Cambrian Letters to the Editor March 20

cambrian@thetribunenews.comMarch 20, 2014 

Missed opportunity

During the 33 years we have resided in Cambria there have been a series of unsuccessful attempts by the Cambria Community Services District to develop a new supplemental water source for our drought-prone village.

It appeared that progress was being made in developing a new water source when a Water Master Plan (WMP), Buildout Reduction Program (BRP) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) were completed in the late 1980s and included in the county’s Cambria Community Plan. These documents were reviewed and approved by the SLO County Board of Supervisors and the California Coastal Commission.

This progress ended when the current CCSD Board of Directors eliminated funding for the BRP, and continued to struggle with a problematic and unfunded desalination project and released Intent to Serve Letters for new water meters to facilitate new construction. These actions occurred during a 12-year Emergency Water Declaration declared by a previous Board of Directors.

This policy of promoting commercial and residential growth without a solution to our current water needs is irresponsible and undermines the health and welfare of our community. The current CCSD Board of Directors should be held accountable for their mismanagement of our Water Master Plan (WMP).

Wayne & Tarika Ryburn


Business as usual

I guess after living here full time for the past 12 years, I should be accustomed to the political landscape of the folks who are eager for new development and those who are against any form of building. Surely there is an answer to this problem. I don’t think so.

We have former CCSD directors extolling the bygone years and what should have, could have happened. Then we have the current general manager, Mr. Gruber, explaining that all those past ideas came with large costs, and that he has the answer, for the moment, which is to open former wells on Santa Rosa Creek Road with a charcoal filter which will make the former contagion nonexistent, as well as placing some type of equipment on another current well off San Simeon Creek Road which will provide the needed water. (By the way, isn’t this the exact well many of us were using, until recently, for water for our lawns and gardens?)

I am not sure about that, but I do recognize the insanity which had plagued us for many years. I would hope that cooler heads would prevail, but I have no confidence that will happen. As you know, we have just hired a public relations person to help us understand the understandable, as well as hiring a firm for $44,000 to study our water and sewer rates so the CCSD can tell us our water and sewer rates are going up. Business as usual.

Unfortunately, those in charge of the CCSD have little if any clue as to the effects of their decisions on those of us who live here full time. I am sure there will be a response to this letter telling me I have no idea what is going on, and I have no basis for my negativity. Sounds like normal in Cambria.

Jerry Glenn


Keep reading

Just a short response to David Broadhurst’s response to my op-ed criticizing the CCSD (Feb. 27, “The four failings of CCSD”:

At this point it comes down to either being for a punitive approach to water conservation or an educational approach. Most agree the CCSD has failed to do its job so far to provide an alternative water source.

Most Cambrians are willing to conserve, and, even though I’m not a farmer, I know the importance of proper water management.

We’re in a state where water is way too cheap and there was a report in the Tribune that several valley water agencies don’t even have metered water(!), especially Sacramento. It’s obvious bureaucrats have failed to do their jobs.

We’re conserving like heck here at home, but most do not know how to do it adequately, so where is the outreach by CCSD? Instead, there are threats to fine, surcharge and cut off our water.

The roof rainwater harvesting seminar will happen soon, possibly in conjunction with films on water conservation (and water’s value). Keep reading The Cambrian for details.  You need to understand how useful this approach can be.

William L. Seavey


Desal costs too much

In response to Mr. Keene’s letter in The Cambrian (“Pursue desal,” Feb. 27), I first heard about desalination years back as one of the options for our water shortage and I thought we were lucky to have that option as a last resort because we are near the ocean. But since then, I have read over and over about the extremely high costs of desal as a water source.

The city administrator for the city of Santa Barbara (pop. 90,000) stated just a few weeks ago that to re-start their already built desal plant, the cost for updated parts (which includes membranes and acids —yes, desal is a nasty business) would be at least $20 million and therefore, he recommends this solution as a LAST resort. Further, he stated that the average rate payer’s water bill would increase by 20 times current — not by 20 percent — 20 TIMES current. Sixty percent of Cambria’s residents are of retirement age with some on fixed incomes who would be unable to absorb the exorbitant cost of desal.

