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Information isn't wasted in science

A recent letter claimed that researchers studying global warming are in an "ultimate marketing scheme to get rich quick" ("Tip your hat to global-warming hucksters," Jan. 18). However, this argument is not convincing for a variety of reasons.

First, the letter claims that the researchers receive "unlimited government funds for their hobbies." Unlimited is a very strong word perhaps the source of this rather sensational claim can be stated. In actuality, a large part of research on global warming is coming from professors, who are already paid a salary by their institution. The grant money that they do receive, including a lot which is from foundations, goes to actually fund the overhead of their research. They are not pocketing the money. The argument that "all of it [is] our tax funds" therefore does not hold.

Secondly, the research conducted on our climate, and man's modification of it, is not wasted, even if it turns out there is no global warming. Science is not a field where information is wasted.

Using the same logic of the letter, I would like to applaud the traditional energy industry for convincing us that we need their product, and that they need government subsidies to lessen their financial "burden." This industry does get its subsidies from our tax dollars. This, to me, appears to be the "ultimate marketing scheme to get rich quick, and do it legally too!" Bixler McClure

Shell Beach

 

 

 

Nobody expects the Sacramento Inquisition!

I was moved by Patrick M. Klemz's piece on the new horrors in Los Osos ("'Are you after our blood?" Jan. 25). It prompted me to watch the televised Jan. 22 Regional Water Quality Control Board hearing a display of bullying worthy of the Third Reich. And absurdity worthy of Monty Python (Nobody expects the Sacramento Inquisition!).

This Inquisition allows no judge, no jury, no rule of law. All randomly chosen defendants are presumed guilty: Because there is pollution in Los Osos, all Los Ososans are polluters. Q.E.D. No evidence of individual innocence is allowed.

This is like saying that because crime exists in SLO, everybody in SLO is a criminal, therefore we don't have to catch perpetrators just jail residents at random.

I've gotta admit this could be a big money-saver. Murder investigations, especially, cost a bundle. Maybe next time there's a murder, we can choose a random citizen from the murderer's hometown, pronounce him guilty, and give him a lethal injection without bothering with expensive investigations or trials?

Not funny when it's actually happening to real people: innocent citizens chosen by lottery "to be fair." They are mostly poor and elderly, and have never had any control over the sewer project. Many supported it. But they are being threatened with horrific fines and driven to bankruptcy by legal bills.

This show of brute, pointless (taxpayer financed) sadism serves NO PURPOSE, especially since the Blakeslee bill has transferred the sewer project out of Los Osos completely.

So why is this unconstitutional emotional torture of innocent citizens continuing?

Anne R. Allen

Los Osos

 

 

Look at the big picture for Atascadero

It was encouraging to see Mayor Luna reconsider his position. The Atascadero City Council has traditionally been responsive to its citizens unlike Paso Robles, where decisions are made by the city manager and the Council doesn't pay attention to the public.

I think the members went to the last Council meeting with their minds already made up. Hopefully, Atascadero won't be hijacked by a group of activists. We have seen what is happening to property values in Los Osos.

Obviously, Wal-Mart is always opposed by unions. This really shows up when there are numerous government and utility employees because unions thrive when the added costs can be forced on the public.

In this case, they are also opposed by a well-meaning but maybe misguided Homeowners Association. This association is usually "no growth" because they don't want Atascadero to change. I constantly hear people in Atascadero say that they don't want to become another Paso Robles. I really do understand and agree with their concern. When Paso got half of its population from L.A. in just a few years, the culture of Paso Robles changed. It was no longer a place where people knew each other, loved their town, and were willing to give of themselves for the good of all.

It wasn't the big stores that caused Paso's problems. Wal-Mart was a big plus. The problems stemmed from the City Council subsidizing growth at the cost of existing citizens. Their attitude changed from "What is good for the citizens?" to "How much money can we bring into the area?" This was a complete reversal of priorities. Things like schools, rec programs, traffic congestion, and safety were no longer real important.

K-Mart and Home Depot have been good for Atascadero. What the people of Atascadero have to do is identify the qualities that make it a good place to live and make those priorities. It becomes a community attitude. Having a responsible City Council is a very good sign. It is things like low density in residential areas, good schools, a good recreation center, and self-improvement activities like sports, 4H, FFA, Wranglerettes, etc. It's the community spirit that develops when neighbors know and are willing to help each other and the community. Atascadero has these kinds of things they just need to value and protect them.

