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Wait to judge Wal-Mart
All this talk about Wal-Mart coming to Atascadero just amazes me. Can anybody in this area from San Miguel to Pismo Beach tell me which stores do not have any items inside that are not made in China? Do we have any stores that everything inside is American made? How about the wages? What do Kmart, Target, Miner’s Hardware, OSH, and other business employees get paid? This would be good reporting by the Tribune if they could find out.
Once you find these answers, then you can make a judgment for or against Wal-Mart. Until then, you really have none.

Ronald Mac
Paso Robles


Atascadero has alternatives to Wal-Mart
I'm happy to know that our city leaders are thinking about upgrading Atascadero. However, I feel strongly that adding even more big box stores to north county—and specifically to Atascadero—will quickly downgrade the economic and social quality of life for current and future residents.

I am a citizen who is deeply concerned about the economic well-being of our nation and our cities, but not at the expense of the economic health of our citizens. Bringing in too many big box stores will surely drive out local businesses that count on a place in our community. These family-owned and small businesses are the heart of our county. I ALWAYS CHOOSE SMALL BUSINESSES FIRST, NO MATTER WHERE I AM IN THE WORLD.

I am conscious of the serious economic plunderings of mega-corporations, and I am especially disturbed by the negative impact of the Wal-Mart corporation on cities, and on people. It is a fact that Wal-Mart has raked in more than ONE BILLION DOLLARS OF TAXPAYER MONEY over the last 10 years. While that may not be a deep cut per capita, the fiscal result nationally is the LOSS OF MONIES FOR EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE, just to name two basic needs of any society. No amount of charitable contributions on its part will make up for the damage already done.

Wal-Mart is a scourge on society, robbing local businesses and local wage-earners—as well as residents—of our community sustainability, health, and fellowship.

Luckily, there are other ways to create upside!

I joyfully envision the Annex filled with local businesses that we need, such as nice restaurants and lounges; boutique shops of many varieties; an Internet coffee shop in the tradition of our own Coffeehouse and Deli, but with books and gift items for sale and lots of comfy seating; a park; a market like Spencer’s; a skate park; and a performing-arts venue.

But be sure to widen the Del Rio overpass to four or six lanes to accommodate the increase in traffic!

 (Note to myself: If I don’t get my way on this issue and Wal-Mart moves in next door, call Dennis Moresco and beg him to put a gate on our Colony at Apple Valley to keep the Wal-Mart overnight “guestsâ€? from “unintentionallyâ€? “meanderingâ€? into our little park in their “touring vehiclesâ€? and “accidentallyâ€? “forgettingâ€? to put their empty 40-oz. beer cans, 72-oz. soda cups, and KFC tubs in the trash.)


Sharine Borslien
Atascadero


The omen: fair and balanced
To me, it is very interesting, although probably no more than coincidence, that the much feared and maligned number of the Great Deceiver, the Anti-Christ—which is 666—in numerology translates to: FOX. Could that be a message for us and our times?

Clayton R. Marsh
Arroyo Grande


Support Blakeslee’s plan for Los Osos
This sewer issue has gone on long enough. Let’s get all the agencies to nip this in the bud once and forever. There’s no need to keep prolonging the suffering this has caused everyone. My neighbors and I are in support of assemblyman Blakeslee's plan, where he is working with the Los Osos CSD directors to get an agreement with the county to help the CSD to implement the Ripley Plan for a waste water project, secure funding, and help with compliance schedules.

We will support an assessment to help finance an affordable plant out of town that is sensible and sustainable. We are all stressed out and tired. Let Mr. Blakeslee lead the way for all to negotiate in good faith. Let’s get beyond this hatred by some to dissolve this CSD. This CSD and the majority of us want a wastewater project.

We have many other problems here to address, and the only people who can get it done are with the CSD, with the county’s help. As Ms. Bianci said a few years ago, "We are all at fault." Assemblyman Blakeslee is on the right track. We all just need to cooperate and support his plan for a cooperative effort with the county and the state. Thank you.

Ben DiFatta
Los Osos


Lake Nacimiento lost some future visitors
I’m sure you’ve heard about the Memorial Day weekend “round up� at Lake Nacimiento.

I’d like to put my two cents in, just because. My mother was killed by a drunk when I was 12. (I’m now 62, and one never gets over something like that.) Therefore, I have little patience, sympathy, compassion, whatever, for those who overindulge. But what occurred this weekend was over and above for those who “were just doing their job.�

I had family and friends caught up in the “round up,� so I know firsthand what happened. As it always is, the good are captured along with the bad, but they all pay the price. ’Cause you’re always guilty until proven innocent, right?