I was unable to attend the last CCSD meeting as I work full time in San Luis Obispo. My husband attended and said Tina Dickason commented at the meeting, and said an emergency portable reverse osmosis unit, costing $1.5 million to provide 250 acre feet of water would cost $6,000 an acre foot! Cambria’s residents (pop. 6,200) and businesses such as restaurants, bars, bakeries, hair salons, hotels, etc. that MUST use potable water cannot afford a desal solution. Passing along the increased costs will put them at a disadvantage with surrounding areas — Morro Bay, Cayucos, San Luis Obispo and others — who can offer the same goods and services and would have an advantage of gaining more business. The Cambria Community Services District continues to waste our hard-earned money on the MOST EXPENSIVE secondary water source there is — why?

Desalination is costly, very costly.  There are many other options we could be seeking for the long-term, such as recycled water, off-stream storage, water purification — all are more affordable and sustainable for our long term survival. I would like just once for someone from the CCSD to tell all of us — how much should we expect to pay for water if/when the desal switch is turned on? Should I expect to have my current 6 unit usage cost increased by only 10 times current or 15 times my current cost or more? I don’t recall in 11 years living here having the CCSD explain the cost of this option to the residents and business owners. The CCSD has recently hired yet another consulting firm to figure out how to bill us for water going forward (don’t be shocked when your bill goes up). It’s as if the CCSD is giving us all a surprise “gift”, only this one won’t be nicely wrapped and it certainly won’t have a bow! 

In my view the current board should be recalled (too late to recall past boards who led us in this direction as well) because their actions in lifting the moratorium in March 2013 and passing an ordinance in August 2013 making it possible to issue intent to serve letters, rather than addressing the Stages I and II of the Emergency Drought Conditions, long before we were in a Stage III, could have helped the situation we have been in for the last several months.

Marilyn Kirkey 


NCOR rocks

Cambria’s North Coast Ocean Rescue squad rules!

Wow! A big day at the “Well” (Leffingwell Landing). I had just surfed it the day before and experience the awesome power and it was mean and angry and nasty (as Greg Noll used to say).

Next morning the NCOR crew was assembling on the beach — are they going out? Dave and Beth Yudovin were getting suited up and said, “We’re going out!”

What a display ensued of highly trained and eager watermen to test their talents and courage. The engine on the rescue truck and rescue boat was ready for the muscle needed to launch, retrieve and race the wild ocean.

They were in top-flight readiness and performed with such efficiency. One time the rescue boat raced shoreward at high speed and “rode” the swell, “kicking out” of the 15-foot wall at just the right moment and sped up the wall of the next face and just out of danger. 

Radio communications from shore guided the daring men ashore as the beach lookout and signalman gave hand and arm signals to land — just avoiding dangerous rocks. The crew beached it at high speed (reminded me of the panga fishing boats in Baja) and was immediately manhandled by 10 or 12 strong men in waist-deep turbulence onto the trailer right at the landing spot. The whole boat and trailer was struck by tons of water as the set wave dumped on the shore. They kept their station, dug their feet in and retrieved, loaded and rescue truck powered up the ramp and out of harm’s way. Wow!

From landing to final gassing the truck up the ramp couldn’t have taken more than two minutes. Keep it up crew. Thanks for being there.

Don Wilson, U.S. Coast Guard swimmer 1960-’65


(Editor’s note: Photos of the drill appear on in the Cambria Photo Album.)

