On March 29, there was an interesting letter written by Jeff Horton about electric cars being conspicuous consumption because of their “ridiculously high price,” being the “worst environmental move” and saying that they would consume electricity “produced by burning oil or coal or — worse yet, nuclear fission.”
My wife is receiving her Nissan Leaf next week. It will be in the low $20,000 range after incentives and will be powered by our rooftop solar system. The circle is complete: Our solar system produces electricity for our house and now her car; no $4-a-gallon gasoline, no oil changes, no tune-ups, nothing to buy but tires and wiper blades, and the car is partly made from recycled products.
There are plans for roadside and parking lot refueling stations that will take minutes to charge with the 440v on-board receptacle we ordered. Remember this: The Earth receives more energy from the sun in just one hour than the world uses in a whole year, and it is unlimited and free — we just need to harness it with solar panels on our roofs.
San Luis Obispo
Don’t pay chamber
If the city of San Luis Obispo pays the Chamber of Commerce $200,000 a year to promote San Luis Obispo (The Tribune, March 25), then the city has actually been paying Dave Garth’s generous salary plus the cost of one or two secretaries — all to do what the Chamber is supposed to do for all its business members on its own.
This fact, little known by the public and perhaps also by the Chamber members, indicates to me a great place for the city to reduce a large unnecessary expense. With all our frequent publicity about being the greatest place to live in America, we don’t need to pay $200,000 a year to trumpet this town. San Luis Obispo City Council, please end this needless expenditure now.
And P.S.: I agree with your four to one vote to end binding arbitration with the employees to save this city from a forthcoming bankruptcy.
San Luis Obispo
Defining ‘hate crime’
Our community rises up in anger and indignation over a cross burning. The flow of letters to the editor and heartfelt reporting is sustaining the unity. Bob Cuddy’s Sunday column captures the case in clear, old-fashioned professional reporting.
It is a comment on our emotions, and on the quality of our journalism, that no politician, journalist, columnist or letter writer has yet simply said what a hate crime is.
This missing element accounts for both the cautious pronouncements of the mayor and the swift public criticisms of him. Bob Cuddy says that “there is no room for multiple interpretations” of this cross burning; it is “outrageous and indefensible.”
A hate crime, says California law, is an act “committed with the intention of causing” listed adverse results. Absent intent, the outrageous act is not a “hate crime.”
This is not in defense of Mayor Tony Ferraro’s initial statement, but an observation on how we as a community and our media as a business have inferred intent by the act itself.
Bob Cuddy also perceptively calls this a teaching moment. So it is, for parents, teachers and for journalists — both reporters and editorialists.
What we get
It seems like we would learn from out past mistakes. We have barrels and barrels of oil, whether it be underground or under the sea here in our state, the Gulf and, of course, Alaska. I don’t want to hear any crybabies when we go to the gas pumps these days. This is what we get for relying on foreign oil! This isn’t the first time and this won’t be the last. The drilling for oil on our shores would create many jobs and also help out state with its money problems.
When will we learn?
Ideology trumps facts
It’s only been four years since the financial crisis of 2007, when we saw the failure of financial deregulation, based on the belief in self-regulating markets.
In spite of the clear evidence that markets need government regulation, the Republicans (including our Congressman Kevin McCarthy) have proposed cutting money for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.
This is a clear case of ideology trumping objective facts. Deregulated markets, as we saw in 2007, are economically dangerous. If the Republicans are successful in reducing the budgets of these two important government agencies, we as investors will see a repeat of this crisis in the near future.
Once again, the Republicans are becoming the enablers of Wall Street.
Yet another tirade by Charles Krauthammer against President Barack Obama (“The Ivy League professor’s war,” March 25) full of vitriol and arrogance. On this occasion, Krauthammer castigates the president for trying a multilateral approach to the problem of Moammar Gadhafi and Libya rather than the unilateral actions we have taken elsewhere with mixed results and limited success.
“Good God,” Krauthammer writes, “If you go to take Vienna, take Vienna.”
If you are not prepared to do so, stay home, he says. I have serious doubts if these sledgehammer tactics would work very well in the volatile Arab world.
And then I am getting more than a little fed up with the gratuitous insults Krauthammer hurls at our president. Example: Krauthammer says of Obama, “Never modest about himself, Obama is supremely modest about his country.” What brought on the intemperate comment? Obama’s statement that America should be “one of the partners among many” in the Libya operation.
Exactly right, I say! Stay at home and don’t try to take Vienna, and use a multinational approach in Libya. And if this costs you Charles Krauthammer’s good will, Mr. President, I am sure you can learn to live without it.
A wonderful event
I thought I’d take a short break from reading about all the bad news in the world and go to the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. I’m glad I did. I saw three uplifting films. One was “City Lax,” about a group of inner city kids in Denver who were introduced to the game of lacrosse by their teacher.
Another was “Race across the Sky,” a 100-mile endurance bicycle race in the Rocky Mountains that starts at 10,000 feet elevation and goes up from there instead of down.
But the best was “Spirit of the Marathon,” a marvelous film about what it takes to run 26.3 miles without stopping. Weeks and weeks of training, discipline and a lot of heart. Films don’t get any better than this. They are films that introduce you to some really fabulous people among us that we never hear about amidst all the blather and unrest. The film festival is a wonderful event. My thanks to all who are involved in it from the filmmakers right down to the ticket takers at the door.
San Luis Obispo
Where are the jobs?
Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s district appears to me to be populated by middle class working people.
