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Lazy doesn’t equal needy

Thank you so much for Glen Starkey’s insightful treatment of the difficult issue of dealing with our local transients and homeless (New Times, March 23). Those of us who are making it in SLO do have a responsibility to help our neighbors with real needs. However, young, healthy, and lazy, but free spirited, doesn't qualify as needy in my book. I have had similar experiences with panhandlers claiming hunger and turning down offers of food, presumably because a sandwich lacks the desired alcohol or nicotine content. I have not however, in my work as a psychologist, with homeless individuals and families, seen anything but gratitude and hope from those making use of the agencies and services you mentioned in your article. I hope people take your message to heart and direct their money to the places it can do some real good for those who really need it.

Thanks again for a great article.

Michael Gerber>

Never say sorry

Glen Starkey made a tactical error. You never say "No, sorry!" You have no reason to be sorry. Why apologize to an obvious freeloader? Either say a polite "no" or "I can't spare anything right now."

As you suggested, giving a donation to an organization that provides services to the homeless and needy is the best way to help out. Giving money directly to panhandlers is a bad idea. It's similar to feeding pigeons. They get used to it and they are going to crap on you anyhow.

PS—Just passing through and saw your newspaper.

Gene Morrissey

Chicago, IL 60614

Lunch money

I liked Glen Starkey’s article," I hate transients." I too have felt disgust towards seemingly healthy deadbeats panhandling. I recently offered to buy lunch for a mom and a little girl she said was her hungry young daughter (the girl looked about six years old) in Pismo. She said that wasn't necessary, she just needed money. I said no, sorry, I'll buy you lunch, and was insulted for my generosity. I tend to lean conservative. I thought your article was right on the money.

Jack Bodenmann

Hard art?

As a longtime public art advocate and consultant in the field, I think Glen Starkey did a great job of showing just how hard it can be to get good art (New Times, March 30). Thank you.

Jessica Cusick

Cultural Affairs Manager
City of Santa Monica

Gutter art?

Regarding Glen Starkey’s essay on Public Art and those who have assumed power for choosing art in public places:

Why would artists bother to create proposals for SLO when the
audience/critic view is from a pretentious and unsophisticated matchstick raft floating down the gutter where random, self-serving aggrandizement and flippant dialog is the manner of communication—not to mention a cheap aesthetic perspective.

You should be ashamed of yourself once again, Glen Starkey.

Mary Sweeney


Bridge over troubled water

Wait wait wait! Community's Bridge, designed for a specific location, designed to honor the creek we've covered up,and insightfully designed to also serve as much needed seating for Farmers Market, is being moved to Emerson Park? And why? Because Copeland’s has decided to veto the community's decisions on public art!?

I know that Copelands is a huge force in SLO, but we didn't let Copeland’s cut down our street trees to build the Court Street project, and we shouldn't let them decide what public art goes where either!

Put OUR public art back where you found it!

Dan Kallal

Bad manners from behind

As a Morro Bay citizen I recently traveled to Monterey for the Coastal Commission hearing to help defend the city’s position on some very important issues concerning the boardwalk and adjacent road. The
completion of this boardwalk is important for both residents and tourists. City Program Supervisor Bill Boucher gave a wonderful presentation defining the issues with great clarity. Bruce Ambo did an excellent job of answering questions from the Coastal Commission, and Councilman Thad Baxley was there to present the Council’s support for the project.

Also in attendance was a council member with an opposing view, who suggested the area was infested with the Morro Banded snail. That would be all right, except that she sat behind each of the citizens of Morro Bay as he or she went to the microphone, and made not only negative gestures, which could be seen by the Commission, but very loud remarks about what those testifying had to say. She has a right to express her minority opinion, but it is extremely rude for a councilwoman to behave in such a manner. Elected officials should be held to a higher standard of behavior than she displayed. Citizens of Morro Bay have to realize how important it is to re-route the road to accommodate the boardwalk from the power plant to the rock and as a result connect this portion of the California Millennium.

Garry Johnson

TR says

Maybe Theodore Roosevelt's 1907 thoughts on immigrants and on being an American will clarify what our policies should be.

"In the first place,� said TR, “we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to the US, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but ONE flag, the AMERICAN flag. We have room for but ONE language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but ONE sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the AMERICAN people.�

What happened to applying to the US for citizenship? To being sponsored (i.e. financially supported) by an American family, by pledging never to take Welfare or Medicaid in your lifetime, taking citizenship class, learning English and becoming a citizen in the seven-year period. Please let’s get back to this. The Statue of Liberty says “Give us your poor, sick, weak.� It needs to be changed to NO VACANCY!

