Tuesday, April 25, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 39
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Weekly Poll
Are you concerned about the recent deaths in the SLO County jail?

Yes, there are obviously some very severe problems and we need a change in leadership.
Yes, but more people die in local hospitals than in our jail. A few deaths per year is to be expected.
No, I think the press is exaggerating. These things happen.
No, I'm not concerned. These people are criminals.

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Not a 'natural' death

Nancy Dahl - Los Osos -

I am shocked by Sheriff Ian Parkinson’s statement concerning the death of Andrew Holland. The sheriff states in his report that, “though the seated position, dehydration, and self-injury were all possibly contributory to the cause of death, the formation of the intrapulmonary embolism was a natural response in the body.”

Yes, death is a “natural” response to being inhumanely held immobile in a chair for 46 hours! It is also a “natural response in the body” to die from a murderer’s bullet!

The sheriff’s statement is absurd and blatantly trying to deceive us from the truth.

That big clot (5 centimeters) most probably came from Andrew’s legs after being restrained by straps and causing blood to pool, creating a clot, which, when he was finally released from the chair, made its way to his right lung and killed him. The clot was caused by the cruel torture of this young man. As an RN, I am appalled at the care he received. In hospitals, restraint policies are extremely strict—a last resort, no matter the circumstance. This young man should have been at a mental health facility.

Sheriff Parkinson even calls this chair a “safety chair.” It might as well have been an electric chair.

I extend my sympathy to Andrew’s family. The family needs to take legal action so this can never happen again. The grand jury, the District Attorney, the Board of Supervisors, and all authorities above the sheriff and county jail need to investigate and hold responsible the incompetent entities and humans who killed this young man.


Hell awaits

Emily Gold - Paso Robles -

There is currently the idea in our culture that it is all right not to practice or to believe in human birth control. That is insane.

Until the last 200 years, our species had a population less than a billion, and most of human cultures or belief systems could seek to multiply human numbers. But now, with massive recent human population growth (400 percent in 100 years) we have 7.5 billion people today. If you don’t recognize the current crisis, project that growth 1,000 years into the future, Earth would have a population of millions of billions. We know that is impossible. So what will stop it? Either birth control or some form of hell on Earth—starvation, disease, war, murder, extermination.

Lack of birth control will result in hell on Earth.

Moral responsibility to the future requires us to be advocates of birth control. (This is not a statement about abortion.) People who oppose birth control are bringing us hell, they are not following God’s teaching, or being politically correct.

Those people who say religious freedom allows opposition to birth control are not addressing our collective future. They are not fighting for the rights of the poor. They are just insane. They may be disciples of the devil. They certainly are not “cerebral.” They are clearly immoral when you acknowledge a future. People who worship the past, who think moral responsibility can be applied to the present and not the future, or think that their belief system makes birth control irrelevant or just unimportant, are part of an insane culture. The insane belief that we can do without birth control is currently prevalent in many of our religions, our politics, and our cultures.

That insanity is in our current media. Anti-birth control members of the “religious right” are clearly insane; the pope can’t quite find sanity, and I’m not too sure about Amy Goodman. Neither God nor socialism will save us.

Hell awaits.


Automatic opposition

Boris Roberts - Santa Maria -

I can agree with Al Fonzi about the political parties of this country (“When words become weapons,” April 13). Notice I said parties; it’s not just one party.

Especially when you have the extreme right-wing talk-radio guys, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and the rest making statements like “liberalism is a mental disorder,” falling in lockstep with every other Republican talking head about climate change, and ignoring facts, insulting anyone with a different opinion. And the fact is, both sides do it. Both sides will insult the other as a matter of course, they will oppose whatever the other side supports, no matter if it actually helps, no matter if it moves the country forward. Automatic opposition.

And to be honest, I don’t see any difference between the sides. Abortion? Religion? Just things to divide people, and nothing is going to be different when it comes down to the real issues, such as keeping us in these wars (gotta keep the defense industry going), big pharma, big agriculture, all keeping the candidates going with their political contributions. Whether right or left, without them, they won’t get elected.


Fast and loose facts

Richard Neidhardt - Los Osos -

In his April 13 op-ed “When words become weapons,” Al Fonzi has once again dipped into his inkwell of alternative facts. One in particular stands out: his claim that Hillary Clinton violated “a host of national security laws, regulations and policies ... .” As I recall, the FBI found that she violated no laws.

