News Briefs 12/26/2002
Thursday, December 26, 2002
Pebble Beach Expansion All Wet?
On Dec. 11, the County Planning Commission okayed a proposal expand the Pebble Beach Community Services District (PBCSD) buildings in the Del Monte Forest. The new permit allows Pebble Beach to add 4,941 square feet to its existing administration, maintenance and fire buildings; add a new 3,600-square-foot equipment storage building; and add 11,025 square feet more parking.
PBCSD's ready to build, according to county planners and biologist Vern Yadon, who also prepared a report for the property.
Unless neighbor George Wortham is able to stop it, that is.
Wortham, who has lived near the site for almost 30 years, says the proposed expansion site lies on wetlands, which are protected by state and federal law. He points to the lush vegetation that grows yearlong and a colony of salamanders that live near his house.
He says he'll appeal the Planning Commission decision to the Board of Supervisors, and onto the California Coastal Commission if he has to.
"I have lived here for nearly 30 years-I know what I am talking about," he says. He reads the definition of wetlands as used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the EPS's Web site: "Wetlands are areas where the frequent and prolonged presence of water at or near the soil surface drives the natural system, meaning the kind of soils that form, the plants that grow, and the fish and/or wildlife communities that use the habitat."
"I live near a small creek that feeds the wetlands," Wortham continues If you dig down you will notice that it is always wet."
"To be a legally defined wetland there should be more than an incidental number of obligate wetland plants which are supplied with standing or flowing water along the soil surface," he writes in a letter to the planning department. "Willow, certain sedges, cattails, and rushes are examples of such plants. Finding very small number of any of these species demonstrated the latitude of the plant's tolerance, not the presence of a wetland."
It looks like the Supes will decide.
County Attacks Pill-Pushers
Monterey County and several other California communities have pledged to stomp out allegedly false-and sometimes dangerous-advertising, one "nutritional-supplement"-maker at a time.
Last month, the Monterey County District Attorney, along with DA's from five other California counties, filed a civil lawsuit against HGH Gold manufactures, Cambridge Research Laboratories, Inc., Sandco International, Inc., and four of their corporate officers.
Print advertisements for HGH Gold tout the wonders of human growth hormone, the latest craze among Baby Boombers trying to stave off aging. The ads boast of "dramatic results" and "six months to a younger you." They bill the dietary supplement as a fountain of youth and a virtual cure-all in oral-spray form.
The suit alleges the companies made false and misleading claims about the powers of HGH Gold, and seeks an injunction prohibiting the companies from making illegal claims without any scientific basis, says Monterey Deputy DA Steve Holett.
"Essentially the ad claimed HGH Gold could do everything from curing wrinkled skin to impotence to slowing down aging and to offering relief for arthritis," Holett says. "The claims seemed so massive and outrageous that we took it upon ourselves to look further."
The group of counties isn't stopping with HGH Gold, however.
Next up, says Holett, are ephedra-based diet supplements. Studies have linked the use of the herb, also called ma huang, to stroke, heart attack, seizures and sudden death.
At press time, a court date for the complaint about HGH Gold had not been set.
Access Monterey Peninsula, a nonprofit organization that operates the Community Media Center and broadcasts public, education and government programming on local cable channels 24, 25 and 27, recently launched The Edgar Awards for film and video.
Named for Edgar Kennedy, a Monterey-born film star in the 1930s, the competition will include six categories: religious and spiritual; arts, culture and humanities; issues and public affairs; potpourri/other; technical merit; and Monterey's best with professional, volunteer/student and public access series entrant classes.
Entries must be produced by Jan. 1, 2003, and must be received at AMP by 5pm on Jan. 21, 2003.
A panel of judges will select winning entries and awards will be presented at a ceremony on Feb.22, 2003. Entries will be cablecast and the ceremony broadcast live on AMP Channel 24.
Entry guidelines and forms are available at the Community Media Center, 2200 Garden Rd., Monterey, online at www.ampmedia.org, or by calling 333-1267.