Thursday, February 11, 1999
Knickers in a Knot
It was about a year ago we all got our knickers in a twist over the proposed monstrous Cannery Row Mall (Marketplace). Petitions were signed by thousands and letters sent to the editor, all by citizens opposed to the mall. It even jump-started the Monterey Citizens Coalition MAC. That was Act I.
Ostensibly, nothing more happened and we all sank back into our usual apathy. At election time, the new political group put forth two candidates who both lost; there were no issues so why rock the boat?
Little did we know during all the quiet time, city staff was quietly working with the developers of the mall while MAC members on the Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission were trying to hold the line on development and preservation. They were thwarted at every turn.
The curtain opens on the second act of the Cannery Row Marketplace with the presentation of the EIR. Not, I emphasize not, coincidentally the two MAC Planning Commissioners, Molly Erickson and Walter Keintzel and Judy Lehman on the Historic Preservation Commission are asked to either resign immediately or be fired.
Don't you wish you'd known what was going on behind the scenes before you voted for the City Council last fall?
Keep tuned. Act III will follow.
Don't Kill the Whales
While the celebrations of Whalefest this year continue, it's important to realize what happened last fall and will happen again this year in the spring. Supported and financed openly by our government, and more covertly by Japanese and Norwegian whaling interests, the Makah Indian tribe of Neah Bay, Wash., began hunting gray whales again after a hiatus of over 70 years. For several years, the International Whaling Commission (IWC), denied the Makah their claim of a subsistence need for whale meat. The U.S. government stepped in and with an arrogant trading of bowhead for gray whales with Russia, espoused the newly devised concept of "cultural subsistence" and got the Makah 20 whales for the killing and up to 20 more that could be struck and not killed. The Japanese and Norwegian delegations to the IWC loved the move and supported it wholeheartedly. Many other member countries were outraged but powerless to stop it.
Citing a treaty that gives them the right to whale "in common" with other citizens of the U.S., the Makah promised a traditional harpoon hunt from a 32-foot cedar canoe. The canoe was brought out only for reporters and photographers eager for photo ops and news stories that would bolster the Makah claim. The reality was that they planned to use motor launches and a .557 caliber elephant gun. My wife and I went to Neah Bay to offer the Makah a non-lethal alternative to the hunt, helping them build a whale watch and natural history tour business. For our efforts, we were thrown out of a federally funded marina and the tribal police would not promise us any protection. Through Freedom of Information Act documents, it was revealed that dating back to 1995, the Makah planned to kill not only gray whales but California sea lions, harbor seals, harbor porpoise, Dall's porpoise, minke whales and even sea otters.
We stayed up there for 70 more days and working with a very few other direct action conservation groups, fought the Makah to a standstill until the winter storms closed their season. The opposition we mounted prevented them from taking any of the several juvenile resident whales that ply the kelp beds near shore and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The whales won that round: none were killed. Perhaps you can understand the irony we felt while we were there, endangering our lives to protect whales from being killed in U.S. waters.
This spring, the whales will head back north from Baja. The Makah are promising to kill a "skinny one," a whale that has not fed since leaving the Bering Sea on its annual migration. We will be back on our boat Sea Dog patrolling the waters of the Olympic National Marine Sanctuary where this killing is planned. We love this Monterey Bay and the abundance of life. We celebrate that good livings can be made on whale-centered activities. And yet, these same whales that help feed us without giving their lives are in grave danger of doing just that. We all bear the responsibility of protecting them. If you can't be there with us in person, please help us out. The gray whales are considered a quiet species that doesn't vocalize much. Your help can give them the voice they need to be heard.
Stop Feeding Raccoons
The city of Pacific Grove evidently feels that the way to deal with the perceived threat of "raccoon roundworm" is to trap and kill the raccoons themselves. This approach is archaic, simplistic, and simply will not work! The preponderance of scientific evidence indicates that killing raccoons will not have the desired effect of increasing public safety. The only way to do that is to stop the intentional and unintentional feeding of raccoons, as well as cleaning up raccoon latrine sites.
For those citizens who feel strongly about protecting Pacific Grove's wildlife, the animal rights group, In Defense of Animals, has set up a C.A.R.E. (Citizens Against Raccoon Extermination) Fund to support the lawsuit that has stopped the city's killing of raccoons. Please support the work of the IDF and C.A.R.E and send a check to IDF/C.A.R.E Fund , 131 Camino Alto, Suite E, Mill Valley, CA 93941.
TERRENCE B. ZITO
My name is Jennifer Holmes; my husband and partner's name is Mark Tanous, and with the help of many families we have been responsible for one of the best recreational programs on the Peninsula. Water City Roller Hockey is a recreational roller hockey program whose mission it is to introduce roller hockey through education, guest clinics, classes, and league play to the children and adult population on the Monterey Peninsula. We have successfully strived to keep recreation affordable and when affordable still isn't possible for many, many players we provided sponsorships in the form of equipment and skaterships or sought sponsorships from our community.
We are a community-based, award-winning recreational program that has encouraged Water City patrons, their families and friends, and visiting families and friends to shop, eat, bank, stay in hotels, and drink lots of coffee in Marina, Sand City, Seaside, Monterey, and the Carmel area. We have saved a building on the former Fort Ord, that, if history is our guide, would have been left to ruin and decay. The commitment that we and the many families of Water City have made to the physical building and children of our community has helped to fill the coffers of Marina with a respectable amount of money that would not have otherwise existed. With our Water City families we have come together and built a village, a community, a business, a place where we watch out for each other and feel as safe as one can feel in this world.
I am writing this letter because the ending to my letter should be a statement of continued commitment to the community and future success. Instead, Mark and I worry that recreation on the former Fort Ord will not continue because children, players and parents are not the city of Marina's priority. The mandate for the conveyance was to provide recreation in those designated areas on Fort Ord. Everyone has money problems; the city of Marina is not alone in their challenge. I suggest Marina take a lesson from the Water City Community and acknowledge that hard work and sharing skills for a common goal get repairs done and kids off the streets.
JENNIFER HOLMES, MARK TANOUS
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