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UPDATE: IN COMMENT SECTION BELOW, STEELHEAD ASSOCIATION’S FRANK EMERSON RESPONDS AND SAYS, WELL, YES, WE HAVE RECEIVED A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY FROM CAL AM.

The Monterey Herald’s most recent editorial on the important subject of water might have been compelling if its premise had been correct. Ironically, the errant editorial began with a lecture strongly and wrongly insinuating that backers of a public takeover of Cam Am Water play fast and loose with the facts.

The focus of the piece Thursday’s was that “some public water advocates have expressed the view” that the Carmel River Steelhead Association supports Cal Am’s deeply troubled desalination project because the organization has received money for its noble work protecting the fish in the endangered river.

(I would include a link to the editorial but as far as I can tell it is not been posted to the web.)

The Herald doesn’t get specific about the source of the supposed payments to the association, but the editorial seems to be saying that those unnamed “public water advocates” have alleged that the association gets money from Cal Am. The Herald doesn’t identify or quote any of the public water advocates who purportedly have accused the association of having been bought off. I could be wrong, but I believe there were no names or quotations in the article because nobody has made such an accusation, at least not in any type of public forum.

Several years ago, I asked one of the association’s most active leaders, Frank Emerson, if the group was getting any money from Cal Am. I raised the question largely because Emerson has defended Cal Am so strongly and has been so vigorous in his criticism of Cal Am’s critics. He said Cal Am hadn’t provided a penny. I believed him then and I believe him now. I disagree with Emerson’s view of Cal Am. He seems to forget that its record of overpumping the Carmel River and its neglect of the San Clemente Dam were key reasons that the steelhead are in danger in the first place. I disagree with his opinion but I don’t question his honesty.

The issue of a public takeover will be on the ballot late next year. The last time the issue was on a public ballot, Cal Am fended off the effort through an exceptionally well funded and deceptive advertising blitz. If the Herald wants to play any useful role in the next election, here’s hoping it plays it straighter than it did this week.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jason Reed September 2, 2017, 11:04 am

    Royal, I share your views on this matter as you express them here.

  • Jeanne Turner September 2, 2017, 11:05 am

    I have no reason to believe that the Herald will play a more useful role this go-around than it did last time. However, potential voters seem more alert now than they were in June of 2014. With bills that have doubled or tripled already this year (and it isn’t over), maybe they will not be as easily duped as they were in 2014. At the West End Celebration last weekend, the most popular visual was the bar graph comparing the cost of local water in various water districts. If I could attach it to this message I would. It compares the monthly bills for a family of 4 using 81 gallons of water per person per day and ranges from the cost ot Marina Coast Water at $60.55 to Cal Am water at $257.50!

  • Jean September 2, 2017, 11:07 am

    Well said, Royal.

  • Amy Anderson September 2, 2017, 11:25 am

    Right on Royal! Who are these Herald editors who espouse these ‘fake facts’, and why do something so easy to prove incorrect? What’s in it for them? Shame on them for entering the very important discourse about our critical water situation. They should zip it if they don’t have anything useful to add to the conversation.

  • Helga Fellay September 2, 2017, 11:25 am

    81 gallons of water per person per day seems excessive and indicates to me that that person makes no effort to conserve water in any way (I mean the common sense ways such as capturing the cold water while running the faucet waiting for hot water, turning off the faucet while brushing teeth and turn it back on when rinsing, rinse dishes in water you can use again to water plants or flush toilet, use water you used to wash your salad or vegetables to water your plants, etc. etc. I find it incredible that people choose to live in a semi-desert, during a drought, and refuse to adjust to, and live in harmony with, their environment and refuse to share in the responsibility just because they somehow seem to feel “entitled.”

    • Bill Hood September 2, 2017, 12:51 pm

      Helga – what you say represents the best and most effective way to minimize unnecessary use of water. However, I would guess that the chart referred to is only a comparison, not a conclusion that X number of people actually use 81 gallons. In that context, your comment is a bit harsh.

      • Helga Fellay September 2, 2017, 8:04 pm

        81 is an odd number to choose just for comparison. The only way that number makes any sense is that it represents either the average or the median. Either way, a lot of people are not doing their part. I have also talked to people whose water bill is in the hundreds, in some cases in the thousands. For them, my comment is probably not harsh enough, me thinks. But this is off topic, actually. Cal Am is overcharging us and getting away with it because the PUC isn’t doing it’s job, and we have too many idiots who think the word “public” is a dirty word, and the words profit, exploitation and corporate greed are as American as motherhood and apple pie.

