Saturday, April 25, 2015     Volume: 29, Issue: 39

Weekly Poll
Have you ever or will you ever run a marathon?

I have and it’s a wonderful challenge for body and mind.
I really want to, but it’s a tad intimidating.
Are you out of your freaking mind? Why would anyone do such a thing?
The only marathons I like require Netflix and result in bed sores.

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Most of us weren't on the roof


This letter is written to answer with a strong “yes” those who ask if college students have ethics/values—especially to Carol, author of the letter “Wake up to ethics, students” (April 16). My defensive spirit awoke within me when I read your letter, Carol. I was hurt and angered, to say the least. So, I ask you this “ethical” question: Why punish the many for the actions of a the few?

The part where I was confused the most was when you said we need future leaders who believe in ethics and moral values, but then proceeded to say how you would not be making any donations this year to Cal Poly or Cuesta. This seems like a contradiction, no? That doesn’t sound like good ethics or good moral values. Furthermore, unless you’re not paying taxes, you are making donations to both of these partially state-funded schools. Also, I think you actually mean that you want leaders who have (not just believe in) moral values. Ethics is a subject, like math, and moral values are conclusions based on “facts,” so it’d be pretty hard not to believe in either of them. In fact, you probably want only those leaders who have your own moral beliefs, and think that we should “clean house” of those who disagree. Sounds like censorship ... hmmm. Finally, let me pose an example to you, Carol:

What if there were a hit-and-run in your town of Templeton (this is just a hypothetical; I mean no offense), and then one of your family members asked you if you did it? Then it was advertised on national news that Templeton is a city of reckless drivers, and then someone wrote into this newspaper asking if anyone in Templeton follows any laws, saying that they would not be doing any business with Templeton, and encouraging others to do likewise. They don’t even seem to believe that you possess basic ethical principles.

Enrollment at Cal Poly is approximately 20,000. If you look at the recent roof collapse incident, about 500 students were in attendance. That’s about 2.5 percent of the enrollment at Cal Poly, but that count includes many out-of-town students who were there. I can’t say for certain where the other 96 percent were, but I can assure you that I and about 200 other students weren’t there. That’s because Cal Poly’s Marching Band was on its way to San Francisco to perform for more than 1 million viewers live and internationally in the Chinese New Year’s Parade. It saddens me that the only way my university can be recognized nationally must be through bad publicity; my grandma in Pennsylvania called me the next day asking if I was “on the roof” (but said nothing about the parade).

If not already obvious, I am a student at Cal Poly. In fact, I am enrolled in an ethics class, having thoroughly enjoyed my first philosophy class taught by Dr. Stephen Ball. I believe in ethics and moral values, and more than that, I actually have them. Please, readers and Carol, do not punish me and my fellow classmates by not making donations to Cal Poly or Cuesta for the action of a few. According to a candidate for ASI president, Cal Poly is only 40 percent funded by the state, and the rest is through your generous donations. Please, do not give up on us. We are your future leaders, and we are your children.

Why not hire homeless youths?


I was, frankly, surprised to learn that the young adults referred to as “unaccompanied minors” (also known as “travelers”) are not able to even avail themselves of the free meals at outreach services (“Children deserve more from us,” April 16).

The forces that have brought them to the streets of America, as Zaf Iqbal has noted, are myriad: broken homes, drug abuse, etc. They (or others in their lives) may have made some poor choices, but they certainly should not become a “discarded” generation. I am not sure that the analogy is apt that they are likely to receive less than what abandoned domestic animals are getting at well-funded shelters (like Woods), but there you have it.

I have worked with the homeless in several ways over the course of my adult life. I was a socialization counselor through a grant provided by the LA County Department of Mental Health, served on the board of local Hopes Village, and wrote a “cheap” alternative housing manual once reviewed in New Times ( I once almost became homeless myself. And, yes, I believe in housing first—for most.

If these “travelers” seem respectful enough to want to earn some money, I suggest citizens initially hire them for small jobs to help them gain experience and a reference. You just have to ask.

Supes should OK Las Pilitas quarry


Supervisors will soon weigh in on the Las Pilitas Resources proposal and whether we embrace local residents wanting to do business here or send our dollars to businesses that support workers elsewhere.

As a strong supporter of the Las Pilitas Resources proposal, I see no issues in approving this project. The site is zoned for mining, identified as a place of “regional significance” for mineral extraction by the state of California, and is in an excellent location, right off a state highway that joins 101, the central corridor through San Luis Obispo County.

Age-old tactics by naysayers—added traffic, noise, and a drain on water resources—are all unfounded. An existing quarry outside Santa Margarita produces more traffic than the Las Pilitas Resources proposal will. The noise from a split-second blast is already ingrained in neighbors who live near to the quarry next door, which has been around for a hundred years. The Salinas River, running alongside the quarry site, will allow it to use river water, protecting the underground aquifers and neighbors’ wells.

It’s easy to pick apart the half-truths by NIMBYs that’ll oppose anything in their backyards. It’s hard to deny the need for additional aggregate resources our county needs to sustain ourselves in the future.

Don't deny our safety; deny the permit


The only way to keep our county safe from fires and explosions caused by oil train derailments—with their accompanying clouds of oily, toxic smoke that sticks to everything and their groundwater pollution—is to prevent the huge increase in oil trains going through our county. And the only way to do that is to deny a permit to Phillips 66.

Without a permit, the hugely increased traffic in oil trains won’t happen, because they would not be able to reach the refinery. The permit includes a rail spur to the refinery. Without the permit, they can’t build the spur. Keep us all safe. Deny the permit. Demand your city go on record as opposing the permit, and demand the county deny the permit.