As for my family and friends who were there—some for just the day, others camping—we are choosing not to use the beautiful facilities there again, especially on a holiday. And we have already passed the word to all we know who like to boat/fish/camp.

Perhaps they should consider making it a private-use-only area, just for those who own property and live there. Then they wouldn’t have to worry about having the annual “round ups.� But then, hey, think about all that revenue that’d be lost.

Carla Hartley
Lompoc


Bush legitimizes voices of intolerance
On June 5, President Bush showed his true colors—or is it the realization that he will truly go down in flames as the worst President in our history?—by pandering to his Bible-banging supporters in urging the Senate to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment. Perhaps instead of using the word pandering, ass-kissing would have been more accurate.

His White House event today further legitimizes the voices of intolerance that have made an industry out of denigrating gay and lesbian Americans. That legitimization has sadly fueled discriminatory state amendments across America that go beyond denying civil marriage equality—by denying even domestic partnerships or civil unions that allow for hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and basic dignity to life-long loving couples.

So much for his claim of being a "compassionate conservative."

Richard Kinz
Atascadero


Fight mandatory indoctrination
Parents of every persuasion are outraged by the presumption of some state lawmakers to legislate mandatory indoctrination regarding the acceptability of alternate lifestyles into the minds of little children.

This is a real and present danger! A trio of bills currently working their way through the state legislature will require that textbooks highlight positively the sexual orientation of historical figures (SB1437), and that same-sex relationships are taught as an acceptable choice and a valid alternative (AB606 and AB1056).

Clearly, respect of the rights, dignity, and honor of the individual must prevail in the public school system. But issues as to sexual morality and alternative lifestyles belong to parental prerogative, not to the disingenuous educational theories of gay-rights activists.

What irony it is that these activists would advance their “non-discrimination� agenda at the wholesale expense of the right of parents to protect the innocence of their children!

Could there be a greater act of discrimination than the enforcing of policies that could force parents to withdraw their children from the public school system entirely?

We urge parents and grandparents everywhere to engage democracy and stop the special-interest-driven tidal wave, which is poised to flow out of Sacramento and engulf our public schools.

Ron and Sherri Markum
Los Angeles


Help alleviate Cuba’s suffering
The United States is making everything imaginable, illegal, and cruel to keep the people of Cuba for no valid reason, suffering now for 45 years. We started out by invading the island in April 1961, which led to the October 1962 Missile Crisis. We have tried to assassinate Fidel Castro more than 100 times, and we have attacked their people and economy with biological weapons and other terrorist aggressions. All along, the embargo of food and medicines has been used to this date as tools of our foreign policy. Recently, in 2004, the United States imposed new restrictions against travel and remittances to families in Cuba. All those attacks are acts of undeclared war.

For the above reasons, there is an American organization—the Pastors for Peace—that conducts annual caravans of donated trucks and school buses, collecting material aid to transport to Cuba, where people endure shortages of life’s necessities—including medicines—which result in sickness and death of children and other vulnerable people. We ask for your generosity to donate whatever you can to alleviate their suffering. Please visit mysite.verizon.net/samaluse/test3.html to download our official flyer and make copies of it for others to do the same. God and our coalition will be forever grateful.

Luis M. Segui
Santa Maria Peace Coalition


Kids benefit from problem solving
In recent months, we have participated in the world’s largest creative problem solving program for kids, called Destination Imagination (DI). DI is an international program that encourages kids to solve challenges, as a team, in one of five general categories: mechanical, science, fine arts, improvisation, and structural and architecture design.

The beauty of DI is that children innovate, invent, and present their own solutions. There are strict rules about parent or professional assistance—the idea is to let kids think for themselves.

Our team gives special kudos for the encouragement and passion of Mike Liebo, Judkins Middle School teacher and Maggie Summers, regional director. The local community was generous with support and contributions to our participation at the DI Global Finals in Tennessee—specifically, the City of Arroyo Grande, City of Pismo Beach, Lucia Mar Unified School District, SLO County Board of Supervisors, and many fine local businesses, friends, and family who assisted financially or with other contributions. We were one of two local teams who competed at DI Globals after the state competition in Sacramento. Our team is from Ocean View Elementary and the other is a Judkins Middle School team. It was an amazing educational experience that could not have happened without the community support.

It is inspiring to see such energy, effort, and optimism from the children. The teamwork and challenging fun that DI offers is something we can all support. For more information, please visit www.idodi.com.

Michelle Berlin
Arroyo Grande

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