Down Stream

LAFCO’s decision to deny the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s request to activate its latent powers was unconscionable (“A rejection of next steps for a buyout of Cal Am is a failure of democracy,” Dec. 9-15).

The buyout was found to be financially feasible. LAFCO’s own independent consultant confirmed that the buyout is feasible. LAFCO’s own staff recommended approval.

LAFCO’s board ignored the facts and based their decision on personal biases like Commissioner Matt Gourley’s comment, “the government cannot run anything efficiently” and other irrelevant excuses. Drinking water is a public resource that should be managed by public agencies, not private companies. Cal Am’s profit motivation is at odds with the public’s best interests. For the good of all our communities, I urge LAFCO to reconsider and reverse its decision on Jan. 5 (“Barring buyout vote flip, local water district prepares for court,” Dec. 30-Jan. 5). Anna Thompson | Carmel

LAFCO was supposed to base its decision on the mandate of the voters and whether or not the water district can afford to buy Cal Am and operate the water system. Instead this was a proxy vote on water supply with the Salinas Valley once again trying to dictate water policy to the Peninsula.

But LAFCO has no authority on water supply, so they had to disguise it with other issues, like the tiny loss of tax revenue – less than 1 percent – to a few special districts or the minimal rate hikes to satellite water districts. All of these issues can be mitigated and none rise to the level of blocking the will of the voters and the water district’s mandate to move forward on Measure J. Melodie Chrislock | Carmel

Chrislock is managing director of Public Water Now.

It’s bad enough that the LAFCO board disregarded their staff’s report on the Cal Am buyout, but to then order the staff to write another report to agree with the board’s bad decision is unconscionable.

Now if the staff prepares a new report as directed they lose all credibility, essentially admitting the original report was totally bogus. For the staff, the decision is will they stay or will they go. Mike Gunby | Pacific Grove

Holiday Spirit

I appreciated your article on the Christmas tree issue (“For a country founded on religious freedom, we still have learning to do,” Dec. 23-29). I, frankly, am appalled that the court ruled how it did. I wish these articles would be more mainstream, so people could see how backward we are going.

I was born in 1952. A very different time. My grammar school had Christmas concerts. Being one of few Jews in school, I felt so out of place and uncomfortable. Why my folks didn’t step in I’m not sure, except back then, well, who knows – a different time.

There are other ways and other times of the year to reflect the values, heritage and/or faith of various families. As long as people go to Christmas mass and trees are called “Christmas trees,” it makes it a Christian and religious holiday. Margie Forman | Novato

Play to Win

Sam Buttrey is also a wonderful instructor (“Good Week,” for Sam Buttrey winning the Jeopardy! Professors Tournament, Dec. 23-29). He was honored with the Schieffelin Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Naval Postgraduate School. Only one professor is selected for this award each year. Dennis Mar | Pacific Grove

Truth Seekers

Lately I’ve been thinking, in reference to misleading ads as they impact our ability to act in time to prevent environmental collapse, that we need labeling laws, like the nutritional facts labels that were put on foods starting in 1974 (“In the case of Covid-19, misinformation is a matter of life and death,” posted Dec. 5). Before then, people were eating packaged foods without knowing what was in them and hoping for the best. We are living with the consequences of “hoping for the best” and it’s not looking good.

There is a huge disconnect between what we need and what we want. We need to really look at this and figure out solutions. I am grateful to the staff at Monterey County Weekly for your valiant truth-telling efforts. Donna Owens | Tucson, Arizona (Monterey starting in 2022)

Lights Up

Given the unprecedented challenges facing our youth during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is unconscionable that neighbors in Carmel and Monterey are objecting to improvements to athletic facilities at our local high schools (“Squid Fry: Let There Be Light,” Dec. 9-15). Recently, the concern has escalated so much that the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued a public health advisory about the mental health crisis facing young people. Extracurricular activities are needed now more than ever.

You would think that neighbors would embrace projects that will allow youth to participate in positive activities, create friendships and receive mentorship from caring adults.

I wish the neighbors would spend even a few minutes talking with kids and educators to understand the current reality of just how hard the last two years have been. If they did, I am sure they would conclude that the physical and mental health of our kids is well worth the disturbance created during the handful of nights a year in which lights would be on past 8pm. Heather Robson | Monterey

A tree grows…

I highly recommend this, the trees are beautiful and delivery/pickup service is excellent (“Don’t be fooled by the seasonal decor – renting living Christmas trees is a year-round business,” Dec. 23-29). Kristina Brown | via social media

Paella Perfection

Fandango in Pacific Grove has had paella on the menu for as long as I can remember! (“Burning Question: Why is it hard to find good paella on restaurant menus?” posted Dec. 17.) With saffron rice, seafood, spicy sausages, chicken, peas, green onion, red and green bell pepper, for $38.50. Inge Lorentzen Daumer | Pacific Grove

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