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This letter to the editor of the Monterey Herald from local libertarian Lawrence Samuels seems like a good discussion topic. Please feel free to weigh in:

Don’t fumble away Cal Am in political football game

In responding to “Cal Am takeover bid eyed,” it is nothing new that the anti-water crusaders want to force the sale of a business concern via eminent domain. This type of government seizure occurred in the 1930s all over Europe. Mussolini nationalized three-fourths of his economy in 1934. The National Socialists of Germany did the same, confiscating over 500 large companies through Reichswerke Hermann Göring in an anti-capitalist bid to establish a command economy and to increase the redistribution of wealth.

One of the main reasons why Italy’s postwar economy did so poorly was its political ownership of most businesses, exacerbated by an unmanageable bureaucracy built up during Mussolini’s regime. American forces tried to unravel Italy’s economic inefficiencies and corruption, but found the task daunting. And yet there are still people who want to repeat history at the expense of an unsuspecting public.

Government ownership of an enterprise is like a political football game where powerful insiders always score as both victors and beneficiaries. You would think that the world would have learned its lesson from World War II. Please, leave Cal Am outside of the inherent inefficiencies of government bureaucracy that can only make prices even higher.

— Lawrence Samuels, Carmel

{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Tim Smith April 16, 2017, 3:31 pm

    Mr. Samuels appears to pay little attention to the fallout from Citizens United, the bitter consequences of inequality, and the cozy relationships between Cal-Am and its regulators and the business/ag communities who benefit from sweetheart deals while the little guy pays the freight. When government fails, its because the public doesn’t care enough to hold them accountable, or has been made afraid for their pocketbooks or worse. Standing up to abusive, non accountable business and agency practice is not fascism, its democracy in action, at its best.

  • Melodie Chrislock April 16, 2017, 3:59 pm

    It kind of hard to give his opinion any attention at all, on it’s face this is a ridiculous argument. The sad thing is that he is so quick to make it, when he doesn’t know what he talking about. The situation with Cal Am and the PUC are not your “capitalism as usual” situation.

    He’s also oblivious to the fact that Cal Am has produced no new water to replace their over pumping of the Carmel River and Seaside basin and yet two public agencies – the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control agency are the first to bring us a real new water source in the Pure Water Monterey project.

  • Ron Weitzman April 16, 2017, 4:00 pm

    Lawrence, if you read this, capitalism works only when it involves competition. Cal Am is a monopoly; it has no competition. The CPUC, which “regulates” Cal Am is a government agency that, you should not be surprised, is also Cal Am’s sugar daddy. The result locally is that we enjoy the highest residential water rate per gallon in the country while our water use per capita is among the lowest in the country. If that is the best private Cal Am can do for us, then why not try to get rid of it? I will agree with you, though, that dumping Cal Am for the water management district would be like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Better public options exist out there, and WRAMP is working to replace Cal Am, along with the CPUC, by one of them.

    • Ron Chesshire April 18, 2017, 9:47 am

      Ron, you speak of competition. What competition is there here locally? Regarding water, you can’t start a new business unless an old one goes out of business because there is little or no water to support a new business that needs water. In essence all the businesses that require water here locally are a form of a monopoly. Think about it.

  • Judy Karas April 16, 2017, 4:13 pm

    I hope that those who respond to this forum also send their comments to the Herald–and that a Sunday commentary be done by someone really knowledgeable about Public Water Now and other municipalities that have public ownership of their water supply. Note: the idea behind the CPUC isn’t bad–it just needs to do its job and protect the ratepayers, the public, not the companies–like PG&E, Cal-Am–that send their very articulate lawyers to the CPUC hearings.

  • Gary Karnes April 16, 2017, 4:21 pm

    Lawrence’s worldview is always a stretch. So wild. The government is always mismanaged and tyrannical. Corporations are just selfless purring kittens. I’m reading a thousand page book right now about Hitler in the 1930’s and he hasn’t nationalized a candy store yet. Of course, business, labor and government joined forces in many places during the run-up and during WWII. Much of our infrastructure was built then and then the Cold War. My father worked in Mare Island Naval Shipyard for 34 years, 1929-1963. Best job in Vallejo. I guess Lawrence hates the U.S. Post Office too. I worked my way through college there. What a failure. Just look how long that lasted! Give me a break Lawrence!

