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CRA News October 2001

Selected articles from the newsletter of the Carmel Residents Association

CRA Board Members
Donna Pribble and Dick Andre had a wonderful time with their respective spouses at "CRA Dines Out" in September at the elegant Anton and Michel Restaurant. Everyone agreed that the food, its presentation and the ambience were first class!
(See Photo Gallery for more photos from this event.)

MIIS Afghanistan expert is October 25 speaker

Thursday,October 25 -- CRA Meeting
         4:45 p.m. -- Glynn Wood: The bin Laden Crisis
Vista Lobos Meeting Room, Torres between 3rd & 4th

CRA's October meeting will feature Glynn Wood, Professor of International Policy Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. His talk, The bin Laden Crisis--the American Response Evolves, will be a knowledgeable and colorful discussion of Afghanistan and its infamous guest. An expert on South Asia who has spent a great deal of time in that area, Dr. Wood served with the U.S. Information Agency for five years, with postings to Lebanon, Afghanistan and India. He was acting cultural attaché in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1961-62.

Our speaker received a BA from Louisiana State University, an MA from Stanford University and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as Academic Dean and Provost of the Monterey Institute for seventeen years. Previously, Prof. Wood held a faculty appointment at the American University, Washington, D.C., where he also was Dean of the School of Government and Public Administration. While in Washington, he served as South Asia Chairman at the State Department's Foreign Policy Service Institute. Glynn Wood writes and lectures on American foreign policy and on South Asian politics.

Carmel problems intense because it is "coveted part of planet"

It was standing-room-only when Executive Director Peter Douglas of the California Coastal Commission spoke at the CRA's regular meeting Sept. 27. California "has the most powerful, comprehensive coastal plan in the world," the speaker said, and people from all over the world comment on the state's unspoiled coastline. Much of the credit for this goes to the executive director himself, who helped author Proposition 20 and the legislation which implemented the program. The Commission, according to Douglas, is the most extensive example of participatory government he has ever seen. Everything they do is transparent and open, with endless public hearings, its practice at which, Mr. Douglas says, many other public agencies scoff.

The plan, he said, "was born in controversy and matured in controversy. If we weren't controversial, we wouldn't be doing our jobs." The Commission is continually faced with thorny decisions, some turned over to them when officials find it too difficult to buck local opinion.

Much controversy has centered around Carmel and the increasing pressure to demolish older homes, replacing them with larger, more modern structures. Mr. Douglas feels that his Commission is caught in the middle. Preservation of community character is an important goal of the coastal plan and should be handled locally. But, he said, "if the community doesn't do it, the Coastal Commission must hold the line." Because of this, the Commission may deny all demolitions until the City has completed its Local Coastal Plan (LCP).

The Commission is anxious for Carmel to complete its LCP, planned for December. (See related article.) However, Peter Douglas said that he would rather see the city slow the pace than to short circuit public input. As well as the community character issue, the beach management plan will face close scrutiny.

Asked if other California coastal cities are experiencing similar problems, Mr. Douglas said that all communities with historic roots are facing change, called "gentrification" by some. And all deal with it in different ways. Sometimes, he said, it affects the outcome of city elections. Carmel's controversy is more intense, he suggested, because "it is such a coveted part of the planet."


We're bullish on Carmel

In the days following the unimaginably tragic September 11 attack, we have continually been reminded by the pundits that this was not only an assault upon our freedom but upon the financial foundation of our country. Already shaky, the economy is now tipping into recession.

The only way our besieged economy can right itself is if each of us makes a conscious effort to return to our normal lives and spending patterns. Make no mistake about it--our city budget, which provides the services upon which we all depend, could be severely impacted by lower sales taxes and reduced tourism.

The outpouring of friendship, patriotism and a desire to help victims has been heartwarming. Many have given blood, money, prayers and sympathy to those whose needs and heartbreak are beyond comprehension. But we also must be aware of the local effects of the disaster.

What can we do? Remember the saying, "Charity begins at home?" If each of us could try to buy groceries at Bruno's or Nielsen's, pick up a prescription or toiletries at Surf and Sand or Carmel Drug Store or shop for Christmas presents and birthday gifts at a local store, the added revenue would be significant.

