Friday, April 28, 2017     Volume: 18, Issue: 8
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Santa Maria Sun / Letters to the Editor

A Muslim speaks

Adam Khan - Islamic Center of Santa Maria -

I have been reading some irresponsible “opinions” in this publication regarding Muslims. These messages do not say anything about Muslims or Islam but rather about the writers themselves. Seems like these are the people who have no clue of their own religion and history let alone others. They have no idea of what is going on in the world. They get all their “information” from some bigot radio hosts who are leading them to the cliff. Let me tell you that ignorance is the mother of all evil.

It tells me that these people are not satisfied with their own lives and their own beliefs, so they envy others. Rather than exploring the truth (the internet and Google are everyone’s friend) they start hating the good ones.

I tell them to go and visit Muslims by going to their mosques, their communities, their gatherings, at work, in the office, at the mall, or in their neighborhood. They are everywhere. Ask them directly and become educated so that you will not embarrass yourselves any more.

And better yet, become a Muslim and do good for the community. You will feel great about it. There are thousands of Christians becoming Muslims in the U.S. every year. Join them. That is why churches are becoming empty and mosques are growing everywhere.

Join and support Muslim rallies and gatherings. Join and support Interfaith Groups. Put down your beer and chips and get off the sofa, get involved, and make a difference. That is how you get rid of your hatred, bigotry, racism, ignorance, and envy.


The cost of the new gas tax

Michael Southern - Santa Maria -

I read that the California tax on gasoline and diesel fuel is going to be raised by $0.12 per gallon in the motor vehicle fuel (gasoline) tax imposed by bill SB 1. There will be 50 percent of a $0.20 per gallon increase in the diesel excise tax, with an inflation adjustment, and a portion of a new transportation improvement fee imposed under the Vehicle License Fee Law with a varying fee between $25 and $175 based on vehicle value, with an inflation adjustment.

Is there a study available to describe the impact of this action on the average citizen? I would like to locate a copy. Surely there was some debate on the issue where opposing viewpoints were raised.

Offhand, I see a significant financial impact upon my life. Let me see if I can summarize:

1. The cost of commuting to work will rise proportionately.

2. The cost of operating city vehicles will go up, thereby prompting an increase in city taxes and fees to recover the increased cost.

3. The cost of operating county vehicles will go up, thereby prompting an increase in county fees and property taxes to recover the increased cost.

4. The utility company, with its hundreds of vehicles, that provides my electrical service will have increased fuel costs that I am certain will be reflected in a higher electric bill. The same can be expected for the utilities that provide natural gas service, water service, and trash pickup.

5. Transportation costs for children being bused to school will result in increased costs to the school districts, which will ask the state of California for education money to cover the additional costs.

6. The cost of riding buses, trains, taxis, and other forms of transportation will increase dramatically.

7. The California State University system has vehicles that will now cost more to utilize. The same can be said for the University of California system.

8. Education costs, alone, will show a huge increase because not only will transportation costs for those systems increase, but the professors, teachers, employees, and administrators who have the higher commuting costs will, of course, want higher pay increases, which will result in higher tuition costs or increased demands upon the state education budget.

9. Delivery services and trucking services will have increased fuel costs, which will be passed on to the consumer through the merchants who utilize these services.

So, I can see a cost increase for all the basic needs of every Californian, to include food and clothing. Everything in California is delivered by truck, so every item will be impacted. This is just my initial observation, without much research.


Support the Bob Jones trail

Lucia Casalinuovo - Oceano -

Dear supervisors and fellow citizens of SLO county, I support the Bob Jones Trail Expansion Project  and I encourage you to keep supporting it as you have done in the past. It is an enchanting walk through spectacular countryside, which is our duty to protect, enhance, and make available for everyone’s enjoyment.

My sister visited me from Italy, and we walked it together. She said it looks just like Tuscany. We must improve and expand the trail because it is used by thousands of residents and visitors. The trail encourages walking, which is the most basic, harmless, sound, and costless form of exercise and recreation a human could do.

Please do whatever you can to move the project forward so we do not lose any momentum on it.


A special place in SLO

Ethel Landers - Santa Maria -

Sometimes you find a hidden gem just around the corner, and this is the case at 1060 Palm St., San Luis Obispo. The GALA Center is a nonprofit organization offering support and meeting space for many progressive organizations and people including the local LGBTQ population.

The GALA Center Art Gallery offers unique shows, currently featuring 12 emerging and professional artists’ reflections on our current politically charged climate titled Signs of the Times. Many original two and three-dimensional pieces shine in this show through April 28. Next is the colorful and metallic Earthscapes by John Shaw and Sam Bonifas May 1 through June 10.

GALA participates in Art After Dark, so we hope you will stop by for a sip of wine and some great art each first Friday of the month, 6 to 9 p.m. GALA is a welcoming place where a diverse community unites, plus it offers a large LGBTQ library collection for the public. Call 451-4252 for specific hours and programs or visit galacc.org.


Have your say on Nipomo's water rates

Mario Iglesias - Nipomo Community Services District, general manager -

The mission of the Nipomo Community Services District (NCSD) is to provide its customers with reliable, quality, and cost-effective services now and in the future.

The increasing cost of water can be difficult for all of us water consumers, but this resource is vital to life and essential to our way of living.

Most of us have grown up with the convenience of having water available at the turn of a tap in the comfort of our homes. While it is possible to conserve water, buying or not buying water is not typically an option. We typically do not have an opportunity to pick who we buy our water from because it’s not cost efficient to have more than one water main in the street.

During the Eisenhower years of the 1960s, the average cost of a gallon of milk in the United States was about 50 cents. Today, you can spend in excess of $5 for a gallon of milk depending on the producer and the varied assortment of health additives you choose. The steady increase in the price of milk can be significant when you look over an extended period of time, and time seems to affect the price of almost everything.

Like milk, the cost of water continues to increase. However, if you don’t like the price of milk as a consumer you can choose not to buy milk. Water, on the other hand, is essential.

It is clear that water prices are higher today than a year ago, but is the price of water too high? The knee-jerk response may very well be, “Yes, it is too high.” However, consider the fact that Californians are finally at the end of a long dry spell that caused financial hardships to many sectors of the state’s economy as well as its residents. It is fair to say no one was spared the impact brought on by the historic California drought, and some areas in the state are still suffering due to groundwater levels that take years to recover. As we try to understand the value of water and put a price on it, we would be wise to remember what is at stake if we have no water and add that variable to the cost equation.

The NCSD is dedicated to minimizing rate increases while providing a level of reliability and availability of this precious resource. To accomplish this, the district is conducting a rate study and you are encouraged to be part of the rate building process.

The public will have an opportunity to hear a presentation of the report at the July 12 board meeting. The district board of directors will be looking to community members and ratepayers to provide them with comments, ideas, and suggestions. Public forum dates and times will be announced in the coming weeks.

Visit our website at ncsd.ca.gov for more information and to review the April 12 rate study presentation. Stay engaged in the process and be part of the solution. Follow the district on Facebook and Twitter at @NipomoCSD.