January 1, 2022 – Monterey Herald
LAFCO must support local democracy
Attention LAFCO Commissioners: Matt Gourley, Mary Ann Leffel, Chris Lopez, Warren Poitras and Kimbley Craig.
Before the vote on January 5, I encourage you to redeem yourself politically, intellectually and morally by:
1. Examine the LAFCO governance code and conclude that in fact your LAFCO staff have correctly advised you to grant conditional approval at the request of the water management district.
2. Recognizing that by enacting Measure J, the taxpayers of Cal Am have decided that they would prefer their water supply system to be under the control of a municipal authority instead of the insatiable for-profit Cal Am which is required to generate profits for its shareholders at the expense of its taxpayers.
3. Recognizing that those of you in the Salinas Valley and your constituents are unaffected by Cal Am tariffs and for-profit strategies; and, recognizing that you and your constituents would not wish to be under the expense and control of Cal Am if you were to pay what we, the taxpayers of Cal Am, are paying.
It is not too late for you to overturn your vote on January 5 and make the ethically and politically correct decision.
History will judge your individual and collective decisions.
Will you become legendary for overthrowing democracy or will you become legendary for your inordinate courage to stand up for justice for water?
– Jeana M. Jett, Monterey
LAFCO ignored the facts
These seem to be the facts, so far. The water management district has requested a routine LAFCO review of its latent powers, many of which have been used by the district for years. LAFCO asked numerous clarifying questions, as expected. It held at least two meetings earlier in 2021 for LAFCO commissioners to ask more questions.
LAFCO staff then asked the District for further information, mainly on the potential loss of property taxes for some public bodies. The District responded with another special report. LAFCO then hired its own consultant to review the District’s latest submissions.
After all this, LAFCO staff and their own consultant recommended approval of the application, subject to specific conditions.
At LAFCO’s December meeting, after extensive discussion and comments from LAFCO Commissioners, the LAFCO consultant was specifically asked if he had heard anything that would change his mind on the recommendation for approval. . He answered with a specific “No”.
So why is LAFCO, charged with the responsibility of examining the facts, voting to reject the District’s request? All questions had been answered. No negative facts were presented – they had all the facts.
– Myrleen Fisher, Carmel
To my chosen ones
LAFCO’s vote was 5 to 2, blocking the ability of the water management district to proceed with the voter-mandated Cal Am buyout.
LAFCO member Matt Gourley justified his no vote by saying, “I’m definitely from the private sector, not the public sector. I don’t think the government can manage anything effectively. He is clearly biased against government services. He should voluntarily recuse himself from future votes.
Kimbley Craig, the mayor of Salinas, was another non-voter. His no vote was based on his comments that water from the Salinas Valley should stay in the Salinas Valley. Unfortunately, she is not informed that the LAFCO decision has nothing to do with the water in the Salinas Valley. LAFCO’s decision is one of property, not water supply. Craig is clearly biased by his own perspectives rather than facts and should recuse himself.
The challenge is not unusual in this case. Supervisor Luis Alejo has already recused himself since receiving campaign contributions from Cal Am’s interests.
We expect honest, informed and above all honorable performances from all our elected officials. This LAFCO decision is in contempt of democracy and ignores the facts. LAFCO should grant conditional approval of the latent powers of the water management district.
– R. Jay Roland, Del Rey Oaks
Save the shelter dogs
Your feature article on a family calling on Santa for help delivering a purebred dog to their children was extremely disturbing. It could have been a real learning time for this family to adopt a dog from our local shelter. Instead, they chose to buy a purebred from a breeder, who takes advantage of forcing a female dog into pregnancy.
Never mind that this family already owns two other purebred dogs.
In 2019, more than 600,000 dogs were euthanized in animal shelters in the United States. Buying animals from a breeder sends a very terrifying message to children, that animals are a commodity, and allowing animals to suffer and die for your own vanity is OK.
God bless all the animals that are languishing in animal shelters, waiting to be saved or killed.
– Wendy Ledner, Salinas