Here's my word on the raises
Leave it to the city of San Luis Obispo to only think of the high-ranking administrators for pay raises and fuck the little guy.
San Luis Obispo
A $100-grand waste in Atascadero
At their Jan. 22 meeting, the Atascadero City Council voted unanimously to hire a consultant, with a history of working for Wal-Mart developers and issuing pro-Wal-Mart recommendations, to devise its city-wide economic development strategy. Despite having received evidence of that history, the council, at its first public hearing on the matter, elected to give $100,000 of taxpayer money to Applied Development Economics, without hearing from any of the other three finalists or seven other applicants for the contract.
As the council was informed, ADE has been hired by Wal-Mart developers in Lodi and Red Bluff, testified for Wal-Mart at a Redding City Council hearing, issued pro-Wal-Mart fiscal and development reports regarding Suisun, Galt, and southern Monterey County (King City, Soledad, Greenfield, and Gonzales), and produced a 2003 pro-Wal-Mart study for the California Association of Enterprise Zones. In its Jan. 22 presentation to the council, ADE omitted these parts of its history.
While the council may consider this $100,000 expenditure a good investment, it may be a waste of taxpayer money, due to the lack of credibility of an ADE analysis and the council's obstinate neglect of the public's right to informed participation.
Garbage-in/garbage-out in the MudHole.
Change a few laws to make the dunes safer
Why not require off-road training and a license issued in order to ride the dunes? It may seem radical at first, but at least it doesn't require banning off-roading altogether. It would be just like taking driving lessons and having a license to drive a car.
Just as motor vehicles did when they first started out years ago, a good thing has gotten out of control and just needs to be controlled. We didn't outlaw cars, we just changed a few laws in order to make it safer while enjoying our drive. Why can't that be done here?
It's time to make a change in the dunes
We human beings on planet Earth have come to a crossroads. Are we going to continue to use nature as a slave to service our material desires, or are we going to realize that Nature is us, that we are Nature, that we, like all other life forms, depend upon Nature for our habitat, without which we cannot survive?
To say that the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area should continue as it has to provide its dangerous, lethal, and polluting "recreation" for those who want to ride their gasoline-powered vehicles on the beach, across the creek, and in the dunes, with complete disregard for the welfare of all other life forms, including people who want to enjoy the spiritual, mental, and physical benefits of this area without breathing gasoline fumes and dodging ATVs, is to ignore that it is time for a change.
If humanity is going to continue to live on this Earth, we are all going to have to realize that we need to preserve and protect our habitat for us and for all other life forms. We are not separate from Nature. We are one with Nature and all that lives, including the Earth.
What other life form fouls its own nest? How can we justify this activity in the name of "recreation"? It's time to take responsibility for our future, for the future of our children. It's time to make a change.
Most cities would like to be as safe as the dunes
Regarding dunes safety: I enjoy hiking in the 16,500 acres of Pismo Dunes that are off limits to vehicles, and I do enjoy driving my Jeep in the 1,500 acres (or about 1/10th) of the dunes that are open to vehicles.
According to information supplied by Geri and Lee BeDell in a previous letter ("Too many dunes riders are lawless," Jan. 24), there have been 17 deaths and 2,500 injuries in the past seven years in the dunes. This works out to an average of 2.4 deaths and 357 injuries per year out of a visitor count of 2 million per year, according to Ranger Villareal ("Law of the dunes," Jan. 17). I think any urban area with that population would love that statistic.
In the meantime, in the United States, an average of 39 people die skiing each year. At least six Americans have died just since October in avalanches. I see few people advocating closing snow.
Here are some fun statistics:
Smoking, 20 cigs/day: 1 in 200
Motorcycling: 1 in 50
Automobile driving: 1 in 5,900
Rock climbing: 1 in 7,150
Skiing: 1 in 1,430,000
Pregnancy (UK): 1 in 4,350
Terrorism: 1 in 9,532
Pismo Dunes vehicle accident: 1 in 83,333
The Pismo Dunes appear pretty safe after all. I worked as a ski patrolman for quite a few years. We responded to accidents on a near continual basis daily. Most large ski resorts keep a staff of nurses and doctors at the base to deal with the inflow.
