Thursday, October 2, 2003
The 21st annual Rideshare Week is carpooling into town this week, loaded with prizes for sustainable transportation commuters. The event, designed to heighten awareness about the benefits of alternative transportation such as carpooling, using public transportation, bicycling, walking, and telecommuting, is organized by Monterey County''s [AMBAG''s] Commute Alternatives. It encourages commuters to use sustainable transportation as a way of helping relieve traffic congestion, improve air quality, and save energy and commute costs.
"For me, sustainable transportation is part of my lifestyle, it''s good for Mother Nature and it''s good for my kid," says event organizer Kyrrha Sevco, who either telecommutes or carpools to the office. "You have to remember that what we emit here in Monterey doesn''t just go away. It blows into the Valley and out to the Pinnacles, affecting both people and wildlife."
Commuters who make a commitment to sustainable transportation during this year''s event will be eligible to win a grand prize of a trip around the world. Other prizes include a Trek bicycle, bike lights, and gift certificates from local businesses.
"Sixty-nine percent of Monterey County residents drive alone to work each day," Sevco says. "Those are the people we want to get out. If everyone used an alternative to driving alone twice a week, we would reduce traffic congestion by 20 percent and people who biked or walked to work would be much more pleasant to be around."
More information about sustainable transportation and registration for Rideshare Week prizes can be found at www.rideshareweek.com. [PMcK]
Fighting Hunger Locally and Around the World
AG Against Hunger and the Monterey Bay Chapter of the United Nations Association will host a hunger awareness lecture Wednesday evening, Oct. 8.
The free program, titled "Hunger and Food Policy: Around the World and Right Here in Monterey," will feature guest speaker Judith Lewis of the UN''s World Food Program.
Larry Levine, president of the local UNA, is looking forward to what he feels will be an important presentation. "It''s hard to believe with all the food we have in our grocery stores and fields here in Monterey County that 8 million people in the world die each year from hunger-related causes and an additional 800 million are chronically malnourished," Levine says. "It''s a critical topic that Americans need to be more aware of. Even locally there are people without the resources to feed their families. Assistance programs are struggling to meet the need, especially in the current economy."
Lewis has worked with the UN''s World Food Program (WFP) since 1992, in Angola, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rome. Formerly the WFP regional director for southern Africa, she oversaw the distribution of food to over ten million people in ten countries. Lewis recently became director of the WFP''s US relations office in Washington, DC, where she advocates on behalf of the world''s hungry.
"We''re very fortunate to have someone with so much practical expertise from Africa and around the world coming to talk with us," Levine says.
Other speakers include Jess Brown, executive director of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau; and Leslie Sunny, executive director of the Food Bank for Monterey County. They will discuss factors that contribute to hunger problems, how it affects children and what can be done to alleviate the situation.
Salinas-based AG Against Hunger works as a clearinghouse for surplus crops grown in the Salinas and Pajaro Valleys. In 2002 the organization distributed 10 million pounds of produce nationwide, including a portion to help feed 135,000 low-income people in the tri-county region (see "Waste Not," in the Sept. 4 Weekly).
The program will be held from 7-9pm at the Irvine Auditorium of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, 499 Pierce St. in downtown Monterey. An informal reception with guest speakers will follow the presentations.
For more information visit www.unamontereybay.org or call AG Against Hunger at 755-1480.[PMcK]
Charting the Future Course of the County''s Water Supply
Dissolve the water district or slow-growth as usual? On Nov. 4 voters will decide by electing three members to the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Board of Directors.
In Division 5, incumbent Zan Henson faces Larry Foy, president of the Monterey County Hospitality Association. Marc Béïque, an architect and water board critic, will challenge attorney Kristi Markey in Division 3. And in Division 4, documentary filmmaker Robert Pacelli faces off against Pacific Grove business owner Michelle Knight.
The environmentalist majority currently sitting on the water board-Kris Lindstrom, Molly Erickson, Judi Lehman and Zan Henson-have endorsed Pacelli, Markey and Henson. Pro-development interests, on the other hand, have put their money and their endorsements behind Foy, Béïque and Knight, who supported Measure B, the Dissolve the Water District Initiative, and state Senator McPherson''s SB 149, the now-dead bill that tried to replace the water board with a panel of Peninsula mayors.
Before heading to the voting booth, check out the water board candidates'' forum hosted by the League of Women Voters on Wednesday, Oct. 8, from 12:30-2pm, at the Elks Lodge, 150 Mar Vista Dr., Monterey.
"I think it''s a real opportunity to hear from all these people after all the carrying on about SB 149 and dissolve the water board," says Bev Bean, president of the League''s local chapter. "Let''s hear what they are all about."
Each of the six candidates will give a two-minute opening speech, and will have one minute each to respond to written questions submitted by audience members. They will also get a one-minute closing.
For more information about the forum, or to RSVP to the $15 lunch from noon to 12:30pm, call Bean at 484-2451. [JL]