Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 9/7

Missing something?

Am I missing something? Glenn Ballinger’s letter (Sept. 2) suggests students today are being “dumbed down.” I work with students in an elementary school, and I don’t see that at all!

I see fifth- and sixth-grade students being taught algebra and geometry and other subjects that I didn’t have until high school, if at all. I see first-grade students reading more than 50 books every year. I see special-education teachers teaching life skills to students who used to be shoved from grade to grade until they became society’s problem. I see children with mental-health issues who in the past were expelled because of their behavior being assisted by a helpful adult. I see language courses being taught to non-English-speaking students and their parents.

Can you imagine being enrolled in a school that taught in a language you didn’t understand? Can you imagine how little help you would get at home if your parents didn’t speak the language? All this is being addressed so that no student leaves school “dumb” but instead living to the highest level capable.

I also see hardworking, dedicated teachers and administrators achieving these goals despite funding cuts.

Am I missing something, or is Mr. Ballinger or his school missing something?

Cherie Ahlquist

Santa Maria

Disturbing reaction

The article reporting the defeat of Measures A and B (Aug. 31) described the victors “jubilantly rejoicing” the outcome. This is not an appropriate reaction given the impact the these measures will have on the city’s employees. But, more disturbing is Councilman Andrew Carter’s comment: “They may have won the battle then (in 2000), but they lost the war.”

War? Really? So, police officers, firefighters and public employees are the enemy? Aren’t these the people we hire to run our city? If we should be at war with anything, it is the attitude of craven, callous politicians like Carter, Mayor Marx, and the council majority. Rather than raise revenue so the city can keep its promises to its employees, they blame public employees and first-responders for the city’s fiscal woes. It’s political bottom trolling at its disgusting worst.

San Luis Obispo is not the first jurisdiction to blame public employees for its budget problems. This despicable tactic is being used by right-wing governments nationwide. The idea of shared sacrifice to maintain a decent society seems anathema to them.

Carter, Marx and the others would prefer to incite the middle class to fight amongst themselves than do the heavy lifting required of leaders who seek to advance the common good.

M.J. Johnson

San Luis Obispo

Help local soldiers

I am the mother of a soldier who has served three deployments to Iraq. I’m aware of how much he and his friends appreciated their care packages from home. Some troops were stationed in remote locations where there were few services. Troops on late night patrols frequently returned to bases to find the kitchen closed and had to rely on their stash of goodies from home.

Every month, the Military Parents of the Central Coast assembles boxes of books and magazines, snacks, toiletries and other requested items for local soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also help their fellow soldiers who have no families to support them.

Your readers have an opportunity to aid our efforts by attending a barbecue and band concert at Mitchell Park on Sept. 11 at noon. All profits are used to purchase items in bulk (cooling scarves, hand warmers, socks, etc.) and for postage. You can also donate items at the event. They appreciate individually packaged snacks (peanuts, granola bars, Vienna sausages, vacuum-packed tuna, jerky, gum, powdered drink mix, etc.), chemical hand warmers, toiletries, DVDs and paperback books.

Last year, more than $2,000 was raised along with donations.

Please join us for good food, good company and an opportunity to help our local soldiers.

Cathy Marvier

San Luis Obispo

SLO comes around

San Luis Obispo has come full circle. After being resurrected with a progressive and enlightened majority in the 1980s, making it a unique community, it now finds itself returned to its regressive and reactionary past. It has become common and indistinguishable from other Republican-controlled, for-profit enclaves.

As the city continues its financial and communal downward spiral, the stigma of the recent election will be another reason for the erosion of the esteem of days past. Even the low voter turnout is an indication that the community cohesiveness that created “happy town” has all but disappeared.

Terry Mohan

San Luis Obispo

Don’t believe it

Barack Obama promised change you can believe in if he was president. As a senator, he voted against raising the debt ceiling.

As a candidate, Obama consistently derided and belittled President Bush for saddling our children with the debt and deficit. In at least one speech, he ridiculed President Bush for raising the debt ceiling by $4 trillion in eight years, calling him not only irresponsible but un-American for doing so. As president, Obama has raised the debt ceiling as well.

Who is irresponsible and un-American? Who is saddling not only our children but our grandchildren with debt?

For two of these two and a half years, Obama had a majority in Congress and could do nearly anything he wanted. Listen to his speeches. If this is change you can believe in, there is a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

Richard Neufeld

Grover Beach

Not that hard

Referring to the letter “Selective overreach” (Sept. 3): Your reader is missing the “big picture” regarding storm water regulations and the banning of plastic shopping bags. First of all, the fact that storm water is allowed to escape the area where it falls is a wasted opportunity. When communities manage their water resources more effectively, they will design their communities for minimized run-off, and that will benefit everyone.

Banning plastic bags is also a benefit to everyone. Plastic bags are not biodegradable and are having a devastating effect on our environment. Is it really too much to ask for people to use fewer plastic bags? When you go shopping, just bring some reusable bags. It’s really not that hard.

Brad Snook

Arroyo Grande