Opinion » Letters



We need leftish shows like Dave Congalton's

Local radio station KVEC, 920 AM, has been sold. I hope the new owners keep "local talk"--e.g. Dave Congalton. We have too many national "talk" programs like Rush and Monica Crowley, which are too loud and right. We need local leftish talk programs like Dave Congalton.

Bill Denneen





There's a lot we could do with downtown SLO

Aren't people forgetting that there are far greater tragedies than the loss of two historic downtown buildings? (See "Commission seeks to protect historic buildings" on page 6.)

There are still some NYSE-listed national chain stores that aren't represented here, depriving the citizenry of gleaming commercial ambiance they can only dream about, and Dave Romero of sales tax revenues he desperately needs to complete his remarkable vision for the city. Tom Copeland's dream of remaking the downtown in the image of Madonna Road is in terrible danger of not coming to pass.

It may surprise readers to learn that the downtown's plastic-to-charm ratio is still alarmingly low, even after the recent infusions of space-age polymers. An Orange County solution may be required: Privatize the entire downtown, cover it in a Plexiglas dome, air condition it to within an inch of absolute zero, and fill it with security guards and Muzak.

Let's implode the Blackstone Hotel building and install a Mission-themed Nordstrom, and raze the Sauer Bakery building and put in an Orange Julius and a Kentucky Fried Sea Otter. While we're at it, let's scud the Mission and put in a non-denominational Crystal Cathedral, with adjoining cubic zirconia parking garage.

Bill Persinger

San Luis Obispo




Criterium would build lasting exposure for SLO's downtown

In response to "Meet downtown's decision makers" (Nov. 22), it seems that even though the expressed mission statement of the Downtown Association is "a partnership of members working through programs and services for the social, cultural, and economic vitality and beautification of downtown," the board is disregarding the extremely valuable role that the Criterium bike race plays in implementing those first two aspects of vitality.

Through its solid partnerships with advocacy and community organizations like the SLO County Bicycle Coalition and the Special Olympics, and its messages of health and sustainability to all ages, this event is a fantastic social and cultural enhancement, and above all, a competitive advantage for our Downtown Sector in a time of increasing competition from surrounding areas. This year's Criterium was a source of pride and joy for many in the community at large.

And yes, the Criterium is also about economic vitality. The number of visual impressions of the downtown on websites, blogs, newspapers, etc., is considerable. People are talking about SLO with an unprecedented excitement, wanting to plan their vacations around this event from now on. The Criterium will continue to flourish over several years, just like case studies show for the longstanding downtown bicycle races around the nation. We all know that San Luis Obispo has an award-winning downtown and that more and more people flock here to experience it and the beauty of the Central Coast. The Criterium is another pathway through which to build lasting exposure for our great city.

Shaba Mohseni

San Luis Obispo




Criterium is a great way to showcase downtown SLO

In response to the lack of support for the Downtown Criterium bike race ("Meet downtown's decision makers," Nov. 29): Who stands to gain when such sessions can shape our culture and dictate who we are?

I find it sad when a group with such power and potential for greatness is only concerned with the bottom line. It's events like the Criterium that set San Luis Obispo apart from the rest of the "fast food, big box, life for less" mentality that is so pervasive in this day and age.

I'm concerned that special events, such as the Downtown Criterium--which happens once a year on a Sunday and bring thousands of happy, healthy, bike-loving, like-minded people who stay in our hotels and our campgrounds, eat at our restaurants and cafes, and spend money in every way imaginable--can meet with such resistance from the business community, which, ironically, benefits.

What an honor it is for our town to have been chosen for this excellent event, and what better way to showcase the beauty and business potential of our San Luis Obispo's downtown?

Mark Freear

San Luis Obispo




Join me in supporting the Criterium

In response to "Meet downtown's decision makers" (Nov. 22): Once again, we see the shortsighted response from a few who are used to calling the shots.

The value of the Criterium to our community cannot be measured in terms of lost daily sales. Each business member faces a number of ways to lose sales on a daily basis. Loss of business can come in many forms, from bad weather to high gas prices or competition from outside the area by way of other communities with events or shopping. We could use Las Vegas as a good example of a city that relies on many small events and big events that give people a reason to travel there.

The same logic should apply here when looking at the big picture of the Criterium versus lost sales. If there was--or will be--a loss of sales due to the Criterium, that value is quite small when compared to the benefits (increased tourism and income for the whole community).

For those who cannot comprehend this concept, just make believe it's another rainy day for you. For the rest of us, the Criterium is bringing blue skies and better days to come.

Please join me in supporting the Criterium.

