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There’s no justice, there’s just us
 Your cover story last week (“Forensic Foul-Up,� New Times, March 2) was very well written! Thanks to the strong-hearted individuals who okayed being quoted, and Bill King's father who won't be sidetracked, derailed or discouraged in his pursuit of a quality investigation to find justice for his son.
 It is disgusting when the tax-paying public — the sponsors of law enforcement pay — are compelled to force individual officers to perform the fundamentals of the job, law enforcement, which simply means “enforcing the law.� Hopefully the negligence of those involved will be dealt with by their superiors with the same diligence as that of the father. However, agencies often tend to “close ranks� and hide their blemishes.
 Good job!

Lee Morgan

Paso Robles

The right stuff
 Thanks for the "Forensic Foul-up" article, which seems to me to be very fair-minded. King Harris and Karen Velie asked all the right questions and the investigative report brings out a lot of relevant facts about an important all-too-common tragedy among us. It more or less corroborates my recent letter in the “Opinion� pages and counteracts the nastiness of your previous article about “fighting� homeless people.
 I appreciate your caring. It was very helpful that you included the side column “Bill King's story.�

Jean Gerard

Los Osos

Another homeless death
 I have lived in SLO for 15 years. I was compelled to read your article “Forensic Foul-up� because of my very recent loss. I just buried my 35-year-old son this past Tuesday, February 28th. He was homeless by choice, living in a tent in the Santa Cruz mountains, and burned to death in a fire. I received totally different treatment by the coroner, Sergeant Baker of the police department, and the mortuary. Professional, compassionate, a thorough investigation because of suspicious circumstances, closure as to cause of death.
 Even though it is extremely painful and raw for me right now, I would be willing to share my experience with you if it could help Mr. King or someone else. I would also be willing to talk with Mr. King.  Maybe we could be of some comfort to each other, as we have gone through very  similar losses.

Maureen Beaulieu

 Antagonizing with arts
 City of SLO: You’re significantly exposed to becoming the laughing stock of the world, if you continue to accept social profiling and social policing as a tactic to bring a “Stepford�-like appearance of cultural conformity to the city streets.  Since “Fighting back against transients� (New Times, February 23) was published, motorists remain far more aggressive, rude and dangerous to pedestrian shoppers by failing to yield the right of way and then extending the finger from the safety of their 1-2-ton vehicles.

 The vindictive behaviors of the Transient Task Force invite retaliation, and set back public education in the arts immeasurably. Broadcasting loud classical music as a weapon to “annoy�, based on perceptions of age and personal taste, is an insult and a detriment to classical musicians everywhere. International tourists read your local rag for art and music events and find blatant intolerance and petty conspiracy.

 SLO advocates for the arts, don’t antagonize with it! Please, don’t protect us from bad manners with bad manners! The deceptiveness and bad manners that come with snobbery and the desire for exclusivity permeate every aspect of life in SLO. Ironically, my efforts to create awareness of classical harp music, and bring attention to the need to support the artists, galleries, and concert halls of New Orleans, now make me a target of contempt on the streets of SLO.
If you’re going to act like the “hill folk� of “Deliverance�, why didn’t you just use banjo music? 

Rev C. Hite

Kind to people too
 We are very fortunate as a community to have such a wonderful staff of employees and volunteers at Animal Services. I would especially like to thank Officer Allison and Shirley for being so concerned and supportive during my search for my missing dog.  It isn’t every day that you meet such kind and caring people.

 I have recently adopted a new dog from Animal Services and I encourage others to do the same.  My new “friend� is a lovable and loyal addition to our home, and my experience at Animal Services was something that should not go without recognition. Thank you, Shirley and Officer Allison!

Tina Swithin-Porter

Avila Beach

Compassionate cannabis cure
 If the issue of providing medical marijuana to people that qualify for the use of it under the California law (“Medicinal cannabis club withdraws lawsuit�, New Times, March 2) needs a face, I guess it has to be mine, even though I know uneducated people will discriminate against me because I need this particular medication.

  I am 54 years old and if I was an addict, I would have been one long ago. I resent being called one because I have a dire need for something that under the law should be available to me. On the news, it was reported that people would have to drive to Oakland, Santa Barbara, Visalia, Bakersfield, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, so we know people are bringing it to the county. San Luis Obispo County just doesn't want to be among the providers of this needed service.

A health care provider in San Francisco told me of a web site ( that will give you a list of all the providers. There are hundreds of understanding communities out there. It makes me feel as though, because I live in this county, I am being denied the very thing, the only thing, that helps me. What about the methadone clinic on Morro Road in Atascadero for real addicts? Why do they get more humane treatment than I do?

