Editorial: Burnett the miracle
WHEN THE people of Carmel
elected Jason Burnett mayor, they hoped he’d turn out to be
the sort of commonsense politician that the Monterey Peninsula
– and even the whole of California — desperately needs.
Someone who could balance environmental concerns with economic
imperatives and restore a bit of power to the majority instead
of letting a tiny group of activists turn their every whim
The most important local issue that cried out for leadership
was the water shortage, which has continued for decades
despite nearly unanimous public opinion that something must be
done. Previous efforts went nowhere, mostly because the
politicians with authority to cut through the red tape and get
a water project moving — people like Congressman Sam Farr and
State Assemblymen Fred Keeley and Bill Monning — didn’t lift a
finger to do so.
Keeley, for example, was all too eager to make sure a new dam didn’t get built on the Carmel River but made no effort to see any alternative through to fruition. Farr provided some real leadership when it came to getting old dams torn down, but (until now, anyway) has been utterly silent on what should replace them. And Monning ... during his years in the Assembly, he didn’t seem to do anything at all.
But when Burnett became mayor, he decided to make getting a
water project his No. 1 priority for the Monterey Peninsula.
And, miracle of miracles, with the help of the other mayors on
the Peninsula, he actually seems to be making substantial
To understand how remarkable that progress has been, you need
only look at our lead story this week, which reports that Farr
and no less a local figure than Monterey Bay Aquarium CEO
Julie Packard have asked the CPUC to endorse Cal Am’s water
project — clearly the front runner — with some tweaking of how
it will be financed and operated. This surely would never have
happened without Burnett’s involvement, and not only because
Farr has been one of Burnett’s mentors and Packard is his
aunt, but also because Burnett’s approach is obviously the
correct one and he has the credibility to get people to admit
it. Truly, getting Farr and Packard to back Cal Am’s project
is something probably only he could have achieved.
For the first time since the mid-1970s, it seems that an end to our water shortage may actually be in sight, which, considering all the obstacles that have been in the way, seems incredible.
ONCE AGAIN we are
threatened with economic doom because of a budget
stalemate in Washington.
To understand how this idiotic situation has arisen, you
need look no further than the NOAA building in Pacific
Grove, where just a few years ago, more than $150,000 of
the taxpayers’ money was spent on fancy new lights in the
parking lot and a cartoonish mural on the outside.
The mural is ugly and mars the very ocean environment
it’s supposed to honor, and the lights are an eyesore in
an otherwise pristine setting.
After ignoring complaints about the mural and fighting
like starving dogs to keep the lights, NOAA has now
announced it will move out of the building in a short
Which means that the controversy over the lights and the
mural, both of which the government would never allow a
private property owner to have, was completely
unnecessary, and the money spent to install them was
Of course, our government is addicted to spending money and doesn’t care a whit about whether it’s wasted or whether the money is actually available to be spent.
Take the situation with the NOAA building and multiply it
by 100,000,000 or so, and you have the federal government.
And that’s why we have (yet another) fiscal crisis.