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Local Libertarian Lawrence Samuels’ latest offering in the Monterey Herald opposing a public takeover of Cal Am raises at least two questions. The first is how far the Carmel Valleyite will go in creating awkward comparisons.

A few months back in the Herald, Samuels equated a negotiated public takeover of a public utility with the type of nationalism that occurred under the European Fascists of the previous century.

In April he wrote, “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.”

Jeepers.

Now, on Thursday’s opinion page in the Herald, he goes farther yet, farther even than the headline writer envisioned. The headline declared that “Using eminent domain against Cal Am is like stealing.” Samuels didn’t stop there. I’ll let him tell you in his own words:

“… (T)he ballot measure proposed by the pro-eminent domain ideologues to forcibly seize Cal Am is reminiscent of antebellum slavery.”

Slavery.

In a seemingly earnest attempt to back this up, Samuels tells us about the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, who was well known for using the word “manstealing” in connection with slavery. Because a man’s life has value, enslaving that man amounts to stealing.

So how does Samuels link this to public ownership of Cal Am, the water company that serves most of the Monterey Peninsula?

Not well.

“Garrison was also a proponent of ‘self-ownership,’ meaning that people owned themselves and therefore cannot be stolen and enslaved. He worried that if government itself attained the authority to legally steal, it could take anything by force.” What that has to do with slavery isn’t clear, and that’s being charitable. And to get from there to a Cal Am takeover requires a leap of a length that would tax most imaginations, but apparently not Samuels’.

Eminent domain is a fancy term but it’s really pretty simple.  When the government, as a representative of the public, decides that it needs to aquire something to advance the public good, even something that is not for sale, the law allows it to apply the principle of eminent domain and require a sale. It is most commonly used to acquire land for roads or railroads, or such things as schools and post offices. Fortunately for landowners, but not for Samuels’ argument, the law does not allow the government to simply take the property in question. Instead, it requires the government to pay fair market value. Sometimes that price is arrived at through simple negotiation. Unwilling sellers tend to negotiate more vigorously than willing sellers.

Not always but often, the parties involved are unable to come to an agreement on the price. So they put on their better clothes and hop on down to the local courthouse to make their cases to a judge. This process is a lot like a trial, often involving accountants and expert witnesses paid to say things like “too low” or “that simply won’t cover it.”

In several recent cases of public takeovers of Cal Am water systems around the county, the court has awarded the company significantly more than the government agency had offered. Based on the stock price, it appears that Cal Am shareholders have not suffered.

While the use of eminent domain has accomplished much good over the decades, it has taken on a bad name, partly because government has done a lousy job of explaining it. Despite its obvious necessity at times, some politicians play to the crowd by vowing never to use it. Former Monterey Mayor Dan Albert Sr.  was wildly popular in part because he shunned eminent domain while carrying out the Windows on the Bay campaign, which opened the Monterey waterfront to the public. It took longer but the city simply waited until each property owner along the beach was ready and willing to sell.

Cal Am insists it is not a willing seller, but could that be a negotiating tactic? For years now, Cal Am officials have maintained that their Peninsula system is not for sale even though, they say, it is only marginally profitable despite its government-backed profit guarantees.  If statement B is true, doesn’t statement A become suspect?

Back to Samuels for a moment. After trying briefly and unsuccessfully to tell us how eminent domain is like slavery, he briefly revisits Germany of the 1920s before asking how the “pro-stealing cohorts” eyeing Cal Am would like it if someone came along and used eminent domain against them.

“If stealing becomes acceptable,” he asks, “should we eminent domain Public Water Now supporters, confiscate their homes and bank accounts for the common good, bulldoze their buildings for public parks? Wouldn’t this be the appropriate karma?”

How to answer that other than to call it what it is, an asinine question. How about this? Perhaps Lawrence and his buddies at the Libertarian Lodge can start a fund to buy the houses and other assets of every school board member who ever voted to use eminent domain in order to build a school, every senator who ever voted to build a highway, every city council member who ever voted to turn an eyesore into a park?