Brenda Agee-Smiley

Morro Bay, CA

History lesson

I applaud Paso High School students for peacefully taking a stand and protesting against the Immigration Reform Bill by joining thousands in common cause. They aren't asleep in front of the TV after all. I am pleased to see our future leaders join the debate! American History teaches why immigrants revolted against England and how ordinary people seeking a better life rose up in their own defense and on behalf of others. Our nation was born out of protest and dissent, challenging the status quo, both peacefully and violently!

Slaves rose up for freedom. Soldiers rose up for benefits and against unjust wars. City workers rose up for higher wages and humane working conditions. Parents rose up for child labor laws and public education. Southerners rose up for civil and equal rights. Women rose up†to gain the vote, equal pay, reproductive rights.

History affirms that Power concedes nothing without a demand from the people. It never did and it never will! I celebrate the teachers at Paso High who inspire and ignite the flame of passion within their students to act within their rights, on their convictions. Cesar Chavez would be proud!†

Marilyn Peterson

Paso Robles, CA 93446

Getting your back up

The recent undercover investigation and arrest at a local East-West Accupressure clinic in Grover Beach of a middle-aged Asian masseuse for offering so-called "sexual services" seems over the top. As anyone who has been there knows, the so-called "sexual services" of the East-West clinic consist of nothing more than an offer of some harmless massage squeezing techniques; there is no real sex going on, and the East-West Accupressure's procedures are not risky or dangerous in any way. The secretive investigation and arrest of their employee is nothing more than police harassment. If there was anything the Grover police were really concerned about, why couldn’t they have simply spoken to the manager first without going undercover and exaggerating the situation?

In fact, just how many officers are on the Grover police force? What kinds of weapons are they armed with? With the recent increase in violent crime in the area, is this case really worth the time of our powerful police department and detectives? Is this aged and defenseless Asian lady's special back rubs for a small tip really the most important threat to peace in Grover Beach?

Why doesn't the concerned detective Mr. Jim English look into some of the real gang violence being perpetrated in the community and find the criminals there? Probably because that's a bit more daunting than picking on a poor aged massage therapist. By the way, how much money are we paying per hour for this worthless bullying police force? Please step forward and support those in our community from an oppressive and lazy police force.

Justin Hatfield

Livid over Dalidio

I just received an unsolicited and unwanted letter in the mail and I’m livid, not because it’s pornographic, but because what it proposes for the November ballot is obscene. I live in Atascadero and would prefer to let the folks in San Luis Obispo and their representatives make decisions about land use in their neck of the woods. But Mr. Dalidio wants me to sign a petition so that every voter in the County can have a say about his development next to SLO City. By placing his initiative on the ballot, he also wants to have his project exempted from County and State laws requiring assessment of traffic, school, water, sewer, growth, fire, police and other needs and effects.

Consider the consequences of this precedent for your own neighborhood. Your ability to affect decisions that impact your community can be nearly obliterated by any deep-pocketed developer willing to buy petition-circulators, polling and PR firms and media commercials. The input of your advisory committee, services district, city council or planning department could be overridden in a perverse reversal of eminent domain. Masses of people largely ignorant of and/or negligent of your town’s needs and desires could force you to surrender your autonomy.

Although I’ve read a little about the Dalidio project, I’ve remained a comfortably ignorant spectator, certain that those most affected would make the best decision. It’s their business, not mine. As a registered (and likely) voter, I don‚t want to be required to study his project in enough detail to vote intelligently. Neither do I want voters from Nipomo, San Miguel, San Luis Obispo or any other town voting on land use decisions in my neighborhood (unless it’s to open a nuclear waste repository in town or something similar). That’s our business, not theirs.

The precedent that would be set by the success of Mr. Dalidio’s initiative could result in the unraveling of local representative democracy. The outlaw exemptions it would ratify would render land use decisions blind to their infrastructure, economic and ecological consequences. The ability of communities to plan for their futures would be plagued by unremitting uncertainty and instability.

For years, the initiative process in California has been criticized as divorced from its original purpose of providing the citizenry with a means to solve problems entrenched politicians won’t address). The primary cause identified for the degeneration of this exercise in direct, bottom-up, democracy is the corrupting and abusive intrusion of moneyed interests (and their hired campaign workers, pollsters and PR consultants) for the narrow purpose of increasing their private profits at the public’s expense. Mr. Dalidio’s proposed initiative is another manifestation of this invasion of our grassroots political territory.

In the interests of representative government, informed decision-making and the integrity of our initiative process, I urge all citizens to contact their local representatives right now to inform them of this threat to their roles in land use planning. †Ask them to oppose this initiative and recommend that citizens don’t sign Mr. Dalidio’s petition. Regardless of the SLO-specific impacts of his project, his initiative is an affront to our community values and is, therefore, obscene as the law defines it.

David Broadwater


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