Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Toward More Peace And Goodwill

Monday night, 11/28, Congressman Bill Thomas (R-Bakersfield) was "officially notified to wake up and smell the reality," according to the post from Leggs Ortiz.

Iraq war protesters appeared at Thomas' annual "Academy Night" designed to sell the military academy experience to area high school students.

Third edition of the monthly RogueVoice is due to hit the newsstands and Stacey Warde gives us the inside look and his monthly rant at no extra charge, just below.

Steve Paige on how suing the State Water Quality Control Board on the grounds of "proximate negligence" could save Los Osos millions of dollars.

The Los Osos Sewerville saga marches on in a hot meeting tomorrow, December 1st. Remember to hide the dawg!

Will San Luis Obispo county soon be known as a golfing mecca? Guy Murray outlines plans for a new hotel in Nipomo to serve golfing tourists.

Reenee of Santa Maria expresses her thoughts about student sexual activity, school newspaper censorship and how some adults choose to live in denial.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Rogue Voice December Edition

The third edition of The Rogue Voice is nearly completed. We go to press Monday and will be on the stands Thursday, Dec. 1 (look for our new polished black racks with the Rogue Voice logo).

It's hard to account for the focus and tone of each issue as it comes out. Our debut edition was a mish-mash resulting from first-time jitters, and number two contained a wonderful quality of pathos (although a few detractors found it depressing), and the forthcoming third edition is hugely political. We didn't plan these things. They simply happened.

Our only criteria has been literate, readable stories you'd want to read with a glass of wine, or with whatever medicine suits you best in those special quiet moments when you want to get away.

What's clear is that we're a bit quirky, maybe unorganized, but fully devoted to quality material. We're also hoping to encourage dialog among those who may disagree.

For example, the December edition's lead story by Jacqueline Marcus focuses on the government's case against John Walker Lindh. Is he a traitor or a scapegoat? Marcus makes it clear that the government was looking for someone to blame amid the smoldering ruins of 911. Have we delivered justice to the real perpetrators of that horrible crime? And does Lindh really deserve 20 years of prison time?

Then, Dr. Steven J. Sainsbury writes a compelling argument in defense of the death penalty, noting that Stanley Tookie Williams' execution scheduled for Dec. 13 will come not a day too soon. Once dead, he'll never hurt another soul again, Sainsbury says.

Miguel Rivera, in a piece titled, "The racial divide," inspired by Bill Cosby's controversial remarks of blacks taking responsibility for themselves, points out that violence is more likely to occur within one's own community than to come from outside. It's pointless, therefore, to blame others for the harm and injustice we do to ourselves.

The overall slant of this edition, though, tilts heavily to the political left of the spectrum with a key piece by West Virginia author Charles Sullivan, "Iron-fisted America;" my own "War talk" editor's rant which praises Jack Murtha for having the cajones to speak his mind; and Dell Franklin's "Sharing the misery," a critique of the "affluent" generation's refusal to partake in the sacrifices we all make to share in the burden of living.

We hope you enjoy our next edition and look forward to hearing your comments. Please eat and drink responsibly this weekend, and have a great holiday.

Editor's Rant for the December 2005:

Nobody Wants To Hear It, But It’s Time We Had A Conversation

By Stacey Warde

As we go to press, the House of Representatives is in an uproar, the Bush administration is on the defensive and Dick Cheney is still delusional about ties between Saddam Hussein and 911.

These things happen.

The mighty and the deranged fall, and--we can only hope--better, wiser men and women will take their places.

The mighty arrogant, of course, go to hell. And by the time they’re gone, things have gotten so bad that anyone who
replaces them--wise or otherwise--will be an improvement.

Don’t expect many esteemed wise or better leaders to arise from the centrist Democrats who continue to fail miserably at usurping conservative values from Republicans.

They can’t seem to locate themselves on the values map, so they’ve been mimicking their counterparts across the aisle in Washington, showing little of their own initiative, originality, creativity or chutzpa. They haven’t found it in themselves to articulate their own or their party’s values, let alone come up with any interesting talking points or compelling and worthy legislation.

Recently, however, Congressman Jack Murtha, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who’s managed quite well to extol conservative and sensible values, won both esteem and scorn in the House for being a much better, wiser politician than any who’s spoken in a long, long time.

Murtha, a decorated war vet, stood up in his formidable Marine Corp bearing and said, it’s time to bring the troops back home from Iraq. Bring them home, he said, not tomorrow or 10 years from now--but now.

Both Democrats and Republicans must have freaked when they first heard it. They’re so used to falling into lockstep with Bush that no one’s ever ventured a disagreement, or suggested charting a new course in the war on terror. We’ve lacked a good fight like this in Congress far too long.

We haven’t had much worthy debate or discussion in the nation’s highest offices in nearly six years. It’s about time someone stood and said, “Enough.”

Republicans, of course, initially called into question Murtha’s character, arguing that only cowards cut and run. Democrats responded angrily, demanding apologies, and finally, if only haltingly, rising to the occasion of a challenge. Reports from Washington said that during the heated debate House Democrats “surged” toward Republicans, calling into play images of soccer fans on the verge of rioting.

