Templeton Area Advisory Group is not out of control
I attended the Templeton Area Advisory Group (TAAG) meeting last Wednesday night and would like to express my outrage at an incident that occurred during that meeting. Mr. Cliff Smith, legislative assistant for County Supervisor Harry Ovitt, delivered a very aggressive speech in which he berated TAAG. He threatened to "decertify, disband, and disfund" TAAG if they did not behave in a manner meeting the approval of the Board of Supervisors and county staff.
I was shocked, surprised, and offended by the disrespect and disdain shown by Mr. Smith to TAAG. It is appalling to me that a county employee could speak in such terms to a volunteer board that represents the people of Templeton.
During the meetings that I have attended, TAAG members have conducted themselves in an appropriate manner. Neither Cliff Smith nor Harry Ovitt were at the Sept. 15 meeting at which a county staff person claims there were "personal attacks on individuals." My husband and I were at that meeting and did not see any personal attacks on any individuals. TAAG was in no way "harsh, combative, accusatory, and generally hostile," as stated by Cliff Smith. His statements were totally inaccurate and were based only on correspondence he received from county staff.
It is of great concern to me that a representative of the county felt compelled to create such an atmosphere of animosity. Harassment and intimation will not stop the public from writing and speaking out about projects in their community.
The best democracy money can buy
It was with shock and dismay that I learned of the actions and comments of Cliff Smith, assistant to Supervisor Harry Ovitt, regarding the Templeton Advisory Group meeting. As a member of the Shandon Advisory Committee, I was appalled by the rejection of the views of the local advisory committee by the District I Supervisor's office and the Planning Commission.
If the local population has any voice in, or control of, the way their surroundings are developed, then it would seem that the advisory groups are the logical place for the planning department to hear these voices. If the local community has no voice, then why this sham of advisory committees, anyway? Do we exist only to rubber-stamp and legitimize the decisions of developers, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Supervisors, even when those profit-motivated decisions are not in our best interests?
Once again, we see, in action, the best democracy money can buy.
Public servants, indeed
Do county employees have a code of conduct manual to guide their behavior toward the citizens that pay their salaries? If so, an underlined, highlighted copy should be provided to Supervisor Ovitt's staff.
The attack last Wednesday on the all-volunteer citizens representing Templeton by Ovitt's assistant was conduct unbecoming a county employee.
If nuclear plants are so safe, why were they shut down?
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) shut down the Waterford nuclear plant in Louisiana 13 hours before Katrina hit and is shutting down Texas nuclear plants on the gulf. The NRC staff is closely monitoring Hurricane Rita both from its headquarters Operations Center in Rockville, Md., and its Incident Response Center in Arlington, Texas.
NRC staff has been in close contact with both plants to ensure their safe and secure operation. Both plants are robust structures with watertight doors designed to withstand hurricane force winds from a Category 5 hurricane and significant floods. The NRC requires that each nuclear plant shut down under weather conditions specific to each site.
If these nuclear plants are so "robust" and virtually impenetrable, why is the NRC shutting them down? This may be a precaution, but sadly, earthquakes and terrorists do not give advance warnings. Those of us "downwind" from Diablo Canyon do not have the extra precaution of the plant shutting down in advance of a disaster- and approaching earthquakes can't be tracked by radar! Perhaps we should be thinking of phasing out this risky source of energy. For more information, visit the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility at www.a4nr.org .
Katrina and Rita have a message for the U.S.
If I believed in intelligent design (ID), I would say humans are being sent a message with Katrina and Rita. I am a non-believer in ID's fundamentalist "religion," but would say the "designer" is sending the message that our current administration is doing wrong. What say the religious fundys that have taken over our former "democracy"?
Why is voter turnout so small for elections? There are three words that explain this dismal failure: Iraq, New Orleans. The electorate has no faith or trust in the system. Can one blame them? If our forefathers who constructed the Constitution were alive today, they would take up arms and fight the powers that be. Yes, revolution. We are the un-United States of Corporations, after all. Think about it. Why vote? It is obvious that the politicians condone corruption. Politics is a tug-of-war game, and the people are the rope.
