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Pursue knowledge instead of money

The most tragic aspect of educational goals all over, not just the United States, is the emphasis, as exemplified in the story "What is it good for?" (Sept. 13).

Is there any resident of this planet Earth, excluding the ones who have been guaranteed a living, who does not have to find a job to assure a good living? It is tragic when, from day one, starting with kindergarten, emphasis is on getting a job after graduation from high school and a better job only if one gets a baccalaureate degree.

This drumbeat of going to college to get a better employment is self-defeating. On one hand we ask our legislators to assure funds to teach science, mathematics, and other courses to keep America strong economically, technically, and militarily, and on the other hand we equate graduating successfully from college as the requirement to find a good employment. It is counterproductive.

It is suggested we inculcate in our future voting citizens the learning for the sake of learning, that is, scholarly pursuit of the subject rather than the myopic economic goals of being rich. This is especially of great importance to keep a reasonable number of citizens who reflexively react by the scientific method of reasoning. No doubt economics plays an important role, but not at the expense of fully accepted science. Abdication of the same necessarily is a path to oblivion.

Brahama D. Sharma

Pismo Beach




I don't have a degree, and look at me

I am very pro education, but I found it very interesting how the college-educated people look at the importance of college education ("Street talk," Sept. 13). The one person pointed out that a lack of it puts people "in a lower-level class" and a person "definitely couldn't support a family." Well, I didn't go to college and I retired here at 50 by being self-taught in accounting and real estate. I have had many customers that, with no education, run multimillion-dollar businesses. They build big buildings and people trust them with that. They learned how to read blueprints on their own. All are self-taught. Just like me, they created something from nothing.

As for being in a different class, you bet we are in a different class. It's call being creative and hustling. Rather than taking needless classes like English and biology as general ed requirements when we were business majors, we were taking Real World 101. We don't wait for things to happen we make them happen now. This is a class with no graduating year attached to it and that doesn't need one to be accepted.

Supporting our families is part of the program. When did having a degree equate with the success of raising a family? I raised four boys without a degree. One collared a four-year ride and another is 19 years old, without a degree, running a growing business that is doing very well most of which I taught him without a degree. By the way, there are many family owned second- and third-generation businesses.

I think Ms. Friend needs to do her homework in thinking before speaking.

Michael Fierro





Who's really living in fear?

To Mr. Sainburg and Mr. Hopper and their recent letters applauding the sheriff on the recent raid and apprehension of illegal aliens oops, I mean criminals ("Law enforcement did a good job in North County" and "Why are you questioning the sheriff?" respectively, Sept. 13):

At first I became rather angry that people could be so depraved as to actually be happy that another human being should be living in fear. I mean, I never understood the whole terminology thing here. I don't understand how a person can be labeled illegal. But that's just me. Then, as time passed, I realized that their xenophobic views had to be based on ignorance. At least, I was hoping for that, as I did not relish considering the alternative: that they were hateful, immoral, fear-mongering people with little else to do in their lives than to continue to spew such vitriolic nonsense to the masses.

I could take the noble path and attempt to enlighten the both of them on the simple, inexpensive, and nonjudgmental remedy to the massive influx of the dreaded alien horde, but I fear that it would be in vain. People like these live for hatred, whatever the powers that be decide that the flavor of that particular hatred should consist of. The irony is that the real people living in fear are not the people spoken of by Mr. Sainburg and Mr. Hopper, but rather themselves. You can't change the mind of an ideologue or an idiot.

Chris Knudson





Lose the suspicion and support 'Buy Local'

I imagine the tiny citizen group, Vision Atascadero, was mildly disappointed by the embarrassing statements from the Chamber CEO regarding VA's "Buy Local" program. But I bet there were scores of small, local businesses that pay dues for Chamber support who were even more disappointed. Joanne Main's shortsighted and unfounded accusations of the "Buy Local" program clearly revealed where her vision was focused. It was not on her dues-paying local businesses.

This small group of citizens, using their own time and money, set out to help our local businesses and our Chamber attacked them. Make you wonder why Atascadero is considered business unfriendly?

The business response to "Buy Local" signups was overwhelmingly positive. A comment heard time and again from participating business owners was, "What a great idea! It's about time!"

I hope Ms. Main can overcome her anti-Wal-Mart suspicions and throw the Chamber's support behind the "Buy Local" program. After all, her counterparts in all 50 states support their own "Buy Local" programs. And while we're at it, let's encourage our City Council to rationally consider supporting the program as well.

Doug Marks





Atascaderans beware!

Patronizing local businesses is a subversive and divisive plot by which merchants are being duped into a covert operation run by people with suspect motives, according to the head of the Chamber of Commerce. Joanne Main needs no factual basis for launching personal smears on the character of the new "Buy Local" program promoters.

A small group of civic-minded folks started this program to help strengthen our middle class, increase local profit circulation, and enlarge the town's tax base. So far, 81 businesses have joined (see The Chamber's website lists no businesses by name (except one in Santa Barbara) on its "Where to Shop" page.

