Opinion » Letters



Thirty-seven percent not a 'large majority'

Barbara Mitchell, in her commentary last week ("What happened to the War on Poverty?"), stated that, "We know that a large majority of the enlisted military are African-American." I don't know what source she uses for images from Iraq, but all those that I have seen have shown enlisted personnel to be white by a wide margin. The facts are that minorities make up 37.5 percent of the enlisted personnel in our military forces. One out of five American soldiers are black, which isn't close to a majority, let alone a large one.

Charlee Smith



Time to revive personal accountability

What was the war on poverty article really about (Opinion, Sept. 29-Oct. 6)? A war we can't win, that is all over the world and has been since the beginning of civilization (it's no secret)? Or just more anti-Bush, anti-America mindless ranting? I'm willing to bet that the majority of people in Rwanda would jump at the chance to have the quality of life someone living on welfare has here. Also, why would Mrs./Ms. Mitchell state that Mr. Bush is not acquainted with the war on poverty when it is a known fact that he has signed for $368 billion in poverty entitlements, whereas Clinton only allotted for $191 billion? Let me also remind Barbara that our military is purely voluntary, and it is possible that it is their only career option because of choices they made earlier in life. What the hell has happened to personal accountability/responsibility?

The government should keep you from starving to death, not hold your hand through life and give you what you're "entitled to." For the record, I'm not a big Bush/war supporter, but maybe Katrina "victims" could be paid to rebuild their own city, or guard the Mexican border, instead of waiting for $368 billion from Bush. Parents must teach a strong work ethic and morals, and to not rely on the government for the war on poverty to be won.

Greg Larson

San Luis Obispo


What about our last election?

In response to the pathetically ridiculous letter by Jim Nelson ("Why vote?" Sept. 29-Oct. 6), I would like to state how funny it is that when a Democrat wins an election it is the result of a truly informed democracy, but when a Republican wins, it's either a dictatorship, ignorant voters, fraud, or apathy caused by Republican tyranny. Mr. Nelson, stop being a whiny little brat and grow up.

If I were to apply your formula of voter apathy to the two elections won by Clinton, then I would have to say times were worse and the people were even more fed up than now because, in case you weren't paying attention, there was a much higher voter turnout for our last presidential election than ever before! Can you dispute this fact? Check mate!

Michael Larrea

Shell Beach


Peace activists: Look all we've accomplished since 9/11

Mary Bonaventure admits joining peace activists (156 from SLO) in opposing the war in Iraq ("Millions do want peace," Letters, Sept. 29-Oct. 6). She deplores the lost military lives, accusing the government of "out and out lies and manipulation of its citizens." She concludes that the war "is leading to chaos in the Middle East." Respectfully, I disagree.

Bonaventure dismisses the fact that within the time frame where approximately 2,000 military have died in Iraq, over 70,000 men, women, and children were killed on our nation's highways. Where is her remorse for these deaths? Further, the government did not lie or manipulate its citizens. Her statement is not true!

Bonaventure disparages and undermines our military - despite its great conquest and victory with a minimum loss in lives and cost, considering the potential losses with another 9/11; despite the efforts to bring democracy to the middle of the Middle East; despite the evident display of approval by the citizens of Iraq; despite the fact that a vicious dictator has been removed who murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people; despite an insurgency that is funded and sustained with the objective to stop democracy in Iraq.

Bonaventure and people like her ignore the fact that since 9/11 our government has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled Al Qaeda, made peace with Libya, democratized Lebanon, and warned Syria and Iran regarding their terrorist intentions - including Iran's nuclear ambitions. While we grieve the loss of any military life, let's put matters in perspective. Only the insurgents are encouraged by Bonaventure's thinking.

Otis Page

Arroyo Grande


Review of 'The Constant Gardener' clearly politically motivated

The greatest problem with the New Times' movie review of "The Constant Gardener" is it's dishonest. It may not be a "brilliant" film, as some readers have suggested, but it certainly is the disaster your reviewer disingenuously argues. I would suggest that the problem the attacker had with the film was its clear slant to the political left and its premise that environmental issues have been removed from the democratic process and are decided by profit-motivated corporations.

Rather than evaluate the film on any term other than hatred of its politics, the reviewer hacked away at it in an unprofessional manner. If I didn't know better, my guess would be that the comments were penned by Karl Rove or one of his minions handling "spin."

John Snetsinger

San Luis Obispo


Good luck, recall supporters

We would like to thank our many volunteers for their heroic efforts. We also wish to thank the nearly 1,000 friends and neighbors who contributed financially to our campaign focused on the issues.

The Save the Dream Coalition is deeply disappointed at the outcome of the LOCSD recall election and the only 60 percent voter turnout. Despite our best efforts, the voters have decided to (once again) search for an alternative solution to our wastewater problems.

