Editor's note: Though it's been a couple of months since New Times moved from its Higuera Street location, we're continuing to see letters forwarded from that address. We publish our current address--1010 Marsh St., San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401--each week in a small box at the bottom of our letters page, but that notice doesn't seem to be reaching everyone.
To make sure your letter is received in a timely way (and gets to us at all after the Post Office stops forwarding), be sure to send it to our correct address on Marsh Street.
County leaders should have voted down their own raises
At a time when the county is facing a $20- million budget gap and residents are paying their property taxes, it is appalling that our county supervisors voted themselves a pay raise.
Supervisor Jim Patterson, who voted against it, was right when he said that the issue was really about leadership, and that the supervisors should lead by example. That was not even a little persuasive to the chairman of the board, Jerry Lenthall, who first pushed for an even bigger pay raise before casting the deciding vote for one slightly smaller.
I thank my supervisor, Jim Patterson, for his understanding of leadership.
I trust that the voters in Lenthall's district will remember Mr. Lenthall's lack of "leadership" and his fiscal irresponsibility on the first Tuesday in June, when Lenthall is up for re-election.
Knife blade issue cuts across local public spaces
In your Nov. 8 issue, the Shredder described a pocketknife "duel" between a woman who has lived in the county for 87 years and Supervisor Jim Patterson ("Money, money, money, money"). The availability of these weapons in the Supervisor's Chambers surprised me since my recent encounter with county security.
I was reporting for jury duty a couple of weeks ago and had to go through security screening. The object I was not allowed to bring into the courthouse was a Swiss Army pocketknife. This was the smallest knife they make, and has only one blade with a total length of 1 1/4 inches.
I would imagine that the danger of an attack is much greater from an outraged citizen who feels offended by the decision of a county official than from someone volunteering his time to do his civil duty by serving on a jury. But who am I to judge in this era of terrorism?
Americans need to take care of themselves health-wise
I'd like to applaud James Duenow in his commentary of Nov. 8, "Why not socialized medicine?" I do, however, feel that Mr. Duenow missed the mark.
While I agree that the cost of our health care system is a problem, it is not the primary problem.
The hard truth is that medical doctors are the third leading cause of death in this country, behind only heart disease and cancer. The answer is not in funding our system differently. Our present system is first and foremost a sick care system. If one wishes to stay healthy, our drug- and surgery-driven "sick-care" system is the last place to be.
Most diseases that rob us of our health are lifestyle related. As long as we pour billions into the next best surgery or drug, we will find ourselves in the sad state of health that is so common in this country.
The answer lies not in allowing doctors to freely exercise their art, but rather in drastically shifting how we view health and how we live so we don't end up relying on a failed model.
Lifestyle is the key to health for the majority of people. As long as we consume a bunch of chemicals, smoke cigarettes, eat junk food and excess sugar, drink excess alcohol, and don't exercise regularly, we should expect to suffer from chronic debilitating illnesses.
If Americans would take responsibility for their health, we could relegate medicine to do the one job it has demonstrated supremacy in: treating acute trauma.
Bill Berkowitz, DC
San Luis Obispo
Remember what the road to hell is paved with
The commentary in the Nov. 8 issue asks the question, "Why not socialized medicine?" The author implies that socialism evokes a knee-jerk response, and the press won't challenge the assumption that socialism is somehow evil. I have no doubt that the author and most people advocating socialized medicine have the best of intentions--the road to hell is paved, nonetheless, with good intentions!
Remember the suffering of Agent Orange victims, who were so long unable to get the government to accept this as anything other than "just in your mind," or remember the soldiers that suffered with Gulf War syndrome. "All in your mind," they said.
Recently, several Democrat congressmen have been very outspoken on TV about how the government runs its prisons and the VA hospitals. These are government-run programs they are complaining about!
