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I'll be your county supervisor

I, sir, would like to announce my candidacy for office of county supervisor.

I have no clue as to what district I'll represent. That is of no concern to me, as I really don't give a damn what my constituents want or think.

I just want the money and the perks. But be aware, I'll quit tomorrow if I can bag a job in Moosebreath, Minn., 00914, for 20 bucks a month more.

Scruples, backbone, integrity, sir: I have none. That's why I want to be a county supervisor.

Gary Manninen





This is what scares them

What two words strike fear into the hearts of our local seasoned law enforcement professionals?

Terrorist attack? Nah.

Meth labs? Easy stuff.

Gang violence? Been there, done that.

Nope, the two words that will get these grizzled veterans of the streets' knees to shaking is (drum roll, please):


Be afraid, very afraid.

Michael McGee

San Luis Obispo




There are benevolent landlords

Here is an alternative perspective to Kai Beech's recent article on rising rents ("Rents are on the rise," Jan. 31).

As a longtime landlord, I have a policy of not raising rents during any tenants' occupancy. In fact, in direct contradiction to the Preston Allen quote, I recently decreased the rent (by 11 percent) for a single mom with a child who had just successfully completed her first year of tenancy. I know other landlords with similar policies.

Two simple explanations of rental economics: First, turnover is expensive for everyone. Note that hotels charge huge rents (per night!) because of the high costs of transient tenancy (cleaning, repairs, paperwork, etc). Also, in my experience, most tenants do not treat a rental as well as they would their own home, so far more repairs are needed, and students tend to be even more abusive.

Second, do the math: The monthly costs to buy a housing unit in SLO County today are $400 to $1,000 more per month than the "high" market rental rate, so landlords are effectively subsidizing housing costs in their attempt to invest in an asset which might hedge inflation and provide a longterm return (nowadays, with values falling, why would anyone be crazy enough to buy a rental property?).

Yet tenants want the best of all worlds: little or no commitment, no risk, maximum flexibility, plus low and fixed monthly rent. For the past five years, anyone with the slightest degree of creditworthiness could have bought their own home if they were willing (and able) to pay the unsubsidized "owners cost" of that home, commit to staying put for the long haul, and take all the other risks and downsides of being a property owner.

While there are surely some "evil" landlords out there, I argue that there are far more "unworthy" tenants, so I treat the good ones with respect.

Dean DiSandro

Paso Robles




Local landlords are, in fact, charitable

I'm sure that at least a few property owners took exception to the quote by Cuesta student Jefri Rios in Kai Beech's recent article ("Rents are on the rise," Jan. 31), and I can understand why. I personally find it disturbing that "greedy" becomes the label of choice employed by those embittered by, but uninformed regarding, a capital market.

Any Central Coast professional who has ever researched the possibility of buying a house and leasing out rooms (until discovering the income to get foothold on the mortgage, for example) knows two disturbing facts: First, that affordable investment properties are ridiculously hard to find. Second, that, despite the ignorant whining of college students, it's actually a renter's market. It's not greed, Jefri, to advertise a three-bedroom at $2,000 a month when the house costs three-quarters of a million. It's not greedy--in fact, it's charity.

Blame the developers' greed, perhaps, for slurping up affordable housing and replacing it with villas. Or blame the politicians for not pushing hard enough in the planning process. But don't just blindly blame the first guy you see. Many hard-working, taxpaying people have come to the Central Coast and left because of this situation, and your perceived right to a room in San Luis Obispo for $450 a month is the kind of douchebag self-entitlement that people come to expect from college students. We support the economy and feed the public coffers, but you study opera--wait ... we should listen to you, absolutely. I agree and will sign your petition, sir.

Patrick Klemz

Chicago, Ill.




Dune defense letter left a lot out

In response to Richard Waller's ill-reasoned letter in defense of off-road vehicles on the dunes ("Most cities would like to be as safe as the dunes," Jan. 31), I would like to make the following points.

First of all, it boggles my mind that in a society plagued by obesity and obesity-related diseases, Waller could compare driving a truck to other outdoor sports like skiing and rock climbing, which actually burn calories and require physical stamina. No surprise then that this "recreational" mecca has spawned an ignominious succession of fast "food" chains up and down Grand Avenue.

Secondly, it's interesting to see in Waller's litany of "statistics" that terrorism and the dunes are the only two things less dangerous than pregnancy. Following this reasoning, how then should we modify our policy on terrorism? Maybe it should be decriminalized, but restricted to certain rural areas of the north county, a safe distance from Waller's Arroyo Grande home.

Finally, in his carefully misconstrued portrayal of the dunes as a safe haven for families and children, Waller offers no defense of the off-roaders' detrimental impact on certain endangered species, on the intrinsic natural beauty of these coastal dunes, and on the character of the local economy, which flourishes with gas stations, pornography, and aforementioned fast food chains.

