Monday, March 31, 2008

Response to Anonymous Comments on Forest Theater Master Plans Posts

ABSTRACT: Two recent Anonymous Comments are reproduced; a comment on the post Forest Theater Foundation Consultant’s Master Plan for the Forest Theatre (Monday, October 22, 2007) and another comment on the post FOREST THEATER FACILITY MASTER PLAN: A Study of Patron, User Group & Neighborhood Impact “Interrelationships” (Sunday, October 21, 2007). RESPONSE TO COMMENTS is presented with respect to the comments expressed in these two Anonymous Comments.

Anonymous said...
I'm not sure what the point of the "correction and clarification" of my earlier posting was. As the long posting shows, what I said was correct - the Congleton plan was only received and never actually accepted by council or discussed by the public at large. Posting excerpts from CRA newsletters is kind of silly - after all, the CRA, being the equivalent of a political action committee, has been known to , how shall I put it, stretch the truth, when it suits their purpose, just as much as the politicians do! In point of fact, I am not aware that the CRA ever actually commented on the Congleton plan itself, or even sent a representative to the Commission meetings where the plan was developed. Caring citizens such as Skip Lloyd (see his own comment - "As you know, there was a Master Plan done for the Forest Theater back in 2001, and I wasn’t aware much of that,") admit to knowing very little about the Congleton plan, and certainly never discussed it in a public forum. Having attended the neighborhood meeting, it was clear that the plan being discussed was merely a draft subject to hearing neighbor's comments and that the Foundation has since incorporated much of those comments into the next draft. It was also clear that there was no major "removal of trees" was being contemplated along Mountain View, so why this blog says that there was is very odd. I also understand that the Foundation has said on numerous occasions that the "New Meadow Development" was simply an option to be explored and if the neighbors prefer parking both inside and outside the park, then they would accept that as well. Ditto with the "wall" around the property - it was explained that the "wall" example was merely an option to control sound, not a final recommendation. Having heard from the neighbors, it was apparent to those of us in attendance that a "fence" was preferred. It was also clear that McCann cares deeply about the property and the community and it is sad that these pages refer to him as an "outsider" or "Los Angeles" consultant. He is obviously an expert in theatre, which Congleton, for all his best intentions, is not. Congleton paved the way for the McCann plan and I think we should thank them both and treat them both with respect.

Anonymous said...
I can help you out, I think. The Congleton plan was not "finalized" as you put it. It was only received by the council and never discussed by the community at large. It was discussed at some poorly attended cultural commission meetings, but as far as a real "community" airing, it never happened. By the by, must we refer to people as "out of towners"?? Mr. McCann is a theatre expert, where Congleton is not. I, for one, am glad we have had input from both of them!

RESPONSE TO COMMENTS:
Comments about the Community and Cultural Commission, the Carmel Residents Association (CRA) and Skip Lloyd are ancillary compared to the main issue vis-à-vis the Forest Theatre; and that is, the lack of leadership by the current mayor and city councils from 2001 to the present in not acting upon, budgeting for and implementing a Master Plan for the Forest Theatre. This individual and collective lack of leadership is part of a pattern of generalized lack of leadership towards the City’s (the public’s) cultural, historical and environmental assets, including the Scout House, Flanders Mansion, Lester Rowntree Arboretum, Mission Trail Nature Preserve, et cetera. Furthermore, the City’s disproportionate financial resources directed at the Sunset Center, namely Sunset Cultural Center, Inc. (SCC), have resulted in the mayor and city council neglecting other cultural, historical and environmental public assets.

A lesson of the Forest Theater Facilities Master Plan (2001) experience is that a mayor and city council should never again be allowed to fail to expeditiously act upon, budget for and implement the recommendations of a Master Plan. Sadly, the failure to realize the Master Plan (2001) is also part of a pattern of failing to implement numerous aspects of the Local Coastal Program for the short-term and long-term benefit of Carmelites and the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

To ensure the failures of the past are not repeated in the present and future, the mayor and city council would be wise to place, as soon as possible, the “next draft” of the Forest Theater Foundation Master Plan on an agenda for the purposes of informing the public and soliciting input from the public.

As stewards of the Forest Theatre property for the public and as a good faith effort, the City should initiate a matching program for the purpose of implementing the recommendations of the Master Plan i.e., for every private dollar raised by the Forest Theater Foundation, the City would pledge a dollar towards completion of the Master Plan.

