Tuesday, October 21, 2014     Volume: 29, Issue: 12
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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Spend money on our home, not war

Jim Griffin - San Luis Obispo -

We are constantly told we don’t have enough money as a society to pay for various social programs, fix the roads, fund schools, rebuild infrastructure, etc. And yet when it comes to a new war or military adventure, there never seems to be a shortage of funds.

Now we are involved in yet another one. This time the excuse is the murder of two reporters and one social agency worker in the Middle East. Obama and Co. couldn’t put over a war against Syria last year, but now they feel they have the perfect cover. We are told that the ISIS fanatics are barbarians that threaten civilization itself (they’re bad, no doubt). There is always some extreme example that is held out to justify military action.

But if we look deeper we can see the hand of U.S. foreign policy at work leading to these new crises.

There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq before the U.S./British invasion of 2003. There was no ISIS until years of oppressive rule in Iraq that victimized Sunni Muslims. Indeed, there was no ethnic/sectarian conflict at all to speak of in Iraq until, that’s right, the aftermath of the invasion of 2003. Now we are told we must go to war in Iraq, again, to clean up a mess caused by the disruption and horror caused to begin with by imperial war moves of the Western powers. It’s a vicious circle of death and maiming which benefits no one—no one, that is, except politicians, military brass careerists, big oil companies, arms manufacturers, various other corporate ghouls, and reactionary proponents of “American exceptionalism.”

Look at the numbers of homeless and mentally ill veterans of these wars, right here in SLO and SLO county. What about the physically damaged vets, their lives decimated? What about the money going to war that could go to cities and states like SLO and California for social and economic needs and debt relief? Have any of the candidates running for office locally said anything at all about any of this? No, they haven’t, and they won’t.

Don’t go along with the war drive this time. Don’t buy into the propaganda and demagoguery. It has nothing to do with any noble causes or humanitarianism fights against barbarism. It’s the same old drumbeat of imperialist geopolitical power plays and the manipulation of your mind and consciousness. Don’t drink the poison Kool-Aid. Demand that money for war be used here at home for human needs and maintaining our home turf.


Debate is healthy

Charley Brown - Santa Maria -

It is a sad commentary on our times that someone living in the USA, Steve Pax (“There is no debate,” Oct. 2) demands that the news outlets censor their product. Two remarks: Steve hasn’t got the ability to debate, and worse yet “Pax” is no longer is peace.


Clean up your streets, Morro Bay

Jeanette Batelin - Clovis -

My family visited Morro Bay several times a year with our friends, neighbors, and grandkids for the last 24 years. The Harbor Festival was our favorite event—until this year.

On first arriving, there was a smacked-out guy playing loud guitar near the coffee shop we used to enjoy. We skipped breakfast there—too noisy and uncomfortable. His belongings blocked the sidewalk, so we had to walk into the roundabout to pass, exposing us to heavy festival traffic.

One block down in the public park across from the police station was another encampment: tent, trash, laundry. We were panhandled as we walked by. Watching in disbelief, another transient harassed an older lady walking her small, leashed dog through the park. She tried to ignore him, but he chased her across the street screaming things not repeatable in a family newspaper.

Where are the police? Why aren’t they doing their job? For decades, we paid to stay in Morro Bay motels, enjoy your restaurants, spend vacation money in your shops. We used to feel safe and relaxed here; no longer. We don’t plan to return unless the situation improves.


We only need one election

Susan Heinemann - Morro Bay -

Morro Bay’s two-election system was one of those ideas that sounded good on paper, but in reality has not worked out. It has cost the city taxpayers dollars, and contrary to the original intent, it seems to have had a negative effect on the number of citizens running for City Council.

It is time to return to the time-honored one-election system in November. Vote Yes on measure J-14.


Don't reward negligence

Tom Comar - Atascadero -

Now that a more accurate cost—$12 million vs. $4.5 million—is known for the projected roadwork for the Del Rio Road project, it is clear there is only one party that has the resources to travel down this expensive road: Wal-Mart.

There was never any justification in giving Wal-Mart any corporate subsidies necessary to accommodate this superstore and related development. The city was never obliged to literally pave the way for a Wal-Mart. This money should not be borrowed from other city accounts, projects, or from state and federal taxpayers through SLOCOG.

If the Waltons (worth $148 billion) cannot afford to build this project without taxpayer welfare, the project should not go forward.

The City Council should:

1. Vote to adopt a resolution directing staff to demand a re-negotiation with Wal-Mart (WM).

2. Vote to adopt a resolution directing the city attorney to prepare litigation to have the flawed and incomplete contract invalidated, and to sue EDA consultants for negligence and seek damages for coming up with such inaccurate numbers.

Please do not reward with your vote their dereliction of the public trust in approving or blindly supporting this project deal: Tom O’Malley, Brian Sturtevant, Heather Moreno, or Chuck Ward.


Vote this way for a better Atascadero

Ron Walters - A Better Atascadero president -

Atascadero has shown significant progress since the days of long, contentious meetings with a divided council. Our current council has changed that previous culture and is working hard to respond to the desires of our residents.

While our City Council members have different opinions, backgrounds, and experiences, and aren’t always voting the same, they are united in doing what is best for our community.

Tom O’Malley, an Atascadero native, has served on the City Council for 12 years, the last two as our first elected mayor. As mayor, Tom represents our city at the county and state levels, ensuring the city’s needs are addressed by those agencies. His service on the SLO Council of Governments gives our city credibility. He provides stable, wise leadership to our council, and represents us well.

Brian Sturtevant is completing his first term as a council member, and has demonstrated the ability to grasp complex issues facing the city and makes reasonable and achievable recommendations to his fellow council members. His responsibilities as a department manager at Diablo Canyon give him a great background in making sound decisions. He, too, serves on regional committees representing Atascadero.

Heather Moreno has served on the City Council for two years. She is an experienced young business woman, who runs her own company, is an author, and became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in 1994. She has an exceptional grasp of our city’s finances and has a good understanding of issues facing the city. She also represents our city on regional committees.

It is important to keep this positive movement going in our city.  We invite you to join us in voting for Tom O’Malley for mayor and Heather Moreno and Brian Sturtevant for City Council.