Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 12/5

Oppose tar sands

Two massive Canadian companies are pushing to clear out much of Alberta, Canada’s unique boreal forests in order to reach the world’s dirtiest oil. One project will send oil by pipeline to a port in British Columbia, where it will be pumped into 220 massive tankers which will then navigate a very dangerous route before proceeding west. A spill here could very well cover the entire British Columbian coast.

The second company, Keystone XL, is also planning a pipeline, which will run from Alberta south through eight states to Texas. This line would run over the huge Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies water for hundreds of thousands of people. According to Jim Hanson, the Obama administration’s climatologist recently remarked that this pipeline and the full development of the Alberta tar sands would be “essentially game-over for the climate.”

Nobel laureates, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent a letter to the White House urging that this massive tar sand project be rejected. The construction of this pipeline and the Texas refineries would double the production of tar sand oil, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel on the planet, according to The Natural Resources Defense Council.

W.R. Cole

Arroyo Grande

The disconnect

In the spirit of this holiday season, we have much to be grateful for in this country. Speaking out is one of the freedoms that has long been fought for, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so in this letter. I have a few questions, specifically having to do with Congress’ blocking new USDA rules governing the national school lunch program. More specifically, how a slice of pizza still counts as a vegetable (Nov. 16). Hmmm “still”?

When was it that we lost free-thinking, intelligent and thoughtful members of Congress? How did the health and well-being of our youngest lose out to the profit margin of such organizations as the National Potato Council?

Fear, power, greed — it is frightening to witness how decisions are made in Washington that affect all of us. And even more so when those decisions embrace the antithesis of what we, as Americans, think we stand for. The “trickle-down theory” continues to take on new and hauntingly dangerous meaning. I just don’t understand the disconnect when it comes to taking care of our children and the future of this country.

Oh, and one last question: I would like to know which members of Congress had pizza on their plate instead of green beans this Thanksgiving.

Wendy Lucas

San Luis Obispo

Many avenues

While you are to be applauded for sticking up for school budgets (Nov. 20 editorial), The Tribune pulled the typical mainstream media stunt of failing to offer any solutions to the economic recession. To most of us, the solutions are obvious: Stop the greedy, wealthy people of the world from raiding our tax base while they continue to scream for more tax breaks.

There are many avenues to this end. Remove the ridiculous tax breaks and tax loopholes that only the wealthy enjoy. Stop spreading the myth that tax breaks create jobs. Require owners of corporations that receive tax breaks to reinvest their profits into their companies. Tax heavily American corporations that use offshore tax havens and outsourcing of jobs.

Break up corporations that are too big to fail. Nationalize the Federal Reserve Bank so its private owners cannot reap billions of dollars in profits while wrecking our economy.

Finance political campaigns with public taxes (let ideas reign, rather than money).

Stop voting for economic libertarians (such as most Republicans) and those who pledge to never raise taxes on the wealthy.

Finally, find the courage to start writing about real solutions to our economic woes instead of the Tribune’s endless distractions.

Mark Tomes

Santa Margarita

On responsibility

Ronald Podrasky in his Nov. 17 letter states that Jerry Sandusky, who has been charged with child sex abuse crimes at Penn State, is 100 percent responsible for his actions, while head coach Joe Paterno has no responsibility.

Such narrow definitions of responsibility are the basis for the prevalence of sexual violence and abuse. Because of our unwillingness to stop and think about what actually happened to the boys at Penn State, or to any person who has suffered sexual abuse, we automatically view this as someone else’s problem.

Paterno seems to have decided a boy being assaulted in his locker room was the athletic director’s problem, and apparently his problem was how to keep things quiet. How many remained quiet?

The tragedy at Penn State may feel distant, but similar tragedies affect every community, including ours. Such widespread suffering calls for a more compassionate view of responsibility.

Jon Clarke

Board member, Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center

Bad water idea

Please allow me to respond to a letter written to you by Mark Lyon of Nipomo (Nov. 12). Mr. Lyon’s letter reflects tactics the NCSD is using to convince Nipomo residents that its expensive, unreliable, so-called supplemental water pipeline from Santa Maria is a good idea.

Actually, the only possible link between the Los Osos sewer and current pipeline proposal is the duplicity and ineptitude of the agency promoting it. Casting aspersions on residents who have valid questions and opposition is insulting but appears to be an NCSD strategy.

Mesa residents do need an additional water source. But we don’t need it immediately. We can cease the bleeding of public funds on a project that doesn’t bring in supplemental water, that pays Santa Maria yearly for water we may not need, that involves substantial cost that the NCSD seems unable to firmly quantify, and that forces 45 percent of Mesa water users to pay 100 percent of the cost. NCSD wants this pipeline to fuel further Mesa growth; they chose this option because it can be done quickly.

In reality the NCSD, in its customer-funded PR campaign, is cherry-picking the studies to which Mr. Lyon refers. Rather than support indebting themselves for 30 years on a project that won’t work, Mesa residents should vote “no.”

Robert Smith

Arroyo Grande

Merchant Marines

Thank you, Mr. Harold Spencer, for educating us about the Merchant Marine (Letters, Nov. 29)! At the Atascadero Veterans Day memorial service, we were honored to have one member of the Merchant Marine present. I do not know his name, but he took it upon himself to approach Mr. Charles Buck, director of the Atascadero Community Band, earlier this year and mention that the band’s annual July 4 tribute to the armed forces did not include the song for the Merchant Marine.

Mr. Buck did his research, and we have now added that song to our medley of armed forces tributes. The band is grateful to him, as we didn’t know we were missing one branch of the service! Mr. Spencer, if you care to attend our “Concert in the Park” around July 4 in the summer at the Atascadero Lake Park, we’ll be happy to honor you by playing the Merchant Marine anthem.

Joyce Rabellino


Let developers deal

By reneging on its promise to foot the bill for all traffic mitigation that might be required by the state-mandated environmental impact report, Wal-Mart has once again delayed the entire project going forward. Its demand that the Rottman Group now chip in is a struggle between developers, both of whom have unsavory business practices.

This dispute should be settled by the combatants alone and more than likely will end up in court. Both Wal-Mart and Rottman may be hoping that the current City Council will pony up with taxpayer money or cut a deal that will cost the city future tax revenues to help pay the cost of traffic improvements. The EIR is clear that these traffic improvements are only necessary because of the impact of the Super Center and the Annex shopping plaza.

Already taxpayer money is being spent on a “fee consultant” to help the Community Development staff negotiate a deal between the two developers. The City Council directed staff to get involved and come up with funding options for the interchange.

We believe it is not the city staff’s responsibility to settle this dispute. If you agree, join us at the Dec. 13 City Council meeting to demand withdrawal of staff from this real or orchestrated standoff.

Tom Comar

Spokesperson, Save Atascadero