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CRA News May 2008

Selected articles from the newsletter of the Carmel Residents Association

Laurie Schumann along with Mary and Bob Condry with their dog Cha-Cha
From left, Mary Condry, Cha-Cha Condry, Laurie Schumann and Bob Condry attended the CRA meeting on fire service. Laurie, who volunteers at the SPCA, found Cha-Cha there for the Condrys to adopt.

CRA May General Meeting:
Susan Koza, Development Director,
Monterey County SPCA

"Whiskers, Wisdom and Guardian Angels -
Pet Programs for Seniors"

Thursday, May 22
         4:45 p.m.
Vista Lobos Meeting Room
(Torres between 3rd & 4th)

Following the meeting: Refreshments and a chance to meet and talk with friends and neighbors

Get ready for an entertaining, dynamic program on Thursday, May 22, when Susan Koza, director of development for the Monterey County SPCA, will tell us about their innovative programs for senior citizens.

We all know that the status of "senior citizen" has its benefits, but not many understand how much the SPCA does to make life easier for us and our furry friends.

The Whiskers and Wisdom program provides a reduced fee for adults, 60 or over, who adopt a pet that is three years or older.

Susan will come to the meeting accompanied by a dog available for adoption under this plan.

The SPCA, in conjunction with Meals on Wheels, packages and provides food and supplies, such as kitty litter for the pets of seniors, which are delivered along with their meals. The thinking behind this program, coordinated from the beginning by Carmel's Laurie Schumann, was that if pet food were available, Meals on Wheels recipients would be less likely to share their own food with the animals.

The Guardian Angel program assists seniors in making plans for future care of pets, should they outlive their owners.

Susan Koza has been a professional fund-raiser for fourteen years and has been the director of development for the SPCA of Monterey County since 2001. She previously served as director of marketing and development for the Monterey Symphony, has served on the board for the Carmel Music Society, the Development Executive Network and the Association for Fundraising Professionals and as a volunteer for the Camerata Singers.

Susan and her husband John have two cats, both adopted from the SPCA.

Summer activities to add to your calendar

This is the final issue of CRA News until September. Below are scheduled Carmel Residents Association summer activities.

CRA Beach Cleanups: Saturdays, May 24, June 28, July 26 and August 23 - 10 a.m. at the foot of Ocean Avenue

Twilight Members' Barbecue, Thursday, August 21, at Indian Village in Pebble Beach: Another magical evening is in store for our members. This year's event will be headed by Susie and Don Carr and Jane and Tony Diamond. A flier with details will be mailed to you in early August.


Fire service--the discussion continues

Below is a statement your editor made to the City Council during "Public Appearances" at the April 8 meeting. Although these comments were not made on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Carmel Residents Association, the content is consistent with previous articles in the CRA News. To date, there has been no response from any city official to either the comments or the three questions.

Mayor, City Council Members--

As a 31-year resident of Carmel, I am here today because I think the safety of our citizens is at risk. The public has absolutely no idea what you are thinking or planning. All of our neighboring fire departments have fire engines staffed with four firefighters--including a paramedic.

The Carmel Fire Department can send only two firefighters on the truck, with no paramedic.

To get around the OSHA requirement of two firefighters in a building and two outside, we use our ambulance crew as the extra firefighters.

The only problem--as the recent Citygate study pointed out--the ambulance isn't always available. It travels to Pebble Beach, Monterey, Pacific Grove and frequently delivers patients to CHOMP. In one recent instance, recorded in the Pine Cone, it took a patient from Carmel Middle School to Natividad Hospital in Salinas.

I have here a copy of the Public Safety Team's report, which was on your Feb., 2003 agenda. Members of the team included George Rawson, Rich Guillen and two fire engineers, Ian Watts and Bill Scott.

Regarding the 2 in/2 out arrangement with the ambulance crew, the report states:

"It should be noted that the current arrangement in operations is a short-term 'step' to try and meet the 2 in/2 out requirement. In order to fully meet this requirement, 4 Carmel personnel would be needed at the scene of these emergencies."

