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Where were the young people?
The Central Coast Book and Author Festival, held this past Saturday in the SLO Mission Plaza, was by far one of the most enjoyable gatherings I have attended since moving to San Luis Obispo. I particularly would like to give grand kudos and thanks to the legendary Robert Scheer for the talk he gave at the Art Center. Addressing an overcrowded audience, his talk was so captivating, he was able to hold the attention of those of us standing in the back for more than an hour. Highlighting the memories he had interviewing each United States president since Nixon, Scheer impressed me with his objective opinions on each man, including his very candid opinion about George W. Bush.

My only disappointment about the event was the lack of young people in attendance. In my mid-20s, I feel frustrated about the apathy that has infected my peers. With the anniversary of Sept. 11, one would think discussion about government and politics would be on the lips of every young mind. Freedom of religion and speech are, of course, fundamental to our rights, but is freedom from political discussion really such a good thing? My hope is that those who are fearful of discussing such issues, because of their lack of knowledge, realize how important it is to be informed. We are at a crossroads in our country's political landscape, so real voices from real people are in great need. Go register to vote today and start your political library with Robert Scheer's Playing President: My Close Encounters with Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush I and Clinton and How They Did Not Prepare Me for George W. Bush.

Lynette Diaz

San Luis Obispo




Sharks aren't the only threats
I was in Avila this past weekend, and I noticed that they had posted signs for beach closure due to a shark sighting in the area. There were signs at the top of the boardwalk area, signs neatly and evenly spaced along all the shore lines, and even the local business owners were willing to share information about the shark sightings so that visitors had some sort of forewarning or choice about their water activities for the day.

I found this very thoughtful. What a concept! Imagine that: actually advertising the fact that there might be something harmful lurking about in the ocean. It is only fair to let the public know when there is a hazard in the water that might affect their, shall we say, health?

Then I started to think about all the recent reports about fecal matter in the Pismo Beach area. I live there and I have yet to see any signs posted in regards to hazardous conditions in the water, even though there have been fecal and total coliform levels that exceed state and federal standards. There are no signs neatly placed and evenly spaced along the shore to let anyone know about these health-threatening conditions. I have yet to hear any storeowners warn any of the tourists about the dangerous conditions.

Perhaps Pismo could take a look at the way Avila handles serious matters, and begin to give the people a heads-up about what is really going on. There are kids swimming in that water. If I were a parent, I would want to know if there was fecal matter in the water. I wouldn't let my kid in there. Or perhaps Pismo just doesn't think it's that important to let anyone know about this health hazard. Perhaps the city doesn't want to scare anyone off. Maybe poop in the water just isn't quite as threatening as a shark. Does something really need to have teeth to be considered a threat?

Jennifer Blonder

Pismo Beach




Doesn't Cuesta need fixing up?
Well, now that the Cuesta College president has retired, the college will continue to pay Rosenwasser $210,000, plus benefits. And that with all the money that was spent on the $310 million Cuesta bond measure. I was just wondering how many roofs could have been repaired or how many classrooms could have been repainted new carpet installed, maybe some new needed furniture with that money? But I guess when it's not your money, you can spend what you want. I will be another NO vote next time Cuesta tries for another bond measure.

Ronald Mac

Paso Robles





Join me: Don't use signs
As a 30-year resident of Los Osos, I have seen the political pendulum swing from side to side, from No Sewer to Pro Sewer, from Move the Sewer to Build the Sewer, from Do Do it Right to Doing it Wrong. Seemingly, each campaign comes with a plethora of tacky signs that fill up the yards and fences, detracting from the very beauty of a community we have all pledged to protect. Thousands of dollars have been spent just to be thrown away at the end of Election Day.

As a candidate in the November race for the Los Osos Community Services District, I have pledged to not post a single sign promoting the race. I am challenging all other candidates to follow my lead.

Jef Edwards

Los Osos




Spend more time looking at art
I can understand how many people could find some of the content of the current issue of HopeDance threatening to their comfort zone, but the cover art should not be listed as one of those points of objection ("Sexual fantasies and children don't mix," Aug. 31). Chris Postii objected to the cover because it depicts a "painting of a woman 'fingering' herself."

For the record, and the educational benefit of Chris Postii, the illustration is an accurate likeness of the Venus of Urbino, painted in 1538 by the well-known Venetian painter, Titian. This painting is credited as being the template for all reclining nudes painted since, and Titian is generally considered as one of the greatest painters of the western world. The "hand" in question is a Renaissance attempt at modesty rather than the object of Postii's objection. Perhaps less time in Bible study and more time in an art museum would make for a more enlightened mind.