Stop victimless-crime statutes
The role of government is to protect people from other people, not to protect people from themselves. Taxation on the pretense of protecting you from yourself is not only ludicrous, but easily qualifies as racketeering.
The personal habits of individuals, such as nudity, sex, marriage, intoxication, gambling, prostitution, suicide, and religion, are not and never will be the domain of government or society. Whereas crime cannot exist without a victim or the potential for a victim, and given that individuals cannot commit crimes against themselves, the implementation of victimless-crime statutes is not for the promotion of peace or safety but rather for the generation of "revenues" and the oppression of minorities. Conversely, the implementation of victimless crime statutes fosters the criminal behavior associated with the excessive value status of taboo. Furthermore, it is not ethical for a society with a judicial process that claims to admonish excessive punishment of criminals, and professes rehabilitation of criminals, to administrate the punishment or rehabilitation of any person accused of victimizing themselves.
San Luis Obipso
SLO County is sick
Uncreative and uncontrolled growth is absolutely unsustainable. In fact, there is a word for it: cancer.
'Hurricane Jackboot' bears down on SLO
As much as I've enjoyed seeing words like "chaos" and "anarchy" in the newspaper headlines, this whole Katrina thing has been quite a mess- not unlike our local situation.
Fortunately, though, I hear the French Quarter was largely spared by Katrina- as opposed to "Hurricane Jackboot," which stomped squarely on SLO's Mardi Gras and left the rest of the town unharmed ...
... cowering in fear, maybe, but unharmed.
Now there's Hurricane Rita, but officials are telling us they've "learned their lesson" and everything will be fine this time. It's nice to see it only takes the total destruction of a major American city to teach officials how to do their jobs, but I'm left wondering what it will take for the SLOPD to learn that the phrase "To Protect and Serve" is not a license for oppression.
Unfortunately, we may end up much like New Orleans before they do. "Hurricane Jackboot" seems to be intensifying, causing local music venues to close, citizens to stay in their homes- even the ACLU has evacuated.
It's too bad, I wanted to hold a relief concert for New Orleans- but with the storm coming, I don't know if it would be safe.
San Luis Obispo
I would like to point out to Mark Salwasser, ("Chalk ads?" Letters, Sept. 22-29), that monumental public art is always remembered, the artist is sometimes remembered, the bureaucrat is seldom remembered, and the critic is never remembered!
Rev C. Hite
Millions do want peace
I feel hopeful after marching with thousands upon thousands of protesters of the Bush regime. Peace activists galore gathered, marched, chanted, and shouted in San Francisco on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005, opposing the Iraq war and the lies of our current government leaders. I was there with 156 of us from San Luis Obispo County who chartered three buses to travel and take part in the peace rally.
It is so reassuring to know there are millions of people who want peace. We deplore the lost lives of thousands of young soldiers and the uncountable lost lives of Iraqi civilians. Worldwide, countries are denouncing the American government tactics. I hope the world also sees there are so many Americans who want change and do not support this unelected president.
We stand for peace and justice. We demand honesty in elections. We will not tolerate a government that starts a war based on out and out lies and the manipulation of its citizens. This war is leading to chaos in the Middle East, not preventing it.
No one can guarantee safety, even Bush
Maybe the reason that so many Americans are angry with the president over Katrina and the War on Terror is that we were tricked.
After 9/11 and the anthrax scare we needed a feeling of security, and he gave us that. But the hurricane has shown that security to be an illusion. Against our Christian values, we supported the violent and unprovoked attack on the Iraqi people believing that Bush could produce the result that we asked for: safety for our families and ourselves.
It is not his fault. Still, Katrina has made us see another clear cost of this war weighed against its unclear benefits. It has shown us that money and manpower are not unlimited; that making Iraq our priority has put our own country second. It has shown the world that while we are busy condemning other governments our own is drifting into dangerous disarray. And now, as the floodwaters recede and the damage is exposed, we should ask ourselves whether the leadership we chose truly reflects our own values. Perhaps we are not as angry with the president and his failed response to the hurricane as we are with ourselves for giving up so much to believe in him.