Because we have pulled out of the current consolidation negotiations, I am very concerned that the status quo contract with Pacific Grove and Monterey could be dissolved, leaving Carmel out on a limb.

I also strongly disagree with the argument [made in the Herald by Mayor McCloud] that an administrative or operational consolidation is not a good alternative because we would not have our own firefighters, who know our quirky addresses. There is every reason to believe that our firefighters, who support the consolidation, would remain in Carmel.

So, I ask and hope to get answers to these questions:

1. With our aging population, why can't we have a paramedic on our fire engine?

2. What has changed from the 2003 Public Safety Team recommendation which would cause City Administrator Guillen to say in a recent Pine Cone ad that the 2 in/2 out arrangement using the ambulance crew is adequate? and

3. When is the operation of our fire service going to be placed on a City Council agenda for full public discussion?

Thank you.

The case of the missing fire hydrants is solved!

Since the first orange bags were placed over 29 non-operational fire hydrants, residents have been concerned, and lately have been asking for specific numbers, particularly how many hydrants have been removed.

At the April 24 Carmel Residents Association meeting, which featured firefighters August Beacham and Mitch Kastros, Augie presented exact information on the disposition of city hydrants--9 "redundant" hydrants have been totally removed; 11 have been replaced and 9 will be placed on new water mains by Cal Am. He assured the concerned audience that everyone is safe. The longest distance from a house to a hydrant is 750' but most are 200' and the truck carries 1,000 feet of hose. When asked to define a "redundant fire hydrant," he said it was a cost-benefit decision--that the streets could be covered by other near-by hydrants without endangering public safety.

One cause of resident concern was the report that CRA member and former City Councilman Jim Wright gave to the City Council in April, after surveying all of the inoperable hydrants marked on the map at the Post Office. He found that 16, rather than being repaired as the city had indicated, had actually been removed, with the blue identifying reflectors chipped out of the street. Now, after Beacham's report, we have learned that, in the end, only 9 of these were not moved or replaced. We congratulate Jim on taking the initiative to check out the facts himself and let the council and public know of his findings.

Under the city's last full-time fire chief the goal of the Carmel Fire Department was to have a hydrant on every corner. But cost is now a factor. If, after Cal Am completes repairs on the final 11 hydrants, our Fire Department staff feels that the number of hydrants and their configuration is safe for all Carmel residents, we accept their judgment. In fact, given the glaring need for added fire personnel and equipment, we feel that is where the city should focus its resources.

President's Message
CRA Values Reconfirmed

by Roberta Miller

In the spring of 1987, a group of like minded, concerned citizens formed the Carmel Residents Association to counteract what they perceived as the increasing commercialization of the town and efforts to weaken the General Plan, both of which threatened to change our community from the pleasant, village we all enjoy into Anytown, USA.

In my mind, CRA values ring true today, resonate with our members and should be reconfirmed once again in the spring of 2008. Pressures to change our community continue to intensify and gain traction. In the frenzy to rush to develop, demolish more, build bigger, cut down, we chip away at our unique natural environment, lose our community character and quality of life. In response, the Carmel Residents Association, 619 members strong, must continue its significant role in meeting the needs of our residents. The collective wisdom of ordinary residents can have a powerful, positive influence on our city. We need to meet our challenges and solve our problems. This is the people's business. We are a voice to be heard.

Our community has a large percentage of out-of-town home owners (63%), who do not reside here on a year-round basis. Many have joined the Carmel Residents Association so that they have a connection to the community and their voices can be heard and needs addressed. In turn, those residents who do live here year-round have a major task ahead. Step up to the plate, work harder to keep Carmel-by-the-Sea a residential community. Maintain the quality of life that our founders worked hard to preserve.

Protect and enhance our urban forest and natural environment, which are the foundation for a healthy economy. Now it's our turn to continue what our founders started. We need to stay the course and perpetuate these values for the next generation. We are a voice to be heard.