    • Lawrence Samuels April 18, 2017, 8:08 am

      Here is a good quote from Albert Speer.

      “Actually, a kind of state socialism seemed to be gaining more and more ground, furthered by many of the [Nazi] party functionaries. They had already managed to have all plants owned by the state distributed among the various party districts and subordinated to their own district enterprises… Our very system of industrial direction in the interests of war production could easily become the framework for a state-socialist economic order. The result was that our organization, the more efficient it became, was itself providing the party leaders with the instruments for the doom of private enterprise.” Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich: Memoir’, New York: NY, Simon and Schuster, 1970, p. 359

      And from historian R. J. Overy.

      “the Third Reich state ownership expanded into the productive sectors, based on the strategic industries, aviation, aluminum, synthetic oil and rubber, chemicals, iron and steel, and army equipment. Government finances for state-owned enterprises rose from RM 4,000m in 1933 to RM 16,000m 10 years later; the capital assets of state-owned industry doubled during the same period; the number of state-owned firms topped 500.” R. J. Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich, Oxford University Press, 1994, p.16.

      I have a new book coming out on the political spectrum. I have over 1,000 footnotes by major historians show how left-wing socialist and Marxist Mussolini and Hitler were. In fact, they were big champions of “social justice,” which they promoted in a number of speeches. Mussolini said in 1945 he was going to “impose a greater social justice.” You can find them on the web.

  • david fairhurst April 16, 2017, 4:21 pm

    Cal-Am is not a “free market” company that is engaged with competitors. They are in essence granted a monopoly and excessive profits by the government. The California State Government protects and enables Cal-Am to operate as they wish, to charge as they want, to take and control water as they will. The “Government” already “controls” Cal-Am and therefore Mr. Samuels concern has, in a sense, already occurred and his point is moot.
    I agree that a current “public” takeover of Cal-Am would have any relationship to the past sizing of companies by Fascists, Nationalists, Communists and others have done to privately held companies. I think the question is “can OUR water service be run with greater transparency, in a more efficient manner and provide a better and more stable rate for water consumers as a LOCAL public agency?”

    • david fairhurst April 16, 2017, 4:24 pm

      …takeover of Cal-Am would NOT have any relationship to the past….
      (Royal, I too wish there was a way we could “self-correct” after we touch that button all to quickly).

    • Lawrence Samuels April 18, 2017, 11:35 am

      Correct. CalAm is a privately-owned state-sanctioned utility. The classical liberal answer: break up the monopoly by following the example of President Carter. He ended the telephone monopolies by letting small companies compete. CalAm could be broken up where they would allow smaller water companies to cheaply rent CalAm’s water lines.

      Monopolies have always been the problem. Free and open competition lowers prices. So who would want a government-owned monopoly? If you are for competition, you want many water sources. But some people only want to replace a private, state-sanctioned monopoly with a government-owned monopoly. What is the point? Why spend money and time to exchange one monopoly for another monopoly? Makes no sense.

  • John Dalessio April 16, 2017, 4:55 pm

    Responding to Lawrence is a waste of time. Those who live in Carmel Valley just ignore him. I suggest that everyone else do the same.

  • Eric Petersen April 16, 2017, 5:03 pm

    And while he briefly mentions Nazi Germany, he focusses on the Italian economy, disfunctional for centureies.

    Had he chosen to be more honest, he would have brought up Germany — where the Fascists had a government-run railroad system which ran on time, the government-run postal system which could get mail to the destination faster than the United States system in Germany, the building of the autobahnen system which still works well today.

    It is always nice to be able to choose your facts…

    • Lawrence Samuels April 18, 2017, 8:23 am

      Fascist Italy is a good example of fascism because that is where it mostly came from. The best part is that Mussolini was a fascist and a Marxist at the same time for around five to six years. He founded the Fascist Revolutionary Party in 1915, supported Lenin in 1917 in his communist takeover of Russia, and called himself the “Lenin of Italy” when he ran for office in 1919. Fascism came from Marxism. Historian Zeev Sternhell argues that fascism is “a revision of Marxism.” Others, such as A. James Gregor from UC Berkeley, contend that fascism as more of a variety of Marxism. (Zeev Sternhell, with Mario Sznajder, Maia Asheri, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 5).