At the top of this essay, I noted that Samuels’ piece raised at least two questions. The second is simply why the Herald would print something like this. Is it as simple as my friend Dan Turner opined after the earlier Samuels piece: that it was free? Or has the newspaper adopted a position that nonsense is OK in defense of Cal Am?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Celia Bosworth June 30, 2017, 2:29 pm

    What do you expect from the same guy who equated the city of Monterey’s plastic bag ban to Nazism? I kid you not, in his mind any government infringement on “freedom ” (in this case the right to pollute the sea with plastic bags) is “Nazism”.

    • Lawrence Samuels July 1, 2017, 7:47 am

      It is using government authority to ban an object that was both Nazi-like and Marxist-like. If the government can ban inanimate objects, it has the power to ban other things. And then if this line of power is continuously used, how long before the government bans certain people? Isn’t this already happening with Trump. Isn’t he using the power of the state to ban Muslims? The same government power to do good is the same power to do evil. This is why the power of government needs to be radically reduced.

  • Helga Fellay June 30, 2017, 3:04 pm

    I do wish the Herald would stop publishing this idiotic diatribe. The only thing Samuels seems to understand is the subject of his own book – Chaos. It’s apparently his own world, his thinking certainly seems chaotic, and he doesn’t seem to understand that the vast majority of sane people don’t want to live in a chaotic world. Isn’t that even mentioned in the Bible or the Quran or somewhere that, (to paraphrase), and God created order out of chaos?
    Following MSM propaganda, he is using two “evil” concepts – Nazism, or Fascism, and Communism as the ultimate evils in the world, and anything that doesn’t fit into his extremist libertarian frame of mind is automatically called one of those three isms. It seems he fails to truly understand any of the three, and most Libertarians would probably argue, that he doesn’t really understand true Libertarianism either.

    • Lawrence Samuels June 30, 2017, 6:29 pm

      Sorry, but I do. I have spent over four years working on my new book, which is now with my editor. It deals with the political spectrum. I spend most of the book on Italian Fascism (Mussolini was a hard-core Marxist and revolutionary syndicalist who ran around with Lenin and Trotsky in Switzerland in 1905, and Hitler who was an elected, low-level leader in the 1918-1919 Bavarian Soviet Republic, run by Marxist reformers and later Leninist-Marxists). Another chapter deals with mostly German National Socialism and also Orthodox and Reformist Marxism. I see the patterns and the people running around as statist Leftists have almost the same socioeconomic, metaphysical and ideological foundations as the National Socialists. It is frightening, but it explains why the statist Left will try to stop free speech and break windows of banks (Jewish banks?), a similar occurrence that happened in 1938 Nazi Germany.

      • Helga Fellay July 1, 2017, 8:38 am

        a strange world you live in – I was born in and attended primary and secondary schools in Bavaria, where we were taught local and national history, and I have never heard of or read the expression “Bavarian Soviet Republic.” Bavaria is a state which, during my lifetime, has been under the control of the Christian Social Democrats, known as the Conservative party (as opposed to the SPD, or leftish party). I don’t know exactly what you mean with the “statist Left” – but if you are targeting progressives with that term, they are not the people who are in the habit of breaking windows. That would be the Anarchists, who, like you, seem to be drawn to Chaos. I have never understood this obsessive compulsive fascination some Americans have with Italian Fascism, Mussolini, Hitler, German National Socialism, Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism (is there such a word?) etc. This is strictly another strange American symptom. Nobody in the countries where these events took place in the past find it fascinating or even interesting. They belong to the past, leave them there. Bringing them up now, and applying these same terms to the type of “fascism” practiced by our Deep State in its quest of total world domination through global warfare actually obscures and hinders a true understanding of what’s happening here, today, now, rather than help us gain enough insight to perhaps prevent it. And absolutely NONE OF IT has anything, whatsoever, to do with local residents wanting to own their own water distribution system, instead of being financially exploited by greedy shareholders of an out-of-town corporation.

        • Lawrence Samuels July 2, 2017, 10:11 am

          Helga, there is a Wikipedia page on the Bavarian Soviet Republic (1918-1919) that was first led by the Marxist reformer and a member of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD), Kurt Eisner. He was also a Jew. This happened on Nov. 7, 1918 and the next day the King went into exile. Hitler was elected to his administration as a “Deputy Battalion Representative.” After Eisner was assassinated, Hitler went to Eisner’s funeral and wore a red communist armband as has been found in photographs of the event. He remained with Bavarian Soviet Republic even after the German Communist Party seized control of the socialist republic. Hitler remained loyal to the now Communist republic.

