Opinion » Letters



Valley Fever isn’t the Plague

Re: Valley Fever (“Deadly disease with no cure,� Nov. 18-25); I still get “funny looks� from doctors. And then the inevitable question: “You have (not had, since it always remains in your bloodstream) Valley Fever? How did you get it?�

For some reason the doctors in this area still find it hard to believe that “such a clean town like SLO� could have such a “dirty virus� among the townspeople. Thank you for printing such an informative article.

Valley Fever can only be transmitted when the carrier is in the contagious stage, i.e., sneezing, coughing, etc. Once these symptoms are arrested, Valley Fever cannot be transmitted. However, it can resurface at anytime during the carrier’s lifetime, attacking major organs like the lungs, brain, and other internal organs.


Marjorie Elwood

Shell Beach


Lay off the Republicanism and the booze

The “church,� with its opposition to abortion, has reelected Bush. The way to prevent abortions is with condom dispensers in all male restrooms, emergency contraceptive (EC) dispensers in all female restrooms, free vasectomies to any male who requests one, and free tubal ligations to any female who requests one.

In my opinion, as a biologist, the “abstinence only� program promoted by “the church� and the president is the cause of the need for an abortion — along with too much to drink.


Bill Denneen



The U.S. looks clueless

While the latest rounds of bombings on Fallujah are winding down, the U.S. seems proud to declare their victory. Boasting about the killing of 1,200 insurgents and how the U.S. is now controlling the city, as if they were just tidying up a very messy room.

Does anyone remember how this battle with Fallujah started? The U.S. fired into a crowd of unarmed demonstrators and killed 13 innocent people. Then there was that ugly retaliation that resulted in a couple of American mercenaries being strung up on a bridge, which really ruffled our feathers. So we had to “teach them who’s boss� and thus began a three-week strike on the city which resulted in hundreds more deaths, houses being leveled, and families fleeing their homes. We have since engaged in numerous air strikes, bombing mosques, schools, and medical facilities, leaving the remaining survivors without food, water, electricity, or medical help.

In recent months the U.S. began justifying its attacks on the pretext of killing the terrorist, Al Zarqawi, who seems to be as elusive as WMDs! Although many people fled the city, tens of thousands remained, including many civilians who couldn’t leave. When the ousted 200,000 can go home, what will they have to return to? There will not be a single person from Fallujah who is not affected. And so the cycle continues, whereby today’s civilian becomes tomorrow’s “insurgent.�


Cheri DePaulo

San Luis Obispo


Enjoy your pesticide-on-the-cob

To the proponents of genetically engineered BT corn: I challenge you to show me a single non-industry sponsored long-term study showing that BT corn is safe for human consumption or safe for the environment.

One thing is certain, and one of the No on Q farmers admitted as much: The caterpillars will develop resistance to BT corn. What then? The farmer had no answer to that question.

BT corn is clearly not sustainable. So why go down that dead-end road?

To those planning to eat BT corn, remember that the caterpillar-killing toxin BT is in every cell of every kernel of BT corn. That is why BT corn is registered with the EPA as a pesticide. Ah, insecticide for dinner.


Jesse Arnold



Enough to turn the tables?

I was in Europe on Election Day and I read, with a heavy heart, the avalanche of derisive articles published in the foreign press. Not surprisingly, the world tends to overlook the large number of Americans who strongly oppose the Bush administration, and to focus upon the ones who are still fooled by it. “A country of morons,� the Daily Mirror called us. This was to be expected. The surprise came from ordinary Americans living right here in the U.S. Interviewed on television by foreign correspondents, numerous Americans confessed: “I am ashamed for my fellow Americans. I am ashamed for my country.�

Never before, even during the Vietnam era, had I heard Americans publicly make such a statement. I was crushed at first, but I soon understood that this shame could be the catalyst toward real change. Confronted with Republican election fraud, lies, blackmail, fascism, destruction of our civil liberties, and fabricated reasons for war, Democrats remained paralyzed and silent. Now things are changing. A growing number of people question authority and demand serious answers. Several groups are challenging voting results in Ohio and Florida.

Let us remember that it took two more years after Nixon’s reelection for Americans to finally face the damning truth. Several respected European newspapers believe that the same thing will happen with Bush. Whether they are right or not, we must never again remain passive when our democracy is attacked by the very people who are supposed to protect it.

Odile Ayral

San Luis Obispo


My apologies

I’m sorry — I’m sorry I wrote this letter. This time of year should be about warm, fuzzy feelings.

I’m sorry Earth — I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to take more from you, and give even less back. You understand, right?

I’m sorry disadvantaged person — I’m sorry that we continue to cut your opportunities, but my money is mine, okay? I’ve earned it without anyone else’s help.

