Opinion » Letters



Recognize the hidden cogs of our economy

As I was walking my wife's dog around the neighborhood this Sunday morning, I realized that Poly, Cuesta, and SLO High students don't get enough credit for their major contribution to the SLO economy. Thank you, students, for keeping the auto body repair shops busy.

Jim Scott


Barns cover was truly a sign of the times
I thoroughly enjoyed the barn photo pieces in New Times ("Wooden reminders," July 27), thanks to the work of Jesse Acosta. The variety was excellent and I didn't miss the irony in one view that had the "For Sale" sign, noting 643 available acres. That is a true sign of the times, despite the fact barns are an irreplaceable piece of the county, as Steve Beck ("barn doctor") was quoted.

I wish they could be saved, but the economics no longer pencil out, and I can't blame the owners and their families. As I see it, the Dalidio Marketplace controversy is essentially little different: There is another way to utilize the land (to the benefit of the public), to honor its past, and to benefit the owner after years of hard work and no small amount of sacrifice. It is all a part of this country's history, and will not be forgotten.

Lee Ferrero
Los Osos



The Internet can confirm any 'fact'
Shawna Galassi, in her July 27 commentary ("The scariest movies don't feature ghosts"), quotes President Bush as saying, "The Constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper."

Shawna seems to be among the millions of people who now use blogs on the Internet and movies as their primary source for "facts." This supposed quote surfaced for the first time last December on Doug Thompson's web site, but

was recently removed when the source was

found to be third-hand information that couldn't be confirmed.

Many New Times readers, I'm sure, would love to believe that President Bush said this and will probably continue to use it as a "fact," since it is verified on dozens of forums on the Internet. The mainstream media can be criticized for many things, but they do, in all but a few cases, use very high standards before claiming something as fact. Fear-inducing films and the Internet can be deep wells full of partial truths that can confirm any "fact" that you may want to believe.

If the word "goddamn" had not been included in the quote, I may not have checked out its authenticity. Common sense told me the president would never use such a term. The s-word is as far as he'll go.

Charlee Smith



Fear commentary contributed nothing
It's hard to take seriously anyone who writes "for the most part, Russo is simply an investigative journalist uncovering the facts" ("The scariest movies don't feature ghosts," July 27). Apparently, Galassi herself is no investigative journalist, or isn't interested in the facts, as it is easy enough to determine that Russo ran in the Republican primary for governor of Nevada in 1998, placing second, and declared himself a Libertarian Party candidate for president of the United States in 2004 and got 258 votes at the convention.

That makes him something different from "an investigative journalist" he's an ideologue, and A: F to F is a highly slanted polemic, not investigative journalism. And if Ms. Galassi bases her belief that the 16th Amendment wasn't ratified and that the SCOTUS declared the income tax unconstitutional solely on the basis of this movie, without verifying it for herself, then she's an utter fool. She might want to check en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Tax_protester_arguments_regarding_ratification, which notes that "Some tax protesters, conspiracy theory proponents, and others opposed to income taxes in general cite what they contend is evidence that the Sixteenth Amendment was never 'properly ratified' ... These arguments have been universally rejected by the courts."

Which doesn't mean that there isn't plenty to fear or that there aren't some valid elements in Russo's argument, but it does mean that Ms. Galassi's contribution to understanding the issues is worse than useless.

Jim Balter
Santa Barbara



I'm keeping Shawna's review as ammo
Just a note to tell Shawna Galassi that I really enjoyed reading her review of America: Freedom to Fascism ("The scariest movies don't feature ghosts," July 27). I have been following all the trailers and the interview with Aaron Russo that became available a few months ago and have decided to stop paying income tax. We need a mass movement of the people to stop supporting this criminal, corrupt system.

What I want to know is, where did she see it? We're getting all kinds of mixed messages about when it may be available to see, and this information needs to be in people's hands before the election in November preferably well before, so they can absorb it and integrate it. Meantime, I'm hanging onto this review as "ammo" for when the feds come after me. As a disabled senior citizen, I need all the help I can get ...

Lauren J. Sullivan
Santa Maria



Maybe your friends can't write
Wow. What a truly narrow-minded perspective Richard Francis and John Russell have ("Ryan, you screwed up '55 Fiction,' July 13 "Let another paper take care of locals," July 27, respectively). Their friends don't win a competition so they immediately decide that the competition is flawed? Russell, it's quite possible that your friends simply didn't write engaging stories.

Your argument that local writers deserve to win 55 Fiction simply because they're local just doesn't hold water. New Times staff members put in a lot of effort to read and judge the many stories they receive for 55 Fiction perhaps if your friends spent half as much time at a writing class, their entries would have been chosen.

Furthermore, your SLO-centric attitude is a little arrogant. New Times provides coverage for the entire county, not just the city of San Luis Obispo. Five of the 55 Fiction entries that won represented the county. Why did Russell choose to ignore the winners from Cambria, Los Osos, and Morro Bay in the course of his tirade? Does he somehow consider San Luis Obispo more significant than these other cities?

As far as his request that New Times consider making the competition international, no one is stopping the Tribune from creating a writing competition. So what exactly are you asking New Times to consider beyond your whining complaints that indicate an attitude of unjustified self-entitlement?