What about lunch or dinner at a Carmel restaurant? For those special anniversaries or birthdays, consider one of the establishments which have hosted "CRA Dines Out" such as Lincoln Court, Anton and Michel, Nico's, Portabella or the Grill on Ocean Avenue. There are also dozens of more casual places where locals go for cozy dinners such as La Playa and Anton and Michel's bars, the Village Pub, Jack London's, Tita's, Club Jalapeño, Little Napoli, China Gourmet, Toots Lagoon and Bully III.

We hope that you will pay particular attention to the list of all the generous businesses which contributed to the recent CRA/CBA Carmel Fun Night fund-raiser. Please try to patronize them and, while you are there, remember to thank them for their support.

In helping our own village, we will be reminding ourselves and others that terrorism cannot bring our lives to a halt. All of us--residents, businesses and city officials-- must stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to maintain the economic viability of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

President's Message

by Monte Miller, President, Carmel Residents Association

Members' poll elicits thoughtful responses

We have received interesting results from our members' poll which I would like to share with you. First, thanks to all the participants. To date we have had a 38% rate of return, which is excellent. A 10% rate of return for most polls is considered successful and we are receiving more responses each day. In addition, we appreciate the many useful comments.

The most gratifying result of the poll was to find that the board's view of issues facing our city was supported by an overwhelming majority of members. These results ranged from 97% down to 62% agreement with our position on 15 of the 16 issues. Only one issue, the rail commuter service, received 64% disagreement with the board. Most members liked the concept of rail service, feeling it would lead to fewer cars on the road. However, the board feels that the trains would allow more Santa Clara County workers to move to the Peninsula, resulting in a decrease in the number of affordable housing units that would be available for rent or purchase. More education is needed on this issue. Board member Walter Gourlay is issue chair for this subject and welcomes your comments. Please see his article below.

We also learned from the poll other concerns of our members, which the board will address in the future. These include use of pesticides on our forested canopy, the proliferation of art galleries, fire station safety and the raccoon problem. Members rated the following issues as most important: preserving our residential and commercial historical character, preserving our city parks and open spaces and protecting our city's traditional character (no street lights, sidewalks, etc.).

The Carmel Residents Association's mission is to maintain the quality of life in Carmel-by-the-Sea through education, community activities and advocacy. The results of the poll are helping the board to pinpoint areas for added education--those issues where members have indicated they need more information before determining their positions and their assessment of the level of importance.

Carmel Fun Night--a delightful success
by Melanie Billig, CRA Fun Night chair

A happy group of Carmelites gathered on the terrace of Sunset Center on September 19 for the first annual Carmel Business Association/Carmel Residents Association scavenger hunt and fund-raiser to benefit the Sunset Center Project. On October 9, CRA President Monte Miller, CRA committee member Laurel Whorf, CBA Executive Director Brenda Roncarati and Sunset Center for the Arts chief fundraiser Nancy Doolittle presented a check for the event proceeds--$9,000--to the City Council. $150 will go to the Red Cross from the sale of a beautiful American flag donated by Laurel and David Whorf. Word has it that CBA's Alan Cordan added to the proceeds to bring the total to $9,000.

The highlight of the evening was the scavenger hunt. Marauding teams set out in the business district to accomplish the near impossible--finding all the items on the list made up by CBA's Gary Luce and Debbie Alexander, who did an outstanding job of taxing our creative and physical limits. There was great rivalry between the teams but also camaraderie as time ran out and opposing team members shared secrets about where to find colored tortilla chips or a dog-friendly inn. The business people were helpful in aiding scavengers, as were police officers who got into the act by giving tips.

Tired and hungry, the teams returned to Sunset to revive themselves with delicious food and wine, all donated by generous local businesses. Lisa Budlong applied her floral artistry to the tables, while Richard Peterson, Bill and Alice Englander and Wendy Brown handled the refreshments.

The Carmel Fun Night Committee, Alice Englander, Laurel Whorf, Anne Bell, Diane Flanders, Richard Peterson, Lisa Budlong, Bill Wright, Alan Cordan, CBA President Larry Hoover, Lou Ungaretti, Mary Pankonin and Melanie Billig, would like to thank all those businesses and individuals who made the event such a success, including CRA and CBA volunteers and judges for the hunt. Special kudos to the CBA staff for their incredible organizing efforts and cheerful assistance. Please see the article with a list of everyone who donated. We hope that those of you who missed this year's event will join us next year and be part of the fun!

