Opinion » Letters



The sick need shelter during the day, too
Your feature article, "Field of sorrows" (Nov. 2), puts the public on notice about the plight of homeless folks. Thank you for targeting important social issues.

We are volunteers with Transitional Food and Shelter, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the homeless. We have no paid staff. There could have been mention of us in the article, as we do alleviate some of the problems noted. Our Motel Voucher program is primarily in the North County, with modest grants and small to modest donations from caring individuals. We are expanding our service to the city of San Luis Obispo.

We take referrals from social workers of EOC, the Department of Social Services, County Mental Health, Salvation Army, and others. One highlight in the article was that the homeless people are discharged from hospitals with no place to go.

The social workers at Sierra Vista and French hospitals have in the past and do now make referrals to us of homeless clients. The shelters do not allow daytime occupancy. The sick need shelter during the day as well as at night. We are looking for an apartment to rent in the city of San Luis Obispo for just this purpose with low rent to avoid the high cost of motel rooms we must use.

We think that a follow up to your article could be a write-up of our organization featuring our Motel Voucher program. We have a People's Kitchen, too.

Paul and Marie Wilson

Transitional Food and Shelter




Where have all the hippies gone?
As an offspring of the generation of peace and love, I have to wonder: Where are you now, hippies? It's a good thing Ginsberg is food for worms. While my generation is getting joystick blisters, the country is going to pot, and I don't mean the kind you may or may not remember. I guess you guys do need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows. Maybe we do too.

Joe Chinander

Santa Margarita





Think nuts instead of fish for protein
A four-year study by an international group of ecologists and economists published in the journal Science warns that the world will run out of seafood by 2048 if declines in marine species continue at their current rates. The declines are due primarily to overfishing and pollution of coastal areas by waste from factory farms.

The global economic impact is staggering. The fishing industry generates $80 billion a year, 200 million people depend on it for income, and a billion rely on it for protein. Decline in fish population is also associated with loss of marine biodiversity, blooms of potentially harmful algae, beach closures, and coastal flooding.

As the world's human population grows exponentially, the only viable long-term solution is to rely increasingly on grains, legumes, and nuts as our sources of protein. Unlike fish and other marine organisms, these protein-rich foods do not mess up our fragile ecosystem, they are not laden with mercury, pesticides, and nasty pathogens, they do not require refrigeration, and ... they don't smell to high heaven. Did I mention that this major global food policy decision starts with our next trip to the supermarket?

Sean Herbert

San Luis Obispo




No nation has declared war on us
Let's get one thing clear: We are not at war. President Bush and his administration say a lot of things that are not true, and this is one. We, the people, have allowed this administration to thrust upon us the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act, disemboweling our entire Bill of Rights, as well as charging our paychecks and our children's future paychecks for billions of dollars "because we are at war."

No nation's government on Earth has declared war on us. We are engaged in a police action against a people that we initiated ourselves. Yes, there are people out there who are killing innocent people for ignoble ends, but it's pretty clear that our government is among them. Let's not buy that war reason any more for having our rights trampled upon. We are not at war, and we need to quit wasting lives and resources in Iraq.

Adrienne Dickinson

San Luis Obispo




Aren't eucalyptus trees indigenous by now?
I am responding to the "minor" use permit requested by the developer Jeff Edwards to remove 395 trees from the gateway to Monta"a de Oro. What's minor about the slaughter of trees that are more than 100 years old? One thing that bothers me most about this tree removal is an argument that I've heard Mr. Edwards make for the tree removal. His argument is this. The eucalyptus trees are not indigenous. That a hundred years ago, there were no trees. I'm going to try and illustrate how incredibility ridiculous this argument is.

I would argue this. That the beautiful eucalyptus forest on the hillsides and at the gateway to Monta"a de Oro State Park is a stable environmental ecosystem that has taken more than a century to evolve.

Raptors, sea birds, and Monarch butterflies use these trees to rest and nest in. Deer use the cover of the eucalyptus forest to stride in silent stealth. The eucalyptus forest is a home not to man, but to the friends of Mother Nature.

Now, I'm going to tell you what really bothers me about Mr. Edwards' argument: that the trees weren't here 150 years ago. What bothers me about his argument is the absolute arrogance that one man thinks, in a few days, he can turn back the clock 150 years on Mother Nature with a chainsaw and a handful of plants. Does everyone get how ridiculous and unbelievably absurd this notion is? Five-thousand years ago, half of Baywood was underwater. Why don't we just flood the town? This is how ridiculous Mr. Edwards' argument is. This is the argument that he is making.

