Sunday, January 25, 2015     Volume: 29, Issue: 26

Weekly Poll
Are there adequate services in SLO County for people with mental illnesses?

Not even close.
People mean well, but are hampered by insufficient resources.
This is normally where the joke answer goes, but why would you joke about it?

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

There's no food shortage--just a healthy food shortage

Robert Sachs - San Luis Obispo -

About a month ago, on Dec. 15, 2014, NPR reported something that is significant to all of us locally and nationally. The Obama Administration is going to fund a number of experts to draft a document titled, “Dietary Goals for the United States.” Sounds worthwhile. Sounds like “at last ... .”

But here is the problem. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter did the exact same thing. “Dietary Goals for the United States”—the 1978 edition—looked at the cause of chronic and degenerative diseases in America and linked it to malnutrition. The recommendation was to cut down on sugar, salt, red meat, and dairy products and to increase our use of whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. The report was condemned by the International Sugar Growers, the American Cattleman Association, and the American Dairy Council. The result was a watered down version re-released during the Reagan Administration.

The new version not yet written, the experts are basically saying the same thing, but are also drawing attention—what they say “for the first time”—to sustainability, seeing how the use of land for growing corn and grazing cattle wastes land that could provide better nutrition for more people by growing grains, fruits, and vegetables. Catching wind of this, the American beef producers are already lobbying against this upcoming report. They want the document to state what nutrients are needed for health without specifying what foods to get those nutrients from. No doubt, the sugar and dairy associations will weigh in shortly.

Ag land for cows. Ag land for wine. After all, doesn’t a steak go with a good red? The point here is that to utilize land for either in excess takes away from land that would far better serve humanity if it went to directly producing foods to feed us all.

In truth, there is no food shortage. And, we have enough healthy food to bring the standards of health and welfare up for all worldwide. However, the demand for meat worldwide is increasing and there is more money in meat and wine than there is in carrots. And there are an excess of ignorant, arrogant, and self-serving politicians and lobbying groups who are looking more to profits than real global sustainability. As Mr. Obama still seems to be cozy with Monsanto and the like, I wonder what “Dietary Goals ... ” will look like. Or is it just one more piece of political theater masquerading as caring?

There were many reasons Hill won

Ron Holt - Arroyo Grande -

The commentary by Bob Cuddy in the Jan. 8 New Times (“Jan. 1 didn’t erase 2014’s wounds in Arroyo Grande”) contains so much derp that it would take an equally long response to properly critique it. I will just speculate that he has decided to uncritically accept Tony Ferrara’s explanation of his campaign failure as “the truth” and is not open to consider other views on the subject. Jim Hill not only does not owe Mr. Cuddy any proof of character, but would probably be wasting his time trying, as Mr. Cuddy has apparently already closed his mind to the possibility that there were good reasons for people to vote for Mr. Hill and against Mr. Ferrara. (Yes, I said “reasons”—plural.)

For those not familiar with the issues, the cover-up of the probably sex scandal was merely the last straw in putting together a campaign to oust Ferrara. His leadership in allowing the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District to waste millions in reserves while earning fines for pollution due to poor maintenance management should have been reason enough. But sewer mismanagement is not the type of issue that grabs enough public attention to overcome the benefits of incumbency in an election. So the “sexy” issue provided the edge.

As for the rest of his spiel against CCN and Congalton, if the Fibune (for which Mr. Cuddy worked) had taken the responsibility of public watchdog seriously, the upstart journalists may well have faded into obscurity. Instead, our daily county rag has been catering to the status quo powers and rewriting press releases as news stories for so long that they seem to think that investigative journalism is an obsolete concept. CCN has its journalistic flaws (some correctly pointed out by Mr. Cuddy), but unquestioning acceptance of the words of whoever is in power is a bigger flaw.

The proposed quarry will negatively impact safety

Elisabeth Rathjen, Stephen Gonzales - Santa Margarita -

The proposed Las Pilitas Resources LLC mine location would create a significant safety hazard on S.R. 58. There has been much discussion about how many truck trips there will actually be per day. In reality, even a much lower number of truck trips would create a hazard due to loaded 80,000-pound gravel trucks exiting the project driveway. Attention has been given to the danger of trucks turning left into the project driveway and the necessity for a left turn lane, but the project does not include an acceleration lane. Loaded trucks would pull directly out onto S.R. 58 from just east of the Salinas River bridge, climbing up a grade and over the 323-foot-long bridge. The trucks will travel for nearly a half mile uphill before they would be able to gain speed. Frustrated drivers might pass in this dangerous section, and there could be serious accidents.

There are other existing aggregate mines in the area with plenty of untapped resources that will be permitted as needed to meet our future aggregate demands. These existing operations are better sited with much safer access to and from our public roads. The public should not be required to suffer the dangerous impacts of this poorly sited project. If county decision makers approve this proposed quarry, it must include conditions requiring an acceleration lane on S.R. 58 to save lives.

Disassociate from Supervisor Adam Hill

Bev Phifer - Creston -

I am part of a group of concerned SLO county citizens who attended the latest Board of Supervisors meeting (Jan. 13). We are dedicated to represent our neighbors who cannot take time away from their working lives to challenge the decisions made by our elected officials.

We are concerned about the fact that we had no input in the automatic induction of Adam Hill as vice-chairman. We have put up with Mr. Hill’s unprofessional, degrading rantings against us for years now and have brought the matter to the board’s attention numerous times. I am embarrassed and ashamed to have this man sit on our Board of Supervisors and have a say in the most important decisions in our community. At this point, this man could be our next chairman in 2016!

After our public comments were finished, Mr. Hill responded to our criticisms by saying that his fellow supervisors should disassociate themselves from the people who attack him. I would like to ask his fellow supervisors to disassociate themselves from Mr. Hill for his degrading, sick rantings against us.

I will again proudly represent my fellow hard working, tax paying citizens at the Jan. 27 meeting.