process is blocked. That’s when I have to challenge myself, expand my boundaries and work up a mental sweat.

Jan. 11 kicked off the 22nd Annual SLO Night-Writers Short Story and Poetry Contest. The theme this year is “Illumination,” which lends itself to broad interpretation.

Consider the mental rewards of hitting the “send” button on your entry. Entrants can win cash awards or certificates and winners will read their entry to their peers at the general meeting with publication in our newsletter.

Winners can also submit a 500-word flash-fiction story or 40-line poem to one of thousands of online markets (visit www.duotrope.com).

Invest in yourself as a writer. Join me in supporting NightWriters, a nonprofit organization supporting writers of all genres, published and unpublished. Find contest details and information at www.slonightwriters.org.

Anne Schroeder