As a regular reader of The Tribune’s Opinion pages, I was particularly taken by two well-written pieces Nov. 7. Kathleen Parker’s commentary made the case that class warfare isn’t quite as simple as some suggest, and Fred Maurice’s letter points out that bureaucratic baggage, accumulating since the Great Depression, renders big projects such as the new Bay Bridge much too costly, if not impossible. But both fell short of the mark.
In context, Parker “concedes” that corporations really should be viewed as people since they provide jobs and grow the economy, overlooking 50 years of dramatic change in corporate approach. Shareholder value now dominates any board’s agenda, while employees — their real “intellectual property” — have become no more than a means to an end. Though people, I can’t see how shareholders create value. And, while I can identify with Maurice’s point as a small-business owner, overregulation is but the tip of an iceberg given today’s fundamental employment transformation. Robots now bolt bumpers on Chevys, and the Chinese assemble computers. Clear for years, an apathetic America continues to ignore the need to upgrade our skill base or find clever ways to keep the jobless occupied. Current unemployment is 100 percent about where the money goes.
Edward Quinn’s opinion piece (“Nuclear power continues to be safe and reliable,” Nov. 10) shows just why those of us who oppose nuclear power find it so frightening. It’s partly the reasoning of the pro-nuclear folks. He states, “Never mind that there has not been a single radiation-related fatality since the (Fukushima) accident.”
How can someone who has a background in science not understand probability? It’s been the most important math advancement in the 20th century. The fact is, with radiation-induced illnesses, of whatever kind, you can’t always link cause with effect in a Cartesian manner.
Thousands died of cancer after the atmospheric nuclear tests of the 1950s. My own cousin died of leukemia after working as a high school student cleaning up a nuclear waste site near Denver. Did the federal government recognize cause and effect and pay his enormous medical expenses during a lifetime of suffering? Of course not.
The fact is, each and every one of us now embodies radioactive cesium 137 from Fukushima. We are all little Fukushimas. Do we also want to entertain the possibility of becoming little Diablos as well?
San Luis Obispo
Recently I stood in front of the SLO courthouse in support for Occupy SLO.
I was there all day. Hundreds of cars drove by. Only a handful did not honk or give a thumbs-up in agreement with what is now a worldwide call for economic and social justice and an end to global “corporatocracy.”
I stood by the curb with my sign along with a father on his lunch break, a young man studying law enforcement at Cuesta, a Cal Poly student on her break between classes, a homeless man, an out-of-work construction worker and a woman from Europe who lived through WWII who shared that she “was not going to stand silently by and watch the country she loved be hijacked by corruption and greed.”
This was the story The Tribune should have reported on! The Oct. 27 headline, “Rowdy behavior leads to schism in Occupy SLO” played to the fears of the uninformed. Occupy SLO is part of a global, grassroots movement that is fighting for basic democratic rights, economic justice and a sustainable future.
The headline should have read, “Occupy SLO experiencing growing pains but moving on.”
Open your mind
Firstly, in the letters section of Nov. 10, William Weber makes a prediction that the government will demand solar panels on all new homes built in the future. What a great idea! The home owners would get free energy! But then Mr. Weber goes on to say: The justification will be the alleged “reduced demand for carbon-generated electricity” and “benefit for the environment.” Mr. Weber, you say that like it’s a bad thing. Apparently, you don’t care that the U.S. is held under the thumb of the oil-rich Middle East and that you don’t care if we use up all of our natural resources and pollute what’s left in our lifetime. Let ME make a prediction: Mr. Weber, you are a Republican.
Secondly, I don’t understand what all the hoopla is about over the plastic bag ban. In 1985, while visiting a friend in Stockholm, my host took me to the grocery store. He had forgotten his bags and had to pay about a nickel for the store bags. This was in 1985. Americans are so behind the rest of the world in conserving resources and reducing litter that the rest of the world laughs at us, and it is because we are so arrogant and bull-headed. Try opening your mind to new ideas!
Modify Prop. 13
Thank you, Mr. Fred Frank, (“Prop. 13 Losers,” Nov. 11) for pointing out many of the truths about Prop. 13. This scheme did bring great benefits to the corporations but was “sold” to the public about how it was about helping seniors.
Now, people in the same neighborhoods pay vastly different tax rates, depending on when they purchased their residential property. My husband and I are seniors, but because we moved here 10 years ago, we had to give up our Prop. 13 tax benefit. So, for a similar property, some neighbors pay their 1978 plus 2 percent per year tax rate, while others pay four times as much.
We do not mind paying property taxes. We do, however, think it’s time to modify Prop. 13 and finally make it an equitable form of taxation.
Robbing the future
Thank you, Edward L. Quinn, for your editorial diatribe (“Nuclear power continues to be safe and reliable,” Nov. 10) about the wonderful benefits of nuclear power.
One question for you: How long will your children and their heirs have to take care of the “Sub-atomic Hazardous Industrial Trash” that is generated by the nuclear power companies? Caring for nuclear waste for hundreds of years is robbing from future generations for the benefit of our generation. Stewardship and responsibility begin with leaving the planet better than you found it. Think about that every time you flip a light switch.
San Luis Obispo