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Opinion writer is like French royalty

In Matt Kokkonen's defense of private, for-profit, insurance-based health-care systems ("U.S. medicine: Don't knock it," June 5), he never discusses the 47 million in the United States who cannot afford health care insurance, nor the millions more who are under-insured. His attitude about them seems to be that of Marie Antoinette who, when told of the starving masses in France, famously said: "If they have no bread, let them eat cake."

How do you argue with someone who has absolutely no compassion for the poor and who believes that all public health care programs (including Medicare) should be discarded because they violate free-market principles? When told of the 18,000 Americans who will die prematurely this year as a consequence of lacking health-care coverage, Matt's response would probably be: "If they have no insurance, let them buy a doctor."

Laurence Houlgate

San Luis Obispo




Seen the price tag on a colonoscopy?

Matt Kokkonen has it exactly backwards in his argument for keeping a ruinous "health" insurance paradigm ("U.S. medicine: Don't knock it," June 5). Matt wants you to pay for preventive health procedures and screenings from your health savings account and to not bother your "partner in health" insurance company until your high-deductible "product" should kick in. (Check out the retail price of a colonoscopy or a mammogram sometime.)

True health insurance should promote health by making preventive health screenings affordable so that diseases are diagnosed before they become advanced and expensive. That's what SB 840, the Healthcare Affordability Act, would do for California. Everyone would be responsible for paying for their own health care, but at a reasonable cost because the risk is spread amongst the greatest number of people. That's the way health insurance is supposed to work, not the perverted concept Matt extols.

Write your Assembly member and state Senator today and urge him or her to support SB 840. We need a veto-proof majority for a worthy bill that passed both houses of California's legislature last session.

Walter Heath

Morro Bay




Health care is about morals, not money

Matt Kokkonen wrote a piece on American health insurance that can only appeal to people's pocketbooks ("U.S. medicine: Don't knock it," June 5). His defense of our system is that you can get quality health care for big medical problems by paying a relatively small amount for health insurance. There are many problems with this.

Some people cannot afford insurance. While the cost may be small to some people, others are living paycheck to paycheck, and $45 a month per person can be quite a bit for a family living on less than $17,000 a year (minimum wage). Also, people who already have diagnosed medical problems are likely to be turned down by insurance or required to pay even higher premiums. And what about children whose parents are too poor or irresponsible to get insurance? Are they to be shut out of hospitals due to factors beyond their control? For a profit-based system of care to work, they must and they are.

I'm a young person in good health. I have insurance through work, and I never visit the doctor. I'd rather know that the money I put into the health-care system goes to someone who actually needs care than into the pocket of an insurance company. The question of how we manage health care is not an economic one, it is a moral one.

Ian McClain

Arroyo Grande




We can ask you to stop

While August Salemi's letter ("Go ahead and dive," June 28) was partly true, he left out one important fact that all Dumpster divers must know. While the Dumpster and its contents are open to anyone wishing to retrieve articles from it, if, for example, a Dumpster is located in the parking lot of an apartment complex, the right to enter the property to access that Dumpster is at the desire and discretion of the owner of that apartment complex.

As a manager of such a complex, I have asked that certain individuals not trespass on the property in order to Dumpster dive. Why, you ask? Because they came to dive at 3 a.m. and woke up several of our tenants. Not to mention that when asked (nicely) to come after 8 a.m. or before 9 p.m., they were rude and indignant. Therefore they lost the right to trespass on private property. Please keep this in mind while you are diving. In America, private still means private. Permission can be granted or denied.

Dan Sallia

San Luis Obispo




I can't play favorites

My name and a quote from me appeared in a recent ad in New Times.

I am sorry, but I am going to withdraw from any further involvement with the project highlighted in the ad. It is my own fault for not better informing myself, but I never intended to be part of an advertising campaign for a particular company. I am very uncomfortable with the ad. I guess I thought that this would be a united effort that would include all the various opportunities and businesses in our area to help expand the use of solar power.

No hard feelings, but I do not endorse any particular business over another. I continue to be a huge supporter of green technologies and look forward to the continued growth of solar power in our community.

Christine Mulholland

San Luis Obispo City Council




Shame on your tobacco money

I was disturbed to see a full-page cigarette advertisement in your paper. Surely, you can find a way to generate sufficient ad revenue without contributing to the promotion of a highly addictive and ultimately lethal product.

What makes this particular cigarette ad so insidious is its colorful adornment with sunflowers, windmills, and the words "nature" and "natural," which give the impression of an organic health-food product.

Lloyd Kattenhorn

Reno, Nev.