We present to our members a vital communication link to our city government. We will continue to keep our city leaders apprised of issues within our community that are uniquely important to residents. Issues that affect our residential community in positive ways, as well as issues that negatively impact residents. We will continue to attend City Council, commission and board meetings to keep our membership informed and speak out on important issues. We might even jump into the fray from time to time, in order to save a well-loved building, some trees, a neighborhood from over development or weigh in heavily on the on-going update of Carmel-by-the-Sea's General Plan. This plan states its "purpose is to favor the general interest over the special interest in order to give durability to the Carmel experience and our special quality of life." How important is this? Resident participation must be part of the solution. We are focused on solving our city's problems together and more than capable of cooperation, as well as compromise, that leads to good policy and decision making for our city. We are a voice to be heard.

Now, in the spring of 2008, we reaffirm our values and desire to preserve the residential character of our community, preserve Carmel-by-the-Sea's architectural integrity and village charm, to protect and enhance our urban forest, our pristine beach and our irreplaceable natural resources--to honor our heritage and natural beauty through education, community activities and advocacy. We are a voice to be heard.

Bundles of beautiful bouquets to our mailing committee!

If you enjoy reading this newsletter each month, you need to thank the group of volunteers who make sure you receive it!

Almost every month since 2001, the same dedicated workers have been folding, sealing, labeling and stamping each newsletter and delivering it to the Post Office.

Headed by Shirley Humann, this group includes Nina Bayer, Alison Cathro, Brie Tripp and Sally Williams. As CRA President Roberta Miller said, "This really is volunteering that has made a difference!"

Board member Betty Dalsemer also deserves our gratitude for organizing the monthly public distribution of newsletters at the Post Office.

There's still time for input on the budget

At its budget workshop on April 17, the City Council came up with priorities which will drive the 2008-09 budget. They will receive a draft budget at their next meeting on May 20.

The Forest Theater is the council's main long-term priority, with $65,000 budgeted for 2008-09 for master plan design work. Several people questioned the budgeting of this expenditure before any public meetings have been held on the plan. So far, nothing has been budgeted for upgrading the Scout House. (See article below.)

Although brought up by the public, the council did not discuss increasing fire staffing. City Administrator Rich Guillen did say they would be discussing the Fire Department soon.

Guillen recommended that money be set aside annually to move sand up the beach bluffs to cover rocks, the man-hole covers at Del Mar and the revetments. Although required annually by the Local Coastal Plan, this has not been done for several years. Increased funds will be also be added for needed street repairs.

Finally, tree advocates are hopeful that their request for the funding of a full-time tree-watering position will be heard. The current tree waterer works only 18-hours per week. According to Friends of Carmel Forest board member Steve Brooks, "Watering of young trees is the missing link in the process to successfully begin to replace the 360+ trees that have died in the last several years. Under present urban conditions, transplanted trees need water for two seasons before they can survive on their own."

You still have a chance to weigh in. We are assured that changes can be made in the budget if the public makes a case for them.

Scheduled budget meetings, all Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. in City Council chambers, are May 20, June 10 and June 17 if the budget is not adopted on the 10th.

An idea that might save the Scout House

The historic Scout House, one of Carmel's most attractive public meeting places, with its stone fireplace, paneled walls and lofty ceiling, has been closed for years because it does not meet disability standards. Meanwhile, the weeds grow higher and it continues to deteriorate--what some call "demolition by neglect." We had hoped that this year the city would budget for the necessary improvements, but the City Council says the renovation of the Forest Theater is its top priority.

We don't think this has to be an either-or situation. We would propose a more moderate, fiscally-responsible approach. If the city followed the guidelines of the original Forest Theater Master Plan rather than pursuing the massive, multi-million-dollar L.A. architect's plan, the community would benefit by retaining its affordable outdoor theater and the groups who use the facility would not be priced out as has happened at Sunset Center. This would make sufficient funds available for the relatively-low cost of upgrading of the Scout House and return this Carmel treasure to the community.

