Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 2/5

Romney as Scrooge

In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge is asked to donate to help the poor.

He asks, “Are there prisons?” and is answered that there are. “And the Union workhouses? Are they still in operations?” Again he is answered yes. “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour?” Yes, he is told. Then Scrooge says, “Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course. I’m very glad to hear it,” because it was affirmed that the “safety net” of that time was in operation — the poor had what they needed, and there was no need to contribute money.

Fast-forward a century and a half, and we have a more modern version of this story where Mitt Romney said, “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. And we have a safety net to help those that are very poor. You can focus on the very poor. That’s not my focus.”

Like Scrooge, Romney believes that the poor are well taken care of and are not in any need of further assistance. Romney has lived a privileged life of wealth and exclusivity, far removed from the lives of ordinary people. His consciousness of their living conditions is nonexistent.

Chris Clark

Arroyo Grande

The truth about bag ban

There is clearly a lot of fear and misunderstanding about the coming ban on single-use, carry-out plastic bags. There are two misconceptions that have been repeated in various letters, which I hope to dispel.

First, it is a myth that the bags handed out at stores are free. The store must purchase them, and the cost is passed down to customers, hidden in the bulked-up cost of goods and charged to all, whether or not one brings one’s own bag. Thus the plastics and chemical industries are fighting the loss of sales of millions of plastic bags each year.

Second, it is only the carryout bags that will be banned. There will still be plastic bags provided in stores into which one may put produce, meats, or bulk items. We will still be able to separate various products and prevent leaking and cross-contaminating other items or our washable cloth carryout bags.

One will still be able to purchase plastic bags of all sizes, from sandwich size to those used to line trash cans. But the cost will be borne by those who want them. Same for those who choose a paper carryout bag.

Christine Mulholland

San Luis Obispo

Humans need protection

A man I have known for 25 years was viciously attacked by a pit bull. Were it not for this terrible attack, I would not be aware of the sorely lacking policy the county has with regard to aggressive animals. Addressing this issue is long past due and I encourage each supervisor to take seriously all the warning signs from this and past animal attacks to other citizens. SLO County must have a clear and effective program to protect its citizens from this preventable danger.

Why must we wait for the death of a child or a senior, or anyone else for that matter, to get upset about this issue? Why do dog owners believe it is not their responsibility to help prevent these attacks?

And, why do these dog owners always snap back with, “The dog must have been provoked. It’s never done this before.” The reason is to downplay their lack of responsibility.

I pray the county Board of Supervisors will address this very important problem. Do not acquiesce to the passions of dog owners and dog lovers. I, too, am a dog lover, but I believe that humans need protection from aggressive animals.

David Smallwood

Grover Beach

A.G. High a great place

Friday night, Jan. 27, all the action was at Arroyo Grande High School. The varsity boys basketball team was playing Pioneer Valley, holding onto their first place position. The coed dance team performed during halftime and four alumni were recognized for their contributions to sports. Outside, there was a water polo tournament going on and the Clark Center for Performing Arts was packed with community members. The basketball stands were as full as the parking lot.

Congratulations are due to the Arroyo Grande community and AGHS staff for making the high school a place where everyone wants to be on a Friday night. Go Eagles!

Colleen Martin

Arroyo Grande

Keep religion private

Religion is a private matter and should be kept that way. When people and organizations use the Christian religion as justification to force behavior on nonbelievers, they have taken it too far. I am fighting back.

Did you know that Jesus never walked “on” the water? Jesus walked “by” the water, according to the ancient Hebrew in which the New Testament was written.

With this glaring error, ask yourself: What other confused and misleading doctrine (e.g. exorcism) haunts Christianity? Stop trying to run our lives when you cannot even get your own religion right.

Gary B. Rath

Arroyo Grande

Give pedestrians time

I love Paso Robles, and it is certainly pedestrian friendly, except for street crossings. The green walk light stays on for four seconds and four paces, then flashes an angry red, wherein one is forced to invoke the gods. I refer you to Los Angeles, where the green walk light stays on throughout one’s journey across.

Riece Burtchaell

Paso Robles

So much for criticism

I had just finished Allen Litten’s letter to the editor (Feb. 1) about how President Obama is “a liberal president trying to move America to be more like Europe, and look at the consequences.” I then turned the page, where the top headline was “Dow, S&P have best January since ’97.” So much for Mr. Litton’s theory.

Joe Hugh


Solving a social problem

The congressman who initiated an investigation into Planned Parenthood should not have an abortion if he is against the procedure. Social problem solved.

Marilyn Moore

Los Osos

Name me any president, or any politician, who hasn’t exaggerated his/her accomplishments. Name me any president, or any politician, who has lived up to all his/her campaign promises. You can’t!

You can emphasize Obama’s drawbacks all you want, but it would be nice if, on occasion, you gave him kudos for what he has accomplished — and against one of the most obstreperous Congresses in history: equal pay for women, the health care initiative, increased funding to NEA (a big one for me), renewable energy partnerships, regaining international respect after it was at its lowest perhaps ever, and much more.

Perfection is not something I expect or look for in a politician or any leader. I look for integrity — something sorely lacking in any of the Republican presidential candidates (except maybe Ron Paul); I look for someone whose heart is in the right place; I look for someone with high intelligence; I look for someone who is capable of inspiring others and knows how to work in concert in with others. What do you look for?

Wilhelmina Rodenhuis

Arroyo Grande

A sober touchdown

In 2010, fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes accounted for 31 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in this country.

If football fans plan to drink during the Super Bowl, designating a sober driver can help increase the chance of avoiding an alcohol-impaired-driving crash. Alcohol-impaired driving is no accident nor is it a victimless crime.

Nationally in 2010, 10,228 people died in motor vehicle crashes in which an impaired driver or motorcycle rider had a .08 percent blood alcohol content or higher. In California, this deadly crime led to 791 deaths because someone failed to designate a sober driver.

There are just too many drivers out there who believe that having just a few drinks and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is harmless. But numbers don’t lie. Drinking and driving can result in loss of life or serious injury. These not only affect the lives of the impaired driver but can affect other families as well.

When you choose to drink, drink responsibly and pass your keys to a sober driver. Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired is not worth the risk. If you know of someone who has been drinking and is planning to drive, please remember: Fans don’t let fans drive drunk.

Kevin Huddle

Sergeant, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office