Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 4/25

Simplify tax code

So ... people think that by taxing the rich, we will solve our money/debt problems. Think again.

Right now, the richest 5 percent of people pay more than 40 percent of the taxes; the bottom 40 percent pay nothing. That leaves us, the great unwashed middle class, to pay the other 50 percent. However, that’s where all the money is. Obama can’t resist all that money. Look out — the train wreck is coming if Obama gets his way.

If we took all the income from the richest people, we still would not have enough money to solve our spending/debt problems.

The rich have too many loopholes, such as General Electric Co. making billions of money but paying zero, nada, nil, in taxes. The large corporations lobby Congress to pass loopholes for their specific benefit. GE is not the only one.

The way to solve part of the problem is to revamp the tax code from its current 8,000 pages to 20 pages — no loopholes, only mortgage and medical deductions. Taxes would be fair and lower, and the government would bring in more money as a result.

Kaye Morgan

Arroyo Grande

Return those calls

Is there another person in the world who has ever left a message on an answering machine, never to have the call returned?

I would point out the importance of returning phone calls, especially if you are a business or professional individual, as you will never know the business you lose of the friend you offend for not doing so.

When I graduated from college in 1960, I started making annual contributions to a student organization. I was about to make this year’s contribution but I wanted to speak to one of the officers. The receptionist connected me and I got a recorded message stating he would return my call, which he never did.

My wife reminded me that this had happened before. I called again and told the receptionist to inform the officer he need not return my call or expect any further contributions as I would donate a like amount each year to a homeless shelter.

Two days later I received the annual pitch for money in the mail and promptly pitched it in the round file on the floor. This organization lost a $50 annual contribution for neglecting to make a five-minute phone call.

James Paglia

Atascadero

Airlines not subsidized

In response to Mike Dacey’s April 13 letter regarding airlines: While I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Dacey that domestic airlines should not be outsourcing their maintenance, I must correct his statement that our airlines are heavily subsidized by the government. Quite the reverse is actually the case.

The U.S. airline industry is one of the most heavily taxed industries in the world. Ticket taxes often approach 50 percent in many cases. Add to this fuel taxes, airport use and landing fees, TSA fees, etc. and you actually have an industry that contributes far more to the government than it receives back. This is particularly clear when you take into account our 50-year-old air traffic control system, which Congress refuses to appropriate funds to upgrade, thereby costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars per year in lost revenue.

The much-trumpeted loans that a very small number of airlines received after 9/11 were just that — loans. The government ended up making a large profit from them in the end. Our airlines are viewed as an essential component of our economy, almost like a utility, but neither they, nor their workers, enjoy any of the protections that utilities enjoy.

Mark Hoffman

San Luis Obispo

Holding the line

The Salmonid Restoration Federation would like to recognize the City of San Luis Obispo for co-sponsoring the 29th Annual Salmonid Restoration Conference, which took place in the city from March 23 to 26 and was titled “Restoring Salmonids — Holding the Line on Species Decline.”

This is the premier habitat restoration conference in California, and San Luis Obispo was an ideal place to host the conference because of the various watershed restoration efforts on the Central Coast and exemplary urban creek restoration projects.

This year, our annual conference featured workshops on locally important watershed-related topics such as water conservation and stormwater pollution. There were also several educational field tours exploring restoration projects in local watersheds including Morro Bay, Arroyo Grande and Santa Rosa Creek. Many local groups and agencies supported this conference including the California Conservation Corps, the Morro Bay National Estuary Program, CalTrans, Central Coast Salmon Enhancement and the Central Coast Vineyard Team.

SRF sincerely hopes that the conference’s focus on the local watersheds, the steelhead that inhabit them and all the great work being done to protect and restore them has renewed the energy and inspiration of the dedicated individuals, organizations and agencies living and working in San Luis Obispo.

Dana Stolzman

Executive director for the Salmonid Restoration Federation

A roundabout spot

When traveling east to Paso Robles yesterday on Highway 46, I noticed a new traffic light being installed. It occurred to me that a roundabout (or rotary, if you prefer) in that location might have been better for all concerned. Too late for that. Then on my return trip I noticed how many cars were waiting at Vineyard to either cross or turn onto Highway 46.

