Thursday, November 4, 1999
Who's Got a File?
I''m alarmed that Cal-Am''s parent company, American Water Works, would "dig up dirt" on people in Chattanooga who stood between them and more profits ("Liquid Assets," 10/28).
Can you please tell us on whom the water company maintains files here on our Monterey Peninsula?
Maybe we ought to get the water system back from Cal-Am and make it publicly owned.
DARBY MOSS WORTH
More About Greed
Now that''s journalism! ("Liquid Assets," 10/28.) I''m almost speechless (a state some may applaud).
Your report on Cal-Am and its corporate strong-arm tactics was simply superb.
The story was vividly written, fortifying solid research to meaningfully show how a blindly greedy, faceless corporation can hold us hostage by driving bulldozers over democracy.
My favorite part was our water company''s CEO admitting: "I doubt the consumer will be well served (when forced to get water from a for-profit corporation like us)."
I couldn''t agree "more." Encore!
On the Wrong Track
The struggle to bring trains to the Monterey Peninsula has reached ridiculous proportions. City governments and bureaucrats have made a mountain out of a molehill. Cost estimates grow like mushrooms and start-up dates fade into the next century ("Trainspotting," 10/21).
Monterey doesn''t want the train to come back, so officials deliberately destroyed the tracks at their end of the line. Monterey needed an alibi to destroy a high-value railroad property that served the public''s convenience and necessity. It would have cost Monterey nothing to leave the tracks in place. They came up with a precious, petty alibi--a "bike path."
Monterey is trying to make Seaside the scapegoat because Monterey doesn''t want to build a station. The real station already exists in Monterey. Another Monterey roadblock! Are you getting the picture?
The most ludicrous boondoggle of all is the $14 million estimate to rebuild the track from Castroville. This track is not in bad shape. Only one short train a day ran over this track. Go to Seaside and look at the track for yourself. Are the rails straight? Do you see any twisted or rotten ties? Are the tie plates square under each rail? Are any spikes sticking up? Now go to Castroville and look at the mainline track and tell me the difference.
Before we waste millions of dollars planning for a train, let''s face reality and test the actual costs and number of people who will pay to ride the train. A Monterey train is not only feasible but could be operating within three months for less than $800,000.
Movies Equal Money
How nice of Ron Leslie, president/CEO of Resort Theaters of America, to explain to us in his letter how matinee prices in his theaters work ("Your Big-Screen Friends," 10/7). Thanks to long experience in the corporate world, I can recognize a sh-- sandwich when it''s handed to me (I''ve had so many over the years).
It''s almost comical to imagine the hurried staff response to a prior letter ("Unmoved by the Movies," 9/30) that criticized the rise in prices we''ve seen since Resort Theaters completed its takeover of most of our local movie houses.
No explanation for it, of course. Those who have monopoly power don''t have to explain. That''s why they are anxious that their monopolies see no interference. So they tell us, "This is how it''s going to be, moviegoers." Pay your money and shut up.
The American Way, right?
What I Really Meant
In response to the article/review "The Painted Word" by Richard Pitnick (10/21), I would like to clarify some points.
First of all I thank Mr. Pitnick for taking the time to come and see my work. It is difficult to summarize a long interview and his quotes were well-chosen. But I have some observations. The statement, "I don''t have to be screwing around town going ''Viva Mexico''," is not only inaccurate but offensive. I don''t express myself in those terms, and the fact it has been set apart in bold letters--and, by consequence, taken out of context--is particularly disturbing.
I recall making a side comment about the Mexicanidad in my work--"I don''t have to be scramming around town Viva Mexico"--(something that I did every 16 of September in my home town) as a humorous and sarcastic personal note about the cultural and geographic relevance of my work. It illustrated the fact that nationality in my work is as natural as the color of my skin, and it does not have to be forced or screamed into being. It is unfortunate that this misrepresented comment has been placed as a highlight of a serious and lengthy dialogue. Nationality is proven by actions not only by words, and the love for my country goes deeper than superficial words.
I earn my Mexicanidad every day with honor and respect, learning my history, as well as the history of those who are generous enough to embrace me in their land.
RAFAEL PEREA DE LA CABADA
Editor''s Note: The Weekly stands by its story.
Enough Bat Bashing
My comments are addressed to the alleged authority on bats who reviewed the new movie Bats now showing at the Century Park 7 complex in Salinas (10/21).
Irresponsible individuals being allowed to voice their own undocumented and prejudiced opinions in a newspaper read by many Monterey County residents frightened me a lot more than any Halloween haunted house, or the allegation that "Bats are in fact evil creatures that fly up from the pits of hell."
In my personal opinion, such movie reviewers are unwittingly contributing to the vast piles of already available misinformation about bats, and are hastening the total extinction of many species of bats.
My offer stands--to provide a half-hour to hour lecture to any school classes wishing more information about the usefulness of bats in nature. There is a minimal charge for me to speak to the public, with all of the proceeds being donated to Bat Conser-vation International of Austin, Texas.
HELEN I. JOHNSON
Editor''s Note: Interested parties can contact Ms. Johnson through the Weekly, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let the People Decide
Salinas city officials and Mayor Anna Caballero are worried about Cisco building a university in San Jose''s Coyote Valley, and yet they want to push through a 200-acre Mountain Valley development in Salinas! Is it possible the city officials really fear that us stupid farmers down here might want to get a premium technical education?
Mayor Caballero was recently quoted, concerning the Mountain Valley development, as saying: "If there''s a possibility of getting a consensus on the project, that would be good." How about putting it on the ballot? After all, there was a referendum petition drive seeking a consensus, and it would also serve as the open process the mayor says she wants, negating any doubt that we don''t do things behind closed doors at City Hall.
JEFFREY A. KELLOGG