Greek system offers a lot
In reference to the Oct. 23 letter “Disband sororities and frats,” it is obvious to me that the writer has spent little time around the Greeks. I was a graduate of Cal Poly and a founder of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity as well as adviser for 12 years. Fraternities and sororities represent a college within a college.
Most students would not have the opportunity for leadership, sports or philanthropic endeavors. The Cal Poly fraternity soccer, football, basketball and baseball programs are nonstop. Hundreds of members are elected to offices and committees within their groups, thereby giving leadership opportunities.
All fraternities and sororities have philanthropy committees and have activities or raise funds to benefit our county organizations.
It could be argued that social skills advancement is better if you are in a fraternity or sorority. Alcohol abuse is going to take place with students whether they are Greeks or not.
Cal Poly has done an excellent job of monitoring the Greeks. They are scrutinized closely regarding an alcohol-free rush, meeting places, activities and party locations.
The Cal Poly Greek system is a viable and important part of the community and should remain so because the positives outnumber the negatives.
Uniquely diverse county
I am at that pivotal point in life. As a senior at Atascadero High School, my future seems to be my only thought at this point. In fact, when I am finished writing this letter, I will return to my college search. It’s smart that I am devoting the majority of this semester to the search for my future, although in times like these I feel it’s important to take a look at the environment that has shaped my outlook on the world.
This community we live in, I believe, has spoiled me a bit. How will I ever be able to live again in another area as diversely beautiful as this? From the stunning coastline of San Simeon to the bustling downtown of San Luis Obispo, the Central Coast lifestyle is one to be jealous of. But the beauty of the Central Coast goes far beyond the physical aspects. The people of this community give this county the color and diversity that makes it so strikingly unique.
I want to end with a heartfelt thank-you to my parents for raising me here and a thank-you to the community. I will never forget the Eden from which I came.
Get behind fuel break
It is a sad day when a group, Greenspace — The Cambria Land Trust, takes issue with how the fuel break is created around Cambria, which would cost more than $100,000 to do by using workers with chainsaws when it can be done for about $40,000 using equipment as proposed by Cal Fire.
This fuel break is needed to help protect lives, property and our forest from a possible wildfire as we have seen happen in other areas. The funding could be lost if proposed costs that Rick Hawley and Greenspace are advocating happen, and we may not get the fuel break done. If Hawley and Greenspace want this project done their way, they should come up with the additional dollars needed for this 100-foot-wide fuel break.
Are they ready to take responsibility if we have a wildland fire that could have been stopped by this fuel break?
As a retired Cal Fire heavy fire equipment operator, I have seen the difference in being able to control a wildfire when you have a fuel break or controlled burned area to work from — it could make the difference between devastation and stopping the fire.
Let’s get behind this project to see that it is done at the least cost in the fastest time — now, not maybe never.
Back the Border Patrol
It seems to me that the Border Patrol needs all the help it can get. It’s the height of idiocy that we make it harder for them to do their job because of protecting a lizard or rat. If building a few roads and putting up some buildings can stop illegal immigrants, human trafficking (quite a few of these poor people die in the desert), smuggling drugs, and letting terrorists slip into our country, I’d say it was a good deal. The illegal immigrants themselves do a fine job of trashing the desert with their garbage, clothes and water bottles.
If we bypass a few environmental laws, in the long run our deserts and our country will be far ahead. Our Border Patrol doesn’t want to trash our country.
Trio hurts truly needy
The Phil Dirkx column of Oct. 21 about scams reminded me of something that happened to me in the Foothill Plaza Shopping Center in SLO. Three men, one in a wheelchair, asked me for money. They said that they were homeless.
I asked them whether they knew about the Prado Day Center, and I offered to call the police to help guide them there. The man in the wheelchair flew out of the wheelchair, and all three men ran across the parking lot dragging the wheelchair behind them. They then jumped into a van and drove off! I stood there with my mouth open in disbelief.
I am very sympathetic to folks who are truly homeless. I find that trying to get help for them is better than supporting the perpetual scammers.
San Luis Obispo
ASH falls short of goal
The danger to staff and patients continues unabated at Atascadero State Hospital. The chief proposals to date have emphasized repressive and punitive measures, including locking of rooms, converting them from patient rooms to cells; liberal administration of involuntary medication; prosecution of patients for infringement of rules; and early transfer to prison or jail.
Largely ignored are progressive remedies such as a focus on the development of Therapeutic Community at ASH. Therapeutic Community is a proven antidote to alienation and violence.
I have detailed data to that effect in my recently published book.
Since its beginning in 1954, ASH has struggled toward Therapeutic Community, falling short because of the lack of a coherent training program. At this critical juncture, what is called for is a workshop involvingrepresentatives of the Legislature and the governor’s office in meetings with ASH treatment and security staff and its patients.
San Luis Obispo
Flat tax is a scam
Want to increase your tax burden? Want to give even more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans? Want to eliminate your mortgage, charitable donation and excessive medical expense deductions? It’s easy — just vote for a candidate who supports a federal flat tax, the latest scam to place the tax burden squarely on the shoulders of America’s middle class.
ASH staff face risks
On Oct. 23 at Atascadero State Hospital and at the four other state hospitals in California, a vigil was held to honor Donna Gross, a psychiatric technician strangled by a patient at Napa State Hospital a year ago.
Owing to the criminalization of the mentally ill, state hospitals are treating far fewer and state prisons far more of the mentally ill. Legislation sending “violent offenders” and “sexually violent offenders” to state hospitals by court order when their sentence ends added to the problem. There are still significant differences between state hospitals and state prisons: hospital rooms are unlocked; prison cells are locked. Hospital workers are far more likely to be attacked than prison guards.
As a psychiatrist at Atascadero State Hospital from 1980 to 1995, I took that chance, that risk, as an alternative to perpetual locking up of patients with excessive drugs or in cells.
I would hope that the state Legislature, taking up bills modifying the hospital character of our few remaining state hospitals, will accept that dedicated healers — whether treating the contagious, the physically ill or the violent mentally ill — realize that they, like construction workers placing steel in high-rise buildings, undertake unavoidable risk.
Leo Ray Ingle