Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: On Joetopia

An unjust tax

Joe, your column in Sunday’s paper, wherein you chastised the people of California for not voting yes on Proposition 29, was way out of line.

First of all, Proposition 29 was a tax against a specific type of individual, the smoker. It was a tax against the middle- and lower-income residents of the state who are primarily the smokers — those who can least afford more taxes.

Don’t you wonder why, Joe, if only 14 percent of Californians smoke, you can’t find 50 percent of Californians to vote for a tax that doesn’t cost them a dime? What’s wrong with this picture?

The reason is simple, Joe. It was an unjust tax. It targeted the already burdened. It made no sense. It wasn’t about making people quit smoking — it was about bureaucracy.

Let me ask you, Joe. If your favorite bottle of pinot noir went up a buck, would you quit drinking it? I don’t think so. Wait, that gives me another idea. Why don’t we tax all of the red wine drinkers and use the money for liver cancer research?

The only thing Proposition 29 did was refill media coffers. The newspapers are hurting so I guess you could call that a subsidy from big tobacco and from yours truly, the taxpayers who paid for half of the debacle.

Denny BarringerPismo Beach

$1? Why not $50?

Mr. Tarica,

Having just read your opinions on Proposition 29 in the June 10 Tribune, I have a recommendation — perhaps you should move to your beloved Bay Area.

As a nonsmoker, I voted against 29. Part of the proposition was for “Smoking Awareness” programs. Let’s face it — if you live on planet Earth and don’t know that smoking is bad for you, then no amount of taxes or government intervention is going to enlighten you.

Why don’t we just add a $50 tax to each pack? Hey, it’s free money from some people you don’t like in the Central Valley.

And while we’re trying to be healthy, why don’t we put a $50 tax on every bag of potato chips, every Big Mac and every Foster’s Freeze sold in the state? After all, obesity and diabetes are big problems. And now that I think of it, you should probably move to New York City. You and Mayor Bloomberg would probably get along well protecting the diets of NYC’s citizens

Ray Ondrejech

San Luis Obispo

Lose-lose situation

Surely I am not the only one to see the irony here. The $1 tax proposed by Proposition 29 was to fund research into cancer caused by smoking, right? However, to fund the research, many people would have to continue to smoke and pay the tax. Sort of a lose-lose situation.

Edith E. Welter


Stolen funds

Open letter to Joetopia:

Overconsumption of sour grapes must have led to the regurgitation of vitriol in Sunday’s column. I voted no, not because of the millions spent by “big tobacco” but because of the history of governments, from federal to local, misappropriating so-called “dedicated” taxes for general use at any opportunity.

Joe, do you really think that money would have gone for the intended purpose any more than the millions won from tobacco settlements went? From Social Security to gasoline taxes to tobacco settlement money, funds are stolen. Some of us have had enough. When people stop buying cigarettes and those funds dry up, what will they go after next?

Guy R. Velardi

Arroyo Grande

Column in bad taste

As a nonsmoker and a supporter of Proposition 29, I am writing regarding the Joe Tarica column in the Sunday Trib.

Never have I read such a divisive, elitist, pompous and obnoxious column! It is one thing to criticize a person for how he cast his vote. It is quite another thing to use the most personal and outrageous verbiage to personally vilify someone for his vote selection. Both the individual class warfare and the geographical warfare Tarica utilized were uncalled for, asinine and in bad taste.

Even with the latitude allowed in editorial language, this column was over the top and personally offensive. The references to Orange County and moving to Wisconsin and their implied political nuances were totally inappropriate and unwarranted.

Mr. Tarica could certainly have covered the outcome of Proposition 29 and made his points with more class and much less personal venom. Shame on him for being so tasteless and shame on the editors for allowing such trash to be printed.

Ronald Pearce

San Luis Obispo

Telling remarks

Regarding: Joetopia “Prop 29 votes based ...” June 10.

For the record, I, like Joe Tarica, voted for Proposition 29.

Unlike him, it seems I’m not as enlightened as Joe is, even though I live on what he calls “the enlightened coast.” When I heard that Proposition 29 failed, I, too, was disappointed but it didn’t occur to me to trash those who opposed Proposition 29, but not Joe.

He calls them “a bunch of money grubbers from the greater Orange County area along with the ... forces of backward thinking known as the Central Valley.” Wow!

As is often the case, remarks like this tell us more about the person making them than the targets of their vitriol. Thanks for enlightening us about you, Joe.

Robert A. Mongillo

Arroyo Grande