Tuesday, July 22, 2014     Volume: 28, Issue: 51
Featured Slideshow


Panga Boat Bust 9/6

Weekly Poll
What local issue has you the most outraged?

The lawsuits against Chipotle.
The ongoing drama over fences at Ontario Ridge.
The spread of failed attempts to ban medical marijuana mobile dispensary services.
The proposal to prohibit people from setting up seats for the Cayucos Fourth of July parade.

Vote! | Poll Results

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Bring on the compost (and food and wine)!

Laurie Fraser - San Luis Obispo -

Much thanks for the article about composting a couple weeks ago (“Anatomy of a compost pile,” July 17)! Black Diamond Vermicompost is awesome stuff. (And I immediately bought both of the books Cristy Christie recommended; I can never have enough books about soil!)

I always enjoy hearing about agriculture- and food-related hacks people can do at home, and composting is insanely cheap, no matter what kind of space one has. If you've ever shown a worm bin to a little kid, you know the inherent delight those squiggly little earthmovers can instill.

It's also cool that the Bites column is using the space to cover more than one or two items every week. There is soooo much food and wine stuff going on that it's impossible to cover everything. This way, I can read about something and look into it more if I'm interested.

We do need panhandler handling in SLO

Julia Pavelko - San Luis Obispo -

Dear Shredder, The Shredmeister, His Shredness, El Shredderino, if you're not into brevity:

While I agree with your opinion of downtown security being the pedantic and litigious I'm-in-charge-till-mom-gets-home eldest sibling babysitters of the city (“Over a double barrel of ale,” July 15), I must also agree with their efforts to minimize the homeless/panhandling population here. I write to you not as a happy, rich resident of SLO, but as a disgruntled, bourgeois, twenty-something downtown employee.

I was born and raised in SLO, and I was taught to work for my money. I am downtown every day, working, and I get asked, every day, if I have any spare change. Spare change. I live in a shitty apartment, I pay almost my entire income to live there, and I can't even afford a car, which means I get to rely on our public transportation, which, during the summer, is an absolute joke, considering the buses stop two hours before most businesses close, which means I get to walk by a panhandler almost every block on my way home. So no, I don't have any "spare" change.

Another reason I would appreciate the situation being handled is because a vast majority of the homeless population is mentally unstable, and will sometimes be volatile to any passersby. I do not find it to be an unreasonable expectation to be able to walk alone somewhere and not get yelled at.

So, what I'm asking, if you would be so obliged, is that you please spare a thought for us working-class chums downtown. We make your coffee, we sell your ironic T-shirts and $5 sunglasses, we pour your beer. Our groceries are bought with tip money, and we hate the entitled trust fund kids and their yuppie parents just as much as the next guy. We just also don't want to deal with bums every day, asking for our money or coming in to our establishments to use our bathrooms to bathe in, especially considering that this town has a copious amount of homeless services, including showers and food.

I've been waiting for this strategy

Judy Weiss - Brookline, Mass. -

Heidi Harmon wrote an informative commentary explaining why a carbon tax charged on all fossil fuels and rebated to the public would serve as the best solution to climate change (“Climate crisis has no party affiliation,” May 22). Gary Wechter wrote a response to her commentary that criticized every point she made, however, he failed to provide a single shred of evidence to indicate any information she presented was faulty (“Climate change nonsense,” July 3). For example, after summarizing each of her points, Wechter countered with statements like “Does anyone besides me see anything wrong with that?” or “Somehow I don’t think so,” or “I’ll let the reader figure that one out.” Those statements are heavy with snark, but light on evidence.

A lead editor of the Wall Street Journal, not exactly a bastion of high-minded environmentalism, wrote an opinion piece blasting Henry Paulson and his risky business colleagues for scaring the public with more dire warnings about climate change (“Birth of a Climate Mafia,” July 2, Wall Street Journal). Instead, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. wrote they should stop with the warnings and focus on a simple solution: “A straight-up, revenue-neutral carbon tax clearly is our first-best policy, rewarding an infinite and unpredictable variety of innovations by which humans would satisfy their energy needs while releasing less carbon into the atmosphere.”

As a retired CPA, I’ve been waiting for the WSJ to endorse a revenue-neutral carbon tax to lower emissions. It is a harbinger that Congress will act. I urge your readers to check out the local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, meet Heidi Harmon, and join her as CCL volunteers lobby Congress to enact carbon tax and rebate legislation.

Increase climate change understanding

Dr. Ray Weymann - Atascadero -

California students will soon be learning science and critical thinking under the Next Generation Science Standards.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Gary Wechter (see his July 3 commentary “Climate change nonsense”) was not similarly taught. He would then learn the concept of “time scales” and that the climate change associated with the ice ages took place over tens of thousands of years due to Earth’s orbital changes.

He would learn that human activities in the last few decades have increased carbon dioxide levels to those not seen in several million years, and he would understand the basic and well understood physics of the greenhouse effect.

Reading more widely, he might also learn that it is not just “Ms. Harmon and her ilk” who understand the serious impacts that human-induced climate change is having and will continue to have on all of us. It is also several former Republican EPA administrators as well as former Republican Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson who advocate—guess what: a tax on carbon. These prominent leaders also understand that incentives to hasten the conversion to energy sources that are cost-competitive with coal and oil will position the United States in a position of economic strength, not weakness, as the entire world follows our lead.