Will Congress stand with polluters or with the people? As Washington faces another budget deadline on April 18, political games are still being played with America’s clean water and clean air protections.
What do safe drinking water and healthy air have to do with the budget? Absolutely nothing — the federal budget deficit is being used as cover to mount a reckless and irresponsible sneak attack on the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
This agenda, long sought by polluter lobbyists, is hidden inside spending proposals being considered in Congress. They represent an unparalleled attack on laws that are the bedrock of America’s decades-old bi-partisan legacy of public health safeguards and wildlife protection.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the House proposal would also slash investments in wildlife conservation and clean energy while continuing to give away $4 billion of our taxpayer dollars every year to oil companies that are already raking in billions in annual profit.
I’m counting on Lois Capps to stand against this shameful attack on the laws that protect California’s water, air and public health. Let her know that you support these bedrock laws and urge her to help stop the assault on our air, water and soil.
An old trick
Judging from your editorial on Sunday, March 27, the writer doesn’t recognize that Gov. Brown and his pundits are threatening us with “The Washington Monument Syndrome”:
If the governor doesn’t get his temporary tax extensions, he will try to balance the budget not by eliminating wasteful spending on unnecessary programs and excessively high salaries and pension benefits, but by cutting funding for schools and programs that help the poor and most vulnerable in our society.
It’s an old trick but it seems to be working, at least on the editors of The Tribune.
Kudos to Ron Harben (“What the votes tell,” March 24) for his letter exposing Kevin McCarthy’s priorities.
The disinformation from the lobbyist-driven Republican hierarchy is grotesquely biased. McCarthy is the new Igor to Doctors Franken-Boehner and Franken-Cantor. They are sacrificing the middle class and poor to placate the rich.
Instead of removing corporate tax loopholes and proposing a flat tax rate to lower the deficit, they are robbing the average American of our future. Our educational system is suffering, thus hampering our global competitiveness. No solutions for this problem from the GOP.
Our illegal immigrant problem is growing while the Republican majority is wasting time cutting affordable health care out of the picture, instead of dealing with this issue.
McCarthy isn’t proposing solutions for our dwindling jobs market. He isn’t representing the average American in his district. He is ignoring us for the richest 2 percent who are misshaping the American dream.
What the cure isn’t
Police and firefighters must be available to the public 24 hours each day. They are on call and available when you or I most urgently need them.
Although overtime has recently become a point of concern, police, firefighters, and paramedics must work for us until their job is done, not necessarily according to the clock, to ensure our safety. Most of them do this because it is their passion. They do it because they care about us. Even with the shorter life spans associated with these stressful professions, they still choose to serve.
Without the use of binding arbitration the San Luis Obispo police and firefighters have earned decent wages and retirement packages. However, in the event of a negotiation impasse, binding arbitration remains the fairest tool for all sides with which to ensure safe staffing, adequate equipment, and safe working conditions. The cure for correcting our city’s deficit isn’t removing binding arbitration.
San Luis Obispo
Doesn’t seem right
After the Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court decision, it became permissible for corporations to make unlimited donations to politicians who would be making decisions impacting the corporation’s business interests.
At the current time, there has been a public outcry over and a hue and cry to stop public employee unions being able to donate to politicians who will be making decisions that affect the union members.
So — it is OK for corporations to protect their profits, including legislation that allows them to not pay taxes, but it is not OK for unions to protect their members on the basis that they are being paid with tax payer dollars?
There is something really wrong with this picture.
How to, pray tell?
I’d like to ask Ms. Hunt (“Pay your own pension,” March 6) how she’s managed that? Without counting Social Security (because reason follows that Ms. Hunt would not burden American taxpayers with funding her retirement, just as she is adamantly against California state taxpayers doing the same), that’s a pretty good trick.
I have saved 10 to 20 percent all my working career, and because of the economic downturn of the last three years, my Thrift Savings Plan account is pathetic. My friend, who owns various properties in Southern California, tells me I can live one good year on what I have saved in my lifetime. Subsequently, my retirement plan has been drastically altered to keeling-over-my-keyboard pathetic.
So, just how does a responsible working adult pay for her own retirement, Ms. Hunt?
Fine as it is
I am outraged after reading about the proposed downtown improvements put forth by the San Luis Obispo city council to the tune of $640,000.
Hey, don’t get me wrong, I like things to look nice, too, but these cosmetic changes should be done when economic times are good and money is readily available. Week after week The Tribune and the city have been hammering us about how bad the city’s finances are. So much so that they can’t pay for firefighters and police officers.
Now, miraculously, they have money to burn and want to spend it on fresh paint and tree grids instead of fixing neighborhood sidewalks and streets? What? This is totally irresponsible! The city council needs to get its priorities straight, take care of their citizens and leave the frivolous spending out of the equation. Downtown San Luis Obispo looks fine just the way it is.
San Luis Obispo
The recent death of my father, the greatest man I have ever personally known, caused me to search for an old quote we had discussed in the past.
Upon re-reading it, I was amazed at how pertinent it was to the recent tragic tsunami. The quote is by John Donne, taken from his “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions” in 1624. It includes two well-known quotes starting with “No man is an island” and ending with “for whom the bell tolls.”
However, it is the beautiful sentiments discussed in between, which seem so strangely relevant to my father’s death and that of so many Japanese people:
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor house of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee ”
San Luis Obispo
Budget held hostage
The Republican leadership in the California Legislature is holding the state budget hostage, demanding legislative rollbacks to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other laws that protect California’s environmental resources and the public health.
There is no place in the budget debate for these rollbacks, which, like the attacks on unions in Wisconsin and Michigan, will not help balance the budget. Please contact Sen. Blakeslee and other legislative leaders to demand they put an end to these anti-democratic tactics and cooperate with the Democratic leadership to pass a budget and agree to put tax extensions on the ballot.
San Luis Obispo
Praise for film fest
We attended your recent film festival and it was an enjoyable experience. There are many good films out there that touch on a variety of issues — films that the public seldom gets to see — and this event provides a much needed venue for them.
I highly recommend the festival, particularly to the many students there. It was disappointing to see so few college-age attendees at the screenings.
But the highlight for us was screening our film at the Palm Theater.
That is the best small theater we’ve ever had the pleasure of screening at, and we’ve been to nearly 50 international film festivals.
The theater is comfortable, the rake is perfect, the sound is great, and the projection is ideal. You are very lucky to have such a terrific theater in your city. Support it. Go to the movies.
Steve Rosen, director, “Looking for an Audience”
Mac And Ava Motion Pictures, Monterey
I know it is a stretch to say that what happened in Japan is OK, but to think otherwise would mean that we know better how the events of the world should unfold. Our global decision makers have their hands full dealing with ruthless dictators, much less directing global change.
Perhaps our greatest lesson should be to stay out of fear. We have emptied the shelves of iodine pills in fear of a radiation cloud; stockpiled provisions in anticipation that we are next. Let us be fearless instead.
Fearlessness will benefit the people of Japan as well as ourselves. Our positive thoughts, and actions will affect the well being of everyone. What we need now is a decision to change our minds about what we perceive when we watch and read about the cascading events of the world and Japan.
Fear may sell lots of products and make the rich even richer, but love heals the planet. We don’t have to be controlled by the media. If everyone on the planet — or at least all that are aware of the current situation in Japan — could be hopeful instead of fearful, a great healing will occur.