Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 12/19

More on FDR

It’s entertaining and instructive to read opinion letters from readers aiming to compare the past and present via presidential politics. And so it goes with the letters comparing FDR and Barack Obama, both complex individuals governing in trying times.

For political junkies, here’s another point of comparison. Obama has been called both a “socialist” and a “communist.” So was FDR. “Roosevelt is a socialist, not a Democrat,” declared one Republican congressman in 1935. “The New Deal is undisguised state socialism,” declared another.

California’s own William Randolph Hearst weighed in as well. FDR was not himself a socialist, acknowledged the newspaper magnate, who stopped supporting Roosevelt when he raised taxes on rich folks. But FDR did “receive the support of these enemies of the American system of government,” according to Hearst.

I don’t know whether those charging either Roosevelt or Obama with socialist/communist tendencies understand what these political ideologies actually espouse — hint, they’re not the same thing — but I do know one thing: FDR was reelected in 1936 in a landslide.

Kathleen A. Cairns

Paso Robles

Hard to stomach

The removal of the ban on horse slaughter in the United States was passed covertly. Pro-slaughter activists argue that the slaughter of horses for consumption will relieve recession hardships, which can hardly be taken seriously.

Sure, many folks are finding it difficult to feed their horses and pay for vet bills. More horses are suffering from neglect, but the opening of slaughterhouses won’t put a stop to equine abuse.

First, slaughterhouses don’t want old, sick horses. According to a past study by Temple Grandin, the majority of horses accepted by slaughterhouses are healthy in order to produce high-quality meat. Second, slaughter is far from humane. In the past, federal regulations mandated that horses be rendered unconscious prior to slaughter. However, due to the thickness of their skulls, most horses remain conscious after a blow to the head, even as they are hoisted into the air and hung upside down while their throats are sliced.

This bill seems to parallel Jonathan Swift’s satire, “A Modest Proposal,” in which he underlines the Irish government’s inability to solve economic problems by mockingly suggesting the slaughter and consumption of human children. The opening of equine slaughterhouses on home soil is misguided and hard to stomach.

Emily Ula


Taxes vs. leadership

Again the governor and politicians want to raise your taxes rather than demonstrate leadership. A ballot measure will propose a half-cent sales tax increase over four years and increased taxes on those who make over $250,000 per year for five years. This corruption will continue, if passed, because it is easier to extract money from the populace than demonstrate budgetary control.

Politicians are held hostage to “status quo” by many affluent unions and state executives through use of campaign contributions, endorsements, demonstrations, media propaganda, infiltration and threats of litigation. Earning more than $250,000 per year does not justify tax increases. Everyone is penalized for purchasing improved expensive real estate.

The scuttled “California Performance Review” in 2004 was a proposal to reduce the debt with a savings of $32 billion. The major savings was by restructuring the bureaucracy to 10 mega departments. The lottery overhead needs restructuring because of its failure to adequately support our educational institutions. Why should winners receive more than $10 million when the remainder can be allocated to education?

The solution is: Vote “No” for leadership.

Werner Koch


Simplistic idea

“No new taxes!” This is the united cry of the Republicans. They think it will save them from the evil Obama and the Dems.

This simplistic idea came from Grover Norquist. Grover appeared on “60 Minutes” a few weeks back and seemed thrilled to be in the spotlight, boasting how he managed to get the important members of the Republican party to sign a petition that they would never sign any bill that proposed tax increases. Grover explained how he obtained these signatures and how proud he was of his own idea of no new taxes. So now Grover has the entire country in a stranglehold because the Republicans control the House of Representatives.

When a bill comes up to help the poor, fund public education, help the homeless, etc. every Republican in Congress is afraid to sign it for fear of being ostracized. So on we go with the “cut, cut, cut” idea of the Republican party.

Just one more thing: When Grover was asked how he came up with his idea of no new taxes he answered, “It came to me when I was riding my bike home from school ... I was 12 years old.”

David B. Williams

Arroyo Grande

Emotion, not logic

I believe W.R. Cole substituted emotional thinking in place of logic in his letter (“Oppose tar sands,” Dec. 5). The Canadian crude oil will go either to us or Communist China. For years, the Chinese have offered to build a pipeline over the Canadian Rockies to a British Columbia port and ship this oil to China. Our friends in Canada would rather ship it to us.

Now we have much of our oil shipped thousands of miles to us from unstable and unfriendly countries. The argument from the against-everything-people, that it may pollute an aquifer, is a phony one.

The Ogallala Aquifer is now crisscrossed with oil and gas pipelines with no problems. The Canadian pipeline would actually skirt the aquifer.

Crude oil is vital to farming and U.S. manufacturing. Thousands of products are made from oil, e.g., asphalt to pave our roads, fertilizers, pesticides, medicine, detergents, make-up, lubricants, paint, fibers (polyester, nylon, acrylic), plastic, burned as car and truck fuels (hopefully this use can be phased out in the next few years), etc.

To lose this vital resource through political gamesmanship would be the height of lunacy. As a result, our nation with its industries and farming would be less secure.

Dan Ross

Paso Robles

Democratic principles

Hy and Florence Weiser (Letters, Dec. 4) suggest that lack of tariffs has caused America’s economic collapse. As the owner of a local chocolate company, my experience with tariffs is counter to what the media coverage suggests, that free trade is now universal. We don’t sell a lot of chocolate in Canada simply because they have to pay a tariff against imported chocolate — despite NAFTA. The owner of one store in Canada drives south into the United States to visit her mother and sneak our chocolate across the frontier.

I think removing tariffs is judiciously used to help the rich, not the middle class or the laborers. The lack of tariffs makes it possible to assemble a car in the United States from parts manufactured all over while maintaining competitiveness. But these rules are written for the powerful, not for you or me. And Free Trade therefore is a will-o’-the wisp, reality for the large corporations, fiction for the small business. In China, tariffs are used to help the whole economy, rather than just a part. We need to get back to our democratic (note the small d) principles if we want to survive.

Tom Neuhaus

San Luis Obispo

Dangerous ziplines

I understand how L.G. Gibson and Robert Lewis might feel that regulating ziplines is government overkill (Dec. 3).

I wonder if they’d change their minds after doing a search for zipline accidents and deaths. Many of these accidents and deaths have resulted from improperly installed, maintained, or handled zipline equipment. This is not a walk in the park, so to speak, but an inherently dangerous activity.

It would not be good for Santa Margarita Ranch and San Luis Obispo county tourism if we made national news not for what’s great about us, but because of zipline accidents. Not all regulations are bad and not all government involvement is wasteful.

Carolann Robins

Los Osos

Who then to blame?

So what happens when no humans, much less a single vehicle, are permitted on the Dunes and there is still dust blowing across the farmland onto the Mesa? Who you gonna blame then?

If you build next to a pig farm, you can’t ask the pig farmer to move, and if you did not see the dust before you chose to live on the Mesa, you cannot expect the state and ultimately the taxpayer to pay fines when the wind blows your direction.

Gail Lightfoot

Arroyo Grande