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CRA News October 2007

Selected articles from the newsletter of the Carmel Residents Association

2007 twilight barbecue
At the Fiesta in the Forest, chef Pierre Prodis tends the chicken with a rosemary brush with assistance from wife Carol.
Learn more about the fiesta.

CRA Meeting: Mayor Sue McCloud -
"Looking Back As We Go Forward"

Thursday, October 25 -- CRA Meeting
         4:45 p.m. -- Mayor Sue McCloud - "Looking Back As We Go Forward"
Vista Lobos Meeting Room
(Torres between 3rd & 4th)

While we can't return to the past, it makes sense to pay attention to what has gone on before as our city faces innumerable pressures in its future.

Mayor Sue McCloud's talk at the Oct. 25 Carmel Residents Association meeting, "Looking Back as We Go Forward," will outline her views of the future challenges Carmel-by-the-Sea faces and how our response to these challenges is inextricably connected to what has gone on in the past.

A graduate of Sunset and Carmel High Schools, Mayor McCloud attended Stanford University, the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, and the National War College in Washington, D.C.

Her career with the Central Intelligence Agency from 1963 to 1994 took her to France, England, Japan, Switzerland and Sweden. In two of those countries she was CIA station chief. Among her assignments were to help develop an option acceptable to the White House, Congress and members of the intelligence community for re-occupation of the bugged U.S. Embassy in Moscow, advising several U.S. ambassadors and heading up the CIA spy Aldrich Ames damage-assessment team.

Returning to Carmel-by-the-Sea after her retirement, McCloud was appointed by Mayor Ken White to the Planning Commission in 1996. She served on the City Council from 1998 to 2000, when she was first elected mayor, a position to which she was reelected in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

As mayor, Sue McCloud has served as chair and vice chair of the Monterey County Mayors' Association, as the Mayors' Select Committee representative to the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau and as a member of the Fort Ord Reuse Agency on which she is currently chair of the Finance Committee.


Above and Beyond
How city staff members make the lives
of residents easier and more pleasant

While hospitalized at Community Hospital, Carmel Residents Association member Margaret Young's house was burglarized. Not wanting her to come home to the mess, Barbara Livingston called City Hall to find the name of a business which might repair the jimmied window. Building Official John Hanson, who has done two tours of duty in Iraq, did more than provide information. He arranged for and facilitated having Carmel Glass replace the window. When we mentioned to John how thoughtful and helpful this was, he replied, "I'd do that for anyone in town."

The above incident started us thinking of other doses of kindness dispensed by our city staff. Here are some examples -- in no particular order; they all deserve first place.

  • We have written several times about the Police Department's Community Service Officer Lisa Panetta, who continues to enrich the lives of residents, particularly those who are home bound with few other social outlets, through her "Seniors Helping Seniors" program.

  • We have also written about Animal Control Officer Cindi Mitchell, who helped Shirley Humann when her beloved dog Jake suddenly died. Besides Cindi's friendly waves and smiles as she goes about town in her electric vehicle, Cindi is an empathetic, kind presence for people having crises related to their pets. [Years ago she helped your editor with a cat-a story too long to tell here- but her sympathetic presence made an unbearable situation bearable.]

  • In what other town do police officers cruising in their cars smile and wave to residents?

  • Fire Department personnel routinely provide and help residents change smoke-alarm batteries in their homes.

  • We have reported how Public Works Superintendent Stu Ross helps beach cleanup volunteers by providing heavy bags for charcoal dug up from illegal fire pits and then by picking the bags up on the beach so we don't have to haul them up the hill. And how Stu himself often cleans the beach on Mondays after busy weekends. Stu also made it possible for us to store cleanup tools in the city storeroom at Del Mar.

  • City Forester Mike Branson received an award for all the help he gave to the Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club when they renovated the library landscaping. And, Mike works cooperatively to make it possible for volunteers to help plant and care for city trees.

  • For years, City Gardener Diane Martinez came back to work on Saturday, her day off, to lead a group of CRA volunteers who worked on the beach walkway.

  • Then there are the smiling faces at City Hall, who give a warm, human face to city government. Administrative Coordinators Margi Perotti, Leslie Fenton and Stephanie Pearce are always courteous and helpful as they answer questions and provide information.

  • And, of course, Executive Assistant Sandy Farrell is not only cheerful and helpful with any subject, but having worked for the city since 1984, has a great deal of institutional memory.

  • Two people at City Hall, although they aren't readily visible, City Clerk Heidi Burch and Planning Services Manager Brian Roseth, are extremely helpful with prompt responses to any request for documents or information.

