Letters to the Editor for Jun 14, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
PARTY TO IRONY
While Tuesday’s election results were ambiguous, one thing is certain: John Steinbeck must have been rolling in his grave as Realtors, developers, agribusiness and construction company heads were celebrating their No on A “victory” at— of all places— the Steinbeck Center in Salinas! —Sam Lipsky | Pacific Grove
A FITTING IMAGE
In Beach Boy Forever [June 7-13], a little less about the writer’s Wonder Years and a little more research would have revealed that on the cover of Surf’s Up was a copy of the famous sculptor James E. Fraser’s “End Of The Trail” sculpture. Among other things, Fraser designed the 1913 Indian head nickel, aka the buffalo nickel. So the Beach Boys after Surf’s Up were at The End Of The Trail.
Makes sense huh? —“Nathan” | via e-mail
Regarding last week’s town hall meeting in Salinas, apparently Squid was preoccupied with Mr. Taylor’s hand and got (suddenly?) confused about a point I was making on stage [SquidFry, June 7-13].
I said that any group of people, no matter what nationality or ethnic make-up, has a large number of people within it who can do extraordinary things— if they are so inspired. As examples I pointed out Fifth Century BCE Athens and Fifteenth Century Florence, both with a population of about 45,000 people. The key to that inspiration is leadership.
One of the thrills, for me, of speaking extemporaneously in front of an audience is not always knowing what’s going to pop into my head. In this case it occurred to me after all of the troubles at Hartnell this past year that it was an example of poor leadership. I mean, how could the college president, the board or the community find any pride in being on or near the bottom of the list of pay for teachers? Are the teachers inspired by this realization? Are the students inspired?
I was off-subject, but if Salinas wishes to become a “great city,” the most important place to start is with education. Indeed, the arts when they are of the highest order (what I was supposed to be talking about in the first place) can affect students’ desire to apprehend what is being offered. But the key with all of this is leadership and inspiration. Amazing things can happen, even in Salinas. —David Ligare | Coral de Tierra
A LITERATE LAUGH
I loved the recent article on analogies and laughed out loud, befitting the end of a long school year [“Like Magic,” June 7-13]. I think that the Monterey County Weekly ought to consider a summer writing contest on the best Monterey County-related analogy (it would balance the winter 101 Word Short Story contest).
Ideas fall from the sky like branches at the butterfly sanctuary. I would bet that people would flock to the contest like Wharf tourists to fleece. The contest could be as short and brief as a Carmel purse-dog. At the end, I’m sure your readers and I would be Gigling (this is technically not an analogy or metaphor but rather a play-on-words). —Rob Weisskirch | Marina
MEASURE A IGNORED HOUSING NEEDS
Here comes a bucket of cold water tossed on the over-heated land use debate: The people of Salinas spend more of their income on mortgage payments than do residents of any other city in the nation, according to a May article in The New York Times.
This cold economic reality shapes every problem faced by Salinas Valley. The failure to address this is the reason Measure A lost. Any decision effecting any piece of dirt in this county is by definition about affordable housing.
The dysfunctional economy and rootless character of Salinas (what Mayor Donahue spins as an “image problem;” what makes most Peninsula residents afraid of Salinas) is simple economics. When you spend 70 percent of you income on your mortgage, you’re not spending on much else, and the local economy starves.
This sad reality, which plagues the entire Salinas Valley, has been totally absent from the land-use debate. If Measure A addressed this, rather than seeking to impose Peninsula homeowners’ priorities on everyone else, it would have passed in a landslide.
Folks in Monterey County don’t need sprawling McMansions and we don’t need to save the lettuce fields. What we need is homes we can afford.
One solution: linking the price of new housing to the income level of the area. Homes in any part of the county should be affordable for the folks who live there.—Jason Johnston | Del Rey Oaks