Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 2/11-2/12

Insist on civil rights

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self evident ...”

The term, “self evident” is a phrase born of science, in the Age of Enlightenment. Discoveries of science, during the 17th through 19th centuries, often caused one to slap oneself on the forehead, and say, “That’s so obvious. Why didn’t I think of that?”

In the context of that phrase, the Declaration of Independence addresses the idea that all humans are entitled to be treated to the same rights. This nation’s founders were bright men, who were all too aware of the inequalities that existed. There is nothing self evident about the idea “that all men are created equal.” Yet the idea seems to have taken root, not only in the United States, but around the world.

Civil rights are an entitlement of every man, woman and child. But not without standing up for them. Not without insisting that everyone be regarded with the same dignity and respect.

These are among the genre of truths that require faith and a long-suffering commitment to principle. It is a promise to be fulfilled, and self evident only through practice.

Jim Carlisle

Atascadero

Socialism not free

Having lived, studied and worked in Europe for eight years, I offer some facts about the merits of European socialism.

Health care in Germany is not free. Like all social benefits (medical, social security, retirement, unemployment, disability) employee and employer share these costs 50/50. Groceries that are not taxed in the United States are in Germany at 8.5 percent. All other purchases are taxed at 19 percent. Gasoline is $8.64 per gallon. Public transportation is excellent, but very expensive. University studies are not free, but about $2,000 per year. A bargain indeed, but available for select students, not all.

European taxes on automobiles, an American necessity, are exorbitant. Austria 30 percent, Germany 19 percent, Greece was 100 percent. The Europeans also pay higher base tax rates and are afforded few deductions.

The Germans have done well compared to other European states because they have the principles of individual responsibility and possess a work ethic; a four-letter word for those awaiting California’s and Mr. Obama’s next taxpayer handout. Perhaps if the 50 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes and California’s 30 percent chunk of all U.S. welfare recipients would “pay their fair share,” we could afford to provide better education at more European rates.

Dr. Michael deWit Clayton

Avila Beach

Food drive success

The Central Coast Chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) recently held a food/sundry drive throughout San Luis Obispo County. We wish to thank Vons in Nipomo and Spencer’s Fresh Markets in San Luis Obispo for the use of their facilities.

We also wish to thank all the donors who were so very generous. The goods we received have gone to the Nipomo Food Basket and the Food Bank.

Rick Tibben

President, Central Coast PFLAG

Irony is in the bag

How deliciously ironic! The Atascadero City Council is being sued by the plastic bag front group it supported in opposing the IWMA’s ban on some bags. The “Save the Plastic Bag Coalition” is stabbing its ally in the back. “Lie down with dogs — get up with fleas.”

The council will take this matter up during closed session Tuesday, before which public comment is allowed.

The membership of this so-called “coalition” is revealed by its Superior Court lawsuit as corporations that “market, sell, distribute, or supply ‘single-use’ plastic carryout bags and plastic reusable bags in all of the unincorporated and incorporated areas of the County.”

Even after the mayor’s and a councilman’s widely reported suggestions of secession from the IWMA in reaction to its bag ban, and the council’s IWMA representative vote against the ban — demonstrating extraordinary loyalty to the American Chemistry Council (Exxon, Mobil, Dow) — the council finds itself a target of ACC litigation.

Flabbergasting buffoonery, myopic impulsiveness and slapstick silliness are on full display in downtown Atascadero at City Hall. The council is pitted against local grocers and landfill operators, and plastic-industry hacks capable of cold betrayal. Astounding! Enjoy the show.

David Broadwater

Atascadero

Plastic beaches ahead?

Dear Save the Plastic Bags Coalition,

Plastic is not biodegradable. Deterioration from the sun causes plastic to break down into tiny particles. We may not be eyewitnesses, but the Pacific Ocean most definitely is. The Pacific Trash Vortex, twice the size of Texas, is a soup of plastic particles.