      Then again, almost every Marxist was a heretic with their own special brand of Marxism, including Lenin and Stalin. Before Marx died, he was so discouraged with everyone making up their own Marxist ideology that he announced that he was no longer a Marxist.

  • Bob Coble April 16, 2017, 5:18 pm

    It’s a shame that the Herald is so desperate to something that resembles “news” that it gives Samuels the Sunday edition as a forum. I think he is in love with the word “fascism” since he uses it so often and so illogically. I wonder if he considers our public libraries, police departments, fire departments, school, hospitals, and other agencies “fascist.”

    • Lawrence Samuels April 18, 2017, 11:21 am

      Well, some are. For instance, the huge welfare system of National Socialist Germany was very fascist. Hitler nationalized the welfare system and banned private welfare organizations. As Wikipedia writes: Hitler promised repeatedly throughout his regime for the “‘creation of a socially just state.’ In 1933, Hitler ordered the National Socialist People’s Welfare (NSV) chairman Erich Hilgenfeldt to ‘see to the disbanding of all private welfare institutions,’ in an effort to socially engineer society by selecting who was to receive social benefits.” In fact, German historian Götz Aly called the National Socialists’ race-based welfare system as a kind of “racist-totalitarian welfare state” that lead to genocide. (Götz Aly, Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, New York: NY, Metropolitan Books, 2007, p. 2).

      The National Socialists nationalized all independent unions and forced mandatory membership and fees upon all workers, just as Lenin had done. All privately owned schools were nationalized. Hitler wrote: “By educating the young generation along the right lines, the People’s State will have to see to it that a generation of mankind is formed which will be adequate to this supreme combat that will decide the destinies of the world.” (Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, trans. James Murphy, p. 357, 1939)

      • Helga Fellay April 18, 2017, 3:29 pm

        I am no expert in these matters, although I was born in Hitler’s Germany. I have never heard of any “National Socialists’ race-based welfare system as a kind of “racist-totalitarian welfare state” that lead to genocide.” Germany had then, as it does not, a national single payer health care system which works exceedingly well, as, I assume did it’s welfare system. These were in no way “race-based” systems, nor did they “lead to genocide.” What lead to genocide is Hitler’s ideology of a “pure Germanic super race.” As to “All privately owned schools were nationalized” is more nonsense. Public education has always been public and mandatory through age 14. Higher education (called Gymnasium) was never private. Middle and upper class girls often were sent off to so-called “finishing schools” which were private. They were not nationalized. The concept of “finishing schools for girls” became outdated around this time anyway. I have never given these matters any thought.
        This feverish interest in and fascination with everything Hitler and Third Reich and fascism is strictly an American syndrome, not a healthy syndrome, and it never seizes to amaze me. I have met people who know nothing whatsoever about current American foreign policy but seem to know every minute detail of what happened in Germany a century ago, including names and dates. Nobody in Germany is really interested and is glad that the past is past. But you, Samuel, seem very confused and befuddled, and projecting onto that age perhaps a lot of your own pre-conceived ideas, which seem to be focused on some phobia of socialism/communism etc. The same may be true about the authors of these volumes of books written about it.

        • Lawrence Samuels April 20, 2017, 6:04 pm

          Hitler’s welfare system was considered race-based because you had to be the correct race to get welfare, so only the German-Ayran race got welfare and other services. The same occurred with other minorities, minor religious faiths, anti-socials and the unfit. The National Socialists were using welfare as a social engineering tool in order to control society, putting energy into “cleansing of their cities of ‘asocials.’” (Michael Geyer, Sheila Fitzpatrick, Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, Cambridge University Press, 2009, p. 147) The Nazis also organized a no-welfare-benefits for-the-unfit program, based on a welfarism that was committed to a sort of social Darwinist collectivism.

          And yes, there were private schools in Germany–religious schools. It took a little longer to shut them all down, but they did, often replacing the cross with a swastika or what the church leaders condemned as the “Devil’s Cross.” Hitler planed to do away with the Church after he won the war.

  • Jean April 16, 2017, 6:01 pm

    The Edsel was not built by government.

  • Karl Pallastrini April 16, 2017, 6:16 pm

    I think most readers were shocked a bit by the article written by Mr. Samuels. The question is…was the forum printed to offer some meager level of support for Cal Am via the Herald…or was it printed to increase interest in the “Letters” participation in the readership? Not sure what world Mr. Samuels is living in. Taxes are rising, including Monterey County’s road taxes via last years election, Governor Browns gas and registration taxes along with Cal Am and PG and E rate increases? Put it all together and we appear to be lemmings falling off of the cliff.