If, by definition, the lack of “a real ‘community airing” means Carmelites were unaware of the Forest Theater Facilities Master Plan in 2001, then the reason for that was the failure of Mayor Sue McCloud to follow through and hold subsequent public hearings on the Forest Theater Facility Master Plan. This fact prompts the question: If Sue McCloud and the City Council of 2001 failed to have “a real ‘community’ airing” on the Forest Theater Facility Master Plan in 2001, what does that say about the probability of success of any future Forest Theater Master Plan?

NOTE: The Carmel-by-the-Sea WATCHDOG! encourages substantive comments which contribute information and insights into issues facing the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea; The Carmel-by-the-Sea WATCHDOG! discourages petty, small-minded, minutia-oriented comments as illustrated by a recent letter to the editor in The Monterey County Herald by a certain Monterey Peninsula mayor.

Friday, March 28, 2008

SPEAK IN SUPPORT OF OUR CARMEL PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS & CONSOLIDATION OF CARMEL, MONTEREY & PACIFIC GROVE FIRE DEPARTMENTS

WHAT: Attendance at the upcoming City Council Special Meeting is requested and Carmelites are encouraged to speak during Appearances in support of our Carmel Professional Firefighters and their judgment that consolidation of the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments is “in the best interest of the citizens as far as life safety, protection of property, and level of service.”

WHEN: Thursday, April 3, 2008 @ 4:30 P.M.
Note: The regular City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 1, 2008 has been cancelled and rescheduled as a Special Meeting on Thursday, April 3, 2008 due to the City’s participation in the State Water Resources Control Board Meeting to Receive Public Policy Statements regarding whether to Adopt a Draft Cease and Desist Order against California American Water on Tuesday, April 1, 2008 @ 1:00 P.M. in Monterey.

WHERE: City Hall
E/s Monte Verde St. between Ocean Av. & 7th Av.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA.

WHY: In the professional judgment of our Carmel Firefighters, the only viable option for maintaining our current level of fire service is consolidation of the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments. The City-commissioned Citygate Associates’ Fire Department Feasibility Analysis for the Cities of Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel Final Report supports our Carmel Firefighters judgment. Mayor Sue McCloud, Vice Mayor Ken Talmage and City Council Member Karen Sharp have all publicly stated that full consolidation is not a “viable option.”

IMPORTANT REASONS FOR CONSOLIDATION OF FIRE DEPARTMENTS:
Whatever the City may claim, in reality it has no other better or more efficient options.

Failure to comply to NFPA staffing standards means the City is willing to accept all of the risks, including personal liability, and is willing to compromise the safety of the citizens, by having an improperly structured emergency response system

At this time, it seems the City is willing to accept the adverse risks which come with having an improperly structured emergency response system. These risks include loss of life, property, a compromised tax base and personal liability thrust upon fire, administration and government individuals, plus the jurisdiction.

The City’s current contract with Monterey and Pacific Grove in its current form is unsustainable due to Carmel being charged a low, good faith fee by Monterey and Pacific Grove. What we need now is for the City to make a permanent commitment to this system and pay its fair share.

In spite of having, through this contract, an emergency response system, which is delivering the best levels of service, the City of Carmel is continuing to consider other options, all of which are cost prohibitive and result in lower levels of service. This includes possibly reverting back to a single station fire department with stripped down staffing levels of past years. The Carmel Professional Firefighters urge you to please call and write City Hall and speak up at upcoming council meetings to assure your emergency response system remains properly structured and staffed to continue providing you with the best and most efficient levels of service, which you have received for the last three years.

Source: Carmel Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local # 4579
August Beacham, President
Matt Gardner, Vice-President
Mitchell Kastros, Secretary-Treasurer
Bruce Meyer, Trustee
Ian Watts, Trustee
Ken Hutchinson, Trustee

If you have any questions, et cetera, please respond to CarmelFirefighters@yahoo.com, or call 831-596-4259 and ask for August Beacham.

REBUTTAL to The Monterey County Herald’s “Administrative merger of fire departments gets mayor's backing

ABSTRACT: On Wednesday, March 26, 2008, The Monterey County Herald published the article, “Administrative merger of fire departments gets mayor's backing" by Herald Staff Writer Dennis Taylor. Rebuttals to statements in the article are presented. The format is, as follows: Statement from The Monterey County Herald followed by a Rebuttal. COMMENTS are made regarding Mayor Sue McCloud, Vice Mayor Ken Talmage and City Council Member Karen Sharp, a Citygate Associates Fire Department Feasibility Analysis for the Cities of Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel Final Report finding and governance. Lastly, PERTINENT REFERENCES FROM THE CITYGATE ASSOCIATES Final Report are reproduced.

