Saturday, October 22, 2016     Volume: 31, Issue: 13

Weekly Poll
Should the Arroyo Grande Cemetery start watering its grass again?

Yes. It looks ugly and that's disrespectful to the families who come there to mourn.
They should water it a little more, but stay mindful of the state's drought.
No they need to find an alternative like dryscaping.
Leave it as is. Saving water is more important than aesthetics.

Vote! | Poll Results

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Please vote

Charles Ewing - Bradley -

The November general election is of utmost importance. Aside from voting for local, state, and federal elective offices, there are many important ballot measures to decide. More importantly our nation’s president and the control of the Senate will be determined by this election. Republicans firmly control the House of Representatives, but the Senate and the presidency are up for grabs. Those two branches of our federal government will decide who controls the Supreme Court. This election will determine myriad critical issues that will affect millions lives, now and in the future. If you doubt this, here is a brief list of what the outcome of this election will affect positively or negatively.

• Civil rights and respect for all Americans regardless of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

• Voting rights for all Americans.

• Quality and affordable health care for all Americans, including women’s reproductive rights.

• Protecting Social Security and Medicare.

• Overturning Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and McCullough v. Federal Elections Commission, which is turning our representative democracy into an oligarchy controlled by big corporations and billionaires.

• Environmental policies that can significantly limit climate change, foster clean renewable energy, clean air, clean water, pesticide-free food, and a sustainable vibrant biosphere.

• A comprehensive and fair immigration policy.

• Rational and effective civilian gun control.

• A sane foreign policy that emphasizes diplomacy and alliances.

• Workers’ rights that include a living wage and the right of collective bargaining.

Cunningham is the choice for public safety

Tim Farrell - Santa Margarita -

As a longtime Central Coast resident, I care deeply about preserving our beautiful region and all it has to offer. We are blessed to live in such a great area and I pray my children and the many generations after them have the ability to enjoy all of its beauty.

In order to preserve the Central Coast, our leaders must remain committed to maintaining public safety. That’s why I am supporting former Deputy District Attorney Jordan Cunningham for Assembly. As a Deputy DA for San Luis Obispo County, Jordan worked to prosecute a number of violent crimes, resulting in the incarceration of dangerous criminals.

Jordan spent much of his career prosecuting crimes like domestic violence, fraud, and assault, earning him the support of a wide range of law enforcement leaders and public safety organizations. I was overwhelmed by his long list of trusted community leaders in the public safety field that have publicly endorsed him.

As a lifelong supporter of our law enforcement and strong proponent of public safety, I know Jordan Cunningham is the only candidate with the experience to fight for policies that keep our communities safe.

Dawn Ortiz-Legg will deliver results for Central Coast

Don Maruska - Los Osos -

As an entrepreneur and business coach helping people accomplish their objectives and serve their communities, I focus on what will be most effective in getting positive results. From this pragmatic perspective, Dawn Ortiz-Legg will do the best job for all of us on the Central Coast—Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. Here’s why.

First, in order to get things done, a member of the Assembly needs to be positioned to be effective. With the governor and both houses of the state Legislature presenting a clear Democratic majority, our representative needs to be on that team. This will be essential for securing favorable consideration in state programs to aid our efforts on water resources, transportation needs, desirable jobs, education, and social services. We also need someone who will ensure that unwanted state actions don’t overburden or undermine our communities. A vote for Dawn’s Republican opponent would be giving away much needed leverage to get what our communities need.

Second, Dawn has the professionalism, personal relationship skills, and passion to use the leverage successfully. I have personally seen Dawn in action delivering results since 1995. She has worked with diverse segments of communities throughout the Central Coast to create good-paying jobs just when our economy needed them the most. She listens thoughtfully to people and finds solutions that make our communities stronger. Finally, she has the passion needed to get things done. I hope you will join us in voting for Dawn Ortiz-Legg.

Tom O'Malley is an honorable man

Matthew Mansfield - Atascadero -

My family and I have lived in Atascadero for 11-plus years, and we love the energy that’s been created with new businesses opening up, new family-friendly activities, and the resultant culture emerging in our city. 

It’s those who are committed for the long haul who have formulated and executed a strategy that honors Atascadero’s past, engages its present, and prepares it for a solid future. At this time especially, when Atascadero is getting great traction in the county, when the hard work of those who have been involved for the past 10 years or more is paying off, it would be imprudent and momentum-killing to elect someone untenured to the position of mayor. 

Tom O’Malley is a strong, committed leader, and I enthusiastically support his re-election as Atascadero mayor. In very real terms, he is totally committed to Atascadero, virtually tireless in carrying out his responsibilities, invested in the foundations and future of our city, and an honorable man. Don’t believe the mud currently being slung by his opponents. Tom is one of the few humans who still has the desire and ability to put others’ good before his own. Support Tom O’Malley for mayor.

Here's the rest of the story

Dennis Schmidt - Atascadero -

In a recently published New Times article titled “Balancing act: Atascadero mayor dismisses lingering concerns over potential conflicts” (Oct. 13), the writer excerpts minutes from a Planning commission hearing on the bed and breakfast owned and managed by the mayor and his wife. The excerpt is a comment made after motions, when I offer that the commission limit events to a number less than requested because perception may claim preferential treatment. 

