Cambrian: Opinion

Letters to the Editor June 17 -23

Fourth goes forth

T he citizens of Cambria will once again sponsor a traditional Fourth of July Independence Day celebration at Shamel Park open to the public and free of charge.

There will be live entertainment through the day and evening with lots of games and prizes for the youngsters. There will be raffle prizes given out all day and special prizes for the children.

Lots of food and beverages will be available for sale, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, tri-tip and chicken sandwiches, along with beer, wine and soft drinks.

Activities will begin around 10 a.m. with the fireworks display beginning after sundown and ending before 10 p.m.

The Independence Day celebration is paid for by donations from local citizens and businesses and is staffed by local charitable organizations. All of the proceeds after expenses go to support local charitable organizations and programs.

Make your plans today to join us for a fun time at the shore!

Richard Brownhill Cambria American Legion Post No. 432

Hope for the future

On a Monday afternoon of wind and sun in June I walked to Shamel Park and beach to pick up recyclables and trash: a sock, cans. a snorkel tube, two ropes, sunglasses, shards of plastic, and so much more.

The huge smile time came when children ran up and asked, “Can we help?”

I give my happy thanks to Tyla, Moselle, Eliott, Lily, Sienna and Evan. They told me how plastic makes birds and harbor seals choke. A bottle stuck in the dirt under the bushes got pulled out and joined the cans in the recycling bag.

The children picked up so many big and little castoffs, put them into the trash bag, and ran to find more.

They blew dandelion seeds to make a wish that “all trash will disappear!”

The future thanks these children, too!


Bettenhausen Cambria


A grave injustice has been done to the Queen of HART, Diana Duncan.

She put a gate at the top of the driveway — her own driveway! So what!

After all, the gate was needed to protect the animals as well as everything else on the property, including their Adopt-A-Pet Mobile, which had been graffitied.

This is the most ridiculous excuse to simply cast a valued mentor aside after 19 years of mostly free, dedicated service to the community, the animals, and to the Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART). She deserves much more respect than that. This new board should be ashamed of themselves for considering petty politics over a such an important leader and a pioneer to the organization.

I’ve been a long-time supporter of Diana and HART, and I’ve seen the big strides she’s made with HART over the years. That girl has worked extremely hard and has burned the midnight oil many a night to make sure that shelter and animals were taken care of, only to go home and do the same thing with any foster animals she cared for. There is absolutely, positively no way, that HART would exist in a shelter today, if it weren’t for Diana.

This new board made a fatal decision to the future of HART when they terminated their relationship with Diana. Us long-timers, support HART, because of Diana and the work she has done throughout the years, and as word gets around about what they have done to her, people will stop donating, or they will remove HART from their wills, because they cannot be guaranteed of HART’s future. Do we want to force Diana to sell this property, this community treasure?

Michael C. Donahue Cambria

‘Founder’s Syndrome’

“Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

The recent volleys back and forth about Diana leaving HART and the future of the organization prompted this letter. HART had been experiencing the effects of “Founder’s Syndrome,” or organizational growing pains.

It is relatively common in small nonprofits, so if you read something here that reminds you of the nonprofit you’re involved with, take note and take action. As organizations grow and evolve to serve the community, a change in management style is needed.

Often, the organization experiences the same problems over and over again. For example, plans are not implemented. Money keeps running out. Board and staff members quickly come and go.

The organization struggles from one crisis to another. No one really seems to know what’s going on. The founder is at the center of all decision-making. Decisions are made quickly, with little input from others.

Often, decisions are made in crisis mode, with little forward planning to prevent problems from occurring. The organization becomes reactive, rather than proactive. The

board’s role is to “support” the founder, rather than to lead the organization.

They are often a rubber stamp board, having little understanding of the work the organization does. Their commitment isn’t to the mission, but to the founder. They are unable to answer basic questions

without checking first— such as the size of the budget, the major funding sources, the extent of the programs.

Eventually, stakeholders confront the founder about the organization’s recurring problems. Without ongoing coaching and support, it’s likely that the

founder will be replaced, or even worse, the organization will fold.

I, for one, applaud the volunteers of HART, the Board and Diana Duncan for building such a wonderful community organization. The future of HART is up to all of us.

Read more about Founder’s Syndrome at

Amanda Rice Cambria

‘Service not Self’

As the Girls State coordinator for the American Legion Auxiliary Post No. 432 we are proud to announce the selection of Sarah Wright to attend Girls State. Sarah is a very talented and accomplished young lady much deserving of this honor.

Having been the Girls State participant from my high school when I was junior, I know how valuable and rewarding the experience will be for her. Girls State teaches us about our system of government in a hands-on way.

We learn the importance of “Service not Self” and how to make contributions to our community. Besides supporting Girls State, the Auxiliary’s mission is to give financial assistance to veterans and their families. In that capacity, we have given money to Fisher House, Veterans Christmas Baskets, Stand Down (Homeless Vets), Amp-Surf, and Operation Mend, to name a few.

In our broader mission to serve the Cambria community, we have contributed to children’s Sports, the Cambria Library, Hero & Good Deeds Award (local school), two scholarships to Coast Union seniors, one scholarship to a Leffingwell graduate, and Sober Grad, among others.