• The Monterey County Herald:
But they (McCloud, Talmage and Sharp) say a formal merger of the three departments is not a viable option.

Rebuttal:
The McCloud/Talmage/Sharp position is diametrical to the Citygate Associates Final Report; the Final Report states, “There is clear recognition that neither operationally nor with appropriate cost effectiveness can Carmel maintain its own fire headquarters function basically from now on.” “The fiscal, legal and operational changes in the fire service make small departments so longer viable in providing fully effective emergency services.”

• The Monterey County Herald:
"Our fire department has worked very effectively with the Pacific Grove fire chief acting as our fire chief," Sharp said. "He has created a very good working relationship with the firefighters in our department, as well as his own."

Rebuttal:
Presently, Carmel contracts with Pacific Grove for chief officer assistance...However, Pacific Grove does not really have the appropriately sized fire management staff to continue this arrangement in the long-term,” according to the Citygate Associates Final Report.

• The Monterey County Herald:
McCloud says an administrative consolidation of the three departments is the only one ever discussed because Monterey's firefighters union has a binding arbitration arrangement with its city — something the city of Carmel would rather not adopt.

"And if there's some way around the issue of binding arbitration, the rest of it could be discussed,” McCloud said.

Rebuttal:
Despite the “City of Carmel” not wanting to adopt binding arbitration, “it cannot be determined at this point if Binding Arbitration may or may not be an issue for consolidation,” according to the Citygate Associates Final Report. Moreover, in the words of Carmel Professional Firefighter Mitch Kastros,”’binding arbitration’ is not considered a deal breaker.”

Therefore, it appears Mayor Sue McCloud is using “binding arbitration” as a ruse to prematurely halt progress towards full consolidation of the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments.

• The Monterey County Herald:
Talmage and Sharp noted that only seven of Carmel's 1,243 fire calls in 2007 were for significant fires. A total of 881 were medical calls, and 20 were for minor fires or smoke.

Rebuttal:
“Major fires within a jurisdiction account for about 1% of total calls, including large city jurisdictions such as Los Angeles and New York City. They usually run a little less in smaller departments such as ours. According to the figures in the article our number is .56 of one percent, which is misleading. Take away the approximately 500 mutual aid calls the ambulance ran outside of the City in 2007 and we are at .94 of one percent,” according to Carmel Professional Firefighter Mitch Kastros. Ergo, these statistics do not support the anti-full consolidation positions of Council Members Ken Talmage and Karen Sharp.

COMMENTS:
Finally, if Mayor Sue McCloud, Vice Mayor Ken Talmage and Council Member Karen Sharp truly believe “the high quality of service is worth preserving,” then they should defer to the recommendations of the Citygate Associates Final Report and the judgment of the Carmel Firefighters and resume consolidation talks now with the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove towards full consolidation of the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments beginning July 1, 2008!

It is especially important to note that “with or without consolidation, Carmel needs to have 3 career firefighters assigned daily to the to the engine company rather than the present 2 in order to have an effective fire and EMS presence at the scene of an emergency. While this represents an added cost of $400,000 per year to the City of Carmel, this added staffing need would be there regardless of whether Carmel operated its own fire department or merged line operations with Monterey and Pacific Grove,” according to the Citygate Associates Final Report.

According to The Herald, “McCloud and council members Ken Talmage and Karen Sharp — all up for re-election — are in conflict with the Carmel Professional Firefighters Local 4579, whose firefighters say merging with Monterey and Pacific Grove is the only way to maintain top-flight service to the Carmel community.” Question: Is this evidence of good governance and creating a healthy working environment for our Carmel Firefighters or is this evidence of poor governance and city council members unnecessarily jeopardizing the health, welfare and safety of Carmelites?

PERTINENT REFERENCES FROM CITYGATE ASSOCIATES FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS FINAL REPORT:
While Carmel does use the JPA Ambulance personnel as two other “on-duty” firefighters, this is not a complete solution as the ambulance covers a much larger area than the community of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Given this, the ambulance crew is not always available for structural fire staffing. Of the departments reviewed in this study, Carmel is the most “fragile” line firefighting staffing situation and, regardless of consolidation, should strive to add a 3rd full-time firefighter to the engine every day to staff this unit more effectively and at a level comparable to its neighboring fire departments. (Pg. 15)

Presently, Carmel contracts with Pacific Grove for chief officer assistance...However, Pacific Grove does not really have the appropriately sized fire management staff to continue this arrangement in the long-term. (Pg. 18)

