Cambrian: Opinion

Cambrian Letters to the Editor, Oct. 23, 2014

Déjà vu?

For decades, attempts to solve our water problem have been squelched by a vocal minority. This vocal minority has gone by many names, but regardless of its name du jour, its agenda is always the same: zero growth. Not slow growth, but zero growth. A family caregiver, who would move in with her Cambrian grandmother, is to them, too much growth. 

This fringe element has bullied and confused Cambrians into allowing them to purposely keep our water system endlessly deficient because a water shortage is their weapon of choice to halt growth. 

Their “water solutions” are designed to supply only enough water for the number of people here today. Ergo, a married couple, having a baby a year from now, would throw us back into a shortage! We need long-term vision, not live-for-the-moment fanaticism. The question of growth must be separated from the question of water. We need not fear having too much water because our growth is already limited by law to 1 percent per year.

Do you want to watch your plants die and tell family members not to visit, just to satisfy a fanatical minority? If you are tired of this problem, vote for the only CCSD members who ever had the fortitude to proceed with a solution. Vote for Jim Bahringer and Michael Thompson, and fix this problem once and for all!

Eric Hoffberg,  Cambria

Pinedorado follow-up

On Oct.14, the Cambria Lions Club and the Pinedorado Foundation celebrated the volunteers of this year’s 66th Pinedorado. More than 100 volunteers, including the cast and crew of the Follies, the eighth annual Car Show, and many Lions enjoyed a wonderful evening at the Joslyn Center. Unfortunately, Steve Wilson, the best chicken-cooking-plastic-trombone-playing volunteer, did not receive an invitation and did not attend, and for this oversight, I apologize.

I also want to thank all the local businesses and individuals that supported this year’s event with donations and raffle prizes. Pinedorado would not be celebrating 66 years without your generous support. In our thank-you ad this month, we failed to recognize Verde, a newer gift shop on Main Street in West Village, for its lovely donation to the raffle. We want all local businesses to succeed and feel appreciated, especially the new ones that are supporting their first Pinedorado, so thank you, Verde! And thank you to everyone who supported this year’s event!

Greg Wilson, Pinedorado chairman

No laughing matter

I was reminded today of a kid who grew up in my neighborhood. Kenny was a little different, but, as kids, we loved having enough players join in so we could form two full teams for our daily baseball games. We played on a dirt lot using whatever we could find as bases and played as long and as late as our parents would allow.

Just about every single game, however, something would not go Kenny’s way, and he would run away crying, “I’m gonna tell my daddy.” We would always just giggle and continue playing.

I assumed Kenny would have outgrown that by now, but maybe not.

If he were living in Cambria today, I can’t help but wonder if he would be joining the group that, despite what the majority want and what is best for this community, are running away crying, “I’m gonna tell my lawyer,” just because the game isn’t being played their way.

If their behavior was not so selfish and destructive, maybe we would be giggling now, too. 

But, alas, this is not a laughing matter.

Sue Robinson,  Cambria

Acknowledge danger

After moving to Cambria in 2001, I’ve watched, heard and spoken on the pros and cons of how to solve the Cambria water situation. I’ve also been aware of the prior history. All of the potential solutions have been voiced repeatedly. To date, the only viable solution is to have a dependable solution to be available in addition to well water. I’ve seen Folsom Lake (near Sacramento) and Nacimiento at historic lows.

It is imperative that Cambrians acknowledge our “in-the-moment” drought conditions, and the future forecasts for rain are not conclusive. It is time we Cambrians acknowledge the clear and present danger of the lack of water for “in-the-house” use, and for firefighting ability in and around Cambria. To ignore the dangers is completely irresponsible. 

Fortunately, we Cambrians have had people on the past CCSD boards, and on the current board, who have recognized, and do recognize, their obligation for the safety and welfare of Cambrians, and have an emergency solution underway. 

To disrupt the current progress would be irresponsible and very short-sighted. Any alternative solution would be years away, all the while playing Russian roulette with Cambria water supply for home consumption and fire safety. The candidates hoping to get elected for the first time are making promises, or making hypothetical statements, while the current CCSD board members are actually solving the emergency problem. Please join me in voting for Jim Bahringer and Mike Thompson.

