Opinion » Letters



McMansion mystery

Russell Hodin’s cartoon in the May 11 issue was difficult for me to figure out. Is Hodin in favor of McMansions on ridgelines for all to see? Does Hodin, like most realtors in the 2nd district, have a Rodger Anderson for Supervisor lawn sign in his yard? Seems to me Hodin would work best for an alternative newspaper in Orange County.

Jack Greene
Los Osos

Blind pursuit of low prices

Plans are afoot to bring a super Wal-Mart to Atascadero. Those of us who have seen Robert Greenwald’s documentary, The High Cost of Low Price, know about the dismal human rights record that Wal-Mart has amassed in its pursuit of record profits.

Blind pursuit of low prices will inevitably result in such abuses and Wal-Mart is certainly not alone in this. But they are the biggest offender, and it is important that we let our city council know that many of us believe a decent wage and fair working conditions are important considerations. Otherwise, blind pursuit of increased tax revenue might very well lead the Council to entice Wal-Mart to build one of its super stores (with 8,000 visits per day) in Atascadero.  Such efforts may include some form of taxpayer provided subsidy.

Please consider attending the upcoming Atascadero City Council meeting (May 30th, 6:00 pm in the old bowling alley building), at which the rezoning necessary for this project will be discussed. We need to let the city council know that we want them to consider much more than just the bottom line on a financial ledger.

Mark Phillips

Another side of Wal-Mart

The minority of residents of Atascadero who are fearful of a proposed Wal-Mart opening should look to their north.  Paso Robles has a Wal-Mart and a Target store. Yet downtown Paso is vibrant, bustling, and thriving, with high employment. Twice-weekly farmers’ markets do good business and retail vacancies are few. You can’t walk around town without being bombarded by “now hiring/help wantedâ€? signs.  It would seem that irrational worries about economic havoc imposed by large name-brand retailers are demonstratively unfounded.

Recently, the Economist newspaper cited an independent study showing that the opening of a Wal-Mart Supercenter drove the average grocery bill in the surrounding community down by twenty-five percent! With our too-high cost of living in SLO County, one would think that the citizenry would be clamoring for the opportunity to reduce their food bills by a quarter.

One would be wrong. It seems that the fevered opposition to big-box retailers springs not from a disagreement concerning macroeconomic policies, but is mainly generated by the fact that Wal-Mart, et. al., are internationally-minded, efficient, successful, and prosperous. These tend to be qualities in direct contrast to those possessed by their most rabidly vocal critics. Losers often resent winners, a mindset that engenders yet more losing.

The folks in Atascadero should welcome W-Mart, cut their cost of living, embrace winners, and get a life.

Ed Cobleigh
Paso Robles, CA

Bravo for safe biking

Good article on the intricacies of simply asking for safe roads. You gave a fair shake to all those involved with a truly objective piece of writing. Bravo! I hope Cal-Trans cleans up its act—i.e., actually provides users safe roads.

Nancy Reppert, an avid cyclist

A thousand martinis

Thanks so much for the wonderful coverage of our Michael Godard show last weekend. The full-page color layout was just amazing—we really appreciate it! It definitely was a wild show—the customers enjoyed the rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere. We served over 1,000 martinis and lots of wine as well. Godard turned out to be a very nice young man, despite his outlaw look. The original that he painted while the strobe lights flashed and the go-go dancer danced was auctioned off for over $6,000, all the proceeds going to the Starlight, Starbright Foundation.

Thanks again for your help with our event. New Times is an excellent community resource—we’re very lucky.

Celeste Goyer
Artifacts Gallery

Melissa’s fleshly glory

That is just so bizarre about Melissa Roper! I think that her off-duty shenanigans—posing scantily-clad for pictures posted on the worldwide web—can impact some of the sexually deviant clients at Atascadero State Hospital. I’m surprised that officials there keep her on the job. I know when I was in the military years ago, troop were told that their off-duty involvements could not discredit the uniform.

What Ms. Roper is doing in her semi-nude modeling may not be illegal, but I think is ethically questionable. It also feels unjust. Here are men have performed heinous acts against women and are incarcerated for sexual deviancy, yet their mental health worker promotes “sleaze.� If her clients get ahold of the material showing her in her fleshly glory, how can she not expect them to look at her with hungry, even “savage� eyes? It definitely looks like a conflict-of-interest. She may be doing nothing wrong on the job, but her extracurricular engaging in off-time can affect these men adversely, I believe.

You did a good job on your article. Thanks for reporting this issue.

Susan Friesen
Mom to two daughters with heart transplants
Mom to a U.S. Marine

Google, don’t ogle

Great article on Melissa Roper and ASH. By the way, it is my understanding that the men at ASH are allowed Playboy mags with nude women in them as long as there is no S&M (I think that’s what it’s called), or depiction of violence. Besides, the way I see it is that when Melissa went on the web and magazines, she went PUBLIC. So how do they figure it’s her PRIVATE life? Get a life, they say? I say get a dictionary and look up the meaning of the word private. Why print suggestive, sexy photos FOR THE PUBLIC if you don’t want to be ogled? If the guys at ASH ogle a Playboy Bunny, it’s OK, but if they ogle Melissa because she works there, they get wrote up? If she just wants to “model,â€? then why not wear clothes like other cover girls do?  If you don’t want to be ogled, then don’t set yourself up for it. Just my thoughts.