Carmel has clearly recognized that it cannot provide even the minimally necessary range of headquarter staff functions...and has contracted with the City of Pacific Grove..There is clear recognition that neither operationally nor with appropriate cost effectiveness can Carmel maintain its own fire headquarters function basically from now on. (Pg. 20)

5.2 BINDING ARBITRATION

Without meet and confer with all three employee groups to determine consolidated wages, hours and working conditions and without a final CALPERS Actuarial Study to determine which city or a new Joint Powers Authority (JPA) would be fiscally the best to become the consolidated employer, it cannot be determined at this point if Binding Arbitration may or may not be an issue for consolidation. There are several possibilities: the combined firefighters and/or management personnel may choose to no longer need it; the two other partner cities in this consolidation effort could agree to leave it in place if Monterey were to become the consolidated employer; or if Monterey was not to become the consolidated employer, then binding arbitration would not have to be included in a new labor relations agreement. (Pg. 33)

...we noted that with or without consolidation, Carmel needs to have 3 career firefighters assigned daily to the to the engine company rather than the present 2 in order to have an effective fire and EMS presence at the scene of an emergency. While this represents an added cost of $400,000 per year to the City of Carmel, this added staffing need would be there regardless of whether Carmel operated its own fire department or merged line operations with Monterey and Pacific Grove. (Pg. 35)

...what is important is that the cities have recognized that neither Carmel nor Pacific Grove can continue to provide cost-effective stand-alone headquarters supervision and incident command for their fire departments at their present headquarters staffing levels...The fiscal, legal and operational changes in the fire service make small departments so longer viable in providing fully effective emergency services. (Pg. 42)

Source: CITYGATE ASSOCIATES LLC
FIRE DEPARTMENT CONSOLIDATION FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS FOR THE CITIES OF MONTEREY, PACIFIC GROVE & CARMEL
Final Report
June 12, 2007

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dolores St. Residents Prevail with City's Removal of Speed Hump

ABSTRACT: Earlier this week, the speed hump placed on Dolores St. between 15th Av. and Santa Lucia Av. was removed by the City. It was originally installed in mid-October 2007 at a cost of approximately $5,000.00 for a 60-90 day trial period. After numerous residents spoke during Appearances at the City Council meeting of February 5, 2008 calling for the removal of the speed hump and after a neighborhood meeting in March of residents, Public Safety Director George Rawson, City Administrator Rich Guillen and police officers, the City finally removed the speed hump and two speed humps signs, replacing the signs with two 20 M.P.H. signs. Apparently, the City acted only after the attorney representing the neighbors spoke of “misappropriation of funds,” installation without a vote of the city council per the Municipal Code, et cetera.

AFTER: View of Dolores St. without Speed Hump
Dolores St. between 15th Av. & Santa Lucia Av.

BEFORE: View of Dolores St. with Speed Hump
Dolores St. between 15th Av. & Santa Lucia Av.

COMMENTS:
From mid-October 2007 to today, the City never notified the Dolores St. residents of the installation of the speed hump, responded to residents’ questions or notified residents of the removal of the speed hump, according to a source familiar with the process.

At the City Council meeting on February 5, 2008, after Appearances, not one city council member acknowledged or addressed the residents’ concerns about the speed hump.

Moral of the Speed Hump Debacle: Only with the presence of an attorney and the threat of a lawsuit, did the Dolores St. neighbors finally prevail and get the City to remove the speed hump on Dolores St.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Carmel Heritage Society Presents “CARMEL: A HISTORY IN ARCHITECTURE” LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING BY KENT SEAVEY

WHAT: “CARMEL: A HISTORY IN ARCHITECTURE” LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING BY KENT SEAVEY

Carmel: A History in Architecture (CA) (Images of America)
Author: Kent Seavey
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (October 2007)
Description: Historic preservation consultant Kent Seavey traces Carmel’s significant architecture ranging from Mission and Mission Revival to Tudor Revival and Spanish Romantic Revival styles.

WHEN: Thursday, March 27, 2008 @ 6:00 P.M.– 8:00 P.M.
6:00 P.M.-7:15 P.M. (Lecture) & 7:15 P.M.–8:00 P.M. (Q & A)

WHERE: Sunset Center, Carpenter Hall
W/s Mission St. between 8th Av. & 10th Av.

