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Trim the fat of local cartoons

There are few thing in life that give me greater joy than seeing the so-called progressive left be exposed for the intolerant bigots they are. I am referring to the latest cartoon by Jerry James (March 20).

Have a look, and if you don't get it, be careful not to scrape your knuckles.

Phillip V. Moffat

Morro Bay




The governor needs to start doing his job

The governor visited San Luis Obispo on March 26.

True to past practice, he kept his itinerary secret.

The only location we were able to discover was his visit to the Tribune editorial board at 11 a.m. He chose to visit across the state during Spring Break when many people were not home.

Many people scrambled trying to bring out a group to protest the governor's slash-and-burn budget that calls for the simplistic approach of cutting 10 percent across the board.

None of us would do that if we faced a personal budget crisis. We would sit with our families and prioritize our needs. The governor must to do the same thing. That is what he was elected to do: make the tough decisions, not come up with quick fixes. Cutting 10 percent from schools, law enforcement, and health needs is not the same as cutting 10 percent from roads and sewers.

Besides, there is a much easier way to balance the budget: Dig into the $40 billion of tax loopholes and begin closing them or raise revenue to meet the growing needs of the state.

This annual budget crisis is the direct result of Proposition 13 that limits property tax increases, then excludes commercial property from that formula.

Our message is simple and clear. There is no support for the governor's approach, and the governor needs to start doing his job rather than flying around the state making secret visits to newsrooms.

Mark Buchman

San Luis Obispo




Let me explain residency for elected officials

New Times recently has questioned the residency requirements for elected officials, referring to my having a second home in South County as constituting a problem ("Allen Settle responds to questions of residence" and "Out with the old!" March 20).

What the law requires is that all who hold office declare their primary residency as to where they are registered to vote, receive mail, and either own or rent property. I do this and more but occasionally spend time at another property or traveling on city or university business.

The law does not preclude local, state, or federal office holders from spending some time in another location. To suggest this would invalidate essentially all citizens from holding elected office. The reason is that those elected to Congress often acquire property in Washington, D.C., or Virginia or Maryland while keeping their residence in their district and return to their district as they wish and this does not preclude them from serving their community. This same rule applies to all elected officials in the United States and is part of the Commerce and Contract Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

In addition to serving on the council, I attend several meetings outside the city, such as the League of California Cities revenue and taxation committee. I fully enjoy representing citizen needs in the city and will continue to do so.

Allen K. Settle

San Luis Obispo




I am now better informed

I'd like to respond to William Persinger's "shooting the messenger" letter ("Something's fishy here," March 13) regarding Kathy Johnston's report about the local fishermen's reaction to a new monitoring requirement ("Reeled in," March 6).

Over the years, I have always looked for Kathy Johnston's well-written articles in New Times because they keep me in tune with what is happening in my environment. I appreciate that her voice lends a social justice ear to the "underdogs" in our community. I have applauded her articles that have brought light to residents of mobile home parks who are fearful of losing their homes and thus their sense of community, the people of Paso Robles and Cambria fighting unaffordable water rate increases, the homeless local man with a master's degree, and the SLO shelter struggling to keep its doors open for those who need to rehabilitate.

Kathy Johnston's "Reeled in" article was addressing one aspect of a multi-layered situation. Perhaps Mr. Persinger is not interested in knowing the fishermen's response to increasingly stringent regulations. I know that I am now better informed due to Ms. Johnston's reporting.

June Popowich

Paso Robles




Wal-Mart saves the world

Wow! John Crippen's commentary in the March 20 New Times ("Wal-Mart isn't a threat") sure puts the icing on the cake of Wal-Mart's campaign to save Atascadero,

the North County and, hey, why not the world! John ignores much, including the Berkeley University and the 10-year Iowa University study.

I have a quote hanging on my refrigerator, and it fits his commentary perfectly: "There are some people out there who are severely under the influence of ignorance," Hector Jimenez, prosecutor in charge of hate crime unit.

Oh, and just ignore the recalls on dog food, toys, toothpaste, and ground meat from China sold at your friendly Wal-Mart. It's your choice.

