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Jan and Phyllis: Keep your voices up!

People who write letters about venom ("Measure J is over," Dec. 7) often should hold up a mirror as they proofread their texts.

Jan Marx is a nice person. I have met her. I don't know Phyllis Davies (yet). Has anyone watched the high school kids after an athletic event walk along and high-five the people on the other side? How to win and how to lose is a lesson for us all.

I hope Jan and Phyllis and all the others who raised their voices in the Measure J issue keep singing in the shower, because land use issues are not over. Someday we will go to the salad bar and find it paved over, littered with useless sale merchandise, and wonder who let this happen. Agricultural land is shrinking on Earth, just as populations explode.

I saw Sally Ride speak in San Francisco on Dec. 1. We live on a small and vulnerable planet in a vast, uninhabitable space.

Adrienne Dickinson

San Luis Obispo



French Hospital is proud to serve those who can't help themselves

I am writing in reference to the New Times cover story ("San Luis Obispo's Dying Fields," Nov. 2) because I want to express my deep disappointment in the writing and research done for this article. While the article attempts to make a case for a rehab convalescent hospital for the homeless, it is disturbing that the information regarding French Hospital was misleading and false. Specifically, one of the patients referenced in the article had never been treated at our facility. The New Times reporter was told that while the hospital could not violate any patient confidentiality laws, we could say with 100 percent confidence the patient was not released on foot. Even though that fact was pointed out to the reporter, she chose to include false hearsay information. As a matter of journalistic integrity, it should be every reporter's duty to check the facts and conduct proper research for a news article.

French Hospital Medical Center has always had a discharge plan for the homeless and indigent patient. This plan ensures that the homeless have clothing and necessary shelter, if required. Our social worker and case managers often go above and beyond the call of duty to meet the needs of this population, and while there is always more that can be done to assist the medically indigent, it would be more productive to address the issue as a community-wide social issue rather than solely a "hospital discharge" problem.

San Luis Obispo County is fortunate to have a healthcare system that is community based, whose mission is to advocate for the poor and disenfranchised. In fact, French Hospital is working with other nonprofit organizations to combat this problem and provide solutions to care for homeless patients after discharge from any hospital.

We are very proud to be able to serve those who can't help themselves, and since 2005, FHMC has donated more than $10 million in charity care and community benefit programs.

Alan Iftiniuk

French Hospital Medical Center president



Ed. note: In our Nov. 2 story, "San Luis Obispo's dying fields," Bobby Burkes stated that he was a French Hospital patient around July 6, though the hospital had no record of him. Burkes has since said that he was mistaken, and that he had been a patient at a different hospital.

Fear is really scary

I have to admit it. I really do feel Otis Page's pain ("What would happen if we cut and ran?" Dec. 7). It must be difficult to live in a world where you are the only one that seems to be talking any sense. Yep, Otis stands for all of those important American values: truth, justice, and the American way, which seems to include killing all the bastards that Mr. Page doesn't understand.

He is really afraid that we don't get it. So, his biggest fear is that we won't acknowledge all of the boogey men hiding under his bed. Mr. Page will be happy to know that I checked under my bed. Oddly enough, the only boogey men I found under there are hysterical fear-mongers like Mr. Page.

I know Mr. Page will never listen to me because he doesn't understand me. So perhaps he can open his mind, just a crack, and take the advice of that good solid American, Franklin Roosevelt, when he said, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."

Honest Otis, that fear thing is really scary!

Mike Good

San Luis Obispo




New benches will be testimony to generosity

My dog, Satchel, and I were taking our usual morning walk. This particular morning, we were enjoying beautiful Stadium Park in Atascadero, when we met two young men along the trail. They were busy with posthole diggers, and I noticed two huge benches nearby. The benches were so impressive, both in size and workmanship. I wanted to find out details.

On my return route, I stopped and met with them. A man had joined them. They introduced themselves. They were working on an Eagle Scout project installing these handmade benches along the hiking trail.

The wood was donated by Don Seawater of Pacific Coast Lumber. Don had cut down the old cypress trees along South Higuera and recycled the wood by giving it to these young men for their project. I understand Nick from Oak Country Lumber in Santa Margarita also donated some things.

I was struck by the generosity and community spirit this showed by all concerned. These benches will be testimony to that for years to come. Thank you.

Marty Brown





Here's a big thanks to Scenic Coast Realtors

With the real-estate market in a slump, those in the industry are surely feeling the pinch. But, in a very uplifting moment, the Scenic Coast Association of Realtors presented a $22,864 check to representatives from Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) at the Association's annual installation breakfast on Dec. 8.

Early in the year, BBBS was selected as this year's recipient of Scenic Coast's golf tournament fundraiser, their Vegas Glitz Casino Night, and weekly 50-50 drawings. It was amazing to participate in and work with so many people led by Association Executive Vice President Emily Schwartz who volunteered enormous amounts of time and energy.

On behalf of the Big Brothers Big Sisters board of directors and staff, I say "thank you" to the Scenic Coast Association of Realtors and their affiliates for supporting our organization, thus ensuring that many children will benefit by the involvement of caring mentors who will make them feel extra special.

