Del Norte Triplicate Readers

Scare tactics on water rate hike don't add up

I have read with interest the recent and near back-to-back Coastal Voices contributions of two of the Crescent City Council members touting the Council's decision to raise water rates.

Councilman Holley's spiel primarily focuses on the "greying" of the system, which was constructed in the 1950s. The system includes a tank/tower at Wonder Stump Road, which is in need of "beefing up" to withstand earthquakes. I suppose it is possible by computer search to tally the number of quakes it has withstood to date. I would guess they are not a few.

One wonders why it suddenly is found to be in need of retrofitting. Of course everyone knows the Big One is overdue and retrofitting is not a bad idea in and of itself, but the timing is questionable. Why now, with the American economy in shambles, does Crescent City suddenly feel the urge to raise rates so we can beef up a water tower?

Of course, there is the city water fund that is perennially losing money in the hundreds of thousands annually. According to Interim Director of Finance Susan Mayer, the fund experienced an operating deficit last year of $334,000 and during the previous three years it has been losing between $300,000 and $500,000 annually.

Of course the reason expressed for the deficit is that the city has been dipping into its reserves to pay its bills. The only statement on the website's report in the matter of the deficit is that rates have not been increased.

Operations Manager Eric Wier states that staff hopes by raising rates and balancing the water system's budget this fiscal year, the city will be able to pursue financing next fiscal year to help to help fund some of the projects on its capital improvements list.

This begs the question, why is the water system's budget not balanced based on the current rate? Forget the capital improvements until the economic times have improved to a degree that people can withstand a rate hike.

Councilman Gastineau's article, while developing a near identical theme, derails when he found it necessary to assail an activist group of opponents to the rate hike by attempting to identify them as the anti-fluoride group that supported Measure A in the last election. He seems to forget that those same people garnered sufficient support to pass the measure. Their credibility is proven. Where does that leave his scare tactic?

Dale L. Bohling,Crescent City

Educate yourself on need for rate increase

The Oct. 10 article, "Is breaking up so hard to do?" on Del Norte and several other counties separating from the state of California highlighted how simplistic concepts may dull decision-making power of individuals.

We live in a democracy where individuals may participate in being part of a solution. We live in a democracy where we have representation based upon population at the state and federal level. This is the system within its own confines, it's what the people have voted upon to uphold.

Yes, we must pay taxes in order to support this government system. Moreover, yes, this tax system currently is not necessarily proportional. Moreover, in order to support our system of roads, schools, police, fire, parks, and other services, we must have a way to pay for them.

The notion of creating a new state will not change our system. The proponents of the new state may be some of the same individuals opposing the increase in the water rates for our community. Again, simply saying you do not want to pay for the water and aging infrastructure supporting it is not a solution.

I compare the two issues above as our city and county will face a huge infrastructure crisis in the not-too-distant future if there is no means by which to retrofit, replace and upgrade a system 60 years old.

Anyone truly interested in finding solutions understands that in order to affect change, there must be compromise and concessions. The recent approval of the Coastal Development Permit for improvements at our airport is a perfect example.

Before you sign a petition such as the one by a vocal minority that is encouraging the community to defeat a water rate increase, educate yourself by going to the Crescent City website,, and/or talking with city staff and council members and think long-term.

What are the consequences of this protest? How will it affect the health, safety, and economic status of the community? After deliberate consideration, if you have signed a protest letter and have a change of heart, you may contact the city and withdraw your protest.

Educate and think before you consider signing.

Kathryn Murray,Crescent City

Editor's note: Kathryn Murray is a member of the Crescent City Council.

Solution to gun violencelies with poeple, not laws

It would truly be a wonderful day if we could all live in the fantasy world described in Crystal Griffin's Oct. 3 letter, "Gun laws protect innocent from mentally unbalanced."

Get the government to pass a few more laws and everything will work out.

Her example of driving is a classic example of how well it works once the rules are in place and we no longer run into each other. We have thousands of rules on the books and licenses are required. Driving safety is part of our public education system and yet somehow, people still manage to run into each other.

As to firearms, a similar state of affairs currently exists, where rules abound, licensing, background checks, weapons restrictions beyond all common sense and yet incidents seem to continue unabated.

Only a few people seem to thoroughly understand that complex relationship between an inanimate object and a human being.

My dad once told me that he could put a flintlock rifle and the most modern firearm known to man on the front porch of his house and it would never do anything to anybody except maybe rust away. He went on to say that if I didn't use some common sense, that I could do great harm with either of those firearms. Maybe it wasn't great harm, but shoot my stupid foot off.

In his world, common sense was the operative word, not rules. In the world of the founding fathers this is also the case and 200 years old or not, the Second Amendment is as valid today as it has been throughout human history.

In this modern world of emotional and breathless 15-second sound bites, most people would never know that the Second Amendment is in the Constitution to protect US citizens as a last resort against an abusive, out-of-control federal government.

Regardless of all the good intentions, rules and even good common sense, atrocities will continue around firearms and weapons of all sorts.

The answers lie not within the weapons, but as hard as it may be, within people themselves. Each of us has to ask ourselves if we truly behave in a civilized manner all the time, and if not, why that is.

I do not think that rules are going to do that for you. You have to do that for you.

Samuel Strait,Crescent City