There is no question that Atascadero needs more shopping options and more revenue for basic city operations. What is happening downtown is very promising, but retailers aren't going to locate in Atascadero just because they are the ones the residents want. Atascadero has lost a half dozen desirable potential businesses to other locations in the last few years.

People will never completely agree, but if everybody could look at the big picture of what is most important to Atascadero, it will go a long way to bring people together.

Walter Heer

Paso Robles

 

 

 

Hello corporate cookie-cutter city

Well, I must thank "Mayor may not" George Luna for a civics lesson. I was under the impression that despite large corporations having control on the federal and state levels, on the local levels the will of the people was most important. Thank you flip flop Luna for teaching me the important lesson that our will is irrelevant. The death knell of our downtown businesses has been sounded. Goodbye small-town mom-and-pop stores. Hello corporate cookie-cutter city of Atascadero. Goodbye to our uniqueness and distinctiveness. If Mayor Luna's reasonings were that he felt the majority of the city wanted a Wal-Mart, I would concede. However, his stated reasons are purely the cost of defending the proposed big box ordinance against a legal challenge coupled with his erroneous belief that opposing the big box ordinance would actually somehow stop the citizens from being divided on this issue.

Perhaps my anger is more properly directed at Wal-Mart for their willingness to force their way into a community that clearly does not want them here. Is a corporation that is willing to sue to force their way into a community really what the Wal-Mart supporters respect? Perhaps it's the citizenry I should be most disappointed in if this is what we have come to respect.

Namaste.

Daniel B. George, Jr.

Atascadero

 

 

 

Tank is an offensive reminder

I mean no disrespect. Honestly. I'm a well-mannered Southern girl who hates making people feel uncomfortable. It's just that I have this unrelenting uneasiness about a certain monument in town. Because I have to drive past it a few days a week, it's become more noticeably and increasingly offensive to me. Well, maybe sad is the right word.

The San Luis Obispo Veterans Memorial Museum has on its lawn, you must have noticed, a big tank. I can't comment further on the specifics of the tank, because I don't know much about them. I do know that the tank represents the tragic realities of our past and current military situation. And no matter how much I do want to respect those individuals who have behaved heroically and sacrificially, the tank unavoidably brings to mind invasion, unrest, and death.

It's not offensive for me to remember that these horrible elements exist in our world this is unavoidable. It's offensive to me because as I drive by, I can't help but feel like I'm in a community that is revering the machinery as a reminder of what we think makes America great. Wahoo, look at our big guns!

It's ironic that I drive by the tank on my way to the area's premier institution of higher learning. I guess, in a way, it's a reminder to continue to fight the good fight to win peace in the hearts and minds of we, the sleepy San Luis Obispians.

Wahoo, look at our big peace!

Sally Kay

San Luis Obispo

 

 

 

Is it 2008 yet?

I was happy to read the other day a bipartisan draft resolution co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and supported by Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine with support of the Democrats opposing a troop increase with no clear direction as to the purpose and no exit plan. I applaud the Republicans who have shown courage to take a stand against quite possibly one of the worst presidents in our nation's history, with his stubbornness to continue in a course with no way out except to lead to the continued deaths of more young American men and women and to continue to anger the Arab world.

Our intellectually challenged president insists his way is the best by also refusing to enter into a dialogue with Syria and Iran, stating that we shouldn't talk to our enemies as recommended by the bi-partisan 9/11 commission. Maybe he needs a reminder of history.

During the height of the Cold War, Premier Nikita Kruschev had Soviet nuclear weapons aimed at the United States and stated boldly at the United Nations: "We will bury you." Throughout that time, we maintained full diplomatic relations and dialogue, which eventually defused a dangerous situation, and, even later, led to the fall of communism.

What possible reason is there to avoid speaking to Syria and Iran, who are next door to Iraq, not going anywhere, and do not have the weapons, technology, or stomach to directly confront us? They are going to play a role, for better or worse, in Iraq. It is to the benefit of all to involve them in discussion related to the region.

With Republicans abandoning the president like rats leaving a sinking ship, one has to wonder if he will ever get it. Thank god 2008 is right around the corner. Even smart Republicans see the writing on the wall, unless they want to really get smacked in the next election.

God bless America and our troops.

Dennis Hernandez

Grover Beach

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