          Armies from the Weimar Republic and the Freikorps invaded Munich where over 1,000 people died in street battles. Near the end of this socialist republic, Hitler got into heated discussions and according to the German historian Konrad Heiden, Hitler “espoused the cause of Social Democracy against that of the Communists.” (Konard Heiden, “Hitler A Biography,” Constable & CO LTD, 1938, p. 54) I have that book in my collection. But Social Democracy had originally came out of the Marxist movement decades earlier. History can be interesting.

  • Jean June 30, 2017, 3:26 pm

    Samuels might consider that the Constitutional Convention foresaw the need for eminent domain in 1787.
    He should do his homework.

    • Lawrence Samuels June 30, 2017, 5:38 pm

      Roads were about the only thing that the Founders considered acceptable for eminent domain. There were no government-owned schools or hospitals at the time. The Founders believe in “public schools,” which were private schools (like in England) where anyone from the public could attend. They opposed government getting involved in education. Government schools started to come into existence around the 1840s under a racist concept of making everyone American white; the same reason why our government took American Native Indians away from their parents to make their children “white.”

  • Jan Shriner June 30, 2017, 3:30 pm

    Publicly owned water services have no profit margin, have accessible local volunteer elected representation, and accountability. Smart voters choose options for publicly owned water services.

  • Beverly Bean June 30, 2017, 3:56 pm

    Why the Herald prints so much garbage may be a mystery but it is one reason I cancelled my subscription around the time Royal left. It is sad that we don’t have a decent local daily newspaper anymore…maybe corporate greed has something to do with that.

  • Dan Turner June 30, 2017, 4:02 pm

    If Samuels’ sort of ultra-Libertarian drivel was all we had to worry about, we’d win in walk. Unfortunately, CalAm’s PR campaign will be run by much sharper people.
    Another good sign is that, if Royal is right about The Herald publishing Sameuls’ screeds as part of their editorial support of CalAm, it shows how thin and poor the support for CalAm is out there in our community.— Dan T.

    • Dan Turner July 1, 2017, 10:35 am

      Hey, Larry! How come you reply to everyone but me? What am I, chopped liver? Is this a Jew thing? Are you not replying to me because I’m a Jew? Are you an anti-Semite?

  • bill leone June 30, 2017, 4:10 pm

    Samuels, like most Libertarian theorists & Libertarian politicians, should be ignored. Their political ideology is based on a fiction that was created to rationalize the horrors of colonialism & slavery during the expansion of the British Empire under Queen Victoria; & a philosopher, Herbert Spencer, who used phrenology on which to base his equally idiotic theories of Racism, which is why Libertarian Ideology & Racism complement each other so well, like a hand in a glove.

    Moreover, to illustrate my point: that Modern-Day Libertarian-ism is Conservative-ism on steroids, here is a telling article on a real-life experiment in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where a newly elected Libertarian Mayor went full Ayn Rand, resulting in sheer Chaos (back to Helga’s point) :

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/30/colorado-springs-libertarian-experiment-america-215313

    Finally: the Herald has become a waste of time & money.

    • Lawrence Samuels June 30, 2017, 5:53 pm

      The libertarians are radical individualists like Henry David Thoreau, anti-imperialistic like Herbert Spencer, pro-choice, liberal, tolerant, and above all else concerned that people must be free to make their own choices on how to live their lives. We were some of the first to promote gay rights (I published a short paper on gay rights for Society for Libertarian Life when I was attending Cal State Univ., Fullerton in the early 1970s). We have been active in the anti-drug war campaign going back to the 1960s. We were the Abolitionists that ended slavery. We promote open markets like Benjamin Franklin. And we were the “free Left” that started not only the French Revolution (early period with Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson), but also came out of the American Revolution. To say that libertarians are crazy is to say that the ideology and people behind the American Revolution were also crazy. Of course, I consider most “statist Leftists” part of the “anti-Founders” movement.