Hal Sweasey


Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County




George Bush is not Mickey Mouse

The biggest obstacle to peace is George Bush. His war he started it, he can stop it, but his ego is in the way. Fire his ego, and he will follow it. We don't need more oil bad enough to spend our children's blood for it. I drive an electric car 70 mph, 100-plus miles a day. I had to build it myself. Better ones exist, but overpaid oil and auto monopoly lobbyists prevent you from buying one. Impeach the fool. It's your constitutional right and obligation.

Remember the lessons of Disney's Fantasia: Mickey Mouse is cute and everybody loves him, but when he had the wizard's wand of power in his hands, he really screwed things up, but good. Mickey, at least, knew he screwed up and handed the wand to the wise man. George isn't that smart. We must impeach him. He will do enormous damage with two more years of appointing Iran/Contra war criminals, oil thugs, and Marines to make him Supreme Emperor of the world. Sign the petition on It's the only way to stop him.

Francis Howard





Bush needs to lead in a new direction

Communication is everything in life, and that includes communicating with "the enemy" in a time of war. The latest shift in political leadership seriously demonstrates the citizens of the United States' desire for change. President Bush must listen to the people and begin diplomacy now. He must take the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group Report, which includes communicating with Iran and Syria, who have greater influence in the region than the United States. President Bush must change his failing policy in order to end this war and bring our troops home safely. All the arrows are pointing in a new direction President Bush needs to accept this new direction and begin to lead.

Eva di Santo

San Luis Obispo




Bush has to be stopped

We call it bubble, disconnect, delusional, and so on. Why don't we come out and call it what it really is?

We have a mentally ill president holding the most powerful position in the world. Are we going to protect his legacy or are we going to protect America and what it stands for?

He has to be stopped!

Sharon Eckardt

Los Osos




The media is the real enemy

The silent majority of Americans are supporting the war against Iraq and against the terrorists worldwide. However, you would never know it by the front page news and the talking heads on TV. This support is lost in the liberal viewpoints of the news media and their penchant to go for the negative in any situation. Now that the United States is completely engaged and committed to the war on terror, you would think that this irresponsible bunch of liberals would back off to help protect our soldiers at the front but no, they are worse than ever. They ignore our soldiers at the front, who face death every day to defend our freedoms, and they put on the front pages instead the terrorists celebrating the deaths of Americans. The terrorists know that the media is their ally. Hezbolla and Palestinians are always shown as the victims but not the Israelis or Americans, except in a negative light.

Every night, CNN, CBS, NBC, and ABC vie to present the most negative views and to take every opportunity to bash President Bush and his administration. In so doing, they undermine our American troops and the American government and its image around the world. And in so doing, they encourage the terrorists to greater acts of terror. In watching the news, one gets the impression that the media is the voice of the terrorists instead of the American government and democracy. Instead of showing the great things our troops are doing every day in Iraq and around the world, these news media liberal traitors are showing every negative thing they can dig up. Why? Because they hate America.

The liberal, left-wing, Bush-hating media is the enemy. Our troops and the American people deserve better than this crummy bunch.

Justin M. Ruhge





Think of the animals this season

Perhaps you are considering giving a puppy or kitten as a Christmas gift. I ask that you please reconsider. Those of us who have volunteered at shelters have seen so many of these precious creatures given up after Christmas. Remember, a pet could become a 20-year commitment.

Consider the confusion in the average home at Christmas time. It is hardly the place to bring a pet who needs plenty of sleep and a quiet refuge.

If only a puppy or kitten will do as a gift, consider a gift certificate to be honored after the holidays. If both parents are working, it is practically impossible to train a puppy. Why not get an adult dog after the holidays from a county shelter and save a life?

There are two local organizations who would appreciate donations. CAPA raises money to help cats and dogs who require medical care at the Lompoc county shelter. VIVA, which handles mostly cats, operates a trap, neuter, and return program for feral cats. They also pay to spay and neuter cats for owners needing financial aid. VIVA has some dogs for adoption. Most are kept in foster homes.

These two volunteer groups both perform a real public service to this community and by giving to volunteers, you can be sure that all monies are used to help animals and not wages.

If animals have added as much pleasure to your life as they have to mine, you might consider remembering them in your will. Again, I would prefer to leave my assets to volunteer nonprofit groups only.

Should you wish to donate your time or funds, CAPA is at 1501 W. Central Ave., Lompoc, 93436. VIVA can be reached at 735-6741.

Hazel Mortensen





Chimpanzees shouldn't be actors

What a joy it is to read that three chimpanzees used by a Hollywood animal trainer are to be relinquished to a sanctuary. They'll finally know what it is to live without fear.

In order to be trained to "perform" in ads, movies, and television shows, chimpanzees are removed from their mothers at birth a profoundly traumatic event for both. The stress of separation can leave lifetime emotional scars and impede normal development. Eyewitnesses at facilities that train (i.e., break) great apes have reported seeing baby chimpanzees and orangutans severely beaten with fists, rocks, and broom handles. Beatings are routine to ensure that the animals remain fearful and obedient. Once they reach 8 years of age, these animals are too strong to be controlled. As a result, older animals are often discarded at shabby roadside zoos where they may live in squalor for decades.

Animals do not belong on the set. Readers can learn more at

Jennifer O'Connor

Animals in Entertainment Campaign Writer

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, VA


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