To be forthright, I personally was not concerned because I knew the commission fully vetted the item, but as we all know, caution often needs consideration because as in this case, others do use and spin information as they deem fit without researching its content. So for rest of the story, after deliberation the commission voted 7-0 to grant the requested events, and since has not treated any other applicant differently. 

In closing, I support Tom O’Malley for mayor because of his lifelong leadership and commitment to Atascadero that includes the shaping and directing of our city staff to provide beneficial support and assistance to the families and businesses within.

We need term limits, even in Atascadero

Rolfe Nelson - former Atascadero mayor -

Based on my own life experiences and strong convictions, I am an advocate for term limits at every level of government. We have all seen too many politicians who have been elected to office to represent our voices, to direct government on our behalf, who end up being part of the government machine. 

Two terms is long enough, and there should not be any exceptions. Elected officials should do their job and then go home. Career politicians are good at words and promises and saying, “I will work for you, the people,” but in reality they often become stuck in bureaucracy and work very hard for themselves in getting re-elected because they are addicted to the power, prestige, and often the wealth of politics. 

Career politicians will do anything and say anything to get re-elected. It is time for a change and time to elect non-politicians to office. Please join me in this election to retire all of our career politicians. Career politicians and their supporters will tell us that experience is necessary. Political experience is not necessary, because we need people who can think for themselves, who have the initiative to make things better for everyone and those who can think outside the political box. 

We don’t need “business as usual.” We need new voices with new ideas to help form some new plans and then have the courage to follow up with some real action. Change is also healthy and important at our local level, so please join me, along with five other former mayors of Atascadero, in support of Nicholas Mattson for mayor, a new and energetic voice for all of us. Go to Nic’s website, Mattson For Mayor, if you need specifics on his ideas and plans for Atascadero.

Hill, the credit-taker

T. Keith Gurnee - San Luis Obispo -

In his ads falsely slamming his opponent, Adam Hill would have us believe that he and he alone protected the 900-acre Pismo Preserve and that Dan Carpenter opposed it. Despite Hill’s delusions, there were scores of community leaders, donors, organizations, and agencies who were instrumental in making the Pismo Preserve happen. The real credit goes to the community, not Hill. 

And did Carpenter oppose the preserve? No! When the question of funding the acquisition of the preserve came before the SLO City Council, Carpenter wholeheartedly supported staff’s recommendation to contribute $10,000 to the cause. With staff’s concern about spending city taxpayers’ dollars outside its jurisdiction, $10,000 was as much as staff was willing to recommend.

However, when Councilmember John Ashbaugh chose to up the ante by eight times that amount, our City Council opted to spend $80,000 of our money to acquire property miles outside of San Luis Obispo, while Carpenter wisely sided with the staff’s recommendation. In short, Carpenter supported the Pismo Preserve in a fiscally responsible way, representing the constituents he was elected to serve.

Adam, please stop it. Correcting your distortions is getting very tiring.

Make up your own mind on Proposition 57

Carol Keller - Arroyo Grande -

In response to the Oct. 13 article “Law enforcement speaks out against Proposition 57”—a press conference leads to articles in both The Tribune and New Times

It might have been fair to see that kind of coverage for those in favor of the proposition. The California Chief Probation Officers Association (who better understands the reality of the inmate population), the governor of California, and the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times as well as many others are voting yes on Proposition 57. The Times had it right when stating that “Prop. 57 is a much-needed check on prosecutorial power.” 

I will share what the proposition states: Proposition 57 keeps dangerous offenders locked up (does any reasonable person think they would do otherwise?). It would only allow parole consideration for people with non-violent convictions who complete the full prison term for their primary offense. 

Dan Dow, SLO County DA, states, “The proposition is only being proposed to stop overcrowding.” Not true, but why is that a bad thing? The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and it has exploded by 500 percent in the last two decades. Prosecutors have one objective and that is in direct conflict with their current ability to charge juveniles as adults: Proposition 57 requires judges instead of prosecutors to make that determination; Proposition 57 authorizes a system of credits used for rehabilitation, good behavior, and education. Currently, inmates leave prison without rehabilitation, re-offend, and cycle back into the system. No one is automatically released, or entitled to release from prison, under Proposition  57. 

To be granted parole, all inmates, current and future, must demonstrate that they are rehabilitated and do not pose a danger to the public. The Board of Parole Hearings, made up of law enforcement officials, determines who is eligible for release. Any individuals approved for release will be subject to mandatory supervision by law enforcement. 

Please don’t believe the scare opinions; read the proposition for yourself.

One clarification about a recent letter

The Anesthesiology Department - Twin Cities Community Hospital -

This letter is in response to a letter (“Not surprised about Twin Cities’ problems”) in the Oct. 13 issue of New Times in which Dr. Stephen Mulder describes himself as a “30 year veteran of the surgical department” at Twin Cities Community Hospital (TCCH). His self-description is accurate, but his letter doesn’t make clear that Dr. Mulder’s association with the Anesthesiology Department at TCCH concluded in July of 2015 and that he does not speak for the current members of the Anesthesiology Department.

Our department is committed to providing excellent service for the patients of TCCH and has been for more than 20 years. We are actively engaged in leadership and advisory roles, as partners with the hospital.

Our high regard for the hospital is reflected by the fact that most of our group’s members have either been patients here or have family members who have been patients here at TCCH. Providing excellent care involves continuous vigilance and effort, and we remain dedicated to that goal.