      • Helga Fellay July 1, 2017, 9:24 am

        Samuels seems totally confused when he likens the current situation of local residents wanting to own their own water distribution system, rather than pay outrageous profits to a greedy corporation, to European fascism of the past. While he believes (or pretends) his position to be the position of a Libertarian who represents total personal freedom, his arguments are actually supportive of the opposite. Our situation is that local people should have the freedom to own their own water company, whereas Samuels argues that we should not have that freedom, that corporations should have the freedom to exploit us at will. He is in effect not a Libertarian, he is a Neoliberal corporatist.
        Adam Garry, with whom I agree, argues in “Shame on Conservatives to Ridicule Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders – published in the current edition of The Duran:

        “corporatism places no value on individual liberty, nor does it decry endless rules and regulations and bureaucracy either. Corporatism is to capitalism what the Manson Family is to a Norman Rockwell family painting–it is a sick perversion.
        Likewise, corporatism does not value the growth of a national economy, the steadying of national wealth or the protection of national wealth from foreign hands. In this sense, it is unlike traditional market-protectionist economics, neo-mercantile thinking and what many now call sovereigntist economics. It is in this sense different than what I call conservative socio-economics.
        Corporatism is a series of inter-locking oligarchic global-corporations where production often occurs on different continents from where the profits are stored and furthermore, products themselves are often sold in multiple third locations.
        Corporatism has plenty of regulations and bureaucratic red tape but all of it works in the favour of giant multi-nationals who often end up paying less tax than struggling middle-income individuals and families who are oppressed with the high taxation of socialism while receiving none of the benefits of a real welfare state.
        There is neither a moral, national or individualist component in corporatism. In this sense it rejects the morality of socialism, protectionism and classical capitalism simultaneously.”

        • Lawrence Samuels July 2, 2017, 10:24 am

          I have stated many times that I want the people to have the right to own their own water companies, water wells, or mutual water companies that are so common in North Monterey County. I oppose state-sanctioned monopolies. Let allow everyone to cheaply share Cal Am’s water lines to allow small water companies to compete. This is the classical liberal way to handle utilities. This occurred years ago in Lubbock, Texas where the electrical lines could be rented cheaply which allow many small electrical companies to be establish. At the time, the city of Lubbock had the cheapest electrical prices in the state of Texas.

          But Public Water Now only wants to exchanged one monopoly for another. The cost of paying off the interest from a billion dollar loan to Cal Am will make electricity prices and property taxes skyrocket. Why would any sane person do this? Is this ballot measure about lower water rates or collectivist ideology?

        • Lawrence Samuels July 6, 2017, 11:50 am

          Hega, you should know that I oppose corporations. On numerous occasion on Hal Ginsberg’s KRXA 540 AM radio show, I proposed abolishing “all corporate laws,” which came into being after the Civil War. Earlier, most Americans oppose corporation because they appeared similar to the the British corporations (chartered companies) that were monopolies tied to the hip of the monarchy. In my point of view, corporations are creatures of the state that give businesses unfair advantages. Ironically, neither the statist Left nor the statist Right like my idea because they both want the advantages it provide. I noticed that whenever I made this point of view known on Hal’s radio program, he seemed nervous. I assumed that KRXA was incorporated.

      • L. Parrish July 2, 2017, 8:15 pm

        Samuels uses the word “we” in reference to the Abolitionists, Benjamin Franklin, and the French Revolution almost as if he was there. Maybe he was – in his own mind.(?)

  • Ron Chesshire June 30, 2017, 4:28 pm

    If you think the Herald and Samuels is in need of an evaluation one may consider why the Partisan even bothers arguing the point?

    As for eminent domain. Those of us who have lived on and around the Peninsula for some time are aware of the outrage it caused in the 1960’s. Both Monterey and Seaside were going through stages of redevelopment and citizens were being “removed” from their homes through the Eminent Domain process. It was not well received and has left a very long lingering bad taste in the mouths of those that remember.

    • john moore June 30, 2017, 5:37 pm

      I agree, there are good and there are bad eminent domain actions. As to the public necessity to take over Cal Am by such a proceeding, I believe that the facts even support a use of the emergency police powers of the govt. agencies within the Cal Am franchise area.

      There is no doubt that citizens will support a take over if there is some factual basis for assuming that the agency chosen to succeed Cal Am is competent to run at efficiently. A joint powers agency composed of all of the cities served by Cal Am would provide the appropriate agency, but so far, I have not found an ounce of research regarding the mechanics of developing that JPA, the expertise to run it, and the safeguards to keep if from becoming a boon-doogle(like the MBWMD).

