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ETC. Photo of the day by Diane Grindol. So many eyes in the display at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing. Photographed with an iPhone SE. Submit your best horizontal photos. (Please include the location where the photo was taken in the caption.)

Will Carmel finally adopt an 18th-century practice and get addresses?

Good Evening,

Pam Marino here, reporting on how Carmel-by-the-Sea may finally enter the 18th century. You read that right. Carmel may actually acquiesce and adopt a practice that took off in Europe in the 1700s, specifically using street addresses.

The 104-year-old town, which prides itself on its quaint village character but now faces mounting 21st-century realities, is accepting what officials in European countries figured out 400 years ago—that having numbers on houses might be helpful for things like mail delivery.

Instead of address numbers, the town is famous for homeowners naming their cottages with monikers like “Sea Haven,” “Dreamcatcher” or “Sans Souci.” (Someone made an interactive Google Map with all the names that’s fun to check out. One of my favorites from that map is “Carmelot.”)

Those names don’t get used for mail delivery. Instead, the town adopted centralized mail delivery early in the last century. Most residents and businesses have P.O. boxes at the Carmel Post Office on 5th Avenue between Dolores and San Carlos streets. Others take advantage of a free messenger service the city established in 2000 for people who may be disabled or can’t for some reason can’t make it in person to the post office.

If a resident is giving directions to their house or a business an “address” might be, using the Carmel Art Association as an example, “Dolores Street between 5th & 6th Ave.” A home would use, “San Carlos 5 SE of 14th,” meaning on San Carlos Street, five homes southeast of 14th.

Imagine you are a delivery driver trying to drop Amazon packages to someone with that type of address. Increasingly Carmelites are finding that receiving packages and using rideshare services are getting harder to do. In addition, the state of California is struggling with vague addresses provided when residents apply for Real IDs.


A Carmel-by-the-Sea street sign, in a city that does not have street addresses. Photo by Daniel Dreifuss. 

The suggestion that maybe it’s time to consider addresses came up on Tuesday during the Carmel City Council meeting, during a discussion about the free delivery service. That service is costing the city a lot of money—since 2013 it’s cost just under $600,000 total to deliver mail to less than 200 residents a year—and for the last three years, the council has kicked around ideas on whether to end it or find a way to reduce the cost.

The most recent plan is for the city to continue its contract with Peninsula Messenger Service until Dec. 31, 2022 for an amount not to exceed $122,000. Since it will likely cost more than $122,000 to deliver to everyone currently signed up, the city will charge residents $45 a month unless they apply for an exemption due to a physical limitation. The plan passed 5-0 on Tuesday.

“As much as I hate to say this, I think it’s time for the community to have a conversation,” Councilmember Jeff Baron said. “We’re in a much more difficult environment now than we were 100 or 50 or even 20 years ago.”

It won’t be an easy conversation. There are some that will cry about protecting village character. But progress has a way of pushing itself into any conversation and in the end will probably have the most persuasive voice.

-Pam Marino, staff writer, pam@mcweekly.com

BY THE NUMBERS

Monterey County surpassed 500 Covid-19 related deaths this weekOver the past few weeks the county health department has been cleaning its data—meaning that many of these deaths occurred earlier in the pandemic but are now officially attributed to Covid.

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As another heat wave arrives, cooling centers open and residents are urged to reduce power usage. The highest temperatures are expected on Saturday, with 107 degrees forecast for Pinnacles National Park.

Armed with her camera, a local street-art fan is documenting the murals of Monterey County. Kat Morgan is a consultant for nonprofit organizations by day, and spends her free time mural hunting. “I love learning about a community through murals,” she says.

Nearly 50 percent of calls to the Salinas Fire Department are related to homelessness. Firefighters are getting busier everyday, and at least some of the reason is due to fires started in homeless encampments.

State Sen. John Laird secures $4.5 million for infrastructure renovations at the Point Sur Lighthouse. The funds will be used to repair access bridges and help ensure that the landmark “will be protected and preserved, safeguarding the park as a prime tourist attraction for all Californians,” according to Laird’s office.

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LOCAL INSPIRATION

LOCAL INSPIRATION of the day. Susann Cate Lynn painted this sea and sky scene from memory during the Covid-19 lockdown. “Remembering nature’s beauty and painting those memories kept me feeling more positive than not,” Lynn says. This painting, and more, are part of Lynn’s “Isolation Inspiration” exhibit, which is on display at the Venture Gallery in Monterey, through July 31. Submit your Local Inspiration (digital art, music, multimedia, video, etc.; please include the medium you’ve used, and note when and where it was created).

Want to run in the recall election? Now’s your chance. Candidate forms are available starting today, July 9; the deadline to file is July 16.

Dance party. Latin dance nights are back at American Burger in Monterey, with dates on the calendar through the month of July.

Monterey County Free Libraries are open again. Check your local branch for specific opening hours.

BEST OF MONTEREY BAY® REAL ESTATE

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IN CONTEXT

Should we all be working a four-day work week? In tests in Iceland, productivity stayed the same or even improved.
-BBC, July 6, 2021

Fish are also suffering from illicit drug use. According to a study conducted in the Czech Republic, methamphetamines are flowing into the rivers and being ingested by the fish that live there.
-New Scientist, July 6, 2021

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HELPFUL DISTRACTIONS

Three Guinness world records and now a Spelling Bee victory. Zaila Avant-garde is one accomplished teen.

Instead of spilling some Panera soup on your shorts, why not wear Panera (huh?). The fast-casual food chain is now selling swimwear.

We welcome your tips, comments and feedback. 

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