WHO: Carmel Heritage Society, a non-profit organization serving the community of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Their mission is “to protect, preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the community in a way that encourages public recognition and participation so that people will have a greater knowledge and appreciation of the community of Carmel-by-the-Sea and its sphere of influence.”

ADMISSION: $10 donation requested at the door

NOTE: Books will be available for purchase. Refreshments will be served.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Carmel Heritage Society
W/s Lincoln St between 5th Av. & 6th Av.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA.

Phone: (831) 624-4447
Email: info@carmelheritage.org

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mission Trail Nature Preserve Pedestrian Bridge Repair

UPDATE: Mission Trail Rails/Post Repair cost $600.00, according to the City's April 2008 Check Register, as follows:

Carmel-by-the-Sea
April 2008 Check Register
(Includes checks dated 3/25/08-3/31/08)

115094 3/25/08 KNA GENERAL CONSTRUCTION $ 600.00 MISSION TRAIL RAILS/POST REPAIR

ABSTRACT: BEFORE and AFTER photos of the Mission Trail Nature Preserve Pedestrian Bridge near the Mt. View Av. entrance are shown. The reconstruction/repair to this pedestrian bridge was done after the reconstruction of the grapestake fence along Mt. View Av. and Santa Rita St. at Forest Theatre, accomplished by the same man. It appears he and his trailer have left the area and will not continue reconstruction work on the much needed grapestake fence along Josselyn Lane at the Forest Theatre.

BEFORE
Storm damage to Mission Trail Nature Preserve Pedestrian Bridge, Mt. View Entrance, January 2008.

AFTER
Reconstruction/repair to Mission Trail Nature Preserve Pedestrian Bridge, Mt. View Entrance, March 2008.

AFTER
Close-up of reconstruction/repair of Pedestrian Bridge in Mission Trail Nature Preserve, March 2008.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

CARMEL PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS, INTERNATIONAL ASSOC. OF FIREFIGHTERS LOCAL #4579 Educating the Community on the Benefits of Combined Fire Protection

ABSTRACT: CARMEL PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS, LOCAL #4579Educating the Community on the Benefits of Combined Fire Protection” is reproduced. While Mayor Sue McCloud and Council Members Karen Sharp and Ken Talmage have stated that the Carmel Fire Department “works as is and needs no changes” and Mayor McCloud has stated that “we are staffed the way we should be,” the Carmel Firefighters believe that consolidation is the only viable option in the best interest of the citizens as far as “life safety, protection of property, and level of service.”

The Conclusion states, as follows:
“Unfortunately, at this point the City of Carmel has stepped back from full support of the combined fire department concept and is now looking at other options. These options are all cost prohibitive and result in a lower level of service. Carmel says it still sees a combined fire department as an option (and the city administrator says he personally supports it), but for some reason, which the fire chiefs and city administrators from Monterey and Pacific Grove cannot understand, the City still wants to consider other options.”

“It is our fear the other cities will, at some point, cancel the current contract (which is unsustainable in the long term) and Carmel will be forced into having a fire department which will not be capable of providing the levels of service it is currently receiving. Plus, it will cost more.”

A COMMENT is made with regard to supporting our Carmel Professional Firefighters by writing letters, sending emails, phoning City Hall, speaking at upcoming City Council meetings and sumitting letters to the editors. Contacts and contact information is complied.

CARMEL PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS


LOCAL #4579

Educating the Community on the Benefits of Combined Fire Protection

Defining the Issue:

The Carmel Fire Department is challenged with maintaining proper staffing levels of chief officers, clerical staff, and fulltime line personnel and volunteers who are needed to provide the best service to its citizens. The Department is currently in the process of attempting to combine fire service with the departments from Monterey and Pacific Grove. Many citizens need to know that the motivation for this proposal is based upon providing the best possible service to the community.

History:

Thirty to forty years ago if a citizen called the Carmel Fire Department to report an emergency, a fire department composed of nearly all volunteers would respond to the aid of the caller or person in distress, and in adequate numbers. In these times volunteers applied to and joined their fire departments, and were trained according to each individual department’s set of operational procedures and standards. Training was usually done once a week in the evening, for around two to three hours. When called to emergencies, the firefighters would respond from home or work, at any time of the day or night, to the aid of their citizens.

Current Trends:

The demands on today’s volunteer firefighter are overwhelming. A volunteer firefighter is now required by law to maintain the same level of training and readiness as a career firefighter. Because of these demands it is easy to see why the volunteer ranks have diminished so dramatically, especially in this area when the economic factor is added to the equation. The days of volunteers responding anytime from home and/or work are now unheard of due to the financial impact and time demands in today’s world. There is just no room in people’s lives for such a commitment to a volunteer organization.

