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Letters:

NEW, IMPROVED BLOOD ALLEY I’m glad Squid mentioned Highway 101 between Russell Road and Echo Valley Road [Aug. 23-29]. The Prunedale area safety improvements just happen to be the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s highest priority, precisely because of conditions that led to it being referred to as “Blood Alley.” This project will construct two new interchanges and one new overpass along US 101 through North Monterey County at: Russell/Espinosa, Blackie/Reese and Crazy Horse Canyon/Echo Valley Roads. Additional improvements will include constructing a continuous median barrier from Crazy Horse Canyon to Russell/Espinosa and improvements to the San Miguel flyover and to local roads throughout the corridor to improve access and local circulation. It has taken us years to save for these improvements, which will be the largest transportation project in Monterey County in decades.

This $280 million Prunedale corridor safety project will be fully funded and is slated to go to construction in 2009. Caltrans is already purchasing right-of-way. In 2012, the project will be completed. By that time, we hope to have secured money to construct a new interchange at US 101 and San Juan Road (at the Red Barn), continuing the corridor safety improvements to the north. For now, at San Juan Road, we only have money for Caltrans to prepare the environmental documents. Visit tamcmonterey.org for more information. —Debra L. Hale, TAMC Executive Director | Salinas

GIVE ME LIBERTY Referring to “Don’t %$#@&* Apologize,” [Letters, Aug. 16-22], there is a great difference between freedom and license. Mr. Van Middlebrook doesn’t seem to understand that liberty and filth are not synonymous! —Erik Satten | Carmel

GIVE US YOUR TOURISM DOLLARS AND GO HOME The cost of living anywhere is based on supply and demand. Monterey County’s determination to not become indiscernible from the San Francisco or Los Angeles metropolitan areas will continue to be a struggle. Between our availability as a bedroom community for the San Francisco Bay area, our need for labor in our main industries of agriculture and tourism (and now construction), and our moderate year-round weather, Monterey County seems cursed by its very nature.

The early over-crowding of the San Francisco Bay area has lent to the growth of both Monterey County and the once less populous Southwest region. Urban sprawl guarantees those counties adjacent to our now established metropolises (including an as yet unmentioned Sacramento County) will continue to grow as long as population growth in general continues. Under these conditions can we manage anything other than the delay of full encroachment by the San Francisco Bay area, or the world at large? “Monterey County: A nice place to live, but an even nicer place to only visit”? The question is never why, but when; the answer is never who, but how many. For Monterey County the question of demand isn’t why, but when. The answer to supply isn’t who, but how many. —Kenneth H. Deome | Salinas

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STAND DOWN FOR CEASE FIRE A month ago a group of veterans, according to progressive talk radio in Santa Cruz, held a “stand-down” in Prunedale to pray for peace and the fallen. We, the people, should have a “stand-down” to pray for a ceasefire in the Middle East, too. —Bruce Perry | Marina

NO CELEBRITY LEFT BEHIND Americans like to state education as one of the things they value most. Yet the market tells a different story. Imagine if professors and teachers were paid on the same basis as pop stars. Each time the music of a celebrity musician is played, he or she receives a royalty. This is the equivalent of an educator receiving a royalty each time a former student uses the knowledge the instructor imparted upon them. Professors and teachers would be multimillionaires.

According to Salary.com, Britney Spears makes roughly $40 million a year. By comparison, the average professor makes $65,000 (according to the College and University Professional Association) and the average schoolteacher makes $45,000 (according to the US Department of Labor).

Why? A) Americans delude themselves about their values; B) Markets are somewhat socially blind; or C) both. One thing is certain, we Americans aren’t leaving any celebrity behind. —Sven Brendel | Salinas

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