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You want an answer, Shredder?

The Shredder asked at the end of his column in the Feb. 21 issue ("Where did you come from?") if somebody would tell him what to think about cheating on his taxes. Presumably he is talking about income taxes.

Libertarians call taxation "legalized theft," so they have a ready answer.

However, I have a quote from Harry Truman to add to the answer: "You do not tell a thief that you have a $100 bill in the heel of your shoe."

Gail Lightfoot

Arroyo Grande




Our country is something, huh?

Foreclosures are up, the economy is down, and the oil companies are booming. Gotta love America.

Leroy Brown





Put energy toward something more constructive

I want to thank Pricilla Pineda for her insightful letter ("It'll take more than paint to fix the graffiti epidemic," Feb. 26). The attitude that many people in this county have toward our youth is oppressive, hostile, and frankly bad for our community. Everywhere you go, there are signs prohibiting bicycling and skateboarding, and when someone tries to build a park for it, the Morro Bay mayor says she's concerned about vandalism--because active youngsters are, of course, all vandals and criminals.

This attitude is pervasive. New Orleans is the murder capital of the world, yet SLO can't celebrate Mardi Gras because our students are so much worse. Like it or not, we have a large student population--and we offer them very little to do besides go to bars and get drunk. SLO's attitude toward students is akin to many racists' views about blacks: That they are all dangerous, amoral criminals who will run amok and destroy our society if we don't keep them firmly under heel.

The problem with this is that oppression only leads to a more desperate need to act out against it. The more we treat our children like criminals, the more they will decide to live up to that reputation. Why not do the crime if you're already being punished for it?

Instead of persecuting children, the homeless, and anything else that doesn't fit SLO's image as an amusement park for tourists, why not put that energy toward providing a meaningful place for them in our community? They aren't going to disappear just because we don't like them.

Reiku Hiteruo

Pismo Beach




Yoga done right makes me smile

Regarding Tridosha ("Harmony disturbed," Feb. 28): Why can't I stop smiling?

Michael Brevetz from Tridosha also walked away with money of mine (classes not yet attended and a workshop that never materialized).

So why is it that I cannot stop smiling? The next to the last paragraph of your article made one tiny statement. "The former Tridosha location has become Smiling Dog Yoga, owned by former teacher Lisa Patelli."

I followed Lisa to Tridosha when it opened in 2006. I loved her knowledge, passion, and good heart. Lisa is a well-balanced human being with a beautiful vision. She, Ahmed, Jenna, and others on the staff were always faithful and committed and always smiling, holding steady through the winds of change. They do this because they believe yoga will make a difference, as it has immensely in my life.

Thank you, Lisa, for making me flexible and making me smile. You have my continued support.


Annetta Essen

Arroyo Grande




Your article disturbed local harmony

Kylie Mendonca's article "Harmony disturbed" (Feb. 28) broke the first commandment of yoga: ahimsa, translated from Sanskrit as "non-harming." Without Michael Brevetz' side of the story, this article is nothing but gossipy schlock.

New Times, you harmed your own reputation for quality journalism with this piece, while dragging a former community member's name through the mud. Michael, however, wherever he is, is in luck. The beautiful lotus flower, symbol of enlightenment, always blooms from the mud.

Brooke West

Los Osos




Change the council, save the city

The before-and-after photos of the proposed Garden Street project ("Planting a garden," Feb. 28) should shock all citizens of San Luis Obispo into outrage. Gone are the charming store-lined street frontages, the pedestrian scale of both Garden and Marsh streets, the view of San Luis Mountain, and in its place a vast pile of ugly building representing not progress but greed in its most naked and rapacious form.

The city's role in promoting this monster is reprehensible. In addition to destroying our unique downtown, the city plans to subsidize this private development to the tune of about $10 million of taxpayer funds (a $2.4 million cash "advance" that will not be repaid, gift of city land, 30 years of property tax forgiveness). This is scandalous in a city that just more than a year ago claimed to be so broke it begged voters to increase sales tax so the city could provide essential services! (Is enriching out-of-town developers now an "essential service" of our city government?)