It’s great stuff, really, filled with drama, and a shift toward addressing and hashing out some substantive issues. The White House, meanwhile, has toned down its criticism of Murtha, agreeing that yes, indeed, he’s a real patriot, and someone who can’t be written off as another quack-mouthed liberal, but he’s wrong about withdrawal.

The whole debate thing has taken interesting turns, with Democrats rising in defense of Murtha’s impugned character, and Republicans reminding the nation that public discourse, even high-profile disagreement, is healthy in a democracy, which is a far cry from the “yer either fer us or agin’ us” post-911 rhetoric of George W. Bush.

Debate such as this ought to have occurred long before Congress gave away its power to wage war way back in 2002, turning over its war powers to the executive branch — one that, as it turns out, has had difficulty reading intelligence reports. But that’s another story. Simply stated, the Democrats have been a bunch of pussies--until now.

Finally, at least some members of the party have demonstrated enough courage to voice what a majority of Americans have known from the beginning: The Bush administration, whether knowingly or unknowingly, misled the nation in its call to arms against Iraq.

It was an unnecessarily costly and fatal mistake that could easily have been avoided had Congress initially engaged in a lively debate on the merits of such a war. From the start, the war against Iraq had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, fighting terrorism, or spreading democracy. It had everything to do with an administration
run amok, and no one stood in the gap to oppose it.

The problem with the Democrats, and this whole country, in fact, is that in the shadow of 911 we gave up our capacity for wrangling over competing ideas, the basis of democratic governance. We didn’t challenge, for example, the faulty theses for staging a preemptive war that had little or no basis in fact.

The rationale for war was presented as a slam-dunk to the American people, and even to the United Nations, and nary a Democrat uttered a single protest.

And it’s not as though there weren’t any signals along the way, on the road to Baghdad, to warn us that this was going to be a terrible mistake. Any armchair analyst could have seen the case for war with Iraq was bogus from the start.

Who couldn’t have felt badly for Colin Powell, for example, when he tried to convince the United Nations and the world of the urgency to take action against Saddam Hussein as Powell unveiled cartoonish drawings of alleged mobile chemical-biological units that the Iraqis supposedly kept in their arsenal and which was one example of several
terrifyingly immediate threats Iraq posed to this country and the world?

The cartoons suggested loudly and clearly that intelligence for this supposed threat rested on thin evidence. Where were the satellite images? Where was the hard evidence for weapons of mass destruction?

There wasn’t any. Even an unqualified analyst could have told us that. But we were too spellbound by the phantasmagoria of the Bush administration’s call to arms to question the source of these fantastic claims, a guy codenamed, of all things, “Curveball.”

Meanwhile, when it became clear that the U.S. was determined to strike Saddam Hussein, an estimated 10 million citizens worldwide marched in protest. Where were the voices of dissent in Congress? They, too, it appears, were fooled by faulty intelligence, and too absurdly kowtowed by the administration’s misbegotten crusade to liberate the world from a tyrant instead of bringing terrorists to justice.

Murtha’s right, we need to get the hell out of Iraq, reposition our combat troops where they can be most effective against terrorism, and return to the tradition of healthy debate in our public and political discourse.

Stacey Warde is the editor of The Rogue Voice, an independent monthly publication on the Central Coast of California. He can be reached at stacey warde at roguevoice dot com.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Mellow Sunrise, Vivid Sunset: Reasons To Be Thankful

Dave Congalton remembers what happened ten years ago on a SLO county highway causing a seismic shift in the local media scene.

Steve Paige, our other blogger from Los Osos and a homeowner, says about the LOCSD loan problems: it's "Chinatown: the Movie" or follow the money.

Gary Ray Rogers has discovered the single most reported injury our soldiers returning from Iraq suffer--and it's probably nothing you expected.

Reenee from Santa Maria asks what can we do to protect our children behind the wheel? as car accidents keep killing. Please drive carefully this holiday season.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Getting Ready For The Weekend

ere's an original question: what reason(s) do you have to be thankful? Writer and new guest blogger Karen Lee Stevens suggests there could be at least one more.

Are there too many office product suppliers in Atascadero? City resident Craig Louis Dingman examines the situation.

Should the parents of a child with disabilities "bear the burden of proof" in determining whether a school has failed to provide an appropriate education? Gary Ray Rogers points to the latest roadblock for disabled students and families.

Thank you again for checking in with us, and please tell a friend about our blog. And do come by and visit again soon!

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday, Monday

How dangerous is it for kids to play football in Paso Robles? Steve Boggan makes a point in a guest posting below this one.

Tomorrow residents of Nipomo will meet at the Nipomo public library to explore incorporation for the town--get the agenda here.

Dr. Don makes an impassioned plea for improving our system of voting, citing Euclid in the process!

Ann Calhoun in Los Osos, must be eating nitroglycerin heart pills like popcorn as she tells us about the likelihood of a potential, history-making loan default.

