The Cambrian

Cambrian Letters to the Editor, Oct. 9, 2014

Don’t repeat past

‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  George Santayana’s maxim profoundly and painfully applies to Catherine Ryan Hyde’s letter appearing in the Sept. 25 edition of The Cambrian.  

Ms. Hyde asserts that she and other opponents of the CCSD’s Emergency Water Supply project (EWS), including political challengers Rick Hawley and Jeff Hellman, do not oppose water, they just oppose the EWS. For 

30 years, if not longer, opponents of all efforts to bring Cambria a reliable new source of clean drinking water have defeated those efforts by arguing that another approach to Cambria’s chronic water shortage be pursued instead of the approach under consideration. As a result, no project goes forward, and Cambria continues under constant threat of having insufficient water. 

If you doubt this tactic has been used to defeat previous attempts to solve the water problem, consider that past CCSD boards spent millions on studies of all variety of solutions, only to implement none because opponents demanded more studies. As for the EWS specifically, Rick Hawley’s Greenspace periodical Insider from February 2014 endorsed the three-step treatment process utilized by the EWS as an “innovative” and cost-effective technology to solve Cambria’s long-term water problem.  

Now that the board has adopted the same process touted by Greenspace, Hawley, Hellman and Hyde have changed course. Don’t condemn us to repeat a past of indecision and inaction. Support the EWS and vote for incumbents Jim Bahringer and Mike Thompson.

Mark Kramer


Compare to Nipomo

I just read in a news article that Nipomo, our unincorporated San Luis Obispo County neighbor to the south, was raising water rates by 30 percent. Looking into it further on the Nipomo Community Services District website, I see the district plans to raise rates each year through 2016. 

After 10 years of litigation for water rights in the Santa Maria Valley, the district plans to invest $17.5 million for Phase 1 (of three) for a water pipeline under the river into Santa Maria. The Nipomo CSD has 4,293 customers, about twice as many as Cambria’s. I see that their bill to customers every two months includes a basic rate of $32.19, litigation cost of $6.32, sewer of $88.32 and water use of $1.97/CCF. Unless my math is wrong, that totals $142.59 per bill if they used 8 CCF (units) of water.

Last month, my bill was $118.64, and I can still hear the screams of my anti-water project friends about the cost of water. I hate to think of the snarls and potential costs next year if we don’t keep this water project on track by re-electing the present CCSD board members. Believe it or not, our water is cheap (at least compared to a Fresno electric bills this time of year).

John Bennett


We have options

CCSD is not hired to ignore the Water Master Plan, the Coastal Act and the Coastal Management Program, or to defy the Coastal Commission. Without a citizen vote, the CCSD threatened Cambria’s security by committing us to a very questionable $13 million loan on an unapproved public works project.  

Fortunately, we have options in November to act in favor of water and financial security. As executive director of Greenspace, Rick Hawley has a unique over-view of the challenge of resource and fiscal management. He has a relationship with local ranchers who have offered water for people who live here now. 

Rick believes a portable desal plant would have been the best answer to our current emergency. He is a deep-thinking problem-solver, and has ideas and skills to negotiate a more secure future despite our precarious predicament.

Jeff Hellman is also willing to work to rectify the financial mismanagement of the current CCSD. His background in finance offers Cambria sound ideas toward financial sustainability.  

Don’t let “blue shirts” scare you. Vote for our water security: Vote for Rick Hawley and Jeff Hellman for CCSD.

Lori Slater


Let’s look forward

The headline in a recent Cambrian, “Water Supply May Not Last,” underscores the need for the current emergency project. Barring some unforeseen event, the project should be online by the emergency permit deadline of Nov. 15, 2014. It is time for Cambrians to focus on the future, near and long term.

Two CCSD board seats  are up for election. Voters can choose to support the incumbents or go in a different direction. For most of us, that is an easy choice: Mike Thompson and Jim Bahringer deserve another term. 

The emergency project is in the review stages of a permanent permit. We can expect a fight here, but the community should support continued operation of the treatment plant in the dry season to preserve the San Simeon basin.

It is high time to address the rest of CCSD’s aging infrastructure. Surely we should not expect opposition to replacing critical components of our delivery system.

The community has other needs. Let’s put our energy into identifying and addressing them. These could include: completing sidewalk improvements the length of Main Street in the West Village and street resurfacing, among others. It is time for the county to reinvest a larger share of the taxes generated by the lodging and hospitality sector to mitigate the impact of serving as a host to thousands of visitors. 

Paul McDonnell


Finite commodity

I have lived in Cambria since February 2000. I have finally joined a grass roots citizen group. My wife and I have become members of C4H2O. We wish to publicly show our support of the CCSD water project.

Years ago when I trained at Camp San Luis Obispo with the Army National Guard, we were told to take short showers due to the water shortage. I read several articles in The Fresno Bee about the Central Coast water problems. This is not a new problem. It has been building for years.

I lived in Fresno for 40 years. I remember water rationing every summer. Even- and odd-numbered addresses had specific days to water, no watering during the day, etc. Water is a finite commodity. We must learn to conserve water.

The current CCSD board is to be commended for taking action and for providing for an adequate water supply for the future. 

Alan Doctor


Nature has rights

Why this reluctance to voice the obvious? The burning of fossil fuels — that’s the main culprit.

When I took psychology at the university level, we were told that we had to first understand what the problem was before fixing it.

It’s been 155 years since that first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania; it was drilled about 60 feet down to get oil. Now, because of high-tech, the drilling companies go miles down to get oil. But the burning of fossil fuels leads to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is one of the contributors to global warming. So addicted are we to a destructive, cheap form of energy.

Fracking, a high-tech, horizontal drilling technique to get natural gas and oil from shale, uses huge amounts of freshwater — millions of gallons for each well, and there are thousands of wells across the USA. As a species, we have abused our use of freshwater. Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, has the right idea when he declares nature has rights, too.

Leon Danell