The Garden Street project will kill retail street life in its block. Presently underbuilt because of all the parking lots, the project site nonetheless has about 28,000 square feet of streetside retail space, all of which will go away and be "replaced" by a mere 17,000 square feet. The sidewalks in the heart of downtown will become retail dead zones, unattractive to pedestrians, and devoid of the very sales tax opportunities the city so craves. A project that truly "revitalized" downtown--as proponents claim this monster will--would have a multiple more of street-front retail than at present, not a third less.

The very existence of this awful project with its city sponsorship shows how debased our city government has become, how desperately we need a new city council, one trimmed of its tired dead wood and revitalized by new blood. This is an election year. Please, outraged fellow citizens, step forward and run for the council, and return the city to caring more about its citizens' best interests and less about enriching developers at whatever cost to citizens. If there's no change at city hall, Garden Street is merely the first of many atrocities to come.

Richard Schmidt

San Luis Obispo




Yes, violent images abound

Thank you, Mr. Swanson, for your letter about violent images in our cultures and the gullibility of folks who are surprised whenever school shootings occur ("School shootings are tragic, but not surprising," Feb. 28).

Mr. Swanson cites the many icons of death in pop culture, including skulls and skeletons and car stickers featuring hand grenades and shortened shotguns. With violence openly promoted and widely accepted, no one should be surprised.

I would like to add some violent images I've seen in pro-gun magazines. Shotgun News carries ads for automatic weapons and semi-automatic versions of belt-fed machine guns, and also for large clips of 20 to 75 rounds. A 1988 gun magazine had an ad for the book Hitman: How to Become a Murderer for Hire. And another 1980s magazine had ads for the video Sexy Girls and Sexy Guns.

Given such images, no one should be surprised by the five school shootings in a recent week.

Steve T. Kobara

San Luis Obispo




Don't let special interests dictate South County progress

On March 17, the South County Advisory Council will hold its annual election of members. This important "voice" of the local community advises Supervisor Katcho Achadjian on issues of development, land use, traffic and circulation, parks and recreation, trails, open space, and many other local issues that impact our quality of life and the collective vision for the South County.

Eighteen volunteers represent seven geographical areas, as well as safety and agriculture. Having served off and on for more than 15 years on the NAAG, NCAC, and now on the SCAC, I know how hard they work and how effectively they represent local interests when these, at times, conflict with county interests.

It is of utmost importance that you, the citizens of South County, get to know the candidates, who will meet the public at 6:30 p.m. at the NCSD at 148 E. Wilson, Nipomo, and then get to the polls at the same place, between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on March 17. Since special interests have no trouble getting out their voters, you also need to be there to make your wishes known.

Istar Holliday

Arroyo Grande




Get some social consciousness

I must relate an important story to your readers.

I had dinner in Morro Bay with some friends. Next to us sat three other people. Two of those people got up and left the third alone. I overheard her tell someone else at the restaurant they had gone to "church."

A few minutes later I hear her telling the other diners (I assume she knew) a story about how she or someone she did business with "Jewed them down." Whoa.

Being a Jew, I stopped mid-mouthful and asked, "Did you just say Jewed him down?" Yes, she replied, "Jewed him down."

I proceeded to inform her that she needed to be careful of her language as some people may be offended by it. Her reply was not, "Oh, I'm sorry. Are you Jewish?" Her reply was, "Okay, we got gypped."

People! Come on!

With that kind of ignorant, bonehead mentality, she could just as easily have said, "That nigger ripped me off." It's the same demeaning stereotype to a Jew. Don't these "Christians" know that by using these derogatory remarks, they are denigrating the integrity of their own religion? Don't you all remember that your Lord and savior Jesus was himself a Jew?! And that without him, Christianity may never have existed at all? That Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism?

I am imploring and urging all you priests, pastors, ministers, and preachers out there to educate your flocks. Teach social consciousness, acceptance, and tolerance to your masses. Remind them that just being a "Christian" does not make them a good person. It takes effort, awareness, and empathy, too.

Lisa Ellman

Los Osos




There is some evil out there

Once again someone thinks the human race is so stupid as to follow anything it sees or hears as gospel. One of the most violent books in history is the Bible!

Please give the monkey see, monkey do mentality a rest and realize that there's some actual evil out there under no influence save their own troubled mind.

Steve Hardy





I have a hope

I am in the defense of the state of Israel, and my hope is that local media accurately portray the situation in the Middle East.

Josue Medrano

Santa Maria

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