Tuesday, February 21, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 30

Weekly Poll
Did you find the video that SLO city officials made joking about "hot," "shirtless" firefighters offensive?

Yes. It was sexist and demeaning to the brave members of the SLO fire department.
I was more offended by the terrible jokes and bad acting.
It was in poor taste, but the media is hyping it up way too much.
The video was good-natured self-deprecation This is political correctness run amok!

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Remnants of an offshore oil disaster

Tim Bennett - San Luis Obispo -

If there’s any question about drilling for oil off the coast of San Luis Obispo County, just take a walk on the beach at the Bacara Resort & Spa or Four Seasons Hotel in Santa Barbara County. And when you’re finished walking along the beautiful shoreline, notice the signs directing you to clean off your feet from the “offshore seepage” they collected. My soles were black with oil. Oh, tar-wipes are available at nearby kiosks. Yet, be prepared to take about 20 minutes to remove most of the debris.

I witnessed this firsthand 10 years ago and was told it was from the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara almost 50 years ago.


Dear 'New Times' readers

Michael Latner - Atascadero -

In my column last week, “The meaning of fraud,” I discussed a rumor of election fraud carried out by my friend Al Fonzi and Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley, for an imaginary election that never happened. Atascadero did not hold an election in 2013. The allegation was just that, a suggestion of possible events without any supporting evidence, as were the rumors of stuffing ballots into Jerry Clay’s pigpens, and even possible violations of the moral integrity of one of Mr. Clay’s prizewinning hogs, which were never published.

For the record, there is absolutely no evidence that an election occurred in Atascadero in 2013 or that Mr. Fonzi or Mayor O’Malley have ever engaged in election fraud. Some readers felt that I was trying to damage the reputations of these men, but I wasn’t. I was illustrating the absurdity of giving allegations the status of facts, as I said in the column. Mr. Fonzi and Mr. O’Malley are good people, but they are prone to making just these sorts of allegations.

I stand by the point of the essay: People who make real allegations of voter fraud in the United States should also consider how their allegations affect the reputations of the thousands of election officials around the country who are responsible for ensuring the integrity of our elections.

Drop the sanctuary fight and unite against oil

Jeremiah O'Brien - Morro Bay -

San Luis Obispo County is currently engaged in character assassinations similar to the Salem witch hunts and burning people at the stake over made-up or perceived transgressions.

One of the supervisors was accused of taking money from Big Oil, but when we look to see what Big Oil is, it turns out to be a couple of propane companies and JB Dewar who sell fuel and oil to fishermen, farmers, ranchers, and other local companies.

Adam Hill accused the fishing industry of throwing in with Big Oil. These slanderous remarks from a consummate whiner was no surprise to us, nor were the rantings and misconceptions of the other pro-sanctuary vote that has had absolutely no contact with the commercial fishermen, harbor department, or any city officials before writing his support letter to National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. These are the constituents in his district that he is sworn to represent.

I am truly astounded at an issue that has so many people divided. May I make a suggestion to those sanctuary advocates who think this is an oil issue? Drop the sanctuary and let's go after the real issue, if it is oil. Then we might all be standing shoulder to shoulder on the same issue instead of divided over something.

Furthermore, if we do not have local control, then why were the supervisor chambers packed, or why was this being addressed at all.

Harmon is a leader for all

Rosemary Canfield - Shell Beach -

Heidi Harmon is a role model for leadership, and the city of San Luis Obispo is so very fortunate to have her as its mayor. She came to this post after great reflection and a deep desire to help the city continue to be a safe, sustainable, and welcoming community. Heidi is a leader—not a politician seeking the limelight.

I have known Heidi for more than 15 years, and worked with her on two campaigns for public office. She puts the concerns of others far before her own and is a leader who serves. She seeks out public opinion and listens intently to the ideas of the people she represents. Heidi demonstrates her sincere interest in people by going out of her way to find out what they think—from attending various cultural events in town to going down to creekside homeless camps to learn about the people who have found themselves in dire straits.

Harmon makes no apologies for her personal values, which have remained the same over time. A great concern is to promote sustainable living so that our planet remains a healthy place for future generations. All leaders have personal opinions, and one hopes values, yet Harmon is committed to represent the best interests of all the citizens she represents—not just the ones who agree with her.

Any city would be fortunate to have a leader who puts its residents and visitors first. A leader who actually listens to what people have to say and works to act upon their concerns. A leader who mindfully considers the long-term consequences of their actions over whether or not they are popular. Heidi Harmon is that leader for all the people.

Thanks for echoing how silent conservatives feel

Ken Blasingham - San Luis Obispo -

I would like to commend the New Times for even daring to publish a piece like Gary Wechter's Feb. 9 commentary, "So, you didn't vote for Trump," as the media is so left-wing biased and don't usually like to hear anyone who expresses a different opinion than theirs.

The opinion piece was well written by this gentleman and pretty much covers how most of us silent conservatives feel.

When we once again lost the election in 2012 with one of the best and most qualified candidates in years, we were pretty devastated as Obama had pretty much turned the U.S. into a second-rate apologetic country his first four years, notwithstanding our economy was still in the toilet with no recovery in sight. So, we went home on the night of the election and grieved, got up the next day and said, "Oh well," and got on with our lives. It's very disheartening to see what's going on with the left. What a bunch of crybabies and borderline anarchists, because their candidate didn't win the presidency. Maybe next time they can pick a better candidate and one who isn't on the verge of being indicted.

Great commentary and good of the New Times to publish diverse opinions.