Today’s “volunteer” firefighter, for the most part, is the fire academy graduate who joins a volunteer or, what is now referred to as a “paid call” fire department to gain experience until her or she finds a full time position in another department.

Due to the various dynamics just discussed, fire departments have had to enhance their staffing by hiring more fulltime personnel. However, the many small fire departments in this area are mostly understaffed and lacking all of the necessary equipment it takes to provide the best level of service to their customers.

Relatively recent standards by the government state emergency responders are required to respond within a minimum amount of time and with a minimum amount of staffing (NFPA Standard 1710). Combining staffing and resources from several independent fire departments into one consolidated department will deliver the “right amount of people in the right amount of time” in time critical emergencies. By doing so, no only are the citizens receiving the level of service they deserve and are entitled to, the emergency responders are able to perform their duties more efficiently and, most importantly, safer.

Causes of the Current Issues:

The causes of the staffing and response challenges for Carmel Fire Department are a diminished volunteer base and government standards NFPA 1710 which dictate staffing and response. Carmel Fire Department is continuing to operate at less than minimum staffing according to NFPA 1710. The volunteer firefighters, which used to augment staffing to reasonable levels, are not here anymore.

Desired Situation:

The goal of the Carmel Fire Department regarding staffing and response is to develop a system, which is both efficient and cost effective. Solutions to help achieve this goal are found in the Citygate Associates Fire Department Feasibility Analysis for the cities of Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel, which discusses staffing issues. The best solutions to the issue of staffing and response, for Carmel, are for the City to adopt the findings of the Citygate study, and to show the citizens the benefits they will receive as a result.

Discussion:

The Citygate study states that under today’s NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) regulations a fire department, with from one to five stations, requires a command staff of seven chief officers. These chief officers include one fire chief, one assistant chief, three shift supervising chiefs, a training officer and a fire marshal. In addition, this command staff heeds to be supported by clerical staff and inspectors. In a combined fire department as proposed by Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel, the costs of supporting the command staff would be shared between the three cities. If the city of Carmel were to remain independent it would still need to provide the same number of chief officers in its command staff, plus support. This system would be ineffective in terms of cost, so the solution in terms of command staffing is to combine resources. As the feasibility analysis points out the combined, or merged, headquarters, which includes chief officers and support staff, will save the system around $1.3 million compared to the staffing levels needed if each agency operates as a separate fire department.

In terms of line personnel and emergency response, NFPA 1710 suggests a four-minute response time for initial fire and ambulance response, and a maximum of eight minutes for subsequent responding units. Combining the three departments into one would accomplish this. NFPA 1710 also suggests minimum staffing to emergencies, which will take into account rapid mitigation of the incident. For example, a single room and contents fire suggests a minimum of 14 to 15 firefighters and emergency responders. This amount of staffing is designed to extinguish the fire, rescue citizens from the burning structure, treat the medical needs of the citizens, have back-up crews available and have separate standby crews in state of readiness to initiate firefighter rescue efforts if needed. This staffing is also considered adequate to contain the fire to the area of origin, which results in rapid positive results. Larger incidents will require more resources.

A combined fire department would set unified standards for all responding units to provide equal levels of care. Currently, Carmel Fire Department’s staffing to a reported structure fire is one engine with two firefighters from Carmel station, and one ambulance with two firefighters on the Carmel Regional Fire Ambulance (CRFA) unit from Carmel station (if available). In addition, one engine with three to four firefighters from Cypress fire District will respond according to an automatic aid agreement. The staffing on scene will be from five to eight personnel (not counting chief officers and other overhead), or roughly one-half of the NFPA 1710 standards. By combining with Monterey and Pacific Grove, Carmel citizens will initially receive between 13 to 16 emergency responders consisting of fire and medical personnel. This is currently being done under the present system, but response times do not meet the standards and individual units are operating under different operations and procedures. And, if the current contract was to become void or Carmel chooses not to go through with the proposal to combine departments, these staffing levels would diminish along with the level of service.

For several years the fire department has tried to convey the importance of adequate staffing in order to provide the proper levels of service. Recently, as pointed out in the Citygate feasibility analysis, cities now face punitive repercussions for not properly staffing their fire departments. Simply put, “with adequate staffing the problems and dynamics of the fire and emergency scene are more in control,” especially in terms of safety. The consequences of having an inadequately staffed emergency response system include loss of life, property and a compromised tax base. It is only a matter of time before an incident takes place to cause these consequences to be realized die to improper fire department staffing and structure.

