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A lack of understanding breeds fear

After reading numerous letters in response to Norman Mehl's letter on nuclear power ("Nuclear is practical," Oct. 25), I realize how many of the letters were written by individuals whose point was lost due to their clear disrespect for another point of view. The Nov. 1 letters written by Justin Housman ("Tree huggers are mainstream now"), Chris Knudson ("Only fools won't embrace alternative energy"), Andrew Christie ("The verdict is in: Nuclear isn't the best), and Brahama Sharma--an expert in everything--("Nuclear waste will haunt future generations") insulted not only Mr. Mehl's opinion, but insulted the intelligence of the community.

No Mr. Housman, the lack of response from the community wasn't due to, as you put it, "a flawed position," but to the community understanding that we cannot depend on the whims of Mother Nature to secure our needed energy. Such comments are unnecessary and show a lack of credibility.

First and foremost, the real issue is the perceived risk vs. the real risk. The real risks to this county place Diablo Canyon low on the list by our own county emergency services. Maybe Mr. Sharma can use his real expertise to explain to the community what would happen when one of those trains carrying all those toxic chemicals derails (by accident or intentionally). FYI: This is the No. 1 threat to the safety of the community, followed by earthquake, fire, and flood.

Unlike these gentlemen, I grew up in house where my father provided me with a wonderful respect for the power of nuclear energy. As a former health inspector, I had several opportunities to visit Diablo Canyon and will always have a great respect for my father and the employees of these facilities.

Remember, gentlemen: "We fear that which we don't understand."

Michelle Tasseff

San Luis Obispo




Keep your headlights on in the fog

The morning of Nov. 2, at 8, I had to drive 5 miles through both farmland and urban areas in fog. In most places, one could see a block or so ahead, but at times visibility was down to only a hundred feet. Yet, about one fourth of the drivers, most driving pickups, did not have their headlights on. And I don't understand.

Do these drivers think headlights are only for them to see with at night? Are they hungover from the night before and too stupefied to know what they are doing? Or are they more concerned about forgetting to turn the lights off when they get out than the possibility of hitting and killing someone?

None make any common sense. I know, some will say, "That never stopped idiots from doing things." And that is my concern. Do cops ticket drivers not using headlights? It certainly comes under the heading of being a cautionary driver at all times.

And, by the way, I have a solution for those concerned about forgetting to turn off their lights when getting out of their vehicle--I have used it for many years: Hang a reminder object on your key ring.

I have tried different ones. The one I like best is a bright orange gizmo made to put on boat keys so they will float, but anything will do. I fashioned a hook from a key ring by twisting one end of the key ring around into a hook with pliers. Works great!

Here's to driving safely.

Roy Berger

Arroyo Grande




Cyclists, stay visible after dark

With the approach of winter and the end of daylight-saving time, the days are shorter, darkness comes earlier, and there is a greater potential for bicycle accidents. Having witnessed a near collision between a bicycle and an automobile last night, I am compelled to write.

At night, a bicyclist without lights and reflectors is very hard for motorists to see. This is not only dangerous, but could result in an expensive ticket. The California Vehicle Code requires every bicycle operated during darkness to be equipped with a front white light, a rear red reflector, pedal reflectors, and side reflectors.

Some bicyclists will say that they can't afford the required equipment, but a basic light and reflectors can be purchased for less than $20 to $30. That is a lot less than the cost of a ticket, to say nothing of the value of peace of mind. Let's not even think about the cost of an ER visit (or a funeral). Please don't ride after dark if you can't be seen.

Bruce Johnson

San Luis Obispo




Where's the truth in conservative radio?

Why are so-called conservative radio commentators so full of lies, half-truths, bile, and hate? Why do they have to resort to those tactics? And why do those who follow those commentators not see how they are being led like sheep to the slaughter?

For example, Rush Limbaugh never found a half truth that he didn't like--not only lying about what he said about "phony soldiers," he is on a campaign to dis scientific evidence regarding global climate change. He constantly makes the statement that the Earth is not warming since the Antarctic ice shield is increasing in thickness. While it is true that the ice there is increasing, it is also true that ice shields elsewhere in the world are melting at a rate 10 times the increase at the South Pole. Rush never states that fact--selective half-truth. If Rush had ever gone to college and studied science, he would understand that some areas of the world are colder and wetter and other areas are warmer and dryer, but that, on average, it is getting warmer. That is called global climate change.

