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Property rights need to be balanced

Regarding your cover story, "If you want to build it, they will protest" (Aug. 2), I think you need to look more closely at the motives of the two sides, and at issues around fairness and balance. Yes, people have a right to develop property, but the neighbors have rights, too. Mr. DeCicco does not have a right to pursue his "American dream" to the point that it destroys the dreams of dozens of neighbors. Their American dream is to live in a peaceful seacoast village, and not something that looks like a Los Angeles suburb.

If you want to build Los Angeles-style developments and houses, go to Los Angeles! Builders are not the only ones with property rights, and we "activists" demand that governments recognize that fact. Let's get some balance between the property rights of the individual and the property rights of the rest of the community!

Linda Stedjee

Morro Bay




Here's how to emulate a hero

If Mr. DeCicco wishes to emulate his heroes ("If you want to build it, they will protest," Aug. 2), I suggest he build some affordable housing for the working class. Mother Teresa served the poor and sick. A clinic office with a doctor or a physician's assistant on that corner would be an asset to the community of Cayucos, along with affordable multi-family housing.

Connie Paine





Connect the development dots

"If you want to build it, they will protest" (Aug. 2) cast land-use issues as a war between developers and NIMBY's, with our elected officials a no-show in the narrative, and a cameo appearance by a lone county planner who offered some light applause for activists i.e. the folks who have to take a chunk out of their lives, take a crash course in land-use planning, step in, and do the job of planning departments, city councils, and county supervisors when planners routinely approve huge, unsustainable projects as they come hurtling down the pike.

"Dropping the call" (Aug. 2) reported, minus most of the gory details, the disgrace of the County Planning Commission rewarding a grading violator with a preliminary approval for, conservatively, a $5,000-a-month cell tower lease on his unpermitted graded land.

Your online poll offered three out of four questions giving residents several different ways to say they approve of all the development springing up around them, and only one possible "no" vote. Last time I checked, the "no" vote was at 55 percent, beating all three "I approve" options combined.

There was not much connection provided for all those dots, but if readers looked between the lines, they may have discerned the reason why we have a pro-growth majority on the Board of Supervisors and most of our city councils, despite a clear slow-growth majority among our citizens. Those elected officials also appoint planning commissioners and hire and fire planning staff.

If we don't like the results, we need to start voting like it.

Andrew Christie

Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club director

San Luis Obispo




Hamish Marshall is better than Trump

The author of last week's development feature ("If you want to build it, they will protest," Aug. 2) named Hamish Marshall SLO's Donald Trump, an analogy that hardly works. When I think of Donald Trump, I think of a ruthless, arrogant businessman. Though both Marshall and Trump are successful real estate developers, their characters are notably different.

I met Hamish's wife hiking down Madonna Mountain, and was impressed with her hospitality and generosity. She invited me, my daughter, and even my dog over to their house for coffee, pulling out boxes of her daughters' hand-me-downs to share.

When I undertook a project to help artisans in the developing world, I introduced the idea to Hamish and he immediately wanted to be involved, offering to sit on our newly forming board. I was struck with his humility, sincerity, and commitment to people in need.

Though I'm no expert at city planning, the Westpac projects I've seen are ethical and, for the most part, benefit the citizens of San Luis Obispo. The Broad Street Villages project is a mixed-use development that helped teachers, health care workers, and other public servants buy homes. Though our downtown is quaint, and change is always difficult, I would rather see the downtown go up then lose precious greenspace around the city.

If the Marshalls are SLO's answer to the Trump family, we are fortunate.

Elizabeth Aebischer

San Luis Obispo




I want an apology

I have been called a racist in the media originating from the city hall hearing on open access. I am a member of the Board of SLOCOPA or SLO County Public Access. Patrick Germany said this not only at the city hall hearing but he had it on his Open Access Channel 2 program.

Patrick Germany happens to be an African American. I served honorably in two wars for my country and I am proud of the many races in my units. Some of them were not even citizens, but were among the bravest men in uniform. Patrick played the race card about our volunteer Board of Directors so I have to ask, who is the racist? And I want an apology, and I am speaking for myself.

Justin Purchin

San Luis Obispo




Help us to remember ci-vilians killed in bombings

Aug. 6 and 9 mark the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The atomic bombs instantaneously reduced the cities to rubble, taking hundreds of thousands of lives. Today, more than 62 years after the war, thousands of citizens still suffer the devastating aftereffects of radiation and unfathomable emotional pain. Communities across the world will be commemorating these events.

