Opinion » Letters



Death isn't coming from above

If I didn't know better, I might suspect at times that Roy Berger is actually a conservative disguising himself as a progressive in order to make liberals look foolish. His statement in his letter from March 15 ("Let's work on real problems") that "the chance of being injured or killed by international terrorists is 1 percent as likely as being hit by a meteor or asteroid" is an example.

The last time earth was hit by an asteroid was in 1908 in Siberia, with no known human deaths. Over the last 500 years, there has not been one documented human death from being hit by a meteor, with injuries being below a dozen. Comparing these facts with the more than 4,000 killed and injured in attacks by international terrorists over the past six years makes Mr. Berger's statement look pretty lame. Yes, since 9/11 there has been no tragedy as bad, but the reason for this is our government doesn't treat international terrorism as an "imagined" problem. There are Islamic extremists out there, Ray, willing to die if it meant killing you, and they must be dealt with.

Charlee Smith





Housing writer hit the nail on the head

I read with interest the commentary by Mark C. Hanson regarding the unaffordable housing situation here on the Central Coast ("The Housing Doctrine," March 8) whereby only the affluent can buy what is being offered. Apparently he has done his homework with reasons given why I cannot buy a home similar to the one I am renting.

With two bedrooms, one bath, and a single-car garage with space to tend my flower garden, I am quite comfortable, but it's a damned shame that since moving in, I have paid more than $80,000 in rent, which goes to buy a home that will never be mine.

When Mr. Hanson makes it plain why no one is building a home I can afford to buy, he, in several references (if you'll pardon the pun), hits the nail on the head. Something has got to be done.

Leslie Powers

Los Osos




Maybe we are becoming Disneyland

I enjoyed your article on the debate about building a large winery on the west side of Paso Robles ("What's growing on county farmland?" March 15), and I have also read many different things that Sue Luft has written about rural land use, etc. I'm a relative newcomer in this area, but it does seem to me that one of many issues here is a group of people who want to keep things the way they have been and a group that wants to make serious changes. Economics favors the latter, so the former seem to group together and whine. Many of those same people, especially viticulturalists, have nonetheless been happy to convert pasture land to vineyards, changing the earlier cowboy way of life to one of cabernet and chardonnay. Many here still resent that.

Small wineries on the west side apparently allowed the building of Eagle Castle, which is about as out-of-place in this region as anything I've seen. Not only is it big, it looks like something that would be more at home in Dartmoor.

Comments about this area becoming more of a Disneyland seem apropos I don't hear many vineyard and winery owners wishing we had fewer wine tourists, fewer vineyards, or lower wine production. In fact, many of them are happy to describe the Paso area as the next Napa. If you have been to Napa recently, then you have seen what an adult Disneyland really looks like.

Success here is going to bring in more, and perhaps larger, wineries for some time to come. Many who oppose such things also purportedly support the operation of free markets. Protection doesn't fit well with what markets will produce. Too often people like markets when they work in their favor then get upset with them when they work against them.

For a county with scarcely more than a quarter million residents, SLO certainly has managed to create a variety of dilemmas.

Gary Peters

Paso Robles




There's no respect out on the dunes

I have owned a house on the strand in Oceano for the last six years. I bought it knowing that there was an access to the Dunes from Pier Avenue. I had no problem with that at the time, thinking foolishly that the vehicles and pedestrians shared the beach.

Since I moved there, I have been cussed out for walking on the beach by drivers of passing vehicles. They have yelled obscenities at me, my mother, and my family for walking on what they consider their highway. I have seen drivers going well over 25 miles per hour 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. If you signal for them to slow down they just laugh or try to scare you by pretending to run you over.

I attended a town meeting last month and heard all the arguments from the visiting people who say they have respect for the beach and the residents on the strand. They say they come to the dunes to have family fun and that by closing the beach we would be taking that family time away from them. They sound like good arguments, except that for the last six years I have not seen or heard that respect. If you check police records, they would suggest different: fights, excessive drinking, reckless driving, etc.

The vehicles enter the Pier Avenue entrance and more than half of them rev up their engines and take off for the dunes as if they were in a race. This does not show respect for the sand, beach, and birds in the water, or the people on the beach.

