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We can learn from immigrants

Historically, economic downturns often lead to the scapegoating of immigrants (legal or not). Let's use this one to learn from.

First-generation Latinos bring with them useful skills, such as farming, butchering, sewing, etc.--skills that many of SLO's white, bourgeoisie haven't a clue. My house has a tiny plot of grass in back on which I plan to rear chickens and grow corn. I will then ask my neighbor, Gilberto, how to butcher and dress the birds.

Yes, it is repulsive, but it sure does save money. I would like to write more, but Gilberto just gave me a bottle of homemade wine.

Shanti Harris





The mayor responds

Shredder, you missed a portion of the conversation between the Governor and myself when I introduced him to our business leaders ("Pushing, polling, and trolling for support," April 3). I kidded him about my elected job being better than his, and I also offered to reserve the Cave Man Room at the Madonna Inn for him when he returns. He kidded me about my tie, saying I should keep it till it comes back into fashion. He was right--I am doing just that.

You young whippersnappers cannot fully comprehend how those of us raised during the Depression had our entire lives influenced. I have ingrained in my personality the need to eat everything on my plate, save some money for when hard times return, repair and wear out clothes before getting new ones--and, by extension, never get rid of a perfectly good tie just because it is currently not in fashion. I have a fine collection of vintage ties just waiting until my fashion leadership can bring them back.

Shredder, you should consider referring to older gentlemen with a great deal of respect. After all, there is a good chance that our next president will be a white-haired older guy. When older gentlemen rule once more, perhaps we'll be recognized for the bold and courageous steps we take in providing leadership in governance and in fashion as well.

Mayor Dave Romero

San Luis Obispo




I don't care where Allen Settle lives

I have known Allen Settle for more than 25 years.

Allen Settle is one of the hardest-working, caring people I know and a friend to the residents of San Luis Obispo.

He has hardly ever missed a council meeting, and if he did, he was probably in Sacramento fighting for us!

His love of San Luis Obispo is borne out by all of his many achievements over the past 25-plus years, only two of which are his loyal support of mobile home rent stabilization and the Prado Day Care Center. There are way too many more to list.

I don't know who put the burr under the saddle of Mr. Fowler or why he is complaining about where Allen Settle lives ("Citizen will request a state investigation into councilman's residency," April 3), but I do know that as long as Councilman Allen Settle does his best job for the citizens of San Luis Obispo, as he always has done, I don't care if he lives in Timbuktu.

Naoma Wright

San Luis Obispo




Join these veterans in their search for truth

Thank you for the great article about Veterans United For Truth and our class action suit against the Veterans Administration ("Vets for truth," .

As the article states, we filed in the Northern District federal court because the VA has failed in their responsibility to properly care for the needs of both the returning veteran and those who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from past conflicts.

While the suit addresses PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and the high rate of suicide, there are other issues facing the timely care of veterans.

I would invite any of your readers who have had problems with veterans' health care to contact me so VUFT can document their case.

I can be reached at or or by telephone at 962-9082 or 455-5259 cell.

Again, thanks.

Bob Handy, USN Ret

VUFT chair

Santa Barbara




Shady tactics destroy credibility

Like other Fifth District residents, I recently received a call from a research group. This was no unbiased survey, however this was a calculated "push" poll intended to misrepresent Jim Patterson's positions and manipulate the voters. Anyone who uses tactics like these will never have my support.

We are fortunate in the Fifth District to have an experienced county supervisor running for re-election, a candidate who models honesty and integrity in government. Jim Patterson is the real deal, a hard-working, responsive supervisor who truly represents individual citizens. Accurate information about his positions is available at

When Patterson ran for his first term four years ago, he never stooped to tactics like this--even though he was facing a two-term incumbent with large support from developers. He won the old-fashioned way: by walking precincts and listening to the people of his district. I suspect these recent tactics will backfire. I have already heard that people the "research group" contacted are donating money to Patterson's campaign because they want others to know the truth.

You can buy shady surveys, but you can't buy people's votes.

