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Here's the tally

The SLO City Council votes again. First the Nacimiento Pipeline, now the Downtown building height expansion. Special interests 2, Citizens 0.

Terry Mohan

San Luis Obispo




Jim's part of a dying breed

In response to Jim Baxter's letter ("The bomb's brutal lesson," Sept. 13) I'd like to say thank you, Jim, for both your service to this country and your insight into the realities we all face. It's men like you who have made this country great, and it seems as though this type of man is becoming more and more extinct in our country, due, in most part, to a coddled society. We all owe men like Jim our gratitude, because without them, we'd be speaking German!

Michael R. Larrea

Los Osos




Degrees are a good thing

After reading Michael Fierro's letter "I don't have a degree, and look at me" (Sept. 27), I agree there are people who happen to have the ability to do well for themselves without a college degree, but they are few and far between. Ms. Friend is correct in her assertion that people with degrees stand a better chance of getting ahead in life ("Street talk," Sept. 13). If this were not so important, then why does it show up on every job application?

Mr. Fierro, those "needless" English and biology classes have produced many highly skilled doctors and lawyers. I earned my degree and my success in my life the same way you earned yours: with creativity, hustle, and a desire to succeed. It also taught me, Mr. Fierro, that you don't have to disrespect others when you know you're successful. Ms. Friend, you will do well in life! Mr. Fierro, I suggest you also take your advice to "think before you attack."

Michelle Tasseff

San Luis Obispo




Fisherman sob story isn't like you, New Times

Kathy Johnston's piece on the new Marine Protected Areas ("Coastal protection is at hand," Sept. 20) repeated the failing of virtually all local coverage of this question: It was completely lacking context and perspective.

Overfishing is a worldwide catastrophe, especially in countries or waters where regulation is weak, and this is just one part of a much larger problem of marine environmental destruction. Even U.S. and Canadian waters have seen disasters that could have been prevented: The collapse of the Northwest Atlantic cod fisheries in the early 1990s should be kept in mind as a cautionary tale. That species may simply never recover, to the cost of everyone, especially fishing fleets. Early efforts to prevent such tragedies should be applauded, and the concept of protected areas seems sound.

Of course, since we all hopefully benefit from conservation efforts, we should all pay for them one way or another, and commercial fishermen shouldn't bear an unfair burden. But to reprint an excess of weepy and often spurious claims by fishermen without any perspective about the scale of the problem is what one would expect of the Tribune or public access cable TV, not New Times. But it's admittedly harder to extract teary disappearing-way-of-life quotes from copper rockfish or Atlantic cod.

The hunter-gatherer model of harvesting from the oceans may simply no longer apply in the modern age of industrial fishing serving 6.6 billion people. But not to worry: I understand Soylent Green is made of plankton.

Bill Persinger

Morro Bay




New reserves are a step toward better fishing

Some elaboration is required when Cal Poly marine biology professor Dean Wendt is quoted saying "the jury is still out" on Marine Protected Areas ("Coastal protection is at hand," Sept. 20).

While it is obvious that the verdict could not possibly be in on the effectiveness of the network of Marine Protected Areas that just came into being off the Central Coast on Sept. 21, the scientific consensus on the worth of marine reserves the "no fishing" zones that are the heart of the MPA network has been established for years. Marine reserves have proven their ability to deliver conservation benefits and preserve ecosystems and vulnerable species worldwide. There's a reason why, as reporter Kathy Johnston noted, fishermen fish the boundary line "alongside marine reserves in many other parts of the world."

Five times more sea bass and sheephead are found inside the Channel Islands reserves than in adjacent waters, four to five times the commercial catch is recorded just outside marine reserve boundaries off South Africa than in waters a few miles away, and world-record catches are made on the border of the Kennedy Space Center reserve in Florida.

So, no, contrary to the belief of those among our local fishermen who fought the MPAs tooth and nail, the new reserves don't mean fishing is "over." The Central Coast MPA network is a modest first step toward keeping it alive.

Andrew Christie

Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club Director

San Luis Obispo




Don't listen to word-twisters vote yes in Los Osos

It has come to my attention that the Los Osos anti-sewer folks are using a statement I made at a Los Osos Community Advisory Council meeting last year as an indication that one should vote "no" on the 218 ballot. Nothing could be further from the truth on this issue, because I believe that a "yes" vote is the only responsible action to take.

For the accurate information on the process of the 218 vote, please either go to the Public Works Los Osos website, or e-mail Paavo Ogren in Public Works. His e-mail is Paavo has all of the correct information, and has been diligently working to do what is absolutely the best for Los Osos.

Further, it truly doesn't matter what I said that night. Fortunately for everyone, I am no longer in office fortunate in that I have lost all patience with taking my words and twisting them to mean something other than their face value. Thus my comments should in no way imply that one should vote "no."

I urge everyone in Los Osos to vote "yes" on the 218 ballot.