That location is a definite candidate for a roundabout.

While traveling in Europe last year, it became apparent to me that the roundabout is a great way to keep traffic moving. Oftentimes you never have to stop to head in another direction. No stop and go. We have one in Morro Bay, and it has made the intersection much easier to navigate.

I wonder what others think of that idea. Your thoughts?

Dianna Jackson

Cayucos

Walmart facts

To all the folks dutifully sending in their Walmart booster letters to The Tribune — especially the gentleman who felt that opposition to Walmart is un-American because everyone who works and shops there does so by choice and competition — I recommend reading the environmental review released in February and its conclusion that “businesses around Atascadero could lose more than $20 million in sales in the first year” to a Walmart SuperCenter, as reported by The Tribune. That review also predicted a sales tax boost from the increased shopping dollars coming to Atascadero but failed to note that those shopping dollars will be sucked out of existing stores in Atascadero, Templeton, Santa Margarita and Creston and be sent off to Bentonville, Ark.

They should also read the book “Big-Box Swindle” by Stacy Mitchell, where they will learn that “abuses of market power (have) allowed mega-retailers to force out smaller rivals, not by being better competitors, but simply by being bigger,” and that in a study of 116 California cities, 114 saw no increase in sales tax revenues after a big-box retailer came to town.

Those are the facts behind the smiley face.

Susan Harvey

Paso Robles

Generous support

The Mission Schools Booster Club recently held its 16th annual “Hackers” Golf Tournament and are very appreciative of the support from our many golfers, sponsors and donors who represent many businesses and individuals in our county: Four Seasons Outfitters; Michael Laird, MD; Martin Resorts; Duain and Lindamae Suprinski; Brigitte and Bruce Falkenhagen; Walter Bros. Construction; P-L Construction; the McAllen family; Boneso Brothers Construction; Morris & Garritano Insurance; US Agriseeds; Promotion Plus; San Luis Podiatry Group; SLO Country Club; BlackHorse Espresso; Hay Printing; J.Carroll; Paul’s Cleaners; Pristine Home Services; Dave and Kelly Mor-gan; the Bleuher Family; Straight Down Clothing; State Farm Insurance; Noel M. Shutt; the Woolpert Family; LineShack Winery; Alapay Cellars; Specialty Construction; Trophy Hunters; Sign Place; Lions Club; and Kaney Foods.

More than 70 percent of our student body participates in at least one sport. Among the items the club has been able to provide are uniforms, equipment and bags for several teams and a significant contribution to the renovated weight room. The generous support we receive is heartwarming. On behalf of the Booster Club, a sincere thank you to one and all for supporting Mission College Prep and Old Mission School Athletics.

Kristy Hall

San Luis Obispo

Looking for good

In a time when so much devastation is happening throughout our world, it is easy to dwell on the negative aspects of life today.

Believing in the “glass half full” theory, I have decided to look for good in our world. I did not have to look far. I want to point out a few examples of local businesses that make my task of embracing positivity a bit easier. First, I would like to single out Todd LeMay and the Bladerunner Day Spa for its recent efforts on behalf of the Gearhart family, which is dealing with Desaree Gearhart’s cancer. Awesome!

Next, I would like to recognize local success story Cloud Star for its commitment to our furry friends. Most recently, it dedicated a portion of daily profits to aid pets affected by the horrific disasters in Japan. A Buddy Biscuit to owners Jen Melton and Brennan Johnson!

Thank you all for your positivity!

Mike Kincade

San Luis Obispo

Pilots well trained

As usual, the news media is in a tizzy about air traffic controllers sleeping during overnight shifts.

Remember, it’s the pilot who is flying the aircraft. Virtually every pilot started out in light aircraft, flying in and out of airfields where there are never any controllers. A silent tower at a normally-controlled airport may come as a surprise, but pilots are wel trained to handle the situation.