Eileen O'Grady





An open letter to Debbie Arnold:

Debbie, I'm truly surprised and disappointed in the poll that was done last week on your behalf. Earlier this year, while announcing your candidacy near the Claude Arnold plaque on the county courthouse steps, you declined to criticize Jim Patterson or his record. You said you planned to run only on your issues, and not against Patterson. Fair enough, and I wouldn't expect less of you.

Then a few days ago I got a phone call from a polling company asking the most egregious "Have you stopped beating your wife?" types of questions and impugning the character and record of Jim Patterson. The "questions" were full of venomous innuendo and malicious half-truths, making me wonder if you have any idea what your supporters are doing on your behalf. I call on you to disavow this nasty poll and to apologize to all those voters who were called and keep your promise of a clean, ethical campaign.

Tina Salter





Buy fresh and local

This is in response to Linde Owen's letter ("Exercise choice and try a veggie burger," April 3). While I am a vegetarian, I think it is unrealistic and unfair to ask everyone else to become one.

I think a better approach is to encourage the public to investigate where their food actually comes from and let them make their own choices. I think Americans as a whole have lost touch with what they are actually consuming. Even veggie burgers can contain just as many chemicals as your everyday meat-based burger, as well as thousands of other food products we consume!

I agree that large-scale factory farming is disgusting and harmful for everyone involved. But meat and dairy is not the problem. The problem is where our food comes from. The solution: Buy fresh, local, sustainably raised food products whenever possible. It not only benefits you, but the whole community!

Lindsay Dodson

San Luis Obispo




Tell the state to drop the meat cleaver

California's serious budget crisis was not caused by our students or schools, so let's not punish the victims. Instead, let's demand that our elected officials have open and honest conversations about new revenues as well as cuts.

There is a group that takes this message to our local legislators.

Since 1988, the Tri-Counties Education Coalition has been a partnership among parents, teachers, school support staff, administrators, and school board members. We are one of the oldest education coalitions in California, and we advocate for schools and children in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties.

Three times each year, the coalition hosts speakers who are educational leaders. This year, we heard from Congresswoman Lois Capps, California Teacher's Association President David Sanchez, and the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County superintendents of schools. To a person, the state budget crisis and the governor's brutal proposal was the No. 1 topic. If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets his way, schools will find their revenues slashed, employees will lose their jobs, class sizes will rise, electives will disappear, and children will suffer.

For more information and links to contact Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, Sen. Abel Maldonado, and Gov. Schwarzenegger, use the "" website.

In May, the coalition will visit Sacramento and lobby our legislators. Our message will be simple: protect kids, protect schools, and protect our future. On a local level, we would ask that everyone contact their state representatives tell them that the meat cleaver method of budgeting is unacceptable and hurting children will not be tolerated.

Chris Ungar

Tri-Counties Education Coalition president





Get it right about liberals and taxes

I find it very frustrating trying to sort through the logic of many of the letter writers to regional publications. Their worn-out rhetoric that liberals and Democrats only want to raise taxes is the popular cry of people who are totally misinformed, at best, and or uninformed in reality.

To set the record straight, if it weren't for liberals, we wouldn't have a Constitution guaranteeing the rights to many freedoms, such as writing letters to editors. Furthermore, recent attacks on our Constitution were done by none other than our conservative right, led by George W. and company.

Many people found fault with Bill Clinton, but a reality check on his tenor in office was positive. In spite of a Republican-controlled Congress, he managed to leave this nation with a surplus measured in the billions, and we weren't fighting terrorists or a costly war.

When our current president began his term in office, gasoline was $1.30 per gallon. Seven years later, it's close to $4, and our nation is in the throes of recession, with a broken housing market, in debt with a deficit in the trillions, and in a senseless war that has not only devastated our economy and military might, but has blackened our image worldwide.

Now who in their right mind can blame increased taxes and spending and our monetary woes on liberals and democrats? They pale in comparison! The next time you write and attack liberals, get your facts right. I suggest you become better informed by taking a course at Allan Hancock College in economics, government, or our political system. Raising taxes and being liberal aren't bad. It's how those tax dollars are spent that really counts.

George Dailey

Santa Maria

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