Thursday, August 7, 2003
News pages have been filled with controversies surrounding gay issues lately--Pope John Paul II and President George W. Bush declaring what makes a marriage and what does not, the gay hopeful Episcopalian bishop, and the New York City public school for gay teenagers compete for space on page one. Then of course there''s a slew of gay television programming, from dating shows to the "Queer Eye" squad giving fashion advice to straight men.
Now it''s on the Monterey City Council agenda.
In what''s said to be a benign adjustment that merely aligns with state law, Monterey''s city code covering equal employment opportunity will be changed to reflect that city employees cannot be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation.
According to city personnel manager Ralph Bailey, the change was prompted by an inquiry from a city staffer through an electronic employee newsletter.
Under the city''s current harassment policy, "no recruitment, examination, or personnel transaction shall be influenced in any manner by consideration of: race, sex, color, marital status, ancestry, national origin, age (40 years and over), disability, or political or religious opinion or affiliation..." The new code will insert "sexual orientation" after "sex" and before "color."
Bailey says there was no incident or alleged discrimination that sparked the question, only curiosity. The matter was on the consent agenda for the Aug. 5, city council meeting, after the Weekly went to press. "This is not controversial," Bailey says. [AS]
Competing Views of Development Will be Aired
Fans of Rancho San Juan--a massive development planned along the northern boarder of Salinas--call the proposal a shining example of a new urban village. Foes call it old-fashioned sprawl. They will discuss the matter at a public workshop, on Aug. 13 at 2:30pm in the Monterey County Planning Commission meeting.
When it''s fully developed in 20 years, the 2,581-acre Rancho San Juan site will provide 4,000 residential units ranging from studio apartments to single-family homes. Many will be affordable to low- and moderate-income families who live and work in the Salinas Valley.
The plan also includes a town center with a mix of retail and community space, a Town Square, a business park, office development, an 18-hole golf course and hundreds of acres of parkland.
Copies of the plan are available for review and/or purchase at the following locations:
--Monterey County''s two planning offices, 230 Church St., Building 1, Salinas, 755-5025; 2620 1st Ave., Marina, 883-7500.
--Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, 240 Church St., Salinas, 755-5066.
--Cesar Chavez Library, 615 Williams Rd., Salinas, 758-7345.
--Monterey County Library, 18722 Moro Rd., Prunedale, 663-2292.
--Online at www.co.monterey.ca.us/pbi.
No deadline has been set for accepting comments on the draft plan. County planners say they''ll release the draft environmental review by the end of August. [JL]
Tidepool Group Stages Protest
A local environmental group is holding a protest at the Department of Fish and Game''s office on Wednesday in the latest effort to protect Pacific Grove''s tidepools.
In May, the Department of Fish and Game released plans to open half of Point Pinos tidepools to collecting. This would allow scientists and other interest groups to grab their buckets and collect sea stars, anemones, mussels and other marine life.
"The tidepools belong to the people," says Lee Willoughby of the Tidepool Coalition. "We should learn that they are there to respect."
The group was formed more than three years ago to stop the collecting of marine life in Point Pinos tidepools. Before the coalition stepped in, collecting permits were issued by the Department of Fish and Game with very little monitoring, Willoughby says.
In 2000 the coalition helped pass an initiative in PG''s city council that closed Point Pinos tidepools to collecting. Fish and Game, which has jurisdiction over the coast, has taken steps to resume control of the pools.
Since the pools have been closed, Willoughby says she has seen a resurgence of marine life in the pools. "After three years of protection we are starting to see a coming back of these creatures," she says.
The demonstration takes place at 1:30 pm at the Department of Fish and Game Office at Ryan Ranch on Wednesday. [ZS]