Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 1/22

Modified food labels

When I was in college, about 40 years ago, I thought the Sierra Club was the greatest thing.

I was and still am all for conservation of wilderness and wildlife habitat restoration. I like camping, backpacking, remember “Just leave a footprint?” That’s what the Sierra Club was all about. It was the club of John Muir.

In the Jan. 19 Viewpoint “Eat food? Sign here,” the club writes about labeling of food we eat. Haven’t we been eating new and improved (modified) foods for years? I suspect that the real problem for most of us is that we just eat too much.

Maybe the Sierra Club should stick to conservation and planning excursions into the woods.

And please stop sending me those pre-addressed petitions to send in.

Bill Presley


Laws need to be realistic

Thank you to those who responded to my original letter of Jan. 9. Meaningful solutions can be attained through intelligent dialogue.

The law is not static. What was legal, such as discrimination, is now illegal. Conversely, illegal activities, interracial marriages for example, have been decriminalized. The law adjusts as society changes.

Laws are established for the protection and/or benefit of the community, as well as the individual. What societal or individual right is benefited or protected by denying driver’s licenses to undocumented workers? A driver’s license merely permits the operation of a motor vehicle. It does not bestow citizenship. In fact, why not issue them permits to pay taxes, such as a taxpayer ID number?

No one is suggesting that laws be broken or that certain lawbreakers be treated differently. However, immigration laws need to reflect current realities. They should encourage immigrants to come to our shores to be productive, contributing members of society who work, pay taxes and add to the economy. If they break a law, they should be treated the same as anyone else. But just coming here should not, in and of itself, be a crime.

Ineffective, purposeless and outdated laws are modified by an adaptive, evolving, dynamic society — what this country has always been and, I hope, will always be.

Steven Singer

San Luis Obispo

Flat tax makes sense

Mary Ross’ letter (“Warren put it best,” Jan. 18) quotes liberal Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren that no one in this country gets rich on his own. Suggesting that her mythical factory moves their goods to market on roads paid for by the rest of us; that the factory hires workers the rest of us paid to educate; and that the factory is safe because of police and fire forces paid for by the rest of us avoids the fact that factories pay their share of the roads by taxes attached to truck registration and in each gallon of gas or diesel used. The factory pays for schools through property taxes on their factory and lands and pays for police and fire forces through local taxes including sales taxes on goods purchased for the factory, inventory or personal property taxes. To suggest that the factory gets a free ride at the expense of the rest of us is not common sense, it is flawed logic.

What makes sense is to eliminate our current tax code with thousands of exemptions and deductions and establish a flat tax. That way if you make 10 times more then I, you will pay 10 times more in taxes. That’s common sense.

Terry O’Farrell


Volunteer for council

I recently had a meeting with county Supervisor Paul Teixeira, which was transcribed by one of his assistants. The purpose of the meeting was to offer my assistance in trying to resolve the tension between the South County Advisory Council and the supervisor. In the meeting I was told that he had a select committee working on the dissolution of all of the advisory councils in his district and that these meetings were private and that records were not being kept.

Further, he stated that he felt there were cost savings to the county by establishing one council per district of members chosen by the supervisor and that he hoped that his plan would be adopted by all supervisors and that all advisory councils would be dissolved as they exist. I left with the understanding that he would consider my offer and get back to me after he discussed it with his select committee. I have not heard from him after two weeks and therefore believe that he has no desire to work out the problems but to just go ahead with his private plans.

Elections are coming, and we need new blood on board the SCAC. Take the time to help in planning the future of the community in which you live, play and enjoy by volunteering to serve.

Mike Eisner


Wrong time for pay raises

I believe The Tribune missed the point about CSU salaries (Bouquets and Brickbats, “CSU needs its salary info straight,” Jan. 20). It’s not just the huge raises they receive; it’s also about receiving raises after the student tuition was increased.