    • L. Parrish April 16, 2017, 8:50 pm

      Samuels is a well-known anti-government Libertarian, except that he’s nuttier than most of the others. Here he actually tries to compare our local government to mid 20th century Fascist Europe. That’s like comparing apples to motorcycles – there is no comparison. It’s just more nonsense from maybe the most nonsensical guy around. And, as always, he doesn’t let facts get in his way. And to top it off, he’s regularly quite dishonest.

      • Lawrence Samuels April 18, 2017, 8:34 am

        I take the classical liberal approach of John Locke, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. And yes, in these time of Trump, American is moving closer and closer to National Socialism and Fascism. Many have made this claim from the left and right. I also have the ability to make this claim after 4 year of intense research on the ideological dictatorships of the 20th century. I have a book coming out soon on the reexamination of the political spectrum. And the people that dictators hate most are the classical liberals. For instance, Mussolini was during much of his life an avowed Marxist, atheists and socialist. But he was never a liberal who believed in individualism.

        Mussolini wrote: “Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State,… It is opposed to classical Liberalism… Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual.” (“The Doctrine of Fascism” Firenze: Vallecchi Editore, 1935 version, p. 13.)

    • david fairhurst April 16, 2017, 9:33 pm

      Yep…Just paid the “fee” for not living in the city “Cal Fire Fee”, but it isn’t a tax, just like the “fee” collected by the IRS for not being signed up for Obama Care. And if you listen to the former Los Angeles mayor, Villaraigosa, most likely our next “progressive Democrat” Kafkafornia Governor his answers to our problems are to eliminate prop 13 and increase property taxes on a yearly basis to a State determined “current market value” and introduce a new “service” tax, a special labor tax, that is everybody in the private sector that performs a “service” will collect a “tax” (maybe 5% to start) on their labor (on top of one of the Nation’s highest income tax rates) and send those “fees” to the State. Think, doctor bill, car repairs, contractors, gardeners, attorneys, piano teachers, accountants, and everyone and anybody that charges for their labor. If you or I misspend our money we go bankrupt and lose everything, if the State does it they just raise taxes. By the way my water bill more than doubled with the “new” fee (tax) yet my income sure didn’t. And some people wonder why others like the TEA party and those in power (taxing authorities) don’t.

  • george Riley April 16, 2017, 9:04 pm

    Know the source, then judge the comments. Samuels is a known anti-government ideologue. Anything government does is wrong, in his opinion. There is no logic in his opinions. Only ideology.
    Enough said.

    • Lawrence Samuels April 18, 2017, 8:48 am

      I believe I am more of an anti-statist, than anti-government. Right now, most Democrats are anti-government because they don’t like Trump and the Republicans. “Government” refers to the current administration in power. The state refers to the governmental apparatus, the machinery of bureaucrats, regulations and departments.

      Of course, when either the Democrats or Republicans win big, they change their tune and become pro-government. The libertarians do not want political power to control the lives of the people. Hitler was a political controlaholics and so are many Republicans and Democrats. The libertarians are intellectual heirs to the Founders, and seek to let people make their own “free choice” on how best to run their lives. But governmentalists keep getting in the way. They constantly steal, lie and rule over me like some mad-dog king. You can have your dictators, obey them, never resist, but I want to be left alone to freely enjoy my life as I define it, and not by some power-monger or war-monger in Washington or Sacramento.

  • James Toy April 16, 2017, 10:17 pm

    While I think valid arguments can be made both for and against public water, Samuels clearly seems oblivious to the fact that many, if not most municipal utilities are publicly owned. And none, with the possible exception of Flint, Michigan, are fascist in nature.

    • david fairhurst April 17, 2017, 12:30 pm

      Well said, (sadly, there are other “Flint” stories out there). Yes there are good points to both sides, now if we can just combine those good points and avoid the bad……
      I think the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is an example of one of the better run “public utilities”. Sure you can be dismayed at their past and how they came to be a hundred years ago, but that was then, and this is now. Even during the “energy crisis” during the Gray Davis administration they provided services at rates less than others.