Bag the bags for nature's sake

Yet another reason to do away with plastic bags: This morning as I was walking in Morro Bay, a seagull flew/floundered past me with a plastic shopping bag tied or wound around its legs. It would barely get a couple of feet off the ground when the bag would fill with air and it acted as a parachute dragging the seagull back down.

A nice young man on a bicycle (which he promptly "dumped") tried to help the seagull but to no avail. I then saw the poor bird floundering across Highway 1, nearly getting hit several times, but did make it to the other side. It will most likely end up drowning when and if it tries to land on the water. Since yesterday was July 4 with so many at the beaches, I wonder if someone thought it was "cute" to do that to a bird although the thought disgusts me. This has stuck with me all day.

Ann Wilber

Morro Bay




Open up! Open up!

I am looking forward to the day I can go for a walk on the Pecho Coast Trail without being accompanied by a chaperone who has sent all of my private ID information to the Office of Homeland Security. This is public land owned by a public agency. The Harbor District should fully discharge its public duty and open the trail to the public.

Terry Kilpatrick

San Luis Obispo




Good job on the reggae

The SLO Downtown Association outdid itself at the heavily attended Resination concert at Mission Plaza on Friday, July 6. The absolutely perfect summer afternoon conditions synergized with the positive vibe created by these outstanding local reggae artists to produce unquestionably the most enjoyable event I have personally attended in downtown SLO. While some in the audience may have been miffed by the large turnout, which limited access for some to a comfortable sitting area, this "inconvenience" only underscores how popular these events are becoming and possibly the need for finding a larger local outdoor venue for year-round use. In any case, the vast majority of those in the audience were most willing to stand or dance while the band was playing. Resination's unifying, hopeful reggae message was very healing and rejuvenating for those whose hearts, souls, and minds were open to it.

None of this would have happened without the determined efforts of Katie Hollingsworth, promotions coordinator for the SLO Downtown Association and all of the unsung volunteers who contributed to making this an event to remember. Kudos to them all.

Russ Levitan, MD

Arroyo Grande




Keep it up, Mr. President

President Bush is to be commended for his commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence how else could he have secured the unarguable prize for most flagrantly corrupt president? Sure, he's widely seen as a national disgrace, but those who would have called him that last week could only have referred to his precarious grasp of the English language, his fake Christian morality that embraces torture, his flippant dismissal of our Constitution's authority, his nearly complete incompetence as a military strategist, his childish habit of lying, and the shit-eating sneer he puts on when he pretends not to understand why the world calls him a Class-A screw-up.

Commuting Scooter's prison term was the perfect way for Bush to demonstrate that he can derail justice and still look presidential while he's protecting his cozy country-club buddies. Besides, with only a few dubious supporters left in the world, what did the President have to lose but the company of one of his lying, crooked mobsters for the next 30 months? Keep it up, George. So far you've got my vote not only for Worst American President but for Worst Overall Role Model as well.

Jim Ringley





Jail should follow due process

Lewis "Scooter" Libby has had "due process." That is more than rendition and Guantanamo suspects have had. If the President were concerned about jail time, why didn't he free Dr. Jack Kevorkian who spent eight years in jail for doing the only humane thing for a suffering terminal exactly what I want. Libby after "due process" belongs in jail.

Bill Denneen





Let's talk about another big issue

I read your story about "big issues," and race is a very big issue ("Can we talk?" June 21). There is another big issue we need to discuss: abortion. More babies have died than all the casualties of the U.S. wars since the Revolutionary War. In the United States alone, there are 3,700 (reported) abortions per day and 1.37 million (reported) abortions annually. The total number of U.S. abortions since Roe vs. Wade is approximately 45 million. At 18 to 20 days, the foundations of the brain, spinal cord, nervous system are laid. Wow. At 21 days, the heart begins to beat. Even in the first day of conception, all of the inherited features of this new person are already set its sex, color of eyes, hair color, even the dimples on the cheeks. Amazing!

How can a man kill a woman and her unborn and be imprisoned on two counts of murder but we as women can choose to abort our unborn and have a doctor take our baby's life with no legal consequence? Does this make sense to anyone? If alcohol harms our unborn baby, what does abortion do? Because a baby is unwanted it is legal to take its life. Just because it is legal, does that make it right?

We as women/girls have other choices, yet abortion is the only option that kills an innocent person. Our lives are valuable at every stage, inside and outside of the womb. If you were back in your mother's womb and she asked you "little one, do you want to live or do you want to die?" what would you say?

Let's research, get the facts. Let's start talking, thinking, and educating ourselves about abortion.

Kerri Richey

Grover Beach

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