Thursday, June 8, 2006
DUNE SOME GOOD
Thank you for presenting the recent eye-opening study and report on CEMEX [“Wasting Away,” May 25-31]. The most obvious response to this article should be that the City of Marina and the State of California revoke the CEMEX mining permit, immediately shut down operations, prevent removing one more grain of sand (Lapis), demolish all of the structures and return the dunes to their natural habitat.
Why was a sand plant mining operation allowed to continue removing sand from the Marina Dunes Preserve? Simply because it is not located directly on the beach? How was this ever allowed to occur with RMC? CEMEX officials report taking about 300,000 tons of sand from the mine each year. CEMEX spokeswoman Jennifer Borgen says: CEMEX “doesn’t comment on theories. We do know that we run a safe and environmentally conscientious operation.”
I visited the controversial site on Memorial Day afternoon and hiked northward on the eastern side of the shady dunes protected from the howling wind. After hiking along the trail about one-half mile in, the tall dunes vanish and transform into a windy moonscape appearance of large industrial bulldozed sand mounds partially surrounding the ugly mining complex.
Why wasn’t CEMEX subjected to an Environmental Impact Report review like every other coastal development project needs to pass before they were allowed to purchase the land (on a preserve) and continue the damage established by RMC?
CEMEX is not concerned about our environment nearly as much as they are concerned about their bottom line agenda driven by corporate greed! —H. Roy Jordan | Pebble Beach
GET REAL; NO RAIL
Recently Eric Johnson wrote a quaint piece heralding the New Age of Trains to the Peninsula as a cure to our local transportation woes [“Back to the Future,” May 25-31]. However, as much as his article “sounded” plausible, alas, it is no more so than bringing back buggies to Pacific Grove and closing the gate near New Monterey at 8 o’clock.
Take a modern family of five from San Francisco. Dad wants to golf. Mom wants to shop, the kids want to go to Cannery Row, and everyone wants to see the Aquarium. They also have a toddler who needs a stroller and car seat. Imagine how much stuff they will put into their SUV before coming. Dad will get dropped off at the course, while the kids will prowl the Row, and Mom will collect the toddler (with her Nanny) and off to Carmel they go. A beautiful family holiday.
Now try it via the train. What will they do when they get here? Mom rides the Shame Train (Monterey Salinas Transit buses) with the stroller? The kids commandeer a cab? Dad takes the bus to the golf course…and misses his tee time, of course?
Perhaps in days gone by when vacations were spent at the Del Monte Hotel, all this would work, but in today’s environment of free-traveling mobility, it is simply a pipe dream. Nice try. But yes, close PG at 8. —Christopher “CB” Maxwell | Pacific Grove
HERO SUFFERS; VILLAIN THRIVES
The nation owes the Monterey County Weekly a debt of gratitude for having published “Crude Conspiracy” this past Nov. 3, 2005. Mr. Mehdi Shahbazi, the Marina gas station manager, is a shining beacon in the sea of bureaucratic mediocrity. How many hundreds of thousands of operators are there out there that are privy to the same information as Mr. Shahbazi, and yet are afraid to speak out against this immoral, corrupt rape of the working classes!
In my mind, Mr. Shahbazi is a true American patriot for having the guts to speak out as he has done. It is a disgrace that he and his family are made to suffer financial losses while the president of Exxon Mobil earned $18 million this year and will retire next year with a $140 million package!—Ben Kaplan | Northbrook, Ill.
Note: Raul Vasquez’s coverage about Mehdi Shahbazi was picked up by AOL.com last Friday as one of the two best (or strangest) news stories in the nation. For chapter four of the unhappy saga, [click here].
Of the 15 to 20 possible GOP Presidential candidates mentioned, nearly all are part North American Indian. If the Republican Convention stalemates, I hope that the delegates choose Jack Kemp and Colin Powell and that these two progressives select Charles Percy to be UN Ambassador. These three statesmen are also part Indian. —Bruce Arthur Perry | Marina