  • Led by Marcia Sheppard, the Harrison Memorial Library Outreach Program volunteers take library materials to home-bound people living in Carmel-by-the-Sea and the surrounding unincorporated area. These residents, who can't get to the library, are able to obtain regular and large-print books, talking book audio cassettes and CDs, videos and DVDs as well as reference information. In addition, they offer assistance in completing application forms for the California State Library Blind and Physically Handicapped Program. With the loss of the late Lani Fremier, one of Marcia's steadfast volunteers, she is doing most of the deliveries herself. [If you are willing to drive and interested in helping with this program, please call Marcia at 624-4629.]

  • Community Services Director Christie Miller and her assistant Cindi Lopez-Frincke interface routinely with members of the public who are organizing meetings or events. They both go out of their way to be helpful and responsive.

  • And finally, Information Systems/Network Manager Steve McInchak, whose office is at Vista Lobos, is often turned to with technical questions. He was quick to offer help on one of our projects even though we ended up not needing it.
No good deed should go unnoticed! And we know the above information is incomplete. If you have additions to add to our list -- either specific incidents of help you have received from city staff or other helpful staff members, please let us know and we will print your comments in the next issue of CRA News.

President's Message
Wake Up, Carmel!

by Roberta Miller

Not too long ago, I was in New Zealand enjoying two of my grandchildren, who love to perform plays, dance and sing, present a rousing rendition (at least to Grandma) of one of their favorite songs from The Lion King, called Hakuna Matata. As I applauded their enthusiasm and listened to the words, I began to ask myself if maybe there was a president's message in the lyrics.

They sang, "Hakuna Matata what a wonderful phrase. Please don't worry for the rest of your days. It's our problem-free philosophy, Hakuna Matata, Hakuna Matata.... "

Monte and I moved to Carmel in 1998. While walking on the beach one morning, we met a man who told us that for the last 20 years he and his wife had traveled by motor home from Pennsylvania to Carmel every year and spent two weeks in our area. He asked, "What's happening here? The character and quaintness is changing. Each year we come there are fewer charming cottages, larger homes, more construction and another one of our favorite stores has gone. Carmel needs to wake up."

Almost ten years have passed since this poignant encounter. The same question is still being asked by longtime Carmelites with a strong historic perspective, as well as by newcomers who have a desire to live in this community and be surrounded by beauty. What's happening here? Well, some residents respond by saying that Carmel is still a charming and unique place to live, so don't worry! "Hakuna Matata!" Anyway, there is nothing you can do about it. Wrong! Wake up, Carmel!

Thanks to our forefathers, the early history of Carmel has given us a blueprint for helping to keep our unique, quirky ways. This requires the efforts of our citizens and city officials to protect this village through strong advocacy and steadfast adherence to our General Plan and subsequent ordinances. It has given us an unflinching desire to keep our natural beauty -- our beautiful pearly-white beach, our pine forest, Mission Trails Park, Pescadero Canyon, our small parks scattered amongst our quaint downtown and lovely Forest Hill Park, nestled in a residential neighborhood. Wake up Carmel!

We cannot and should not expect our elected officials to do it all. We can roll up our sleeves and help! Isn't that what democracy is all about? Our increased population, new demographics (63% second homeowners) and aggressive land development have brought new pressures to bear on Carmel which, in turn, may very well require different strategies and rules than in our historic past. Wake up, Carmel!

We might not immediately notice the effect of the incremental alterations or chipping away at the character of this alluring one-square mile. But, visitors and friends, who make this a yearly destination, more often than not raise the question, "What is happening here?"

Here are a few of my concerns. Maybe you share some of these and might have others.

In our downtown -- a deterioration of ambiance and visual pleasures, particularly on our Main Street USA Ocean Avenue

  • Dirty sidewalks, mostly due to increased take-out food and no steam cleaning
  • Proliferation of unapproved signs in doorways and shop windows
  • More attention-seeking objects creeping out onto the right-of-way such as chairs, benches, streamers, balloons, maps, greeters with baskets full of coupons and gadgets, not to be outdone by the chamber music quartet or the window display with its music emanating from a loud, active mechanical figure

Mayor McCloud has said that the city is aware of the problem and plans to hire a code enforcement officer. Well done, Mayor!

The downtown could be enhanced greatly by replanting trees that have been removed by disease or age. Wake up, Carmel!

In our residential neighborhoods -- virtually everyone has noticed the growing tendency for small, older cottages to be replaced with the maximum-size house allowed. Our unique, diversified architectural styles are disappearing.

