Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 12/18

Climate change’s costs

As the article “The Deadly Dozen” (Dec. 7) about extreme weather phenomena made clear, there are high costs associated with climate change. Even after eliminating tornado damage as not associated, the climate change price-tag from 2011 is at least $27 billion compared to $9 billion in 2008. If the U.S. and other major carbon emitters continue to stall on actions to drastically reduce emissions, the costs can only rise. Who will pay for such damages? FEMA when the government is broke? Private insurance companies who will impose limits on coverage as these disasters become more frequent? Individuals whose homes are destroyed and farmers whose crop yields are wiped out by droughts and floods? None of the above.

There will be more suffering, economic and otherwise, because there are no binding treaties holding the largest emitters responsible for reductions. Our government didn’t sign the Kyoto treaty, and this month’s Durban conference did not yield a binding treaty. Several years ago, climate change legislation passed the Senate (both our senators voted for it), but the House voted “no,” thus killing the bill.

I hope others who are concerned will take action and write President Obama and their congressional representatives. Since no other means of persuasion has worked, cite economic impacts that the U.S. cannot afford.

Judith Bernstein

Arroyo Grande

It’s just democracy

Regarding recent news declaring that fewer than half of Californians can now be called middle class: More than 36 percent of Californians fall below the cutoff. A strong middle class is what made this country great. How did we get a middle class? Mostly through collective bargaining for a 40-hour work week, a living wage and child labor laws.

As the middle class seeps away, we become a third-world country with a few ultra-rich and masses of poor people. Since our beginnings, we have had an ascending graph of national productivity and still do. In the past, wages have closely followed this upward trend. But for the past 30 years, we’ve had a flat wage line. If you don’t have a job or a living wage, you leave the middle class. One of our political parties has a plan to allow the rich and the corporations to take control.

Many people I consider to be thinking human beings are taken in by this. “Privatize everything; I stand by myself; I owe you nothing; no taxes on the ultra rich. It’s ‘socialism’ to have citizens sharing the cost of infrastructure, an army, fire departments, schools, police, airplane safety, safe air and water, Social Security and Medicare.”

Wrong! It’s just American democracy.

Kirk Scott

Arroyo Grande

Final arrangements now

Death is a business. Even though my father had told us that “everything was arranged,” it didn’t make working with the funeral home any easier. This letter is a cautionary tale for all those left behind and responsible for making the decisions about funeral services. Preplanning does not necessarily mean prepaid, it simply means there is a list of instructions on file at the funeral home with an insurance policy somewhere that “should” cover the expenses.

First, make sure you understand what your loved one has arranged before they have passed away. It can be an uncomfortable conversation. However, you’ll have the information in advance to actually make informed decisions. Second, when you arrive at the funeral home, have them provide you with a copy of the preplanned arrangements and a detailed list of their charges. Next, pick up the information and leave the building! Take your time and read the documents with a family member or trusted friend. Lastly, when you do finally return to the funeral home, do not sign anything without reading it thoroughly!

“The Funeral Law” is governed by the Federal Trade Commission. Learn more about your consumer rights here: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro26.shtm.

Ralph Gaddis


Who’s embarrassing?

Mr. Larry Peacock writes in his letter that President Obama is a “national mistake and embarrassment” (Dec. 14).

Has he listened to any of the Republican candidates’ debates or rhetoric?

If you want to be embarrassed, then just vote for one of those hopefuls and you will cringe every time they open their mouths! You’ll be very sorry you wasted your vote.

All I have to say is yikes!

Victoria Grostick

San Luis Obispo

Who is to blame?

Correction: An earlier version of the online story misspelled the name of Dave Coronel.

Dave Coronel, in his Nov. 19 letter, questioned my lack of concern for the alleged victims of abuse at Penn State. The underlying truth is that my heart goes out to the victims and their families. I pray they get the help and support they need.

Jon Clarke, in his Dec. 5 letter, misunderstood my statement about Paterno’s responsibility. What we know: Sandusky was approached in 1998 about alleged inappropriate behavior with young boys and struck a deal with PSU administration to maintain an office on campus and keys to the facilities.

