Opinion » Letters



Chubby young beggars?
I spent 2 years homeless in Big Sur. where I lived in a tent, slept in my car at times and had two jobs. For me it was a choice not to pay rent. I hiked an hour up a trail to get to my camp. Others living "up the creek" formed a loose community. We shared what we had and respected each others' privacy and space.

When I see chubby, young folks "begging" I, like Glen Starkey, also want to say "get a job.� There is always something to do that will pay the day-to-day, even if you are on the street. We are lucky to be in a climate where we can live outside all year. Now I have a mortgage, bills and a full time job and mandatory overtime—my choice. My money goes to the shelters, keep up the good work!

Mary Arcadia

Grover Beach

Bench blanket bongos
Kudos to New Times for Glen Starkey’s "I hate transients" commentary in this weeks issue. You finally print a story of substance dealing with a real and serious problem facing our community, rather than the usual Bush/Police/Establishment-bashing type of journalism I've become accustomed to seeing in your paper. The overabundance of these people all over town is very apparent.

 While I was sitting outside Jamba Juice awhile back trying to enjoy a drink with a friend, a perfectly able- bodied kid of about 18, panhandling, was obnoxiously beating on some bongo drums (obviously he'd never taken a lesson).

While doing this he was staring at my friend and me singing, "Pay me a dollar and I'll shut up and you won't have to call the police." It wasn't the police I called. It was two eating establishments. I informed them that if that was what I had to endure while trying to eat or drink at their establishments, I would no longer walk through their doors and spend my money. I must have been one of many who complained, since the benches on either end of the plaza were removed.

Perhaps the panhandling law should be expanded to no closer than 50 feet from a doorway or steps to a business, not six feet.

Steve Isun


Living with a backpack
I am writing to comment on your “I hate transients� article because I feel it is so one sided. This person has apparently never experienced homelessness, and has no clue what the homeless go through on a nightly basis. Let me fill you in, as an educated member of the society that you call homeless bums.

There are people who live at the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter who are working hard every day, after which they get back to the shelter and must stand out in the cold for an hour before they can check in and get the warm meal and dry bed. More often then not, though the shelter does provide a valuable service, some people who spend an entire day working hard at jobs get there to find there is no bed available.

Sometimes this is due to their client status, or possibly not knowing that they have broken one of the asinine rules that we live with and endure every single day. Other well-educated people who stay in the shelter system cannot get a job because of the address they put on their application.

Most businesses in the prejudiced city of San Luis Obispo will not hire based solely on the address they see in front of them. So yes, there are some people out there begging for quarters and dollars that you all may think do not need them, but have any of you well-to-do people reading this reply ever had to live with a backpack that you cannot leave behind?

Or had to worry about finding a place to sleep outside where you will not get arrested, because of rules that do not bend when they should. Have you ever had to wonder where you next meal will come from because you accidentally said that wrong thing in from of someone who is on a power trip.

Yes, there are staff at Maxine Lewis who think they are above reproach and do not care for individuals. †All they care about is enforcing rules. Have we come down to a society of uncaring, unfeeling miserable jerks? Yes, the shelter got funded due to the kind generosity of this city.

But do any of you really know what you money went for? I must apologize for not signing this letter, but the powers-that-be would kick me out.

An educated member of the society that you call homeless bums

The “h� word

I read Glen Starkey’s piece in (“I hate transients�) in your current issue. The headline was so striking I had to read it, and I’m glad I did. I think he’s onto something here.

We flat out cannot help every individual who needs help, one by one, and ever realize complete success, in any community. It was once said, in such a grand way: “Give a man a fish and he eats today; teach a man to fish, and he eats forever.�
Giving handouts only gets a person through a few hours. Giving something more financially substantial, to an organization that helps many people get out of the fix they’ve fallen into, is higher thinking.

It is my personal belief that people who give spur-of-the-moment handouts to the poor, are doing it more for themselves than that poor character who really needs the serious help that could be supplied by the organizations that can do that, but which need the resources to keep doing it.
But, Glen, hate and hatred are words that didn’t need to be used in this article. Your point came across easily. Nice work.

Lee Ferrero

Private Industry Council (PIC) of San Luis Obispo County, Inc.

