Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 9/12

Our deepest gratitude

During this time of remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001, we need to once again offer our deepest respect and gratitude to our national and local first-responders. It is important not to lose sight of their constant vigilance and zeal to protect the public, and their willingness to put their lives on the line if necessary.

Unfortunately, during the time leading up to the recent election in the city of San Luis Obispo, a few irresponsible people did just that, using the “heat of the campaign” as a flimsy excuse for abusive conduct. They made rude, disrespectful and profane gestures and comments to on-duty police officers and firefighters.

This conduct was reprehensible and never condoned in any way by the City Council or any campaign committee. Now is the time to reaffirm our community’s time-honored tradition of respect and support for our public safety personnel, who work so hard to keep us safe and secure from harm.

Jan Marx

San Luis Obispo mayor


Commentary by Rex Smith (Aug. 25) and the letter by Mary Cook (Aug. 30) are a study in contrast. Smith’s thoughtful commentary, based on verifiable facts, addresses a problem that threatens national cohesion.

Cook’s letter contains assertions that defy logic. She states the “argument about the gap between wealthy and poor is a red herring.” It’s unbelievable someone would make such an ignorant statement; the ever-growing income gap during the past 30 years is a well-documented fact.

Now in the United States the top 20 percent have 85 percent of the nation’s wealth, the next 40 percent have approximately 14 percent of wealth, and the bottom 40 percent share less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

Cook would not have written her letter if she were among the bottom 40 percent, having to share less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth with others in the group. In 2010, the average pay raise of a worker was 2 percent while that of a CEO was 23 percent. Tax loopholes such as “carried interest” also contribute to economic disparity. John Paulson, a hedge fund manager, made $4.9 billion in 2010 on which he was taxed at 15 percent for much of it.

Such economic disparity is absent in advanced European countries and Japan. Business leaders in those countries find it unconscionable and against societal interest.

Zaf Iqbal

San Luis Obispo

Bum investment

“Penny stocks” are low-cost shares that are very volatile with big potential gains. I wouldn’t touch them with a 10-foot pole. But I just did and didn’t know it. President Obama invested for me in Solyndra, a solar panel company in the Bay Area (The Tribune, Sept. 9).

He invested for me as well as 90 million taxpaying citizens of the country. The company, even after an on-site visit from the president touting its products and proclaiming the new era of solar energy, is now in bankruptcy and has been raided by the FBI. The cost is $528 million, which comes out to about $5.90 from each of us unknowing participants. Next time, President Obama, let me do the investing. Stick to doing what you do best: reading from a teleprompter.

T.A. Hughes

Arroyo Grande

Baffling proposal

As a rural homeowner, I fully support the governor’s plan to require me to pay extra for fire protection. It’s clear that it costs more to save my home from fire than it does a home in town.

I also recognize that the likelihood of fire is increasing with climate change and want to ensure that we have fully staffed CalFire crews.

However, the proposal to charge by the acre completely baffles me. This seems to penalize farmers and ranchers, many of whom are “land-rich and cash-poor.” Moreover, the public derives benefits from undeveloped land, such as scenic viewsheds, wildlife habitat, and groundwater recharge, not to mention food and fiber.

Some rural and agricultural lands would actually benefit from being allowed to burn and don’t need added protection. It would make more sense to charge according to square footage of residences, guest houses and buildings open to the public. This would target the McMansions and large ag tourism operators that not only have the ability to pay but also demand a high level of service.

Holly Sletteland


Undefined term

In the presidential election article by the Associated Press (Sept. 5), Charles Babington reports that even though the economy is in the tank and Obama’s poll numbers are too, he’s still in good shape. The premise being that the GOP candidates are “deeply flawed” or “right-leaning.” By deeply flawed, does he mean that they are demanding fiscal responsibility? Believe in the Ten Commandments?

Exactly what does he mean by deeply flawed? Insanity is electing the same people and expecting different results.

Jim Major


Reason for decline

Congratulations to the courageous City Council of San Luis Obispo and to the concerned voters who overwhelmingly chose to restrict the power the nationwide labor unions wield over their beautiful city.

I’m sure the council values the worth of every one of their employees; that isn’t the problem but rather the unreasonable salaries, benefits and pension contributions they have to pay on their behalf. Americans all over the country are starting to realize the taxpayers can no longer afford the bloated public-employment budgets that have been forced on them by the labor unions and their pet politicians.

The Tribune article about the U.S. Postal Service (Sept. 5) offers strong proof of why our public institutions are failing: “... decades of promises made to unionized workers, including no-layoff clauses, are increasing the post office’s costs.”

The same principle holds true for American businesses that are saddled with onerous union contracts — their labor costs are so high they cannot compete freely in an open-market economy. That’s the overriding reason our prime manufacturing jobs have moved overseas and will never return.

Josie Hyde

Morro Bay

Simple analysis

Steven Marx claims Victor Davis Hanson ignored “facts” regarding the viability of clean energy and green jobs (Letters, Sept. 5). So he supplied some for us.

Using these facts, I made a simple analysis.

Fact: $121.7 billion in private investments in green jobs yielded 53,000 jobs.

Calculation: That’s $2.3 million per job.

Analysis: Assuming a full-burden average cost of $75,000 per job, the investors can pay these people for 31 years to build the most expensive and least reliable energy sources on the planet.

The facts speak for themselves.

Art Young



Can federal government spending actually be reduced without endangering the well-being of the American people? A quick look at federal budget numbers highlights some glaring examples of how irresponsible the current administration has been.

In the time that Barack Obama has been in office, the Department of Education has received billions of dollars in stimulus funds. Has anyone noticed an improvement in the public school education our children are receiving as a result?

Over the past two years, the Department of Agriculture has increased spending by $39 billion a year, or 43 percent. Is higher-quality food more plentiful at lower prices as a result?

Since 2008, the Department of Energy has increased its spending by $9 billion a year, or 44 percent. Are we any less dependent on foreign oil and have solar and wind power (the federally anointed technologies) proved to be commercially viable without taxpayer subsidies? No, but I have noticed that the cost of gasoline has doubled.

And with annual budget deficits running well over $1 trillion, let’s not forget that all of this increased spending was paid for with borrowed money.

The assertion that federal spending cannot be reduced substantially without harming Americans is disingenuous at best and a lie at worst.

Robert Olson


Only in SLO

To whomever found my glasses on Marsh and Nipomo streets and set them on the wall: Thanks! I retraced my steps two hours later, and there they were. Only in SLO.

Doug Campbell