In our large recreational areas --

  • Mission Trails Nature Preserve is suffering from neglect.
  • Our beach is marred by unrestrained charcoal fires, dropped doggie bags and litter.
  • Rio Park has a prepared master plan for multiple use which has been put on hold for many years due to "monetary constraints."

In our city infrastructure -- many of our older buildings, particularly the Scout House, are badly in need of upgrading.

Wake up, Carmel!

We all need to work together. We should all want and expect our City Council, commissions, boards and residents to continue to honor and respect our ordinances and share a mutual desire to do whatever needs to be done to preserve and enhance the beauty of our village for the next generation to enjoy.

"It is our task in our time and in our generation to hand down undiminished to those who come after us, as was handed down to us by those who went before, the natural wealth and beauty which is ours." John F. Kennedy

Hot dogs trump chicken for city festivities

Carmel-by-the-Sea's 91st birthday will be more reasonable in price and simpler in fare. Instead of the traditional chicken barbecue, participants will enjoy hotdogs, chips, soda and cake -- all for the bargain price of $5 per person. Lunch will begin at noon at Sunset Center. Tickets are available at Nielsen Bros. Market and at City Hall.

During lunch, musical entertainment will be provided by the Carmel Rotary Blues Band.

The traditional Halloween parade, streaming up and down Ocean Avenue, will begin at 11 a.m. Children, dogs on leashes and adults who want to participate should meet at 10:45 a.m. on the corner of San Carlos and 9th. Look for CRA President Roberta Miller in the parade.

Event committee member Gene McFarland has recruited many CRA members to help with the lunch, including Dorothy and Tony Budlong, Jane and Tony Diamond, Casey MacKenzie, Carl Iverson, Gloria and Lee Eldred, Jean Grace, Barbara and Dick Stiles, Sherry and Dave Shollenbarger, Jim and Catherine Bell, Nancy Collins, Erl Lagerholm and Karol and Jerry Gleason.

Update on General Plan Update

Many of you participated in the three July General Plan Update workshops and looked forward to the continuation of this process.

We were told that a compilation of opinions expressed at the workshops would promptly be placed on the website carmelgeneralplan.org and that an open house would take place in early September during which the public would be able to react to a draft vision statement -- the composite of comments made during the workshops. To date, nothing new had been added to the web site and the open house and the rest of the process have been delayed.

According to Planning Services Manager Brian Roseth, "One repeated comment at the workshops was the value that a citywide survey would add to the process. It would provide a forum for more in-depth questions that could be answered on an individual basis ... It also would be more inclusive -- not everyone could attend the workshops."

Roseth is preparing a "scope and budget" for a survey to present for "possible approval" to the City Council at its Nov. 6 meeting. So, until the survey has been decided upon and then, if approved, completed, circulated and its results compiled, no other part of this process can move forward.

We will keep you posted.

CRA board asks for ban on
smoking in city parks

Vinz Koller, speaking on behalf of the Carmel Residents Association board, asked the City Council at its Sept. 11 meeting to consider prohibiting smoking in public parks with signs at the entrances.

Such an action, similar to the city's prohibition of smoking on the beach and beach walkway, would not only improve the ambiance of Carmel's natural areas but protect them, particularly Mission Trail Nature Preserve, from fire.

The City Council did not respond to the request at the meeting nor have they done so subsequently.

¡Muy Bueno!
Best Ever Fiesta in the Forest, 2007

by Susie and Don Carr, co-jefes de la Fiesta

¡Cinco Años! For five years, our CRA summertime "Fiesta in the Forest" has been enjoyed by many! It seems like yesterday that we first began setting up this event in the forest at Indian Village in Pebble Beach.

¡Muchos voluntarios! Our fifty-three hard-working volunteers were very busy on August 23, the date of this year's event. We had begun our volunteer coordinating at a "mini-fiesta" at Frankie and Dick Laney's home in early August. How much we all appreciate such a big part the Laneys play in the summer barbecue with their myriad of tasks.

¡Cocineros! Among the many cooks are Carol and Pierre Prodis, who have been barbecuing chicken for over 100 attendees for many years. Tony Budlong has been the indispensable "runner" and is always at-the-ready to help with shopping and barbecuing. Dorothy Budlong is one of the lovely ladies who volunteered to cook our Mexican rice dish at home, along with Inge Kessler, Casey MacKenzie, Sherry Shollenbarger, and Jonnie Webb.

¡Héroes! Some of the heroes, those wonderful "big guys," who clean the site, drive in stakes, and put up the entry portal for the Fiesta this year were: Carl Iverson, David Shollenbarger and Paul Webb. New CRA members who volunteered to be "coffee captains" for the barbecue were Kathy and Ron Fredrickson. And Brie Tripp, always a cheery worker, served as a "multi-tasker" in setting up tables, greeting guests with name tags and serving dessert.