How is it that such a simple and straightforward effort to lend a helping hand gets back-handed by Ms. Main, whose organization lists "Promote Shopping Locally" as a "goal" of its "Action Plan for 2007"?

Personally, I'm going to feel proud every time I walk into someone's shop with that "Buy Local" acorn decal in the window.

Meanwhile, the Chamber may evaluate the consistency of its 2007 "Action Plan" "priorities" and "goals" (e.g., "for businesses to network advocating business interest business friendly atmosphere business connections through communication") with its incongruous public persona.

David Broadwater





Clean-up day was a success

Congratulations to ECOSLO, Safe Beach Now, and all who participated in Coastal Clean Up Day at the Oceano Dunes and Beach. The volunteers from Safe Beach Now alone collected 349 pounds of trash from the dunes and the beach.

My friend and I rode our horses down the Nature Preserve beach almost to Mile 4, intending to collect trash along the beach. However, there were so many vehicles on the beach with trucks and RVs coming and going or parked at camp sites, and ATVs, quads, and motorcycles zooming around that the sand was stirred up and no trash was readily visible.

However, lots of trash was visible along the fence, where the wind sweeps it up from the beach campsites into the wire, and then beyond the fence, where it is blown into the dunes and caught on the bushes. So we rode through the gate in the fence and picked up trash in the dunes of the Nature Preserve. Sadly, the most prevalent type of trash we found was toilet paper. Apparently there aren't enough PortaPotties at the Nature Preserve to serve the 50,000 or so people who regularly camp there, so they use the dunes as a toilet, leaving the toilet paper behind.

On a more positive note, people were delighted to see us on horseback. Several kids stopped and waved, and one little boy got off his quad so he could come and pet the horses. All in all, it was a very successful day, and we felt privileged to have the opportunity to make a positive impact in return for the spectacular bounty Mother Nature affords all of us who live near the ocean beaches and the beautiful and remarkable Oceano Dunes.

Linda Rollison





Show consideration, build trust in Los Osos

No senior in their right mind would sign away their home. Then why do the developers, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the Los Osos CSD expect them to do so in the upcoming election?

We live in a diverse community, and for that I am thankful. We have hard-working families who are just making it but are the backbone of our schools and community. We also have seniors who have lived here long before the sewer was even considered an issue. We have people who have owned lots long and short term who deserve to build. We are a community facing political suicide.

My point is, if you have ever been to developing towns in Colorado such as Telluride, they have large taxes for development. This money goes into improving the town without jeopardizing the residents who live there before the boom. It seems to be a great system where the town is not too resentful of development and becomes a better place to live with new bike paths, parks, and even a sewer.

You want to pass the sewer? Then have new development pay for two sewer allotments. One for the senior who has lived here since the '50s and one for the development. The cost is easier for the new home to absorb and lets them build, which is a big money maker. I would do it!

When you show consideration to the ones before you, you can start to build trust.

And when you do build it, build a good one.

Ted Emrick

Los Osos




Keep your religion in your church

Several months ago, I moved from San Luis Obispo to rural Arroyo Grande. While living in San Luis Obispo, I met many people who seemed to think it was their "God-given" right to trespass on my property, ignore my "No Solicitors" signs, and want to share their religious beliefs with me. I politely or not told them to leave and not come back.

A couple of days ago, I was enjoying my morning coffee on my deck when four of them pulled into my driveway, and guess what? They wanted to share their religious beliefs with me. I told them I was not interested, to leave, and to not come back.

Are these people so desperate (due to their diminishing congregations) that they have to come all the way out here to try and gain new believers? Please keep your beliefs about God, the Bible, and religion in your churches.

Ginger Blackstone

Arroyo Grande




Shame on you, Gen. Petraeus

It's becoming harder and harder to stomach these trumped-up reports on Iraq. Gen. Petraeus' statements on Sept. 10 were not only completely transparent, but laughable to boot. How can you sit there, Mr. Petraeus, with a straight face and feed us this dribble?

We can read for ourselves that this progress you speak of is just not there. I also believe that this speech of his, regardless of what he stated, came at least in part straight from the White House, and not a day too soon. Shame on you for diluting what should have been an untouched week of remembrance.

Matt Fellows

Arroyo Grande




Our administration's mess is our fault

1. The current administration of the United States of America told us that "no child would be left behind" in schools. Did that turn out to be true?

2. The current administration told us and the United Nations that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Did that turn out to be true?

No, these statements were not true, and yet we all behaved as though they might be true if we believed hard enough.

It is not the current administration's fault that we are in this mess in Iraq. The fault is plainly ours. We believed in the lies to feel better.

Anyone can tell a lie. It is only a problem if the lie is believed.

So, I think it is time that we all stopped believing in these lies. Wrapping a lie up in a pretty bow, or having it told repeatedly by a four-star general of the Army, can't change a lie into the truth. It is still a lie.

The fault is ours. Yours and mine.

Let's change that.

Barbara-Jo Osborne

Morro Bay

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