Expansion discussions are ongoing
Regarding your Nov. 17-24 article "To expand or not to expand," we would like to clarify the position of the city of Morro Bay on this issue.
In 1990, the city joined with SLO County in a resolution supporting the concept of a Central Coast National Marine Sanctuary in order to stop offshore oil development. Even at that point it was a controversial subject because our local fishermen feared that it would mean more regulation.
A sanctuary covering all of SLO and Monterey counties was deemed too big to manage, so in 1992 the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) was formed. The formation documents specified that there was no intent to regulate fishing, and there was a promise to incorporate local concerns into their process. Unfortunately, the MBNMS has not lived up to these promises.
In 2003, with increased concerns over MBNMS attempts to include fishing regulations, the Morro Bay City Council passed Resolution 27-03, opposing expansion of the MBNMS and also opposing creation of a Central Coast Marine Sanctuary.
As a direct result of the 2003 sanctuary expansion discussions, the Marine Interest Group (MIG) was created. After more than two years of research and discussion, however, the MIG has not yet agreed on a position regarding expansion.
The city of Morro Bay absolutely supports protection of our coast, and might again support establishment of a Central Coast Sanctuary, if it had a structure similar to the MIG and guaranteed local control on decisions vital to our community's environmental and economic future.
Mayor of Morro Bay
Morro Bay City Council
Morro Bay Harbor director
What about unions?
In regard to Jay Stewart's defense of Wal-Mart with the brilliant comment that if employees do not like the conditions under which they work, they can "decline to work there" (Letters, Nov. 17-24), I have this to say: "Are you kidding me?!" Stewart, do you have any idea that many of the abhorrent conditions under which many workers in this country have been subjected to have actually been addressed and solved by people demanding fair practices? Cesar Chavez ring a bell? Your attitude of "if you don't like this sweatshop, go find another one" is ignorant and appalling. A huge (to say the very least) corporation such as Wal-Mart should (at the very least) provide an affordable health care package to all employees; after all, it makes billions off their backs. A company that would rather close a store than allow organized labor in to address these conditions is a company that does not deserve our respect or patronage.
Wal-Mart: the left's new bogeyman
It's nice to see the international left has a new bogeyman. I would probably agree that Wal-Mart probably isn't most folks' idea of a dream job. One thing's for darn sure - it doesn't offer the fine future, high pay, great benefits, and social justice that most of downtown SLO local businesses offer. Let me end this with a quote from the indefatigable and much-maligned radio talk show host Michael Savage: "Every time I hear the words social justice, it makes me want to reach for my Glock, as it probably means someone is after something I have earned."
Phillip V. Moffat
Santa Maria made the right choice
I would like to applaud the Santa Maria City Council for voting unanimously against the zoning change that would have allowed a Wal-Mart Supercenter to be built off of West Betteravia Avenue in Santa Maria (" Santa Maria rejects Wal-Mart," News, Nov. 17-24.)
The Council obviously listened to the many community members who protested against the proposed Wal-Mart last Tuesday. Had the zoning change been voted for, a 55-acre parcel of land would have been used to build the giant box store.
Our community, from Paso Robles to Santa Maria, has grown vastly in the past few years, with small local businesses being replaced by corporate giants such as Wal-Mart. Had the Supercenter been permitted, hundreds of unionized supermarket jobs with retirement and health benefits and living wages would have been jeopardized.
It will not end with Wal-Mart
It's sad to read people's seeming lack of understanding of the behavior of Wal-Mart. As mentioned by others, they are a little different from most other corporations - and indeed, most businesses.
In our economic system, a business is in existence solely for one purpose: to make money for its owner or stockholders! The owner may have learned somewhere to have some compassion or have learned that "a good person takes others' needs into consideration," but this isn't in any way guaranteed and usually interferes with the primary goal of business (remember?): to maximize profits!
Our approach works well if constrained by laws designed to ensure that the general welfare is maintained. The failure of this system is that it is to the benefit of businesses to work to have laws tailored to benefit them: they ensure that the minimum wage stays low, that is legal to have workers work permanent part-time so they receive no benefits, that Unions are weak and that other laws that don't benefit business fail.
One of the first things a business owner does is join the Chamber of Commerce to enable him or her to meet and possibly influence others who can benefit him. These groups have a strong influence upon the local and national politicians and judges. Wal-Mart, being a giant worldwide corporation, has the power to do pretty much what it wants and these behaviors will become the norm for all retail business. At this point, these giant corporations have so much power they are probably impossible to control. Welcome to the New World Order!
The grass is always greener
I challenge all Wal-Mart bashers to tell us of just one locally owned retail store that pays its employees more and has better fringe benefits than Wal-Mart.
