Opinion » Letters



Homeless portraits were enlightening

I think your two companion pieces on the homeless situation are among the most important and enlightening you have ever published, and I have been reading New Times for years. After spending a few weeks with two atypical homeless men, Steve E. Miller's gritty prose and insightful photography help us realize that all of those living "with no home" are not beggars or nuisances to the community ("No home, no problem," March 13).

Suzee Brunner's insider view of Dan DeVaul's Sunny Acres ranch, where she has spent a few months working as a cook getting to know all the residents, and also as a legal researcher to help keep the place open, gives a sympathetic first-hand look at some down-and-outers whose lives are being improved by being "out of the creek," sober, and industrious ("A letter from the ranch," March 13).

The theme of both articles--awareness--gives us a clearer view of a situation many of us turn away from in fear and disgust. Bravo! Let's hope something good comes of your journalistic efforts.

Jeffrey Schultz

San Luis Obispo





Everyone needs support and a home

It's time for intelligence and logic to enter into the controversy of the DeVaul Ranch. The reality is that judgment about people in a home or not in a home and what stereotype is "right" is clouding the issue.

The truth is that molestation exists in homes. Alcoholism and drugs exist in homes. AA, NA, rich, conservative, the liberal, the poor, the rich, hippie, Democrat, or Republican all have issues. We are no better than these people. I know that every person in the world has at least one person in their family who has dealt with some of the issues that are being brought up in a home.

Let's focus on the good of these people and the good of us and how we can find a logical positive solution. Let's think: What would Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, or even a smart taxpayer do? If you are worried about the negative aspect of the people, then why kick them out of a home so they cannot be monitored and not get help and possibly do what it is you are afraid of? Right now, they are doing positive things.

All of us need a place to call home, and a support group. If you lived in a creek and the city told you that you could not have a home, would you drink a beer or would you think you lived in a spiritual town? How about a fundraiser to help the DeVaul ranch?

Gina Turley

San Luis Obispo





Hello! Can you see me now?

I grew up in Oklahoma and learned to drive from my younger brother going to the hog pens each night. In those days, you paid attention to your driving. What has happened?

I go out running a few times weekly. It is amazing what has the attention of so many drivers today--they are talking on a phone, reading, speeding, and racing around other cars, eating, applying makeup, and shaving!

Please pay attention to your driving and what's on the road. Stop at that stop sign. Before you start to go, look to your right and left. I have thumped hoods of drivers who have almost run over me--what are you thinking?

When I see four young people in the front seat, who is the responsible driver when you have an accident? The driver of the white PT Cruiser actually stopped, smiled, and waved me through: Thank you! Of course, he appeared older than 40, so maybe it really is an age issue.

Parents, you need to know what your children are doing in their cars. Everybody needs to go back to the olden times of when you actually paid attention to driving. Get ready for work or school and make your phone calls from your home.

I will be among the many who will appreciate your courtesy, and just possibly you will not end up dead or guilty of killing an innocent person due to careless driving.

Dottie Lyons

Santa Maria





Both racism and bigotry need to go

It's too bad that Mr. Cox ("The 'N' word welcomed me back to SLO," March 13) chooses to believe that racism trumps bigotry (he's obviously not a Jew). By believing that, he chooses to completely miss my point ("Get some social consciousness," March 6) of using that ugly, derogatory "n" word.

Whether you're denigrating race or ethnicity, they are part of the same destructive force in our society and need to be eliminated. I hope that Mr. Cox had the courage to confront the people he encountered at Cal Poly who freely used that ugly word, or, at the least, make a complaint to the school itself. It's up to us, the racial and ethnic minorities, to have the courage to take a stand, educate, and change the way people think.

Also, Mr. Cox, using the threat of racism to get the paper to print your letter--way to go!

Lisa Ellman

Los Osos





Horrible things can and do happen

In February of 1971, a group of Vietnam veterans assembled in Detroit to describe the rape, arson, torture, murder, and destruction of entire villages that were the inevitable consequences of that war.

