Paradise for Rent

Thank you for the story about Pacific Grove’s problems with short-term rentals (“Pacific Grove’s vacation rental policy gets mixed reviews as city cracks down,” March 19-25). There’s another aspect to the story – the way they are bunching up and disrupting residential areas. The city has licensed seven on my block – 30 percent of the housing units in a residential zone. They are absentee-owned and operated via phone and websites as overnight hotels with little supervision. Only one has any off-street parking, causing extra cars sometimes poorly parked to crowd onto an already congested, narrow street. Sometimes there are large groups of noisy people. Maybe the worst part is that three long-term neighbors were evicted last fall by greedy landlords chasing more money from overnight renters, perverting the concept of “residential” neighborhoods.

No one seems to know how many hundreds of short-term rentals we have now or how many are following the law and paying all the taxes due, but I fear there will be more. I’ve been approached twice by realtors with clients looking for short-term rentals in this historic neighborhood near Lovers Point.

I don’t really object to the concept, but I think the number should be limited and spread throughout the city, parking should be a higher consideration and all taxes collected. The city should do what it said when we OK’d short-term rentals five years ago: Use some of the new taxes to enforce the terms of the ordinance. Thom Akeman | Pacific Grove

Trying Times

Ridiculousness! (“Murder trial delayed as prosecutor seeks restraining order against retired veteran cop,” posted March 25). Who knows what really went down. People are crazy. Everyone needs to just chill! Devin Podeszwa | via Facebook

Wile E. Coyotes

Violent invasive predatory species not afraid of humans; coexistence. Choose one (“After several recent coyote sightings in Pacific Grove, police offer guidelines for a healthy coexistence,” posted March 23). Nathan Thompson | via Facebook

Maybe try raptors? Justin Lloyd Cheshire | via Facebook

I concur! T-Rex with hand grenades as a backup, perhaps? Scott Raimer | via Facebook

They Drink Your Milkshake!

You can bet the first order of business Friday was “who leaked?” (“Squid explains Cal Am desal drama so you don’t have to think about it,” posted March 23.) P.S. There was another conference call on the same subject Monday. Also confidential. I think you are only allowed to participate in the confidential conference calls by proving that you stand to make money from the desal project. Royal Calkins | via Facebook

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The reason for putting the plant in Marina cannot be blamed on the Ag Land Trust, or farmers, or environmentalists (“Cal Am proposes selling Salinas Valley water back to Salinas Valley users,” posted March 19). It must be blamed on Cal Am’s massive greed and total lack of respect for the private property rights of landowners in the Salinas Valley. Cal Am’s plan all along has been to wrongfully “take” water from the Salinas Valley to maximize its profits.

Cal Am (over a decade ago) forced the adjudication of the Seaside aquifer. That aquifer had been negligently over-pumped and intruded with seawater, in large part by Cal Am. Cal Am’s self-inflicted wound (pumping of their wells that exceeded the basin yield which drove groundwater levels below sea level, thereby inducing seawater intrusion) has been addressed through court-ordered basin adjudication to limit Cal Am’s pumping and ongoing aquifer storage and recovery (ASR), which recharges and recovers excess Carmel River water through four ASR wells.

But this court-ordered adjudication does not provide for more beach wells (vertical or slant), the pumping (cones of depression) of which causes more seawater intrusion into near-shore aquifers. So Cal Am, without a seawater intake, looked north to the non-adjudicated (but overdrafted) Salinas Valley. Marc del Piero | via Web

(Editor’s note: Marc del Piero is a board member of Ag Land Trust.)

I would hope the ag community would wake up to the fact that they are being “raped” of their water, and then the unmitigated gall of Cal Am to ask them to ask them to pay to retrieve it. This was beginning to be apparent in one of the 60 closed personnel meetings at Monterey County Water Resources Agency where this was being formulated, although I believe it had been planned long before this. Do something, agriculture, before it’s too late.Janet Collins | via Web

Death on the Beach

That is such a tragedy! (“Three alleged Sureño gang members arrested as suspects in Monterey Beach murder,” posted March 25.) This area sucks with all the stupid gang problems. Andrea Houston-Garcia | via Facebook

Disgraceful lack of value for life. Kids killing kids… never heard of this gang stuff until I moved here 14 years ago. Esther Malkin | via Facebook

Deep Breaths

Good grief. Is it only the advent of re-legalization that is finally pulling Monterey County out of the Dark Ages? (“As legalization looms, the business of cannabusiness in Monterey County runs for professionalism,” March 19-25.) We were actually here before, in 2010 when Prop. 19 looked like it was going to win.

So what’s the real difference between Salinas and Santa Cruz? I’d especially like to hear the answer from the “businessmen in Monterey County casual (jackets and jeans) already successful in real estate and other industries” – you know, the “establishment.” John Thomas | via Web

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