If you agree that this public facility deserves attention, the time to tell the City Council is at its meeting on May 20.

Beach Cleanup

Saturday, May 24
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.
* Thanks to the Carmel Pine Cone for the ad donated each month!


by Kay Ambro

Carol and Jesse Kahn -- active world travelers

Carol and Jesse Kahn both hail from the East Coast. Carol grew up the oldest of five kids in Kennebunk, Maine. Her first twenty years didn't take her far from home--she lived in Maine and Massachusetts. "Those are my roots and that's my character," Carol proudly states. However, her education did take her quite a distance from home to UC Berkeley, where she majored in history with a minor in English. She followed that up with graduate work at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Jesse is a born-and-raised New York City boy, where he attended public high school and college. He enjoyed the city life with its variety of museums, concerts, and plays. As a young boy, he had only one dream, to be a doctor. "Initially I didn't know what kind, I just wanted to be a doctor," reminisced Jesse. "When I got to medical school, I thought I might be a psychiatrist; eventually I switched to surgery and finally settled on radiology-- diagnostic radiology." Jesse recalled how he met Carol during his fourth year of medical school. He was on a rotation when a pretty administrative assistant in the department caught his eye and he eventually asked her out. Six months later he married Carol, and they will celebrate their 41st anniversary at the end of May.

Carol and Jesse have two daughters, both married. One lives in Palm Springs and has a son; the other, in Pacific Grove and has a daughter. While raising their children, Carol worked part time as a counselor and part-time teacher at a junior college. She also managed to find time to write a column for the Modesto Bee. She was one of the founding members of the Women's Center in Modesto and was involved in numerous non-profits, especially related to women and children, during the thirty years that she and Jesse lived in Modesto.

When not visiting their grandchildren, the Kahns enjoy traveling. They keep a list of places they want to visit and try to arrange a major trip every two years.

"We may be changing that idea," said Carol. "Right now we are still healthy and mobile, but aging is part of our reality and we have to factor that into our plans."

"So we're stepping up our pace a little bit," added Jesse, whose favorite country is Italy because of the food, museums and people. But he felt that the most different and interesting country was India. "It's so chaotic and congested--amazing that it functions at all. I'd call it orderly chaos," said Jesse.

"I agree," said Carol. "India is the most exotic experience. There's a lot of poverty, but it's incredibly colorful and soulful." So far their travels have taken them to India, Africa, all over Europe, Russia, South America, Thailand, Japan and Morocco. But one of their favorite places to visit was Carmel-by-the-Sea.

The Kahns started coming to Carmel in the 1960's at the invitation of a friend whose parents owned a house on the Peninsula. "We've loved it from the first time we came down here," said Carol. "The incredible beauty of Carmel is so esthetically heartwarming. We would try to visit as often as possible. I grew up by the ocean and wanted to be close to it again." They bought their Carmel house in 1992, but didn't move here permanently until Jesse retired in 2003. Although he is retired, Jesse still works as a part-time assistant at CHOMP.

In their spare time, Carol and Jesse enjoy playing golf, bridge, collecting perfume bottles and posters from their travels, and volunteering for Pacific Repertory Theatre, Sunset Center, the Bach Festival, the AT&T, the US Open and the Big Sur Land Trust. Their global travels have made them very interested in world events, so last year they joined the World Affairs Council. Jesse's passion for photography has come in handy on their numerous trips and, when time allows, he indulges in reading a good novel or doing crossword puzzles.

"The quality of people who live here is fantastic," remarked Jesse. "I don't think we realized this until after we had settled here. In the last five years, we've met the most incredible variety of people--interesting people. I think that was a big draw for me." "And the smallness of the community was important to me," added Carol. "I love living in a village! There is such a variety of things to do here. We are so unbelievably busy in a very happy, positive way."

With their varied hobbies, world travels, and being actively involved in this community on many different levels, it's hard to believe that Carol and Jesse Kahn still find the time to be sociable. But meeting new people is very high on their list. After all, that's what makes this unique village-by-the-sea so special.