Commuter trains?
by Walter E. Gourlay

There's a plan to open a CalTrans commuter service from Gilroy to Salinas, with stops in Castroville and Pajaro, linking Salinas and Monterey County to San Jose and Silicon Valley. What's wrong with this? Isn't rail transit generally preferable to highways for environmental reasons? Think again.

People working in Silicon Valley would find it cheaper to move to Salinas and commute than to live closer to San Jose. We'd have a population explosion. New residents would need their own cars for local use. We'd have greater traffic congestion, not less, and more air pollution. We'd need more roads, more shopping malls, more housing developments, more look-alike, no-design houses, more schools, more paving over of agricultural land, and more services that we'd have to pay for with higher taxes. Do we want this?

Already our water levels are dropping, salt water is intruding, air quality is worsening and traffic is gridlocked. Do our county "leaders" know what they're doing? To see what our future could be, look at Walnut Creek, once a livable, not unattractive place, somewhat like Santa Cruz, before the Bay Area Rapid Transit system turned it into a bedroom community for the Bay Area. Now it's the fastest growing city in the state! Is this what we want? Farmlands, open spaces, natural resources would be lost. Estimates are that 60% of new development would be on agricultural lands. Salinas Valley, the richest agricultural area in the state, and a powerhouse of our economy, might well disappear.

If you're inclined to favor the proposed commuter line out of nostalgia for the old Del Monte Express, think again. Some day in the future you may well look back nostalgically to the present, before the commuter trains came. What then will you remember about our Peninsula and Salinas Valley?

Who today wants to visit Walnut Creek?

by Connie Wright

Harrison Memorial Library--the heart of Carmel

Located at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Street, Harrison Memorial, Carmel area's public library, is a center of Carmel life. Its predecessor, the Carmel Free Library Association, was established October 5, 1905, by a group of ten people headed by Frank Powers. (It wasn't free--patrons paid $1 a year). The Carmel Development Company, of which Frank Powers was a partner, donated a little brown shingled building and a lot to place it on. It is surprising that an isolated village with an unpaved main street, connected to the outside world by a one-horse wagon which served as a stage and mail carrier, should decide that it needed a library. But it is a fact that people in Carmel have always read a lot, if not voraciously. By 1907 the membership of the Association was seventy persons, almost the entire population.

In 1918, Ella Reid Harrison, widow of Ralph Chandler Harrison, Justice of the Supreme Court of California, discussed donating land for a new library with the Trustees of the City of Carmel (the City Council of that day). In 1922 Mrs. Harrison died in a fire which also destroyed her Carmel home; in her will she left money and land for the construction of a new library to be named after her husband.

Some of the City Trustees wanted to proceed with the building immediately, others wanted delay, still others were for further consideration and possible abandonment of the project. There were law suits and meetings. For four years the controversy went on until May of 1926, when a new Board of City Trustees accepted Mrs. Harrison's bequest. Six sets of architectural plans were submitted, reviewed and rejected. Finally, Bernard Maybeck, architect of San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts among other projects, in collaboration with M.J. Murphy, local builder, submitted a set of plans which were accepted. The building was dedicated March 31, 1928.

Mrs. Harrison had frequently said that she wanted "the exterior of the building to resemble the Old Custom House of Monterey ..." (Janet Gaasch, Carmel Pine Cone, 3/7/74). Purportedly, Maybeck stated at the dedication in 1928: "The new library was created fundamentally as the Spanish would have designed it, were they living here in their day. It was meant to be more club like than any other library--with its large fireplace and cozy reading room." (Janet Gaasch, Carmel Pine Cone, 6/6/74) The Harrison Library does in a sense follow Mrs. Harrison's wishes and Maybeck's description since the style of the exterior is Spanish Colonial Revival, with low pitched red tile roofs, stuccoed exterior walls and Carmel stone columns. The interior of the building consists of a checkout desk, reference room with very knowledgeable reference librarians, stacks and a reading room. It is in the Reading Room that the influence of Maybeck shows with the very large arched window at the south end of the room and two smaller arched windows to the west, the exposed wooden rafters, the large stone fireplace and Mission Style furniture.