We raise the funds for these projects with the help of many volunteers by preparing fundraising dinners open to the general public, and through our regular Thursday evening dinners prepared by the ladies of the Auxiliary.

Judy Garrett Cambria


Would the President of Mexico prefer that the state of Arizona repeal their law concerning illegal aliens and pass into law the exact law that Mexico has concerning illegal aliens?

Mexican law for illegal immigrants in Mexico is far more draconian. I also am ashamed of our congress applauding the President of Mexico lecturing this country.

Ed Caras San Simeon

‘Unsightly’ logs

The “dual jurisdictions” sidebar brought my brain to screeching halt. Help me understand: Cal Fire, a state agency, is hired by the county to enforce state codes within the county? Isn’t that like me paying my boss to be my boss with my own salary?

Meanwhile, CCSD allegedly has jurisdiction over my vacant lot, while Cal Fire has jurisdiction over my occupied one? Huh? How many bosses do I have, anyway? And why were none of these alleged codes and ordinances cited? Show me the employee handbook!

And I love this: CFD is “requiring” folks to remove logs that would normally be “OK,” (i. e. not a “fire hazard”), because they are “unsightly” and because they are “more dangerous”? Whoa. The fire chief is forcing me to spend hard-earned money to remove a log that is not pretty? (To whom? Him?) Or to remove a non-hazardous log that is “more dangerous”? (For whom? A trespasser?!) Please show me these “not pretty” and “more dangerous” ordinances, so that I can have confidence that actual laws (and not someone’s whim) are being enforced. Concerning “erosion”: A large chunk of Pembrook recently washed out, because some knucklehead thought it would be a good idea (or maybe he was forced, by whom?) to remove all the trees, blackberries and poison oak from the adjacent lot. In years past, everyone knew that trees and thick underbrush prevent mudslides. Now, apparently, 4-inch long dead grass does the trick. Or not. Who’s in charge here again?

Kim McDaniel & Carrie Jones Cambria

DanJumbo’s ‘thanks’

Ever since I moved here in 2006, I have been enamored by the lovely people in Cambria. I always get polite nods, smiles and waves while I drive through my neighborhood.

Cambrians wave you through stop signs and always share a nice “hello” while passing by on the boardwalk and sidewalks —whether they know you or not. This calm, serene, and kind aura is why I left the hot, sticky, and mostly rude Coachella Valley.

Two weeks ago my cat, DanJumbo, went missing and I switched to panic mode. And yet again, Cambrians did not let me down. After posting flyers and using a lost pet telephone alert service, I was flooded with supportive comments, stories with happy endings, calls, emails, and cat sightings.

I would really like to thank Cambria and all of its residents for being superb at coming together as a huge helping force in what was a crisis for me. DanJumbo is now home, safe, sound, and unscathed, thanks to all the help and support from my friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens. Thank you so much (and DanJumbo thanks you too)!

Destiny Carter Cambria

Desal cost concerns

At the recent North Coast Advisory Council meeting, Greg Sanders stated that rate increases as a result of desalination would be “negligible.” At the May CCSD meeting, he said twice that “impact on the rate payer will be absolutely minimal.” Meanwhile, the CCSD website quotes the estimated cost per acre foot of desal water at $1,233. At first, all those statements reassured me about my future water bills. But now I keep hearing about very different facts from other towns that have built desal plants.

I’m not an expert on desalination, but a simple web search revealed these disturbing contradictions:

The CCSD has pointed to the Marina Coast Water District desalination plant as an example of a successful small plant. It is no longer in operation due to erosion damage to its beach wells, but when operating, it supplied water at four to five times the cost of groundwater pumping. (AMBAG Monterey Bay Regional Desalination Feasibility Study)

Israeli communities raised water rates by as much as 36 percent after introducing desalination (Israel National News).

In Monterey, Diana Brooks of the state Public Utilities Commission Division of Ratepayer Advocates is attempting to cap the cost of desalinated water at $2,200 per acre-foot. But even proponents of the project estimate the cost per acre-foot cost would be about $4,000. “Cal Am will pay about $4,000 per acre-foot for water,” said Jim Heitzman, the district’s general manager (Monterey County Herald).

An analysis released by independent environmental scientist James Fryer estimates the cost of desalinated seawater in California will be $2,000 to $3,000 or more per acrefoot. Using cost data and production records from existing and proposed desalination plants and adjusting for California water conditions, current energy costs, financing costs, and other variables, the investigation found that there is no evidence to support cost projections by some desalination industry advocates of $800 to $1,000 per acrefoot (

And, in a discussion with Greg Haas, Lois Capps’ assistant, he answered the question with a laugh. “Oh, your rates will go up,” he said.

Mr. Sanders, all Cambrians dread the shock of spiraling water bills. So will you please share with all Cambria rate-payers why you don’t feel desal will raise our water rates, even though rates have gone up wherever results have been studied? Why will our town be different, when so many communities that tried it have faced bitter disappointment? You seem to be the only one confident about this, so more details to explain your confidence would be much appreciated.

Vance Hyde Cambria