Democrats seem to be unhappy with the Bush administration. They complain constantly in the pages of this paper that Bush hates children and is responsible for everything from [Hurricane] Katrina to the fires in Southern California. Republicans I've talked with seem much more forgiving. A strange irony--the Republicans are reasonably happy with the government but want it to do less and be a smaller part of our lives, while the Democrats are unhappy and want it to do more. We need to remember, however, that if Hillary had done her job during the Clinton Administration ("Hillary Health Care"), Bush or his appointees would now be in charge of our medical care.
Take responsibility: No one is coming to save us
Ms. McLean ("Bring back integrity, honesty, and responsibility," Nov. 8), when was there honesty, integrity, or responsibility among politicians--or, for that matter, citizens? Your consternation about funding an unpopular war, no money for the needy, "pork barrel" spending to placate the voters back home, and politicians getting undeserved raises has been repeated many times during our history.
This reminds me of a motivational concept I recently read called "No one is coming," by Nathaniel Branden. As far as righting societal wrongs, getting adequate compensation for your work, or controlling how our money is spent by our representatives, we have only ourselves to look to. When citizens prefer to spend their time watching America's Funniest Home Videos or The Biggest Loser instead of getting involved in discussing and acting on current and local issues, they get what they deserve. Because "no one is coming" to save us, we must take responsibility for our own circumstances.
San Luis Obispo
When hugs are outlawed, only outlaws will give hugs
Most of us have heard about the eighth grade girl who was punished with detention for violating a school policy banning public displays of affection. Thirteen-year-old Megan Coulter had hugged two friends goodbye for the weekend--one was a boy, one was a girl. The same week it was announced at the girl's school in Illinois that "Tryouts for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students interested in wrestling will take place the first week of December." So the message- we hear is children are encouraged to fight---in fact we'll spend money on it--but for heaven's sake don't ever hug anyone at school because that is what? Dangerous? Immoral?
A peaceful, civilized society is manifested partly by the healthy loving human contact of friends. Research continues to support the importance of daily human touch for our physical and emotional well being. What of the child who isn't hugged at home? Now their friends won't hug them either, but they can still get some human touch if they make the wrestling team.
This is sick.
San Luis Obispo
Make Congress obey the U.S. Constitution
It is tragic that so few Americans understand what the founders of our nation gave us. Therefore, we have allowed the federal government to erode many of our constitutionally protected rights. Go to www.thenewamerican.com for details. Search: restoring rights.
On July 4, 1776, the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence stated: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ."
Here, we have the basics of Americanism: 1. People are born with natural or God-given rights to life, liberty, and property. 2. People created the federal government and granted it limited powers for the sole purpose of helping to protect their rights. Both the people and the government must obey the U.S. Constitution. Founded on these principles, the United States became the greatest nation in history.
Unfortunately, much that the federal government does today is unconstitutional. We the people need to contact Congress to make it obey our Constitution.
John A. Clibourn
Oppose the North American Union and secure our borders
I'm glad to see the John Birch Society is continuing their nationwide campaign to secure our borders by opposing any NAU (North American Union) legislation (which will combine America, Mexico, and Canada into one regional government with no borders) and opposing any open borders legislation in Congress or the Senate such as amnesty or "guest worker" bills, etc., being perpetually promoted by the anti-American leaders we have been cursed with in the White House and Congress.
The John Birch Society, I also notice, is leaving no stone unturned warning Americans about legislation threatening our borders, and through educational efforts is providing backup public pressure on Congress to stop this scandalous open borders sell-out of our republic by our own leaders who are obviously front men for their New World Order Globalist bosses.
Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, has warned that scores of Mideast terrorist suspects have been arrested crossing our borders, which obviously indicates the clear and present danger. I wish to absolutely urge all concerned citizens to go to www.JBS.org and click on "Take Action!" and also call Congress and Senate toll free (1-877-851-6437) to stop the NAU, and secure our borders now in this ongoing struggle to force our own leaders to simply secure our borders!