Connie Wright featured in U.C. Santa Cruz magazine

Imagine our surprise in opening the spring issue of the UC Santa Cruz Review and finding the entire inside cover, complete with a lovely photo, devoted to CRA member and newsletter contributor Connie Wright! It turns out that Connie, a board member of the Friends of the UCSC Library, not only donated twenty important books to the library's special collections, she also funded a preservation lab to ensure that all of the special collections books will be preserved.

The article says, in part, "When retired English professor Connie Wright was six years old, she made visits to San Francisco with her grandfather to buy the latest 'Oz' books. It was the 1930s and the beginning of a love affair with books that has lasted for seven decades. In the course of her academic career, Connie built her collection of 16th, 17th, and 18th century scholarly books originally printed for students of the period who were studying Virgil, Ovid, and other classical authors. The oldest book in her collection, an Aldine edition of the works of Statius published in 1502, is an 'unbelievably beautiful' volume."

Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival set for second year

Some festivals seem to be meant for Carmel--they mesh with the history and culture of our village and attract reasonable numbers of the kind of visitors we all want. The historic Bach Festival immediately comes to mind. A new event, the Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival, inaugurated a year ago by CRA members Cindy and Jim McGillen, is also a great fit with our literary and cultural history.

Comments about the 2007 Festival ranged from, "The Festival was a winner" by Frank McCourt to, "Beautifully crafted with love and inspiration" by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

The 2008 Festival is scheduled for September 26 to 28 at Sunset Center. The lineup this year includes dozens of New York Times Best Sellers, along with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea, Irshad Manji, What's Wrong with Islam?, Coach Don Shula, Winning Edge, Elaine Petrocelli, Bookseller of the Year, 2006, Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food, and Kemble Scott, SoMa.

The McGillens are offering CRA members VIP reserve seating, a reception and private breakout sessions with the authors. Because this event is expected to sell out, tickets should be ordered now.

To reserve a space, mail a check for $515 per person to Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival, P.O. Box 2424, Carmel, CA 93921.

When we mentioned to Jim McGillen that this price might be too steep for some, who would otherwise like to participate, he replied, "They could share a ticket with a friend--or, they may write me a letter and request a free ticket and I will try to give as many scholarship tickets as possible. Last year I arranged for dozens of teachers to attend at no charge. If you cannot afford to attend and want to participate, I will do everything possible to help. This event is for the community!"

For information on all of the participating authors, visit the Festival web site at www.carmelauthors.com.

by Connie Wright

Two Faces of George Sterling

When George Sterling came to Carmel in 1905, he was the leading San Francisco Bohemian. He was called the "King of Bohemia," and named himself the poet laureate of San Francisco. He came to Carmel partly to live simply, to escape his myriad friends, to stop drinking and womanizing, and to concentrate on writing poetry, all of which were impossible in his San Francisco-Piedmont milieu.

Born in Sag Harbor, Long Island, in 1869 of a prosperous family, George was sent to St. Charles College in Maryland with a view to entering the priesthood, but left without a degree. George moved to Piedmont, got a job in his uncle's real estate office and married Carrie Rand. He met Ambrose Bierce, short story writer and newspaperman, in 1892. Bierce praised George's poetry widely and called him "the greatest living American poet." It was, however, a highly derivative poetry from the Romantic and Victorian poets. He and Bierce exchanged letters from 1900 to 1912. Bierce allowed George to send him poetry for criticism and he almost invariably addressed Bierce as "Dear Master." George never seems to have developed any self confidence about his poetry and was slavishly dependent on Bierce for advice. As Mary Austin, one of the Carmel coterie that soon formed around George, remarked, George was badly educated and had a sub intellect which could not rise above the pleasure-pain principle.