In return, he retired from coaching football, ending contact with Coach Paterno. In 2002, Mike McQueary witnessed the alleged attack and reported to Paterno that Sandusky was engaged in inappropriate behavior. Paterno, who didn’t witness the alleged abuse, advised his supervisors of McQueary’s observation. Pennsylvania law states a person who witnesses abuse becomes a mandated reporter and must contact Child Line, who in turn contacts the authorities.

Did McQueary contact them? What action was taken?

A head coach cannot be held accountable for the action of former coaches, assistants, etc.

The focus should be on Sandusky, not looking for Paterno as a “name-recognition scapegoat” to blame.

Ronald Podrasky

Arroyo Grande

Disparate fines

The experts say driving while texting is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

If that is the case, then why is the fine for driving while texting only $150 while the DUI fine is over $1,500? A $1,500 fine might really deter texting at the wheel.

Jim Vint


The other side

Mayor Yates’ description of what happened at the Cerrito Peak/Eagle Rock appeal hearing has another side (Dec. 15).

First, Yates stated there was “a no-win situation.” There was a win situation: Let his friend, Mr. Dan Reddell, do the appropriate studies required by the city’s Local Coastal Plan. Then Mr. Reddell, the community at large and the Coastal Commission would feel confident he was on defensible ground, within his rights and following the law.

Second, none of the appellants disagreed with Yates’ statement, “He has a right to develop his property.”

The main complaints by the appellants and community members were the absence of studies any other developer is required to make in a timely matter, an accurate environment review, and the use of public land for private benefit without the required public benefit.

Third, the mayor/council deliberately chose to ignore the letter of concerns expressed by Coastal Commission staff, once again setting the city up for a confrontation with the CCC as they have consistently done over the years, and as recently with the new wastewater treatment plant siting. This project is appealable.

Hopefully, the next time The Tribune reports on a controversy, you will interview individuals from both sides of the issue.

Betty Winholtz

Morro Bay

Shelters are in need

For many, Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year, but we all have the opportunity to contribute to our local shelter, the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter, which is located on Orcutt Road, a block off Broad, as well as to the Prado Day Center, located on Prado Road, off South Higuera by Highway 101, and to the Food Bank Coalition.

The needs are more urgent than ever, with nearly 4,000 county residents without homes. Close to half of those are school-aged children.

Please, even if it’s a small donation, it’s part of the solution and most appreciated. There is a need for gift cards to stores, for food, clothing, sleeping bags, etc.

For more information, call Dee Torres, director of Homeless Services, 541-6351, ext. 822; Shawn Ison at Prado Day Center, 786-0617; or Peti Johnson, 528-7638.

Prado Day Center, as noted in the opinion of The Tribune, is in urgent need of funds to offer shelter during cold/inclement weather.

Remember, “There, but for the grace of God, go you and I.”

Peti Johnson

Los Osos

Vicious statements

Those who express their opinion publicly should expect scrutiny. Otherwise, some may accept an ignorant opinion as factual. Karl Rove knows it well: If you repeat a lie enough times, people start believing it.

Hence, Larry Peacock’s letter (Dec. 14) must be challenged. It is a compilation of vicious statements targeted at President Obama with no supporting evidence.

Peacock asserts the president is a “miserable failure and a horrible president.” This hardly fits description of President Obama, who saved us from the second Great Depression, got us out of Bush/Cheney’s nine-year ill-conceived Iraq war and is winding down U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

He did it despite the Republican Party’s obstructionist efforts from the first day of his administration. The economy is improving. However, it will take more than three years to undo the damage done by eight years of Bush/Cheney incompetent economic policies.

Peacock accuses President Obama of having a “Marxist socialist agenda.” He should not mention the economic concepts he obviously does not understand. According to Marxist doctrine, state is the device for exploitation of the masses by a dominant class.

Any informed person knows Republicans work very hard to protect interests of the top 1 percent (dominant class) and leave sacrifices for the poor (masses).

No wonder almost all Republican members of the Congress have signed Grover Norquist’s pledge.

Zaf Iqbal

San Luis Obispo