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Ryan, you screwed up ‘55 Fiction’
Just finished your “55 Fiction� story (June 29). Most of them suck, and, in fact, one—“You’ve Got to be Kidding Me�—is simply a rehash of a joke going around six months ago! Not original! Ask around!

However, the fact that no one from the city of San Luis Obispo got a story printed is impressive! What dummies we must be! In addition, only three from the county! Ryan, you have lost your way!

The original intent of this contest was for the locals to submit quirky little stories and then bask in 10 minutes of fame among family, friends, and co-workers! Yes! That’s right, a chance to say, “Strong work!� or “Way to go!� to a friend, a family member, or a fellow worker. Do you have any idea what this means to people? Even local people?

Ryan, no matter what you think, this is not great literature. It is not the Pulitzer Prize! Moreover, where did the judges get their Doctor of English degrees? Please list them.

Ryan, I don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone in Sydney, or Springwood, or Hartland, or Mission Viejo, or Pewaukee, or Cedar Rapids, or any of those other places! Let them have their own damn contest! Hundreds of local people submitted stories and they got nothing for their efforts—only silence! Who the hell do you publish your paper for? What is your total readership in Hauppauge? I would like to see some of my co-workers and friends and neighbors who submitted stories get a little recognition! That’s what it’s all about!

Ryan, just think of that: Local people getting a little ink in a local paper for their efforts! Can you even imagine that? I realize this must be a foreign concept to you, but think about it. You work in San Luis Obispo, you publish in San Luis Obispo, your readership is in San Luis Obispo, and nobody in San Luis Obispo could get a story printed! Wow!

Please print the addresses and phone numbers of the people who did win so we can at least write or call to congratulate them. Just a thought!

Richard Francis

San Luis Obispo



Children should also learn sexual ethics
Regarding “SLO tackles gender and safety issues,� July 6:

AB 606 and AB 1437 are Trojan horses endorsed by the Democrats in the California legislature. The bills are dressed in “tolerance,� but with an apparent key objective to indoctrinate children in the gay, lesbian, bisexual lifestyles.

Republicans are depending on the governor to deny this legislation. But in the event he does not, legislation should be considered that stresses the moral issue in educating children on sexual matters.

Recognizing that one’s sexuality is a very sensitive and private matter, the instruction of human sexuality must be taught with a strong emphasis on morality devoid of all political considerations, such as that being advocated by homosexuals.

One lesson that should be considered is the only appropriate human relationship within which sexual activity should be conducted is between a man and woman joined in marriage. Homosexuals will not agree with this, however, because of their preoccupation with promiscuous sexual relations, such as implicit with bisexuality. They probably would describe lessons in sexual ethics as hate speech.

If children are to be instructed on sex, sexual toleration, and discrimination, then they should also be educated on the moral issue of sexuality.

Otis Page

Arroyo Grande



We need paper trails
In a recent article in Rolling Stone Magazine, titled “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?� Robert Kennedy Jr. did an excellent job of summarizing the dirty tricks and suspicious anomalies in the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. Of particular concern is the fact that the touchscreen voting machines used in Ohio and many other states have no paper trail, so there is no way for voters who use the machines to verify that their votes will be counted as cast.

Compounding this problem is the fact that the software used for the machines is proprietary. In other words, it’s secret. So we just have to trust a private corporation to count our votes. Can you imagine representatives from a private corporation coming to your precinct to take the full ballot box back to their corporate headquarters to count your votes in secret?

Last week, a major new study on electronic voting machines from the respected Brennan Center for Justice confirmed the need for a paper trail to ensure transparency in our elections process. Fortunately, thanks to grassroots efforts, the tide is changing and people are waking up to the importance of this issue. In 2004, only 27 percent of voters cast their ballots on electronic voting machines in states requiring a paper trail. But this year, 65 percent of voters have a paper trail or are about to have one. Paper trails are now in the majority. Unfortunately, our representative in Congress, Bill Thomas, still hasn’t taken up the fight for a paper trail of every vote. H.R. 550—the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act, which would mandate a paper trail—has been stuck in committee. Representative Thomas’ co-sponsorship would go a long way toward helping to ensure that this important legislation passes. All San Luis Obispo constituents of Congressman Thomas should urge him to co-sponsor HR 550.

As Thomas Paine said, ‘’voting is the right upon which all other rights depend.’’ If we don’t ensure that right, we might as well kiss our democracy goodbye.

Reference link:

Paul Della Pelle

San Luis Obispo



Los Osos should listen to the Grand Jury
I have read the San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury Report for the 2005-2006 session as it pertains to the Los Osos Community Services District Board’s settlement with its attorneys. I urge the CSD to follow the recommendations of the grand jury, as follows: “The LOCSD Board of Directors should waive the attorney-client privilege and take other necessary actions to ensure that detailed billing information will be made public to clarify whether, and to what extent, the $488,617 of public funds were used to reimburse the law firm for work performed in connection with the recall election and the Measure B initiative, including the initial drafting of Measure B.� (Page 84 of the report.)

