Of vital concern
I suggest Mr. Will Powers spend time attending council meetings and educating himself instead of venting his ill-informed, vitriolic opinions on these pages. (Letters, March 4.) His tirade does nothing to promote an open dialogue about the compensation philosophy of the city of San Luis Obispo.
Since employee compensation comprises 80 percent (and rising) of the city’s budget, this topic is of vital concern to everyone — employees and taxpayers alike. Sadly, our police and fire union leaders are of like mind in disdaining a frank and open dialogue. They walked out of a task force (which included city employees) to study and provide recommendations on these issues; they snubbed an annual appreciation luncheon; they walked out of a council meeting; and they now threaten a lawsuit against the city to prevent the voters (the ones who pay their salaries and benefits) from having a voice in this matter.
For the record, it was not Mr. Carter who placed these issues on the ballot. It was the City Council, by an overwhelming majority of 4-1. Mr. Carter simply had the foresight to see this train wreck coming and the political courage to speak up. We are fortunate to have someone with Mr. Carter’s intelligence, business acumen, and dedication to public service.
San Luis Obispo
A small price to pay
Republicans and their tea bag stooges seem hell-bent on making the United States a third-world country.
In Missouri, Republicans want to repeal child labor laws. In Wisconsin, they want to abolish collective bargaining rights. In Texas, they want everyone to carry concealed weapons. Here in California, Republicans (including our “representatives” Blakeslee and Achadjian) have, so far, refused to allow the people to vote on tax rates that will maintain the barest of public services. And in Washington, D.C., congressional Republicans are in a feeding frenzy to repeal a weak health care law, environmental protections and financial regulations while gutting education and other programs that promote equality and access to good jobs.
Their actions are designed to ensure that their privileged, corporate backers retain an obscene share of the nation’s wealth and resources, all at no cost to them, while condemning the rest of us to eventual indentured servitude.
The grotesque irony is that Republicans do all this in the name of liberty while working feverishly to use government to impose their own morality on every individual.
Once we achieve the world the Republicans envision for us, a higher tax bill will seem like a small price to pay for a decent, free society.
San Luis Obispo
A star theater
The new Galaxy Theatre is a star. On Saturday several hundred people saw the theater here in Atascadero when SLO International Film Festival held a red carpet event. Ten screening rooms with plush seating, D-Box seats that move with the sound and a VIP lounge and theatres for those over 21. A star is born.
Thank you to those who are investing in our city and its future. Thanks to current and former City Council members and city staff for working with the Galaxy to make this the finest theater on the Central Coast.
A significant burden
Evidence of pension burden lacking? (Tribune, March 6) In San Luis Obispo, I think not.
In fiscal year 2009-10, the city of SLO spent $7.9 million on retirement benefits. That was 15.7 percent of the general fund’s total program expenditures.
It was more than what we spent on any general fund department except police and fire. It was twice what we spent on capital improvements.
And retirement costs are rising. Five years ago, these costs were $4.9 million. In five years, they’ll exceed $11 million — more than 20 percent of our general fund budget.
Right now, we’re paying more than $25,000 per full-time employee per year for retirement. In five years, we’ll be paying more than $35,000.
Retirement costs are clearly a significant burden for the city of San Luis Obispo.
San Luis Obispo City Council member
Having first moved to the county over 50 years ago, I am continually puzzled by a number of letters opposing the solar installations on the Carrizo Plain.
Most recently, the area was described by a letter writer as the “unique Carrizo Plain.” For years, as an agricultural area, it was planted in winter wheat because there was no water for irrigation. 2.5 acre lots in California Valley were readily available at $2,500. Today they are still available at $7,000 to $10,000 for 2.5 acres. I suggest that, in this county, that is truly “unique.” The only location that rivals that is Cayucos or Cambria on lots that can’t be developed. One advertisement for California Valley says that “since there are houses nearby, there ‘should’ be water.”
My question to those who want absolutely nothing built on the Carrizo Plain is, when, in the last decade, did you spend a full day or more enjoying the “unique” attributes of the Carrizo Plain?
Richard Krejsa is right and Jay Salter is wrong (“Old activists should not be elitists,” March 6).
Many people have invested many hours and many dollars (both private and public) in trying to protect and restore the Carrizo Plain. There are still incredible opportunities for landscape-scale restoration and connectivity in a region that is flat out one of the most biologically incredible places in North America.
The Carrizo “dodged the bullet” for many years: Farming is marginal; the water projects missed; there’s no oil; there’s no groundwater; it’s hot and dry ... but now (and I can hardly stand the irony), it is the self-described “environmentalists” who will potentially drive the final nail in the coffin of several of the Carrizo’s most important species.
The United States has the highest energy usage, per capita, in the world. It seems pretty elitist to me to destroy endangered species in order to fuel our gluttony — especially when there are alternatives.