Thursday, February 25, 1999
One of the Pebble Beach Company's current public relations ads carries this heading, "We've protected this forest for 80 years. For the next century, we'll do the same."
How can this statement be reconciled with the warning contained in the original EIR, that if the development is approved, the Del Monte Forest as we know it will be no more?
In 1919, when Sam Morse began the acquisition of areas of the Monterey Peninsula, there was an effort to protect the coastal portion of the Del Monte Forest by designating it a state park similar to Point Lobos. Naturalists of that day, John Muir, Luther Burbank and Ledyard Stebbings supported this protection, but it was not to be.
Today, when we look upon the fabled fairways of the spectacular golf courses, we must remind ourselves of their enormous cost in terms of the irrevocable loss of native forest habitat. The present corporate need to reverse the financial losses of a failed business policy does not justify the sacrifice of the Del Monte Forest.
We, who are privileged to live here today, do not do so at the sufferance of the Pebble Beach Company, but at that of the ancient forest. We have a moral obligation to protect the last existing stands of this forest for those who will come after us.
Full Court Press
The Pebble Beach Company's full court press to have their development plans approved for 316 homes and golf course is on. With their polished "we're great for the community" television commercials and "look how much we love the forest" bulk mail campaign, their attempt to garner public support is both obvious and expensive. With the Board of Supervisors approving subdivisions at a rate that makes Monterey the fastest growing county in the state, it seems certain that this project will be rubber-stamped.
What's at stake? The Del Monte Forest itself. If one superimposes a map of the development plans over a map of the remaining forest, the forest simply vanishes. Surprisingly, the Monterey Pine has been recognized by the United Nations as an endangered species since 1985, yet it is afforded no local protection.
While it grows naturally in only two other locations in very small numbers, the Monterey Peninsula is its vanishing stronghold. Plagued by incurable pitch canker, the tree and its unique forest ecology have a bleak prognosis indeed. If the supervisors pass zoning changes that will allow for the full development, over 38,000 Monterey Pines will be cut down. As the project moves through the approval process, it is time for the community to speak up loudly or to lose something irreplaceable.
I wonder if the Pine Cone (Feb.12) would have criticized the veterinarian that is suing the city of Pacific Grove so vehemently if she had run her large advertisement in the Pine Cone. We can't help but notice the advertisement that the Pebble Beach Company takes with the Pine Cone and we never hear any criticism of them. They spend a lot of money trying to convince us that they are "good neighbors" yet one doesn't need $7 to get into Pacific Grove. Great neighbor, but don't come and visit! They act as if they are single-handedly saving water and are eco-conscious, yet we all know that while we are asked to save water, don't wash our cars, [or] water our lawns, or expect to be served water to drink, that the tourists at the Lodge can freely take half-hour showers after $1200 per foursome round of golf. There may be a small sign in the room to 'conserve' but until there are regulators there that shut off the water after fifty gallons of water per occupant (you won't live that long), there is no water shortage for me. I'll use as much as I want, whenever I want. I will not be saving it for the elitist 'friends' of mine in the forest. The Pine Cone will accept the money for the ads and look the other way. Further they will not print this, or any dissenting opinion, so as not to ruin the utopian image the ice cream cone drippers think they're visiting.
Get Over It
For two weeks I have read about how (the cartoon) "The City" is "a heartbreaking experience" and about how disgusting and wrong it is to portray a child getting it on with a Tickle Me Elmo doll. Well, all I have to say to the people who wrote to tell you about how appalled they are is...GET OVER IT. It's a cartoon. There are many, many worse things in life than a cartoon of a 3-year-old and a Tickle Me Elmo doll. I personally thought the cartoon was kind of funny, but if other people don't, that's okay too. In America there is a thing called freedom of the press. That means that you at Coast Weekly can print whatever you want and if somebody doesn't want to read it, they don't have to. Go read the comics section of the Herald or something. There are plenty of cartoonists that depict "good clean humor" there. I applaud you, Coast Weekly, for running comics like "The City" and "Red Meat" (especially "Red Meat." Long live Max Cannon!). The first thing I look at in your newspaper are these comics. I would be deeply saddened to see a couple of anal retentive people have their way and deprive the rest of the country of these strips.
Hooray For The Home Boy
While the National Steinbeck Center is gaining an international profile, the local art community is voicing its approval as well. Congratulations to the Cultural Council of Monterey County for their recent benefit event and their wisdom in recognizing the contribution of the National Steinbeck Center to the rich fabric of our art and cultural history.
Ben Johnson said of his contemporary, William Shakespeare, he was a man "for all ages," a literary artist whose work would survive decades, coast into the centuries and who knows how far.
Thirty years after John Steinbeck's death, reviews of the "high school novelist" (attr. Gore Vidal) just keep getting better and better, translated into 30 languages, and who knows...
Not everyone liked the man, but my money is on the home boy to coast into the centuries where John Steinbeck's work will inspire artists for years to come.
Stop the nonsense. It's only traffic. People will learn that they have to allow more time if they are going to use Highway 1 between Ocean Avenue and Rio Road.
I do not want a freeway to be a showcase. I want the coast and the trees, and even a little wet canyon to be the showcases we are known for. In LA, the freeways are showcases, and guess what? They have more traffic problems than we do.
JOHN E. BRENNAN
When we stop building houses, we have homeless people. When the supply of housing is limited, housing prices rise. Is the solution more affordable housing?
Affordable housing--small cracker-box apartments for the low income families. Affordable housing--a polite euphemism used by the wealthy liberal and media elitists for slaves' quarters!
Affordable taxes, affordable vehicle license fees, and elimination of the income tax would solve the problem for the lower income families who get robbed every pay period. Try to tell me I'm wrong.
JEFFREY A. KELLOG