Missing the jazz

When my wife and I moved to Cambria from Long Beach several years ago, we learned of The Hamlet, a wonderful restaurant overlooking Moonstone Beach. I was told that its name had nothing to do with the works of Shakespeare, but was named for its owners, the Hamlet family. Over the years the family had created a comfortable and gracious spot known for fine food, spectacular ocean views, a friendly bar, and (to me) best of all, the live Famous Jazz Artist concert series featuring nationally and internationally renowned jazz musicians.

I wondered how a small village tucked away on the Central Coast could regularly attract such talented artists and performers. Why would they travel so far out of their way to play here in Cambria? Eventually I realized that they were here for the opportunity to play with Cambria’s own Charlie and Sandi Shoemake.

Cambria is home to some very talented artists, writers, and musicians. In my mind, at the top of that list are Charlie and Sandi. Charlie is nothing less than one of the greatest musicians in the country. Over his long career he has played with virtually every well-known jazz musician nationally and internationally, and for several years was the vibes player with the George Shearing Quintet. He has taught some of the most famous present day jazz musicians, several of whom credit him with their current success.

Sandi, Charlie’s beautiful and gracious wife is a singer and recording artist whose career spanned decades in Hollywood. Her voice, still pure and clear, her impeccable musical timing and her vocal interpretation of musical masters such as Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and others is simply a joy to see and hear. Cambria and the Central Coast are fortunate indeed to have such talent in our midst.

Charlie and Sandi began the Famous Jazz Artist concert series here in 1991 to bring great live jazz to the Central Coast. They were fortunate to find a musical home at The Hamlet. The combination of music, food, spectacular ocean view, and perhaps a fabulous martini from the bar, gave us a magical venue for live jazz for more than 20 years.

When The Hamlet was sold, many of us were apprehensive at the thought of losing what had become one of Cambria's most beloved institutions. The new owners, Centrally Grown, Inc., assuaged those concerns with the news on their website that the restaurant would be renovated and re-opened in the fall of 2012 to include the return of the jazz concerts. But 2012 became 2013, and the latest estimate is that the transformed restaurant may reopen later in 2014 with no further word on plans for the jazz series to return.  

I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to get a building remodeled and a business off the ground. My purpose in writing is not to criticize the delay but to express the continued hope of many in Cambria for the return of the jazz series to its old home overlooking Moonstone Beach. Much like the Pewter Plough Playhouse, it is a community institution to be proud of.

Is there an update to be shared on when The Hamlet may re-open as Centrally Grown, and whether we can expect the return of the jazz concert series? To be or not to be? That is our question.

Jack Morrow


Democracy, not bribery

Regarding “Bribes for votes,” March 6: It’s troubling that the real and most flagrant political bribes are ignored in David Manion’s letter; in fact, he puts the whole concept of bribery on its head.  

Bribery is when you entice an official or political party with money — not votes — to get what you want.  

In a more enlightened time, a political system where a party stayed in power giving the “people” what they want — through votes — was called a democracy, not “bribery.”

The alternative is what we have now: a corporate and very wealthy few buying representatives, judges, regulatory agencies, etc. — i.e. the government, as well as public opinion. That system was put on steroids after the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision.

Money is now considered speech, and the more money, the louder the talk.   Obviously, when money screams, “free” speech gets drowned out. That is the essence of bribery.

By definition, the “lazy and poor,” to which Mr. Manion contemptuously refers, do not have the means to bribe.

Unfortunately, it seems Mr. Manion attributes to “bribery” any legislation, or response to issues, with which he doesn’t agree.

Donald Archer


‘Coming Apart’ congrats

“Coming Apart” at the Cambria Center for the Arts is one of the cleverest and funniest shows I’ve seen there. Congratulations to the cast, director and crew for an engaging performance — and to the playwright, Fred Carmichael.

Wayne Attoe


Go see ‘Coming Apart’

“Coming Apart” is right on. If you are married, have ever been married, or contemplating marriage, this play at Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre is a must see. The actors speak their lines so clearly and distinctly that you will hear every word of this cleverly worded play, and the plot will make you smile. 

Judy Garrett


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