Plastic does not discriminate. Birds, fish, sea turtles, etc. all fall victim to the murderous pollution. Scientists have been and continue to study the haunting trail of plastic. One day, our conveniences will inconvenience us. If we don’t take action now, future children will be playing on plastic beaches — not sandy ones. Banning plastic bags is a wise first step!

Alisha Enns

Santa Margarita

Floral frustrations

It’s been a few years since I’ve been in the market for Valentine’s Day flowers. I was looking for something simple, a couple dozen carnations to have available for the clients and staff at work. I checked with local grocers, but then a thought hit me: What about the flower shop at Cal Poly? I’d been a horticulture student there back in the late ’70s and remembered greenhouses full of carnations.

I emailed the flower shop and asked whether it had carnations available. I was told that it had several very nice floral arrangements featuring roses, but no carnations. If I wanted carnations they’d have to “order them in.”

Really? Order them in? This just struck me as wrong, but in realistic hindsight, I realized that carnations just aren’t a big moneymaker like roses, and that’s what it’s all about these days.

To recap, if you’re looking for some good, fresh, reasonably priced flowers for Valentine’s Day, your best bet is one of the big chain grocery stores — not the local agricultural university with a hillside full of greenhouses.

Jeff Bringle

San Luis Obispo

Pro contraception

Contraception has been in the news a lot of late. The pope continues promoting contraception as “wrong.”

The pope must catch up with the times. He should be encouraging the use of IUDs, the pill, vasectomies, Plan B, condoms, etc. — as well as abstinence.

In the past 85 years, the number of people inhabiting our planet has increased by 5 billion — a population explosion. In nature, every population explosion is followed by a population collapse. We are ripe. People are living longer, twice as long as a century ago.

Medicine has improved so much. It is a great time to be alive.

We have a choice of decreasing the births or increasing the deaths — I prefer the former unless bearded old geezers are exempt from the death increase.

Bill Denneen

Nipomo

OHV science questioned

The Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Division of State Parks, the off-highway vehicle industry and off-roader groups are trying to discredit the Air Pollution Control District’s (APCD) science. They deny the health threat posed by their activities at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA).

Look at OHV’s science:

OHV’s “fuel tax study” is used to skim $65 million a year from our gasoline tax. A later study requested by the legislature showed that OHV overestimated the amount by 50 percent.

OHV admitted its $200 million a year “economic impact” claim was overestimated by $125 million and blamed the exaggeration on an off-roading group.

In addition to such fabrication, all OHV’s economic studies are inflated by including gasoline purchases (only pennies on a dollar stay here); by eliminating questionnaire responses that fail to write “0” when users spend nothing; and failing to include the economic costs of the ODSVRA (which, when considered, would show that we actually subsidize it).

OHV’s “least environmentally damaging entry” study failed to consider impacts of vehicles on the beach and creek. This restriction in the scope of the study is how OHV determined that Grand and Pier avenues are the least environmentally damaging entries to the ODSVRA.

Nell Langford

Pismo Beach

Leash laws benefit pets

I was pleased to read that enforcement of off-leash laws for dogs may finally be taken seriously. I thank the Board of Supervisors for addressing this important issue. I speak in favor of enforcement from the standpoint of the dogs.

I am a volunteer at a humane society, a dog walker and the owner of several rescue dogs. I am responsible with my dogs — they are always on leash or contained in their own yard. Not so much my neighbors! I am constantly harassed by my neighbors’ aggressive dogs when we walk in the neighborhood. Even when my dogs are behind their own fence in their own yard, loose dogs attack the fence line, causing injuries and damage.

One such dog attacked and killed my elderly cat who was napping on her own porch in the sun.

It is such a sad thing — for the animals — because they are always blamed and punished when accidents occur. It is the irresponsible humans who must be held accountable for their family pets.

Ninety-nine percent of my neighbors are wonderful pet owners and very responsible with their animals. Unfortunately, one irresponsible family can spoil the atmosphere for the entire neighborhood.

I so hope that a new focus on enforcement will convince people to care for their pets responsibly.

Lisa Curtis

Morro Bay

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