I do not see the Pismo Dunes as an area more hazardous to life and limb than is typical for active sports--sure is a lot safer than rock climbing!
Perhaps all rocks and cliffs should be closed. Perhaps all citizens should be wrapped in cotton batting and kept in large, climate-controlled shopping malls.
Downtown stores: Stop wasting energy!
I am really inspired by the recent interest and information about going green, saving energy, examining your carbon-footprint, and how changing our consumptive habits can have an effect on reducing the global warming problem. If you are interested in calculating your personal carbon-footprint and finding out ways to lower your carbon-footprint, go to this site or sites like it: www.conservation.org/act/live_green/carboncalc/Pages/default.aspx.
So with all of the interest and information about going green, why am I still seeing just about every major store-chain located in downtown San Luis Obispo with their doors wide open and all of their heating going right out through those doors?
When I ask the store clerk and/or management--why are they leaving their doors wide open and wasting all of that energy?--they respond by saying that it is corporate policy to keep their doors physically open during business hours. When I point out to them that this is a gross waste of energy, they just shrug their shoulders and say, "That's what I am told to do."
So, why is corporate America doing this? Do they really think that customers will not open the door themselves? Are they really so afraid that a closed door is going to deter customers? Are they making so much profit that they can afford to run their heating and/or air conditioning continuously in order to heat and/or cool their business and the streets outside?
I find this type of corporate policy unacceptable.
San Luis Obispo
Sneaky developers don't really help ag land
I have followed with increasing dismay the many land-use changes allowed in San Luis Obispo County, where my family has owned property near Santa Margarita for 40 years. Wake up, people, before our historic rural communities become more gridlocked sprawl.
Developer-driven schemes thinly disguised as ways to protect agriculture are especially insidious. Consider the "ag cluster" ordinance, which enables developers who use clever calculations and savvy consultants to circumvent land-use laws and environmental regulations in order to build residential subdivisions on agricultural land. And by planting grapes or other intensified crops, they can skew the calculations to build even larger subdivisions! How does that help a farmer or rancher stay in agriculture?
If the Santa Margarita Ranch has its way, its ag cluster will be followed by golf courses and a Disneyland scenario of development, essentially destroying yet another great Spanish Land Grant rancho. Privileges granted to those in agriculture have been co-opted by developers wearing cowboy hats.
Phase 1 of the ranch's subdivision project proposes a sprawling "cluster" of 112 houses, all served by dwindling ground water. The "ag cluster" ordinance is an incentive to convert to more intensive agriculture in the short term to get more houses in the long term.
Miami, New Mexico
America needs John McCain's leadership
Some of us who have been on the McCain campaign for a year or more were told by our friends both in and out of the Republican Party that he simply could not win because he was not conservative enough. They would cite campaign finance reform, his compromise border bill, and rejecting of the original White House tax-cut package.
Okay, I understand the concern, but the money was out of control in politics and needed some change. Perhaps it was not perfect, but it was a change for the better. On border security, John McCain was grilled for being more compassionate than he need be. Well, if you examine the hype, he clearly understands and strongly advocates securing the borders first and not expelling the illegal immigrant wife of a deployed warrior. I call that balance.
The tax-cut plan was not broad enough in his view, and he held out for a different proportion. I call that long-term thinking, not just going along to get along. You have to know John McCain as a person to understand him as a legislator. John McCain tells you the truth even if it hurts him. He did not survive the Hanoi prison camp as a severely wounded warrior to return to America and tap dance answers. I have worked on many campaigns and have seen a lot of "handlers," and having been on the trail with McCain in Santa Barbara in 2000, I can personally attest that you don't handle John McCain, you follow behind his leadership.
Everybody in the Republican Party wants another Ronald Reagan. So do I. Ronald Reagan talked with Tip O'Neal all the time, and they were really friends, even though they did not agree over philosophy. Ronald Reagan got more done with a Democratic Congress than anybody in the 20th century. We need a leader who works with people and continues to lead the way into the 21st century, who does not use gender, ethnicity, or economics to divide people but to make America a better place. America needs John McCain's leadership today.
McCain '08 Central Coast Regional Chairman