Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 7/18

Watering down school

While taking a teacher training course back in 1954, we were taught that “education is a function of the state,” so when I was asked to participate in a Congressional Advisory Committee on Education Reform in 2001, I accepted. But I wondered, just what role does the federal government have in education?

Our mission statement was to raise the proficiency level of graduating high school seniors to that of other industrialized nations. Research showed that the core of learning lay in being proficient in reading. Reading specialists were concerned that most public schools were teaching reading using the whole language method while going back to phonics was proven to be far superior for most pupils. The problem: There was a monetary investment in whole language textbooks and teacher training.

Introducing competition amongst various schools was deemed advisable, with the issuance of vouchers that parents could apply to any school, be it public, private or parochial. We used the G.I. Bill as a guideline.

Finally, there is some opposition, primarily from the teachers, to standardized testing.

However, we go through life taking standardized tests, be it for doctors, professional engineers or lawyers.

I am saddened to read that there is now talk of watering down the proficiency examinations for our schoolchildren. Let us hope that it does not also apply to our doctors and engineers.

Ralph Bush

Arroyo Grande

Salute to officer

My son Joel pointed out to me the three San Luis Obispo City Police cars in Splash Cafe’s parking lot. He was thrilled when he entered the cafe and saw the police officers. As we began eating, Joel talked about their radios, guns and, of course, the “bad guys.” As we read our books and talked, he noted when one officer left and when the other two followed shortly thereafter. Everything about them was “cool.”

Shortly after, someone approached our table. Joel’s eyes looked up to find one of the police officers now standing at his side. The officer said, “My name is Jeremy, what’s yours?” My son said, “Joel,” and he reached up and shook the officer’s outstretched hand. It was a touching moment, the officer and my special needs son clasping hands. Jeremy asked, “Joel, would you like a police badge sticker?”

“Yes, thank you,” Joel answered, obviously filled with joy. As the officer left, Joel was ecstatic as he pulled the sticker from its backing and proudly placed it on his chest.

I appreciate, I salute, Officer “Jeremy” for stepping back into the cafe to extend his heart and hand to Joel.

Graham Koenig


Threat to economy

Who is Grover Norquist and how did he gain control of the Republican Party?

This unelected official has arm-twisted an entire political party into believing that taxes never go up. We now have a political party that is threatening our economic stability on the premise that, from now on, taxes only go down. There is a smart way and a dumb way to solve our debt and deficit issues, and neither should involve harming our economy.

We have a debt level that poses a crisis. We have an economy that hasn’t recovered from its near meltdown. It is a difficult position to have to deal with both issues at once. We will never solve anything if we come apart as a nation, and we will never pay any of our debt if our economy crashes again.

The Republicans chose the framework of this fight. They have decided that they will threaten our economic stability in order to get their way.

I thought they got elected to create jobs, not hold a gun to the head of our economy. When has hostage taking not been terrorism? When does drowning the government become treason?

David Curry

Santa Margarita

Pollution problems?

Roger Briggs, executive officer of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Board, in his Sunday Viewpoint stated that “we have some of the most severe water pollution problems in the United States.” Then he went on to suggest that, while there are some farmers doing their part to keep agricultural runoffs under control, many are not.

The manager of the local farmer’s market in Cambria, Mike Broadhurst, has recently objected to the likely imposition of stiffer water testing fees that could threaten the longterm viability of operations such as his along Santa Rosa Creek. I can certainly understand that if water pollution is going to occur (caused by farmers), it is likely to be runoff. But he clearly states that his operation mitigates against any kind of pollution.

When I first moved to Cambria, we had good flows from Santa Rosa Creek out to sea from winter rains. At that time, I was thinking about whether the town needed a desal plant to supplement its water supplies. I couldn’t believe how much pure water was being “wasted.” And just to be sure it was “pure,” I bottled some, put it in a closet for a year and took another look at it. There was no sign of any discoloration, or infestation from bacteria, algae, etc. Since then, I have wandered throughout the creek, and it continues to look pretty “pure” to me.

Are we not overstating the problem here?

William L. Seavey


Sad time in history

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 48, requiring that one’s sexual orientation be considered in our history books.

This would force our children to be indoctrinated in the pro-homosexual history curricula, including the societal contributions of homosexual, bisexual and transgender persons. But the curriculum cannot include any information that reflects negatively on them.

When we study a person’s contribution to society and history, who cares what sexual orientation he or she may be? An excellent (or terrible) leader is in our history books because of his or her role in history. An explorer discovered a new passage or land. A scientist or inventor is in our history books because of his or her contributions, not because of his or her sexual orientation.

I am sure that there are already homosexuals in our history books, but they are not labeled as such. They are there for their role in history, not because they are homosexual.

Is this law necessary? Has there been discrimination? Is this appropriate?

It is a sad time in our state’s history.

Mark Nakamura

San Luis Obispo

Thomas not a fool

Just before Justice Clarence Thomas was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Robert Bork was nominated to fill that position. Bork had six years federal judicial experience on the D.C. Circuit, was highly recommended by the American Bar Association and was considered to be a legal scholar of the highest magnitude.

His appointment was defeated in Congress by the liberals. The American people subsequently got Thomas.

The appointment process is now highly political. Therefore, inferior people sometimes become justices. Before, the only criteria for a justice was legal intellect.

At the present time, the Supreme Court is composed of both liberals and conservatives who have high intellectual and legal scholarship (sans Thomas). Therefore, for the most part, we have a good court.

Since the givers and Thomas are not fools, these gifts mentioned in previous letters were probably arranged in such a manner as to avoid violating the federal judiciary ethics code.

Allan Mayer

San Luis Obispo

Dreadfully wasteful

1. Nancy Pelosi: “We have to pass this bill so we can see what’s in it.” (On the massive Obama health care bill.) This bizarre comment received little media attention. What if it had been made by Sarah Palin? I know! Millions dead in the streets from hysterical laughter.

2. Lois Capps: “We can’t drill our way out of the oil shortage.” What’s next? We can’t plant our way out of a food shortage? Dear Congress Lady, do we need oil? Yes! Well then, where is the oil? Underground! How do we get it out? Drill a hole!

I’m really not surprised by these comments. Pelosi and Capps were too busy voting for every wasteful spending bill in sight. They are both rated at an absolute zero in a report by the organization Citizens Against Government Waste.

Nancy and Lois are joined by Maxine Waters, Henry Waxman and Anthony Weiner as the most irresponsible spenders in Congress. The scale is zero to 100, zero being dreadfully wasteful spenders.

The debt is well over $14 trillion. How dare we allow these people to have access to the nation’s checkbook!

Paul Allen

Morro Bay