Cambrian Letters to the Editor March 27

cambrian@thetribunenews.comMarch 27, 2014 

Meeting Sunday

Cambrians for Change will hold its next meeting at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at Rabobank. Among the topics for discussion are:

• Discussion related to the Bartle & Wells rate increase study/power point presentation at the March 13 CCSD board meeting. I have requested that this study be put on the CCSD’s website, so that anyone interested may view it prior to the meeting on Sunday. It was suggested at the CCSD meeting, that the community offer their ideas in the form of e-mails to director, Amanda Rice. Cambrians for Change is offering a more transparent vehicle for the community to share its ideas on rate increases. 

Comment sheets will be available at the meeting, or come prepared with your written thoughts on the subject ahead of time; copies will be sent to the CCSD with your permission and for their consideration.

• Discussion related to how effectively the CCSD is operating. What are the issues, and how could they be improved upon?

• Recall of the current CCSD Board? (A topic being discussed in the community.)

• Candidates for the November election.

We look forward to having you join us this coming Sunday, to share your concerns and ideas for a better Cambria.

Tina Dickason

Cambrians for Change

Apples and oranges

Marilyn Kirkey’s March 20 letter to The Cambrian (“Desal costs too much”) makes statements about the Santa Barbara seawater desalination facility that are either misleading or mathematically impossible. 

It is true (based on a 2009 engineering study) that restarting the city’s long-mothballed desal plant may cost some $20 million. But it is wrong — a textbook case of apples-and-oranges — to imply that Cambrians might face a similar price tag in the future.

First, the Santa Barbara plant, with an annual capacity of 3,150 acre feet, is at least 10 times the size of anything being contemplated for Cambria. Second, the Cambria facility will handle brackish water, less salty than seawater and thus cheaper to treat (the lower the salt content, the less energy needed to remove it).

Finally, the Santa Barbara rehab project requires some major work — such as reinstalling submersible pumps a mile offshore — that would not be needed at Cambria’s brackish-water facility. 

The letter also claims that Santa Barbara’s city administrator predicted a 20-fold increase in water bills if the desal plant is restarted. Whatever this official actually said, the statement attributed to him could not be true.

Water from desal certainly is more expensive than water from Santa Barbara’s reservoirs. But even at full capacity the desal plant would provide less than a quarter of the city’s needs. The rest would still come from cheaper water sources, and desal water would be produced only when those other sources fall short. So even if desal water is 10 times the cost of reservoir water, it would raise overall water costs by far less. 

No one claims that desal is cheap. But it is far less costly than Ms. Kirkey suggests, and it certainly beats any alternatives that Cambria has available right now.

Tom Gray


Editor’s note: Tom Gray is public information officer for the Cambria Community Services District.

Gray area

During the meeting of the Cambria Community Services District Board of Directors on Feb. 27, I asked that the position description for the public information officer and the contract signed by Mr. Tom Gray and the general manager for the position be made public.

They still are not public on the CCSD website, and I have not seen any evidence of Mr. Gray’s work to distribute public information for the CCSD.

Reading Tom Cochrun’s Viewpoint, “Speak for yourself, CCSD,” in The Cambrian (March 20), I applauded. The CCSD should hire him as their “Truthful Transparency Officer,” should he be willing so to serve.

Elizabeth Bettenhausen


Communication good

So the CCSD acts out of “foolishness” and “stupidity,” according to the lead sentence of Tom Cochrun’s diatribe of last week, when it hires a spokesperson.

Communicating to the public about the detailed, technical, and all-too-often incendiary issue of water policy in Cambria is not something part-time public officials are allowed, in Cochrun’s universe, to get assistance with.

Plus, Cochrun doesn’t think the guy the CCSD hired is a good fit. It seems that some other, unnamed people Cochran talked to don’t like the guy. Cochrun then dismisses him as a “verbal battler.” (Cochrun’s own accusatory and over-the-top prose makes this deliciously ironic.)