Like in the Atascadero school district: County Superintendent of Schools Julian Crocker wanted Atascadero to give the new incoming superintendent a pay raise over what the existing superintendent was making. At the same time, the Atascadero district was asking the teachers and support staff to take furlough days (pay cuts). Now, is that right? Why is it “only about the administrators” when it comes to pay raises?

Bob Brimmer


Outsourcing is shameful

In a country the size of ours, it is amazing that the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was created by a Chinese artist rather than an American sculptor. Are there no American sculptors who would have loved to have the opportunity to carve his statue? I don’t see that the statue captured the personality of Dr. King at all. He appears for be angry and with his arms crossed, he looks to have a “don’t mess with me” attitude. Keep in mind that his appeal for justice for all people was founded on peaceful activities. Granted, some of the demonstrations got out of hand, but Dr. King did not promote violence in any way.

I believe that an American sculptor would have been better able to capture the true personality of this outstanding man.

Also, why was it necessary for President Obama’s campaign bus to be outfitted in Canada to the tune of $1.1 million? Are there no American companies that would have been able to provide the necessary upgrades and provide jobs in the process? It is shameful to be outsourcing jobs to other countries that could and should be done here.

Elaine Thomas


PG&E’s feeble effort

I am so pleased to learn PG&E Chairman and CEO Anthony Earley says his company needs to “delight” its customers. I hope our Tribune Editorial Board will start a list of PG&E projects that would delight PG&E’s San Luis Obispo customers.

Let me start that list by requesting Mr. Earley and his company accelerate their feeble efforts to rid our skylines of their ugly poles, transformers and overhead wires. I wish our Tribune’s Editorial Board had driven Mr. Earley the length of Johnson Avenue or Madonna Road from Laguna Lake Park to Los Osos Valley Road just to illustrate what a jumbled blight PG&E’s antiquated electrical distribution system presents.

I dare say, the company’s initial investment has long since been amortized.

Years ago, the city worked with PG&E to clean the debris of this overhead distribution system out of our downtown and certain entranceways to the city center, but the ball has seemingly been dropped. The undergrounding priority the City Council gave for clearing the Broad Street corridor from the airport to South Street is just now under way — nearly eight long years after it was authorized by the City Council.

I for one would be delighted to see that entrance corridor completely de-blighted before June. I think it took less time to get the Berlin Wall down.

Ken Schwartz

Former San Luis Obispo mayor and city councilman

The right priorities

In response to Jay Salter’s letter of Jan. 16, he is right. Debbie Arnold did not attend the latest Integrated Waste Management Authority plastic bag ban hearing. At the same time as the hearing, members of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce were holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Debbie’s campaign office where they were discussing jobs and the economy. While the plastic bag ban discussion is important, I prefer that Debbie prioritize getting San Luis Obispo County back to work.

JoAnn Switzer


Vote no on water plan

The Nipomo Community Services District hired the Wallace Group to categorize and assess each of your properties for water benefit units.

What they are looking at is your present and any future development that could occur on your property. If you live on a small lot, you still could be assessed for a future secondary unit. If you live on larger lots (more than 1 acre), NCSD will assess whatever the traffic will bear, regardless of SLO County zoning.

The folks with larger lots will be gouged to subsidize this bloated project and reduce costs for the voters on single-family parcels. This supplemental freshwater project is about to do to the Nipomo Mesa what the proposed sewer project has done to Los Osos.

Only people who live in the NCSD zone of influence will ever receive any of the water. If you live in Cypress Ridge, The Woodlands or are served by Rural Water Co., you will be forced to pay, but never receive a drop of water. This is a government sponsored Ponzi scheme.

Vote no on the bond proposal.

Bob Blair

Arroyo Grande

Crankiness explained

I read the letters to the editor and the opinion columns on pages B4 and B5 of Friday’s paper and thought, “What’s wrong with all these cranky old men?” Then I turned to the next page and the answer was revealed: “Easily irritated? Maybe it’s IMS (irritable male syndrome).” A very pertinent article.

Chris Mitchell

Shell Beach