Thursday, January 13, 2000
It mystifies me when citizens have to go to the streets, the Rec Trail, the post office, and door-to-door to gather signatures of registered voters for initiatives, and form neighborhood ad hoc organizations to counter the actions of their elected officials.
Whenever you see a citizen's initiative brought forth to the people, there is a definite indication that elected officials have failed, and this is especially true with the politicians of Pacific Grove. I am referring to the tide pool protection initiative, which is being circulated in Pacific Grove, and which I understand has had overwhelming success, with more than enough signatures to be placed on the ballot next November.
The people of this community are also up in arms about the exorbitant sums of monies--in the millions--being spent by Mayor Sandy Koffmann and a handful of her rubber-stamp council. At the start of the new year, P.G. residents will see yet another grassroots initiative to stop the proposed civic center palace, which would siphon off money that should be used to repair our ancient, broken-down sewer system, and stop spewing contaminants into our bay. The initiative would require a vote of the people for any city expenditures greater than $400,000.
In regards to the tide pool initiative, if Mayor Koffman and her council are truly interested in conservation of Pacific Grove's tide pools, why haven't they joined the thousands of users, constituents, and voters in seeking to establish permanent and lasting protection for the Pacific Grove Marine Gardens, one of the city's great natural resources?
The Window on the Bay has received funding from a variety of sources, including the state, the Packard Foundation, and private donors, which would not be jeopardized by the Coastal Initiative.
If the city proposes an appropriate widening plan for Del Monte Avenue, the citizens could approve it with a vote. Don't let the city and the developers confuse the issue of Window on the Bay and the widening of Del Monte Avenue.
Vote "yes" on Measure B and help save our coast.
At the Dec. 7 City Council meeting in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the City Council majority decided that it would not accept the Flanders Foundation's business plan to restore and maintain the Flanders property in the public domain for the public's enjoyment now and in the future.
We are greatly saddened by the Council's decision to prepare for sale or lease of Flanders as a single-family home. However, we want to leave Carmel residents and our supporters outside the Village with a few thoughts.
We were, personally, very impressed with the quality of public discourse in support of Flanders, as well as maintaining overall integrity of the Mission Trail Nature Preserve. It was a shame that the Council majority had made up its mind before even hearing from the public. This vote has not diminished our resolve to protect and preserve Flanders, the Rowntree Native Plant Garden or the integrity of Mission Trails Nature Preserve.
Special thanks to our generous donors and dedicated workers, who gave untold hundreds of hours over the past months to create the Flanders Foundation. The greatest plus of our efforts has been the new friends we all have made and the increased awareness in the community of the environmental and historical assets of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
MELANIE C. BILLIG
PRESIDENT, FLANDERS FOUNDATION
Put Nader in the White House
Ralph Nader for President!
Named by Life magazine as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century. Defender of the working class. Founder of Public Citizen, the nation's largest consumer advocacy organization. A constant critic of the World Trade Organization and corporate irresponsibility. Former presidential candidate for the Green Party.
Nader cannot be bought off by big-buck special interests and fat-cat campaign donors. There is no other person even remotely qualified to be president!
So This is Christmas
I found your "Street Talk" of Dec. 23 most enlightening ("Happy X-Mas?").
In just 1,600 years, we have come full-circle. Celebrating Christ's Mass (Christmas) in December, as a celebration of His birth, began in the late 4th Century in direct competition to the popular pagan Saturnalia--a worshipping of the sun. For Christians to instead worship God's Son seemed the perfect juxtaposition. No one could find the birth certificate of Jesus, so the accurate date was less important than the irony.
The meaning behind this tradition IS important, and to ignore it is to turn the celebration back to the pagans. Now, it seems the meaning is unimportant.
As for my house, the date is not as important as the message. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We celebrate this message every day of the year.
As we begin this new millennium, I urge Christians to stand firm. Do not let today's paganism continue to strip our religious celebration of its meaning. It is only one of the steps being taken by our leaders both locally and nationally to strip individuals of power.
Christ warned his disciples, "I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore, wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Later, finding them asleep in the Garden, he chastised them. "What, could ye not watch with me one hour?" Our nation was founded on the belief "In God We Trust."
Whether it be Christmas, or our daily lives, we must be ever watchful to protect our beliefs and freedoms. Be alert and active, or risk being devoured.
Lay off Luther
It's Christmas Eve, and I'm reading Jeffrey Van Middlebrook's letter, "The Dark Side of Martin Luther" (12/23). What a message of hatred! Why would you print it?
I grew up in the Lutheran church (not the Missouri Synod) and never heard of anything against the Jews. The Catholic Church in Luther's time demanded the conversion of Jews. Perhaps Luther agreed with the Church.
We never considered Luther to be "saintly," and I only recently heard of this "vile" paper (and I agree it is). Not all Catholics, Jews, or Protestants are wonderful. Let's get over it. Luther didn't cause the Holocaust.