  • bill leone June 30, 2017, 5:34 pm

    Now, a Word or two about Cal-Am. I don’t know if Royal will cover the Tuesday night meeting at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, or not, but here is my take.
    The Business Community graciously allowed The Public to Attend the meeting; however, the audience,
    which I believe 50% consisted of The Public, was repeatedly encouraged to “be polite & respectful.”
    The presenter was an affable man with a distinct Southern accent (Chattanooga, Tennessee), who was proud to’ve been a litigator for cell-phone service providers, which put micro-wave towers where many people (who, as he pointed out, used cell-phone services), but who objected to towers being put in their neighborhoods.
    The word Ideology was used a lot….as in: if it’s your Ideology that motivates you to want to take over a private company for The Public, that’s okay, but (I had the impression) he was going to set us straight on that issue. However, he lost me on Ideology when he said, “A business is just like a person.” ….then went on to say: When a business is bad or poorly run, it deserves to be condemned (my paraphrase), which I found, for some reason, to be an acceptable statement.
    The overall benefits of a privately owned water company are (as I interpreted them to be): predictability of cost & good management. The drawback (as far as I can tell) is: negative publicity.
    The public takeovers of Felton, California & Missoula, Montana were reviewed: in Felton, property taxes, to the tune of $37.00 per month paid for the takeover. In Missoula, Carlyle (the private water company), “was a good company,” and there is a projected 6% rate increase in the making. Moreover, in comparing both Felton & Missoula to Monterey, both previous water districts were a fraction of Monterey’s size; therefore, the cost to buy out Cal-Am in Monterey would (as it was portrayed) bankrupt our local government….a bit of friendly intimidation here. Everyone applauded, was polite
    and respectful from beginning to end.
    Then, questions were taken (written on 3×5 cards, but I believe All questions were taken).
    As far as I can tell, all the the questions were answered sincerely & straightforwardly. My question was: Can you tell us if Cal-Am is an active member of the NAWC (National Association of Water Companies)? The answer was a resounding, Yes! The presenter was proud that Cal-Am was a member of the NAWC (he himself was a member), and he believed …”they do many good things.”
    At this point I was convinced, I must do whatever I possibly can to contribute to the public takeover of Cal-Am. Note: The NAWC is a dues-paying vigorously active member of ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), & if you don’t know what ALEC is, & what they do, you need to do some serious research. The Bottom Line: It IS about Ideology after all.

    Also note: There is by now a video, either on line or on Channel 26, of the Mayor & attorneys for Missoula, Montana, explaining, in detail, all the reasons for their efforts to take over a privately owned Water Company. As the Mayor of Missoula summarized: “If you’re an elected official, looking after the Public Interest, It Is The Right Thing To Do.”

  • bill hood June 30, 2017, 5:45 pm

    Lets’ see – slavery, which was the complete taking of life,liberty and pride of other human beings, certainly could be characterized as stealing. No moral benefits nor respect for fellow men and women accrued to the public at large – only to those who realized an economic benefit from the ownership and imposed efforts of slaves. By contrast, the acquisition of a private company’s assets is legal, and in the case of Cal-Am, a successful takeover would benefitt the entire affected public at large, without taking immoral, indecent and illegal actions negatively affecting other people who have no way to protect themselves.

    There is absolutely no comparison at all between the “stealing’ of slavery with the “taking” of Cal-Am If I had the opportunity I would tell Mr. Samuels to his face that “educated academics have the training and knowledge, gained from years of analysis, to accurately compare relevant history to current political and social mores to make strong points. In this case, you have missed the boat on this one, raising the question of where did you study history”.

    • Lawrence Samuels June 30, 2017, 6:15 pm

      Just because something is legal does not make it right. It was legal for the German authorities to put Jews in cattle cars and dump them into gas chambers. Stealing is stealing. if you take something from someone by brute force, it is stealing. Parents would often tell their kids that stealing is wrong, but they did not add in a caveat that said “except for government stealing.” The National Socialists were good at stealing money and labor from other nations, minorities and the Jews, and justify it with “social justice” rhetoric. I know because I have a forthcoming book about the political spectrum with a chapter on Italian Fascism and National Socialism and their connection to hard-core socialism and various version of Marxism with over 1,000 footnotes from major historians. The statist Left will soon learn about their roots to the Fascist-Marxist movements of the 20th century.

