Tuesday, April 21, 2015     Volume: 29, Issue: 38

Weekly Poll
Where should new development go in SLO County?

Packed into existing cities.
Spread into quiet, rural areas.
Oh, I’ll tell ya where you can put your new development.

Vote! | Poll Results

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Farmers--including almond growers--don't take water for granted

Carolyn Sokol - Templeton -

This letter is being written with the hope of broadening the views of Karen Juran (“A ‘nut’ case,” April 9) and those who agree with her that the governor is being too soft on farmers. Please understand that this drought affects us all—some more than others. People who live in town may lose their lawns; farmers lose not only their lawns but their crops, which translates to their source of income and ultimately their homes. If the crops fail, we all lose food. California feeds most of the United States and parts of the rest of the world. If the U.S. loses its ability to feed its citizens, then we will have to depend on the rest of the world to feed us. If that happens, we (the U.S. citizens) will be essentially owned by those countries who will then have the power of life or death over us.

As a farmer, I respect water, and it is not taken for granted. The occasional rupture of a waterline is a tragedy to me. I have already lost my lawns and pastures. I am trying to preserve my orchards. I am learning to re-capture gray water. And I hope to grow produce for you, Karen, and that we can get through this drought together.

PS: My few almond trees each consume 2 gallons of water per hour, eight hours per day, one day per week. Being deciduous, they get watered roughly nine to 10 months per year. That is about 640 gallons per year. I assure you they each produce well over 1 pound of almonds each. (I’ve never kept track of the poundage, but it is a lot more than 1 pound.) I don’t know where NBC News got its numbers for almond trees, but it is dead wrong, and I suspect the numbers for broccoli and rice are equally questionable.

Public distrust of PG&E's 'Culture of Safety'

Milton Carrigan - San Luis Obispo -

On a recent Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) levied a record $1.6 billion penalty on PG&E for the 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight in the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno. Since the explosion, PG&E has been issued many safety citations by the CPUC. Not surprisingly the commission plans to launch a formal investigation into the utility’s “culture of safety.”

There are steps that PG&E can take to persuade the commission and the public that it has a genuine culture of safety. Slick public relations ads aren’t among them. Consideration of safety recommendations of CPUC independent peer review panels, on the other hand, are. Last month, such a panel expressed concern regarding the adequacy of PG&E using only two earthquakes in estimating seismic safety at Diablo Canyon and made recommendations to improve the study. PG&E ignored these recommendations and refused follow-up meetings with the CPUC Panel, missing an opportunity to demonstrate commitment to an authentic culture of safety.

You think parking in Pismo is bad?

Betty Woody - Avila Beach -

I recently read about the Pismo Beach parking problem. We here in Avila Beach have a worse problem. Not only do we not have enough parking for residents and visitors, we have a two-lane road to our beautiful community, beach, and Port San Luis Harbor.

In the year 2000, when the Avila Beach Specific Plan was certified by the California Coastal Commission, our lack of parking and our two-lane road were discussed. Over the past 15 years, they have been discussed numerous times, but that is all that has been done—talk, talk, and more talk—with no action taken to correct the problem.

I recently attended a hometown meeting and not one but four huge projects consisting of RV spaces, campsites, cabins, hotels, conference rooms, and much more were being proposed for our area.

The Avila Beach community has been trying for 15 years to get more road access to our town and more parking. Our request seems to have fallen on deaf ears. No developments of this size should even be considered. Let’s correct the problems we now have before we take on another one.

Wake up to ethics, students!

Carol Kiessig - Templeton -

I’m just home from Southern California and read the article about the 67 students who cheated at Cuesta (“Class action,” April 9).

Given the snarky news coming out of Cal Poly, this just hit me hard. What are our Central Coast students thinking? Or are they thinking at all? Do they have zero values? Zero sense of ethics? I’d hate to think they are following in the ways of our government, as we seriously need future leaders who believe in ethics and moral values—and I’m not talking religion here, but those values that allow us to survive as a civilized nation … .

That said, I do not think the fact that Cuesta is not forthcoming about what the punishments are/were is complimentary either, but do know that donations to either Cal Poly and Cuesta will not be on my radar this year, nor will I suggest that others donate either until both schools solve their problems, whether it be with the Greek system or cheating. I really care not; just clean house!

We need this mental help in North County

Rosemary Dexter - Atascadero -

As a concerned resident of Atascadero since 1981, I have seen and heard of many situations where mental diagnosis and treatment have been needed. As I have heard and been reading about this proposed mental health hospital in Templeton, it seems to me to be a perfect fit for this area. The property is in a medical setting. The plans for the care of patients is well thought out. There should be no need to fear the people who would benefit from this facility.

They will be our neighbors of all ages.

We especially need to think of the children who will be helped. Please, give your consent and blessing for this project.