Jim Aaron

Century 21 Hometown Realty

San Luis Obispo




Downtown Association's decision was shortsighted

After reading last week's cover story ("Meet downtown's decision makers," Nov. 22), I must comment on Tom Copeland's outlandish statement that "closing the streets closes downtown."

As a volunteer and participant in this year's bicycle race, I was there and I saw no such evidence. To the contrary, downtown vitality was at a zenith. Thousands of cycling enthusiasts, who vote with their pocketbook just like other segments of our community, crowded the festival area and surroundings. Has the Downtown Association forgotten the "social and cultural" aspects of its charter, favoring only its (short term) "economic" concerns?

The Association's lack of support for the Downtown Criterium strikes me as just that: shortsighted. Oh, and thanks to New Times for offering a glimpse into that not-so-easy-to-reach meeting.

Pancho Herrera

San Luis Obispo




Wasted cold air is a serious problem

Thank you, Kathy Johnston, for the great article ("Meet downtown's decision makers," Nov. 22) and for mentioning that Pete Evans had gone before the Downtown Association and commented on the energy-wasting practice of blasting their air conditioning out of open doors. I think it is a serious waste of energy, and I'm glad someone had brought it to their attention.

Connie Booton

San Luis Obispo




Start the bidding to run Farmers' Market in SLO

I was disappointed by New Times' puff piece on the Downtown Association's attempt to privatize itself, thus making it accountable to no one. The Downtown Association has its own political agenda, and I see no reason, short of a conflict of interest, why the City Council should sanction a specific private organization to control the Farmers' Market and other downtown activities. Moreover, if the Farmers' Market is to be run by a private organization, why shouldn't it be open to bidding from other private organizations?

Higuera Street is a public street. The fact that some of the downtown businesses are on that street doesn't give them the inherent right to decide what kind of Farmers' Market we should have in the city.

The Downtown Association clearly loathes any oversight. The rationale for their decisions is generally flimsy and really based on the prejudices of the members in power. Your reporter could have at least asked Tom Copeland why his statement in denying the bike race--"Closing the streets closes downtown"--shouldn't apply to the Farmers' Market as well?

Perhaps the reason that there are few complaints lodged against the Downtown Association is the very fact that they are subject to open records and an appeal and review process. Take that away, and you have a group of powerful individuals with an agenda, who are not subject to any system of checks and balances.

Steve Pittelli

San Luis Obispo




Atascaderans: Decide Tom O'Malley's level of integrity

The only Atascadero City Councilmember who voted for the Wal-Mart/Rottman General Plan Amendments on Oct. 29 is the only one who received campaign contributions from Rottman and EDA Design Professionals: Tom O'Malley. This councilmember also repeatedly declines to publicly acknowledge this documented fact on the record during council meetings.

According to his campaign contribution forms filed with the city, Mr. O'Malley received $1,500 from Rottman and EDA on March 27, 2006, and May 4, 2006. Rottman is Wal-Mart's developer and EDA is its promotional and architectural consultant, representatives of which (Keith Mathias and Robert Winslow) argued for the Supercenter/Annex General Plan amendments during the Oct. 23 council meeting. Of the $1,000 O'Malley received from Rottman (in "room rent, food/beverage" for a campaign event), Senior V.P. Maury Froman said, "He's the only one who wanted our money," (Tribune, Oct. 30, 2006).

Mr. O'Malley declined to reveal his financial relationship with the project proponents during crucial council meetings when Wal-Mart proposals were on the agenda. Despite repeated public challenges to admit these facts, Mr. O'Malley persists in evading and hiding them, and voting for his political patrons' projects.

Whether Wal-Mart/Rottman/EDA got their money's worth is for them to determine. The level of integrity required of our elected representatives is for Atascaderans to decide.

David Broadwater





Avoid sharks: Don't swim with the seals

On Aug. 19, 2003, I was in San Diego appearing before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee on the subject of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. At this hearing, it was ironic that during our testimony, Deborah Franzman was reportedly swimming with harbor seals at Avila Beach when she was attacked and killed by a great white shark.

Observing the debate over a local shark reporting policy, it seems curious to me that there has been no inclusion of the sharks' prey: seals and sea lions.

Historically, seals and sea lions were kept on offshore islands and rocks by predators like wolves and bears. With the elimination of these predators, and protections afforded by the MMPA, seals and sea lions now occupy many beaches and harbors--an unnatural occurrence. We are witnessing an alteration of the near-shore ecology promoted by environmental protectionism of animals that are not rare or endangered. There are now more seals and sea lions that there were hundreds of years ago.

If municipal agencies are going to "educate" the public, they should begin with the out-of-whack inshore ecosystems and the fact that sharks are attracted by abundant food next to bathing beaches. Please do not swim near seals.

Steve Rebuck

San Luis Obispo

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