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February 25, 2021

Letters & Shout-outs

Shout-out: Siskiyou communities commend Falcons football team’s relief efforts
Editor,
A few weeks ago, the Scotts Valley Falcons football team traveled to the
far northern reaches of California to a small town named Etna. There, they played a football game against Etna High School.
On the way, they stopped in Weed, Calif., and left about $25,000 in gift cards for the
victims of the Boles Fire.
I wish to acknowledge and thank the team, their family and friends for this generous contribution. My sister lives in Santa Cruz and told me about it. I went on www.siskiyouyouth.com and clicked “ETNA” on the right and scrolled down to the football game slide show and article.
I have several friends who have lost everything in that fire and know that they are grateful for any help.
Our local paper, www.mtshastanews.com, a weekly, keeps current on any developments and covers news for four of the small towns in southern Siskiyou County: Weed,
Mt. Shasta, Dunsmuir, and McCloud.
A local young man from Weed has been arrested for starting the fire. The cleanup is in progress. 150 homes were destroyed, two churches reduced to ashes, the kindergarten and 1st grade rooms at the elementary school were burned, a high school student ran home
during their evacuation, through the smoke to save his mom. He knew she was
asleep after working all night as a nurse.
When he got home the neighbors’ home was already on fire.
Thanks again to your wonderful football team for their generous support.
Virginia Ramshaw,
Mt. Shasta
Letter: Prather’s priorities don’t reflect current needs and realities
Editor,
I’d like to submit my comments on the candidate Larry Prather for the upcoming SLVWD election. I attended water district meetings for the first time as a result of the proposed water rate hikes last year. Most of my concern was about the cost of the new water district campus and about why it was needed.
During the discussions Mr. Prather said something like: “I can’t understand why people don’t want this; it would be something they could be proud of”.
It struck me then that there was a significant “tone-deafness” going on. The people coming to these meetings were addressing the fact that the ratepayers in SLV are struggling financially and although ready to pay for repairing/replacing/securing faulty infrastructure could not afford a grand new management campus.
We could be very proud of a system that was not leaking, not ready to fail, but instead stood as an example to other districts for treating water as the scarce resource it is becoming.
While Mr. Prather’s aspirations are laudable in another time and financial reality, they are totally out of step for the SLV rate-payers at this time.
For this reason I will vote for other candidates in this upcoming election.
Lenette Cutter,
Ben Lomond
Letter: Signs on SV Drive reflect necessities of doing business in Scotts Valley
Editor,
Regarding last week’s letter saying that signs advertising businesses on Scotts Valley Drive are unnecessary: Solely because of these signs, people are able to find existing businesses — which pay a lot of money in taxes and business licenses.
Saying that people will look up a specialized business online, means they will usually buy the product online also.
There are many businesses in Scotts Valley that are completely hidden from view and because there already IS a restrictive sign ordinance, these businesses are virtually invisible.
Virgo Rising in Kings Village is an example of this. It would be helpful if all signs were professionally done and attractive, but in this haphazard town design, the signs are a necessity if the businesses are to stay in business. Political signs every few feet for the same politician are definitely an eyesore, though.
Karen Diamond,
Scotts Valley
Letter: Slate’s ‘desperation move’ revealed in recent SLVWD forums
Editor,
The Slate came to the campaign with an environmental platform that the voters immediately rejected with, “So what? Address the real issues.”
Now, after two revealing public forums, failure to shed ownership of the $9 million campus project, and an indictment-filled Grand Jury report that just won’t go away, incumbent Larry Prather has played The Slate’s desperation card — “There is value in experience.”
True, but only when the experience shows value. The ratepayers have paid a heavy price for Prather’s 16 years of “experience” — miles of neglected infrastructure, inadequate storage management, and reckless financial controls, just to name a few.
All while Larry was “experiencing” the spending of $3 million for campus property and planning without a feasibility study or pre-construction budget.
Prather has left the voters in desperate need of experience that brings new ideas based on proven best practices, updated communication practices, and stable priorities that support the long-term safety and financial health of the community.
In this election, The Slate’s shifting priorities, driven by campaign paranoia, won’t cut it. This time around the voters are informed, offended, and spreading the facts.
The Slate is saying what the voters want to hear. Chuck, Karen and Bob are saying what the voters need to know. Already delivering the value of their experience.
Vote Baughman, Brown and Fultz.
Mark Messimer,
Felton
Letter: Prather, Hammer, and Ratcliffe key to preserving SLVWD ‘institutional memory’
Editor,
What is the value of experience on the SLV Water District Board? Three seats now occupied by experienced Directors are up for election. The two continuing Directors have served for only two years each.
Incumbent Larry Prather is the only candidate who can help preserve the board’s “institutional memory.”
That collective set of facts, concepts, and know-how held by a board is always weakened when members resign. Institutional memory and experience are vital to help the board navigate present and upcoming challenges, which include hiring and orienting a new district manager.
