Thursday, June 1, 2006
WE NEED MORE BUSES AND TRAINS
Thank you Mark C. Anderson for pointing out what needs to be pointed out ad nauseum until we finally do something about it: Our lovely Monterey County has one of the worst public/mass transit systems of any moderately populated region in the USA [“The Bus, the Train, and a Missed Ballgame,” May 25-31]. A few corrections and additions:
As Anderson points out, the Caltrain gets as close as Gilroy, but that doesn’t help us here in Monterey County. Last year, Monterey Salinas Transit (MST) abruptly cancelled its rapid bus service, integrated with the Caltrain schedule, which traveled between Monterey and Gilroy via Prunedale.
• MST has bus service from Monterey to Watsonville, but the route is more of a local than an express as it takes a ridiculous one and a half hours. From Watsonville, Santa Cruz transit runs express buses to Santa Cruz, with connections to the Highway 17 bus to San Jose. Although this takes longer than Anderson’s route via Amtrak in Salinas, it is available more hours of the day, and costs a bit less.
• From the San Jose station, express buses connect to the Fremont BART station, offering less expensive and more frequent service to the East Bay than Anderson’s commuter train.
• Caltrain runs frequently from San Jose to San Francisco via Palo Alto.
• MST is one of the most expensive bus transit systems in the US. This puts an undue burden on our lower income residents who make up the bulk of MST riders. The exorbitant fares for limited and generally slow routes is due both to the governor stealing our Prop-42-mandated transit dollars, as well as the lack of local political will to consider affordable and effective public transit as an absolute right.
• Although I too look forward to the day that Caltrain extends to Monterey County, this service will do little to get people out of their cars. The latter should be the main priority of precious public transit funds, not the car-oriented projects that form the bulk of Proposition A funding schemes. —Jason Hodin | Monterey
MEASURE A: A GIVE-AWAY
While the Weekly has consistently evaluated candidates and issues through the years with an open mind, its endorsement of Measure A was not only disappointing, but lacked common-sense evaluation. Obviously, the editorial staff became entangled in the public relations maze of dollar signs and specious arguments posed in favor of this transportation funding fallacy.
You will recall that Measure A was sold to the public as a “four-legged funding stool.” What happened? Developer’s fees (leg number one) are not committed; hospitality/tourism has not committed (leg number two), Big Ag—no commitment (leg number three); which leaves leg number four…you and I, the taxpayers. Measure A should stand for “audacious,” with big government/big business/big special interest expecting that we taxpayers would foot the bill when their industries are responsible for the greatest impact to our roadways, and they are not sharing any tax burden.
Local economy and local residents seek prudent fiscal management of funds currently received, not more taxes to perpetuate more government. Mismanagement should not be rewarded with more funding from overburdened taxpayers. That lacks common sense.
When an equitable plan is proposed, taxpayers will support it. Sadly, Measure A is nothing more than a “bait and switch” proposal.—Jan Mitchell | Salinas
The letter-writer is a spokesperson for Committee Against Measure A.
TAXATION IS UN-AMERICAN
Raul Vasquez, in an article on Measure A, simply dismisses anti-tax groups as those who “believe that taxes are inherently evil” [“Roads to the Future,” May 25-June 1]. To treat this concept so lightly is to brush off much of American history.
Many important figures have echoed anti-tax warnings, to the headache of government advocates. For instance, Supreme Court Justice John Marshall wrote in 1819 that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy.” Marshall understood the debilitating effects of taxation upon the liberty of its citizens.
Even Thomas Jefferson opposed taxation in general. He delivered on his presidential campaign promise to rid the United States of all direct federal taxes on citizens. In fact, the nation ran for almost 80 years without any federal taxes on its citizens.
The American Revolutionary War was primarily a struggle against taxation and authority. In this vein, the Continental Congress prohibited any taxation of its citizens during the War of Independence against the British Empire. That is because many American leaders realized that taxation is the harbinger of perpetual war, disorder and tyranny. Such anti-tax ideals should get more than a footnote by today’s young writers. —L.K. Samuels | Carmel
VOTE AGAINST WEEKLY ENDORSEMENT
One of the best reasons to elect Peter Kaiser to be on the Monterey Republican Central Committee is because the Monterey County Weekly opposes him.
The real Republicans of Monterey County should be a little uneasy about voting for Central Committee candidates endorsed by the most left-wing paper in Monterey County, a paper which also endorses Sam Farr and even ex-governor “Moonbeam” Jerry Brown for Attorney General.
The Republican Party deserves better than this local and national crop of the near-Democrats who masquerade as “Republicans.”
I would also suggest writing in the names of three other traditional Republicans rather than voting for the Weekly-endorsed candidates. —Brian L. Burleson | Seaside
WHERE’S THE GREEN GOVERNOR?
What a dreadful oversight [Endorsements, May 25-June 1]. Not one word did I find about Peter Camejo, the well-qualified Green candidate for Governor. —Darby Moss Worth | Carmel
DAMN FAINT PRAISE
The Monterey County Weekly can now add itself to the list of the straw-grasping supporters of Mike Kanalakis. I have followed Monterey County politics for over 30 years and even voted for Kanalakis in 2002, and in that time I have never a seen more lackluster collection of “endorsements.” When the local print media uses terms like “least discouraging,” “despite rough first year,” “out of touch” and “cronyism” just to name a few, one has to wonder just who would “endorse” a person like that.
The only thing Monterey County Weekly could find to justify its decision was their perception of Kanalakis’ ability to communicate with the Board of Supervisors. Well folks, anyone can be told “no.” It’s just that Kanalakis has gotten used to hearing it. In the end, Mike Kanalakis’ performance has been abysmal and does not deserve another four years. —Allen Jensen | Gonzales
WHERE’S THE WATER?
The critical issue facing voters in North Monterey County, District 2 is potable ground water or the lack thereof beneath their homes. The district is 100-percent dependent on a ground water resource that is declining due to over-pumping, salt water intrusion and endemic arsenic contamination while high nitrate levels are forcing the abandonment of water wells throughout the region.
Incumbent Supervisor Lou Calcagno’s general plan will accelerate division of North Monterey County’s 2,700 undeveloped parcels into hundreds of new, smaller building parcels entirely dependent on our degraded ground water resource. These parcels will increase water demand even as the new septic systems required to support them foul our aquifers with nitrates. Lou Calcagno’s growth plan assumes the destruction of our renewable water resource but we are not to worry, there are plans for a reverse osmosis water factory right next door to his dairy that will sell us all the water we want, at a price. Jyl Lutes’ message of sustainable communities supports growth served by sanitary sewer facilities that recycle wastewater for crops. The choices in District 2? Sustainable use of our resources or business as usual at the expense of the generations that follow. —Doug Kasunich | Salinas
NOT AN ENDORSEMENT
With the June election less than two weeks away, it is important that incorrect information be corrected. As co-founder and co-chair of the North County Citizens’ Oversight Coalition (COC), I have been careful not to endorse any candidates in the upcoming election. The COC deals with issues impacting north Monterey County but does not endorse any candidates.
Unfortunately, brochures for second district Supervisor Louis Calcagno have listed my name and that of COC as endorsers. On behalf of COC, please be aware that COC remains true to its by-laws and deals only with issues and does not endorse any candidates. —Carolyn Anderson | Salinas