Thursday, April 24, 2003
MIIS For Sale?
The president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) would not take media calls on Tuesday after several reporters sought comment on rumors that the school was about to be sold.
Dr. Chet Haskell would not confirm nor deny the rumor that a university was about to acquire MIIS.
According to information provided to the Weekly, an announcement of some kind is expected next week, possibly at a regular student/faculty lunch that Haskell attends on occasion.
The rumors ranges from MIIS being bought by Stanford, Harvard, "a New York school," and the University of the Pacific, in San Diego.
MIIS has been beset by financial problems lately and late last year laid off dozens of staff members.
Some 700 students from around the world attend MIIS. Tuition is $22,180 for the academic year. Courses are offered in graduate schools of international business, international policy, linguistics and translation. It is also the home of the Centers for Nonproliferation Studies, East Asian Studies and Russian and Eurasian Studies. [AS]
Salinas: First in Housing
Salinas now holds the distinction of being the only community in Monterey County with a state-approved Housing Element, putting the city in the running for competitive state and federal dollars.
The Housing Element is one of the seven required components of a city or county general plan. According to state law, the California Department of Housing and Community Development is required to review city and county housing elements. In its letter of approval, the state "commends the city's plan for proactively addressing local housing and community development needs."
Salinas' construction of 2,140 new housing units since January 2000 exceeded the mandated "housing obligation," of 1,349 units.
According to Planning Manager Dave Swanson, Watsonville is the only other city in the tri-county area (Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito) with a certified housing element. "Which is interesting, because Salinas and Watsonville tend to be the ones that provide more than our fair share of affordable housing," he said.
At a press conference on the steps of City Hall on April 15, Mayor Anna Caballero said the city will continue to work to address the community's housing needs, especially in examining programs that provide more affordable housing units for farmworkers and service-sector employees. [JL]
The Missing Link
An apparent miscommunication put an advertisement for a home construction company on the City of Seaside's Web site recently. It was quickly removed.
Visitors to the Internet page for Seaside's city government were greeted last week with a logo ad for KB Home, the construction company that has been building the much-touted Seaside High-lands development on former Fort Ord land. The KB development is visible off Highway 1, at the north end of the city.
City manager Dan Keen said he was showing the website to someone last week, saw the logo for the first time, and quickly decided to have it removed. Clicking on the logo provided a link to KB Home and their page for the Seaside project.
Keen said that although the company worked closely with the city to create the housing, the ad was not appropriate as it appears to be an endorsement for the company.
"We took it off," he says.
While some cities may allow advertising associated with city functions, Keen says Seaside has no such policy. Keen says the logo was not a paid advertisement.
"KB gave us the link in the form of a logo," says Keen.
The link was put there in the first place because of heavy public interest in the very high-profile housing development, a project that has been criticized lately for not providing homes in the price range of working families. The Monterey Peninsula has some of the least affordable housing in the nation and many--including Rep. Sam Farr--see development on Fort Ord to be a solution to that problem.
There are two separate areas within the project: the Coves, with homes starting in the high-$400,000 range; and the Bluffs, with larger homes starting in the mid-$500,000 range.
A public relations official for KB Homes was amused that there was press interest in a company advertisement on a city Web site and says the company was unaware of the switch.
"I think the link is a great opportunity to highlight the community, with or without the logo, and the city makes that decision," KB spokesperson Kate Mulhern said. [AS]
Neighbors Working Out
It's time to step outside, roll up your sleeves and greet your neighbors. This Saturday, April 26, the Seaside Neighborhood Network (SNN) will host a community cleanup at Ellis Park at 986 Hilby Avenue. Celebrating its one-year anniversary, SNN welcomes local residents to join them in painting, weeding and doing repair work at the community park adjacent to the Oldemeyer Center and preschool.
Julie Horner, president of the neighborhood network, feels the event strengthens community relations.
"We like to hold neighborhood cleanups to help foster community spirit and to get people invested in their neighborhood," Horner says. "It really helps increase communication between different groups."
The Seaside network has also purchased a four-foot slide that will be installed in the park next month, as well as trees that will be planted by the Public Works Department.
The SNN is the first-ever large-scale neighborhood association in the city of Seaside. The weekend cleanup is made possible in part through the Neighborhood Grants Program of the Community Foundation for Monterey County.
Work on Saturday will begin at 9am and end at noon. For more information contact Julie Horner at 899-1312, or email email@example.com. [PK]