Throughout this room and other parts of the library are the works of local artists: Ferdinand Burgdorff, Paul Dougherty, Eunice MacLellan, M. DeNeale Morgan, William Silva, John O'Shea, Sydney Yard, Jo Mora and Arnold Genthe. The Reading Room is a wonderful place to browse through its many volumes or to read out-of-town newspapers or periodicals, particularly when it's cold outside and a fire is burning in the fireplace.

In 1989, the Park Branch of the library at Sixth Avenue and Mission Street opened. It houses the facilities for the Children's Reading Program and the Local History Department, with its archives of Carmel's past, closed stacks of rare books and works of local authors.

The Library also has an outreach program for seniors and children. It takes great pride, and justifiably so, in the fact that it is a free library for all the citizens of Monterey County and that all the funds for books, equipment and programs are raised by donations.

Frankie Laney is "Volunteer of the Quarter"

The CRA Board has initiated an award to recognize the contributions of our hard-working volunteers. At the September meeting, Linda Anderson presented this award, on behalf of the board, to Frankie Laney with the following remarks--

"The recipient of this first 'Volunteer of the Quarter' award is the epitome of a great volunteer. I'm not sure the words, "No I can't," are even in her vocabulary. No matter what the task, she is always the first to say with a smile, "I'll be happy to do that" -- making a gallon of beans for a barbecue, an hors d'oeuvre or cleaning up after an event.

"A former CRA Board member who ably chaired the Issues Committee, this volunteer is a former chair of the Community and Cultural Commission, just finishing a four-year term on that body. She served on the Design Traditions Steering Committee, is a zone leader for the St. Bernards and manages to find time to volunteer at the Yellow Brick Road shop. A talented watercolorist, she has served on the board of the Carmel Art Association, which has a hard time keeping her popular paintings on the walls of their gallery, and not sold.

"Within the week, she will embark on a totally new and different project, becoming a first-time grandmother, which will take her volunteerism to a new level."

CRA will march in Halloween parade

Once again, Beach Cleanup volunteers and all other interested CRA members will march in the city's annual parade on Saturday, Oct. 27, with their familiar chant:

     In this town of pride and beauty
  To clean the beach is our first duty.
  Join us in our monthly quest
  And keep our beach the very best!

Please meet at the Vista Lobos parking lot, Torres between 3rd and 4th, at 10:15 a.m. The parade begins at 11 a.m. For more information, call Clayton Anderson at 624-3208.

The marching takes the place of the October Beach Cleanup. The next will be held on November 17.

Tickets for the barbecue lunch celebrating the city's 85th birthday at noon on the 27th are available at City Hall and Nielsen Bros. Market, or you may mail a check to Alice Englander, Box 6328, Carmel, CA 93921. Please include your name, address and telephone number; tickets will be mailed to you. Adult tickets are $12 each; children 12 and under, $3 each. On the day of the event, adult tickets will be $15.

CRA members on the committee are Bob Condry, Alice Englander, Wayne Kelley, Barbara Livingston and Ken White. The committee is looking for volunteers to clear tables and decorations after lunch. If you can volunteer an hour of your time, please call Barbara Livingston at 626-1610.


by Howard Skidmore

Portrait of an involved woman

When Diane Flanders accepted the invitation to become a board member of the Carmel Residents Association she perhaps was seeking an activity to help fill her spare time.

Five days a week before 5:30 a.m. Diane leaves her Carmel cottage, where a magnificent twin redwood graces the front yard, and heads for the Pebble Beach gate. At the Gallery Restaurant, overlooking the first tee of the world-famous golf links, she starts her day supervising several dozen employees and a dining room seating well over a hundred.

The Gallery, open for breakfast and lunch, serves golfers, tourists and others, who come in great numbers. That Diane treats them well is indicated by the fact that she was the Pebble Beach Company's 1999 Employee of the Year, chosen one of 1600. It won her a trip to Hawaii and cash.

