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Wrong about libraries
    This is in response to the letter by Jay Stewart, who thinks libraries ought to be for-profit like Blockbuster Video. First of all, Blockbuster and Hollywood Video are not “video libraries� but are rental businesses. They do not keep every video ever made, and they dispose of or sell off those that are not making a profit. Libraries, in contrast, collect books and keep them, even if they are not popular. This is to preserve history, information and culture.
    Should popularity alone be the only criteria used when choosing what is available? Checking out a book at the library is free where renting a video costs three dollars or more. Should we deny free education and free access to information to those not wealthy enough to afford the cost?
    The reason Blockbuster has convenient hours is that they are catering to their customers’ needs. Libraries would love to be open longer hours, as they used to be only a few years ago, but the funding has been slashed to the bone and they can no longer afford it. It has nothing to do with county mismanagement — it is pure politics. A for-profit business is in it for the money only! Libraries are there for the public good and for the free exchange of information. Making them for-profit defeats the very purpose of the library, which offers access to all, not just to those with money.
    This is more than a money issue; it is also a class issue. Those who have money will have all the opportunities and those who are poor will have even fewer. Unless this is exactly Stewart’s point — keep the riff- raff out of the libraries so only those “deserving� (i.e. those who have money) can have unfettered access to wisdom and education. I would rather have my tax dollars funding a library that is free to everyone, instead of having to pay for every use and and being at the mercy of a large corporation for my choices of books and my ability to afford to read them.
Julie Hansen
Morro Bay

Learn to be literate — or lose
    What a great commentary that should be read widely, and acted upon (“A nation of morons,� New Times, December 29). It greatly grieves me that literacy and general learning have fallen to such depths in this country.
    I was a much-better-than-good student in high school, but then I had parents who truly cared about learning. I also had some great teachers, one of whom took me under her wings when I was a shy, awkward teen and pushed me into drama (I ended up on stage before hundreds — what a great experience). I also had a junior high science teacher who gave me a lifelong love for this field.
    My own child, who went to an area high school following my divorce, did not receive the family support he needed to excel. However, he did have his athletic coaches, eventually gained a scholarship to college, and admits now that he was not pushed anywhere enough to be able to handle college-level classes. I feel guilty that I, a writer of books and magazine articles, will not have an offspring capable of equaling or exceeding my literary accomplishments. However, he is going to pursue a master’s degree in counseling, and fortunately has the drive to eventually attain one.
    I completely agree that all the factors Jacqueline Marcus mentions in her commentary — computers, video games, lack of commitment to studying, a party-type atmosphere on campus, broken homes, corporate advertising etc. — play a part in the decline of literacy. That we have role models like President Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger who mangle spoken words, lack true inspiration in their thought processes, and evoke “action hero� attitudes (rather than cool, calculated actions) doesn’t help, either.
    I have a library full of some of the best contemporary books published in the last 25 years, and they contain information and inspiration that will never be on the Internet. Increasingly, good material is having great difficulty finding publishers, except in cyberspace, which could ultimately be ephemeral. My advice to young people: crack open a good book, any book, and start a lifelong learning process you will never regret.
William L. Seavey

Facts about Katcho are wrong
    In a letter to New Times on January 19, Bob Anderson of Arroyo Grande asserts Supervisor Achadjian is running for re-election in part because “in two years he will be fully vested in the state employee pension system...� Mr. Anderson then suggests this will give Katcho a lifetime pension “close to his supervisor’s salary.�
    I wish Mr. Anderson or the New Times had checked the facts before publication of this letter, as it is simply wrong. The County of San Luis Obispo has an independent pension trust — it is not a member of the state employee pension system (PERS). Further, Mr. Achadjian is already vested in our system on the same basis as any county employee — it requires five years of service to become vested, so Mr. Achadjian became eligible in January of 2004.
    As to the amount of pension entitlement, if Supervisor Achadjian is re-elected and serves a full third term, he will end up with 12 years of service that will entitle him to a pension of approximately 25% of his final salary or a little under $18,000 a year at current salary rates. I don’t think this fits anyone’s definition of “close to his supervisor’s salary.�
David Edge
San Luis Obispo

