Monday, April 22, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / Letters to the Editor

Let's ban glyphosate

Ethel Landers - Arroyo Grande -

Remember, as a child, how we delighted when we saw dandelions in the lawn? Possibly our parents gave us an allowance if we pulled them with a tool. Remember how weeds would pop up in the sidewalk and we'd use a knife to clear them from the cracks? It took time. We had to bend over. We had to use a tool. It took labor, and we burned calories.

Then, in the 1970s (and to the demise of health and the possible death of untold people and animals), Monsanto convinced us they had a better idea. Roundup, aka glyphosate, became our savior. Why do manual labor when we can spray Roundup—glyphosate? Why hire laborers to till or hoe when you can hire far fewer laborers to spray Roundup—glyphosate?

Around 2000, Monsanto's patent expired, and now glyphosate is ubiquitous and marketed under numerous names. Glyphosate is now estimated to be throughout our food chain, in every brand of California wine, and now seeping into our water supply. Poison now penetrates our systems and causes untold negative results.

In early April, Los Angeles County supervisors placed a moratorium on the use of glyphosate until the effect on health is better understood. It's time for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties to do the same. Poison kills weeds, animals, people—our earth.

Oil oversight

Larry Bishop - Buellton -

A recent letter in the Santa Maria Times touted the wonderful history and benefits of oil development in the Cat Canyon area. The writer criticized the "few" opponents of the proposed extreme-extraction projects in the canyon, which will triple the number of producing wells there. He also decries the "micromanagement" of the oil industry by several agencies.

To top it off, the writer claims that there has been no groundwater contamination by oil operations in the 100 years of production in the area. These three criticisms would be very impressive if they were accurate.

First of all, I've attended several gatherings in Santa Maria where 50 to 150 unpaid volunteers took off work to attend a hearing to oppose the above dangerous oil projects. Another similar number would have come if they could have managed it. Several thousand folks stuck their necks out and signed petitions against the recent extreme-extraction proposal in Cat Canyon.

Secondly, as a health inspector, I've inspected dozens of these facilities over the years, and rarely have I seen much strict enforcement, let alone micromanagement. Most regulators that I encountered did not want to disrupt oil operations and trod pretty lightly during inspections.

Finally, the writer is flat wrong about groundwater pollution by oil. Recent groundwater studies have found groundwater contamination by nearby oil-related activities in North County. The oil industry's self-serving groundwater studies don't look hard enough and miss pollution that other studies find.

Let's get the facts straight before we allow further poisoning of our precious water supply by new dangerous oil operations.

Changes in the bus schedule are bunk

Suzanne de St. Jean - Santa Maria -

To quote Forest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does." The Santa Maria City Manager's Office and the transportation department decided to change the Breeze bus leaving the Transit Center at 6:20 a.m. to now leave at 6:10 a.m. Why?

The Colt bus in Lompoc changed schedules in November 2018. It used to stop at the Mission Plaza at 7:30 a.m. This allowed Breeze passengers to connect. Colt's new schedule puts it there at 7:13 a.m. We Breeze passengers who need to connect to the Colt are now unable to do so because the Breeze goes to DenMat first and then backtracks to Mission Plaza.

Some of the Breeze drivers know it is not a problem to go to Mission Plaza first and then go to DenMat, and they have accommodated connecting passengers. Since the beginning of the year, I have written letters to the city manager, assistant city manager, and Austin O'Dell in the transportation department trying to get them to allow the Breeze to stop at Mission Plaza first.

We Breeze passengers signed a petition stating that it is not a problem for the DenMat passengers if the Breeze stopped at Mission Plaza first. We also stated that none of us wanted the schedule to change. A three-minute deviation from the scheduled route does not affect any DenMat passengers. This all fell on deaf ears. The common sense of the drivers is lost on these three bureaucratic wizards who ignore the wishes of their customers and now will force everyone to leave 10 minutes earlier rather than stop at Mission Plaza first.

Great job guys! Santa Maria's finest at work.

The root cause of the world's problems

Mike Robertson - San Luis Obispo -

I'd like to say a word about torture. We hear a lot about it these days; it's all over the news. We recoil at the thought of torture. And yet, every single, solitary day, we are all being tortured. Now, you may wonder, "How is that?" And that's probably just because you haven't yet realized how you're being subjected to it. This particular torture is probably responsible for much of the suffering and pain in this world. If we could just face it and take care of the problem, then finally, we could all make the world a much happier place. Still not sure what I'm talking about? Well, here it is.

For years—no, decades—we have all been subjected unwillingly to the same, stinking, horrible songs played in stores and businesses over and over and over and over again. It is literal torture. Play it one more time, and I will talk way beyond my name, rank, and serial number.

How in the world did people ever buy into this myth that we all want to hear the same songs day in and day out, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade? And not only that, but they are played loudly. The same horrible songs by horrible singers like Rod Stewart, Kim Carnes, Rick Astley, and even tunes that once sounded nice began to grate after the first hundred times or so. The first thousand times, one feels annoyance. The first ten thousand times, one feels nausea and revulsion. After perhaps a hundred thousand times of hearing the same songs over and over again, one starts pondering termination.

Now, you are probably all realizing, hey, this guy is onto something! And I swear it is responsible for people dreading going into work, people quitting jobs early, people unconsciously spending the shortest time possible in stores buying things (I'm sure the store owners would like them to spend more time there). This is probably what has contributed to the exploding popularity of online shopping.

So, dear store owners and business owners, please get a clue and stop torturing us, unless you would like to keep pushing your customers over to Amazon. You think millennials are killing department stores? No, these store owners are contributing to their own demise! At the very least, if you absolutely must play music, please select from a variety of tunes without lyrics; there are a lot out there to choose from.

I'm begging you, stop torturing your customers and your employees, and let's make the world a better place.

Thank you for listening. Now, I think I will retreat into a dark and quiet room.

Next up, a word about advertising.

Weekly Poll
What do you think of the county's new permitting process for hoop houses?

Farmers already have too many regulations to adhere to.
It was necessary to clarify the permitting process.
The process will help protect wildlife.
Cannabis growers are the problem, not other farmers!

| Poll Results