Thursday, February 11, 2016     Volume: 30, Issue: 29

Weekly Poll
Are you worried about gang violence increasing or coming in from nearby counties?

Yes. We can kiss the Happiest Town in America title goodbye.
I'm more worried about white collar crooks like Kelly Gearhart, Jay Miller, and Al Moriarty.
No. Our law enforcement is more than equipped to handle the problem.
It's inevitable unless we beef up outreach and social services for vulnerable youth.

Vote! | Poll Results

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

The Flood Control District is right for Paso

Inge Meinzer - Paso Robles -

Unlike many opponents of the proposed water district, we are not opposed to metering and regulating groundwater use. However, we want local control exercised by the local Flood Control District, an agency serving all county residents, rather than a board of directors consisting primarily of self-serving commercial agriculture property owners. Don’t be fooled by scare tactics. Sacramento will not take over basin management as long as the local Flood Control District continues to take care of it. This is the only way to truly preserve local control.

When we collected signatures for Pro Water Equity, their mission was a water district based on one vote per registered voter, not based on acreage. The group was headed by a small-vineyard owner who repeatedly voiced concerns about offending larger wineries because they might retaliate by not buying the grapes, therefore causing financial problems. Now that person is one of the four candidates running for a director’s slate in the tier representing rural residents. Two more candidates in that same group have financial interests in wine-related businesses and therefore a serious conflict of interest. That leaves one person who might conceivably represent rural residents. This is unacceptable for us!

Shredder: I'll tell you who a real patriot is

Marcus Karr - San Luis Obispo -

The Shredder shreds, but the insights are not very piercing. I refer to the latest piece in the “REAL PATRIOT department” (“False advertising,” Jan. 28), and specifically the idea we have a “God Given Right To Use Public Resources Without Paying For Them.” As a matter of fact, we do. Among these public resources are air and time. Among these are rain and shine. Should we pay for these too? If so, why? If not, then why pay for the use of land? It is just another God Given Finite Resource.

Is the Shredder aware of the Magna Carta? Does the Shredder know that the Magna Carta enshrined the ability of the public to use the King’s forest? Does the Shredder know that Robin Hood, a noble by birth, became an outlaw by hunting in the King’s forest? Does the Shredder know that Robin Hood’s enemy was King John—the same king hamstrung by the Magna Carta? What does the Shredder know, anyway? Is the Shredder on the side of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest and the Magna Carta and the Constitution—or on the side of King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham and Humpty Dumpty and all the king’s men?

Regarding Neil Sigurd Wampler, how do we know he is not an infiltrator or an agent provocateur? According to John E. Wampler, the name derives from the German for “stone wall.” To stonewall is to delay or block, which is precisely what the well-placed Wampler is doing. I hope one bad apple does not spoil the bunch.

Keep Big Grape out of your wallet

Maria Lorca - Paso Basin Advisory Committee alternate member, Creston -

Between now and March 8, when water district ballots are due, you will have your last chance to keep Big Grape out of your well and your wallet. If this district is established, all the future 218 funding votes will be based on acres owned. The more acres you own, the more votes you can cast. That means that the big pumpers that caused the problem in the first place will be in control. They have consistently advocated for expensive supplemental water projects instead of simply reducing their pumping. They maintain that their multimillion-dollar projects will benefit everyone, so everyone should be taxed accordingly.

Protect your water rights and your pocketbook.

Vote NO.

Don't paint over the art on utility boxes

Che Miller - San Luis Obispo -

I saw a call for artists to paint over existing art boxes in San Luis Obispo. I don’t understand why the city of San Luis Obispo is having artists paint over 17 utility boxes. There are plenty of utility boxes around town that haven’t been painted yet, and some neighborhoods have asked to have the art box project come to their streets.

These artists have spent hours upon hours digging into their creative minds to come up with ideas, then doing detailed renderings and applications to submit for a box. Then, when approved, they spend days working on the boxes in sometimes unforgiving conditions, being told they must use high-quality expensive paint for longevity. They do all this for a small amount of money and the chance to have their art displayed to the public. So to paint over an artist’s hard work is disrespectful and a waste of money. They should put the money toward other unpainted boxes or other public art.

Let's end the tobacco epidemic

David Clous - co-chairman, Tobacco Control Coalition of SLO County San Luis Obispo -

The Tobacco Control Coalition of San Luis Obispo County would like to thank you for running the story about Darin Dyroff and the e-cigarette explosion (“Pismo man sues after he’s injured by exploding e-cigarette,” Feb. 4). The Shredder also wrote an excellent opinion piece in that same issue regarding the tobacco industry, which includes e-products.

Our coalition has been working hard to raise awareness about these new tobacco products in recent years. While there have been a number of stories in the media about people who have sustained injuries related to exploding e-devices, the statistics regarding youth uptake are even more alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 2.4 million middle and high school students were current (past 30 days) e-cigarette users in 2014. Nicotine use during adolescence may cause damage to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use. 

There are several ways to fight back against the tobacco industry and its efforts to recruit new smokers. Local jurisdictions can regulate the sale and use of tobacco products by adopting and implementing their own ordinances, as the city of San Luis Obispo did last year. Tobacco retail license laws enable local law enforcement to significantly reduce sales to youth by providing funding through license fees to regularly conduct compliance checks. Comprehensive outdoor smoking policies greatly reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and tobacco litter by restricting smoking and vaping in outdoor areas, including parks, outdoor dining areas, entryways, sidewalks, service areas, public events, and worksites. 

The Tobacco Control Program and the coalition are available to provide information and technical assistance to local jurisdictions. Together we can help to end the tobacco epidemic.