Robin Corell





Get ready for censorship
I am going to wade into the "publisher-as-pervert" controversy because it includes ignorant misconceptions about art, journalism, and morality (I have expertise in all three), and obviously I have NO shame.

I'm going to have to reclaim my sexiest black bra left on the Avila Trolley at RTA lost and found, I am forbidden to love a disabled man, and my award-winning Stone Lithograph, Nude w/ Bread Bag Shoes (which exhibited at the Art Center during children's classes), had one hand between her legs, so what could she have been doing? I am an equal opportunity "R-e-v," shunned by the liberals and conservatives alike for what they perceive me to be, and am simply not in this world to live up to your expectations.

So this is what I suggest to bring peace to the community: (1) The peasants can stone Bob Banner for being both right and intelligent in his argument, (2) the library can dump New Times for the imaginary and graphic description presented in "Sexual fantasies and children don't mix" (Aug. 31), and (3) host a book burning for the Bible and any other graphic text which depicts human sexuality, nude art, lurid tales of concubines, prostitutes, the rape of virgins, Sodomy and Gomorrahism, procreation by incest, the slaughter of infants, child sacrifice, murder of a husband to steal the wife, macabre torture, war, famine, pestilence, debauchery and impending doom. Be sure to include the dictionary in your Fahrenheit 451, because it describes all these "facts of life" and human depravity.

To all those fearful little monkeys who never left their tree (yet still deny evolution): I recognize that we are sexual beings who treasure, legislate, and even archive self-expression.

Take your best shot. (Bored simians like to sling poop.)

Rev C. Hite, MA

Pismo Beach




Kids can opt out of recruitment
High-school students received packets for different kinds of information schools need. Many schools also include an opt-out form if you don't want information about your child given to the military recruiters (California education code section 49073.5). These are now being given out to freshmen and sophomores, as well as juniors and seniors.

There are different forms used by different schools. If you don't sign the opt-out form, information about your child goes into a national Defense Department database under the aspects of a private agency. Much of the information can be very personal. Opt-out forms must be submitted every year. Why are kids 14, 15 years old or any age having their information given to the Department of Defense and why should the military recruiters start trying to recruit youth at such a young age? A new form from Atascadero High School asks for the student's Social Security number, so it can be used in the electronic transfer of a student's academic records to colleges of the student's choice. Why are they using the Social Security number as identification rather than some other method?

Will the military get that also, and won't it make it easier for identity thieves to have another venue? Allowing military recruiters on high school campuses is tied to the "No Child Left Behind" bill. If the school does not allow campus access to recruiters, they are in danger of losing the funds given through the No Child Left Behind bill. That sounds like blackmail, and people ought to contact their national representatives to have that removed from the bill! Is our country planning more wars that our youth will be called upon to fight and die in?

If you need an opt-out form, call Dee at 438-3764 or e-mail

Dee Carroll

Santa Margarita




I couldn't hear the sirens
Without belaboring the old philosophical riddle "If a tree falls in the woods and there is nobody around to hear it ..." we may have a more serious issue in our own backyards.

On Aug. 19, PG&E conducted an annual test of the Diablo Canyon emergency alert sirens new sirens, which have been replaced in the past year, following the failure of many in the 2003 earthquake. And yet, in my home in north Morro Bay, only 0.7 miles from the nearest siren, I heard nothing. We have taken the extra step of fitting our home with double-paned thermally insulated windows a positive step toward conservation, and utilizing less energy from a source that requires emergency sirens in the first place. If I hadn't left the house to begin an errand, I'd have never known the test was taking place.

I wonder how many others, who might have been running the bath, washing dishes, or listening to music, never heard the sirens. In these days of heightened security threats, perhaps PG&E should not only be making sure that the sirens work, but should be required to conduct tests which insure that they are reaching their intended audience.

Paula Daillak

Morro Bay




Progress? What progress?
One year after Katrina, almost 60 percent of the homes of New Orleans don't have electricity, dead bodies rot in abandoned homes, and piles of trash still line the streets. Why? Meanwhile, President Bush is on a publicity tour in the area trying to convince us that real progress has been made. I for one have a hard time believing him.

D.C. Brooks

San Luis Obispo



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