Here in San Luis Obispo, we will gather on Thursday, Aug. 9 (Nagasaki Day), at 5 p.m. in Eto Park to remember those killed by the Atomic Bombs. Eto Park is located on Brook Street, off of the short extension of South Street, past Higuera. It is a lovely peaceful memorial garden.

This will not be a demonstration, but a time for remembering the 200,000 civilians killed and for pledging that it will never happen again. If you wish, please bring peace cranes to be put on the bushes during the memorial. We will end with a moment of silence.

Parking is very limited on Brook Street, and not allowed in the church parking lot, so please carpool.

Elizabeth Apfelberg

Mothers for Peace

San Luis Obispo




Morro Bay doesn't need more granny houses

There are certain vocal activists in Morro Bay who continue to advocate a "chicken in every pot" and a "granny house on every lot."

They claim that the state mandates "rich" property owners be allowed to build granny homes, for Grandma. But what they are really advocating for is secondary rental units to be built for the working class proletariat, regardless that most lots in Morro Bay are 40-by-60 feet, barely large enough for a single-family beach house!

These legal beagles don't care that the overflow parking will be in their neighbor's front yards. Compound that, lot by lot, home by home, and street by street, and you have one big mess!

Our Constitution grants every American the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but it doesn't guarantee "equality" of "brotherhood" as a mandatory condition of life, to be fostered by government, whether local or state!

Planning staff repeatedly claim they are the "professionals" and are best suited to decide how to implement controls over bulk and scale of houses and neighborhood character. But many of us are concerned that, left to their own devices, city staff will continue toward something watered down and full of loopholes.

Planning staff must be relegated to advisors, and the City Council become the "gatekeepers."

Morro Bay must adopt floor area ratios, to control the size of the house.

Height limits no houses more than 25 feet high!

Measure height from finished grade or original grade, whichever is lower.

No three-story houses anywhere.

No overhangs into sideyard setbacks.

No lot splits that would result in lots more than 15 percent smaller than the average lot in a two block radius.

Variable height-related setbacks (if a wall is over a certain height, the setback adjacent to that wall gets wider).

Solar access for gardens and solar panels preserved.

Preserve a two-car garage requirement for all areas of town.

No tandem parking.

Control granny units in areas where parking is a problem.

I cannot support mandatory second-story setbacks (wedding cake look).

Roy Kline

Morro Bay




Rethink biofuel subsidies

I believe that subsidizing the use of biofuels is one of the worst things we can do to our environment and our economy. In the large picture, biofuels are being used in addition to (not as an alternative to) oil consumption.

We will continue to use all of the oil that is available. Do we also need to farm the natural environment to feed our cars? At the expense of the rain forest, 50 percent of the Brazilian sugar crop is now used as biofuel. The 2007 U.S. Senate energy bill would mandate the production of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022 (and a huge amount of fossil fuel will be used to produce it).

In addressing our future energy use, we need to embrace conservation, much greater efficiency, and positive lifestyle changes, not the destruction of the environment to produce biofuels.

Subsidizing energy consumption only increases waste.

Rogan Thompquist

Paso Robles




Questions? You want questions?

Climate change? Was there a time when the climate wasn't changing? Predictions? Didn't climatologists develop chaos theory because weather is the least understood and most unpredictable of all the sciences? Consensus? Didn't a consensus of NASA scientists, despite objections, decide it was safe to launch space shuttle Challenger in January of 1986? Didn't they kill seven people because it was too cold? Experts? Didn't both Albert Einstein and the Encyclopedia Britannica reject the presently accepted theory of continental drift? Don't today's 8th graders know more about continental drift than Einstein did? As Albert would say, relatively speaking, isn't geophysics still in the dark ages? News media? Didn't Science Magazine, Time, Newsweek, and Fortune Magazine announce the next ice age had begun 30 years ago? Didn't the pundits warn we had only a couple of years to save the planet? Science? Don't we always underestimate the impact of new ideas? Didn't the Wright brothers say we'd never fly across the Atlantic?

Presumptuous? Don't we always overestimate how much we know? Didn't they consider closing the patent office because everything important had already been invented? Politicians? Don't opportunists try to keep the populace alarmed and thus clamorous to be led to safety? Confidence? Doesn't the future always manage to outwit our certitude?

Bill Alarid

Santa Maria

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