Friday, May 29, 2015     Volume: 29, Issue: 44

Weekly Poll
Should Cal Poly sacrifice its productive agricultural land to expand its campus?

Yes, we must create the space to educate and house our growing college-age population.
I'd rather see the students stay on campus then be able to buy avocados and oranges.
Can't they just relocate the trees to another area?
So much for 'learn by doing.'

Vote! | Poll Results

RSS Feeds

Latest News RSS
Current Issue RSS

Special Features
Search or post SLO County food and wine establishments

New Times / Letters to the Editor

Support the proposed mental health facility in Templeton

Marilee Hyman - president, League of Women Voters of San Luis Obispo County -

The League of Women Voters of San Luis Obispo County supports the construction of the proposed Behavioral Health Hospital in Templeton. We recognize the need for more and better mental health care in our county. We believe that certain critical needs are currently going unmet, in particular, needed services for children, teens, and seniors. The present system sends some critically ill persons out of the county for treatment at a time when they most need the close support of their families. This facility, appropriately placed in a local area zoned for medical and hospital use, will greatly benefit many in our county who need these short-term services and their families.

The League supports comprehensive mental health services for the acutely, chronically, and seriously mentally ill of all ages, and we believe that this 90-plus-bed facility proposed for vacant property across from Twin Cities Hospital on Las Tablas Road in Templeton will provide important mental health care services to all our communities in San Luis Obispo County. We believe that this important addition to our mental health services deserves the support of all concerned residents of our county.

We need more local mental heath support

John Klimala - Nipomo -

Unfortunately stigma is alive and well against those living with mental illnesses in our county. The furor against the development of a Behavioral Health Hospital in Templeton bears this out. What people do not realize is that mental illnesses affect many of us and those we love. And the need for services and treatment centers is imperative to help people get well.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that one in five adults and one in five teens are affected by mental illness at any time. Do the math, and you will find that the 16 beds we have in our county to serve those in the acute phase of mental illness are woefully inadequate. People can and do recover from mental illness but only if they receive treatment during the times they are acutely ill. It is also important to have the support of family and friends in their community while ill.

The 96-bed behavioral health hospital proposed near Twin Cities Hospital in Templeton will allow children, adolescents, adults, and seniors to receive the treatment they need within their own county. Wrap-around mental health services will be available to them when they come home to their nearby communities.

This hospital should be built without any question. The owner/developer is committed to building this much-needed hospital and saving our county the large expense of placing people in hospitals outside our county. These extraordinary expenses are paid for by the taxpayers of San Luis Obispo County.

Our loved ones will be able to get the help they need within their own county.

The need is great. The time is now. Please support this worthwhile and needed project.

Dear Shredder: You're wrong about DUIs

Dr. Steven Sainsbury - San Luis Obispo -

It would seem to me that The Shredder’s own blood alcohol level is far above the legal limit when he wrote his unbelievably uninformed column, “Quota Pie” (May 21), on driving while intoxicated.

Here are a few easy examples:

1) “It [legal limit for blood alcohol while driving] was lowered to 0.10, which many considered ridiculously low.” Really? The only group of people who would object to this level as being too low would be the irresponsibly impaired idiots who want to drink and drive. The 0.08 alcohol threshold is based on hard science. At that level, a driver’s judgment and motor control are significantly impaired. Perhaps The Shredder doesn’t consider himself intoxicated when he drinks and drives with a blood alcohol level above 0.08, but that doesn’t change the reality of its being true.

2) “The level now is so low that if you have one drink at dinner, you could be considered too intoxicated to operate a vehicle.” Wrong again. It takes an average of two to three drinks to jump over the 0.08 threshold. And, although, there are many variables that contribute to an individual’s blood alcohol level, the facts remain—regardless of what you consumed or when you consumed it, if your blood alcohol level is greater than 0.08, you cannot safely drive a car.

3) “Obviously people shouldn’t drive intoxicated—EVER—but … ” No buts Shredder. If you drink and drive and get caught, you deserve every punishment handed out. Jail, fines, classes, loss of license—all part of impressing upon you and our society that it’s not OK to risk killing and maiming people simply because you are too selfish to not drink and drive.

I worked 25 years as an emergency physician. I treated thousands of victims of drunk driving accidents. Far too many times, I took the long, painful walk into a room to inform a family that their loved one had died. That they died needlessly, that they died an easily preventable death, if only drinking drivers were not so incredibly selfish.

So Mr. Shredder, next time you choose to ridicule law enforcement, realize that their enforcement of the sensible drunk driving laws save lives. Then, feel free to have some Diet Coke with your pizza.

Dear Shredder: 'Quota pie' missed the mark


Very soon after moving to the Central Coast five years ago I quickly recognized the New Times as a must-read, cutting edge, informative news source that was taking important risks to tell stories I would not hear anywhere else. The Shredder, let’s call it the jewel in the crown, is where I would turn to first to get a raw and creatively expressed perspective that usually would leave me with at least a smirk if not a smile.

Sadly with the “Quota pie” (May 21) opinion piece, The Shredder’s run has ended. I know her streak will start anew in a future paper (yes, I have concluded it is a female who is writing the column), but I am deeply disappointed to the point of needing to comment. Drunk driving is just too big and can’t be compared with citations for sitting on benches, smoking cigarettes in public, or using plastic bags. Try armed robbery or attempted murder where someone’s life is in danger. I don’t really care if law enforcement is using incentives to arrest drunk drivers. I support them doing all they can to keep our streets safe. The consequences have been too profound and too painful not just for the people driving drunk but also for the victims of those drivers who were not even mentioned in the article. That was short sighted and shameful not only for the victims but for their families.

So I suggest The Shredder take on the following assignment as sensitivity training/atonement: Write an article describing the circumstances and listing the people who have died over the last three years in San Luis Obispo County as a result of drunk driving.

SLO needs to ban Styrofoam

Gina Whitaker - Arroyo Grande -

I am a resident of Arroyo Grande, but I frequent all sorts of businesses in SLO and have been following the issue of polystyrene and its role in compromising our environment. I am also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and our seventh Principle states that we will promote “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

I am in favor of the ordinance banning polystyrene from being sold in our markets and convenience stores, as well as from being used for “take out” and drinks at our restaurants.

In order for this ban ultimately to be considered by our county Board of Supervisors for countywide implementation, SLO city needs to take the first step, so that we can use their action to encourage other cities to follow suit and eventually for the county to ban polystyrene countywide.

On June 2 at 4 p.m., there will be a special SLO City Council meeting and reading of this ordinance. Please come to support the ordinance and show everyone that we mean business here to protect our environment!

This is the 21st century. We have already ruined so much of our precious planet. Let’s take this step to help our animal populations, our trash disbursement, and the destruction of our environment. It’s painful to make lifestyle changes, but we have to start somewhere!