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Letters to the editor – Nov. 20, 2015

Posted: November 27th, 2015 | Featured, Letters to the editor, Opinion | No Comments

Rate hikes and reuse

In response to your article on water rate hikes, it seems to me that if the smaller water districts such as Helix and Padre Dam would consolidate their administrative staffs, that in and of itself would reduce administrative and duplicative costs. This idea was brought forward at Senator Joel Anderson’s recent town hall meeting in La Mesa. 

As to the article on recycle/reuse, as an example of consolidation, your article mentions that a decision by Helix and Padre Dam needs to be made soon regarding the looming decision by EPA as to whether or not San Diego Metro needs to build a secondary treatment facility, as each needs to know what levels of flows each can expect from all the other water districts they serve. While I realized this was on the ballot once before, there needs to be an understanding of why it was defeated, as well as a look into the benefits. It was my comprehension at Senators Anderson’s meeting, that Padre Dam Water District is operating extremely efficiently.

Is it my understanding that Helix Water District is not operating as efficiently as Padre Dam? If not, why not?

Also, why does the recycle/reuse project require water to be pumped uphill (expensive) to Lake Jennings, when there are several smaller storage facilities in near proximity to the use –– Harry Griffith Park, Mt. Helix’s two ‘private’ lakes or the Fletcher Hills storage tank which is shared with Padre Dam?

I do realize that no water district wants to surrender their rights to water, but if we don’t start consolidating the costs of administration and development of water treatment plants, our rates are going to rise.

Thank you for your unbiased reporting on a critical issue.

– Bob Janecek, La Mesa

A barrel of solutions

While your article on the rise in water costs was interesting, I can’t see why anyone was surprised. Whenever people cut the amount of water they use, the water company raises the price. It’s been that way as long as I can remember.

There is a win-win solution –– rain barrels.

First it would provide people with water they don’t have to pay the water company for. One inch of rainfall collects about a half-gallon of water per square foot of roof.

To calculate your rainfall potential, estimate the square footage of your roof. Divide that number by two. That’s how many gallons your roof will collect during a one-inch rainfall.

Second, adding rain barrels would prevent flood damage (maybe even mudslides). Last month it rained about 15 minutes – not even particularly hard – and we had three inches of water running down the gutter. Sure it spread out at the intersection, but if it had rained harder or longer, we could have had water running over the sidewalk.

True, it’s a pain checking the city requirements. But who wants to provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes? Malaria and West Nile Virus are not fun diseases. That’s why there is a requirement to make sure the rain barrel is properly seated and secured. You don’t want it leaking or falling (or being knocked) over.

Researching city requirements may lead to finding helpful hints about filters (you do not need leaves clogging things up), easy access (various spigots), and overflow setups (mostly standard hookups to soaker hoses).

With sales and rebates, most of the cost will be in installing your rain barrels. Then there’s the fun of choosing the size, style, and color.

Do you go with the standard industrial round drum? Perhaps a fancy Terra Cotta look (maybe with fake flowers)? There are oblong rain barrels that looks like a sideways water tank; ones that look like a modernist square; barrels shaped like a tall thin rock spire; temporary foldable ones that look like a large green trash bag; huge drums for commercial buildings; and even a water wall (that one looked interesting).

I had fun looking at them even though I live in an apartment building and there’s no chance the owners will put up rain barrels. Their response to higher water costs is to raise the rent.

Even if we don’t get as much rain as some of the predictions (I think 35 inches in five months is an exaggeration, but I also think we’ll get more rain than most people expect and all at once), we’re going to have flooding problems.

La Mesa is a lot of up and down. Without rain barrels catching water, anyone crossing University Avenue better count on the water being high enough to cause problems. Those old pickup trucks are going to come in handy.  And while some of the older houses are built up high with stone retaining walls, most of the newer ones aren’t. Got your sandbags ready?

Anyway, I enjoyed your article.

– Catherine Siebert, La Mesa

My family has lived in La Mesa since 1971. I noticed an article in your paper about the traffic on Harbinson Avenue. We have been experiencing the same issues and then some. We had a problem with cars traveling down our street at a high rate of speed, it is posted as 25mph.

A few years ago, they installed the speed bumps that only cover half the street. They are supposed to slow traffic but are useless. Now, not only are people driving fast down our street, but they are also going down the middle of the road to avoid the speed bumps.

I have contacted La Mesa Police about this and was told by their “traffic cop” that there is nothing that can be done as they only have three traffic cops on the whole force. I think if they enforced the law on our street they would earn more than enough to hire more traffic cops.

I don’t know if there is anything you can do but I would like it out there and documented as I am afraid there may be a fatality soon. I have witnessed a few accidents and the drivers have sped off before the police came. This is a street that has a school bus stop and I worry about the safety of the children on this street. Maybe a story about the lack of concern by LMPD would light a fire and get something done. Thank you for your time.

– Laurie Murray, La Mesa

Getting by

Unless you are pretty-faced (Hollywood); have an amazing, bionic body (pro athlete); or can sling hash like a politician, you are pretty much chopped-liver after 60 years in this world.

If you are lucky enough to have had a job, you have suffered stagnate wages since high school or college. Fixed income, you old guys, means your scratch has dried-up. Social Security is going backwards, the bear is in the market and interest rates are a gimmick for the banks. The costs of living –– housing, food, phone, insurance, utilities (gas, electric, water, sewer), gasoline, basic cable, medical, education, taxes –– have all sky-rocketed.

But please do not despair. What’s more important, in my opinion, is family, friends, an education, volunteering, helping a neighbor and living in the best country ever. Enjoy! (You youngsters will understand this prattle in due time).

– Carlos Miller, La Mesa

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