Letters to the Editor for Sep 16, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Shelf the Library Tax
No one disputes Pacific Grove’s library is the most used and best loved institution in our community. Battle lines are being drawn between proponents of a $6 million parcel tax to fund our library, and opponents who favor merging with Monterey County’s Free Library System.
To correct proponents’ misinformation, neither our P.G. City Council or library board have conducted an in-depth analysis of the county library system. No merger negotiations between our library and county have yet occurred. Joining the county library system would not require a 2/3 or even a simple majority vote.
In reality, the Board of Supervisors may enter into contracts with any city maintaining a free public library through its board or other legislative body to secure the privileges of the county free library. Certainly there will be start-up charges, but thisis part of negotiations.
Seaside is one of six cities in Monterey County that are part of the county library system. Seasidepays one penny on the dollar of its property taxes to fund its exemplary county library services.
Since P.G. residents already pay county taxes, they are eligible for a county library card. Visit some of the county’s 17 unique branch libraries, including Carmel Valley, Prunedale, Seaside and state-of-the-art Marina, then judge for yourself!
Joining the county free library system is a sensible alternative to a$6 million dollar, 10-year parcel tax. --S. Lee Willoughby | Pacific Grove
More Like SneakyMeters
Our utility meters are being replaced with devices capable of electronically reporting our power usage to the utility in real time (“Smart Meters coming to Monterey County despite health and financial concerns,” Sept. 2-8). This seemingly innocuous upgrade could impose substantial lifestyle changes. Changes that would not be voluntary.
The new “SmartMeters” are touted as promoting energy efficiency. However, the meters themselves create no energy savings. The savings come from cutting your consumption and supposedly shifting it to off-peak hours.
The purpose of the meters is to “help” you change your habits. They form part of a system that will collect data about the energy consumption of each of your appliances and electrical devices. Supposedly you will use this data to shift your energy use to off-peak hours. And you will have a strong “incentive” to comply because new higher rates will be imposed during peak usage. This is “green” because spreading out the usage reduces demand for new power plants. But in real life you heat the house when you are cold, turn up the air conditioning when you are hot, and do laundry when you are home. These constraints cannot be “shifted.” So in reality you would pay more for the energy you are currently using; radically alter your daily routine; or turn the heat down.
This isn’t “green,” it just lets the utility charge more for current output. And it could adversely affect your ability to make personal choices about your daily activities. --Thaleia Widenmann | Pacific Grove
Your recent analysis and editorial “Carmel in Crisis” (“It’s time to face the facts – and for Guillen to go,” Sept. 2-8) could not have been more accurate.
As a former mayor and after 52 years in Carmel, I’ve never witnessed a scandal grip our community like the one created by city administrator Rich Guillen’s misbehavior. His unacceptable conduct, in violation of our city’s harassment policy and our code of ethics, caused the city to settle five separate but similar claims totaling in excess of $1.1 million.
As the public anger continues, the scandal shifts to the shoulders of some indecisive council members who cannot come to grips with right from wrong. The scandals have divided our community and interfered with the council’s ability to tackle other issues. The community cannot move forward until council members directly, decisively and swiftly withdraw support of Guillen so he may announce his retirement.
The Weekly has called for Guillen’s removal. Have Carmel residents, complacent in comfortable lives, become so immune to misbehavior at City Hall they will tolerate even the most egregious in our midst? I urge everyone to request swift action to see that Guillen goes – one way or another. --Ken White | Carmel