Thursday, August 24, 2006
TELL SOME GOOD NEWS
It is obvious that Barbara Evans and Nancy Peden do not have all the facts associated with Monterey’s stormwater efforts [Letters, August 10-16]. Here are the facts that were overlooked in their letters and the article [“Poison Runoff: We’re Swimming In it,” Aug 3-9].
The City of Monterey spends approximately $50 per capita on its stormwater management efforts. That’s as compared to the target average highlighted in the newspaper article as $8.93 per capita by other cities. Second, the article and the letters do not acknowledge that the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Sea Otter, the Otter Project, Defenders of Wildlife, and, the San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper, have all signed a letter to the State Regional Water Quality Control Board supporting Monterey’s Stormwater Management Plan.
What the article and the letters also don’t mention is that Monterey has applied for State Proposition 50 grants associated with further improving the quality of the stormwater and the City is still in competition for two of them at a value of $1.75 million.
The real point of the City Manager was to articulate the council’s policy against unfunded state and federal mandates that try to “tax” the city to pay for the state’s responsibilities. Ms. Evans and Ms. Peden are right about one thing, managing a municipal government is continually about priorities and balancing those priorities, across all needs of the community. The city has invested heavily in stormwater management. A total focus on one priority, above all the others, would not be good for other services or the financial stability of the city. —Chuck Della Sala | Monterey
The writer is the vice-mayor of Monterey.
TELL SOME BAD NEWS
In 1982, the Peninsula coastline was designated an Area of Special Biological Significance (ASBS). The Peninsula cities and the Pebble Beach Company were charged with stopping 100 percent of their run-off into the Bay.
Now, 24 years later, and still not in compliance, you carry the good news that a consensus had been reached between two major environmental groups and the cities on a long-awaited storm water management plan [“Environmental Groups Support Stormwater Plan,” Aug 17-23]. The bad news is the refusal of the city of Carmel and the Pebble Beach Company to participate on the grounds that they should not have to meet the same standards as the other entities. They will submit individual plans.
Both Carmel and PBC have an overriding stake in preserving the spectacular coastline, which constitutes the main tourist attraction for both. In addition, as the location of eight eighteen-hole golf courses, PBC has the heightened responsibility of monitoring and preventing pesticide pollution. In light of the renewed concern expressed by the Panetta panel in the viability of our coastal waters in general, the State Water Resources Control Board should bring this issue to a close as soon as possible.
Thank you for your excellent coverage. —Janice M. O’Brien | Pebble Beach
LET THE PEOPLE TALK
The Leagues of Women Voters of the Salinas Valley and Monterey Peninsula are concerned that the Planning Commission hearing process for the County’s General Plan Update discourages public participation.
People who want to comment on the draft must sit through hours of laborious discussion by the Planning Commission before they can comment. The Commission received public comments at 4pm on Aug. 16—three hours into the hearing process. Then the Commission limited comments to the Land Use section, only one of numerous sections.
Many people have spent time reviewing the plan so they could make informed comments to the Planning Commission. It is reasonable to expect the Commission to consider these comments before beginning their own deliberations. It was not clear how the public comments made after these deliberations would be incorporated into the decision-making process.
The Planning Commission should adopt a process that is more supportive of public participation in the process. —Marilyn Maxner and Mary Ellen Dick
The letter writers are the presidents of the League of Women Voters of the Monterey Peninsula and the Salinas Valley, respectively.