¡Amigo! As always, our "amigo" who helps with every part of putting on the CRA barbecue is Gene McFarland, our right-hand man!

¡Gracias a todos! Our thanks to all of the always-helpful volunteers!

From Fire Hydrants to Emergency Home Beacons

by Carmel Fire Department Captain Mitch Kastros

Fire Hydrant Update
The last discussion we had regarding the fire hydrant situation in town revealed some serious concerns. An antiquated water system was finally starting to break down, with an unacceptable number of fire hydrants rendered inoperable, or severely compromised.

In a little over a year the combined efforts of the Carmel Fire Department and Cal-Am Water have turned the tide of a potentially-disastrous scenario.

Faced in the past with a variety of restrictions and challenges, which caused delays in appropriately servicing our water-supply system, the fire department lobbied to remove these hurdles once the problems were discovered. Through the leadership of Fire Chief Andrew Miller and Assistant Fire Chief David Brown, the fire department and water company were able to test every fire hydrant in the city's system at once, instead of 20% per year, as is the standard under ideal circumstances. Compromised areas have been mitigated through the repair or replacement of water supply pipe and/or fire hydrants, and the sense of urgency has been reduced significantly. There is still work to be done, but the project is about 70% completed, with total completion slated for the first half of 2008. The original plan called for this project to last about five years, but thanks to the diligence of fire department leadership, it is on track to be completed in about half that time.

We plan on being out on the streets again in the near future to flow test 20% of our fire hydrants in order to stay current with fire-code requirements. Remember that the test involves the use of many gallons of water for each hydrant, but this water use is necessary in order to assure that each hydrant is capable of operating properly, and that the water being delivered to your home or workplace is clean. Before we can turn off a fire hydrant (which is connected to your water system) after conducting a flow test, we must continue to flow the hydrant at a low rate until the water runs clean enough to drink. If we turn off the hydrant before the water runs clean, the water will back up into your pipes and you will receive dirty water. There have been a few times that we have been forced to prematurely turn off a hydrant, due to emergency calls during flow testing, intense complaints about the water flow in the streets or fears of water doing damage to property. If your water becomes dirty, let it run until it looks clean enough to drink.

Emergency Home Beacons
We would like to make you aware of a valuable tool that you can purchase to assist us in finding your location should you ever need our assistance in an emergency. It is an emergency home beacon, basically a special light bulb that fits a standard light socket and will flash to identify your location to emergency responders. Simply put the light into a porch or window-lamp fixture and use it as you would any other light bulb. In an emergency, you turn the light switch off and on at least three times to activate the flashing feature.

[Please note: These lights can be purchased online or by telephone. There are several sources with similar prices. We have listed below a company which does not charge extra for shipping. Neither the city nor the Carmel Residents Association is associated with, profits from or endorses this company. It is merely listed for your convenience. -- Editor]

911Beacon -- $19.95
Safety Think, Inc.
To order online, go to: http://www.safetythink.com/
Click on "Home Safety," on the right, 2nd from the top and then click on "911 Beacon."

Beach Cleanup

Saturday October 20
(3rd Saturday because of City Birthday)
10 a.m. - noon

* Volunteers meet at foot of Ocean Avenue
* Please bring gloves
* Coffee and cookies served courtesy of Caffe Cardinale and Safeway Stores, Carmel

Hatton Canyon Coalition disbands
with its mission accomplished

Although its main goal of stopping the Hatton Canyon Freeway was accomplished in 1999, when Monterey County voted it down, the Hatton Canyon Coalition, originally chaired by CRA Board Member Skip Lloyd, has stayed active to monitor the design process for the future four-laning of Highway 1 from Carpenter to Rio Road and the transfer of Hatton Canyon from California Department of State Parks (which now owns it) to the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District.

The Coalition's consultant played a significant role in the design of the four-lane project, but it is on hold due to lack of funding. And, despite a multi-year legislative effort, there seems to be no hope of moving the land to the Regional Parks, a separate agency, to prevent a future transfer of the land back to Caltrans.

So, having achieved their original goal and having gone as far as they could on the secondary tasks, the group has disbanded and given its remaining bank balance to the Big Sur Land Trust. We thank them for their perseverance in helping to preserve Carmel!

Remember that your City Council is on T.V.

City Council meetings are taped and re-broadcast
Sundays, 8 a.m. - 12 noon on
KMST Channel 26


Carmel Residents Association
P.O. Box 13
Carmel, CA 93921
Phone: 831-626-1610
Contact the Carmel Residents Association
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