Thursday, August 23, 2012
Counting the Cost
Thank you for bringing this to the public’s attention (“Former warden says California can’t afford the death penalty,” Aug. 9-15). It really hit my hot button. I am shocked at the amount of money Sacramento has spent on the death penalty. How much more has been spent on the work-in-progress to date for the remaining 725 death penalty cases?
Is there no one in Sacramento concerned about this colossal waste? This is the sort of thing that angers the tax-paying public as it seems no one cares. If there is, why is this sort of excess permitted to continue? Gov. Jerry Brown could commute the sentences of all those on death row to life without possibility of parole, saving more than $2 trillion. He could have his high-speed rail and more with that. Another alternative would be to permit the judge to give the convict his choice of life in prison or death; either would be acceptable to the public if it would end the never-ending legal appeal process. - Leif Kiewlich | Pacific Grove
Home on the Grange
The Prunedale Grange recently authorized and encouraged Monterey County air and ground emergency service agencies to use our football-field sized parking lot in emergency situations along Highway 101.
Our action stems from the 4,234 traffic citations issued in 2011 within the 10-mile-long Prunedale corridor stretching from Dumbarton Road to Espinosa Road, and the death of one of our neighbors this year in a car accident on Highway 101 at Mallory Canyon Road. Simultaneously, hazardous road construction has expanded along Highway 101 with truck and passenger traffic rising along connector.
We were gratified by the responses we received. Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller thanked us for our generous support toward his organization’s mission. A letter the CHP area commander said, “Based on the geographical location of your facility, I feel it could potentially provide the CHP with an excellent resource during emergency incidents.”
Hopefully, it won’t be needed. - Ed Mitchell | Prunedale
Our volunteers and staff gave the Monterey County Weekly the better part of an afternoon so it could get to know us and what we do as local Republican activists (“Local political theater veers into the absurd, with Republicans claiming a disproportionate amount of insanity – and power – in deep blue Monterey County,” Aug. 9-15). The Monterey County Republican Party has been recognized by its peers to be a professional political organization – we are very proud of what we have built. There were so many positive things the Weekly could have chosen to report about the MCRP, its people, and its operations. Instead, it used unflattering spin to paint us in a negative light. We are disappointed. - Paul B. Bruno | Monterey
(Editor’s note: Paul Bruno is a member of and spokesperson for the county Republican Central Committee. We recommend he avoid reading this week’s opinion section altogether.)
Road to Nowhere
This is just another example of the joke that is FORA under the leadership of Supervisor Dave Potter (“Fort Ord’s Eastside Parkway heads to court; MPC dismissed from case,” Aug. 9-15). It seems like every week we get an article about how FORA has been asleep at the wheel for over a decade with no accountability and no transparency.
Of course, I’m sure this article isn’t the end. Eventually the whole truth about this dysfunctional organization will be revealed to us. Lawyer Michael Stamp will force them to finally tell the truth about their mishandling of millions of public dollars.
FORA is just like our huge (and growing) CalAm water bills that are caused by the incompetence of the same elected officials who aren’t smart enough to protect our interests. Funny, but Potter is responsible for the county’s involvement and loss of millions of public funds on that mess as well. Gee, thanks Dave.
Honestly, FORA seems like a bad movie, where everyone knows who the corrupt bad guys (Brian Boudreau/Monterey Downs) and who the flunkies (Potter/Pendergrass/the FORA board) are before the second reel. In this economy, we can’t afford any more dumb decisions and lame excuses by know-nothing politicians living off of the public treasury for way too long. Time to kick the bums out! - Jeff Johnson | via Web
More four-leaf clovers, for one, but not the good-luck kind (“Butterflies collected near Fukushima meltdown suffer deformities, what are your thoughts on the ecological impacts?” posted Aug. 14 on Facebook). Nuclear-energy proponents claim it is “cheaper” than renewables like wind and solar, but ecological (and economic) externalities in the event of disaster are never part of the equation. Long term, impacts will manifest in a far more alarming fashion. In Ho Chi Minh City a few years ago, I witnessed countless people (including children) still falling victim to the legacy of Agent Orange. - Dave Shmalz | via Facebook
Good comprehensive article on the problem (“Seafood fraud disguises farmed salmon as wild, tilapia as snapper and sole as sand dabs. What’s on your plate – and how did it get there?” Aug. 2-8). The fraud cheats the consumer and may even help undermine the price our state’s struggling commercial fishermen get for the real thing. I’ve experienced it myself. Sometimes, it is even the restaurant/cook/chef that was conned. Other times they appear to know full well what they are doing. Sturgeon, shark and scallops are ones I’ve commonly experienced substitutions for. The smaller flatfish species served in restaurants aren’t always what they are labeled [flounder, turbot, sole, plaice], whereas halibut and sand-dabs are most always the real thing, at least locally. When I sent cooked fish back with my fisheries biologist business card, especially when I was with a state regulatory agency, they’d usually agree I had a point.
The only way I can see to combat this in the long run is to have advocacy groups like you interviewed conduct seminars for chefs/buyers so they can see what each common species looks like fresh, and tastes like cooked and unseasoned. One could also run such seminars for the consumer for a break-even fee, maybe with the Aquarium, and Phil’s Fish Market or Sea Harvest Restaurants. I bet a lot of people would pay to come. - Kevan Urquhart | Carmel
(Editor’s note: Kevan Urquhart is a senior fisheries biologist for the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District.)