Friday, September 19, 2014     Volume: 29, Issue: 8
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Panga Boat Bust 9/6

Weekly Poll
Do you buy art?

Buy? Man, you can’t put a price tag on art.
My home is filled with many fine paintings and antiquities.
I support what I can, but I’m on a limited budget.
Um … I’m actually still dodging my kid’s requests to pony up for a finger painting on the fridge.

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Actually, this is what A Better Atascadero does

Ron Walters - A Better Atascadero president -

A correction needs to be made to a recent letter, printed in New Times, which said that A Better Atascadero (ABA) does not report donations. This is incorrect.

A Better Atascadero is a nonprofit Political Action Committee and follows all legal reporting requirements, which are available for public review. All donations more than $99 are indeed reported, just as local city candidates are required to do.

ABA formed to support strong economic development, protect property rights, support local businesses, and provide information to residents on local issues. The reason candidates supported by A Better Atascadero have been elected is because ABA represents the position of a majority of Atascadero residents.

Drink responsibly

Cindy Stevens - Paso Robles -

Last summer, after our well went dry, I had the privilege of being interviewed by New Times concerning our water crisis. I remain extremely grateful for your care for this plight many suffer. Last month, several more neighbors went dry. Last week, I daily witnessed the drilling of a replacement well (meaning a new well due to a dry one) across the road from our farm. Generally, a replacement well costs from $30,000 to $40,000. This is no minor plumbing job.

It is important to note that many of us bought our properties back when there was only one vineyard out on Highway 46 East. Vineyards were considered a westside industry due to a lower terrain/higher rainfall environ. In buying a property with a well, you have a well inspection done by professionals during escrow. Other buyers received the same report as we did: “Plenty of water for a lifetime. Will need to replace the pump somewhere down the road.” We bought our properties wisely.

Yesterday, my neighbor called: “Turned on the faucet; no water came. Checked the well. We’re going dry.” Let’s put a face to this new dry well: This family is the “salt-of-the-earth” kind. Excellent parents with amazing kids. I have known the kids for years. Good, beloved kids. This family will be one of the first at your doorstep with a caring countenance and practical help when you are hit with hardship. They are hardworking, frugal, have known hard seasons without work, and have found a way to scrape through while still helping others. And they will have a mighty big bill to pay for a replacement well. This is wrong. Just wrong.

Driving into town at 12:30, Aug. 30, we spied a large vineyard off of Highway  46 using overhead sprinklers on a bare field. I assume it is preparation for a new planting of vines. Driving back home at 1:45, we saw that the water was still going. My husband again went past at 5, and the sprinklers were still on, to the point of wasteful runoff onto the road.

For the record, I am not anti-vineyard. Though I don’t often have a glass, being of a farming mind, I appreciate the quality crafting of wine in our county. I know there are responsible vineyard owners here who have cut down water use and care about their neighbors. But there are enough who are foolishly draining us dry. I ask that we each wisely consider what vineyard we purchase our wines from. Money does talk loud and clear. Presently, I still see plenty of visitors parked at the irresponsible wineries. Time to change our ways.

Listen to Michael Peck regarding Diablo

Lee A. Caulfield - Los Osos -

I am amazed at the glib response of NRC/PG&E to the known earthquake hazards at Diablo Canyon Nuclear power plant.

A prominent scientist who discovered the Shoreline fault has clearly stated that there are major sources of uncertainty regarding the fault system near the plant.

There can be no certainty of the safety of the plant when there is insufficient knowledge regarding these faults. Michael Peck, former inspector at Diablo and employee of the NRC, stated the plant needs to be closed down, and he is right.

Read Dr. Hardebeck’s analysis: or Google “Faults near DCPP: Sources of Uncertainty; Jean Hardebeck, USGS, SSHAC SSC Workshop, 2013.”

Is this a new Crusade?

Gerald Manata - Paso Robles -

It should not have come as any surprise—after centuries of interference, colonization, and exploitation in the oil-rich Middle East by Western powers—that another native radical group has seized land there, following what recently happened in Iran and Gaza. This apparently is too much for the West and, according to the latest polls, the U.S. public is being conned into supporting another military action.

The propaganda tactic is similar to that used before the Vietnam and Iraq wars. ISIL is portrayed as bad people doing nasty things (most dictatorships everywhere do, including those that have been supported by the United States). They are or will be a threat to our homeland (especially if we keep bombing them), and the U.S. promises to only use airstrikes and advisers to support a Western aligned government (future mission creep?). Some other underlying causes of the conflict, like the area’s serious overpopulation, poverty, and unemployment, will push the fighting to continue, with “nothing to lose” men in the area joining by the thousands. Religious sectarianism, as is often the case, thus becomes more of a rationalization for combat than a reason.

If ISIL and their supporters dream of reestablishing the Islamist Empire of the Middle Ages, we may be seeing what could be the opening stages of a new Crusade: the radical Islamists of the Middle East against the liberal, Christian West. Millions may end up dying. This time, however, one of the West’s client states—Israel—already has Jerusalem.