Shirley Bianchi





Make a sewer decision that's right now and forever

Although I don't agree with all of her conclusions, I thought Linde Owen offered some interesting points in her commentary last week ("I'm voting no," Sept. 20). I offer a few clarifications, as I understand the facts:

The $25,000 assessment is the highest amount possible for a single-family property, not the amount for all properties while not completely reassuring, this is a very important distinction, and should not be ignored.

I do not support a "complete re-evaluation of the pollution and water-shortage problem in Los Osos." It has already been studied to death. The pollution, now and in the future if not stopped, is a community health threat and dangerous.

The current septic tank system and the contaminated soil already in the community cannot be allowed to persist.

I do agree with Linde's suggestion that everyone should share proportionately in the cost everyone residing in a home in Los Osos and Baywood Park. Those systems not fixed now will need to be fixed later, at higher cost then, than now. Do it all now, spread the cost all the way around, and make it right for everyone, for now and forever.

Lee Ferrero

Los Osos




We just want the best deals

I wish to thank the Shredder for the column, "Shop till you drop" (Sept. 20) about what's going on in dying Atascadero.

The local socialist Earth saviors, superior snobs, lack humor. Their anti-Wal-Mart tirades at the City Council meetings are indeed pathetic!

Now they are hitting below the belt. Their latest song is that Wal-Mart should go back to selling cheap underwear. Folks, let's be honest. Is it not better to purchase cheap Wal-Mart underwear and change twice a year than buy pink, lacy, silky, expensive underwear and change just once a year?

I take this opportunity to thank the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce's Joanne Main for opening our eyes to the possible motives of Vision Atascadero. It will be more difficult for this new group to pull the wool over people's eyes. Meanwhile, I ask this question: Are Vision Atascadero, Wal-Mart haters, and the creek property creepers birds of a feather who not only flock together, but plot together?

The superior socialist snobs think that the majority of the residents of Atascadero need guidance on where to purchase a screwdriver or roll of toilet paper.

Most of us local idiots do our shopping where we can get the best deal. We do not care if a local store has an acorn decal or two snails mating in their business windows. We want the best for our money.

Constantino N. Santos





Democrats have their eyes on the White House

On the same day Matt Fellows castigates Gen. Petraeus for his presentation to the Congress, stating, "Shame on you for diluting what should have been an untouched week of remembrance" ("Shame on you, Gen. Petraeus," Sept. 20), the Senate voted 72-25 to condemn's advertisement in the New York Times headlined: "General Petraeus or General Betray Us? Cooking the books for the White House."

Fellows joins in the despicable disparagement of the general. Democrats and people like Matt Fellows appear to be heavily invested in an American defeat in Iraq. The leaders of Iran, Syria, and al Qaeda are encouraged by the anti-war, anti-Bush rhetoric. It is causing deaths of our military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is it any wonder our enemies are bankrolling al Qaeda and the insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Why are the Democrats doing this? The prize for the Democrats is the White House. The cost for the USA is a disgraced military and international reputation with our allies, besides defaulting the Middle East to Islamist radicalism. These tactics are cynical and traitorous and their actions are being disapproved by moderate citizens in both parties.

Otis Page

Arroyo Grande




Is it soliciting or sharing?

Ginger Blackstone indicates that while living in SLO she encountered people who felt it their "God-given" right to trespass on her property and ignore "No Solicitors" signs to share their religious beliefs with her ("Keep your religion in your church," Sept. 20). She goes on to relate how she "politely or not told them to leave and not come back."

Then she informs us that when moving to Arroyo Grande she encountered the same problem.

She has every right to ask uninvited guests to leave and not come back. A "solicitor" shouldn't ignore a "No Solicitors" sign and trespass. However, those with a message from the Bible rarely consider themselves "peddlers or solicitors." The way that it was put to me was that if Jesus or any of the saints called at my door with Bible in hand, they came to share, not solicit. When anyone wants to read me a scripture, I feel the polite thing to do is pay attention and not boot them off of my front porch.

Of course, if you are not a Christian, I suppose you could ask them to leave and not come back. I've been told that they will put your name on a list and they won't return.

I think we should all appreciate that we live in a land where freedom to preach openly our beliefs is a given and the road, sidewalk, or path is an open invitation to our front door unless posted: "No Trespassing." The conundrum seems to lie in the definition between "No Trespassing" and "No Solicitors." The trespassing sign is a general statement to all persons not to cross the line. A "No Solicitors" sign can be left open to interpretation. I wonder if Jesus or the early saints were considered "peddlers of the word?"

To have an uninvited guest call at my door to share a scripture from the Bible, sell Girl Scout cookies, or borrow a cup of sugar is a small price to pay for freedom. I suggest Ms. Blackstone go buy a "No Trespassing" sign at Home Depot.

Frank Porter

Arroyo Grande

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