    • Jeanne Turner September 2, 2017, 12:51 pm

      The 81 gallons per person figure is what the Marina Coast Water District chose to use when calculating relative costs of local water – not what Public Water Now is advocating.

    • Bob Oliver September 3, 2017, 11:31 am

      President Kennedy claimed “No water west of the Rockies should be allowed to go to the Ocean without fully being utilized. Most years the Carmel River delivers 10 to twenty years worth of Peninsula water – directly into the ocean! Monterey Politics, Herald, and Cal AM amount to “A WATER SCAM! That’s all.

  • Judy Karas September 2, 2017, 12:14 pm

    Maybe someone could post the bar graph chart mentioned by Jeanne Turner to the Public Water Now Facebook page. The FB page does have a pie chart that gives info about where Cal Am customers’ money goes:
    https://www.facebook.com/PublicWaterNow/photos/a.569594839768536.1073741829.552620208132666/1541272472600763/?type=3&theater
    (cut and paste or go to its web page) Thanks to Steve Vagnini and West End Celebration organizers for the Green Zone and support for local non-profits…

  • Roland Martin September 2, 2017, 1:33 pm

    “Fact finding on county water supply issues” are necessary when forming an opinion, or decision. It is a fact that steelhead will benefit from desal water pumped from the ocean rather than from the Carmel river. It is not a fact that using slant wells, to pump from a over-pumped aquifer is the equivalent of open ocean intake. It is also factual that a public takeover (of Cal Am) would be costly and time consuming. However, it is also a fact that living with Cal Am for more than 40 years has been time consuming and costly. Do you really want to reward them with another 40 years? Another fact – 85 plus % of all water utilities are publicly owned… because they deliver water at lower costs, sometimes much lower than private utilities. And the final operative fact – Cal Am delivers to its ratepayers the most expensive water in this nation. That fact offers substantial savings possibilities. And no, current rates are not because the Monterey peninsula is a unique case. It is because shareholders (AWK) demand dividend increases and the CPUC accommodates those demands. A public takeover would eliminate both. It’s called a “twofer”. As we come nearer to the decision to bite the bullet, keep these facts in mind

    Roland Martin

  • Ron Weitzman September 2, 2017, 2:04 pm

    Here is Cal Am’s Thursday editorial:
    The Herald’s View
    Fact finding on county water supply issues
    Any discussion about water in Monterey County is likely to include a mixture of facts, opinions and/or misleading or downright untrue statements.
    This might be one of the reasons that we have had such a difficult time solving our long-standing water supply problem. There will probably be a 2018 ballot measure again asking for a public buyout of local water utility Cal Am, and when voters are being asked to weigh in on such a critical issue, it is imperative that actual facts inform their votes.
    There are pros and cons for both public and regulated private utility water delivery systems and good and bad examples of each. Locally, Cal Am has stated that their system is not for sale. A public takeover would therefore have to proceed through the eminent domain process and would be a time-consuming, legalistic proceeding with the potential to be very costly for all parties – including customers.
    With a lot at stake, it’s no wonder that some avid supporters of a public takeover could be tempted to distort some facts. And that brings us to the Carmel River Steelhead Association (CRSA) and their position in support of Cal Am’s desalination project and the Pure Water Monterey reclamation project.
    CRSA is a volunteer organization
    dedicated to restoring the Carmel River and its native steelhead fishery. In existence since 1974, CRSA volunteers spend an average of 500 hours every year in habitat restoration and the rescue of 10,000 young steelhead per year. The organization’s support of the desal project is based on their goal of having Cal Am comply with the state order to drastically reduce pumping from the Carmel River. More water in the river means more fish in the river — it’s that simple.
    Cal Am has been paying into an environmental mitigation fund as part of the agreement allowing continued pumping of the river until the desal plant is operational.
    Grant applications for the use of the collected mitigation dollars are reviewed not by Cal Am but by the Coastal Conservancy.
    Some public water advocates have expressed the view that CRSA supports Cal Am’s project because of the large sums of money they have received for their work. But, as a matter of fact, CRSA has received one grant from the Coastal Conservancy for $360,000 to install structures of logs, boulders and redwood tree root balls in the lagoon to improve the habitat for steelhead. Installation is planned for September. CRSA volunteers have contributed hundreds of hours of volunteer time to make this project happen. Eight percent of the $360,000 grant
    went to CRSA for administrative oversight. Ninety two percent went into making the river better.
    We really cannot see anything questionable about the grant or CRSA.
    Those accusing the CRSA of having a self-serving reason for their support of the desal project are simply not being accurate or truthful. Water supply coming from the ocean for people means better water supply in the river for fish and that is CRSA’s goal. Those who might question the desal project or who advocate for a public take-over of Cal Am need to base their arguments on facts.
    We have a less-than-stellar collective record locally on water supply projects. Voters, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and water activists have all played a role in getting to this point where state deadlines loom over all of us.
    We can have a debate about private vs public, but actual facts must be the basis of the debate. And unfounded and unsupported suggestions of some sort of impropriety on the part of a volunteer ‘do-gooder’ organization like CRSA should have no place in the discussion.
    No comment.