  • Bob Oliver June 30, 2017, 7:14 pm

    Review the facts:
    1. We payed 15 times the average low rate for water. Our Cal Am water bill doubled during this last 4 months. If we get a desalinization system we are expected to pay at least 45 times the low rates charged elsewhere.
    2. Cal Am “water bill mysteries” abound since RWE took over Cal Am in 2004. Since 2004 all we have been “talking about” is the suspected (obvious!!@#!) corruption, collusion, and conspiracy that has taken place over – water on the Monterey Peninsula.
    3. We need to take control of our lives and our water. Cal Am is a criminal enterprise.

  • bill hood June 30, 2017, 7:15 pm

    Mr. Samuels – while it is true that the willful taking of money or property with the intent of depriving the owner of its presence or benefit, and if that was all that had to be considered, than it would be at technically correct to conclude that eminent domain taking would be stealing. However, by comparing that kind of “stealing” with the Nazis “stealing” Jews and taking them to the gas chambers, you are completely off the mark. In “taking” Jews, their intention was not just to deprive them of their property or benefits, but rather to commit a terrible capital crime of mass murders. In other words, in analyzing the definition of “stealing” to be accurate at all, one must determine the intention of the taker. As you did indicate, under Nazi law, the taking of Jews was not illegal and in California the taking of property through eminent domain is also legal. There the similarities are completely non-existing. I think, for your sake and reputation, it’s not wise to try and compare the Holocaust to a eminent domain action against Cal-Am. It makes no sense, and frankly dilutes belief that any rational person would conclude about the relevancy, accuracy and good taste of your argument.

    • Dan Turner June 30, 2017, 9:07 pm

      That’s what I admire about you, Bill. You think that where there’s life, there’s hope. Unfortunately, in Mr. Samuels case, there’s no reason to make that assumption. So, good luck!

  • Jeff Baron June 30, 2017, 9:59 pm

    Hmm. Dump them into gas chambers. As a not straight man of Jewish upbringing, I have to say that this conversation has strayed into uncomfortable territory for me. From all of those recently speaking, not just RS. Perhaps all of you should watch Dear White People before you proceed any further.

  • Lawrence Samuels July 1, 2017, 7:39 am

    Actually, new research is coming out among historians that Hitler, due to his tremendous deficit spending for their massive welfare state, public works projects and military buildup, was facing a possible economic meltdown. In 1933, one of Hitler’s first act was to defaulted unilateral on his foreign debt. Some historians suggest that Hitler had to invade other nations and plunder their gold reserves and raw material. He was running out of money. Plundering of the Jews was part of that plan. Of course, Hitler hated the Jews like most socialists because they represented what the Nazi’s called “Jewish capitalism.” The Jews were seen as money lenders, speculators and financial bankers with a bourgeoisie culture. And since the Nazis were into social justice and a classless society, they were able to justify the stealing for the common good.

    Some of the quotes from Hitler on social justice — “we do not believe that there could ever exist a state with lasting inner health if it is not built on internal social justice,…” (“Why We Are Anti-Semites,” August 15, 1920 speech in Munich at the Hofbräuhaus)

    “the creation of a socially just state, a model society that would continue to eradicate all social barriers.” (Speech by Hitler to workers at Berlin’s Rheinmetall-Borsig factory, Oct. 10, 1940. As quoted in, Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, Götz Aly, New York: NY, Metropolitan Books, 2007, p. 13)

    National Socialist party poster in 1933: “Because Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich wants social justice, big Jewish capitalism is the worst enemy of this Reich and its Führer.” (Down with Judah!” Nazi poster from Münster that dates from shortly before the 1 April 1933 boycott of the Jews. Archive of Antisemitic Publications from 1930-1945)

  • Karl Pallastrini July 1, 2017, 9:50 am

    This post is going from the ridiculous to the sublime. Mr. Samuels is baiting readers both here and in the Herald, hoping to get the kind of engagement that is forthcoming. Mixing and matching historical events to make his point is actually producing undecided citizens to move to a public take-over. John Q Public is thinking…do I really want to be associated with this wing nut? Forget the issue…if he is for something, I am against it. The best way to handle Mr. Samuels is….not to respond. His, most likely, ego driven rants have a modicum of believability, but do add a layer of amusement. Kind of like the Herald which, without the comic section, is nearly useless.

