Wednesday, May 24, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 43

Weekly Poll
Does the Las Pilitas Quarry project deserve the second chance?

No. The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission already shot it down the first time.
Yes, but only if the county approves the smaller, alternative proposal for the quarry.
The county should approve the quarry project at its full size.
I don't care either way.

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

In defense of history (and Eva Ulz)

Z. Daniel McKiernan - Los Osos -

Dana Parker dismissing Eva Ulz’s history lesson and public work as propaganda (“A different internment lesson,” April 27) is a disservice to SLO’s citizenry and history. It makes me question if you, Ms. Parker, left the proverbial armchair to critically engage the History Center’s exhibit, “Tranquility Disrupted: Japanese Exclusion and San Luis Obispo County.” What Ms. Ulz has accomplished in collaboration with the community is critical to our understanding of Japanese-Americans’ contribution to the vitality of the Central Coast—despite hardships I trust you never weathered.

The public remembrance of President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, moreover, puts into sharper view recent executive orders oozing with xenophobic nationalism. Comparing patterns of presidential executive orders is exactly what serious students and studies of history do. Comparison is a primary tool in the historian’s toolbox. Without it, history wouldn’t (or couldn’t) be history. It’d be akin to a carpenter without a hammer, a poet without a pen, or, gulp, a president without books. I challenge your assumption that history is disappearing and argue the contrary: It is more prevalent and relevant than ever. What you’re experiencing, Ms. Parker, like others who subscribe to master national (and nationalist) narratives, is a more inclusive type of history reflective of our diverse constituency.

My advice to you and your ilk would be to visit the History Center’s excellent exhibits and extensive archives to put Ms. Ulz’s efforts into proper context. You just may feel the politics and racism that you’re so quick to eschew in Ms. Ulz’s lessons of history.

Christianity doesn't judge

Todd R. Long, Ph.D. - Arroyo Grande -

SLO High School teacher Michael Stack’s letter to Expressions commits two common but grave errors in interpreting the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans. First, Stack’s reference to The New Living Translation is a bad translation. A faithful translation of Romans 1:26 says, “For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature.” This passage does not mention lesbian relations. Indeed, for hundreds of years, church fathers such as Augustine and Clement of Alexandria interpreted the passage as referring to anal intercourse with the opposite sex.

Second, Stack ends his quotation before the end of Romans 1, but the apostle Paul clearly intended his argument to extend into Romans 2. The first word of Romans 2 is “Therefore,” which demonstrates that Romans 2 finishes Paul’s setup in Romans 1. An intelligent reading indicates that Paul’s whole point is that we readers are the guilty ones for judging others: “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.”

It is high time for Christians to heed the calls of the apostle Paul as well as Jesus himself: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” The good news of the Gospel is that God loves every single person unconditionally. It is sad to say but until Christians themselves get this memo, we are going to continue to hear them espouse anti-Christian rhetoric in the name of the one who died to set us free from it.

Dunes pollution needs solution

Dorothy Modafferi - Nipomo -

It has been years since it was determined that Nipomo Mesa residents were, and still are, being subjected to a significant health hazard: silica dust from the Oceano Dunes. It also has been years since scientific studies have determined, and have maintained, that closing the off-highway vehicle park is unnecessary to resolve the problem. Yet here we are, seven years later, with little to show from the Air Pollution Control District, Coastal Commission staff, and California Resources Board efforts to hold State Parks Off Highway Vehicles Division accountable for the impacts of its operations. Our Board of Supervisors, owners of the offending property within the park, has turned its back on its constituents entirely.

We hope that will begin to change as the Mesa Community Alliance lawsuit finally has its day in court. Hearing dates have now been set and perhaps the courts will provide a desperately needed resolution. It is way overdue.

'RVs for Vets' up for grabs

Becky Jorgeson - Santa Margarita -

Fellow homeless veteran advocates: Hope’s Village needs someone to take over our very successful “RVs for veterans” program. We’ve now passed on 65 RVs to homeless veterans (our latest donor was one of our own county supervisors). This program is very simple. No money exchanges hands, and no liability is incurred. We are just the middleman. All it takes is a heart for our homeless veterans, a phone, and a computer.

While this is a volunteer program, the thanks you get is knowing that you yourself got a veteran out of the dirt (or hiding in the bushes to avoid being cited for “illegal lodging” at night) and into his or her very own home. Please consider and call with questions: 234-5478.

'Fox' in the 'hen house'

Robert McHale - San Luis Obispo -

There are many things to be against and to be angrily aroused about concerning Donald Trump and his administration.

One of the major areas to me and to many others is the weakening of environmental protections, along with weakening protections for workers on the job. Trump has appointed people to Cabinet positions and as heads of agencies who have always been hostile to environmentalists and environmental protection laws and regulations. He has signed executive orders that have opened the door for oil pipelines shown to threaten many lands and water systems, and to allow mining companies and others to dump toxic waste and sludge into rivers that empty into lakes and the ocean. The list goes on and on.

For Californians, these trends pose ominous threats. We pride ourselves on our clean and pristine state natural resources. People travel thousands of miles and from all over the world to visit here to see the profound beauty and natural wonder. What will happen now under the Trump regime? Our state government has vowed to fight back and to protect us, but will they, and we, be able to resist strongly enough?

The proverbial “fox” is now firmly in control of the hen house. The wolf circles the herd. In every area of social, political, economic life we are being attacked—environment, health care, commerce and finance, education and schools, the economy in general, and so on. We have no choice but to fight back, take to the streets, resist, and reverse this disaster.