Thursday, April 8, 2004
The LA Times called Cubanismo, a popular jazz band from Cuba, “stirring, powerful…an irresistible torrent of intricate rhythms.” But local jazz lovers won’t get to hear them next month in Carmel, because the US State Department has refused to issue entry visas to all 15 band members.
“The group had no choice but to cancel their entire tour, including the May 8 Carmel date,” said Tom Bacchetti of the Sunset Center. It’s not the first time the State Department has refused entry visas to visiting artists from Cuba and other “suspect” nations; two years ago, the World Music Festival was decimated when Mongolian musicians, among others, were refused US visas, and Cuban artists are routinely refused. Ticket holders to the May 8 concert may return their tickets for a refund or exchange; call 620-2040. [SF]
Pebble Beach Plan Comes to Committee
A new Pebble Beach golf course and a Carmel Valley subdivision will be considered by the Monterey County Subdivision Committee when it meets April 8 at 9:30am.
The first item on the agenda is the subdivision of 218 acres in Carmel Valley into 12 residential lots. The owners want to subdivide land at 1 Old Rancho Road into parcels of between 6.8 and 16.9 acres, with four open space parcels totaling 99 acres.
This item will be followed at 10am by the Pebble Beach plan for the Del Monte Forest area, which includes construction of an 18-hole golf course and a new clubhouse, a driving range and 160 additional suites at a new five-star hotel, the Lodge at Pebble Beach and the Inn at Spanish Bay. The proposal would also relocate the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center to a 41-acre site in the Sawmill Gulch area, and create 33 houses, 60 apartments, 11 “golf cottages” and three parking lots.
The proposal would remove 17,971 trees, including Monterey Pines, live oaks, Bishop pines and cypress trees.
The subdivision committee meets in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers at the Monterey County Courthouse, Church and Alisal Streets, Salinas. [JL]
April’s Child Abuse Awareness Month
On Tuesday, April 13, in honor of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month, CASA of Monterey County is a co-sponsor of a 6:30pm Candlelight Vigil at Monterey’s Custom House Plaza. The event is intended to “bring joy and raise awareness,” says CASA’s Siobhan Greene.
Speakers will include Judge Robert Moody and Father Paul Danielson, and performers including Dance Kids of Monterey County, guitar string ensemble Rondalla Alisal, and the Monterey Symphony Chorus.
On April 14, at 6:30pm, CASA holds an orientation at Starbucks in Del Rey Oaks for those interested in becoming volunteers.
According to Greene, right now there are about 400 abused kids “in the system” countywide. “In the system” refers to the process, sometimes lengthy, that occurs after an abused child is turned over for protection and before their fate is resolved.
Kids who are removed from their homes based on substantiated cases of abuse, neglect or abandonment, Greene says, are sometimes placed with relatives, but more commonly in foster homes or group foster care. Eventually, some kids are reunited with their parents.
To facilitate the transitions, a Court Appointed Special Advocate accompanies the child to court hearings and provides reports to the judge handling the child’s case. CASAs also help with smaller but still important needs.
Call CASA at 455-6800 for information on becoming a volunteer; also, contact the Child Abuse Prevention Council at 755-4737 to report child abuse or to get help. [BW]
Major Marina Project Challenged
The controversial Marina Heights development has taken the inevitable step into court. The plan to build 1,050 housing units in what’s now a partially-used, partially-abandoned residential quarter of Fort Ord is the subject of a lawsuit filed April 1, in Superior Court by a group calling itself Marina Citizens for Accountability in Government (MCAG).
Attorney Richard Rosenthal, who specializes in consumer class action suits and has a history of challenging local government on various land use decisions, represents the petitioners, a group described as citizens of the “county.”
Rosenthal argues that the Marina City Council approved the massive development project in March without sufficient information.
The MCAG believes the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was not complete and the city granted inappropriate exemptions from so-called Smart Growth provisions in the city’s General Plan in order to “accommodate” the project. A fiscal impact report was not required by the city council but the MCAG believes one is in order.
Although Rosenthal says he has not reviewed the calculation, the MCAG claims the developer stands to “take away profits of $225-350 million from this public property” bought for $10.6 million.
Michael Shaw, who represents the Marina Heights development team said he had not seen the suit and was unable to comment.
Mayor Ila Mettee-McCutchon said she was disappointed. “After about 30 meetings with the planning commission and the economic development commission and 10 different ones with the city council, I am perfectly confident we went through the process correctly,” she said. “There was probably more public input on this project than any other I have been involved with in this city.” [AS]
The Crew Has Arrived
A group of scientists and journalists retracing the 1940 expedition of author John Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts, documented in Steinbeck’s The Log of the Sea of Cortez, has rounded the Baja Peninsula and entered the Gulf of California (formerly known as the Sea of Cortez).
Though well supplied with drinks, the crew is seeking local HAM radio operators to help set up phone patch connections so they can communicate with family and friends back home. The crew will be on the radio every day at 5:30pm around 14.279 MHz, with the call sign “WA3EGM maritime mobile.” [PMcK]