Thursday, November 18, 1999
Enough Growth, Already
Thank you for your editorial on Cal-Am's proposed Carmel River dam ("Dump the Dam, Once and For All," 11/11). Superb! Good to see someone cut through the rhetoric and tell it like it is.
No one in America, including our leaders in Sacramento, will protect the enviable living environment we have in Monterey County, except ourselves.
Sacramento survives on "tax base"--the more people, the better. They promote overgrowth--evidence San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. And there's an out-of-town corporation (New Jersey-based American Water Works) whose business it is to sell water. Well, the thing speaks for itself.
It is not time that MoCo residents were "heard," because that implies we have to yell and beg and hope someone is listening. No. It is time for us to exercise the power we have--economic and governmental. Whether it takes lawsuits or recalls, the people of this county have spoken, and those who do not heed that voice should not stay in their positions.
The same goes for the Hatton Canyon Freeway, which CalTrans continues to attempt to force on us. A freeway that guarantees 24 hours a day of exhaust, transients, jake-brakes at 3am, and unbridled growth on the coast--again increasing the "tax base" for Sacramento and lining the pockets of power and water companies, and Orange County-style land developers.
Weekly at Sea on Water
Just as millions of gallons of fresh water flow through the mouth of the Carmel River and are lost at sea because we do not have adequate storage facilities, so too are the editors of the Weekly lost at sea in their claim that "Citizens don't want a new dam" ("Dump the Dam, Once and For All," 11/11).
In the only vote on whether citizens wanted a dam, citizens voted for a dam by a resounding 63 percent. On desalinization, 53 percent of the citizens voted "no." And when dam opponents put a measure on the ballot to prevent the water board from transferring dam permits to Cal-Am, over 58 percent of the citizens voted "no."
We do have to admit that our citizens are too lazy to get to the polls in elections where there are no presidential or gubernatorial candidates on the ballot. But when the issue is framed: "Do you want a dam?" citizens vote overwhelmingly "yes."
The anti-dam folks come up with hundreds of "alternatives." But it is clear that only a dam will guarantee a reliable, cost-effective, affordable water supply, which will enable us to avoid rationing, restore the river, and maintain the ambiance of this paradise.
Citizens who failed to vote on Nov. 2--and there were thousands of them--will get what they deserve: permanent water rationing and very expensive water. Unfortunately, the rest of us will also suffer the same fate.
It will be interesting to see what the editors of the Weekly think 10 years from now, when the Peninsula is drying up, we have permanent rationing, ridiculously high water bills, and no solution to our water problem.
CHARLES H. PAGE
Block the Dam, Protect the Future
Mark Worth's article about Cal-Am and its parent company, American Water Works, should be required reading for every voter in the United States ("Liquid Assets," 10/28).
Now, think about this: Project the conditions our Monterey County will be facing a dozen or so years from now--when continuing overdevelopment catches up with the new dam's added water supply for the Monterey Peninsula--at about the same time that overdevelopment, overpumping, and sea water intrusion wipe out the remaining freshwater aquifers in the north end of the Salinas Valley, which includes Marina, Fort Ord, Castroville, and the Armstrong Ranch.
Perhaps priorities for obtaining remaining supplies of fresh water could be assigned according to the developed value of each building site.
A Millennial Resolution
Millennium. A packet of a 1,000 years.
Turn just one of those pages, one of those years, and people start thinking about needed changes in their lives, about making resolutions. But a thousand pages! That's a book--a big book. So think big. Big changes. Six billion big.
So big that, on Jan. 1, instead of you making a personal resolution, and the next person another, and so on, all of us, all humanity, all around the world, can make a resolution. The same resolution. A New Millennium's Resolution. A World Pledge.
Why do we need a world pledge? A thousand years ago humanity was in the Middle Ages. Now, with runaway population, throwaway species, and fly-by wars, we could be entering the Last Ages. Like some autoimmune disease, we are attacking our own tissues.
The litany of woes that we visit on ourselves and our planet stem from forming attitudes of ourselves as separate: separate from that country, that habitat, that race, that class, that creature, that whatever. And whatever we feel is not part of us is fair game, open season for exploitation. Indeed, history is about exploitation backfiring. But it is also about changing attitudes.
People have often used short affirmations to remind themselves and their children of what is important in their lives and to guide behavior. Thus we have formalized numerous prayers and loyalty oaths. We have memorized them, recited them, and raised plaques to them.
More effective than laws are the values we internalize. Instead of fighting a myriad of injustices one by one, we can foster the mindset that tolerates none. The World Pledge recognizes that:
"I am part of a vital unity linking me with all humanity and humanity with all life and I resolve to act in accordance so that each may prosper and all may continue."
What better time than the approach of a new millennium to curb short-term thinking and cultivate long-term thinking? Millennium Fever has captured our collective imagination. Let's do something lasting with it.
Fort Ord City, California?
Fort Ord...a city within a city. Everybody wants a piece of the pie, so we voters and taxpayers should have some say.
I gave 40 months of my life during wartime--WW II and Korea (none at Fort Ord, but with the U.S. Navy in the North Atlantic).
I can see it now..."Fort Ord City"...an ideal location overlooking the blue Pacific--an airport, hospital, sports arena, churches, and homes by the hundreds. And my military cemetery, "Warriors Rest."
Set up a city government from mayor to street cleaners. Then add something special. As Tom Thiel wrote, a medieval village with theater--like Shakespeare in Oregon ("Knightly Dreams," 11/4). A children's open-air theater, an art gallery for viewing (not selling), biking and jogging trails, and big, comfortable, green benches--for us old-timers--to sit and enjoy the Bay and remember what was.
"Welcome to Fort Ord City By-the-Bay." I probably won't live to see it, but let's give it a try.