My argument is this. Anything that has been here for more than a hundred years is indigenous! These trees are indigenous to the life, both local and migrating, that lives and breathes in the eucalyptus forest. To take these trees from the plants, animals, and humans that live in our community in order to gratify the self-serving and greedy interests of one man is wrong. We all know what Mr. Edwards' motives are, and they have absolutely nothing to do with protecting or restoring an environment. Mr. Edwards is NOT an environmentalist. He is a developer. For him to claim that he is anything other than a self-serving developer is phony and disingenuous.

We cannot approve of the destruction by the hand of one man, in a few days, what Mother Nature has taken more than a century to create.

Michael Jones

Los Osos




The dumbest soldier is smarter than John Kerry
Now let me get this straight. John Kerry's joke was supposed to be that if you are dumb and lazy and don't apply yourself in college, you grow up to be president of the United States. I'm not sure that message is any more appropriate than the one he did deliver.

The day after Kerry's stupid and hateful comments about our military, I spotted a picture posted on the Drudge Report of a dozen or more soldiers in Iraq, holding a banner which read "Halp us, John Carry, we r stuk hear in Irak."

That one picture just goes to show, as most Americans know, that the dumbest buck private in today's Army has more intelligence (and wit) than John Kerry and probably anyone else in the United States Congress.

David Holman

Los Osos




Keep these beautiful old giants in place
I am one of a group of residents of the Cuesta By the Sea area in Los Osos who love the giant old eucalyptus trees on a Coastal Conservancy parcel bordered by Binscarth Street and Doris Avenue, adjacent to Morro Bay Estuary.

Not long ago, under the pretext of improving Doris, the county installed a drainpipe under Doris and used a backhoe to dig a trench from the pipe outlet to the bay, partly draining the Conservancy parcel, which includes the Lupine Wetlands. Now, there is a threat to the trees that protect and shade the wetlands and provide habitat for local falcons, herons, hawks, and owls.

Our local arborist recommended trimming only. No removal. One of the county arborists recommended removal of four trees. Another county arborist recommended removal of seven trees. Perhaps "the devil is in the details." How close to clear-cutting this old, old grove will a conservancy go?

I understand that the cutting of the grove of trees is in consequence of a complaint lodged by a new resident living on the south side of Binscarth, who cites his fear of falling trees or limbs. Even magnificent trees that could in no way threaten that property are reportedly scheduled for removal. I believe one of those old giants, scheduled for removal, qualifies as having the largest-diameter trunk of any tree in the county. Those trunks are massive. Those trees, in that particular location, for some reason tended to grow in diameter as well as in height.

I know the argument that the eucalyptus is not native and has some negative effects. I've been raking up eucalyptus leaves for more than 30 years here, a stone's throw away from the Lupine Wetlands and those magnificent trees. But nature is not static and is always in flux. A count of species anywhere in the contiguous states will reveal a large number of successful transplants, just as a count of the people will reveal a large number of immigrants.

Please contact the Coastal Conservancy and ask that they refrain from excessive tree removal or clear-cutting of the old, old grove.

Leo Ray Ingle

Los Osos



Land-clearing fines lead to worthy causes
Kudos to Kathy Johnston for following up on the muti-year saga of the record-setting fine assessed against North County dischargers for egregious damage done to our watershed ("Land clearing leads to fine," Nov. 2). Mr. Kelegian's fine was actually part of $225,000 in total fines assessed by the Regional Water Board against two out-of-town land speculators for grubbing a thousand acres near Creston and letting the land erode into a creek for months. We participated in the negotiations that channeled the $125,000 fine assessed against Mr. Kelegian's partner into a number of worthy causes:

The re-vegetation of an eroded hillside in a rare blue oak woodland adjacent to Stadium Park in Atascadero and fencing out of destructive off-road vehicles, re-vegetating a strip of private property along the Salinas River in San Miguel, and assisting the County Department of Parks and Recreation in the purchase of similar habitat elsewhere in the Salinas River watershed, preventing residential development in this highly sensitive and scenic area.

Mr. Kelegian still has the option of doing likewise and doing the right thing instead of continuing to fight his fine.

Andrew Christie


Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club



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