Thursday, July 10, 2003
New General Plan Committee Will Hold First Meeting
A special committee appointed by County Supervisors to analyze the General Plan will meet on July 17, from 1-4pm at the Leadership Institute in Monterey.
The so-called "refinement group" represents several special interests, including land conservation, hospitality and tourism, environmental and community advocacy, housing, agriculture and labor. About 25 different organizations--from the Farm Bureau to LandWatch--were invited to join the panel. Meetings will be open to the public.
The new group will recommend changes to the 20-year growth plan before a final version is approved by supervisors.
In June, the supes approved the creation of the committee by a 3-2 vote after listening to several hours of public testimony. Supervisors Edith Johnsen and Dave Potter voted against the committee.
Consultant Larry Mintier and attorney Bill Yeates will serve as the group's co-facilitators. The two have represented opposing sides during the General Plan Update process. Mintier works for 21st- Century Solutions, a business-based group that wants to throw out the plan. Yeates has represented various environmental interests. [JL]
Monterey Library Cuts Hours
Another public library is being forced to cut its hours and close its doors to patrons more often.
A few weeks ago the Pacific Grove Library reported drastic cuts to hours of operation due to budget cuts and shortfalls. The Monterey Public Library has announced it is following suit, citing a 20 percent budget cut by the City of Monterey that will both reduce hours and eliminate 13 library jobs within the next two years. The library will now be open on Monday from 1-9pm, shaving three hours off its original schedule.
"Monterey hasn't seen hours cut this drastically in, well, the past 40 years," says library director Paula Simpson. Simpson explained that the budget cut was announced several years ago, and institutions like the library were given until 2005 to comply with the new budget. As library positions are vacated due to resignation or retirement, the positions are not refilled.
So far, nine positions have been voluntarily vacated. If four more positions are not left voluntarily in the next two years, layoffs will result.
"As the workforce shrinks, the hours have to be reduced," Simpson said.
The first round of hours reductions happened last April. There will be at least one more round, probably around June of next year.
With Monterey High School right across the street, students and other patrons will have to work their schedule around the library's new hours.
"What we noticed with the last round of cuts," Simpson said, "is that business doesn't go down. People learn to work around it."
For more information visit www.monterey.org/library or contact Paula Simpson at 646-5601. [AW]
Marina May Try to Accommodate Farmers Market
The uncomfortable tango between the Marina Farmers Market and the City of Marina will continue on Tuesday, July 15, at 3:30pm in city hall, when market organizers will come cheek to cheek with city attorney Ken Buchert.
Organizers called for the meeting to challenge the city's demand that market vendors each purchase an individual license.
Buchert says he plans to search municipal codes for a legal pirouette allowing compromise.
If Buchert finds no loophole, and the city has not loosened its grip by December, the market may move to another location, says organizer Iris Peppard.
Although many vendors are already buying licenses, Peppard says she is concerned about setting a bad precedent. No other city in the area requires individual licenses.
Peppard hopes the public will cut in before the next number with the city attorney begins. She plans to collect petition signatures at the market this Sunday, and to ask supporters to attend the city hall meeting on Tuesday. [NK]