Richard Carroll, Cambria

Ethics still matter

Setting the record straight: I support the Emergency Water Supply project. We have an emergency and do not have reservoir water available at this time. Mark Kramer of Cambrians for Change stated in a letter to the editor dated Oct. 9 that I opposed the project. I do not appreciate the spread of misinformation. 

Further adding insult to injury, the CCSD board has paid for its chief information officer to attend private meetings with Cambrians for Water on multiple occasions with ratepayer money. In other words, my own money (as a ratepayer) is being used to support, at least indirectly, a group that disparages myself and the other major challenger for director, throughout the Cambrians for Change website. 

A founding father of this country described this kind of behavior as tyrannical. Who do you want representing you on the board? Ethics still matter. 

Jeff Hellman, CCSD board candidate, Cambria

Accept reality

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. I wish for: a Whale Rock pipeline, off-stream storage, seawater desalination, temporary, recycle, etc. I wish the clock could be turned back to 2001 and we built a desalination system, with the federal dollars allocated for it, as planned. But the studiers and planners have made sure none of these wishes would or could come true.

Now some reality. We’ve arrived at a drought crisis that can’t be wished away. The CCSD made a reasonable choice among the alternatives to address this crisis. Fed-up ratepayers got out of the way. Infrastructure has been built. Plant components are 

arriving. Project moneys have been spent or committed. All of this under a perfectly legal and valid emergency permit.

Now it’s time to turn attention to the regular coastal development permit necessary for continued operation and to provide future water security. The plant will comply with laws and regulations ranging from air and water quality to habitat preservation. Agencies funded by our tax dollars will ensure that.

But some still fight reality. Advocating against a regular permit not only is advocating against self-interest but also against the security and economic interests of friends and neighbors. 

It’s time to stand up for our community. Support the CCSD’s efforts to obtain the regular permit.

Ted Siegler, Cambria

Snarled in some mess

There is only one desalination plant operating in California, and it is only a small one that produces very little water. Seventeen communities have given up on the idea, and building a plant in Cambria is just not feasible. The operational costs are just too high, according to Google. 

We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars right here in Cambria and never got a drop of water for the money we spent. No member of the CCSD has ever given us the total costs of building a desalination plant that includes what the manpower costs will be and/or what it will cost to operate the plant, or told us what we will do with the brine the plant will produce. Now the money we expect to come from our government is snarled in some mess of some kind. 

Although I support Jeff Hellman and Rick Hawley, they at least are trying to change the way we do business at the CCSD. A desalination plant is just a bad idea, but our best hope is to conserve water and hope for more rain. If you support a bad idea, it is still a bad idea.

Clive Finchamp, Cambria

Backup needed

Having grown up in a big city (Los Angeles), I never appreciated the wonderful life a small town like Cambria could offer. Working 60 to 70 hours a week, I was successful, but only now do I know how much I missed in life. 

Where else can you live and have Scarecrow Festivals, Pinedorado and the Follies, scenic cycling on Highway 1, wonderful fishing, a great model airplane flying field, golf courses, dancing, beautiful hiking trails and friendly, thoughtful friends and neighbors. I experience nothing but courtesy and smiles anywhere I go in Cambria.

I love it here. But unlike some of the opponents to our CCSD plan, I don’t have a personal well that supplies water from another source except CCSD. I don’t rent, so I can’t just “walk away.” If water did not come from my tap, I would hate to leave this wonderful community, but I would have to move elsewhere, and likely sell my home for much less than it’s worth today. Perhaps this is what they want?

I am tired of the misdirection, shortsightedness and manipulations that have prevented us from having a backup water solution up to now. I am therefore supporting Jim Bahringer and Mike Thompson to continue the wonderful work they are doing on the CCSD board to bring us much-needed water during droughts.  

Michael Nielson,  Cambria

Question on ad

Regarding the full-page paid political advertisement by Greg Sanders published in the Oct. 16-22 issue of The Cambrian, I have a question. 

When Sanders was a member of the board of the CCSD, I understand he represented a desalination company. 

My question to Sanders is: Was this the same company to which Jim Bahringer, et al. awarded a no-bid contract to build their desalination plant?

Dennis Ortenburger, Cambria