Thursday, March 18, 2004
The state Coastal Commission will review local coastal programs for Monterey County and Sand City when it meets in Monterey this week.
The Commission will look at local issues on March 18, beginning at 9am, at the Hyatt Regency, 1 Old Golf Course Road, when it reviews Central Coast district topics.
Monterey County topics will begin with a presentation by Elkhorn Slough Estuarine scientists on threatened coastal ecosystems, specifically on what defines maritime chaparral and coastal prairie, and will be followed by public hearings on both local coastal programs.
Sand City has asked the Coastal Commission to amend its land-use plan and zoning ordinance to add commercial, mixed-use and preservation zonings, and delete zonings for industrial, heavy commercial, and industrial-park land use.
At the end of the day on March 18 the commission will receive a briefing by staff on seawater desalination and the status of various desal proposals along the coast.
Also on Thursday, the commission will consider the following:
•An appeal of a granting permit that would allow property owners to divide 17.03 acres into six lots, grade & install water system facilities, and remove 28 Coast Live Oaks, on the east side of Paradise Road near Lake View Drive, North Monterey County.
•Two applications to abandon a section of beach area and build a new, 600-ft-long driven sheet-pile metal seawall at Monterey Beach Hotel, 2600 Sand Dunes Dr.
•An application to demolish a 2,225-sq-ft. single-family home, and construct a 3,470-sq.-ft. replacement home at Hurricane Point, between Highway 1 and the ocean in Big Sur.
For more information, or a complete meeting agenda, check out www.coastal.ca.gov/mtgcurr.html. [JL]
PG City Council Candidates Jump The Gun
Two candidates have announced they are running for Pacific Grove City Council seats in the November election, although, as City Manager Ross Hubbard, says, “It’s only March.”
“From the city’s standpoint there are no candidates, because the process doesn’t start until July. The nomination period is not until July 12 and runs through August 6.”
Bruce Obbink, a PG planning commissioner, and Jim Manuian, on the city’s recreation board, are running for the three seats that expire this fall. Seats now held by Councilmembers Sue Renz and Jim Costello are up for grabs, as is mayor pro temp Don Gasperson’s.
Obbink says that PG needs to focus on budgetary issues.
“PG is a little unique to some other cities in that it relies very heavily on tourist dollars to make it work,” he says. “The leadership is going to have to be extremely creative in figuring out ways to bolster the financial base of the city in order to retain the level of service that it’s accustomed to. Temporary occupancy taxes and sales taxes are about the only two places you can easily go, but those are not very palatable alternatives if you can find others.”
Obbink, the former CEO for a trade association for table grape farmers, says that throughout his career he developed the perspective of how to “move forward rather than being against everything.”
“You can’t just go through and fire this guy and that guy,” he says. “We have got to have the thought process of how to retain the character of the community but at the same time how do we bring an infusion of dollars to the city coffers.”
As a member of the city’s Golf Course Advisory Committee, Obbink advised the city to go forward with the controversial proposed $3.5 million dollar expansion to the city’s golf clubhouse. He says money raised from the new clubhouse will go right back to the city.
“It is a way to raise money for the city and to bring in revenue through the pro shop and restaurant,” he says. “All the money spent in those two facilities goes to the city’s general fund. It has a potential to be a big money raiser without disturbing the ‘green fees’ paid into the city’s enterprise fund for maintenance of the golf course.”
Obbink says that in golf courses across the country, an average of $6 is spent in golf clubhouse restaurants per round of golf, but that in PG, the number is $1.90.
“We have about 90,000 rounds of golf played here each year,” he says. “We need the ones who play to spend money here and we can’t do that in a 43-year-old building. This is a short- and long-term chance to bring more dollars into the city, for people to play golf, eat in the restaurants and stay overnight in the town. All those tax dollars start adding up.”
Jim Manuian was unavailable for comment at press time. [BW]
Singing Food Comes to Castroville
Two myths will come under musical attack next week, when the Opera of Health performs at the Castroville Community Center. One myth is that children don’t like opera—at these shows, kids sing along as costumed characters such as TooBee the Honeybee and Carmen the Great Chef of Naples perform food-friendly versions of classic arias.
The other myth is that kids won’t eat vegetables, and that is the event’s intended take-home message.
The Opera of Health is a Chicago-based theater group that travels the nation singing out against childhood obesity. The group is being brought here by a coalition including the Farm to Schools program, three Salinas Valley school districts, the Monterey Health Department and others. It was spearheaded by Dawn Snyder of the Santa Rita Union School District.
More than 800 second-graders and their teachers will attend two performances on Thursday, March 25.
Kari Bernardi of the Farm to School program says the national crisis of obesity has a deep effect locally, and there are a lot of children in Monterey County schools who have type-2 diabetes—which is caused by poor diet and lack of exercise.
“We need to get kids off of super-sized soda and on to water,” Bernardi says. “We need to get them off big-grab bags of Cheetos and on to apples and carrots. We believe this can help turn the tide.” [EJ]