Thursday, June 22, 2006
PG MEETING: SPECIAL, BUT NOT SECRET
I wanted to correct the information attributed to me in an article about the retirement of Mayor Jim Costello [“Mayorless in PG,” June 15-21]. First let me say we all wish Jim well in his tough new journey and thank him for his long service to the city of Pacific Grove.
In terms of the appointment of a replacement mayor I did comment that I was displeased about the attempt by some members of the council to set a special meeting to appoint a new mayor to occur just two days later, when two out of six councilmembers were scheduled to be out of town, including me. I did not, however, refer to this as a “closed” meeting but rather indicated that a special meeting at such short notice would be very poorly attended by the public and not televised.
The selection of the mayor is important and the process should be public and transparent. It should not be at a hurriedly called special meeting with only four councilmembers present.
After I heard about this plan, I urged Councilmember Lisa Bennet to withdraw her support for the special meeting (it takes three councilmembers to call a special meeting) and set the mayor selection for the regular council meeting. She did so.
On the appointment of a new councilmember, we have many talented and creative people in our town. I urge interested citizens to apply for appointment, which is likely to take place in early July. —Susan Goldbeck | Pacific Grove
The letter writer is a PG city councilmember.
MC WEEKLY: COOL STORY, MOVIE, PANEL
A global thanks to everyone at Monterey County Weekly for their time and energy (renewable, of course). While devoting a cover story to Al Gore [“Global Power,” June 15-21], they also arranged a screening of An Inconvenient Truth. In addition, they put together an outstanding après-film panel featuring Dr. George Somero of the Hopkins Marine Station, PJ Simmons of Sea Studios Foundation, and Dr. Rebecca Shaw of the Nature Conservancy California, thoughtfully moderated by Bradley Zeve of the Weekly.
This documentary is a “wake-up” call about global warming that Al Gore has presented around the country over a thousand times. Although the subject of climate change is familiar to everyone, the new statistics and animated sequences in the film drive home how quickly things are changing for the worse.
I moved to Monterey over 16 years ago, when I began marketing a “Save the Earth” video program and was horrified by what I learned from it. I know that there have been some good documentaries and positive changes since then, yet our collective efforts are insufficient to solve our coming problems depicted so well in this program.
As a teenager, I read a lot of science fiction and believed that if we had a threat from Mars, we would all finally come together worldwide to fight off a common enemy. Climate changes are the true common enemy, and I agree with the panel of experts, Al Gore and everyone else. It’s definitely time that we take as many steps as we can to ramp up in solving the problem before we face some serious consequences that scientists agree are en route. Start out perhaps by taking people to see the film that you think might avoid it. —Wendy Brickman | Prunedale
LETTER WRITER: WHAT AN IDIOT
It amazes me that someone could be so wrong on so many issues. Mr. Middlebrook has come to the defense of George Bush, again [“Bush Is Not a Murderous Psychopath,” Letters, June 15-21]. He must be having a guilty conscience. I remember three years ago when Mr. Middlebrook was singing the praises of this war in Iraq. Now, I guess he is having second thoughts, since we now have 2,502 dead Americans and 100,000-plus dead Iraqis and at least 20,000 wounded Americans.
This war was entered into voluntarily, on trumped-up intelligence and a pack of lies, with total disregard for human life. If this doesn’t make our so-called leader a war criminal then nothing does.
George Bush and Saddam Hussien are both responsible for unnecessary death and destruction and the wasting of personnel and resources. Perhaps Mr. Middlebrook should look a little closer at the situation at hand before he gives his opinion so often. Isn’t it sad that the ones who are so eager to send other people’s children to war are the ones who never served? —Peter Monteforte | Pacific Grove
MARINA HEIST: ADD IT UP
At a City Council meeting three weeks ago, the Marina Heights developer presented a $10.6 million check for 248 Fort Ord acres that will supply 1050 new homes. That is $43,000 per acre, or $10,000 per lot. Similar Peninsula lots without water sell for 10 times that amount.
Marina Heights includes 840 market rate McMansions. Similar-sized Marina re-sale homes currently sell for $800,000. Following a conservative 30-year appreciation trend, over the next few years Marina Heights homes will sell for $900,000 to $1,500,000. When 840 homes sell for $900,000 each, the developer’s total project revenue will exceed $750 million.
The Marina Heights appraisal concluded that total project development cost (impact fees, infrastructure, roads, utilities, deconstruction, construction, everything!) will be $350 million—about $350,000 per home. Profit is total project revenue minus total development cost. Therefore developer profit will be $400 million, over 100 percent, which is five times the national industry average for residential development.
It’s easy to prove that Fort Ord development is more lucrative than elsewhere in the county. With uncompromised leadership the developer could profit handsomely even if the check was $200 million. We got an insulting $10.6 million. We needn’t dig deep to expose the Marina Heist underneath Marina Heights. —Chandler Roland | Marina
CARMEL BEACH: BEWARE OF SUVS
On Saturday, June 10th, I was surprised to see Carmel Police patrolling the crowded beach in a jumbo SUV. I immediately called Mayor McCloud and suggested that police patrol the beach on foot, bike, horse, or scooter. She defended the police at every turn, finally admitting that her nephew is a police officer. No wonder the Carmel Police were utterly unfazed when I told them I would complain to the mayor.
Maybe now that a sunbather was tragically run over and killed by a police SUV in Oxnard (as reported in the Los Angeles Times on June 13), the mayor will protect her constituents as instinctively as she protects police. —Kelita Smith | Carmel Valley
POLITICS: WHERE’S THE INTEGRITY?
I am tired of handlers and spin-doctors; of zillion-dollar campaign chests; of talking heads; and of strategy think tanks! I am tired of “wafflers,”of fence sitters, of “wait-and-see” folks! I am tired of a Congress that’s afraid to assert its responsibility as a reliable and viable branch of government.
I am tired of an administration so arrogant and so secretive and so incompetent that they dare to declare themselves above the laws of the land and run roughshod over our Constitution.
I yearn for office-seekers with integrity who are dedicated to serving our country, who place the general good ahead of personal ambition, and who truly represent their constituency. Until statesmen and stateswomen are honestly elected who will work for the common good, we are doomed to continue to play dangerous and destructive games with the very essence of Democracy.
I beg for alert, intelligent citizens to endorse and vote for those candidates who openly take a stand, who express their positions on issues clearly and intelligently and are not reluctant to explain and defend their convictions.
If you are as tired as I, join the growing people’s
revolution that shouts: “Enough already!!” —Ann
Sherman-Flint | Pacific Grove
AHMADINEJAD: THE PROPHET OF IRAN
Probably few of you have read the complete letter from the Iranian President to Bush, which was glossed over lightly by the White House for obvious reasons. Ahmadinejad questions the president on how he can invade a country, occupy it, kill 100,000 people, destroy its water and infrastructure. How can these actions be reconciled with the teachings of Jesus, a messenger of peace and forgiveness?
He asks how he can rationalize the creation of Israel by removing millions of inhabitants, then continue supporting a regime which has made life unbearable for Palestinians for 60 years. (The US has vetoed over 60 resolutions against Israel.) And why is scientific research in Middle East regions portrayed as a threat to that regime? Why are elected governments in Latin America being opposed and coup leaders supported? Why has the media kept Americans in a state of constant fear since 9/11, and why have some aspects of that attack been kept secret? And none of the prophets would condone spending billions on security and military campaigns while allowing many of your own people to live in poverty. The unedited text of this letter can be found on the AFP Web site at americanfreepress.net. —Wanda Rose | Carmel