Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor - Feb. 5, 2015


Dear Editor,

As one of the many customers who just received their “Notice to Customers regarding the SDWSRF Loan” - with no hint provided for what the acronym means - I am irritated once again by The Company We Love to Hate, Hillview Water.

Having had to pay $3,000 for the hookup fee ... even though there was already a waterline and meter in place ... in order to build our home (“Take it up with the CPUC.”); having read the quarterly reports for the last 6 ½ years explaining why our water is (still) not drinkable; having read the occasional reports explaining why completion dates for the water-cleaning plants have once again been extended; and having been forced to purchase our own drinking water, I find it to be salt-in-the-wounds to learn that Hillview Water wants to raise our rates by 12.7%.

This insult upon injury might be easier to swallow, as it were, if Hillview offered to refund the cost of our drinking water purchases. Instead, we get to see their employees driving around in shiny new trucks. There are plenty of private companies out there that understand the importance of public perception enough to invest some of their profits in customer service - that is, over and above the minimum amount required to avoid being driven out of town by an angry mob with torches and pitchforks.

The aforementioned notice announces six “grounds for protest,” all of which are legal and/or technical grounds usually encountered by businesses having the financial clout to pay lawyers to overcome the tedious California Public Utilities Commission hoops and hurdles. Being an ordinary muggle, I am left with venting my spleen in this letter. I can only hope someone in my favorite water utility reads it carefully and gets the point.

Richard Lofsted, Oakhurst

Fire danger

Dear Editor,

It was reported last week from the Town Hall meeting about making our community firewise. Firewise Coordinator Roger Maybee was quoted “Ninety percent of homes burned down in a fire are caused by embers ....” When the Junction Fire reached Taylor Mountain, where my neighborhood is located, the DC-10 tanker stopped the fire approximately 400 feet from my home.

On the adjacent property, there are about seven-to-nine dead pine trees, presumably from the pine bark beetle, grouped in an area just at the edge of where the fire was stopped.

If the fire had not been stopped, those pines would have gone up in a blaze throwing embers past the 400 feet and onto our homes. If you look around the mountains and residential areas, pines and cedars are dying in mass. These that are close to homes need to be cut down for fire safety purposes.

Why can’t the same guys in the CDC who worked so hard to protect our homes, be given the job of cutting down these dead pines. Since we as taxpayers are paying for their room and board, shouldn’t we get some free services from the CDC?

We were extremely lucky on Taylor Mountain but the danger can still be seen.

Mary Herrmann, Oakhurst

Transparency of Austin Quarry

Dear Editor,

I am of the older generations and came to this area 24 years ago. We love it here. Not too long ago I was interested in what was going on with the Vulcan Quarry, so I attended the MOC (Madera Oversight Coalition) meeting in Yosemite Lake Parks. This was an eye opener.

On Jan. 22, I went to the Tom Wheeler Town Hall meeting. If you don’t know what happened there, I encourage you to read Alan Wileman’s report in the Sierra Star from last week (January 29) - which was outstanding. We are fortunate to have a local reporter who reports without having an agenda.

I studied Tom Wheeler’s flow chart and came to the following conclusion: No more public interaction as of Jan. 5, 2015. The 300 letters from the public, including my own will be filed, read and evaluated by the consulting firm, Benchmark Inc. After this, I understand the planning department, the county supervisors and the consulting firm will discuss the entire matter behind closed doors. Incidentally this consulting firm is not paid for their services by the taxpayers, but by Vulcan Construction Inc. - which leaves some food for thought. I think we need more transparency, but not the “White House” kind. Hopefully at the next meeting, our representatives will address our concerns and have answers to our questions.

I think it would be great if some of the younger generation, like high school students would attend the next town hall as they should also know what is happening in their area. By allowing the Quarry to operate, this would put our water supply in jeopardy. The younger generations should realize that there is possibility they may not be able to take showers in the future.

If you do not agree with my assessment, Please voice your opinion at the next town hall meeting on Feb. 26.

Hank VanSloten, Coarsegold

Wonderful decorations

Dear Editor,

We wish to give a heartfelt thank you to the people who own the property just below the YLP turnoff. They have the most wonderful decorations for every season and occasion.

As we all head south with our minds full of every day distractions, it is a joy to glance over and, for just those few seconds, be able to forget the worries of the world. They allow us to remember the good in our lives.

We are sure it’s a lot of expense and work for them but we want them to know how much we appreciate their efforts. Can’t wait for Valentines.

Rusty and Sara Murphy, Oakhurst

Breath of fresh air

Dear Editor,

The Sierra Star is to be congratulated for providing the readers with the innovative breath-of-fresh air column, “Healthwise,” written by Virginia Eaton. An example of her refreshing approach to good health was in the Dec. 18 issue of the newspaper. She explained it takes a healthy mind to recognize attitudes and moods, as well as a healthy body, to have a healthy life - a very interesting interpretation.

Ann Lassleben, Oakhurst