An alternative fire department set (as of January 28, 2008 by the city administrator) calls for Carmel Fire Department to remain independent, yet be staffed and equipped in accordance to NFPA 1710. This system would be cost prohibitive and result in overall lower levels of service to the citizens of the town. There is reason to believe the City may attempt to staff this setup below the standard in order to save money, which will compromise levels of service even further.

We are about to enter our third year under the leadership of Chief Andrew Miller and Assistant Chief David Brown from Pacific Grove Fire Department. They have earned the trust of the Carmel Fire Department staff and we have bought in to the concept of combing forces with Pacific Grove and Monterey.

With our small numbers we continue to fulfill our required training, operational and fire prevention assignments, but it is tough without help. A combined fire department will allow us to function more productively, providing us with back-up resources to assist and allow us to complete our assignments on time, and without burnout. We will be able to effectively train without interruption because there will be a crew available to respond to an emergence during a training exercise. The fact you will have a minimum immediate response of 15 firefighters with adequate resources to a structure fire in Carmel is worth more than you can ever imagine.

The labor groups representing the line personnel (firefighters) are strongly in favor of this proposal. Proactively, we have been doing things to promote unity and accountability, such as regular meetings to keep lines of communication open. Since Chiefs Miller and Brown took over almost three years ago, Carmel Fire personnel have been training to the same performance standards as the firefighters in Monterey and Pacific Grove. Again, the motivating factor is providing consistently better and safer service to the customer.

Conclusion:

Unfortunately, at this point the City of Carmel has stepped back from full support of the combined fire department concept and is now looking at other options. These options are all cost prohibitive and result in a lower level of service. Carmel says it still sees a combined fire department as an option (and the city administrator says he personally supports it), but for some reason, which the fire chiefs and city administrators from Monterey and Pacific Grove cannot understand, the City still wants to consider other options.

It is our fear the other cities will, at some point, cancel the current contract (which is unsustainable in the long term) and Carmel will be forced into having a fire department which will not be capable of providing the levels of service it is currently receiving. Plus, it will cost more.

Carmel Professional Firefighters
IAFF Local #4579

August Beacham, President
Matt Gardner, Vice-President
Mitchell Kastros, Secretary-Treasurer
Bruce Meyer, Trustee
Ian Watts, Trustee
Ken Hutchinson, Trustee

E-mail: CarmelFirefighters@yahoo.com

NOTE: NFPA 1710: Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments

Document Scope: 1.1.1 This standard contains minimum requirements relating to the organization and deployment of fire suppression operations, emergency medical operations, and special operations to the public by substantially all career fire departments. 1.1.2 The requirements address functions and objectives of fire department emergency service delivery, response capabilities, and resources. 1.1.3 This standard also contains minimum requirements for managing resources and systems, such as health and safety, incident management, training, communications, and pre-incident planning. 1.1.4 This standard addresses the strategic and system issues involving the organization, operation, and deployment of a fire department and does not address tactical operations at a specific emergency incident.

NFPA 1710: A Standard for Every Professional Fire Department

COMMENT:
• Support our Carmel Professional Firefighters by writing letters, sending emails, phoning City Hall and speaking at upcoming City Council meetings.
Contacts and contact information, as follows:
City Administrator
Rich Guillen
City of Carmel-by-the-Sea
P.O. Box CC
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921
Telephone: (831) 620-2000
Email: rguillen@ci.carmel.ca.us

City Council
Web site: www.ci.carmel.ca.us/
Regular meetings: The council meets at 4:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at City Hall on the east side of Monte Verde Street between Ocean and Seventh Avenues.

Sue McCloud, Mayor
Mailing address: PO Box M-1, Carmel, CA 93921
Phone: 624-7310
Fax: 626-1932
E-mail: cloud93921@aol.com

Ken Talmage
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1526, Carmel, CA 93921
Phone: 624-2462
Fax: 624-2452
E-mail: KKTalm@aol.com

Paula Hazdovac
Mailing address: P.O. Box 3164, Carmel, CA 93921
Phone: 620-2000 (Office) 625-2480 (Home)
Fax: 620-2004
E-mail: pjhaz@hotmail.com

Gerard A. Rose
Mailing address: P.O. Box 6516, Carmel, CA 93921
Phone: 625-1124 (Home) 624-3228 (Office)
Fax: 625-0145
E-mail: gfitzrose@aol.com

