Wednesday, January 18, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 25

Weekly Poll
Do you support the SLO County Board of Supervisors electing John Peschong as chair over Adam Hill?

Yes, the new conservative majority has a right to flex its muscle.
No, the board broke a nonpartisan tradition of rotating the chair, and Hill was next in line.
It doesn't matter—the liberals are screwed either way.
I've stopped following this circus years ago.

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Plastic water bottles and natural disasters

Charles Bird - San Luis Obispo -

I am writing in response to the article about SLO plastic bottle ban in the Jan. 5 issue, “SLO city looks to go plastic bottle-less.” The concern I have is the availability of bottled water during an emergency or disaster. 

From experience in disasters and military service, bottled water is an essential item in emergency response. Tap water can be unavailable due to power outage, ruptures, or contaminants. Single-serving-size bottled waters are more convenient to transport, as you can stack them. 

Imagine carrying a 5-gallon container for a mile, when you only need to provide for five people—bottled water makes much more sense. Since initial disaster response falls under the responsibility of local government, there has to be a contingency supply on hand. Even if bottled water is stored at a storage location for just that purpose, there is a possibility that it may not be accessible, due to the nature of disasters. 

I agree that plastic bottles pose a waste and pollution problem, but recycling efforts seem to have increased. Also, the ban would impact the low-income and homeless population, who rely on aluminum and plastic recycling collection for income. 

School districts should stay out of banking

Michael Botwin and Caroline Botwin - San Luis Obispo -

We think that the low-interest mortgage that the San Luis Coastal Unified School District board is offering the superintendent is ill advised.

If board members feel that he can’t afford to buy a house in SLO on his salary, how do they expect their faculty and staff to buy homes in SLO on one third of the superintendent’s salary?

Yes, he may be doing a great job, but so are their faculty and staff.

The board should stick to the education field, not meddle in the banking business.


Michael Botwin, professor emeritus, Cal Poly

Caroline Botwin, former San Luis Coastal Unified School District board member

Personal responsibility

Andrea Rule - Paso Robles -

I want to comment on Charmaine Combra’s intelligent opinion article, (“Make us great again,” New Times, Jan. 5). She pretty much summed up many of the ingredients in the current political recipe of Donald Trump’s infamous “Make America Great Again” slogan.

America needs to stop, at this time in her history, and take a hard look at her personal makeup. If suicide is indeed one of the leading causes of preventable death (diabetes and obesity as well), and drunk driving is another disturbing trend in America, what do these things all have in common?

Personal responsibility, it seems to me. And yes, it seems America is collapsing on itself, a direct correlation to our collapsing environment. And all of these issues are preventable deaths.

These facts make me agree with Coimbra that the way America stays great is to make you and I great again—inside and outside. I personally have always felt great just to be able to live in this amazing country. I have a life that allows me to live eight months a year in the mountains in Idaho, and four months in California in the winter. I feel very fortunate to have this ability to live in nature in Idaho and be in warm wine country in California.

Regarding Coimbra’s views on compassion, I find myself more than ever this year needing to cultivate it. This election has divided us as never before, and I will strive to be a better, more open-minded person, and I know it is easier to practice kindness when I set my intention, which, her article reminded me to do.

Mentoring someone who deserves it

Madge Morningstar - Morro Bay -

January is National Mentoring Month. Please help me say thanks to all the local people who made my amazing mentor experience possible. For the last few years, I was a volunteer mentor to a Los Osos girl through Big Brothers Big Sisters. My “Little” and I built a great friendship and had a lot of fun. I used to worry about what would happen if I ever moved to another town. 

But when I did, the agency did an amazing job of walking me through that transition. I want to thank everyone at our local Big Brothers Big Sisters office for being so supportive and responsive. I also want to thank the new Big Sister who stepped in to be there for a really special kid who deserves it. Most of all, I want to thank my Little Sister’s parents for enrolling their daughter in the program. I am truly grateful to them for the trust they placed in me and for the appreciation they have shown me. 

It has been one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling things I have ever done. I am so proud of my Little Sister and so happy to be part of her life. Even though we won’t be hanging out twice a month like we used to, I know we’ll be friends forever. I have already said all this to everyone at Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County, but I hope you will print this so they know I really, really mean it!