Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 5/30

Say a prayer today

When I was young, I was part of the landing forces at Roi-Namur Island and Iwo Jima as a member of the Fourth Division Marines. I have said goodbye to many of my buddies.

On this Memorial Day, I ask you to join me to say a prayer thanking all of our men and women who now serve for the freedom of our great nation.

C.F. “Buzz” Harmon

Pismo Beach

Honest debate, please

If we live in a constitutional democracy, perhaps our elected representatives should pay attention to what the citizenry actually want.

Medicare is popular, and the Republican Party is just now finding this out, to their discomfort. Knowing this, they are frantically emphasizing cost and funding problems to create the impression that health care is somehow unaffordable. Really?

Is the alternative of for-profit care better and somehow more cost-effective? Most other developed countries have discovered this not to be the case.

Why not have an honest discussion of the issues and let people decide whether or not health care is something they are willing to pay for, even if this means taxation?

So far, this debate has been marked by hysteria and dishonesty. We deserve better. I am a senior citizen, and I have voted in every election since reaching majority. I can assure my congressmen I will hold them responsible for their conduct and their votes.

Michael Swan


Jammed road

After reading the May 22 editorial regarding nuclear regulators and the Viewpoint piece by Victor Dricks, a senior public affairs officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, I was struck by the following statement by Mr. Dricks: “Our inspection process is designed to identify problems long before they become safety significant. Ms. Swanson (of Mothers for Peace) noted that the NRC has identified many inspection findings at Diablo Canyon all of these findings had very low safety significance.”

I would like to point out just one of my concerns as described in The Tribune’s editorial of the same day: “Certain emergencies could require bringing in equipment by highways and access roads that might be inaccessible.” I think the term, “might be” should be changed to “will be.” There is one two-lane road leading out of the power plant. Imagine evacuating the citizens who live in Avila Beach, San Luis Bay Estates and other areas along that road at the same time that PG&E is bringing heavy equipment to the plant for an emergency.

Please explain to me how that “fix” is to be made and how it could be termed a “very low safety significance” by Mr. Dricks.

Joyce Palaia

Avila Beach

Sports medicine

Is it time to end the hypocrisy about athletes and “performance drugs”?

Bicyclists race 135 miles and climb 10,000 feet. The NFL turns bodies into ramming machines. All athletes train long, tough hours and “play hurt.”

Why is Gatorade, a shot of cortisone or a blow of oxygen legal, while other substances are banned? Some may be helpful.

Some context: I’ve been an amateur athlete for 60 years. As a journalist, I’ve covered NCAA and professional sports. Coaches, trainers and athletes are friends. I went through an NBA rookie camp on assignment. I know the pain in training rooms.

“Someday we’ll be replaced by bionic jocks,” Len Elmore said to me from a neighboring Cybex knee machine.

If a “drug” does no harm to health, and if sanctioning bodies can establish competitive standards, why not permit athletes to “treat,” “repair,” or even “assist” their bodies undergoing abuse?

We treat cholesterol and blood pressure. Why can’t pharmacology help, and perhaps prevent harm or later suffering?

Professional authorities should approve a formulary of drugs that aid the body in healing, not those that merely give a competitive edge. We expect super-human performance. Let’s control and supervise performance assistance “medicines.”

Tom Cochrun


Some flood solution

At the May 24 Board of Supervisors meeting, after the county Public Works Department discussion of Oceano flooding issues, Supervisor James Patterson told Oceano residents to essentially solve the flooding problems themselves.

After many residents gave testimony that the Meadow Creek Lagoon has been taken over by the growth of reeds and silt buildup, severely limiting water flow, and after testimony that water in ditches and streets cannot flow into the lagoon, it became clear that lagoon issues had to be resolved to mitigate future flooding. Lack of lagoon maintenance was the major contributor to the flooding.

Public Works indicated that State Parks owns the lagoon and does not want to disturb Mother Nature.

Supervisor Patterson said that the residents should form committees to approach various agencies involved to get flooding problems resolved. He based this on his own experience in dealing with Santa Margarita flooding, which took three to four years to resolve.

It isn’t our job to do this! Public Works needs to step forward and grab the reigns. With supervisors’ backing, Public Works should vigorously pursue working with State Parks to solve issues instead of more “studies, charts, preparing, evaluating, determining ...” thus draining available funds into their budget and administrative costs.

Joe Schacherer


Republican priorities

It is revealing to learn how Republican legislators want to deal with the budget shortfall here in California. Rather than extend current tax levels, they are proposing further reductions in programs to help the needy, young children, the elderly and those who are mentally ill.

So much for family and Judeo-Christian values.

Maybe these same legislators can explain to me why, instead of asking all Californians to make sacrifices and the rich to sacrifice proportionately more, they want state employees to shoulder much of the burden through a 10 percent pay cut.

In 2008, the total U.S. tax burden was about 23 percent of GDP. Canada and all western European countries had percentages around 30 percent, sometimes above 40 percent.

Yet economies in many of those countries are at least as healthy as ours, with a substantially better safety net than what we provide and significantly higher expenditures on infrastructure. Additionally, U.S. public schools and colleges have taken big financial hits.

If we want to use the services that government currently supplies, we must be willing to pay for them.

At least Republicans have been forthright about what they don’t regard as valuable. I just disagree strongly with their priorities.

Jay Devore

Los Osos