I’m sorry other countries — I’m sorry, but we feel that we are in charge. We’re number one, and they say that the only one looking out for number one is number one.

I’m sorry age 17 and younger — I’m sorry we are stuck in a two-party system. I know it’s not fair, but you’re going to have to choose: black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. Otherwise you’re a waste. You’re no good for anybody … any of us, that is.

I’m sorry humanity — I’m sorry I don’t know where you are, but we don’t have time to find you. We’re too busy fighting wars and counting our money.

I’m sorry student — I’m sorry all this studying and hard work still leaves you unfulfilled. I’m even more sorry that you really don’t see and appreciate all that you’ve got.

I’m sorry God — I’m sorry that we’re not living up to our expectations. Hey, it’s not my fault … I’m not the only one.

Again, I’m sorry I wrote this letter …

I’m sorry I made you think.


Benjamin P. Hein

San Luis Obispo



Cut Shawn some slack

To Tobie Charles (“How not to run a restaurant,� Letters, Nov. 25-Dec. 2) and Kathy Hardesty (“Simple dedication,� Cuisine, Nov. 11-18):

Wake up and smell the coffee! The reality of the restaurant business is cold and hard, which most people don’t understand.

I have had the pleasure of dining at Shawn’s On Main in Morro Bay at least once a week since they have opened. I find it best to go a few times to a restaurant to make a proper critique. If you only piss off one out of a hundred patrons, you are doing great.

I have been to every worthy restaurant in the county many times over. I’m a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and Le Cordon Bleu in France. I have owned and worked in restaurants since I was able to walk.

Shawn is preparing a style of food that has been going on in L.A. and San Francisco for years. It takes awhile for people here to become accustomed to new styles of food. Shawn has brought a new style of dining, which the novice and close-minded steak and potato clientele will not enjoy. The restaurant is very warm, romantic, and fashioned after the small eclectic style of restaurants found in San Francisco. I suggest sharing six or seven items for a variety, as nothing is over $10. Best of all it’s open late when all the others are closed.


Raymond David

“The Estero Bay Gourmet�


Please help us

Thank you for your concern in regard to our family (“Hunted by homeland security,� Nov. 25-Dec. 2). Over the past four years we have gone through tough times both personally and with the BCIS/INS. As with many couples, we reached a point where communication and trust broke down. I
have made mistakes as well as Ahmed has, as in many marriages and relationships across America. The court systems are quick to
find exaggerated fault with men
in domestic issues. But ladies, let us not forget who we are fighting and who we are really affecting — our children.

Ahmed and I have realized that we have a common bond that will never separate us, and that is our amazing children. We have found a way outside the judicial system to ensure that our children are raised by both of us. Ahmed is a great father. He spends two to three days a week with his children and calls them every night before bed. If the children are sick he takes care of them. During the summer he has them four to five days so that I can work. I wish every mother had a man that cares for his children as Ahmed does. This is a moral value that government should have no jurisdiction over.

Our children live in fear of our government taking their Daddy away because he is of Arab/Muslim decent. I urge all that know our children and Ahmed to write a letter, on their behalf, to whomever you feel can make a difference.


Joleen Fenton-Fahmy

Los Osos


Time to face reality

One month after the election, I’m struck by the lack of statements and color-threat alerts regarding “looming� terrorist dangers. The entire run-up to Nov. 2 terrorism threats abounded, only Bush-Cheney could protect America, and a vote for Kerry was a threat to our security and placed American troops in Iraq in greater peril. For 51 percent, perception was reality.

If terrorist threats were ever so omnipresent, why did John Ashcroft resign citing victories against terrorism and asserting Americans are safer now? Iraq is a daily toll in American and Iraqi lives. Bin Laden is alive. Afghanistan produces record crops of opium poppies and is ruled by warlords. Reality paints a stark picture.

Like same-sex marriage and Swift Boat Veterans’ attacks on Kerry’s military record, “terrorist threats� were smokescreens obscuring abysmal management. Fifty-one percent drank the Kool-Aid and gloat “victory� with decals on their cars. What next, 51 percent?

“Four more years�: no exit plan from Iraq, more Guard and Reserve call-ups, drains on financial resources to support this war, enormous federal deficits fueled by spending and tax policies, a falling dollar resulting in interest-rate rises, further erosion of international goodwill via a Neo-Con agenda, increased health care costs, and more assaults on Constitutional rights. Reality!

Will Bush-Cheney voters see through the administration’s smoke? The 51 percent and 49 percent will be adversely affected by your choice; however, 49 percent of us will make you face reality.


Peter Vander Arend

Los Osos


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