  • david fairhurst July 1, 2017, 1:05 pm

    I for one am despondent at the rantings and ravings of both Mr. Samuels and his antagonists. A debate of distractions and absurdities. Some suggest “just to ignore”, or name call and insult those opinions they don’t want to hear. I believe that Mr. Samuels is entitled to his opinions (remember that “free speech” thing?) and has has presented his unique reasoning. And yes, I do agree in principal that anytime the State takes over a private enterprise it should be an issue of concern. (I also think it is wonderful that there is a forum such as this to “rant and rave” about issues that concern us, to point-counter point and hope for that consensus and exchange of ideas).

    My parents had property “eminent domain” by the State long ago for the building of a freeway. I do agree with Mr. Samuels that the use of “eminent domain” has been misused in the past, such as George W Bush as Governor of Texas using it to expand his Texas Rangers facilities, or as done for the building of Dodger Stadium. These pasts injustices do not invalidate a discussion of its use here in Monterey County to convert Cal-Am to public ownership.

    Shouldn’t this debate be about what would be in the best interests for the water consuming Public? Cal-Am has show it’s contempt for it’s very customers. Yes Mr. Samuels in a true free market I could shop for my water elsewhere but government already restricts my choice and access (just as they are now doing with my health care). After the PUD recently permitted Cal-Am to charge me today for water I did not use in the past (about 25% of my current bill) I feel like Alice being put thru the looking glass stuck with Cal-Am as the Queen of Hearts in their Wonderland with the PUD as the useless King. I do believe that the PUD is as equally to blame as Cal-Am for the abysmal mismanagement and excessive charges they permit (a profit is fine, but killing the goose that lays your egg?). Or maybe, how do we get the PUD to actually represent the public instead of Cal-Am ?

    It very well may be time to have a “public” takeover of Cal-Am and so shouldn’t the debate or discussion be: would the public be better served and better off without Cal-Am and Publicly run (I now believe that to be so), what is the value of Cal-Am, who will run this new agency (I don’t think it should be the current consortium of mayors who help put us in this mess), how it will the new agency be run, what of the employment of ex Cal-Am employees, their contracts, the condition of the service, and so much more.

  • Melodie Chrislock July 6, 2017, 3:57 pm

    Hard to do much worse than the Most Expensive Water in the Country!

    This week Food & Water Watch announced their 2017 update of the Top Ten Most Expensive Water Providers in the Country. The Monterey Peninsula now ranks #1. Cal Am has given us the most expensive water in the United States! The annual cost to Peninsula consumers for 60,000 gallons is $1202. Also worth noting, Cal Am’s parent company, American Water, is responsible for 6 of the top ten most expensive systems in the country. Have a look at the new chart here: http://www.publicwaternow.org/water_cost_rate_issues

    With Cal Am’s recent changes in rate structure and additional charges of $40 million dollars for water we didn’t use, PWN suspected that we might have the most expensive water in the country. Now it’s been confirmed.

    Water bills for many Cal Am customers have recently doubled or tripled and to make matters worse, the cost for new water projects like Cal Am’s proposed desal plant, the Pure Water Monterey (recycled water) project, or the pipeline currently under construction, are NOT yet included on our water bills. Plus Cal Am is asking the CPUC for another 22.7% rate increase over the next three years. There’s no end in sight! We can do better than this with publicly owned water.

    To put the cost of our water in perspective, in 2015 Food & Water Watch did a study of 500 public and private water systems across the county, ranking them by the annual cost of water to the consumer. In the original study, the Monterey Peninsula was ranked #9 in the top ten with an annual cost to the consumer of $716 for 60,000 gallons. Since then the average Cal Am customer on the Peninsula had seen a 68% increase in their water cost and that percentage is much higher if you typically use water in tiers 3, 4 or 5.

    It’s time to take our water back…… Public Water Now!

  • Phillip Crawford July 16, 2017, 8:25 am
  • Phillip Crawford July 16, 2017, 8:28 am

    According to this article, “libertarians” (people who social liberals but economic conservatives) are extremely rare. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/new-study-shows-what-really-happened-in-the-2016-election.html