Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 1/9

A wish list for 2012

Part of my new year’s wish list includes continuing to question factors influencing the relicensing of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in beautiful San Luis Obispo County. I recently picked up the Emergency Planning Guide, issued by the county and found on the first page, instructions on what to do if there is a serious emergency at Diablo Canyon Power Plant (the word nuclear is left out). The levels of emergencies does include nuclear power plants but leaves out “Diablo Canyon.”

I was never very good at reading between the lines.

I made a strong effort to memorize the evacuation procedures, but first I need to buy my radioactive sensor in case of a general emergency.

The other parts of 2012’s wish list are to thank Mothers for Peace, for the efforts in keeping our Mother Earth safe and continuing to question why we need an Emergency Evacuation Plan on any level. Nuclear waste not, want not!

George Sheffield

Los Osos

Rate farce

The 2.9 percent electricity rate increase is a farce (“PG&E electricity rates go up for homes,” Jan. 5). This may be true in the lowest kw packages, but as anyone can see, they have added new tiers while lowering the monthly allowable usage. As soon as I saw the new tiers and rates, I felt as though we were being scammed. You have to practically live without using electricity to be eligible for the lowest rates.

Sure enough, our bill went up by a whopping 24 percent per kwh over the same time period from a year ago. These new “smart” meters were the excuse they needed to sock it to customers trapped in the electric monopoly. Smart for PG&E; infuriating for the homeowner.

Randall Shanks

San Luis Obispo

A risky investment

As a real estate investor myself, I’ve learned some hard lessons Mr. Dan Reddell apparently has not (“Building on Cerrito Peak: A novel experience,” Dec. 29); there are properties that are not meant to be built on. One of those is the beautiful and rugged Cerrito Peak.

Scream property rights all you want; it is not the community’s responsibility to make sure speculators get a good return on risky investments, such as the purchase Dan made of a wild, tree-lined outcropping replete with steep slopes and abundant wildlife.

No one argued against Dan’s right to develop his property.

The argument is Dan’s cozy relationship with anti-environmental Mayor Bill Yates. Neighbors below the peak are terrified rocks will crash into homes when trees are removed.

That grove of trees is home to hawks, herons, cormorants, egrets and wintering monarch butterflies. There are not many large canopy trees left in the area.

While some tree removal may be necessary, 300 doesn’t seem reasonable to the community. Such large-scale tree removal would likely destabilize the hillside, making the area unsuitable for construction entirely.

I urge Mr. Reddell to work with the community for a project everyone can live with.

Sandra L. Brazil

Los Osos

A threatened right

January is the month in which we traditionally celebrate the Supreme Court decision in 1973 that protected women’s ability to control our own bodies and our right to make medical decisions that affect our lives. Since then, the prevailing conservative cultural shift has resulted in laws that severely restrict that right.

First, funding for publicly provided abortions was eliminated, then money for Planned Parenthood was cut, and 48-hour waiting periods and onerous regulations on clinic operations were instituted, etc. Now it’s our right to contraceptives that is being threatened. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wants the Affordable Care Act to permit insurers to exclude coverage for contraception. Another chink being carved out of our rights.

What happens next? Will all the gains of the past generations be lost, so we end up barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen again?

The National Organization for Women is not holding a public event for Roe this year, but we are asking you to remember how fragile are our hard-won rights, and to be mindful of your heritage as modern American women. Stand up and speak out for your rights, or they will go away.

Angie King

San Luis Obispo

A time for reflection

The beginning of a new year must be a time for reflection when all that has gone before is evaluated.

There are three areas, I believe, that have had — and are still having — a great effect upon all of us. The first must be the international gathering of young people and concerned elders in a great number of cities throughout the world to discuss, digest and disclose programs that will end the insidious role that out-of-control wealth has in dominating the lives of so many of us, as well as the role of unscrupulous governments in many countries. To consider that it all began with the immolation of a young man in Tunisia is truly remarkable.

The second must be the rise of women to positions of authority in state governments and businesses around the world. This will certainly bring beneficial changes in the lives of many of us.

Finally, we must discuss the world’s weak response to the rise in the number of natural disasters, which many believe to be the result of our use of fossil fuels. This crisis certainly must be responded to; time is not on our side.

W.R. Cole

Arroyo Grande

Provide a path

I read Dwayne Head’s letter (Jan. 2), and it is not only a shame that Mr. Head is unsympathetic to the plight of undocumented workers in this country, but also a failure to recognize the principles upon which this “land of the free” was founded. If Mr. Head realized that many, if not all, of the individuals who he refers to as “lawbreakers” would give their eye and tooth to be in this country without fear of retribution, he might be more understanding.