Lee Perkins





This country is in a crisis

After reading Ms. Brunner's commentary in the March 13 New Times ("A letter from the ranch"), I felt compelled to comment on it. If this situation gets to a courtroom and I were the judge, the first thing that I would do is order all parties involved to go to a theater and watch two movies: The Grapes of Wrath and Meet John Doe. If, after that, we cannot come to an agreement on the situation at the Sunny Acres ranch, then we have no hope as a society.

We are in a crisis in this country, and those people who live on the hills across the street from Sunny Acres will soon come to that realization. If they are tired of the situation, I suggest that they take a trip to the San Diego region and go to the Mexican border areas and take a good look. But since it is happening here, I am reminded of an article that was written in the last Woman's World magazine that was pointed out to me by my roommate. It is the story about a restaurant in Denver, Colo., called the SAME Cafe.

The two people who own the establishment serve food and only take donations for the food that they serve. Nobody is turned away because of money, etc. This is not a soup kitchen, but an actual profit-making establishment. This is the real spirit of America, and I only wish that Mr. DeVaul could meet the owners of the SAME Cafe. Maybe they and others would start to form the Meet John Doe clubs of the past and, as Libby from the SAME Cafe says, "There's power in honoring someone's dignity. If people did that everywhere, it could change the world."

Leonard W. Formosa

Los Osos




Together, the community can help Sunny Acres

Suzee Brunner's commentary on Sunny Acres ("A letter from the ranch," March 13) truly tells the story of how the homeless recovering addicts and those less fortunate among us who are trying to cope and rebuild their lives are treated.

It seems that most of our county offices do little to find housing for these people because low-cost housing is not affordable, their departments are short-handed, or no funds are available. So why do those who retire to a warm bed at the end of the day, who have money in their pockets, and who have cars to get them where they need to go keep making it difficult for Dan DeVaul to show his kindness by feeding the hungry, giving them a bed to retire to at night and duties to keep them busy and off the public streets, and holding meetings that help them gain their self-respect? Why is he considered the bad guy?

Yes, the ranch needs cleaning up, and citizens are currently volunteering to accomplish the job. They just need time. Why does it seem like some in the county want all there is to do completed yesterday?

There are code violations that need to be corrected, and, most of all, we need to educate the community as to the good that Sunny Acres is providing.

There is a cold wind blowing and it is raining tonight. I just can't understand how anyone with compassion for another human being would think that Sunny Acres residents are better off in cold tents or roaming the streets than in a warm barn.

Sunny Acres needs volunteers to help guide it through the red tape of the local bureaucracy. To do actual repairs and a host of other jobs. If you can give your time and talent to this project, call Betty at 595-9551 or e-mail Steve Jones at Let's identify specific goals and form a workforce. With your community help, this task can be done.

Joana Phelan

Avila Beach




Don't knock plastic before you weigh problems with glass

Which is more environmentally friendly, glass containers or plastic?

Glass, the envirophiles will undoubtedly say, but is it?

It takes a lot of energy to produce glass--the machinery to mine the sand, to clean it (which takes a lot of water), to add the other ingredients, and to heat it to more than 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is lots higher than for plastic manufacture. To pour it into ingots, and ship it to the bottle-manufacturing plant. Reheat it to more than 2000 degrees to make it into bottles that are once more reheated to anneal the glass and then cooled with water.

Shipped at higher energy costs to the bottling plants, the weight of glass bottles is four times, or more, the weight of plastic bottles.

There is also the environmental damage of mining the sand, limestone, and other minerals needed, as well as the energy spent to prepare those materials for use in the manufacture of glass.

Then, there are the hazards of breaking and broken glass. (Back in the days when milk was delivered to our home in glass bottles, I got a severe cut to my hand grasping for a bottle that slipped out of my hands and fell to the cement steps. Our daughter, at 5, had to be taken to the hospital to get stitches for a large cut on her hand and arm when she broke the glass in a storm door, and our other daughter needed stitches when a glass broke while washing dishes.)

Broken glass is also used by vandals and by hoodlums as weapons in fights.

So, which is really better: glass or plastic bottles?

Roy Berger

Arroyo Grande

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