Cambrian: Opinion

Cambrian letters to the editor, April 28, 2016

The Cambria Community Services District board is considering a pay increase for General Manager Jerry Gruber.
The Cambria Community Services District board is considering a pay increase for General Manager Jerry Gruber. sprovost@thetribunenews.com

Private sector, CSD pay don’t match

I retired recently as a senior program manager and chemical engineer at a small privately owned aerospace company in Huntington Beach. Our products go on rocket launches and military satellites that can cost up to $1 billion each.

To my knowledge, there was no one that I knew of at our company (even the owner) or anyone of our suppliers or contractors who were making the equivalent of the money being proposed for the general manager of the Cambria Community Services District.

No one was under an employment contract, either. If we didn't make money that year, there were no raises or bonuses, etc. People were laid off to make ends meet. If someone messed up or did not perform, they were let go. Retirement benefits were accrued through each employee’s personal 401(k). THAT is the private sector.

The pay and benefits for some public sector jobs are getting way out of hand, and the citizenry needs to take action to bring it under control.

Marvin Josephson, Huntington Beach, homeowner on Lodge Hill

Socialism alive and well in U.S.

When you look at our budget, it is hard to say we are not a socialist economy. How about military socialism? Or Social Security or the money we spend on education.

I say, bless Bernie Sanders. He raises issues we should talk about honestly. Bless him, I say again.

Clive Finchamp, Cambria

McAlpines thank Cambria for help

Dear fellow Cambrians, family and friends,

We wanted to take the time to thank everyone who showed such compassion and kindness toward our family in the past eight plus weeks.

Our family member, Tim McAlpine, had a serious accident on the job. Needless to say, the stress levels began to rise. Is he going to be OK? How long will he be out of work?

The overwhelming feelings of helplessness and uncertainty subsided when numerous Cambria locals, friends, family members and even clients/friends from out of town stepped in to help. They helped in ways that are beyond our comprehension (GoFundMe.com, spaghetti dinner, a bank account set up for donations, and much more).

It would take weeks (or more) to thank everyone individually, so we wanted to thank everyone who helped us and contributed, especially the Sons of the American Legion, American Legion/American Legion Auxiliary, Cambria Hardware, The Sea Chest, Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill, Brian’s Bread, Lighthouse Litho, Greg Sesser’s “Parking Team,” Kathe Tanner and The Cambrian, Gym One, Friends of Tim McAlpine Team and volunteers including John Boon-Jones, Manya Brett, Dianne Brooke, Bambi Fields, Steve Kniffen, Phil and Michele Novoa, Mindy Reed, Tuesday “Lunch Bunch” and all the volunteers at the spaghetti dinner.

Tim is doing much better. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you all so very much.

With Love,

Gina and Tim McAlpine and their children and grandchildren: Lauren, Jordan, Wes, Jayden and Faith, Cambria

Gruber’s proposed raise questioned

I question the proposed pay raise for CCSD General Manager Jerry Gruber and the $10,000 a month for lobbyist Dean Florez, both on the agenda of the April 28 board meeting.

Gruber’s overall compensation from 2013 was $267,000. The current proposal is to pay him 5 percent more each year over the next six years and 8 percent retroactively. Cal Coast News estimates an overall compensation package of $310,778 by 2020. As a retired schoolteacher, who would get excited over a 2 percent raise, I find this exorbitant.

He has come from similarly sized communities (the less affluent Big Bear and the more affluent Atherton) where he was paid much less. This type of compensation is more in line with a manager of a large metropolis, not a small village. What does he do to warrant such an increase?

CCSD raised our rates up to 116 percent because Cambrians conserved water too well, causing a shortfall. Dividing Gruber’s $310,778 package by 6,000 users, you get $51.79, oddly about the same as the base rate increase, up from $23. Is the rate increase really to pay for the shortfall or to cover Gruber’s new salary?

Lobbyist Florez is to be paid up to $10,000 a month, up from $8,500. He got $4 million from the state to help pay for the $13 million ESW/SWF, but is that worth $10,000 a month? Isn’t Mr. Gruber compensated enough to try to get state monies himself?

Cambrians need to be heard on this matter.

Susan Ladrie-Mackey, Cambria

What’s so great about CSD moves?

Have you noticed the new signs above the CCSD offices? They proclaim, “CAMBRIA COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT — Great People Doing Great Things for a Great Community.”

How do you feel about the “great” proposed six-year contract for the general manager? By July 1, 2016, he will be making approximately the same salary as the governor of our state, $182,789 (Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2015), and receiving a “great” vehicle allowance of $600 a month!

How do you feel about the “great” 116 percent-plus rate increases to your water and sewer bills? How do you feel about the “great” depletion of our general fund, reduced to almost zero a few months ago?

How do you feel about the “great” Emergency Water Supply (EWS) facility that was supposed to cost $13 million, but is edging closer to $20 million — the same EWS we were led to believe would be used only for emergency drought conditions for current residents, but now (magically) the “great” Sustainable Water Facility (SWF) for growth, without an EIR or a regular CDP to date?

How do you feel about the “great” public service to Cambrians’ with CCSD’s office hours Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and closed Fridays? How “great” is it to be spending up to $10,000 every month for a lobbyist in Sacramento, who has yet to provide a written report and misses CCSD meetings?

Wouldn’t it be great to see fiscal responsibility instead of blatant fiscal irresponsibility? Great people do great things for the common good, not for their own self interests.

Tina Dickason, Cambria

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