The state and regional water boards have recently made strong statements about consequences if the LOCSD does not move forward on the current project. We recommend the new directors cautiously weigh the grave financial and environmental consequences (to the district and individual property owners) before attempting to stop the project, especially since the low-interest loan is in jeopardy and the Regional Water Quality Control Board will proceed with enforcement if we delay.

We wish the new Board good luck as they struggle with the same issues the past CSD directors have worked with for the last six years, and our community has struggled with for 30 years.

Pandora Nash-Karner, chair

Karen Huntoon, treasurer

Save the Dream Coalition


What an earful

While having lunch at a small bistro in Cayucos last Friday, I was served a hearty dish of local politics along with my halibut. I had the privilege of being seated at a table next to John McClendon and others.

I'm not sure what role his associates play in the ongoing tragedy that is the Los Osos Sewer Project. However, McClendon drew my attention by pacing the restaurant patio, glued to his cell phone, as he gave the thumbs-up to his gleeful companions. I informed my out-of-town guest that apparently the recall election results had been certified. McClendon was overheard directing somebody to herd the winning candidates somewhere to be sworn in. My lesson that day was how an out-of-town hired gun has so much sway over democratic processes. I guess some of his cohorts were on or associated with the board. They immediately began to draw up that night's meeting agenda. I'm not an advocate of eavesdropping, but discretion is apparently not a course at USC law school.

Thank God I don't live in Los Osos, or on the magical cloud where they are going to build the new sewer facility. By the way, I didn't get a look at the bill for their table, but I would chalk up the damages for that day at around $30 million. Oh yeah, and John's $250 an hour.

Darnell Chang

San Luis Obispo


Shirley Bianchi, where are you?

Ms. Bianchi, it has been five days since the recall election in Los Osos. Where are you? Did you know the LOCSD now has three new directors? And do I need to remind you of the proper protocol to congratulate newly elected officials? As you seem to not want to acknowledge that your three former directors have fallen from grace, this does not excuse you from your duties as the direct county representative for Los Osos.

Los Osos has spoken; we did not take your advice, but we are still forced to retain you as supervisor. As a community, we want to remind you who elected you. Your job is to work for us, period. Not against us. In our representative democracy, the officials must do the community's business. Do you remember your oath of office?

Tom Salmon

Baywood Park


Respect your ride home

Ride-on Transportation resumed the Safe Ride Home Program two weekends ago. The behavior of the Safe Ride Home riders last weekend has put this valuable program in jeopardy. Last Saturday night, the riders refused to quiet down enough so the driver could hear the phone to set up rides. They did not quiet down even when he pulled over to the side of the road. When this group left the bus, one of the riders hit the driver in the back of head on their way out of the vehicle. Another rider threw up without any attempt to use the trash bags that are readily available on the bus.

Since 1993, Safe Ride Home has operated from 9 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights in the city of San Luis Obispo. Riders call 235-SAFE to set up their door-to-door ride for just $3 each way. Ride-On does not receive any financial support from the city of SLO, Cal Poly, or Cuesta College. The fares cover about 60 percent of the cost of operating this service, which provides over 9,000 rides a year. We need the riders to respect the driver and other riders on this service. If the riders do not follow the rules, Ride-On will have no choice but to cancel the service. Again, we have a situation where a few irresponsible people may ruin a safety net that is saving many lives each year.

Mark Shaffer

Executive director

Ride-On Transportation


Stop: This means you

I am having a real problem with skateboarders, bicyclists, and Rollerbladers that do not stop at stop signs or lights. It does not matter if there is one or several. Evidently they think the sign applies to cars only.

I do not brake for any of the above. I do brake at stoplights and signs.

Marsha Nettleton

Pismo Beach


Congress, get with the program

I don't understand the fuss over the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. It has become evident to me in the Bush administration that not only are the liberals stuck on stupid, but our Republican congress has joined them in that mindset as well. President G.W. Bush is the most brilliant president the 21st century will ever see, unless Condoleezza Rice becomes our next president, and she will be the most brilliant woman to be president.

It's a consolation to witness the stupidity of the left movement. I hope that the Republicans pick up the momentum served to them in the 102nd Congress and start fighting for the agenda we elected them to accomplish.

Gladys Hildick



Thanks, SLO libraries

I want to applaud the library's recent distributing of the DVD "Arlington West" to all of its branches. This prize-winning film portrays the public's reactions to hundreds of crosses (representing U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq) on the beach at Santa Barbara. It has moved audiences in art-film theaters and now is available for classroom dialogue and family explorations. The six-page accompanying discussion guide includes "essential questions" to encourage participation. I recommend it highly.

Barbara Mary Johnson


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