Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 1/2

Lawbreaking pass

I had always assumed that lawmakers passed laws to protect law-abiding citizens from those who intentionally or unintentionally break laws. Not so in California.

As of Jan. 1, law enforcement can no longer impound cars at checkpoints if “the motorist’s only offense is being an unlicensed driver.” This law was passed because the current practice hits illegal immigrants especially hard (Tribune, Dec. 27).

Don’t we require driver’s licenses in order to ensure that drivers have some minimum level of skill and knowledge? Isn’t it likely that an unlicensed driver is also uninsured? And apparently, it is also likely that an unlicensed driver is here illegally. Essentially, the new law allows many people who have broken two state laws (licensure and insurance) and one federal law (immigration status) free access to our streets and highways.

In California, our legislature doesn’t look after the law-abiding citizen; rather, it enacts legislation that gives a free pass to lawbreakers while putting the rest of us at risk. I can truly say that nothing that’s legislated in Sacramento surprises me anymore.

Dwayne Head

San Luis Obispo

Rethink resources

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves to get snookered again by the oil-gas consortium destroying your environment in order to make more profits. A Dec. 25 Tribune article on Page A6 juxtaposes “shale boom” and “energy independence.” Ads on television say “there’s enough gas here for 100 years.”

The first commercial oil well was drilled in America in 1858. I can imagine the drillers of that time saying proudly, “There’s enough here for 153 years.” And here we are facing energy depletion. And so it goes.

There is no way to develop these resources without large-scale environmental damage. Whether it’s fracking or deep-drilling, there will be serious and permanent damage. The ads suggest “no worse than present methods.” That’s not good enough. The article acknowledges the EPA leaked chemicals in the groundwater of a town in Wyoming during hydraulic fracking for the extraction of natural gas. This has happened in other places as well.

Oil and gas developers deny any danger. Some of them are incorporating solar jargon into their ads in an attempt to confuse us. We can only stop the destruction if we demand sustainable energy sources.

Don’t make your great-grandchildren face it. Deal with it now.

Arthur Armstrong

Los Osos

Burning question

Mr. John Winthrop could have gone much further debunking the jobs argument for keeping Dunes off-roading than he did in his letter (Dec. 28).

Rather than just decrying it for not serving “the greater good,” he could have reminded us that its underlying premise — losing the off-roaders will lose local jobs — is seriously mistaken: Who, after all, believes that those Dunes coast-side camping grounds wouldn’t still continue being filled to capacity even if the off-roaders stopped doing the filling? And who after all believes that those reductions in public safety costs from having no Dunes off-roaders wouldn’t be a net benefit to county taxpayers?

Here’s my burning question about what Mr. Win-throp calls “this dangerous, polluting nonsense” on our otherwise pristine coastline. Why hasn’t the Coastal Commission ever moved against it? Or, if a lack of Coastal Commission will is the answer, why haven’t the activists against it ever brought legal action that would force the commission to do so?

Brad Frederic

Paso Robles

Preserve coastline

I was recently extremely pleased and gratified to see the Wild Cherry Canyon conservation project make front-page news in The Tribune and to learn that the leaseholders of the land have graciously extended the purchase option agreement to Sept. 30, 2012.

Hopefully, the deal will be revisited and approved by PG&E in June and placed on the Public Works agenda for hearing on allocation of the final $6.9 million of the funds required to close this important land conservation effort in our county. To miss this opportunity to preserve our beautiful coastline from development and extend the trail from Montaña de Oro to Avila Beach because of further administrative delays would be monumentally unfortunate.

Jane Russell

Atascadero

Like heaven for them

After the recent passing of North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Il, world reports revealed how the weird little despot lived a life of obscene extravagance while his people suffered cruel oppression and starvation. Obviously, Kim was no “bleeding-heart socialist,” because he never shared his wealth with the masses.

No, sir!

He and his cronies were the “1 percent” in a society with the ultimate class divide. Now, isn’t that a little ironic? Here was a guy whose country was said to be the last hard-core Stalinist state on the planet, even though he lived a lifestyle any American corporatist would applaud. Just think of it: Power, privilege, wealth and the ability and will to flaunt it are sacrosanct in conservative circles. So, why have our own righties continually dissed Dear Leader?

Consider, also, that North Korea’s biggest priority has always been its military might; not to mention having more nukes. Another conservative “virtue”! Kim’s dad even created a kind of state religion called “Juche,” a quasi-spiritual system emphasizing self-reliance. I’m reminded of the Tea Party cheer of “Let ’em die!” during a Republican debate. Again, another reason why Republicans/Libertarians/ Tea Partiers, etc., ought to consider relocating to North Korea. I’m sure a hell on Earth like that would be heaven for them!

Jay Bonestell

Los Osos

Our bridge to nowhere

As an active biker, runner and hiker in San Luis Obispo County, I read with interest your recent article (Dec. 17) about the new Bob Jones Trail bridge over San Luis Creek near Prado Road.

I was shocked to see the $300,000-plus price tag on the project. I was also disappointed to see that once again the federal government picked up most of the bill. When are we all going to start to realize that the money from the feds doesn’t come from some magic pot of gold on the other side of the country? As a common-sense citizen with no special government insights, I wondered about these project-related items:

1) How much less might this project have cost if only local dollars were used? Local governments, nonprofits and NGO’s are entirely too comfortable, sloppy and cavalier when they are gobbling up federal money for local projects.

2) Who is actually going to be paying this $300,000 that came from the feds? I bet it might well be everyone’s children and grandchildren for decades into the future.

Curtis Reinhardt

Pismo Beach

Price to pay for plastic

The Dec. 11 letter, “A special arrogance,” is unlikely to change anyone’s mind about the county’s ban on single-use plastic grocery bags. Many remember the use of paper bags. Paper bags sometimes broke and spilled groceries. What a pain! Government didn't mandate the use of plastic bags, and nobody thought plastic bags would save the world. It was all about convenience!

However, there’s a price to pay for that convenience. Those plastic bags aren’t biodegradable. So, the bags in our oceans and landfills will simply break into smaller pieces of plastic, thus multiplying the potential risk they impose on our natural environment.

To recognize that risk and to support a law that reduces the use of single-use plastics is not “arrogant” — it’s responsible. Let’s call it a “logical responsibility.” And, when you go grocery shopping, bring some cloth bags. It’s easy!

Brad Snook

Arroyo Grande

Light up a Life

Since 1984, Hospice of San Luis Obispo County has been joined by the community in offering Light up a Life memorial events in various locations in San Luis Obispo County. As always, this year’s events were possible through the generosity of time and effort by volunteers.

Among them, we would like to acknowledge Camp Fire USA Central Coast Council. These boys and girls kindergarten through 12th grade from more than 15 clubs on the Central Coast donated tins of cookies for the 12 Light up a Life events held Dec. 2-12. Most of these treats were homemade and added a special touch to each event. Thank you, Camp Fire USA Central Coast Council!

Kris Kington-Barker

Executive director, Hospice SLO

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