Thursday, November 10, 2005
Salinas’ Lights Off
It appears Salinas’ Holiday Parade of Lights has become a victim of its own success. According to Luis Alvarez, president of the Oldtown Salinas Association that has run the popular holiday event since 2002, the parade has grown dramatically every year. But the amount of help needed to organize it hasn’t.
“We started it hoping to get more community involvement in planning it,” Alvarez says. “We’re a business association—and a small one at that with only one paid staff member—so it’s a little difficult to keep taking that project on full time.”
In its place, the association will organize a series of
weekend events in Oldtown Salinas to attract more foot traffic
during the holiday season. [RV]
Plan for the People
True to his word, Supervisor Dave Potter became the first signatory on an initiative which would amend the Monterey County General Plan.
Supporters—including the Sierra Club, LandWatch, Citizens for Responsible Growth, and Friends, Artists and Neighbors of Elkhorn Slough, among other community groups—began collecting signatures this week. The will need about 9,000 signatures to qualify the general plan ballot measure for the June 2006 election.
The initiative aims to implement good land-use planning throughout Monterey County by focusing on four key policies. It would focus future growth in cities and in five “community areas,” (Pajaro, Castroville, Boronda, Chualar, and Fort Ord). It would require a countywide election to approve any subdivision that’s not located in these designated areas, with an exception for agriculture. It would require that adequate infrastructure and a water supply exist before the development is approved. And it would increase the county’s affordable housing requirements.
Land Watch Executive Director Chris Fitz says county supervisors’ lack of leadership on a new general plan have spurred the various groups—and Potter—to take action. The general plan update process, which started in 1999 and has cost taxpayers more than $6 million to date, has been commandeered by big developers and their attorneys, Fitz charges.
“When it comes to land use, Monterey County government is broken,” he says. “And the people now have to step into this void of leadership and…ensure that Monterey County doesn’t turn into a Santa Clara County or an LA County or a Riverside County.” [JL]