Despite what George thought, his San Francisco-Piedmont friends soon made their way to Carmel to visit or to stay. George resumed his drinking and womanizing. He was personable, generous and hospitable; his house became the center for Carmel Bohemianism. Jimmy Hopper, Jack London (occasionally), Mary Austin, Fred Bechdolt, Xavier Martinez, Alice MacGowan and her sister, Grace MacGowan Cooke, became part of the Carmel gang, who gathered on the beach or at Sterling's house.

He cared deeply for his male friends and tried constantly to mend or improve relations between them. Bierce disliked Jack London because of his socialism, and did not appreciate Jimmy Hopper's work. George, in fact, became somewhat hysterical when he thought that he would lose either Bierce or Hopper because of the coolness between the two of them.

George was certainly not the self-assured person he appeared to be. Mary Austin notes that when she first met George, he was "handsome as a Greek faun, shy, restless, slim and stooping." His dear friend Joseph Noel described George as a "quivering sensibility." George first denied that he was sensitive, but finally admitted that he was so. He also suffered from bouts of depression and claustrophobia, and worried about early death.

Carrie left George in 1913 because of his infidelity. The divorce was granted in 1914, and in 1918 she committed suicide. George sold the Carmel house to Jimmy Hopper, unsuccessfully tried his fortunes in New York and lived with a ballet dancer in San Francisco. Penniless, he moved to the Bohemian Club, where he was supported by an anonymous benefactor. A photograph of George taken in 1926 shows a very dissipated man. He committed suicide the same year by taking a cyanide capsule.

Perhaps a key to George Sterling's somewhat enigmatic character is provided in his statement to Mary Austin -- "Probably the trouble is that, with me, my art is entirely secondary. To love and to be happy are my only real concerns."

Free Tree Conference

Carmel Forester Mike Branson has asked us to let you know about a conference, Forests for Us, How to Enhance and Conserve Your Forest, which will be held on Monday, May 19, in the Chapel Room at Asilomar Conference Grounds, 800 Asilomar Avenue, Pacific Grove.

Sponsored by the Willis W. and Ethel M. Clark Foundation, this free event will cover native trees and their history, ecological challenges to the Monterey Pine forest, oaks on the Monterey Peninsula, landscaping under native trees, planting strategies and restoration. Branson will participate in two panels. Pre-registration is required by May 14.

To register, e-mail your name, employer (if any), address, city and telephone number to forestsforus@yahoo.com, fax a page with the above information to (831) 625-1175, or mail it to Clark Foundation, P.O. Box 89, Pebble Beach, CA 93953. A lunch buffet is available for $10, payable at the door, but a reservation should be made when sending in your registration.

Email questions to forestsforus@yahoo.com

Our Favorite Places

Monterey Bay Window Washing

Barbara Livingston writes, "I continue to be surprised that so many Carmelites do not use our downtown resident-serving businesses. Carmel Drug Store, for example, is a full-service store with free afternoon delivery. Call before noon to place your order. There is no delivery on weekends so you have to plan ahead. To save time, I ask my doctors to call in prescriptions, and, in the event that a prescription expires, Carmel Drug will contact the doctor for refill orders. And, yes, Carmel Drug does accept drug insurance plans. It is not a complicated process to transfer your prescriptions from your existing pharmacy. Just ask your doctors to call in new prescriptions to Carmel Drug. Everyone I have convinced to switch is grateful for ease of the transactions and the pleasure of supporting a well-managed downtown business. Call Aaron or Ross at 624-3819 to set up your account. They make it very simple by billing on a monthly basis.

"And let us not forget the staples of the community--our homegrown grocery stores--Nielsen's and Bruno's. Both offer superb service, quality foods and home delivery."

Chamber of Commerce will hold golf tournament

The Carmel Chamber of Commerce second annual golf tournament will be held Thursday, May 29, at Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club. In addition to the tournament, there will be a mulligan, putting contest and live and silent auctions.

The $185 entry fee covers green fees, 1st tee gifts, range balls, cart rentals, lunch and a post tournament awards buffet reception. Reception-only tickets are available for $50.

Questions, contact Gilda Soule at 624-2522.

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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