And this business about keeping the money we spend in our local communities? Do you guys/gals really believe the owners and their wives buy their clothes, jewelry, etc. from locally owned places? If you do, I'll sell you the Dana Adobe for a dime.
Be aware of depression symptoms
In the Nov. 17 cover story on Marlene Braun's suicide on the Carrizo Plain, rancher Irv McMillan is quoted as saying, "Something just doesn't add up. There's something missing."
I would suggest that two answers can be found in the story. First, Ms. Braun "saw doctors, who prescribed her antidepressants, but the medicine didn't help." It is one of the great tragic ironies of severe depression that the very treatment and medicine intended to cure can also put some patients at greatest risk of death during the critical early stages of treatment.
Second, nobody but the thickest-skinned, coolest-eyed, most cynical of pragmatic realists should ever, ever take a job working for the BLM.
What does not remain a mystery is that severe, untreated, misdiagnosed, or improperly treated depression can be a terrible disease that too often causes its victims to suffer horribly before it kills them. That every such death may be avoidable makes the loss that more tragic.
Stop the Bush-bashing
David Georgi gorges himself with vitriol and bitter disparagement in his letter, "Braun was a Bush administration victim." (11/24-12/1.) He concludes his letter stating, "Never has there been such an administration based on sadism, cruelty, and arrogant incompetence in pursuit of its disastrous ideology."
Really? You are talking about our president, David Georgi. You appear to be a two-time loser as a Democrat. Your credibility is betrayed by your vicious rhetoric. The Bush administration has acted wisely and courageously with preemptive actions in Afghanistan and Iraq to compromise and destabilize the terrorist threat in the Middle East. We now have military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan and are prepared to neutralize if not overcome the immergence of the nuclear capability in Iran. That capability and threat has been long forecasted and understood. This is the issue we have been facing since "day one," back in Jimmy Carter's days.
Our costs in dollars and lives in prosecuting the war in the Middle East have been minimal considering the greater costs if we had not acted, as evidenced by 9/11. We were betrayed by the Germans, French, Russians, and the United Nations in proceeding as revealed by the Oil for Food scandal. But despite this, Bush acted.
The reality is we are in World War III. We must win or our standard of living and our way of life will forever change here in America. For terrorist Islam will not rest until Mohammed's crescent flies above the American flag on Memorial day!
Atascadero's incompetence is appalling
Doug Marks' letter ("Atascadero: enforce your noise ordinances," 11/17-24) about the Atascadero Police Department's flat refusal to enforce the city noise ordinance being violated by motorcycles on neighbors' property, was interesting to me because I've recently had my own experience with APD incompetence.
The Salinas riverbed in town is torn up regularly by people on motorcycles and ATVs, and I've called APD a few times about it. They say they'll respond, but never show. The motorcyclists are completely brazen and threaten anyone who questions their right to trespass and destroy the riverbed.
Mr. Marks and his neighbors should never have to put up with such noise, which is a serious infringement on their rights. The city may have to face up to this problem, since a new housing development is going up right next to some private motocross tracks and this will undoubtedly generate many more complaints. There is probably cause for a civil suit against the offenders and/or the city, but justice can be expensive.
Atascadero is going to have to decide what sort of town it is: a civilized place where decent people can live, or a haven for the Dukes of Hazzard. Since moving here I've encountered more obnoxious idiots in one year than I did in 10 years in SLO.
I repeat: Atascadero, enforce your noise ordinances
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and today as I sit writing this letter, I'm again listening to our neighbors riding dirt bikes on motorcycle tracks. Noise levels: one neighbor, nearly 70dB at 200 feet away; the closest neighbor at 80dB outside our house and 60dB inside our family room.
On Thanksgiving Day the closest neighbor spent nearly three hours riding a motorcycle and two ATVs around a home track, 50 feet from our house. Decibel levels: over 80dB. We called the neighbor to ask for a holiday reprieve. When we got no response, we called Atascadero PD for help. Wondering if APD did visit the neighbor to enforce the noise and motorcycle ordinances, we called them again. Yes, they had been out. We asked for another visit.
At dusk, the noise and stink ended and we decided to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. As we were preparing to eat, an APD officer rang our doorbell and essentially told us that he didn't see a problem. Then he told us that APD got calls like this all the time; and he can't enforce the local ordinance anyway ... the city's code enforcement officer has to do that. Has this city's staff been breathing swamp gas or something?
Our Thanksgiving guests were absolutely stunned by the neighbors' actions and the city's lack of response in enforcing its own ordinances
Many thanks, city of Atascadero. My family and I hope that the Atascadero City Council had a peaceful and heartwarming Thanksgiving.