Look to Los Osos
Atascadero’s mayor and City Council and Richard Quandt, president and general counsel of the Grower-Shipper Association of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, had recent Viewpoints objecting to the upcoming Regional Water Quality Control Board’s new “stealth” basin updates that will include a vast array of expensive, stringent regulations that will affect a great number of people.
Noted Quandt, “Board staff has attempted to justify this regulatory expansion by presenting facts that, when examined, are found to contain omissions, anomalies and unfounded assumptions. Instead of creating a complete and science-based factual record upon which to base public policy recommendations, board staff has already determined the direction and is advocating for its position by manipulating information.”
The Viewpoints make it clear that these gentlemen are confident that they’ll be able to rectify these troubling staff omissions, anomalies, unfounded assumptions and manipulation of information. Obviously, they have no idea of the truly Mad Hatter Tea Party they’ll be walking into, which is why I have two words for the mayor and Quandt: Los Osos.
Beacon of hope
Community support: In a midwestern town, a Jewish family had placed a menorah in their window during Passover. Two days later, a swastika was painted on their door. Within two more days, the family saw menorahs in the windows of all their Christian neighbors. The painting and vandalism stopped.
Individual courage: During the civil rights movement in 1963 in Georgia, a white family was supporting the freedom riders. Their children were shunned. They were harassed by the townspeople and local police. Then one night, as happened to the family in Arroyo Grande, a burning cross appeared on their lawn. The mother asked the husband to put the charred cross in the garage. On Christmas Eve, the children and everyone else saw a nativity scene. Right behind it was the charred cross draped with ivy and ribbon. A banner on the cross read “Peace on Earth.” All of this was lit with a spotlight. The light cast a shadow of the cross on the front of their house.
Let the charred cross in Arroyo Grande be a beacon of light and hope.
Martin and Livia Kellerman
I have an observation on what is happening with the Morro Bay Planning Commission and John Diodati from an outside observer. If the paper has reported the incident correctly, the council was meeting on a day that would not interfere with Diodati accepting a coaching position. Then the council moved its meeting day and now wants to punish — by removing -— Diodati for being late or absent.
The solution should be for the council to change its starting time, as they are the ones that caused the problem.
A stirring of feelings
Finally, there’s a reason for kids to get on the street and make themselves known. Seems the killing of Osama bin Laden was enough to stir some feeling in our youth. Now we have an idea what motivates them.
I hope kids today have finally engaged. It’s time somebody did. Time the sleeping giant stretches its arms. Are we going to continue to play dead while the corporate elite has its way with us?
They raped us with the recession, stealing our money, leaving us with undervalued homes. They polluted our oceans, and now they are milking us at the pump. Like lambs to the slaughter, we keep believing the drivel we hear on TV. They own the TV. Ever heard of propaganda, the stuff they tell us because it makes them look good?
Why not boycott one oil company for a month, or how about we all stop paying our health insurance premiums? That might scare some respect into them.
We have a voice, and it speaks every time we buy something. Corporate America needs us, but they don’t respect us.
Do some research
Regarding Gene Kalland’s letter regarding Michelle Tasseff’s letter about water rates in Los Osos. Hey, Gene: Maybe you should do some research.
There are several water companies that supply water in Los Osos. I have Golden State Water, the one that wants to raise its rates 50 percent. I just went back through my check register for the last six water bills — we’re billed every other month — and my average monthly bill for the last year was $96.62. I live alone and I let my backyard pretty much die.
I don’t know what everyone will do when they raise the water rates and the sewer bills start arriving. Adios, Los Osos.
Stand up, speak out
California is in a state of emergency. Over the past several years it has cut, again and again, from a whole generation of students. All across the state, it has taken away librarians, counselors, art, band, physical education, books, athletic programs, instructional days, supplies and, most importantly, educators, all the while asking schools to raise expectations, provide better instruction and raise those test scores.
That’s why it’s time to stand up and speak out for every son, daughter, niece, nephew, neighbor and friend. Enough is enough. Stop sacrificing the future of this state and country to balance the budget.