I only wished the Legislature passed the original proposal to restore driver’s licenses to undocumented workers.

It has been my experience that undocumented workers, who are able to buy cars and pay sales tax, are exceptionally good and law-abiding drivers for the simple reason that they know the consequences if they are stopped. It is somewhat disingenuous to require purchasers of automobiles to be licensed and then not to permit them to acquire the requisite licenses, not to mention the need for such workers to fill positions that legal citizens are either unable or, more likely, unwilling to preform.

I would suggest that Mr. Head, and others who share his philosophy, spend their energies petitioning their representatives to provide a path toward citizenship in a country which was founded and populated by revolutionaries fleeing the persecution of intolerant governments.

Steven Singer

San Luis Obispo

Short-term jobs

Just finished reading the piece by Jim App (Paso Robles Magazine, January 2012 issue) about all the unfunded needs in Paso Robles going forward including things such as road maintenance, police and fire coverage. Sounded pretty bleak.

Then I read in The Tribune (County Roundup, Dec. 31) about how our intelligent City Council has just extended a waiver for fees developers pay for city services. Things such as road maintenance, police and fire coverage, perhaps? The waiver means $500,000 less in developer fees going to the city. They say it is to encourage construction jobs.

These construction jobs will be temporary; when the houses are built, the jobs are gone. Here is an idea: What if the City Council started looking for jobs that actually are long term by keeping our city well-maintained and safe instead of giving developers a break to bring in short-term jobs creating homes for people that require even more services? There are already plenty of empty homes in Paso Robles waiting for new owners.

Sandra Carroll

Paso Robles

Gadgets everywhere

I just spent Christmas in Carmel and witnessed some things that made me sad.

Everyone, and I mean people of all ages, instead of looking at the magnificent scenery or chatting with anyone, was iPod-ing or texting or whatever on their electronic gadgets.

In a few years, everyone will look the same: fat from just sitting, fat fingers from texting, small brains from letting the computers do the thinking and no tongues, because no one needs to speak anymore. I am so glad I’m pushing 80.

Patti Launders


Not too late

I strongly protest the petition by the Pismo Beach City Council to LAFCO to annex county property for the Los Robles del Mar (LRDM) development.

There is certainly no perceived need for added expansion, especially given our lowering occupancy rates, population and property values. Why is it necessary to put neighboring properties through the travail of a new development, with the potential for increased traffic, noise pollution, infrastructure demands and limited resources consumption?

Fellow neighbors and citizens: Are you angry that your property values will take another significant hit? Are you upset that Oak Park Boulevard will likely become a grid-locked parking lot? Are you at all concerned about the availability of your water, or your essential services?

If you answered “yes,” please join with me and a large number of your fellow citizens in contacting LAFCO and telling them so. It is not too late to stop this debacle, and send a strong message to the City Council that they are not acting in the best interests of the people they purport to represent.

Jack Gelb

Pismo Beach

Don’t weaken acts

Thanks for the article “Wolf that crossed into Calif. likely photographed” (Jan. 4).

The success of the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone Park has proven that top predators are necessary to our struggling ecosystems. They thin out the weak and unhealthy animals while hunters and vigilantes tend to kill the strongest and healthiest. The benefits that wolves give to habitats are just now being understood.

Not only do wolves keep the game animal population sustainable and healthy, but they also do the same for rodents. In Yellowstone, baby trees and plants are now surviving, habitats are now reviving and even the beavers are coming back!

Wolves tend to avoid people and are rarely seen except when their habitat is encroached, developed or degraded.

Right now, land-hungry industries such as oil, coal, ranching, lumber, development, hunting, etc. are using lobbyists and campaign contributions to use appropriations bills to reduce or eliminate the safeguards for American citizens’ health, wildlife and environment.

We are now losing so many species that scientists regard this era as the sixth great extinction!

Please tell the big money puppets in power that we do not want to weaken the Endangered Species or the Clean Air and Water acts!

Ben Lovejoy


Ira will be missed

Ira Hughes was a fixture in Arroyo Grande for many, many years, and was such a great person. He was always upbeat, loved working on bikes, treated people as he would like to be treated, and left his mark wherever he went. He gave so much to his community whether helping the youth, speaking up at council meetings, or helping some fundraiser.

It seemed Ira did not say “no” too often. He was polite, compassionate, fair and a real friend to many. His bike shop will still be open, but without Ira himself there running it, things will never be the same. Arroyo Grande lost a pillar in our community, and I for one will deeply miss him.

Patty Welsh

Arroyo Grande