Thursday, March 14, 2002
Livingston (Sort Of) Charges McCloud With Running "Secret Government" An hour into it, the faint scent of baking hors d''oeuvres wafted through the Carmel Woman''s Club on San Carlos Monday evening. About a hundred residents, mostly seniors, some sipping wine from short plastic tumblers, were gathered at the second of two forums hosted by mayoral candidate Barbara Livingston and council candidates Jim Wright and Ken White.
Livingston, currently in her third term on the city council, is challenging fellow native and present Mayor Sue McCloud. White has previously served as mayor and Wright as a councilman. Election Day in Carmel is April 9 and the city is now festooned with campaign signs from the challenging "team," as the three describe themselves. The event was facilitated by former police chief Don Fuselier, who commended Livingston for her "courage of conviction" in a town where he says he''s seen much courage-like the time he watched a fireman perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on two schnauzers rescued from a burning house.
Standing, Livingston reeled off a list of complaints about the way the city is now run, though she took care not to criticize McCloud by name. McCloud was present for the forum''s start.
Saying she''d been unable to get financial information about a city project, Livingston said, "I''m running for mayor because we''ve got a secret government."
Much of the campaign is centered around nostalgia for the old Carmel community.
"I long for the day when we used to do things together," said candidate Ken White.
The recent demolition of older dwellings in the village have alarmed Livingston and others. They fear that Carmel is losing the charm that''s at its core identity.
One woman stood up to complain about the replacement of local stores with art galleries. She said Carmel is starting to look like "La Jolla in the ''70s."
Monterey Citizens Asked to Attend Budget Forum Thursday
Thoughthe forecast looks brighter, the attack of Sept. 11 is being blamed for a $1.7 million hole in the City of Monterey''s current $41.6 million budget, and larger holes in budgets for next year and the year beyond.
Monterey citizens are invited to have some influence on the course of community affairs this Thursday, March 14 at 7:15, in a public forum on the city''s budgeting priorities.
As it is today, the city lists a review of inclusionary and affordable housing measures, housing for senior citizens, youth programs and an update of the General Plan as its ongoing priorities.
Monterey also has several capital improvement plans in the works, such as acquiring more property for the Windows on the Bay; wrapping up the Catellus property acquisition; carrying on with the Sports Center expansion and kicking off the Civic Center project--estimated to cost $16 million.
With the reliability of future tourism revenues shaky, the city will have to cut costs from some programs and services in order to attend to these projects.
The forum lasts from 7:15 to 9:30 at the Monterey Conference Center at 1 Portola Plaza. Free parking is available at the West Custom House Garage.
Forest Service Puts Together A Fire Plan--None Too Soon
The1999 Kirk Complex fires in the Ventana Wilderness consumed some 86,000 acres of forest land. Efforts to contain the blazes cost $72 million. One hundred forty-five firefighters were injured and the heavy equipment used to fight the blazes scarred the wild backcountry.
There is no existing fire management plan for the Ventana Wilderness and so efforts to contain the massive blaze were grossly inefficient.
However, coinciding with an overhaul of management plans for the entire Los Padres National Forest, a fire management plan is currently under construction for the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness areas. The planning just started at the beginning of the year, according to Monterey District Ranger John Bradford.
A fire management plan includes strategies about how to attack a fire once it''s started, taking into account topography, fuel type, wildlife concerns, proximity to human dwellings and other factors. But along with suppressing fires a strategy must be formulated to prevent large-scale fires. Part of that includes fuel-thinning and controlled burns--which carry risks of damaged air quality and the potential for an out-of-control blaze. Where and when those fires should be set is part of the drafting process, Bradford says.
Although the plan won''t be completed until fall, the fire season this spring is expected to be heavy. Carol Henson, a fuels specialist with the Los Padres says there''s been below average rainfall this year and early season fires in the southern part of the district have raged. "It has the potential to be bad," Henson says.