Cambrian: Opinion

Cambrian letters to the editor, April 21, 2016

Randy and Mary Schwalbe are hosting Helena (pronounced hee-LEE-nah) Hansen, an exchange student from Denmark.
Randy and Mary Schwalbe are hosting Helena (pronounced hee-LEE-nah) Hansen, an exchange student from Denmark.

How do we treat our poorest?

It’s disturbing that some people feel the need to beat up homeless human beings. I am referring to the article by John FitzRandolph (Pacing Through the Pines) in the April 7 issue.

I ask you, those who felt the need to do the deed at the park by the Post Office where the homeless relax and take refuge: Is your refrigerator not stocked well enough, your belly not full enough? Are you not warm enough in your bed at night? How are they your business?

I have heard the greatness of a community is measured by how well they treat their poorest.

I would say we failed sadly that night.

Catherine Madama, Cambria

Questions about water plant

There are so many questions about our town’s water treatment plant that need answering. It is the obligation of our town’s leaders to answer these questions: Why are we in a Stage 3 water emergency, yet our water wells are filled up and the creeks are flowing? Why ease up on water restrictions if we are in a Stage 3 water emergency? And why is it that an intent-to-serve water meter was issued just a couple of weeks ago for a new construction project at 960 Drake St. if we are in a Stage 3 water emergency? (To the tune of a quarter of a million dollars!)

Why is the CCSD releasing building permits now? Why is the Cambria CSD (March 24, 2016, agenda item 9C) changing the emergency project into one that will serve future customers? Why has the EIR that was supposedly finished back in December 2015 never been released to the public? Why are the EIR project purpose and objectives undergoing multiple iterations to date, and requiring further revisions/discussions to reflect the recent rebranding/repurposing for “future development?”

We are being lied to. The truth is that we were sold the idea of an Emergency Water System (EWS) that has now morphed into what they now call the “Sustainable Water Facility (SWF),” but really they are now creating a permanent desalination plant for our small coastal town. All Cambrians have a right to know the truth.

Teresa Lees, Cambria

From temporary to permanent

The stoic reserve demonstrated by CSD board members is indeed admirable dedication to the Brown Act’s requirements. Their attention to its spirit as well as its letter was missed as they developed the Emergency Water Project.

The project went from a “portable, temporary” project, to “serve as only the needs of Cambria’s current residents and businesses” to a permanent public works project to serve additional users. Along the way, directors and staff promised that it was not to cost more than $1.5 million. Until it would cost $4.5 million, then not more than $8 million, to not more than $9 million, to its current cost in excess of $13 million, with no public meetings in which the public could object.

Director Gail Robinette and then-director Muril Clift even defended their decision in a Cambrian Viewpoint ( back in 2014.

Restraint during public comment is fine, but the board is praising itself for good manners while selling Cambria into debt.

Christine Heinrichs, Cambria

Support Cambria exchange student

Last August, Mary Schwalbe and I invited into our home an AFS exchange student from Aarhus, Denmark, Helena Hansen. She is a very bright, articulate and driven young lady. This 16-year-old has been maintaining close to an “A” average at Coast Union while playing on the girls tennis and basketball teams.

Helena has a love for animal care, horses, photography and cinematography. She insists the hills of the coastal zone are mountains; we took her to both Yosemite and the Grand Canyon to show her otherwise.

Her command of the English language is stellar — one might think Danish is her second language. Her friends here have fun teasing her when she innocently asks what a certain risqué acronym means. In turn, she has not only taught her close friends how to speak Danish, but taught Meg Stern a Danish song they have performed in public.

Helena’s talent on the stage is extraordinary. Helena filled the role of Scuttle in “The Little Mermaid” with aplomb, as well as carrying key roles in the school’s fall production with ease.

As part of a nationwide AFS competition, Helena produced a video expressing her stay here in the states this year. She needs a big favor from you — your vote. Follow these simple steps: 1. Go to; 2. Enter “Schwalbe” in the family name box and hit the SEARCH button; 3. Click on the video image; 4. Watch the video; 5. Go back to the home page and hit the VOTE button. Thanks.

Students like Helena make the AFS experience worthwhile. She is a stellar ambassador from Denmark.

Randy Schwalbe, Cambria