 I have complete gastroparesis, which means that my stomach is paralyzed and won't digest food or pass it through until I go into what they call the "dumping syndrome" and that is more painful than I can express. Unlike some people with gastroparesis, I am unable to vomit, so the food just sits there and ferments, causing such nausea that even Zofran, the medication meant for chemo patients, doesn't help because I am unable to absorb my medications most of the time. Unfortunately or fortunately, smoking cannabis goes right into the blood system, bypassing the stomach, my nausea is relieved, and I am able to drink the tubal feeding solution that is already broken down so I can have some nutrients since I am unable to eat food.

  I have heard that Atascadero has taken a militant response to the opening of Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers, so the hope I had turned out to be false. I don't know any dealers or users. I can no longer drive. I can't ask anyone to drive to the locations of the Cannabis Clubs, so I suffer, which under the Pain Act of California is inhumane treatment. What do the homebound, severely ill people, who were unable to attend the city council meeting, do?

 It seems that “pretty� is put on so many things here, and uncomfortable or ugly things are hidden away like some unwanted trash. Chronic illness and dying is ugly; don't we deserve the same treatment as the heroin addicts that are serviced in Atascadero every day? Do the police sit near the facility and make sure they don't drive after they have had their dose, or commit a crime? I think the priorities are reversed here and that, I think, is a crime.

Elaine McKellips


Nipomo traffic jamming
 I was extremely distressed and frustrated to hear the county board of supervisors is considering raising the growth rate in Nipomo. I am so frustrated and angry at anyone considering this that I can hardly speak. The bottom line is this community is in trouble because of growth and we need help! I don't have statistics. I don't have elaborate or expensive staff to review charts and numbers but I do have first-hand experience.

  Here's some examples from my life:  I work in Santa Maria and need to be there by 8 a.m. Monday through Friday. To get there I leave the house at 7:30 a.m. in a traffic jam for 15 to 20 minutes, attempting to get to the freeway on-ramp. On Tefft, cars back up in both lanes and it takes four to six rounds of traffic lights at Mary and Tefft before I get to the freeway. Meanwhile people cut through parking lots, crowd in front of one another, drive on the left side of the street to make illegal turns — anything they can do to speed their journey. Our cars continually waste gas while spewing pollutants into the air, all because of poor planning and the inability of anyone in any bureaucracy to get a second on and off ramp to Highway 101! We are over populated and under-served by infrastructure.

 There should be no more growth allowed in this section of the county until another on- and off-ramp is built in Nipomo.  Besides air pollution, dangerous driving situations, and wasted time, we are in extreme danger in case of any natural or human-made disaster. How would we evacuate this population in case of earthquake, tidal wave, or disaster at Diablo Canyon? We'd all be in extreme danger, exacerbated by the poor planning of our elected officials and county staff. 

  Add to all of the above the fact that we are out of water. There is not an endless supply of underground water and we have depleted what nature gave us. We keep pretending more will come but as one whose water bill keeps rising and rising, I know bureaucrats believe the answer is to raise water rates versus facing the facts that we are horrible stewards of the natural resource we've been given.

 There should be no more growth allowed in this section of the county because we are at dangerously low levels of groundwater.

  I am officially a senior citizen (55). I've seen many mistakes made in the name of progress. I also know politics is basically smoke and mirrors. County staff or a particular interest group such as builders and developers can prove anything they need to prove with statistics. I beg of county supervisors to use common sense and your heart and gut in making a growth decision about Nipomo.

We have depleted our water resources and we have not built the road infrastructure to properly care for the people we already have.
  It is time to be responsible and accountable for past actions. It is time to fix what is currently broken, not break it even more.

Ethel Landers


Short of water in Los Osos
 Another excuse we have to counteract the water board’s cease and desist so-called fine of pumping out our septic tanks every two months is because we are at a Level 3 severe water shortage. The exporting of water from the septic tanks would cause us to have even more of a water shortage. This water board’s evil behavior has not been thought out very well. They need to pull in their horns and cooperate with the will of the people. Our new CSD directors will give us the best sewer treatment plant available outside of town. Remember who you work for.

Ben Difatta

Los Osos

Readers Poll

How do you feel about the availability of mental health services in SLO County? 

  • There is not enough access, and there needs to be more.
  • There is access but only for those with a lot of money.
  • Most people should be able to afford it if they knew how to find it.
  • People need to learn to get over their issues themselves.

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