Larry Prather has served on the facilities, planning and finance committees, and currently chairs the environmental committee. He has worked to protect watershed lands vital to our surface water supply, and to update the Watershed Management Plan.
His stated goal is to be a good steward of both the environment and the district’s finances while being responsive to the needs of the community.
Of the other five candidates who would be new to the board, Eric Hammer and Gene Elizabeth Ratcliffe are running with Larry. All three are committed to transparent communication with ratepayers, to improving the infrastructure and to sound financial practices.
Eric brings a wealth of experience in the SLV and in leadership roles on many non-profit boards.
He knows how to be responsive to the community while getting things done.
Gene served on the Planning Commission in San Juan Capistrano for 11 years, and currently serves on the SLVWD Citizens Outreach Committee.
Her public agency experience includes financial management, environmental regulations, and the capital improvement process.
Hammer, Prather and Ratcliffe have key endorsements from community leaders, including the current president and the two outgoing members of the board, as well as Assemblymember Mark Stone.
Please give them your endorsement too by voting for them Nov. 4.
Michele Mosher,
Felton
Letter: Lots of ways for community to support new Boys and Girls Club
Editor,
Thank you for your recent article regarding the Alibertis and their dream of providing a safe place for our children to learn, play and explore through the Boys and Girls Club. The Alibertis got the building built with hard work, dedication and passion. Now we need to get the doors open for the children of our community.
There are many ways folks can help; direct donations, join one of our two working boards that meet monthly, and buy tickets to our 2nd Annual New Years Eve Gala being held at Bruno’s BBQ on Dec. 31, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
You can send an email to [email protected] for more information on any of these options. We need your help!
P.S. Like us on Facebook!
Cheryl Shapiro,
President, Friends of Boys and Girls Club of the Valleys
Letter: New leadership needed for SLV Water District Board
Editor, 
We have an important board of directors election coming up for the San Lorenzo Valley Water District.
We have had a Grand Jury report that has outlined some critical issues created by our current management that need to be addressed in an effort to keep our public water system running efficiently and transparently.
Both water and money are tight these days and we need a board that can respond to constituent concerns with respect and positive and productive dialogue.
After attending both forums for the SLV Water Board, I was impressed by Bob Fultz, Chuck Baughman, and Karen Brown as being intelligent, very experienced, and passionate to serve our community in this capacity.
I highly recommend Fultz, Baughman, and Brown as excellent candidates to help manage the SLV Water District with fiscal and environmental responsibility.
We need this level of leadership if we want to ensure the future of our most precious resource, water.
Beth Hollenbeck,
Felton
Shout-out: Kudos to Lompico community for successful candidate forum
Editor,
I would like to thank the Lompico community for the amazing turnout for the Lompico Candidates Forum. It’s great to have such community involvement.
I hope the enthusiasm continues and brings out the voters on Nov. 4 to support their choice of the following candidates (alphabetical order by last name):
– Sherwin Gott
– Mark Meacham
– Merrie Schaller
– John Schneider
– Cheryl Trapp
I would also like to thank the following for their support in presenting this non-partisan Forum: The League of Women Voters, The Lompico Community Center, The Lompico/Zayante Women’s Social Club, the Zayante Fire Protection District for providing the venue, and the Press-Banner for publishing the event in the calendar.
Rebecca Abraham,
Lompico
Letter: Merger or not, costs will be high for Lompico Water District’s future
Editor,
I’m concerned that our customers in Lompico receive accurate information about costs to operate the water district, and costs of the proposed merger.
The numbers being put out by anti-merger candidates should be taken for what they are, a political campaign, and not a serious, well-developed plan for Lompico’s independent future, nor an accurate portrayal of merger costs.
One candidate, Sherwin Gott, ran on a similar “plan” in 2010 and was able to win based on similar promises.
The Board placed his plan on the agenda for review repeatedly, as a courtesy to his supporters, but Director Gott refused to discuss it. Director Gott canceled a special March 2011 meeting on his plan, and tabled the item at the May board meeting.
In June, fellow Director Shannar Abraham wished to end further review, stating it was a “lousy plan” and should not be further discussed at board level.
Director Gott was given an opportunity to familiarize himself with district finances and prepare a budget when he was assigned as chair of the Budget Committee upon being elected in 2010.
The committee consisted of community members who supported Director Gott and his plan. Director Gott was confused, unfamiliar with accounting methods, and unable to produce a budget, and after two meetings, his support members resigned.
In April 2011, the board voted to disband the Budget committee and directed the bookkeeper to prepare the fiscal year budget in order to meet deadlines.
The Budget Committee was re-established with Director Abraham and me. We take our work seriously and have been preparing budgets for the “independent” Lompico with the little resources we have.
We call it a “get by” budget, mean and lean, but it is not enough.
However our community votes early next year, merger or independent, there will be high costs associated with the future of Lompico.
We urge our customers to carefully study the alternatives, and not be misled by empty campaign promises.
Lois Henry,
Director, Lompico Water District

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