  • bill leone April 16, 2017, 10:33 pm

    Although Libertarians are quick to scream “Fascism!” whenever the Federal Government (or any government agency) tries to solve a social or economic problem, the underlying philosophy of Libertarian-ism is Social Darwinism, as espoused by Herbert Spencer (not, incidentally, Charles Darwin). Moreover, the concept of Social Darwinism has been used to justify the ruthless horrors of Both European Fascism, first conceptualized by Italian political theorists, as well as Marxism, & first formulated by the German born, Englishman-in-residence, Karl Marx. The perverted idea that society should operate like the Jungle by way of selfish, bloodthirsty competition, & not by compassionate cooperation (as Darwin truly believed) was further distorted by the fictional (& rather kinky) stories spun in Ayn Rand novels. You will discover, when you scratch the “intellectual” surface of a Libertarian, an Ayn Rand worshiper underneath, in which case, the Libertarian Movement seems to become possessed by the spirit of a religious cult. Unfortunately, for the American Body Politic, the Anarchist-prone theology of Libertarian-ism fits like a glove on the trappings of Racism, Bigotry, White Supremacy, & Nationalist Populism. As a result, in my opinion, Libertarian-ism is nothing but Conservatism on Steroids. And according to Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher who lived long before Herbert Spencer (Spencer was also English), if society operated according to the Laws of the Jungle, men’s lives would be, “nasty, brutish and short.”

    • Lawrence Samuels April 18, 2017, 9:03 am

      Lets see who is the real Social Darwinist:

      “I think it would be a good thing to make everybody come before a properly appointed board just as he might come before the income tax commissioner and say every 5 years or every 7 years… just put them there and say, ‘Sir or madam will you be kind enough to justify your existence… if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little bit more then clearly we cannot use the big organization of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive. Because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to yourself’”
      “George Bernard Shaw reopens capital punishment controversy,” Paramount British Pictures, March 5, 1931. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQXAqP6ReqY

      George Bernard Shaw was a Fabian socialist who wanted to use the government to kill the unfit. Spencer was talking about nature and evolution and thought highly of helping other human beings with charity. He was anti-imperialistic, unlike Shaw and his Fabians who believe in colonialism, an anarchist and often poor of health.

      As for racism, it comes from treating people as a group– a collective — instead of seeing everyone as a individual. Racism is a sort of group-think that is found among collectivists and socialists. Most socialists from the beginning in 1820 to around 1920 were almost all antisemitic. They hated the Jews, like Karl Marx, because they were associated with capitalism, usury and financial capital. The socialists were the original racists.

      “Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.” — Ayn Rand

      • Helga Fellay April 18, 2017, 3:36 pm

        there you go again, making up your own facts. “Most socialists from the beginning in 1820 to around 1920 were almost all antisemitic.” MOST SOCIALISTS DURING THAT TIME ACTUALLY WERE JEWS.

  • Tom Moore April 16, 2017, 11:47 pm

    Point 1: The vast majority of public sector organizations, for-profit organizations and non-profit organizations provide significant benefits for their clients and society, at a cost that is as reasonable as their physical, legal and market circumstances allow.

    Point 2: If you insist on clinging to the myth that all government organizations are inefficient, inept and run by lazy, overpaid bureaucrats then:

    a) You must notify your local fire and police departments, along with the County 911 Center that they must NEVER respond to a phone call or alarm from your home. You must also never accept medical treatment under any circumstances from Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital. To do otherwise makes you a hypocrite.
    b) If you really insist on dueling over the issue, then: AIG, ENRON (“Smartest Guys in the Room”), Bernie Madoff, Wells Fargo Bank, IndyMac Bank, Washington Mutual Bank, Bethlehem Steel, White Star Lines (owners of the Titanic), Pan Am, Eastern Airlines, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Union Carbide (Bhopal killings), PG&E (recent San Bruno killings), Three Mile Island, Exxon Valdez. How many trillions of dollars were wasted and innocent people injured or killed by these “efficient” private companies?

    Point 3: How much do you think Cal Am would charge its customers if it was not regulated by the CPUC and instead all its water rates were set at the sole discretion of the Cal Am Board of Directors?

    Point 4: The CPUC regulatory process is arcane, complex, difficult, time consuming and, above all, expensive for everyone involved. Hundreds of thousands of dollars and years can be spent on a given Cal Am rate setting process. The CPUC exists only so that a private company can be in a line of business that must, of necessity, be a monopoly (such as a utility).