  • Dan Turner September 2, 2017, 10:47 pm

    I submitted an op-ed to The Herald – which it didn’t print – in response to Emerson’s ode to CalAm in The Herald a few weeks ago. I did accuse Emerson of being a shill for CalAm but I didn’t play fast or loose w/the facts. As a matter of fact, I had Dave Stoldt of the WMD check my essay for accuracy before I submitted it and he said he had no problem with anything that I said.
    What really bothered me was that Emerson said that he didn’t think any other corporation or government agency would care for the Carmel River and pay for its restoration as CalAm has. The trouble with that statement is that CalAm hasn’t paid a dime for any of the “mitigation” work (that’s the technical term for the repairs that have been done to the river as a result of the damage that CalAm’s years of over-pumping have caused) that has been done on the river. It has all been done and paid for by our WMD. Of course, when I say that the WMD paid for it, I really mean that WE paid for it. The WMD billed us for it on our WMD bill until 2010 when a local district court sided w/some local folks (the Taxpayers Assn., probably) who contended that it was illegal for the WMD to collect that money. That decision was overturned by an Appellate court in early 2016 and, during that 6 year interval, CalAm collected the mitigation money for the WMD on its (CalAm’s) bill and turned the money over to the WMD. The WMD has been performing this restorative/mitigation work for over 20 years. CalAm has done and paid for NOTHING.
    Just one more thing. The Taxpayers Assn. should be more forthrightly renamed the “Business Profits Upkeep Assn.” because they are always front and center on any issue where a local government or agency is trying to do something that will benefit all of us but will result in some business, usually our big ones – CalAm, the big hotels, Wharf leaseholders – having to spend a little money for something and they fear that the expense will cut profits. If these people had their way they’d probably do away w/zoning restrictions and your neighbor would be able to build a hog farm or a blast furnace next to your house.

  • Patty Cramer September 3, 2017, 1:15 am

    I strongly feel Cal Am is ripping people off with their outrageous water rates!! We all have to conserve and I know I use no where near 81 gallons a day. I water my plants with one gallon of water once in a while, when I see they are dry, I don’t flush every time, soap up and then turn the water on to rinse off. I understand what Helga is saying and believe she has a valid point. We have a water district here in Marina and we are happy most of the time. Big business is big money!! Don’t be fooled by propaganda when this comes to a vote of the people!!!! Good Luck!!

  • Bob Oliver September 3, 2017, 11:31 am

    President Kennedy claimed “No water west of the Rockies should be allowed to go to the Ocean without fully being utilized. Most years the Carmel River delivers 10 to twenty years worth of Peninsula water – directly into the ocean! Monterey Politics, Herald, and Cal AM amount to “A WATER SCAM! That’s all.