There’s real hubris in the idea that because Cambria is small, it can’t have complex and thorny issues. Finally, there’s disingenuousness in Cochrun’s implication that verbal and written communication is so simple that honest folks don’t need experts. Cochrun’s blurb says he spent 40 years as a wordsmith, so he knows better than that. He just hopes we don’t. 

Pam Beck


No place for hate

Hate comes in many forms. Some are recognized by law makers as crimes. Others are just to malign or discredit another person. This is what was seen in last weeks “Viewpoint.” Mr. Cochrun’s piece was just that — hate mail. His attempt to discredit a fellow Cambrian for accepting a job with the CCSD was more than just his opinion on the issue of his appointment. But a personal attack on him as an idividule by using name-calling to describe his dissatisfaction. 

 My purpose in responding to this article is not to counter Mr. Cochrun’s views, he has the right to them. My purpose is to place blame on the editor and The Cambrian for putting such degradation into circulation.

We have a water problem, just as the rest of the state does. We are not alone. We need to find a solution both short term and long. Printing such an article, to me, serves only two purposes.

One, to elict a response from someone to fuel the fire that we are all painfully aware of — water shortage. And two, to try to incite opinion against this person and discredit him before he has even had a chance to start.

I understand the right of everyone to have and express an opinion. But it should be the responsibility of the paper to edit out such personal issues and attacks that only fuel anger and malice between two neighbors. We should be working together on finding a remedy to our situation, not promoting in-fighting! 

Bruce Fosdike


Embrace diversity

At the Feb. 19 meeting of the North Coast Advisory Council, a motion was made and adopted, stating that the NCAC condemns bigotry, bullying, harassment, and all types of discrimination.

We  join all members  of our community who have also spoken out against this kind of hateful activity.

Bob McLaughlin, San Simeon, on behalf of

North Coast Advisory Council

Safe & sober

We've all heard horror stories of devastating occurrences resulting from un-sober activities on high school graduation night. The rich tradition of Coast Union High School Safe and Sober Grad night has likely contributed to the absence of such tragedies in our town.

To this end, the Class of 2014 Sober Grad committee is working hard to afford our seniors an all-night party they’ll never forget — for all the right reasons. We've extended our fundraising effort and are currently selling raffle tickets for a drawing at 7 p.m. Friday, March 28, at the opening night performance of Coast Union Drama Club production of “Guys & Dolls.”

Prizes include the grand prize of $2,014, catering for 50 people from Boni’s Tacos, and overnight stays at Ragged Point Inn and Sunset Inn, Cayucos, among others generously donated by local vendors. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the gym before Friday’s performance or at the Cambria Chamber of Commerce by 3 p.m. Friday afternoon.

In addition, donation boxes are placed at various businesses in Cambria and Cayucos up until graduation night, June 12. Your extraordinary senior class of 2014 and their families thank you!

Kirsten Mathieson

2014 Safe & Sober Graduation Committee

Support theater

Once the cast of this romantic play, “Coming Apart,” stepped on stage, the rehearsals were over and they were not playing their tart characters.

Even though their lives were coming part, the overall production was beautifully pulled together. This is a fast-moving, first-class play that will keep you smiling and grateful that we have such a fine theater.

So support Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre — you won’t want to miss sitting in those comfy seats and seeing “Coming Apart.”

Carol Frane


‘Fun evening’

For a fun evening see “Coming Apart” at the Cambria Center for the Arts.

We saw it and really enjoyed the production.

Richard Pierpont


Letters must be signed (no pseudonyms), with the writer’s address and phone number for verification. Shorter letters (under 250 words) on local topics by local authors are published sooner. E-mail letters to, mail to The Cambrian, 2442 Main Street, Cambria, CA 93428; or fax to 927-4708. Letters should be received at The Cambrian by noon Friday to be considered for publication the following Thursday. All submissions become the property of The Cambrian.

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