    Point 5: Marina Coast Water District is a government organization. Its Board of Directors consists of five locally elected citizens who are paid all of $50 per month. This Board meets one to two times a month. All meetings are held locally, not in San Francisco or New Jersey. The public is even welcome to attend these meetings. (Just try to get into a Board meeting at Cal Am, if you can even find out where and when they are meeting….).

    Point 6: Marina Coast is beholden ONLY to its customers and the local voters. There are no shareholders to keep happy and no stock price to worry about. By law Marina Coast rates contain no profit and MUST be reasonably related to the actual cost of providing water and wastewater services. When a new rate plan is developed, it is put together for the next 3-5 years. It takes only about four months to develop and approve such a rate plan. The cost of a new rate plan is less than $50,000, including consultants and staff time. And all Board deliberations on new rate plans are done locally and open to the public. The public even gets to weigh in on new rate plans via the Proposition 218 process. So who is the inefficient bureaucracy here: the government owned utility or the privately owned monopoly?

    Point 7: Points 5 and 6 can be repeated (with a couple of slight adjustments) for the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (MRWPCA). Note: with the cooperation and assistance of the Marina Coast Water District, the MRWPCA will soon be bringing the Cal Am service area 3,500 acre-feet per year of new water. This is the largest amount of new water for the Cal Am service area that has been developed in the past 22 years. And guess what? The MRWPCA is a government owned utility.

  • bill leone April 17, 2017, 6:52 am

    Well done Tom. And just to add to your points, 1 through 7: in 2016 there were 37,771 bankruptcies in the US, up 26% from 2015. A testament to the “efficiency” of American business.

  • bb April 17, 2017, 10:23 am

    The Roman republic and Roman empire provided public water efficiently for 1000 years. Public ownership has been done well in some instances and poorly at others, just like the regulation of natural monopolies. We can cherry pick our facts but on the whole history teaches us no lessons about government ownership. The question before us is:

    “What are the chances that public ownership would cost more or provide worse service than Cal Am?”

    • Lawrence Samuels April 20, 2017, 6:19 pm

      History does show us good lessons. In 1921, after Lenin nationalized everything in Soviet Russia, including every cathouse to shithouse, the economy completely collapsed. Hundred of food riots lead to the shooting, killing and jailing of thousands of striking workers and peasants. Lenin had to backtrack or lose his power. He had to adopted a New Economic Policy (NEP) where he had to bring back free markets and limited capitalism, allow the privatization of small companies and demanding his state-owned companies employ the “profit basis.”

      Venezuela is currently going through a remake of Lenin’s failed “War Communism” revolution. Government ownership has never worked. Just look at all the red ink oozing from Amtrak and the U.S. Post Office–billions of dollars each year. Like I have always said– Government succeeds by failing. That always seems to work well for the U.S. military and their big budgets.

  • Glenn Church April 17, 2017, 12:07 pm

    Historical ignorance is not a path to follow lightly. Fascism does not have a defining economic theory. It less about nationalizing business and more about businesses serving the state. Hitler’s Germany allowed capitalists to profit tremendously, as long as they served the state. It was not about wealth redistribution. That is communism. Mr. Samuels can brush up on the differences at one of our fine political science classes offered at either MPC or Hartnell. Regarding his criticisms of the German and Italian economies, the German economy was the third largest in the world, and the Italian the seventh largest on the eve of World War II in 1938.

    • Ron Chesshire April 17, 2017, 5:41 pm

      Comrade Church, for the last 65 years I have lived in a State and Country that have exercised wealth redistribution through numerous legislative, congressional, Presidential, and voter acts. These acts either regulated who could do business and how, who had to pay and why, or who didn’t have to pay. These acts all had affect on how wealth was distributed and from time to time the course of distribution was altered therefore causing a redistribution. So, as we’re debating water let’s not compare Communism to something that takes place in America on a regular basis and with a Country that has an ever increasing gap between the have and have nots and is in need of acts to facilitate redistribution for the betterment of us all?

