Correction: Loren Birra’s letter to the editor erroneously stated that he worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He worked for the California Department of Corrections.
Share the burden
Years ago, I was given an opportunity to make a difference as a public safety employee for a city that is not my own.
I am a Democrat. I am not a politician, nor am I wealthy. I am a union member who would never support an effort that would do harm to the community that I have grown to love.
I wear a uniform and a bulletproof vest, yet I have no weapons in a city that faces some terrible demons.
No matter what type of work one performs, no one individual is worthy of more than another. I have great respect for all my co-workers, who I rely on to help me do my job, whether they pick up trash, put out fires or catch the bad guys.
We all now share the burden of our current financial situation: a mandatory day off once a month, loss of co-workers and cutbacks in the police department. These are all cuts that have made my job more difficult and more dangerous.
Pensions and large pay increases in San Luis Obispo now threaten to reduce the public safety staffing in my home. That is why I am asking the citizens of the city of San Luis Obispo to please vote yes on Measures A and B.
San Luis Obispo
Not worthy of show
I completely agree with Patti Launders’ Aug. 18 letter regarding the Kardashians.
I am also elderly. When I resubscribed to cable last year, I found that probably 90 percent of the TV programming consisted of reality shows. I kept wondering: Who are the Kardashians, and why are they worthy of having a television show? (As well as all the “Real Housewives” of whatever!)
As Patti says, what do they contribute to society that makes them icons to the public?
In the 1930s and ’40s, there were the debutantes and rich kids whose every move was noted by the public, but thankfully the average person didn’t have to see their faces every time they turned around. Who the hell cares how much Kim’s wedding is costing and how many guests are invited?
I must say that after a year of worthless cable programs, I canceled my subscription again. I’d rather watch “Magnum, P.I.” 24 hours a day than one hour of a reality show, especially the Kardashians.
By the way, I love the names Patti gave the sisters in her letter.
Return wasted money
The effort to establish a second population of sea otters at San Nicolas Island in Ventura County was a stupid idea from the get-go.
From the beginning, the sea otters began to disperse. The California Coastal Commission required regular progress reports, and often, right before the meeting, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gathered up a new batch of sea otters, and at the meeting “reported” the news that “X” amount of animals remained.
This entire fiasco damaged the fishing industry and coastal economies. Yet, the numbskulls who designed the project have never been held accountable.
Instead, they received doctoral degrees, promotions, awards and golden retirements, all at public expense. It was also costly to the sea otters, as few missing animals were seen again.
I propose Congress take a portion of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annual budget and return it to the coastal cities who paid the price of this folly.
San Luis Obispo
Equal rights for all
The Respect for Marriage Act HR 1116 and S. 598 would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and provide the same federal rights and benefits to same-sex couples as straight couples have. Former Rep. Bob Barr sponsored DOMA and former President Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law; now both of them support the Respect for Marriage Act.
Sadly, most Republican lawmakers and candidates oppose marriage equality — some even want to go as far as to amend the Constitution against it. Why would any American citizen, regardless of their political party or religion, not want other law abiding fellow American citizens to have the same federal rights and benefits as they have?
If you believe in equal rights and benefits for all American citizens, please contact your representative and ask them to support The Respect for Marriage Act.
Coming and going
The real cost of our wars in the Middle East?
We cannot compute the true cost of war, as there is no known value put on human suffering. The financial costs can be tabulated, although the Pentagon would prefer we not know that these two hopeless military exercises in Afghanistan and Iraq will eventually run us well over $3 trillion — an unspoken reason for our current financial problems.
Can we declare victory and exit quietly, as we did in Vietnam in 1973? Probably not, as we have nobody to cut deals with. The various factions from Pakistan to Palestine will come to their own conclusions, which may not be to our liking.
As a Vietnamese colleague said to me 40 years ago when I was leaving Saigon after 18 months, “You Americans come and then go, while we will live here all our lives and have to make our own accommodations.”
Cost of sanitation
In response to the grand jury’s recent report, South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District’s Board of Directors state that their customers pay the lowest rates in San Luis Obispo County. They offer this as evidence of the district’s superior management. The district’s rates are low, but not because of superior management.
The district has an aged plant, built in the 1960s and 1980s at a fraction of the cost of a new plant today. The cost to build this older plant was paid off years ago and is no longer included in the district’s billing rates to its customers. Customers for other county sanitation districts with newer facilities pay higher monthly rates because their bills do include costs for more modern and more expensive facilities.
The cost of a sanitation district’s physical plant is normally the largest cost customers must pay for — just ask the folks in Los Osos and Morro Bay.
No worthwhile change
Back when Barack Obama first came out of nowhere to take the forefront as the Democrats’ selection to run for the highest elected office in our great nation, I was briefly interested in what he had to say. But to this point, he has done nothing in his time in office to change anything in a worthwhile way.
I read about his 50th birthday party, where supporters paid $35,800 a plate for his campaign fund. I recalled my 50th birthday — there was a small party, and I had been working for 17 years for the California Department of Corrections. I did some quick math and found that my retirement pay for a year comes up $10,000 less than one plate at his party.
There is one thing that my work in the prison system did for me. That is: You have to be alert at all times to what people say. I hope all voters use good judgment in 2012.
San Luis Obispo
A goal achieved
I would like to thank all who made the Village at Sydney Creek Memory Care Community’s 11th anniversary celebration a success. Held on Aug. 10, the evening achieved its goal of raising awareness for the amazing population we serve, as well as much-needed funds for the Central Coast Alzheimer’s Association.
Food, wine and fun were shared, and we raffled off a terrific vacation package. We greatly appreciate those who signed up to join us at the Alzheimer’s Association’s upcoming Walk to End Alzheimer’s event. We look forward to gathering with you again this time next year!
San Luis Obispo
Don’t cross on red
I live near downtown San Luis Obispo, and I walk a lot.
I am always amazed at how many people cross the street on a red light. Individuals do it, but so do families with children. Some children stop, but they are immediately pulled by an adult across the street. Sometimes, the vehicle that actually has the green light has to stop for those pedestrians!
Along with the budget, did California pass a new bill I didn’t know about?
San Luis Obispo