A sampling of McCarthy’s votes since the November 2010 election show he voted 1) against extending unemployment benefits, affecting more than 400,000 Californians; 2) against a deficit neutral bill to extend a school meal program for poor and hungry youths; 3) against a one-time payout of $250 for Social Security recipients and disabled veterans for a cost of living allowance; 4) against cracking down on underground mines with poor safety records; 5) against a proposal requiring members to publicly disclose whether they will remain in the taxpayer-subsidized health plan for lawmakers; 6) against a law to deny federal contracts to any company that the Department of Labor finds to be outsourcing it’s jobs; 7) against a proposal to uphold regulations that keep children’s toys safe and protects the nation’s drinking water and food supply; 8) against budget cuts of $485 million for a backup engine for the F35, a bill supported by the Pentagon; and 9) against the extension of the COPS bill, a program to help cities hire police.
If this is what you voted for, great. If not, it’s time you stopped voting against your own best interests. Hey Young Gun, where are the jobs?
Is this what we want?
Germany, a country not known for its sunny climate, is using financial incentives to grow its alternative energy base and wean itself off of nuclear power as quickly as possible.
On the other hand, we give our nuclear industry a huge kickback by having taxpayers back the financial risk. Despite PG&E’s reassurance, it could happen here and, if it does, you’ll pay for it.
In Europe, you can buy a Volkswagen Golf that gets 70 MPG. Here you can buy one that gets 41 MPG. No one seems to know why, but the oil companies manipulate regulations and the market in order to keep us paying as much as possible at the pump.
We have lost our power as a people to decide our own fate. As things stand, we are at the mercy of PG&E to decide when Diablo is safe enough, and whether alternative energy deserves financial support. How will we end dependency on foreign oil if we can’t even buy a VW that has been on the European market for years?
We have government by the corporation, for the corporation. Is that the position we want to be in?
In the past few years, we have sent Americans to fight and die in Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya.
Add up all those we have killed, wounded, widowed, orphaned or uprooted and the number runs into the millions. All these wars have helped to bankrupt us. Have they made us more secure?
It is time for a peaceful foreign policy!
Racism a problem
The recent incident where a cross was burned on a multiracial family’s lawn and authorities were reluctant to identify it as a hate crime demonstrates that racism remains a significant problem in our county. Racist incidents traumatize minorities (and their allies) and show that we still have a ways to go in eradicating racism and appreciating the many benefits of diversity.
We encourage local citizens to channel their outrage into explicit efforts to support diversity in our county. This means identifying and addressing the ways racism is embedded in our schools, workplaces, and criminal justice and political systems (i.e., institutional racism.)
It also means being aware of and overriding our negative stereotypes of other groups so we can be fair and welcoming in our interactions with those different from us; making an effort to understand and appreciate others’ cultures and perspectives; getting to know individuals from other groups so that we do not rely on narrow stereotypes; speaking out when we hear or see racism; and supporting efforts in our schools and organizations to promote diversity and multicultural understandings.
We must all do our part so that our American values of equality and justice for all can be realized.
Professors Shawn Burn, Jasna Jovanovic, Kathryn Rummell, Don Ryujin and Jean Williams
Cal Poly Diversity Coalition Steering Committee
Why do we permit it?
It can’t happen here — until it does.
Diablo is surrounded by earthquake faults. I was arrested there in ’78 because they didn’t know what they would do with their nuclear waste.
It destroys DNA — basis of life on this planet. PG&E stores this terrible material on-site next to two earthquake faults.
I suggest it be stored in the backyards of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and CEO of PG&E rather than upwind to where I live.
Why do we permit this plant to exist?
Forgive me if I am not reassured by the news that PG&E is reviewing the earthquake risk at Diablo Canyon.
The Japanese, and indeed the world, are reeling from a natural disaster that has made it abundantly clear that, when it comes to Mother Nature, her power can be far beyond anything we can possibly predict.
As Eugene Robinson aptly stated in the commentary you printed, “The problem with nuclear fission is that the stakes are unimaginably high.”
Yes, we are facing an energy crisis. And we need clean, renewable sources of energy to keep up with our country’s needs. But to expand our nuclear programs in the wake of this tragedy seems sheer folly to me.
We must disabuse ourselves of the notion that we can overpower or predict the forces of nature. Particularly in California, which is rife with earthquake faults, nuclear power is potentially extremely dangerous. If you doubt this, just turn on the evening news tonight. Japan was extremely well prepared for disaster. And yet
Following the recent pummeling of Japan’s nuclear complex, PG&E unfortunately did its predictable number. The company issued a PR release stating that the local Diablo Canyon nuclear plant could “withstand” a 7.5 quake, there are many safeguards, the earthquakes here are a different type, etc. — so not to worry.
No one I know was reassured. But some different responses might have helped.
First, PG&E, tell us how you are studying the Japan experience (they also took many precautions) to learn how to better protect us who live near a plant that is more than 30 years old. Let’s hope you’re on it by now. Other countries are.
Also, give us factual reports, without words that fudge the truth. “Withstand” can mean a variety of outcomes — a post-quake plant that continues to function normally, one that is back on line after minimal repairs, or one that simply won’t release a cloud of radioactivity. Which is it?
Most importantly, please announce soon that Diablo officials will hold a public meeting where they will respond to the questions and concerns of local residents, who incidentally pay their salaries. We deserve that much. Another “don’t worry, trust us” barrage only makes this local from Morro Bay worry more.