Thursday, August 17, 2000
Knowing very well the unaffordability of homes within the Monterey Peninsula, we are grateful that hardworking folks like us can find a decent place to live and not be excluded from the beautiful Monterey Bay region.
Periodicals and newspapers throughout California and the Central Coast, including yours, have in recent years focused on the lack of affordable housing in the region. Without places like Mike Fletcher''s Las Palmas Ranch, affordable homeownership in a well-planned community would be impossible. As is often the case, the recent development at Pasadera promised a mix of affordable homes during the development''s review stage. Since then that community has become entirely exclusive and unaffordable to middle-income families.
Thankfully, Mike Fletcher stayed with the original plans to provide all levels of affordability from inclusionary on up through large estates in a setting that preserves hundreds of acres of open space. Knowing this, I''m optimistic that any development that occurs on the Marks Ranch will be responsible and equitable.
My Home on the Ranch
As I lean on the old wooden fence amid the loving muzzles of three or four horses and stare at the wondrous hills of Toro Park, your article, "Home on the Ranch," haunts me terribly, because when I look the other way, I see the bulldozers frantically rushing to shave away the beautiful, rolling hills to make way for the end of Phase Three of Las Palmas Ranch. Houses are packed like sardines on the top of the hill and there are no trees left to speak of, and the image that comes to mind is a skinned rat.
Everyday, as my parents drive me to our house on River Road, we pass the Marks Ranch property. This beautiful place has always made me smile. But now a nightmare is replacing that lovely open, free, and wild land. I don''t want "pink stucco palaces" to dot that land. Ever.
I admit to living in a housing development that was a ranch originally, but...guess what? It still is a ranch. Over 70 horses, other domestic pets, and naturally wild animals call this place home. There is a lot of land that is basically still wild, and that could have been used to pack in more homes but wasn''t. I personally don''t see why this treasure shouldn''t be a part of Toro County Park. What ever happened to respecting nature?
I have heard many stories of how the Salinas area looked not too many years ago, but it seems just a myth, now. I don''t want the open space of the Marks Ranch to be a myth in 20 years.
RACHEL HECTOR, AGE 13,
Your article of the disposal of cremated remains ("Cremation Nation," 8/3-9) was interesting. You can have your relatives'' ashes shot into outer space in a lipstick-size cartridge for a few thousand dollars. What a neat idea! Now you can give Mama the ultimate lift, the boot into perpetuity. The final ride no longer has to be a dreary dirge down a street. No, this one is a glorious winging of whoosh and roar.
If the ashes should land on the moon, a few problems will have to be solved ahead of time. Since the landing area has not been properly staked out, Catholics could conceivably wind up next to Protestants, or Jews next to atheists. Nobody has been able to get up there to do the blessings necessaary to consecrate the ground. And, God knows, it has to be done right or it doesn''t count.
By the way, how does one know who is in the next tube?
DAVID M. BUSH,
The Bernardi lawsuit against Monterey County for abuse of the planning process was heard by Judge Richard Silver on Thursday morning, August 10.
Plaintiff''s counsel, Michael Stamp, delivered a meticulous litany of vanishing documents, destroyed discs, and ghostwritten official papers that stunned even the most jaded environmental activists in attendance.
Once again, the citizens of this county owe a huge debt of thanks to Pat Bernardi for her gallant persistence, and her splendid legal team of Stamp, Farina and Rosenthal for their public service.