Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 10/16

Don’t judge appearances

‘Once fiction, now found” or, “They do exist” or, “Local boy makes good even though he didn’t graduate from Coast Union because they expelled him and his brother for letting their hair grow.”

On Sept. 15, NASA announced that a team headed by SETI’s Laurance Doyle had found the planet with two suns that was dreamed of in the “Star Wars” movies of 30 years ago.

Way to go, Laurance!

I’m his sister, and Coast Union expelled both of my brothers for having long hair and beards.

Laurance finished his junior year at Cuesta in half the time it would have taken in the high school. And today he still has long hair and a beard.

Good thing Coast Union isn’t a night school. They’d have kicked you out for star gazing.

Jane Alexander


Texting can be lethal

As a current senior at Atascadero High School, I have noticed that many of my peers have had their driver’s license for more than a year now and have become increasingly comfortable with the road. I bring this up to address the fact that texting while driving has become a very prevalent issue that I feel is under-addressed.

Although statewide programs such as Friday Night Live aim to inform teenagers on this deadly problem, their efforts alone are not enough. Unfortunately, many teens still do not realize how serious these lethal actions are and need supplemental information to address this issue.

Moreover, by strongly advocating against texting while driving and blatantly publicizing the effects of these actions, we can keep both teens and roads safer.

Catherine Gayaldo


Women still relegated

Kudos to David Middlecamp’s article on women’s suffrage (“Paper quietly noted women’s victory,” Oct. 8). I enjoy his “Photos from the Vault” column and look forward to reading it on the front page of the local section.

It would be just as refreshing and appropriate if the sports section paid commensurate attention to the current accomplishments of women in sports, specifically the WNBA. Once again, in a consistent relegation to a summary paragraph in the “Sports Roundup,” we are informed of the WNBA winners — only this time it is the championship final game, where 10,000 people were in attendance, and the Minnesota Lynx took a three-game sweep to win their first WNBA title.

Don’t you think this deserved front-page recognition in the sports section?

Laurel A. Woodson

Arroyo Grande

A better bag solution

Will the ban on plastic shopping bags eventually include plastic produce, newspaper and garbage bags? I reuse these, so I need to know what to hoard.

The plastic bags, including synthetic “canvas” bags, are petroleum-based. Paper bags are plant-based. If left alive, plants absorb carbon dioxide. If the problem is that the plastic bags do not degrade well in landfills, then this is actually the removal of a carbon input from the global warming equation. Because people might dump as many paper bags as they did plastic bags, the ban’s net result could be to replace relatively carbon-inert plastic bags with paper bags whose efficient degradation generates carbon dioxide.

Instead of doing the standard government fix — tax or ban — why not be creative? Mix shredded plastic bags into other nonrecycling items, such as road asphalt, roof shingles, dams, plastic patio furniture, etc. Charge a couple pennies a piece, and let charities and organizations collect the bags and claim the rebate. This isn’t rocket science.

Mike Zarowitz


Unethical jurist action

Judges are required to have the highest ethical standards. When judges get involved in setting their own compensation, there is an immediate conflict of interest.

This does not bode well for their ethical standards, especially when the presiding judge has on three occasions publicly talked about the lack of court funding.

The SLO trial judges receive $178,000, which includes $21,000 in supplements. The presiding judge wants $33,000 more. Federal judges receive $174,000.

Federal judges try more complicated cases, and their — as well as other states’ judges’ — decisions are officially published. California trial court judges’ decisions are not.

Thus, the level of California trial judges’ intellectual and legal writing skills is not known.

The presiding judge in SLO says that the $178,000 and perhaps an additional $33,000 is necessary to attract the best and brightest. Most of SLO’s judges are former assistant district attorneys.

Were the recently selected judges in SLO the best and brightest? Were they law review at Berkeley Law? Did they receive an increase in their income when they became judges?

When judges obtain a $178,000 income, is it harder for the presiding judge to manage court finances efficiently? It is difficult to lay off court personnel when you set your own income!

My email is lanyslo@aol.com. I have been an attorney for 52 years.

Allan J. Mayer

San Luis Obispo

Learn to consolidate

Everybody complains about government spending but doesn’t come up with ideas to curb it. One problem is that the money is spread out to too many agencies, and this can be solved by consolidation. Merge ATF with DEA; FBI with U.S. Marshals; and INS with ICE on the federal level.

The state can do the same with all their various agencies. This would save millions of dollars and keep the money concentrated on specific needs. Of course the government is so bureaucratically screwed up that it would take a miracle to fix it.

This Wall Street fiasco of greed and corruption has been going on since its inception by a group of greed-ridden businessmen. It would take more than a miracle to fix that.

Businesses have learned to consolidate to save money; why can’t the government learn this, too?

Raymond C. Porter

Paso Robles