When her business day ends at 3 o'clock, Diane plays tennis or goes to one of her civic activities. She is on the board of the Monterey Bay Symphony. She is a volunteer coordinator at the Monterey Museum of Art. She assists at a full schedule of CRA events, and now must fill the duties of a board member--more about that below.

If it were not for the physical impossibility of going to bed at midnight and arising a few hours later, Diane would be singing and dancing on local stages as she did for many years elsewhere, and briefly when she came to Carmel nine years ago.

Because she had restaurant management experience in Rye, a small place on the coast near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, it was the Gallery position that brought Diane to Carmel. And she considers it one of the luckiest moves of her life.

Diane was born in Columbia, South Carolina, there because her father was in the Air Force. At age three she was taken to Concord, New Hampshire. She graduated from Columbia College, in Columbia, Missouri, where she studied singing, and as one of the Jane Froman Singers, named for the actress, traveled in singing groups all over the state.

In Concord, marriage and children next claimed Diane's attention, varied with appearances in musicals and children's theater. Her husband, the late Jack Flanders II, was state comptroller and associate highway commissioner. A son, William, and Diane's mother live in Concord; there are four grandchildren.

A daughter, Jennifer, 18, was killed in an automobile accident ten years ago. She was a New England ranked tennis player, and an annual memorial tournament is held in her honor.

Diane, who on occasion answers the phone "Flanders Mansion," says she is very honored and a little overwhelmed to be a CRA director. She loves it all and will spend the first year learning about legal issues, ordinances and other aspects of city government. Monitoring council and planning commission meetings on behalf of CRA members who may not be able to attend themselves is part of a director's duties.

There is no doubt in this CRA director's mind about what she would like to see for her village. She wants Camel to stay just as it is. "The houses being torn down make me ill," she says. Diane adds this thought: "I believe that one of the most important functions of the residents' association is to educate the people, not only in Carmel-by-the-Sea but on the Monterey Peninsula and beyond, to the importance of preserving this village--this unique and precious village that we can be so close to losing."

What properties will be defined as historic in Carmel?
by Melanie Billig

The City of Carmel has hired preservationist Kent Seavey to develop a survey of historic properties in the village. The intent of the survey is to clarify for owners and public agencies which properties are historic and must be saved and which ones do not meet the new criteria and may be demolished. These designations go to the heart of the new preservation program and ordinance.

Mr. Seavey explained that landmark designations are easy for everyone to agree on. There are eight in Carmel, representing people, architectural styles or cultural contributions which are recognized nationally or statewide such as the Mission, Forest Theater, Charles Sumner Green Studio, Sunset Center and Carmel Art Association. The more controversial category involves those properties designated as "Locally Historically Significant." According to Seavey, he has identified approximately 200 properties based upon the criteria of the state and national register. There is sure to be much debate on the sole use of these criteria since so much of significance in Carmel relates to our own local history and character.

Among the interesting new information to be included in Seavey's report concerns the Tortilla Flats area in northeast Carmel, which was an important Hispanic neighborhood. Another, "The Barn," on Carpenter, dates from 1898 and is an important reminder that Carmel had a significant agricultural element. A shed-roofed adobe near the site of Carmel Mission's old pear orchard dates from 1774 and may be one of the oldest homes in California. An important category about which Seavey feels strongly is the Modernists, those Bay Area architects, including Albert Henry Hill and Charles W. Moore, who left a significant imprint on Carmel from 1929 to the 1960's. Moore was a noted museum architect and preservationist. His master's thesis was based on his vision for the preservation of Monterey and he is the architect responsible for the addition to the former Work house, La Mirada, now owned by the Monterey Museum of Art.

Seavey has looked at "Character Properties," related to the neighborhood and community character issue discussed in the Design Traditions Project. His treatment of this category, which he believes is subjective and difficult to document, will probably be of greatest concern to the community and open to the most discussion. The report will also include a major discussion of historic districts, which ultimately provide the best protection for areas or neighborhoods with a significant number of historic structures. Seavey believes there are four such areas in Carmel. We look forward to his report and his recommendations. One thing is certain--it will encourage a lot of healthy debate.

Hearing on Coastal Plan draws sparse comments

Only a handful of residents expressed opinions at the Planning Commission's public hearing on the Coastal Implementation Plan (IP), a thick book of ordinances which will carry out the policies of the city's Land Use Plan (LUP).