Mr. Fonzi’s loose relationship with facts is well established. One need look no further than Lawrence Shinderman’s April 13 piece, “Not an option,” to get another taste.

I find it apropos that Mr. Fonzi plays up his counterintelligence background, as most of the vitriol that flows from his pen is counter to most intelligent discourse.

Note: The byline of "Not an option" (April 13) has been corrected.


Oceanfront property in Arizona

Bev Phife - Creston -

Yes, California could fall into the Pacific but not from any earthquake. As of Nov. 1, 2017, we could all be sucked into Senate Bill 1 quicksand.

In effect, the program is not simply a huge $52.4 billion transportation program for 10 years; it’s a massive and unending confiscation of the people’s resources. The taxes could generate hundreds of billions over the decades. Worse yet, by adding the new taxes, the Sacramento politicians can use existing revenues, which are also increasing, to fund more staff, more raises, more out of control pension costs, more pet projects and patronage.

And, what if Measure J had passed? SLO County taxpayers would now be double-burdened with a new half-cent sales tax plus increases in the state’s gasoline tax, diesel fuel tax, and vehicle license fees. Some of the cities already had voter-approved tax overrides, which, had Measure J passed, would have meant that their citizens could have been triple taxed.

Thank you Debbie Arnold, Lynn Compton, Mike Brown, and Andrea Seastrand for your insight and enlightening us to Measure J’s deceit. Wake up California or we’ll all be “swimming with the fishes.”


North County treasures

Gidi Pullen - Templeton -

We who live in the North County are blessed with a wildly beautiful coastline, seemingly endless skies stretching over rolling hills dotted with rangelands and vineyards—and our very own symphony orchestra, “Symphony of the Vines.”

Today, at the end of the 2016-2017 concert season, I would like to thank the entire orchestra for making this person’s heart beat a little faster during their end-of-the season performance of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony played at the Park Ballroom in Paso Robles on Sunday, April 9. Under the incredible artistic talent of Maestro Greg Magie, the musicians were held in perfect unison until erupting into a magnificent rendition of the concerto’s thunderstorm song.

My gratitude for being able to listen to some of the most beautiful music ever composed also goes to the symphony orchestra’s chamber section. A heartfelt thank you to the accomplished and acclaimed players for their beautiful performance on March 26 of Schubert’s lovely Trout Quintet at Cass Vineyards. It’s all been so incredibly enjoyable and so uplifting in a world that doesn’t seem to be very generous with moments where the essence of our human souls can shine together.

With the close of this season we can all look forward to the opening of the 2017-2018 season in October.


Self-reflection

Donald Merrill - Arroyo Grande -

In reading Mr. Fonzi’s latest missive (“When words become weapons,” April 13), I must admit that I totally agree with his premise. Words can result in events spiraling out of control and beget violent confrontations that become worse over time. The political left and right have always been at some level of conflict, but over the last decade or so it has become much worse. Where we once had disagreements over issues, we now demonize the other side. This behavior only creates more problems; it does not solve them.

Since we all engage in some level of self-deception, it may be hard for you, Mr. Fonzi, to believe this, but you are part of this problem and not part of the solution. Both sides, liberals as well as conservatives are just as guilty of this behavior. It perpetuates because of self-deception. Just as others can see our faults better than we can see our own, we can see this behavior in those on the other side of the political divide. But at the same time, we rationalize our own behavior as acceptable because we’re the ones in the right. Think about this. How can it be right, if this behavior leads to more rancor and intransigence on both sides, as it obviously has?

The cure is not to blame the other side exclusively, as this will only perpetuate the problem. If both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, focus on cleaning up their own house, we just might regain the level of political civility of years gone past. One side cannot shame the other side into changing their behavior, but peer pressure is apt to be more effective if it’s exerted from peers who share the same side of the political divide as yourself, whichever side that is. This country is built upon a great many different cultures and points of view getting along. The hard work our ancestors have put into this endeavor is at risk if we don’t try to be a little more self-reflective and work together, focusing on what worked before. Remember, bipartisanship is not a crime, so let’s not treat it like one and stop demonizing others who think differently than ourselves.