Reenee of Santa Maria praises the benefits of reading a go0d book while on vacation. She also says it time to "move on" from the Judge Diana Hall "story." Is it a story about lawbreaking...or can Judge Hall get a fair trial in Santa Maria?

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Is Youth Football Dangerous In Paso Robles?

Guest blogpost from Steve Boggan, Paso Robles.

Youth Football is becoming a dangerous activity on the Central Coast.

Everyone knows that football is a rough sport. But even football has rules to keep players from being hurt. For example, it is illegal to block a player in the back, or tackle him by grabbing his facemask. Serious injury can occur unless players respect one another's safety, and the rules are enforced by the officials.

But this season, having observed many youth football games in the area, I am noticing some dangerous trends. I see some coaches on a win-at-any-cost ego trip, allowing, and in some cases encouraging their players to do whatever is necessary to beat the other team.

I see some referees who are incompetent and untrained to look for and penalize illegal blocks. I see league officials who are arrogant and unresponsive to concerns. This has created a dangerous atmosphere for kids to try to play a good, safe, clean game of football.

It is also teaching them that good sportsmanship doesn't pay off.

I believe we need to reevaluate what football is all about; rough-and-tumble, yes, but also, with sportsmanship, respect for other players, and fairness. Kids need to learn that there is honor in winning only when it is done fairly, and with basic human concern for the safety of others.

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Like Your Freedom? Thank A Vet

Veterans' Day today...if you love the benefit of our country's liberty, thank a vet...a WWII vet, a Korean War vet, a Vietnam vet, a Gulf War vet, an Afghanistan War vet and returning vets from Iraq.

You might also help Veterans fight for the benefits this Republican congress wants to cut from the budget. May all vets receive the benefits they were promised. End of editorial. --Newsstand Greg, Vietnam tour, 1969-1070.

Dave Congalton asks: should we worry if wealthy, pro-GOP big business investors want to buy The Tribune's parent company Knight Ridder? Is this buyout good or bad for print media today?

Korie Bayer, citizen of Templeton, asks a Public Servant for permission to attend a meeting regarding public business and learns about access to power...who has it and who doesn't.

Thomas Hutchings views the US from halfway around the world, sees criminals in the White House and gives his perspective on the Iraq vs Vietnam comparison.

Guy Murray spots a change in Central Coast family customs because Holloway's won't be selling pumpkins this year. Guy also urges us to support local farmers who grow these treats.

Leggs Ortiz takes time to read The Tribune and recoils at a column written by Victor Davis Hansen. We offer our own right of center writer, Ron Fink, as a suitable replacement.

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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ventura Actions Against Wal-Mart

California and the Central Coast has a history with Wal-Mart. It's recounted in the cover story of the Ventura County Reporter. Community activists in Ventura have mobilized to keep Wal-Mart out of their city.

Since Wal-Mart filed their proposed pre-application September 30, 2004, with the City of Ventura to develop a store in the location currently occupied by K-Mart on Victoria Avenue, the Stop Ventura Wal-Mart Coalition has undertaken local advocacy, community education and policy development efforts.

The Ventura group is supported by the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, CAUSE, and leads the fight to keep Wal-Mart out of the city. The current VC Reporter article quotes a community organizer.

Why Wal-Mart Should Stay Away From Ventura

“There are many people who feel this isn't the kind of business we'd like to see--but we do recognize it's a challenge to keep a business from opening up,” said Cesar Hernandez, community planning director for CAUSE.

Hernandez argues that there is already a Wal-Mart in Oxnard, just six miles away and that the goal of the coalition isn't to just keep big boxes out; it's to create jobs that pay well.

Proposed Law Tightens Retail Requirements

But the city has an option, according to an article in the Ventura County Star co-written by Nan Waltman, chairwoman of the Stop Ventura Wal-Mart Coalition. It can require review of existing large sites when they change hands, but it would require a new city ordinance.

The current Victoria Avenue K-Mart lease is set to expire in 2007.

The Stop Ventura Wal-Mart Coalition has submitted an ordinance that would meet this need. Reoccupation of large retail sites would require approval of the Planning Commission--after the impacts on traffic, housing and damage to local businesses are mitigated by the retailer.

CAUSE has sought changes in the proposed 2005 City of Ventura general plan and has drafted a land use ordinance that would directly address Wal-Mart's proposed development. The draft ordinance has been endorsed by the Stop Ventura Wal-Mart Coalition and has been received positively by members of the Ventura city council and staff.

Learn About Wal-Mart's High Community Cost
You're invited to a movie presentation of
"Wal-Mart, the High Cost of Low Price"," sponsored by the Ventura Stop Wal-Mart Coalition, Tuesday, November 15, 2005 07:30 PM. Location: 3127 Trinity Drive, Ventura. Ticket price is free!
Join the team to stop Wal-Mart from opening a store in the K-Mart building on Victoria near the present location of Trader Joe's!

Directions to the movie: Main Street (from Downtown towards Pacific View Mall), Emma (right), Porter (left), Valmore (right), Channel Drive (left), Trinity (left).

Click for more about film screenings.

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