  • Frank Emerson September 3, 2017, 7:57 pm

    If I may comment on some of Royals’, and others, claims here. CRSA’s tax records are public, we are a qualified non profit ENGO. They are quite modest and you can look them up easily. Royal asks who are these people claiming CRSA is getting Millions from CalAm? Well he should know, former PG mayor Susan Goldberg wrote a letter to the Herald, during Royals’ tenure, claiming CRSA is getting $Millions of dollars from CalAm. I called him to protest, he apologized and printed a correction the next day. But the damage is done, people still believe this. After my Commentary people questioned if we receive or what did we do with all the “$5 Million in CDO money” that CalAm pays for mitigation until the CDO is met. CRSA must be “shilling” for CalAm! Members of PWN have told me to recuse myself from any comments on CalAm ‘because we get paid by them” and similar sentiments. Based on that reasoning PWN and Water Plus should have had no petition or ballot measure O because they received money from Nader Agha. And he was actually competing for desalination project support from public entities such as PG and others with CalAm. Our recent commentary in the Herald merely states that public water agencies would have the same regulatory challenges and costs that Cal Am has, including the Cease and Desist Order. The same new infrastructure costs, the same drought surcharge that many public agencies also have been charging, the same endangered species mitigation costs, etc. And Yes! It has been many 10’s of $Millions in mitigation charges over the last 20 or so years (paid by ratepayers in the water bill) that does go to MPWMD. That’s right MPWMD, not CRSA. And not CalAm, they collect it and pass it to the District. Because you takeover advocates continue to say that a public water takeover would achieve lower rates, or would manage the river better, does not make it so. As a long time advocate and volunteer for restoring the rivers and fisheries of our beautiful State I have had much occasion to watch with sorrow how Public Water Districts, the CA Dept of Water Resources and the hundreds of other Municipal and County Water Agencies have destroyed our fishery resources. The idea that somehow another would be any different is not plausible nor is there any chance that it will be cheaper. As though destroying the river cheaper were a good option! If I honestly thought a takeover would help restore the river and the environment and lower rates I would support it.

    7 or 8 years ago Royal asked me what funds we get from CalAm. At that time it was nothing except a used truck we used for rescuing steelhead (at least 25 years old now) and which was there when I started doing rescues. I did tell him that too. Since that time we did receive, for a couple years, $5000 annual donations from CalAm to help us secure our rescue permit. The last one being January of 2016. We have had to pay a consulting firm to develop and submit a NOAA application. We still do not have a rescue permit, which is a true shame as many thousands of fish we would have otherwise saved have died. CRSA did get the grant for the Lagoon habitat improvement which Pres. Brian Leneve worked very hard to get on his own time. That money was originally from the mitigation funds for the river but it is managed and approved by the Coastal Conservancy, NOAA and DFW. CalAm has no imput on those and anyone can apply. MPWMD has gotten the majority of those funds. So please stop with the false narratives that CRSA has some financial incentive and that is why we do not support a public water agency takeover. We do not support a public takeover because it won’t lower rates, it will likely make rates higher due to acquisition costs and it will not help solve the water supply problem.

    To be clear, our entire organization is volunteer. We are NOT PAID.

    • Dan Turner September 3, 2017, 9:01 pm

      The fact is that public water agencies always deliver water less expensively than private corporations because all of the expenses are roughly equal – salaries, electricity, hardware, etc. – but public agencies do not add in profit which, in CalAm’s case, is supposed to be about 10% but is actually most likely over 30%. However, you can tell this (and lots of other facts about why jettisoning a corporate water provider in favor of a public agency result in lower costs for the customers) to folks like Mr. E. till the cows come home and it will have no effect. He just likes CalAm for whatever twisted reasons he comes up with despite the fact that CalAm’s over-pumping ruined the river and decimated the Steelhead.