Brian Roseth, of city staff, explained that many of the ordinances in the IP were the same. The revisions include changes to the beach overlay district, creation of a new environmentally sensitive habitat overlay district, a revised tree ordinance and new provisions on urban runoff to comply with the Federal Clean Water Act. The new historic preservation ordinance is missing because its EIR is still circulating. [See schedule of dates concerning the EIR.]

Planning Commission Chairman Frank Wasko started the hearing saying, "In an ideal world, we should have the LUP before us first, but since [the Coastal Plan] has to be done by December we are doing the IP and LUP concurrently. We didn't pick the timetable. It was picked for us."

Jim Wright, of CRA, followed Wasko's comments asking, "How can the Planning Commission review a Coastal Implementation Plan when the underlying Coastal Land Use Plan has not been adopted by the city or approved by the Coastal Commission? Furthermore, since the Land Use Plan is incomplete, how can you determine the effectiveness of the Implementation Plan and its consistency with the Coastal Act? The executive director of the Coastal Commission in his remarks to the CRA and as quoted in the Herald urged the city to take its time and get it right. Isn't anyone listening?"

Holding up a 1988 Carmel Pine Cone, Wright quoted architect Fred Keeble, who was concerned about the residential district being adversely affected by so many demolitions of older homes, lamenting that in 1958 there were 4 demolitions; in 1987, 6 and 1988, there were 8. "What would he say," Wright wondered, "given our recent history with 81 demolitions since 1997 and 19 in the pipeline now?"

Schedule for Historic Preservation EIR


    Comment Period:     September 7 to October 22
  City Council Study Session:   October 23, 5 p.m.
  Historic Preservation Committee Review:   November 19
  Planning Commission Review:   November 21
  City Council Certification:   December 6

The EIR is available for around $7.50 at Copies by the Sea, Dolores at 5th.

Special Thanks

The CRA and CBA thank those generous businesses and individuals whose contributions to the first Carmel Fun Night made it such a success--

Prize Donors: 5th Avenue Deli & Catering Company, Adam Fox, Inc., At Home in Carmel, Bay Publishing, Benedetti's Catering, Bruno's Market & Deli, Carmel Bach Festival, Carmel Engraver, Carmel Magazine, Carmel Music Society, Carmel Performing Arts Festival, Chalone Wine Foundation, Club Jalapeño, Coast Gallery, Debra Woolley, ANA, Donlé-Elan at The Lodge, First American Title Company, Flaherty's Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, Grasings & Kurt's Carmel Chop House, Inns by the Sea, Jack London's Grill & Taproom, Little Napoli, Lugano Swiss Bistro, Maxine Klaput Antiques, Merlot Bistro, New Masters Gallery, Nico Ristorante Mediterraneo, Pacific Etched Glass & Crystal, Pacific Repertory Theater, Patisserie Boissiere Restaurant & Bakery, Pauline Allen Designs & Interiors, Pebble Beach Company, Redeem, Restaurant 211, Roy Rogers of Carmel, Saks 5th Avenue, Sherlock Holmes Pub & Restaurant, smARTwear, Staff Players Repertory Company, Stefano di Carmel, The Dutches, The Fabulous Toots Lagoon, The Monterey Symphony, Thom Gregg Fine Jewelry, Village Corner and David and Laurel Whorf.

Food Donors: 5th Avenue Deli & Catering Company, Caffe Cardinale Coffee Roasting Company, Gwyn Romano, Il Fornaio, Inns by the Sea, Jack London's Grill & Taproom, Nielsen Brothers Market, Patisserie Boissiere Restaurant & Bakery, The Cheese Shop, Upper Crust Bakery.

Wine Sponsors: Inns by the Sea

Contributors: Alan H. Cordan, Realtor, First American Title Company, First National Bank of the Central Coast and Lou Ungaretti.

Remember that your City Council is on T.V.

City Council meetings are taped and re-broadcast
Sundays, 8 a.m. - 12 noon on
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Carmel Residents Association
P.O. Box 13
Carmel, CA 93921
Phone: 831-626-1610
Contact the Carmel Residents Association
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