Cambrian: Opinion

Cambrian letters to the editor, Dec. 3, 2015

‘Half-baked’ emergency plan

I do not object, on principle, to water and sewage rate increases; I know it costs money to deliver services, and I know that those costs may increase over time. However, I do object to this proposed rate increase and how it is to be administered.

My concern is how the proposed rate increase is to be distributed among ratepayers, how the funds are to be allocated, and how efficiently they will be used.

Why should those residents who have drastically cut water use be “penalized” for using less water? And what portion of the increase will be used to upgrade and repair aging and decaying delivery and storage infrastructure?

The “emergency” plan has been “half-baked” and railroaded through from its inception — a profit-maker for contractors, lenders and consultants but, so far, a loser for the community.

A high-tech treatment plant is of no use if its water cannot be properly stored and delivered. And if rate increases are necessary, they should not be on the backs of those who have done their best to conserve our precious water.

Donald Archer, Cambria

Cambria water rates would rise sharply

The price of bread and eggs has really gone up. But the proposed water rates for Cambria’s homes make those increases look piddly.

If you use four units in your home, your bimonthly bill will rise 116 percent. If you are a commercial customer with the same  5/8 to  ¾ -inch service pipe and also use four units, your rates will go up 10 percent.

If you use six units in your home, you’ll pay 188 percent more: Your bill will rise from $23.82 to $68.50 — that’s almost triple. About 150 commercial customers have those smallest service pipes, too. If they use six units, their water rates will go up by only 42 percent.

Following this 2016 increase, the water rates will also go up 4 percent every year from 2017 to 2020.

Water is essential. We pay for the service that brings it to our homes and businesses. What do you think of CCSD’s service?

The CCSD board repeatedly hands over its authority to the general manager. The majority does not look carefully at expenditures and policy. They readily agree with the staff’s recommendation to hire consultants, lobbyists and special contractors. They blame budget problems on conservation and environment.

The sewer rates will be raised, too. Unless you write a protest, you approve the water and sewer rate increases. Doing nothing before Dec. 29 means saying Yes.

Elizabeth Bettenhausen, Cambria

Thanks from Bikes for Tikes effort

Thank you to all of you who donated bicycles this year. By year’s end, Bikes for Tikes will have delivered 67 refurbished and new bicycles to some very needy children and adults in San Luis Obispo County.

The sole purpose of Bikes for Tikes is to give free bikes to needy children and adults. Although I appreciate the offer, I do not accept cash donations and I never sell bikes, but I can always use more bikes and helmets of all sizes.

Most of the bikes that I receive come from Cambrians. I therefore do my best to give back to needy children and adults who live in Cambria. This year, 14 bicycles were donated to Cambrians. Additionally, bikes were donated to CAPSLO, Prado and Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelters, SLO Battered Women’s Shelter, Womenade of SLO, Grass Roots II and some very needy families throughout the county.

Last year, I reported that a middle school girl who was a recipient phoned me to express her appreciation. She told me her new bike made it easier to get around town and help her disabled mother with tasks like getting groceries and going to the post office. This year, she donated three bicycles she acquired and hopes to donate more next year.

I want to thank Bob Eldridge for his ongoing help, dedication and hard work during the year repairing bicycles. I could not deliver 63 bikes this year without his help. I also want to thank Phil Christie, who has let me store bikes in his garage. Unfortunately, his garage is no longer available, and I am on the lookout for any free storage. Lastly, I want to thank the Bike Kitchen for its assistance .

Please do not mistake Bikes for Tikes with our Cambria Bike Kitchen that repairs and sells bikes.

James Ellman, Bikes for Tikes, Cambria