Contact your legislators today and tell them to support quality education.
San Luis Obispo
The correct lesson
Our nation needs to take away the correct lesson from the recent successful effort to find Osama bin Laden.
Torture did not make the endeavor successful, contrary to claims glorifying torture. If torture were the answer, bin Laden would have been found much sooner. Actually, the information that led to bin Laden came from many different sources and, as we know, it took a decade.
Instead, the use of torture cost us the support of some allies who could have been of use in the search, and it resulted in much false information, slowing the process. Worst of all, use of torture by the U.S. has become al-Qaida’s most powerful recruitment tool.
As a person of faith and supporter of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, nrcat.org, I know that torture is immoral, always wrong, illegal and not worthy of our great country.
The nation needs a full accounting of the facts, not unsubstantiated claims. This can be accomplished by a comprehensive investigation into the U.S. torture program.
San Luis Obispo
The Bush administration eliminated predatory lending laws, Americans borrowed too much, and many defaulted, resulting in a recession that began in 2007. Sadly, Republicans don’t talk about regulations; they just blame “greedy” public employees.
Loopholes like pension spiking should close, but I reject the public sector “greed” narrative.
My story is typical. I spent my 20s earning a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in microbiology. During that time, I made $15,000 a year, could not afford health insurance and had no retirement.
By 2001, at age 31 and with a toolkit of technical skills, I earned a faculty position paying $40,000 per nine months. I was so conditioned to live on $15,000 that $40,000 with benefits was exciting.
While a nine-month contract implies three months off, nobody closes their lab for three months. You still work, but it’s usually for free.
My sister and I earned the same bachelor’s degree in 1991, but she entered the private sector. She enjoys huge bonuses, a salary that doubles mine and has 10 more years of retirement savings.
I love my public sector career. I’m not whining. But, if you think I’m greedy, I invite you to earn a job like mine and see for yourself.
Pat M. Fidopiastis
San Luis Obispo
A revenue boost
An open letter to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Diane Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer, all seniors and everyone who who hope to become a senior: My accountant told me that after the previous immigration amnesty period, all of the farmers suddenly started to pay payroll taxes on their farmworkers. There was probably a similar effect in the restaurant and construction industries and other parts of the economy.
Think what a boost that was for the Social Security and Medicare funds, not to mention for the IRS.
Regarding the $2.9 million in crippling cuts that Cuesta College has been forced to make in its budget: Voters in the 33rd Assembly District have only themselves to blame.
They voted Katcho Achadjian into office knowing that he would not compromise on his pledge not to raise anyone’s taxes. In fact, Achadjian won’t even vote to allow the rest of us to cast a ballot on this issue.
He and the other Republicans in the Assembly are prepared to sacrifice Cuesta College and our teachers, nurses and firefighters in order to cut a few extra dollars from the tax bill of their wealthy donors.
This is utterly despicable behavior, but the majority of voters put Achadjian into office. Perhaps this lesson will be learned before the next election.
San Luis Obispo
Wow, what a shock to discover that banking oversight rules were quietly changed in favor of banks a few years ago so that banks are no longer held liable to safeguard my money against check fraud when someone forges my name on a check. It’s hard to believe but true.
For anyone who has a checking account, beware. Banks are no longer required to validate the signature on your check due to a change to the Uniform Commercial Code favoring big banks at the expense — literally — of small businesses and working people.
Those same banking institutions we recently bailed out will gladly allow thieves to loot our accounts with no qualms, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill again.
Bring unions in line
We are currently witnessing a corrupt labor union like the SEIU bring suit against the small city of San Luis Obispo because the City Council is following the democratic rule of putting issues of extreme financial gravity before their people for a vote.
That same union propaganda machine is working overtime to vilify Sam Blakeslee and Katcho Achadjian for trying to inject some sense of sanity into the political machine and offer us hope we can still be saved from the $150 billion in unfunded, overhanging public pension liabilities that threaten our state with complete disaster.
It’s way past time we all stand up to these powerful unions and bring public employee salaries, benefits and pensions into line with what the average worker — and retiree — has in California.