Nazism in New Times
    I was appalled when I read the letter “Appalling and reprehensible� submitted by M.S. Cook of Morro Bay in your January 19-26 issue. Since I had not seen the New Times issue of January 11 to 18, I was, at first reading of the letter, somewhat dismayed. Dismayed because I found it hard to believe a newspaper that I have read for so many years could stoop so low. I will not repeat here the caption of the photo.
    And what is most appalling is the fact that a thorough search of the current issue did not yield either an apology to the readers or an explanation of the comment on the photo.
    I am in favor of freedom of the press, but I ask you would you support espousal of Nazism in your local rag? If the next issue does not reveal any comment to the M. S. Cook letter, I think I had best stop reading New Times SLO.
Lynn A. Gunsaulus
San Luis Obispo

Get a grip
    This is a response to Joyce Albright’s negative and cutting remarks addressed to the new CSD board of Los Osos. We now have an elected board of five wastewater experts. They were elected mainly because the old board refused to listen to anything the citizens of Los Osos had to say that went against their own ideas:
1. Telling us for years that the Tri-W pond project was killed by the regional water board when in fact the CSD did so on its own.
2. Fully adopting the “County “ sewer plan when all studies pointed to its expense and liabilities.
3. Rose Bowker hired Mr. Buell because “after we took office, things were different and we did not know what to do�.
4. Accepted bids on the project 50% over normal, even after being told not to do so by staff members.
5. Two of the board members were physically barred from entering a conference room where discussion with sewer contractors involving expenditure of public funds was taking place. Recording of the conference was refused.
6. The board member attempt to secure the landscaping contract on the sewer plant.
7. The Montgomery-Watson-Harza “burglary� just before county and federal investigations were to take place.
8. The support of the inflated fire tax.
9. The skate park location — inadequate public input.
10. The constant and ongoing attempts to limit public comment; Rose Bowker finally ending with one meeting per month with two minutes comment per meeting.
11. No response allowed to the board’s public comment answers. This amounts to “dialogue� which is not allowed, so nothing is settled.
12. Changed project from a “recharge� system to a “disposal� system that will probably lead to State Water.
    There is a lot more, Joyce. I frankly don’t know why the old CSD board was not recalled years ago. Maybe you were dreaming! You do not support the current CSD; I do!
Elisabeth Allebe
Los Osos

Totally out of touch
    This is a ‘heads up’ to residents living east of Los Osos Creek – Tacker and the LOCSD seem to be plunging ahead with plans to place a sewer plant in your area (Tacker claims to know seven landowners prepared to sell at some location and since west, north, and south are not practical, they must be east). A plant without odor or design features to keep it from being ugly and smelly — apparently as folks living out there are in a “remote� location, smells won’t matter. What a welcome to people entering our town! And what about the “close proximity� to places where public gatherings are held such as the Memorial Day program at the memorial park and the churches in the area? Won’t Measure B apply? This CSD is completely out of touch with reality. And don’t get me started on fiscal responsibility!
June Wright
Los Osos

You might be a redneck
    In the recent informative, yet irreverent cover story about the current mouse infestation of Laguna Lake, you failed to edit an obscenely offensive detail in the McCloughloch cousins’ picture on page 13. Due to historical developments in race relations and civil rights, the Confederate flag (in non-ignorant and non-ironic circles) is outdated and odious. The only appropriate place for this signifier of an underdeveloped and undereducated society is in Civil War history books and museums. Robert E. Lee is dead, the South lost the war, slaves were freed, moonshine is illegal, etc. So the McCloughloch cousins of Oceanaire live life as good ole Americans have lived for hundreds of years — barbeques, guns and family traditions. There is no wrong in that. The obvious problem demonstrated in your paper is their misguided admiration for the Stars and Bars. It saddens me, New Times, that unlike other media outlets in the county, y’all over yonder have yet to wise up to history, cultural sensitivity and well, common sense. I am officially boycotting your paper until an apology is written because I know I do not stand alone with my zero tolerance policy for that sad, sad piece of cloth that ill-bred rednecks have chosen to proliferate the existence of in contemporary civilization.
Brandi Stansbury
Paso Robles

Blame it on Rio
    Wow, Chief Deb Linden, the SLO city managers and The Tribune must be giving each other high fives all around. It must have been quite a quandary about how to welcome 20,000-30,000 thousand people to come party for the upcoming Tour de California occurring the day before Mardi Gras weekend begins. Well, they have come up with the perfect solution. In their continuing effort to demonize everything and everybody associated with our annual Mardi Gras celebration, all they have to do is simply say, “Please come to town, party down,� and if there’s any trouble, we’ll just blame it on those evil Mardi Gras folks.

Michael McGee

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