Failure to do so, in my mind, is an admission that they spent public funds illegally.

John Perkins

Los Osos



We ‘deciders’ must stop global warming
In a time when this country is incredibly polarized politically, is President Bush really putting any effort into being a “uniter� versus a “divider,� as he was touted as saying during the 2004 election? I think he made it very clear which he is when he was recently asked by a reporter whether he would see the new Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth. He answered flippantly, “Ahaaaa, ah. Doubt it, ah.�

Regardless of whether Bush feels there is no scientific proof that global warming is human caused, can’t he at least have some respect for a fellow politician, who happens to be a pretty bright guy and has found it in his conscience to make a bipartisan effort to bring enlightenment to folks about the future of our planet regarding global warming? This is no laughing matter and is probably the single most important issue of our times to impact us, our children, and future generations.

We know that Bush claims to be the “decider.� I just can’t fathom how he has, in good conscience, decided to immorally ignore the top climate scientists who agree that Gore’s film got the science right. It still appears that W’s priority is to be a uniter for corporate energy interests.

Oddly enough, the scientific majority that Bush has chosen to ignore will be the same scientists we will be calling on in the future to help us with global warming and its catastrophic effects. Gore hit the nail on the head when he said, “They are quite literally afraid to know the truth, because if you accept the truth of what the scientific community is saying, it gives you a moral imperative to start to rein in the 70 million tons of global warming pollution that human civilization is putting into the atmosphere every day.�

Fact is, there’s no time now for ego or politics, and nobody needs to see this film more than does Bush. Our planet is on the tipping point. As a global community, we must be the deciders and solve this problem now before it’s too late!

Corrina Jones




Free press equals democracy
I am deeply alarmed at the most recent assault by the Bush Administration against the press. Our government is now demonizing the New York Times for publishing facts about its program that tracks international financial transactions. As The Times editorial of July 2 states, “If you want to learn the truly dirty secrets of how our government prosecutes this war, the story of how it vilified The Times is more damning than anything in the article that caused the uproar.�

The truth is that the existence of this program had already been disclosed by the administration.

“The real news is that the program was conducted with little oversight from the other two branches of government.�

Now Bush is calling the article disgraceful, and Republicans are accusing The Times of treason. In reality, the Administration’s outcry is just a diversion from the numerous failures and cover-ups of our government. You would be doing our country a service if you reprinted The Times editorial in its entirety.

What is most frightening is, if we lose our free press, we have lost our democracy. We should all be deeply alarmed.

Andrea Caulfield

Los Osos




Were you ever a little kid?
I was just reading through your commentary (“Keep your ‘family’ away from me,� July 6). I will disgust you when I reveal that I am one of “those.� You know—families: hubby, wife, three little tots, absolutely making the world a stickier place.

I am a Christian as well. Go figure. But I have my nose pierced and tattoos, and I don’t judge people. Just thought I would let you know we Christians don’t all fit in the box you described.

But just one question for you: Weren’t you once a sticky-fingered, tripping-over-your-own-feet, snot-nosed little kiddo? Maybe not. Maybe you were just born an adult. Just a thought.

Nannette Dale

Arroyo Grande




Everyone should be welcome
Ashley Schwellenbach’s commentary (“Keep your ‘family’ away from me,� July 6) advocating against children and their right-wing Christian parents being out in the community was evidence of a sad internalization of the same angry bitterness of others that she rails against. It is a mistake to assume that all traditional-looking families (with a mom, a dad, and a couple of kids) are all right-wingers who subscribe to the cardboard “family� values being pushed by fundamentalists.

While rightly throwing out the “family� values that some are trying to cram down our throats, Ashley has also tossed community values, which is a shame.

Everyone should be welcome in our community, including all sexualities, all religions, all abilities, all races, and, of course, all ages.

It is true that children do not always behave in public. In fact, they are learning how to control their impulses, their tempers, and even their limbs! I hope Ms. Schwellenbach, and all members of the community, will give children the same respect and tolerance that they themselves would have appreciated as a child. A child usually appreciates a kind word and a smile, as I think we all do.

For our part, if Ms. Schwellenbach were to walk down the street with a green mohawk and a girlfriend, I think our whole family would support her. The 2- and 6-year-olds would especially like the green hair, and my husband and I would be glad she was enjoying a day out with her girlfriend.

Julie Seden-Hansen

Paso Robles




Tell it like it is
Great article in New Times, Ashley (“Keep your ‘family’ away from me,� July 6). It really pisses me off the way “family people� poop out kids and expect all of us to accept and “protect� them from the world, to the detriment of the rest of us.

Keep up the good work.

Richard Kinz


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