Allen Bradshaw
San Luis Obispo



Learn your Middle East history
In response to letters from John Sanchez ("Islamofascists will learn the hard way," June 27) and Lisa Ellman ("Anti-Semitism is alive and well," June 27), it seems there is some confusion regarding Israeli military history. Sanchez states that "every war against Israel since 1948 has been started by dirty shirts and uneducated men," while Lisa Ellman says that "the land that Israelis occupy was won in a war initiated by Arabs against Israel." Wrong on both counts.

The Six Day War that started on June 5, 1967, was actually initiated by Israel in the form of a preemptive strike against the Egyptian Air Force. As a military maneuver, it was a brilliant but gutsy move directed by newly installed Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. In the span of three hours, the Israelis took out the entire Egyptian medium bomber force.

After the first day of fighting, the eventual Israeli victory was already a bygone conclusion. While the Israelis claim that the preemptive action was necessary because of perceived threats by Arab states, there is no hiding the fact that Israel actually started the war. The result was disastrous for the Palestinians, as it signaled the beginning of a 39-year (and counting) occupation of their lands.

Okay, no big deal. I have gotten used to the idea that most Americans have little or no knowledge of Middle East history or politics. What does bother me, though, is the fact that, rather than offer up an educated and informed response to the letter from Sharon Eckardt ("Israel doesn't want peace," July 20), the two individuals chose to verbally attack her because she dared to question America's relationship with Israel.

Debate over issues such as this should be encouraged. It is a sign of a healthy democracy. Personally, I would be happy to debate this and other issues with anybody. But if the best you can do is call me vile and despicable names, don't bother. Oh, and the part about Israel being the "home to the Jewish people for thousands of years," I think that Lisa conveniently forgot about the almost 14 centuries of Arab and Turkish dominance. Sorry, Lisa. Couldn't let that one go, either. Hang in there Sharon!

Roy Knight



People will do any job if it pays enough

The United States is faced with an illegal invader problem, and there does not seem to be much interest in solving the issue. One argument is that these invaders will do the work that U.S. citizens will not do. The other argument is that the U.S. economy could not survive without illegal invaders. In regard to the first argument, I picked strawberries to get through college. If the salary is high enough, people could be found to do any job. Just make the pay conform to the simple rules of supply and demand. The second argument is just insulting. If I recall my high school history, this sounds like the argument used to continue slavery, and we had to fight a bloody war to stop that abomination.

Today, both Democrat and Republican politicians seem insistent that we import from Mexico what amounts to hordes of grade-school dropouts. This seems strange, since we are told that everyone must "stay in school" for at least 12 years, and if one can identify the local college, to continue his education. After many years of classroom education, the graduate is unwilling to perform unskilled labor, such as strawberry picking.

My proposal is simple, and as a side benefit, saves the taxpayer the major expense of supporting the myriad colleges throughout the country. Encourage students to quit school, thereby providing our own supply of grade-school dropouts and eliminating the need for importing that labor pool.

Arthur Cullati
Santa Maria



Why won't Bush end this?
Millions around the world, especially in the Middle East, are sickened and outraged by the images coming from Qana, Lebanon. Israeli warplanes leveled village homes and buildings, killing 57 civilians, at least 35 children.

Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Dan Gillerman, says Lebanon will be bombed as long as Hezbollah exists. Israel bombed Qana after rejecting a U.N. call for a 72-hour truce to deliver humanitarian aid to Lebanon. Hezbollah promises to fight to the death and Condi Rice calls the carnage, "birth pangs and spasms of a new Middle East." Bush sits on his hands while the United States sends a huge array of weapons to the Israeli military, including the rush order of 5,000-pound bombs.

Workers with their bare hands claw their way through the rubble of flattened homes and underground shelters, to find mothers hugging their dead children. Why won't Bush stay STOP?

Marilyn Peterson
Paso Robles



We should be able to stop further bloodshed
Calling it Lebanon's "hour of greatest need," the U.N. has appealed for $150 million in aid for 800,000 civilians whose lives have been severely disrupted by Israeli bombing. It reports that the ongoing Israeli military operation has caused "enormous damage to residential areas and key civilian infrastructure, such as power plants, seaports, and fuel depots," that "hundreds of bridges and virtually all road networks have been systematically destroyed, leaving entire communities in the south inaccessible," and that "there is a lack of essential goods, with needs particularly acute in villages along the Israeli-Lebanese border, which have been isolated by the conflict."

Most recently, the bombing destroyed two Red Cross ambulances their roofs pierced by missiles and a U.N. observation post, killing four peacekeepers.

The United States has responded by sending an emergency shipment of no, not humanitarian aid precision-guided bombs and jet fuel for Israeli military aircraft to "keep peace and security in the region," says the Pentagon. And our president refuses to join in calls for a ceasefire, which for our death-peddling defense contractors who have the president in their pockets would mean a cease-profits.

If we still live in a democracy, then we should be able to do something to stop our participation in further bloodshed. Please write to the president and to your lawmakers to demand that they seek an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon.

Eric Parkinson
San Luis Obispo


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