    • Helga Fellay September 4, 2017, 11:57 am

      This is an attempt to respond to Frank Emerson’s long defense, denials and accusations. My own original question had been what has happened to the $5,000 per annum judgment awarded to the plaintiff, CRSA, by court order in 1995 to be used for mitigation of damages caused by Cal Am’s illegal over-pumping of the Carmel River. I walked a stretch of the river yesterday and found it to be in the worst shape it has been since 1978.
      Mr. Emerson goes into excessive detail about the evils of ratepayer ownership of the system, although ALL publicly owned water companies charge lower rates than Cal Am does. He also conveniently disregards the fact that private corporations charge ratepayers extra to pay their shareholders a large profit margin. But rather than explain what happened to the more than $100,000 awarded over more than 20 years, I learn that the CRSA got “nothing except a used truck we used for rescuing steelhead (at least 25 years old now)”… But then, voila, buried deep in the unnecessary verbiage, finally a sentence:
      “And Yes! It has been many 10’s of $Millions in mitigation charges over the last 20 or so years (paid by ratepayers in the water bill) that does go to MPWMD. That’s right MPWMD, not CRSA. And not CalAm, they collect it and pass it to the District.” So why didn’t you just write that sentence and be done with it? How did this come about? Did the judge award these monies to the MPWMD? Was the MPWMD a co-petitioner? Or has the CRSA been transferring the monies to MPWMD since 1995?
      But it seems that is not the end of the story. It turns out that “7 or 8 years ago… it was at that time we did receive, for a couple years, $5000 annual donations from CalAm”
      You were awarded a judgment, Mr. Emerson. It’s therefore not a “donation.” And why this vagueness? Everyone owns a computer these days (unless you live in Mayberry, if that still exists), and all computers have a spreadsheet option, which all businesses and organizations use to account for monies received, monies spent, date, from whom received, to whom paid, what it was paid for etc. etc. etc. Totals to answer any conceivable question is just the click of the mouse away. Your tax statements to the IRS only require totals and are of very limited interest. If or when the IRS audits an organization, they examine the spreadsheets.
      But that’s not all: “CRSA did get the grant for the Lagoon habitat improvement. That money was originally from the mitigation funds for the river but it is managed and approved by the Coastal Conservancy, NOAA and DFW”
      A judgment received by court order is a judgment, not a donation, and not a grant. Now, according to Mr. Emerson, we have established that the CRSA is not accountable for any monies received under the judgment. The money went to (1) The MPWMD; but apparently they are not accountable either, because the funds are managed and approved by the (2) Coastal Conservancy, and (3) the NOAA and (4) the DFW, whoever they are. In other words, there is no accountability.
      Now I am left with two questions: (1) How exactly were the more than $100,000 of ratepayer money, collected by CalAm on our water bills, spent? And (2) is there a method to the madness which results in a situation in which no one can possibly be held accountable for anything?

      • Frank Emerson September 4, 2017, 3:48 pm

        Helga, I am not sure who told you there was a $5000 judgment to CRSA as the result of order 95-10. We never received any monetary reward for 95-10, nor did the co complaintints which were the CA Dept of Parks And Recreation, Sierra Club and the Residents Water Committee. Someone has misinformed you.

        https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/board_decisions/adopted_orders/orders/1995/wro95-10.pdf

        NOAA is the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, a Federal Agency overseeing steelhead recovery. CDFW is the CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife, the State agency overseeing fish. You have so much of this information incorrect that you need to ask one thing. The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) receives the vast majority of the mitigation funds. You want to know how it was spent, ask them at a monthly Board meeting or call them. Your claims about what we spent or did not spend are untrue and likely something a PWN supporter told you? Because you are totally wrong. I find their claims about CRSA to be very misleading and misinformed. We are a small nonprofit environmental organization with no paid staff or members period. No funding or responsibility for river upkeep or mitigation. That is the Govt agencies like MPWMD, Monterey County Public Works, CaDFW, NOAA etc. We are volunteers! We have been rescuing fish on our own for the last 40 years and now the agencies have stopped us from doing that. You are barking up the wrong tree and not very well informed, or someone has misinformed you.

        • Frank Emerson September 4, 2017, 3:57 pm

          Consider Helga, MPWMD has received about $100 Million in funds over the last 20 years for river maintenance, mitigation from over pumping and to rescue stranded fish that would die from being dried up. How do you feel about how that has gone? And you are accusing us and asking where $100,000 went over the last 20 years, which we didn’t get. Jeeeez almighty MPWMD must love how mislead people are right now.

        • Helga Fellay September 4, 2017, 5:49 pm

          Mr. Emerson, I apologize if I said anything based on misunderstanding or misinformation. However, I am correct on the basic facts of the case. In 1995 a judgment for river mitigation was awarded. Today, September of 2017, the damage caused to the river due to over-pumping still has not been mitigated. This fact was the direct cause Carmel Valley’s Paso Hondo residents suffered three devastating floods of their homes last winter. As it appears that each new natural disaster is greater and more devastating than all previous ones, we expect that this winter’s flood, and that of the winter after that, will cause even more damage. In the end it does not matter to the residents which of the many agencies responsible involved bears the responsibility and who points fingers at whom. My question remains: Where did that money go, and why hasn’t it been spent to clear the river of the heavy debris responsible for the floods? You may call me “not very well informed,” “totally wrong,” “misinformed” and “incorrect” – but my question is a valid one and I am not the only one asking it. And, by the way, I never accused “You” of anything, I was merely asking questions. And it is disingenuous to assume it is “likely something a PWN supporter told you?” No one has told me anything. I am intelligent enough to come up with my own questions, thank you very much. There was no need for you to insult me or PWN supporters. A one sentence reply would have sufficed, as you apparently finally figured out below: “MPWMD has received about $100 Million in funds over the last 20 years for river maintenance, mitigation from over pumping.”

