Opinion » Letters



Skip the music and the rodeo

Regarding your article "Be Fair... nah" (Strictly Starkey, July 21-28), there are many in our community who would be delighted if the Mid-State Fair did away with one of its grandstand events, namely rodeo. When the rodeo comes to the fair, it brings with it unnecessary animal suffering. Rodeos inherently cause animal suffering and sometimes death. Last year at the Santa Maria Elks PRCA rodeo, "Blood Red," a saddle bronc, died after he flipped over and broke his neck during the bucking event. It seems that more incidents of bucking horses running full speed into the arena wall and dying at rodeos are in the news.

Rodeo promoters will tell you they love their animals, but it's obvious that the animals are suffering. Horses and bulls have straps cinched tightly around them; steers have their necks horribly twisted in steer wrestling; calves run in terror as a cowboy lassos it and yanks it off its feet before grabbing, lifting, and tossing it to the ground to tie its legs. Maybe it's time for our community to find some other sort of entertainment, deficient of animals being forced to do tricks or perform in order for contestants (cowboys) to get points and thus money. Please support compassion and skip the rodeo.


Peggy Koteen

Animal Emancipation, director

SLO County



Good riddance to The Dwelling

As a local downtown business employee, neighbor of The Dwelling, and rocker at heart, I was somewhat disappointed in your article "The drama of The Dwelling" (July 14-21), as many bands I enjoyed and many of my friends attended shows there.

The Dwelling as a business never took responsibility for its guests. Countless times I had to clean up the mess left over from concerts the night before, including cigarettes, beer, urine, vomit, trash, marijuana cigarettes, and syringes. This does not include the constant defacing of our property and tagging that also has taken place to the building. I have no biased viewpoint of "punk" teenagers or how they choose to live their lifestyle. However, when someone else's property is being ruined and abused, with countless laws being broken, I cannot support a business that does not take responsibility.

I do hope the Central Coast can provide more ways for bands to play, as I do hope that the guests attending these shows are able to have fun yet remain responsible about their actions.


Neil Kurtz

San Luis Obispo



Mr. Kobara, re-read the Second Amendment

It appears that Mr. Kobara and I are destined to see things from the opposite side of the fence.

In response to his letter in the New Times, July 7-14 ("Pro-gunners aren't exempt from responsibility"), Mr. Kobara wrote a few things that I feel need correcting.

Admittedly, there are many gun owners who need to be slapped for their irresponsible firing into the air on the 4th of July (and New Year's). Personally, I prefer swords to guns, but the Second Amendment guarantees the inviolate right of Americans to arm themselves as they, not some bureaucrat 2,000 miles away, see fit.

Granted, Class III firearms had not been invented when the amendment was written, but it was written by men who mistrusted government abuse of power and wanted the sovereign citizen to be able to defend themselves with weapons equal to those they might find themselves facing.

Consider Feudal Japan, or Europe during the Middle Ages. The commons were prohibited from owning the same weapons as the ruling class; those in power found it much easier to repress people without effective means of defense.

While I agree the military needs automatic weapons to do their job, what possible reason, other than to terrorize an unarmed populace, can the police have to need them? After all, they are nothing more than ordinary citizens granted some small authority, like a high school principal with a gun.


Rev. James Shaffer




Political lessons from the ranch

I don't know what kind of rancher George Bush is, but the good ones I've known have used a little more of their God-given brains than the president seems to.

Concerning Mr. Shipley's letter of approval for Bush's strategy against terrorists ("Bush: The right man at the right time," Letters, July 14-21), here's a little rural advice that George Bush would do well to keep in mind: If you want to get rid of a nest of hornets, you don't whack it with a stick, especially if there are a bunch of innocent people around and you don't have a plan for getting out of there.

These days it's not just Democrats who are shaking their heads over Iraq. There are plenty of Republicans out here - many who voted for him, too - who are more than a little mystified by the way Bush handled the post-9/11 challenge. Let's all hope that the next time the president decides that he's found a nest of hornets, he'll take time to think about a plan. Then maybe his approval rating wouldn't sting so bad.


Jim Ringley




The Blues don't deserve hostile press

I grew up in San Luis Obispo. When I was little my parents took my brother and me to Mission Field to see the Blues play regularly. In the early 1980s my brother Dana played two seasons for the Blues. Unfortunately, soon thereafter, the team folded because of a lack of sponsor dollars.

Then, about 10 years ago, Tim Golden, through hard work and persistence, was able to bring the Blues back. The relationship between the Blues and the city of San Luis Obispo, with all its red tape, has been tenuous at times. I have personally seen Tim Golden jump through every hoop the city has thrown at him. However, the Blues have never had to deal with a hostile press before.