Along with the revelation of the My Lai massacre one month earlier, this event helped to turn American opinion against that war.

This week, another group of soldiers, these from Afghanistan and Iraq, are assembling in Silver Spring, Maryland, to share their stories. Stories that sound very much like those told 40 years earlier. In the midst of chaotic circumstances, with an enemy that is hard to discern and an objective that is not clear, horrible things can and do occur regularly.

The government and the corporate media have learned a lot since Vietnam. Embedded journalists and prohibitions against filming American coffins keep the horrors of war outside our field of vision, because they know that if they focused on those horrors and the lies that led to them, the majority of Americans who now oppose this war would grow to an uncontrollable level.

So most people will never hear about Winter Soldier II.

The corporate media will not mention it.

Go to DemocracyNow.org for more.

Mark Phillips






Down with the L.A. Times

The L.A. Times editorial opinion stoops to abject cynicism as it states, "Petraeus is a soldier, not a politician, but his ambitions and timetable coincide nicely with those of Bush and the Republican Party."

Biased by its anti-war, anti-Bush views, the Times editorialists are cheered in Iran and by Arabs for their traitorous anti-military stance. The Times was against the surge, joined the Petraeus/betrayous slogan so ineptly publicized at the time of the surge's initiation.

Is it any wonder why I pray the Times goes bankrupt? I do so with the hope and expectation that its financial status will match its bankrupt attitude and conviction that betrays this nation in time of war.

Otis Page

Arroyo Grande





Speak up about mental health

We need to hear the community's voice! The San Luis Obispo County Mental Health Department seeks input from residents of all ages and walks of life on how best to use new funds for mental health prevention and early intervention services. These new funds, representing a hopeful, "help first" approach to care, are available through the Mental Health Services Act (formerly Prop 63).

A planning survey--designed to determine critical mental health needs, the populations that should be the focus of new services, and the best ways to identify mental illness early and prevent it from worsening--is available at www.slocounty.ca.gov/health.

Hard copies and more information are available. Call 438-3232. The survey deadline is April 15.

This is a unique opportunity to directly design and impact the public mental health system--we look forward to our community's participation.

Dale Magee

program planner

Mental Health Services Act

Santa Margarita





We need to produce or our enemies will buy us

In most major countries, diesel fuel is priced less than gasoline and in some countries subsidized and mandated for certain types of vehicle use by local governments. In the United States, diesel is priced higher than gasoline. High fuel prices are blamed on the major oil companies, but it is the government at all levels that will not allow domestic oil production or fuel to be made from coal and oil shale.

If the end game is to change our domestic lifestyle by pricing us out of our SUVs, then the process is working, at least for the poor and the middle class. Our political hopefuls and rich folks just pay more and purchase fake carbon credits to ease their conscience.

Look at the fallout: higher inflation, higher food prices, a lower dollar against the Euro, increased transportation costs, and major credit card debt for the average consumer. The cheap dollar causes American companies and institutions to be purchased by foreigners at what they see as bargain prices.

We either produce oil and gas from domestic sources or our enemies will simply buy America with the worthless money we are paying them for their overpriced oil.

Bob Blair

Arroyo Grande





War really, really sucks

Sometime last week, the Code Pink "War Sucks" signs that had been put up on my property along Highway 1 were vandalized. I'm not sure which of the signs offended the perpetrators. Maybe they could point out those which are not true.

War does suck. War sucks our dead soldiers and innocent Iraqi victims into an early grave. War sucks the quality of life from thousands of disabled veterans who will never function normally again. War sucks billions of our tax dollars from health care, education, and other domestic needs. War sucks our National Guard away from their families, disrupting lives and weakening the infrastructure here at home. These soldiers were our teachers, firemen, policemen, nurses, doctors War sucks away the future "good life" from our descendants and hands them this dark debt to pay long after we're gone. War sucks out our humanity and replaces it with fear and hate.

Duane Waddell


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