And then there is the vile broadcasting by Ann Coulter. Her anti-Semitic statements about Jews that need to be "perfected" and that the world would be better off if everyone were a Christian--isn't that what Hitler was proclaiming, which resulted in the Holocaust? Oh, that's right. Coulter has a new book out and loves the attention that she gets for her vile statements.

What really confuses me is what being a so-called conservative really means. If one consults Mr. Webster's book, it would lead one to believe that a true conservative would be one who would conserve energy and the use of resources. Seems backwards to hear "conservatives" like Limbaugh and Hannity dis hybrid cars and the need to raise mileage standards for cars and trucks. Sounds like they are proclaiming "liberal" use of precious resources. Why is Hate Radio so full of hate for the truth?

Barry Rossum

Arroyo Grande




Ethanol is not the answer

In Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Greece, America's influence is very prevalent. They drink Coke, have McDonald's, watch our TV, and mimic our lifestyle--except for American vehicles, energy use, and fuel choice.

In Europe, I counted six American cars. No Cadillacs, no Lincolns, no American light trucks, and no U.S. heavy trucks or buses. Diesel is a dominant fuel. Ford has a whole line of smaller cars and trucks not sold stateside. General Motors is Opel. Chrysler's domestic Jeeps sold in Europe, PT Cruisers, and the majority of Chrysler's products--all diesel. The Germans and French dominate, and Smart Cars are everywhere. Toyota produces diesel trucks called HiLux that dominate small trucks worldwide. Buses and big rigs are dominated by Mercedes, Volvo, and Ivico. Toyota and Mercedes produce many of the smaller diesel buses. Mercedes sells an A and B class of smaller vehicles and rules the taxi trade.

City transit vehicles are either electric, clean natural gas, or blue tech diesel. Trains are electric, run on time, and are very fast.

The United States is the only major nation looking at ethanol. If any of these other nations grow corn, they either eat it or feed it to livestock. Our E85 cars will not sell anywhere in Europe or Asia, and our car companies will lose even more world market share if we continue to pursue this ethanol folly.

Ethanol is very hard on modern metals and plastic and rubber fuel components. These cars will never be as trouble free as the modern diesels. There is no U.S. ethanol distribution system. If corn is the answer, why is milk now more expensive than gasoline?

Bob Blair

Arroyo Grande




This community really helped Southern California

Meathead Movers wants to thank the residents of San Luis Obispo County for their overwhelming support in donating emergency supplies for last week's fire relief effort. When we first decided to pool our resources and collect donations, we never expected such a great response. We collected more than 100,000 pounds of items on Oct. 25 and were able to send 11 truckloads of items to the San Diego area. We received water, pet care, personal hygiene, medical, bedding, and baby care items--all things that the American Red Cross said were most needed in this situation.

In San Diego, one of the trips we made was to Ramona, a city devastated by the fires. When we delivered the items, there was a line of people waiting for water because the town had run out. We also teamed up with the Athletes for Education Foundation, who worked with the San Diego Chargers to hand out supplies.

It was truly an amazing experience. People thanked us for what we were doing, but we wouldn't have been able to do any of it without the support of our great community. Our staff and the Cal Poly Wrestling Team also did a great job stepping up and spending their time loading and unloading the multitude of supplies we received.

Aaron Steed

Meathead Movers president/CEO

San Luis Obispo




Bring back integrity, honesty, and responsibility

What is happening in our country? We are spending trillions of dollars on a very unpopular war, but do not have enough money to take care of our most vulnerable, poor, and needy. Our legislators, at all levels, vote themselves huge raises while minimum wage workers are lucky to get 1 percent, if any.

Our federal legislators keep adding "pork" to bills to buy votes back home and expect the taxpayers to foot the bill. The presidential candidates are spending millions (billions?) while promising anything and everything they think we want to hear. Whatever happened to integrity, honesty, and responsibility?

Colleen McLean

Arroyo Grande

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