  • Frank Emerson September 4, 2017, 9:45 am

    Dan, if all the costs were equal. You still have to add in the $Hundreds of Millions of acquisition costs. The long legal battle to “Condemn” the utility and the purchase price, the ratepayers would pay all those costs on top of operation. Public water agencies do not cover any costs, the pass the all along to the ratepayers in higher rates or, Taxing property. You forget the rich benefits these munipical districts pay: lifetime medical, high salaries and eye opening retirement packages. So there goes any supposed saving. That is where you have misunderstood my point completely and it really seems, deliberately. It was CRSA that took CalAm to Court to prove that the over pumping was illegal in the first place for gosh sake There is nothing twisted in my reasoning. Public water agencies on all other rivers like the Carmel are also over pumping rivers and destroying the steelhead runs on Central CA and Southern Coastal rivers. Just ONE example repeated all up and down out coast. Matilja Dam is owned by a public water district, was condemned and recommended for removal in 1964, years before San Clemente Dam. Yet there it still sits, a major contributor to the endangered listing status of South Coastal CA Steelhead. At one time 5000 strong. The owner, Ventura County Water District, has not been able to comply with regulatory agencies nor come up with financing to complete the dam removal.

    http://www.matilijadam.org/facts.htm

    What you fail to acknowledge in your mischaracterization of our view is not that we are blind to what CalAm pumping has done but that we are actually on the path to restore the river. By building a truly alternate water supply, desal, and removing the Dam. Our beloved river is decades ahead of most of the other watersheds in this region by developing a water policy that maintains flow in the river for all wildlife, not just steelhead, and provides water to the community.

    • Dan Turner September 4, 2017, 11:28 pm

      Even if the costs of getting rid of CalAm are so high that our water bills increase for a number of years, it would still be worthwhile. It is similar to leaving a $1,000/month rental in order to buy a house which will raise your monthly costs for shelter to $1,500. At some point in the future – 5, 10 or 15 years – inflation would have increased your rental to more than $1,500/month. In addition, when you have paid off your house, after 25 or 30 years, you own it free and clear which is much better than having continued to rent. At 25 to 30 years out, your 1,000/month rental would probably be going for $2,000-$3,000/month. That’s not a good deal compared to owning your own house free and clear.
      It is, however, unlikely that our water bills would increase at all after getting rid of CalAm because it is most likely that somewhere in the vicinity of 30% of CalAm’s expenses would be eliminated if our water were being provided by a public agency. There isn’t space enough here to go into detail about this but the information is out there if you are interested. Either see the Public Water Now website or contact me or George Riley or any of the many other public water advocates you see on this and other sites where our local water problems are discussed.

  • bill leone September 4, 2017, 12:42 pm

    Cal Am is a criminal organization, & the PUC is its collaborator.
    Access to pure water is a matter of life & death. therefore, no private company should have a monopoly over this precious, dwindling resource. Anyone (periodical, organization, or private citizen) arguing in favor of a privately owned water system, in my view, is arguing against their own interests & against the interests of the community they live in. As the not-so-left-wing mayor of Mazula, Montana stated in his presentation to a Public Water Now audience: the public takeover of our privately owned water system was The Right Thing To Do; that is, any other choice would’ve been an irresponsible & cowardly action….or lack of action.
    Those who excuse, appease or sympathize with Cal Am’s Standard Operating Procedures are merely accomplices to criminal, corporate mendacity.

  • Luke Coletti September 5, 2017, 6:36 am

    Mr Emerson has proven his critics to be completely misinformed about what Carmel River Stealhead Association (CRSA) does and how they do it. The claim that CRSA has collected millions from Cal-Am, via mitigation monies they had to pay, is complete nonsense. CRSA was one of the original organizations that took Cal-Am to court for unlawful diversions (pumping) from the river!

    • Helga Fellay September 5, 2017, 7:09 am

      Mr. Coletti, NOBODY has claimed that “CRSA has collected MILLIONS.” The CRSA filed suit, and the judgment the CRSA received from the court was $5,000 per year, which adds up to over $100,000 in over 20 years. I said so from the beginning, so there is no need to lie about this. Mr. Emerson could have simply stated was that these monies were not collected by CRSA but rather by MPWMD, which he finally did in the end after I squeezed him. He could have chosen to say so to start out with, and we could have saved ourselves all these volumes of words.

