Thursday, December 2, 2004
The Weekly’s SBC Nightmare
Have you called 411 and asked for a post office in Washington only to get the Washington Post?
Have you gotten lost in the maze of the telephone bureaucracy? Gotten an outrageous bill that crippled your checkbook? Has anyone explained what all those fees are for?
Got a gripe about the phone company? Has SBC done you wrong? We want to know about it.
We want your telephone nightmare stories for an upcoming report. Contact reporter Andrew Scutro by, ah, telephone at 394-5656 x106, or e-mail email@example.com [Andrew Scutro]
Last Chance to Comment On Mini-City
It’s the public’s final opportunity to tell Planning Commissioners and County Supervisors what they think about Rancho San Juan, which would be the largest development project in Monterey County’s history.
On Dec. 2 beginning at 9am, the Planning Commission will hold its final hearing on the 2,600-acre proposal. It will then make its recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.
The Supes will consider the 4,000-home project at three meetings: 9:30am on Dec. 3; 1:30pm on Dec. 7; and 1:30pm on Dec. 14. All meetings will be held in the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, 240 Church St., Salinas.
The proposal includes homes, a golf course, hotels, shops, schools, commercial space, and a town center. This new mini-city would be developed over a 20-year period, and would be built between Salinas and Prunedale.
Opponents say the huge development will pave over crop land, will further jam already congested roadways, and will make the water overdraft situation even worse. And they charge that the County is rushing the project through the process without giving the public, or County officials, enough time to read and study the environmental documents and other reports about the project (which together form a pile weighing some 16 pounds).
On the other hand, proponents say the county needs more housing and jobs, and tout the plan’s walkable communities and new urbanism design.
Until about a week ago, those supporters primarily included Rancho San Juan developers and their attorneys. Recently, however, some Latino community groups have collected about 2,400 signatures from East Salinas residents in support of Rancho San Juan. [Jessica Lyons]
Sanctuary Wants Advisors
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council is seeking applications from volunteers looking to fill some open positions.
Formed in 1994 to promote public involvement in the maintenance and future of the Marine Sanctuary, the Council includes 20 volunteer members, representatives of local groups that use the area, including the eight local, state and federal jurisdictions and, most importantly, the general population.
Two positions are open for several of the areas of interest into which the Council is divided. These include education, diving, tourism and the general category known as “at-large.” Each position requires a primary and an alternate member who stands in if the primary member is absent or resigns. Each of these new representatives will serve until 2008.
In addition, the commercial fishing and research positions each need an alternate member to serve until 2007, as they will finish the terms of the former position holders who retired from the Council early.
Members meet once every two months for a day-long meeting with Sanctuary representatives at various locations up and down the coast. At these meetings, the Council members serve as ambassadors from the community that the Sanctuary influences. Members must also attend a one-day retreat to set annual priorities, and they can participate in subcommittees and special taskforces.
“The Advisory Council has helped us prioritize issues,” says Sanctuary spokesperson Rachel Saunders, “including coastal development, water quality, and the overall protection of resources and wildlife. Particularly they have helped in the development of a visitor center for the Sanctuary and to better manage cruise boat emissions and desalinization.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a federal agency run by the US Department of Commerce, will select from applicants based on experience with the position, on professional and community affiliations, and on conservation philosophy.
Those interested can download the application off the Sanctuary website at www.mbnms.nos.noaa.gov. Applications must be submitted by Jan. 21, 2005. [Brendan Garvey]
Salinas Activist Honored
MacGregor Eddy says she had no idea that her continuous struggle for peace and lifetime of hard work would reward her so richly. Eddy, a registered nurse and peace activist, will receive the 2004 Bahá’í Human Rights Award. Awarded to a Monterey County resident for the past 25 years, the Human Rights Award is received by a person who has “performed a human rights service as an avocation and not a vocation,” according to Noreen Steinmetz, a member of the selection committee.
Eddy’s many contributions to peace over the past 30 years include volunteering as a peace activist; working as a nursing volunteer in Salinas, Nicaragua and El Salvador; hosting a bilingual radio program on peace and social justice; and organizing weekly peace vigils in Salinas.
“I’m concerned about human rights in Monterey County,” Eddy said. “It’s easy to look at problems abroad, so why don’t we look here at home instead?”
The Human Rights Day Luncheon takes place at noon on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Monterey Elks Lodge, 150 Mar Vista Drive, Monterey. $30. Space limited. [Jennie Tezak]