Cambrian: Opinion

Cambrian letters to the editor, July 12, 2018

Letter writer incorrect on fire department

In his letter published in the June 28th edition of The Cambrian, Werner Koch asserts that “The current number of firefighters including volunteers can be maintained by combining the duplicative Cambria Health Care District into the CCHD fire department.”

Unfortunately, this idea has several fatal flaws.

First, the paramedics and EMTs who staff the CCHD are not trained firefighters and as such cannot legally staff the fire department.

Second, the CCHD’s geographic area of responsibility extends north to the Monterey County line, east to the crest of Highway 46 and south to Villa Creek just north of Cayucos, whereas the Cambria Fire Department’s primary area of responsibility is Cambria Village.

Third, the tax base for CCHD includes all land parcels in their geographic zone, while CCSD’s fire department taxes Cambria parcels — far fewer.

Fourth, as I understand it from Cambria Fire Captain Dan McCrain’s briefing Tuesday at the Lions Club, Cambria Fire Department can no longer rely on volunteers and is therefore professionally staffed. These are the facts. So Mr. Koch’s assertion that CCHD and CCSD have duplicative resources is a common misconception.

Iggy Fedoroff, Cambria

Congratulations to Los Osos rate payers

Congratulations to Golden State Water and Los Osos customers for the decrease of water-service rates in response to "tax reform" savings.

The 4.37 percent decrease will result in the average monthly bill , for the use of 150 gallons per day, to be $ 77.41 from $ 80.63 (Tribune, 6/21/18). This is approximately the same as one of their competitors, the Los Osos CSD. SLO County districts and city water providers promise systemic yearly increases.

Currently, there is mostly silence concerning "tax reform," with tax savings not being passed to customers in the form of lower fees. Opposite to Los Osos, SLO city residents will be paying higher monthly base rates for water and sewer services as dictated by the city council (Tribune , 6/21/18). A sample of claims for extra revenue are: refurbishing of aging infrastructure, increasing population and drought related fee decreases.

Or is SLO overspending and increasing rates actually caused by: subsidizing development, underfunded huge pensions, exorbitant salaries and benefits? Remember overburdened Stockton during the 2008 housing downturn obtained Chapter 9 bankruptcy restructuring including the demise of employee overspending.

Werner Koch, Cambria

CCSD should explore new revenue sources

The recent series of Cambria Community Services District special meetings included a number of issues that warrant further discussion. One of the most critical issues is addressed below.

The Bartle Wells consultant presented a proposed 2018-19 budget that would increase the average CCSD customer bi-monthly bill by 117 percent compared to that of 2013. The water bill increase alone (including the Supplementary Water Facility, SWF) would be a startling 320 percent.

The CCSD could benefit from collaborative learning with other CSDs on methods to reduce operational costs. One such collaborative candidate would be the Templeton CSD. TCSD is quite similar to Cambria in responsibilities, i.e., water, wastewater, fire, lighting and parks.

Templeton CSD, with a population of 7,700, produces approximately 1,500 acre-feet per year (AFY) compared to CCSD, with a population of 6,400, that produces 500 acre-feet. The Templeton CSD annual budget is approximately $5.6 million with a staff of 18.6 compared to the Cambria CSD's $12 million budget with a staff of 36.5.

The negative impact of the proposed budget on Cambria’s many fixed-income residents should be a major consideration in CCSD budget deliberations.

Consideration of what must be done versus what is desired should drive a budget review. Alternate revenue sources such as excess real estate sales, added water meter sales, elimination of non- critical consulting and returning the SWF to the original Emergency Water System (EWS) status should be explored.

Allan MacKinnon, Cambria

Beautify Cambria opposes back-in parking

Beautify Cambria Association has discussed the County Public Works proposal for alternative back-in angled parking on West Main Street. North Coast Advisory Council will hear this issue at their regular meeting at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday July 18, at RaboBank, 1070 Main Street.

We oppose the project for the following reasons:

Alternative back-in parking has a steep learning curve for drivers. While arguments are made for better vision and ease of traffic movement leaving parking spaces, Cambrians and visitors will have to learn the new strategy of backing in rather than backing out.

Only a single accident has been attributed to backing out of a parking space on Main Street in the past five years. This does not demonstrate a need for a change.

Even advocates for alternative back-in parking acknowledge that installation needs to be carefully planned to avoid creating problems with sidewalks and pedestrian features, such as cafes. Alternative back-in parking puts car and truck tailpipes right in café patrons’ and pedestrians’ faces. Cambria’s West Village is a unique area with retail stores, coffee shops, restaurants and outside seating. Exhaust fumes from idling cars and trucks will chase patrons from those businesses, as well as creating a health risk.

BCA presented Cambria with the trash/recycling/planter receptacles (TRPRs), courtesy of grant funding, to replace the outdated trash cans. They are framed with sustainably harvested hardwood bases and topped with attractive planters filled with succulants and blooming plants. Unless the parking stops are installed far enough forward, the long tailgates of trucks will endanger the TRPRs. Damage will be expensive to repair. TRPRs cost $2,600 each.

Sidewalks along Main Street vary in width. In some places, people using walkers and wheelchairs find it difficult to manage. If TRPRs are repositioned to allow for parked trucks, the sidewalks will be further reduced.

Rather than making this major change on Main Street, consider installing it on side streets first. That would give drivers time to learn how to use it. Cambria can observe how well it works before committing Main Street parking to it.

For all of these reasons, we ask you to reconsider using taxpayer money to experiment with alternative back-in parking on our Main Street.

Claudia Harmon Worthen, President BCA

Thank you for cancer research fundraising

I send my sincere thank you to everyone that made generous donations and gave me very kind support with my fundraising in memory of my son Alex Martinez for the Hearst Cancer Resource Center (HCRC) at French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.

I was able to walk 16 miles in the April 29 San Luis Obispo Marathon in support of the HCRC. Much appreciated donations were given by relatives, friends and Cambria and Central Coast residents/visitors. Thoughtful raffle gift items were donated from very supportive Cambria business community members including: Linn’s, Amphora Gallery, Cinnabar, Among Friends, Matter of Taste, Creative Concepts Unlimited, Piedras Blancas Light Station, Cambria Drug & Gift, El Chorlito Restaurant, Sweet Offerings Confections, and Cambria Inspirations.

Over $6,000 donated funds will enable the French Hospital Medical Center to provide ongoing support and resources toward enhancing the lives of those living with cancer.

Abel Martinez, Cambria