      • Luke Coletti September 5, 2017, 4:06 pm

        Helga Fellay, I agree, there is no need to lie. Here (text below) is a letter you apparently sent to the MH Editor, which you also distributed, telling everyone “CRSAs was awarded $5 Million per annum under Court Order 95-10”. You further claim: “More than 20 years have passed since the award of $5 Million per year, which brings the total sum to more than $100 Million.”

        Your letter is riddled with misinformation and outright lies. It’s hard to comprehend how someone can be so wrong and yet feel compelled to share it with others. As the saying goes, Ms Fellay, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging! Needless to say, I’m sure you’ll be back, with your BS shovel in hand…

        Dear Editor:

        Brian LeNeve, president CRSAs stated: “CRSA is currently implementing a Large Woody Debris habitat restoration project in the Carmel Lagoon under a grant that is sourced from the river impacts mitigation funding.”

        CRSAs was awarded $5 Million per annum under Court Order 95-10 to mitigate damages to the Carmel River due to Cal-Am’s illegally over-pumping the Carmel River, which has destroyed the river resulting in the decline of fish. More than 20 years have passed since the award of $5 Million per year, which brings the total sum to more than $100 Million. Yet, steelhead have not returned, and the river is more devastated than ever, resulting in huge floods which destroyed homes costing residents and insurance companies millions.

        I asked for an accounting of the money, and the only answer is “a Large Woody Debris habitat restoration project in the Carmel Lagoon.” $100 million for a woody debris habitat restoration project in the Carmel Lagoon, more than 20 years later? Really? Fish were not the only ones damaged by the illegal over-pumping. What about the residents, whose huge monthly water bills pay for all this? They deserve no protection? The real question has still not been answered.

        Sincerely,
        Helga Fellay

  • Luke Coletti September 5, 2017, 6:37 am

    Mr Emerson has proven his critics to be completely misinformed about what Carmel River Steelhead Association (CRSA) does and how they do it. The claim that CRSA has collected millions from Cal-Am, via mitigation monies they had to pay, is complete nonsense. CRSA was one of the original organizations that took Cal-Am to court for unlawful diversions (pumping) from the river!

  • Helga Fellay September 5, 2017, 5:37 pm

    It appears I made a mistake in that letter, and should have proof-read it before hitting the Send button. The Herald did not print it, so it has done no damage. I have consistently said that judgment was $5,000 per year. It appears now, after much too much ado, that the Steelhead Association had nothing to do with the money, so relax. The Steelhead Association is not on trial here.

    • Luke Coletti September 5, 2017, 6:28 pm

      Of course The Herald didn’t print it, it’s complete BS! However, you did distribute it via email to several hundred people. But hey, a $100 million here, a $100 million there, what’s the big deal.

      As far as these purported $5,000 payments to CRSA, which you claim have totaled $100,000, this is simply more misinformation albeit on a smaller scale. Frank specifically answered this false claim already, however, since it didn’t sink in, here it is again:

      “Helga, I am not sure who told you there was a $5000 judgment to CRSA as the result of order 95-10. We never received any monetary reward for 95-10, nor did the co complaintints which were the CA Dept of Parks And Recreation, Sierra Club and the Residents Water Committee. Someone has misinformed you.”

      By the way, I’ll relax just as soon as “water experts” like yourself get your facts straight.

      • Helga Fellay September 5, 2017, 6:54 pm

        Why don’t you two bully boys give it a rest. Frank Emerson, above, wrote:
        Frank Emerson September 4, 2017, 3:57 pm
        Consider Helga, MPWMD has received about $100 Million in funds over the last 20 years for river maintenance, mitigation from over pumping and to rescue stranded fish that would die from being dried up. How do you feel about how that has gone? And you are accusing us and asking where $100,000 went over the last 20 years, which we didn’t get. Jeeeez almighty MPWMD must love how mislead people are right now.”
        His first sentence to me could have been that the $100,000 went to MPWMD, not to the Association, and that would have been the end of it. Instead, he went on and on and on, apparently just for the sake of annoying and insulting me. You are both acting like your are still in Middle School. Obnoxious, pathetic little men. Grow up and try acting like adults.

  • Karl Pallastrini September 7, 2017, 7:29 pm

    You have to love Helga…a whole lot of back-bone one way or the other. And…to suggest that she gets her perspective from PWN indicates that you have no idea of who she really is.