Jeff Hornaday

Grover Beach




How do stats prove the dunes are safe?

Richard Waller ("Most cities would like to be as safe as the dunes," Jan. 31) relies on the logical fallacy most frequently preferred by bullies: the false analogy, comparing two things that are not in essence similar, to "create" the impression of a "reasonable" conclusion.

He likens off-roading in the dunes to rock climbing, skiing, motorcycling, and other unrelated activities to suggest that, by comparison, riding in the dunes is safe. Of course, he might well have added that fewer people are killed in the dunes than on a battlefield. But what does any of that prove about safety in the dunes?

David Archer

Grover Beach




Bucket List is worth more than you say

Rob Reiner's film, The Bucket List, is one of the funniest and most moving films I've seen in years. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman do a wonderful job of exploring the "divine comedy" between life and death. It's worth a lot more than the $4 your reviewers have suggested.

We laughed and cried ourselves through the move in a side section at a multiplex--because the place was full. Thank you, Rob, Jack, and Morgan for making the journey from birth to death so entertaining.

Gale McNeeley

Santa Maria




The countdown to the next president is long

So now Bush wants to open up Alaska's Tongass National Forest for industrial logging. It's not enough that he is trying to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Chukchi Sea, exempting the Navy from environmental laws so they can test mid-frequency sonar in the migration paths of gray whales, and flattening the Appalachian Mountains for expanded coal mining. Do these guys have a "global death squad" that scours the Earth looking for natural resources to destroy?

It's almost as though the Bush administration is determined to leave a legacy of destroying as much of the planet as possible before leaving office. It's been a long seven years. It's going to be an excruciating 10 months.

Sarah Christie





I speak for the vultures

I never thought I'd be an advocate for vultures, but after witnessing the suffering and death of many birds of prey (vultures and scavengers included), I can't stay quiet. I volunteer at Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay. Lately, there has been an influx of eagles, hawks, owls, and turkey vultures who have either ingested prey that has been shot with lead ammunition or have been shot with it themselves.

Not only is there a law against using lead ammo (passage of AB821), but it's a moral issue as well. It is inhumane in the strictest sense of the word. Maybe people who leave dead carcasses of animals they have shot with lead bullets or pellets for birds of prey or scavenger birds to clean up don't realize the pain and suffering they leave behind. Death may come acutely or they may emaciate as a result of digestive paralysis.

I have personally witnessed the aftermath of lead poisoning of birds with clenched feet unable to perch or stand. The ones with shotgun pellets in them and torn wings, tails, chests aren't a pretty sight.

They feel pain and fright. There's no excuse for this blatant disregard for the law and the useless waste of our birds.

Marty Brown





Wal-Mart Supercenter must be stopped

Why are Atascadero residents fighting the proposed Wal-Mart when there are already Wal-Marts in Paso and AG? The Supercenter concept is the problem.

A Supercenter not only has the merchandise found in other Wal-Marts, but also a full line of groceries, major appliances, and vision services. The goal of a Supercenter is to provide customers with a single place to shop for all of their needs so they don't have to go to other stores for almost any of their purchases.

If we allow the Supercenter, we'll head quickly down the road to Anytown, USA. Countless other towns have proven what happens next. Gone will be our diversity in small, locally owned stores. Clocks will start ticking for the doors to close on Miners, Idlers, Spencers, Food 4 Less, and more.

Instead, we will have a humongous Supercenter, whose daunting size is larger than SLO's Costco! In Atascadero?

Atascadero could use more sales tax revenue, however, not at the cost of a predatory company such as a Wal-Mart Supercenter. We can and will do better if we wait for a better option for the north Atascadero lot. A Wal-Mart Supercenter is not fit for our town. As a community, we must block this corporation from ruining our Central Coast.

Janice Petko






Tell me, specifically, how poor immigrants are a risk

In light of the Jan. 30 Republican presidential debate and the near unanimous framing of illegal immigration across our southern border as a national security issue, I ask:

What is the national security threat from poor people crossing our border, on foot, looking for work? If they pose a national risk, say so. Specifically.

How would the much touted "fence" enhance national security? Specifically.

Our national history of foreign terrorism, as well as large-scale drug trafficking is about planes, boats, and trucks--legal and illegal.

If there is a national threat posed by poor people walking across the Sonoran desert or wading the Rio Grande, say so. Specifically.

I'll listen.

Otherwise, take your red herrings and find another issue to pander.

Jamie Ford

San Luis Obispo

Readers Poll

Do you have any weddings to go to this year? 

  • Yes—my fridge is already covered with invitations!
  • Only a few close friends and family members are getting married.
  • I'll be attending a few and getting married myself!
  • I'm not invited to any, but I'll be crashing a few for sure.

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