They can fly their aircraft just fine without government assistance!

Rick Auricchio

Cambria

Burning trash

Stop! You’re killing me!

Sounds melodramatic, but my eyes are burning, my throat is sore, and I can’t breath right, all because some (I’ll leave this part blank until I can think of a word that the editor will allow) is burning trash again.

Incinerators were outlawed half a century ago, and misuse of a fireplace is illegal, too — not that proper use of a fireplace is intelligent, neighborly or necessary these days. But somebody around here doesn’t care what damage they do.

Folks in this area are on oxygen and breathing treatments, and this smog-making foolishness needs to be stopped.

Whom can I call?

Jane Alexander

Cambria

Wasting money

Why does our government waste money? We’re told to make sacrifices, which I do, but while I’m cutting back I still see frivolous spending of federal dollars — dollars that came out of my taxpaying pockets.

“Thunder Over Louisville” is a prime example. This massive air show takes place each year just before the running of the Kentucky Derby, featuring civilian and military planes. This year, 41 military aircraft participated in fly-bys and demonstrations. Planes ranged in size from the massive C5As, C17s and C130s to fighters and helicopters.

As a former Air Force crewmember and retired airline pilot, I have an educated guess on what it costs to operate planes. The C5A burns on average approximately 9,300 gallons of aviation fuel per hour. Even at $3 per gallon, that equates to $27,900 per hour of operating cost in fuel for just one of those 41 planes.

It’s important to illustrate our military capabilities, but in this economic climate, is it prudent to spend money on pure entertainment? I’d rather see less spent on window dressing and more on the protection of our country from terrorists, in tactical support for our troops and for the care of those who have served our country in the past.

Frank Spane

Arroyo Grande

Save real lives

Maybe all of the anti-nuclear protesters could apply their efforts toward drunken driving, smoking and obesity. Then, instead of threatening one of the few sources of good jobs in San Luis Obispo County and raising my electric rates, perhaps they could save thousands of real lives, rather than imaginary ones.

Don Thompson

San Luis Obispo

Brown lawns ahead

San Luis Obispo planning to raise its water rates by 20 percent to offset lower usage is another in a long list of examples of how local, state and federal government officials are destroying the economic viability of citizens for the “good of government” through the misguided belief that raising prices increases revenue.

It should not surprise anyone that water usage is down significantly in San Luis Obispo, because we have had at least triple the normal rainfall in 2011, and irrigation of our lawns is the single largest water usage for a typical homeowner. Rather than seek to understand why the “revenue” to government has “dropped off a cliff” and consider that it is perhaps a statistical anomaly — local government rushes to punitively raise rates.

As taxpayers wrangle with increased food and fuel prices, increasing taxes and now raised water rates — don’t be surprised, oh economically challenged city officials, when rainfall returns to normal and your revenue stays depressed, and your punitive increases create a city full of brown lawns.

Andrew Wright

San Luis Obispo

Why is it needed?

I have a problem understanding the doublespeak from the San Luis Obispo Public Works Department. We have seen annual increases in the cost of water over the past several years, but the latest proposed increase takes the cake. Water usage declined 8.3 percent over the past year. Public Works is using that to support a 20 percent increase over the next two years.

We are being patted on the head and told not to worry. How about a little oversight and an independent audit to show us why the money is really needed?

Dan Hinz

San Luis Obispo

Something awry

I can’t be the only one who feels something has gone awry. As a consequence of “plentiful rainfall” and “outstanding water conservation practices,” our water rates are going up! Under what circumstances will they go down? Have you thought about internal efficiencies? What behavior are you trying to drive? Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

Brian Evans

San Luis Obispo

Just as much sense

Let me get this straight. If city residents become better stewards of a critical resource — water — the city rewards their actions by increasing rates. I’ll make sure I reduce my electricity, natural gas and all other forms of consumption so fees and taxes can be raised as well to maintain revenue. While I’m at it, I will work fewer hours and then ask my employer to raise my hourly salary to compensate me for my lost income. Makes just as much sense.

Norm Borin

San Luis Obispo

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