Thursday, December 12, 2002
Subsequent investigations found some of the claims of sabotage to be overblown.
It might be that something similar has happened in Marina regarding the transfer of municipal power from defeated Mayor Jim Perrine to winner and former city councilwoman Ila Mettee-McCutchon. Or maybe not.
On Dec. 3, the new mayor was sworn in at a regular meeting. Mettee-McCutchon says that when she moved into the mayor''s office at city hall, she found it lacking. She told the Weekly there were none of the files she expected, that the files she did find were without order or date, and that there was no manner of "transition document" officially handing over the civic mantle.
Although Perrine was not available earlier this week for comment, a source inside city hall knew of no such disorder. Likewise, city councilman Bruce Delgado says "I haven''t heard a word."
In fact, Delgado was excited about something Mettee-McCutchon has done: He says she''s offered to make the mayor''s office space available to all members of the city council. He lauded her offer as a "selfless" gesture to make sure the council members have a place to conduct city business.
"That would make any council better," Delgado says.
Cruising for Toys
Cops across Monterey County are gearing up for their annual toy and teddy bear drives.
Several Monterey County law enforcement agencies are collecting gifts for the annual Crime Prevention Officers'' Association toy drive, the California Highway Patrol''s CHiPS for Kids toy drive, and the Monterey Sheriff''s Department''s annual teddy bear campaign. All three collect new toys for disadvantaged and hospitalized kids throughout Monterey County.
Last year, the various campaigns collected hundreds of toys for children in need. This year, however, donations are down.
You can help by bringing a new, unwrapped toy or teddy bear to any of the following drop-off sites during regular business hours; The Salinas Police Department, 222 Lincoln St.; California Highway Patrol office, 19055 Portola Drive, Salinas; Sheriff''s Salinas Station, 1414 Natividad Road; Sheriff''s King City Station, 250 Franciscan Way; Sheriff''s Monterey Station, 1200 Aguajito Road; Sheriff''s Community Field Office in at the Carmel Crossroads Shopping Center in Carmel; and the Monterey Police Department, 351 Madison St.
MPC Fees Disputed
Student leaders at Monterey Peninsula College complained at a recent board meeting that the school is overcharging them for use of the college center and misappropriating the money.
College officials deny the charges, claiming that the state educational code permits the fees for use of the college center. However, they are asking for a legal opinion regarding one complaint regarding appropriation of fee revenue.
"The code is very clear and the legal opinion from the Chancellor''s Office indicates that the fee the college is assessing is legal and proper," says Joe Bissell, vice president for administrative services.
Student representatives raised their complaints at the Nov. 26 MPC board of directors meeting. They claim that the college cannot charge more than $10 per year for student activities, citing a state educational code. The college now charges a $10 per semester "college center fee." Bissell says the "use fee" is allowed under a different state educational code.
The money is used to repay the $500,000 bond from 1969 that built the center, and to operate the facility.
As it is now, Bissell says it costs $200,000 a year to run the college center. Half of that comes from student fees, he says. The other half is paid through profits from the bookstore, cafeteria and vending machines.
Jackie Klotz, a student senator of the ASMPC, says the $10 per semester fee is inappropriate. "They claim all the students use the student center so they can charge a blanket fee," she says.
Klotz says the students want more say in how student fee dollars are appropriated. "The money needs to be discussed before it''s spent," she says.
Bissell says he was scheduled to meet with a student leader on Tuesday morning but was stood up. The student government, the Associated Students MPC, planned an "emergency meeting" to discuss the matter on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
Cash on the Highway
The state Transportation Commission will hear a funding plan--and a discreet plea for money--from Monterey County transportation officials for the Highway 101 Prunedale Bypass project when it meets Thursday, Dec. 12 in San Jose.
Last week, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) board approved a scaled-down, $537-million version of the costly bypass, an eight-mile stretch of Highway 101 that would be built east of the existing highway.
"Caltrans recognizes the statewide importance of this stretch of highway," says TAMC Deputy Director Debbie Hale. "They realize all the agricultural traffic that goes though here. They realize the statewide visitor traffic that goes through here. Seventy-five percent are inter-regional trips," she says, meaning that a vast majority of the traffic near Prunedale is not local Monterey County traffic.
"It''s not a just a Monterey County project," Hale says.
The state Department of Transportation, however, has yet to agree to foot a set amount of the $537 million bill.
TAMC has agreed to fund 43 percent of the cost from revenues the state has already earmarked for Monterey County transportation projects.
County officials had expected the state Department of Transportation to pay the remaining 57 percent share.
"But in this budget climate, we know they are not in a position to grant that," says TAMC Deputy Director Debbie Hale. "They have said, ''Come back to us in a couple of years, let''s see where the economy is and where your plan to raise some local money is, and we''ll talk again.''"
At its Dec. 4 board meeting, TAMC agreed to continue negotiating the dollar amount with Caltrans.
This funding plan also committed TAMC to work with the community to develop a countywide funding program.
--Andrew Scutro, Jessica Lyons