Please be advised that the people of this community love the San Luis Obispo Blues and have been doing so long before Knight-Ridder came to town and ruined our local paper. See you at the park.


Freeman Lee

San Luis Obispo



On the subject of idiots...

Mr. Smith, in reply to "Are you guys idiots or something?" (Letters, July 7-14), it seems that you did not read the entire piece. It was about compromise and the Democrats, not trade statistics. But the term "greatest" seemed to upset you so much. In order to help, let me just provide a little detail about the word "greatest." My dictionary gives 16 different definitions. I was going for No. 6: "of much consequence."

Futhermore, Canada is not communist and is no military threat to us. The fact that the Communist Chinese are going to maintain our jet aircraft, want to buy one of our oil companies, and are not really our friends makes them "greater" in terms of consequence.

Now we can move on to your other concerns. Most of us adults in the U.S. have had some legal experience. Fighting a traffic ticket, buying a house, writing a will are all legal experiences. So is being an attorney. But again, I was trying to make a point here. When you are appointing a judge for life, I do not think it is unreasonable to expect them to have legal experience related to matters that are sure to come before them in court.

As far as who are "idiots or something" I will not say, at least not in print. But I will make my own weather prediction. Things are going to get hotter, especially the more the Democrats compromise.


Gregory L. Martin

Shell Beach



Not all guns are created equal

On Thursday, July 14, police found a cache of 35 small arms, 25 edged weapons, 3,000 rounds of ammunition, and 25 grenades in Atascadero. It would be interesting to know whether any of those rifles are automatic or selective-fire, and whether any handguns are machine pistols, like Uzis.

Persons of any persuasion ought to be worried about such a cache and the paranoid delusions prompting it. Pro-gun moderates should be especially concerned, as such excesses endanger public security and endanger legitimate ownership of semiautomatic and bolt guns.

A 2000 column in Guns & Ammo magazine proclaims, "Anyone distinguishing good guns from bad guns is a gun-grabber." Yet distinctions must be made.

An M1903 bolt rifle carries five rounds, cycling about 10 rounds per minute. A Garand rifle carries eight rounds, cycling 20 to 40 RPM.

But an M1918A2 BAR, which carries only 20 rounds and cycles more slowly than other automatics, cycles 300-450 RPM on slow auto - 10 times a semiauto's rate - and 500-650 RPM on fast auto, or about 20 times a semiautomatic's fire rate. Accurate to 500 yards, with an extreme range of 3,500 yards, it poses great danger to neighbors and bystanders.

It's an exercise in futility to argue that all guns are alike, and, therefore, legitimate.


Steve T. Kobara

San Luis Obispo



Protect SLO County from eminent domain

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads, in part:

"… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

The U.S. Supreme Court apparently defines "public use" as "benefiting wealthy developers," as they have ruled in the Kelo vs. City of New London case (June 23, 2005) that it is perfectly legal to take your home or business and give it to a politically connected private developer. As the Supreme Court is no longer protecting the rights of citizens, we must protect them ourselves.

In order to allay the justified fears of homeowners in San Luis Obispo, I invite each council member and supervisor to publicly support the following pledge:

"I pledge to the citizens of my jurisdiction that I will oppose any efforts to use the government power of eminent domain for private development, and I will support ordinances, legislation, and other efforts to ensure that the citizens of California are safe from the use of eminent domain for private development."


Gail K. Lightfoot

Arroyo Grande



Buel and Gustafson have gone too far

There are some very questionable antics going on at the Los Osos CSD. Seems as though Director Julie Tacker was denied access to simply observe a pre-construction meeting on Thursday, July 21, 2005. Even worse, she was threatened with arrest! CSD General Manager Bruce Buel told both directors Tacker and Schicker (in writing) that he would not allow them to attend, but that the meeting would be taped.

Then (surprise, surprise!), at the meeting, Monterey Mechanical (a contractor who signed a contract to be paid with public funds), refused to be taped! No reasons given! The money this contractor will be getting comes from state and federal pubic funds that we, the citizens in the "prohibition zone," must repay. This was not a secret, private, or confidential meeting, so why were these two elected officials denied access? What are Buel and Gustafson trying to hide?

Then an even more outrageous stalling tactic took place: These two directors were told that LOCSD Board President Stan Gustafson had unilaterally decided that "no directors are authorized to attend on behalf of LOCSD." How dare Gustafson take it upon himself to make such an outrageous decision that he is not authorized to make! The recall is coming, but it can't be soon enough!


Peggy Pavek

Los Osos

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