    • Lawrence Samuels April 18, 2017, 9:17 am

      Not exactly. Mussolini allowed private interests and companies during the early years of his regime because he was trying to follow Karl Marx theory that socialism cannot come to a nation until it achieved full industrial maturity. At the time, Italy was a poor third world nation. Mussolini needed somewhat open markets and the “profits basis”–just like Lenin did in 1921 when he introduced his New Economic Policy (NEP) to Soviet Russia Besides experiencing an economic collapse, Russia was similar to Italy in that it had little mature industry. Anyway, Lenin used his idea of “state capitalism” to bring about an economic system that included, in Lenin’s own words, “a free market and capitalism, both subject to state control” while socialized state enterprises were to operate on “a profit basis.”(Lenin, V.I. “The Role and Functions of the Trade Unions under the New Economic Policy”, LCW, 33, p. 184., Decision Of The C.C., R.C.P.(B.), January 12, 1922. Published in Pravda No. 12, January 17, 1922; Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 188-196}

      I maintained in a recent article, that Lenin, not Mussolini, was the world’s first Fascist government.

  • Ron Chesshire April 17, 2017, 6:04 pm

    Cal Am is a Public Utility and is a Publicly owned company but in order to supply water to our area it needs Public (our) Approval in some fashion by either by voting to pay for a project or review and acceptance of an environmental document. So, look in the mirror when it is said that Cal Am has not done its job by providing water. I have seen the enemy and they are us. We allow ourselves to be distracted and we have been distracted for almost 4 decades. Is this proposed purchase another distraction? As for Lawrence (of Arabia) Samuels, let’s say he’s colorful like so many other characters in our community who all have an opinion (not always based on fact or relevance) whether ii is popular or not.

    • Ron Chesshire April 17, 2017, 6:07 pm

      Royal is good at throwing a big chunk into the fan to see what happens. That is what the Partisan is partly about, discussing positions, and oh boy are we in a helluva position with water.

  • Tim Smith April 17, 2017, 6:26 pm

    Distracted or fearful. Either will work when it comes to killing change.

    • Ron Chesshire April 18, 2017, 9:40 am

      Yes, a game that has been played well in our community. Water is the boogey man to keep things from changing around here. Santa Barbara found that you could supply water and still keep the type of community and character you want. I often wonder how things would be if we had water and jurisdictions could make decisions based on what they want instead of what the State and MPWMD say they can have.

  • Melodie Chrislock April 21, 2017, 6:57 pm

    PWN supporters are not anti-corporation (Monterey Herald Letter to the Editor in Reply)

    In response to Mr. Samuels’ April 14 opinion to the Herald,: People who support Public Water Now (PWN) are not anti-water or anti-corporation. What PWN opposes is water being controlled by a company in New Jersey and the California Public Utilities Commission. The CPUC supports Cal Am’s monopolistic hold on our water supply, and the CPUC is responsible for the profit formula that allows Cal Am to charge very high prices.

    Last month the CPUC allowed Cal Am to collect an additional $39.8 million from ratepayers, for water Cal Am couldn’t deliver from 2012-2015. This because we conserved water during the drought. This will cost ratepayers an average of $24 per month. Additionally, I believe Cal Am may not have rights to the water they are charging us for. Then on April 3, Cal Am sent the CPUC another request for an additional $15.7 million for water they couldn’t deliver in 2016. Incidentally, during the drought years from 2012 to 2016 Cal Am Monterey never experienced one year of financial loss; they just couldn’t collect as much money as CPUC allowed.

    Chuck Cech, Monterey

  • Melodie Chrislock April 21, 2017, 6:58 pm

    Cal Am a poster child for private ownership (Monterey Herald Letter to the Editor in Reply)

    In response to “Don’t fumble away Cal Am in political football game,” I spent my total career in private industry and strongly support it, for most endeavors. But not so for water in California.

    Private water purveyors in California are monopolies protected by the Public Utilities Commission. They are eligible for a healthy 9.9 percent return on investment and thus have the perverse incentive to maximize capital investments. When sales decline, as in recent years due to conservation efforts, they are free to go through the PUC and increase prices to maintain their rate of return.

    The local Cal Am operation for the Monterey Peninsula is a poster child for private ownership. They are already among the 10 most expensive water purveyors in the U.S. They will surely be No. 1 when their expensive desal plant comes on line. The fat cats at their New Jersey headquarters must be happy.

    In contrast, a publicly-owned water company will serve at the will of you and our neighbors. It will be responsive to local concerns and will be less expensive.

    Doug Wilhelm, Carmel

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