Afraid of being human
Thank you for printing this and for all that you do. There is so much to be said not only on homelessness in SLO county, but also about the mere act of being human in this town and being able to live here.  All you have to do is talk to my husband and me for five minutes to see our honesty, integrity, genuine loving nature and deep commitment to our family. 

Yet when it comes to renting in this county all I get is “credit report, please� and “You have two kids and you want to live in a two-bedroom apartment?�
I wonder what the credit history of many of the college kids’ parents were like when their kids were two years old and they were still in college and one of them was living at home in order to raise their kids? We work really hard to home-school our kids, do not have any family support, live on one income and are still in school. Yet because we have a credit history that we are improving with time, we cannot get anything bigger than the one bedroom apartment we have now, which a woman rented to us three years ago based on our character.
If we cannot rent to people who work hard, love their family, and are working to be the best they can be, then character has lost its importance and being human is a thing we are afraid of, and money is our god.
Gina Turley


No scapegoats, please

Where are the parents? Outside with picket signs when they should be home teaching values to their children. Why is it a retailer's obligation to remove so-called "offensive" or "inappropriate" literature from their shelves so that young teens are not misguided?

I am not saying that Toys-R-Us should sell porn; there is definitely a line of basic ethics that shouldn't be crossed. What I am saying is teach your children right from wrong and quit trying to find a scapegoat for poor behavior from your teens. Besides, I'm more offended by the prices of clothing in that store than anything else, but that's a whole other issue altogether!

Annie Fargo


Keep Kathy

Congratulations on Kathy Johnston's well-written investigative piece (New Times, 3-16) about Morro Bay’s sewage discharge. As a long-time reader, I remember her articles as among the best New Times ever offered, and have missed her reporting over the last few years.

Retaining her services will enhance the prestige and reputation of New Times as a newspaper which covers important issues with expertise and a depth which that "other paper" often fails to achieve. I anticipate further contributions from her.

David Broadwater

Life’s a beach
Regarding the March 23rd letter "Save our dunes." First, I can appreciate the writer’s concern for the dunes and its wildlife. I'm not an offroader and live just a stone’s throw from the beach.  But the offroaders have been given that area so as to keep them off the "rest of the dunes".
I see offroading on the beach as a part of beach life, just as much as the person who likes to just sit in a beach chair watching the sunset. Taking away that area would be like kicking the Indians off their reservations. How would you feel if the offroaders rallied together to keep the sunbathers contained within a designated area, just because they don't agree with your method of enjoying the beach?

Whatever happened to good old fashioned give-and-take? If I go to the beach, I know where the offroaders are and know that the area I choose to walk in will not result in my getting hit by one, unless of course I wander into their area, in which case it's my own fault.  Bottom line is that EVERYONE has a right to enjoy the beach. I had a bird hit my car the other day while driving home from work; should we start closing streets to vehicle traffic now?

Mike Simpson

Email: adragon8u@charter.net

McCarthy’s forever

I would hope that McCarthys, a tradition for all of us SLO and ex- SLO people, can carry on for many years. Perhaps we all need to pitch a buck into a large jar there that can be used for the “Save Mc Carthy’s� fund. In an area where Pottery Barn and touristy snares are running tradition out, we need to keep this institution intact! Thanks for the excellent article!

Stephen A. Covey


Whence personals?

As a long time reader of New Times, I would sometimes look with interest at the personal ads in the back of the paper. Somewhere along the line, they seem to have been dropped. Did they go somewhere on the website that I don't see? There was always at least a page worth, so it seems as if the section was popular enough. If you’ve dropped it, why?

Also, didn't you sponsor some sort of singles night sometimes? I don't see info on that either.  For all these years I thought going to one of those parties would be fun, and now that I'm finally single, you've dropped it all!? It doesn't seem fair!


(Dear Jigger: It’s for your own good. –Ed.)

Dearest Shred-head
Re “Shredder gone wild� (New Times, March 16) about the dazzling whiteness of Cal Poly: There’s nothing wrong with being white—or any other shade. And don’t you or anyone else forget that! Time comes that we’re all proud and not beaten down as minority or majority. Reverse prejudice is not the answer. Get your head (and everybody else’s) out of your ass.

Shade Delaney

Morro Bay

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