I hear vehicles at all hours of the day and night racing up and down the beach and getting stuck. They then proceed to gun their engines more trying to get out of the sand.

Even though there is an 11 p.m. curfew on noise, there are no officers to enforce it. I have heard cars racing on the beach well past that hour. In particular, two weeks ago, it went on until 3 a.m.

This is what we have to contend with at the strand.

Martha Marques





What's really ruining your quality of life?

The anti-Dalidio crowd is really starting to get on my nerves. These people will stop at nothing to impose their will on others. Letter writers in local papers don't even have their basic facts straight. One writer recently said that the citizens of San Luis Obispo city were against the Marketplace. In fact, a majority of the city's voters approved Measure J.

Many people have said that the Marketplace will ruin the quality of life in San Luis Obispo. Well, if that is what it takes to ruin their quality of life, their life isn't much to brag about to begin with. To say that about a piece of property already surrounded by asphalt and concrete and buildings is absolutely ridiculous.

Still others gripe about another piece of farmland being paved over. I would like to direct their attention to the land their homes are on. Now, if they would kindly tell me what that land was before their homes were built! They want their slice of heaven but are insistent on denying others that same slice of heaven.

The only thing ruining the quality of life in this area is the influx of Socialist-minded people who want to impose their will on other people while holding themselves to different standards.

Jody Langford





This bill was crafted in ignorance

SB 40 was hastily drafted and voted on in the Assembly Public Safety Committee in order to sidestep a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring California's sentencing laws unconstitutional in the aspect that they give judges the power to sentence criminal defendants to aggravated terms without any jury findings. My understanding is that this sidestep is not needed because there are currently methods being used in both plea agreements and in trial cases to prevent judges from having this unbridled and sole sentencing power.

SB 40, in effect, would sanction the unconstitutional actions of unscrupulous judges that prevent prisoners who qualify for shorter sentences from receiving them, and would thereby increase the incidence of disproportionate sentencing of ethnic minorities and poor people. Furthermore, this legislative sidestepping would very likely jeopardize current attempts to undertake true and needed sentencing reform in California. Our legislators need to step back and look at the broader issues before passing such a "knee jerk reaction" type bill.

Barbara Christie

Arroyo Grande




Americans rejected an endless war

This week Congress has a chance to take action to end the war. Members will vote on whether to bring the troops home by the fall of next year or whether to continue the President's failed policy of endless war.

The Democratic Proposal for Iraq is doing what a majority of Americans want. It forces the president to certify that our troops have the training and equipment they need that they've been denied so far and it forces the Iraqi government to meet benchmarks so it can govern its own nation. Most importantly, it sets a date certain to bring our troops home.

If President Bush makes good on his threat to veto this bill, he is saying that the only policy he will accept is one of endless war a policy Americans rejected in November and will continue to reject.

Bob Markel





Wal-Mart won't spell gloom and doom

As a long-time resident of Atascadero, I have taken quite a bit of interest concerning a Wal-Mart store coming to town. To the credit of Mayor George Luna and the council members, I must say the meetings have been conducted in the most professional manner.

In my humble opinion, it appears that liberal socialists who hate Wal-Mart proved again that these earth-lover types lack humor. Their long faces and prophesies of gloom and doom if Atascadero allows a Wal-Mart are pathetic! Let's face it: Atascadero is going downhill fast. Atascadero failed to attract Trader Joe's, Applebee's, and Chili's, which recently opened north of us. Mission Oaks may be the new name for the former Factory Outlets, but a new name can't disguise the fact that many of the storefronts are vacant. Most days one can play football in the almost empty parking lot.

Will the powers that be at the city hall cave in to the local earth lovers and socialists who hate Wal-Mart? Recently the city paid $100,000 for less than an acre of land. When asked why they paid so much, the female member of the council said so that no one else would purchase it. This small, expensive piece of land will greet those coming to town, saying "Welcome to Atascadero." Hopefully there will be enough space on the plaque to say "Everyone welcome (except Wal-Mart)."

Should those who hate Wal-Mart prevail, all of us will end paying higher and higher taxes.

Constantino Santos


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