Give Melissa a rest

What’s wrong with you? Why are you attacking this woman, whom you don’t even know, based on the word of a convicted serial rapist? Then you ridicule her coworkers for defending her. Why is it so hard for you to believe that despite how your rapist friend feels about her, she is actually intelligent, professional and hard-working? Is there some reason why you are so focused on her when there are thousands of half-naked women on the Internet whom I’m sure have professional jobs as well? Maybe you could write an article about one of them next week and give Melissa a rest.

Rebecca Sanchez

Yet more ASH fallout

I would like to tell you that you are doing a great job and to keep it up. I spent six years in the “Civil Commitment Unitâ€? of the San Bernardino County Public Defender’s office. The things my clients have to go through at ASH is beyond ridiculous. Coalinga doesn’t appear any better.  It is just like America to throw a lot of money at something and hope it disappears.

Cathy A. Honseler
Paralegal, Capital Case Unit
San Bernardino Public Defender

Can’t we all just get along?

“No Colors.� That is a broad statement. If I am wrong, please correct me. Officers all wear the same uniform. Does that classify them as a “gang�? I guess not. To discriminate against one group of people is absurd to me. The Molochs MC, the Servants for Christ MC or the Gold Coast Wheelers are in no way, shape or form a gang or a threat to society. I personally know members from all of these clubs, who are the most stand-up honest people I have ever met.

I know this because I am a member of the Molochs MC and I am also a upstanding member of San Luis County. I work in a public service job, where I had to go through an extensive background check, fingerprinting and drug testing. Just because we dress a certain way does not make us a gang. We call each other brother, and we help each other and look out for each other’s families, and we take care of our brothers when they are in need. I believe in the rights and freedom of this country and we as Americans should be allowed to dress and look whichever way we desire. I will be attending this run and I will wear my colors, and participate in no gang activity whatsoever. I feel sorry that those who are in charge of SLO LEAF can’t look at all people the same, without placing labels on people incorrectly. I hope one day their eyes will be opened. We are all people. We just choose to live our lives a little differently.

Nick Menezes
Molochs MC
San Luis Obispo

Canadian coal and cooking oil

Bob Blair ( Letters, May 11) touts cooking oil in the form of diesel as the “fuel alternative.� It is implied that everyone in these United States [should] switch over to diesel as the “fuel alternative� to make us free of the addiction to the foreign fossil fuel. It is also explicitly stated, “The United States has the world’s greatest coal reserves, and Canada has the world’s largest oil sand reserves that could be turned into bio-diesel without the need for OPEC oil.� But Mr. Blair does not say how these vast reserves will be turned into bio-diesel. How come Canada is not a “foreign� source, as opposed to anyplace other than the 50 States and the few territories still under our jurisdiction, such as Puerto Rico?

Please allow this retired professor of chemistry (chemistry is fundamental to our predilection of “oil addiction�) to point out that any primary use of the vast reserves of coal within the US to produce the secondary source of bio-diesel [would be] a source of worse pollution. [It would] not reduce a bit of pollution, the ultimate requirement for alternative fuel. Vicious cycle is it not? [Use of] the Canadian oil sand reserves as a primary source of the secondary source of bio-diesel is no better in any respect. It is also still a foreign source, another vicious cycle.

The only alternative is the frequent, efficient, mass transit system in each and every town in these United States.

Brahama D. Sharma
Pismo Beach

Peace can be fun

Although New Times seemed to practically ignore the “Youth Peace Fairâ€? in the Sunken Gardens in Atascadero, with almost no recognition of it as an important community event, even putting it under “kiddie events,â€? the fair was a great success! There were small children, teens, young adults, and families enjoying a “peaceful day!â€?  There are so many people to thank. I would first thank all the youth who made this possible. They came up with ideas, got the youth organizations and clubs and the bands. I especially want to thank Melinda Forbes and her Youtew Peace group, collage student Jono Kinkade, co-coordinator from Santa Margarita, and Brandon Isenes of Atascadero High School Peace Club for getting our wonderful rock bands and making our official poster.

I want also thank Foothill Cyclery for donating a great new bike and Christi Sysmens for donating a helmet to go with it. Mobley’s Skateboard donated a $50 gift certificate and two t-shirts to the raffle. Staples gave us some free printing. Thanks also to our bands, DC Hotel, Friday Nights and Seco, who were awesome and made the day! The Argonauts were not able to play which was disappointing for all.

The people at the tables are too many to list but they had such a variety [of ideas] to offer on such topics as the Environment, Alternatives to Military Futures, Conscientious Objectors, the UN Support Group, Üthe Invisible Children of Darfur Group, and about arts and crafts you could make for free and free peace items. Above all, it was a mellow, good time for everyone and showed that “Peace can be fun!�

Dee Carroll
Santa Margarita

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