Karen Sharp
Mailing address: City Hall, P.O. Box CC, Carmel CA, 93921
Phone: 620-2000
Fax: 620-2004
E-mail: Karen@karensharpcarmel.com

Letters to the Editor:
The Monterey County Herald
When submitting Letters to the Editor, we prefer inline email submissions rather than attachments. The approved document format, if attached, is Microsoft Word. Letters to the Editor are limited to 200 words.
mheditor@montereyherald.com
Fax: (831) 655-2749

The Carmel Pine Cone
P.O. Box G-1, Carmel, California 93921
Email: mail@carmelpinecone.com
Telephone: (831) 624-0162
Fax: (831) 375-5018

Monterey County Weekly
As with our print edition, we insist that you supply your real name, daytime telephone number or e-mail address. That is because we may need to contact you, and because your identity may be important to understand your point of view. If you send us such commentary, we reserve the right to publish it in print or display it on this site in full or in edited form. To protect your privacy, however, we will withhold your name and address upon request, both in print and on-line.
mail@montereycountyweekly.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Corrections/Clarifications to Anonymous Comment on Forest Theatre

ABSTRACT: An Anonymous comment was posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 on the Post, Forest Theater Foundation Consultant’s Master Plan for the Forest Theatre For correction and clarification purposes, City Council Minutes and excerpts from CRA Newsletter articles are reproduced. COMMENTS are made regarding Mayor Sue McCloud and the Forest Theatre Master Plan.

Anonymous said...
Um...actually the Congleton plan was never approved by any City Council, it was only "received" from a Cultural Commission that was very combative and quite often negative towards the theatre groups. Since the plan was never actually discussed by any city council, the community never got to weigh in on it, and it was never vetted by the community at large. It is my understanding that the current plan incorporates much of the Congleton plan, but goes further in addressing the overall site, including parking, sound, and other issues that the Congleton plan did not fully address.
(March 17, 2008)

City Council Minutes
Regular Meeting
3 April 2001


VII. Announcements from Closed Session, from City Council Members and the City Administrator

D. REPORT ON THE FOREST THEATER MASTER PLAN

Mayor McCloud clarified for the Council and members of the audience that the Council will receive a report only and no action will be taken.

Denny Gambill, Chairman of the Community and Cultural Commission, introduced Brian Congleton, the City’s consultant regarding this matter. Mr. Congleton presented a report regarding the Forest Theater Master Plan and addressed questions of Council. Included in his presentation was an assessment of existing conditions, an analysis of use and impacts, recommended improvements and an estimate of the cost of improvements.

City Administrator Guillen advised the Council and members of the audience that a workshop regarding the City’s Master Plans will be scheduled to determine how the Plans interrelate to the budget.
(Source: Carmel-by-the-Sea California - Official City Website, http://www.ci.carmel.ca.us/)

CRA News November 2007

"A Forest Theater Master Plan, prepared by architect Brian Congleton, was completed in 2001. It was developed under contract with the city with extensive input from user groups, city staff, neighbors and the public at Cultural Commission meetings."
(Source: CRA News November 2007 http://www.carmelresidents.org/News0711.html)

CRA News May 2001
Forest Theater Master Plan Presented to Council

"Architect Brian Congleton made a special presentation to the City Council in April on the Forest Theater Master Plan. Prepared under the direction of the Community and Cultural Commission, the process included many meetings involving users, neighbors and the public. The goal is to make the theater experience better for everyone involved."

"The all-inclusive report has a bottom line of $1,423,000. The Cultural Commission, however, has outlined priorities to be completed first: audience safety with improved pathways and handicapped parking, improved patron and on-stage rest rooms, improved circulation in the theater and tree planting and reforestation."

"One of Congleton's most innovative ideas is to have the audience enter the theater at mid-section rather than through the crowded orchestra pit. The row of seats in front of the stone wall would ultimately be taken out to make room for pedestrian traffic, with the removed seats replaced at row ends. Other improvements include a larger ticket booth, modifications in the Indoor Theater and improved traffic circulation with a drop-off area for passengers and their picnic supplies. Sound and light studies are proposed to deal with noise and glare in the neighborhood."

"Parking and traffic are especially difficult problems with the surrounding narrow, dark streets. The city is removing some parking spaces because safety vehicles cannot get through with cars on both sides of some streets. A possible solution is to implement a shuttle service from Sunset Center or Vista Lobos."

"A major challenge is balancing the increasing impact of the theater on surrounding residents with the needs of the user groups. The increased length of the season, the addition of two movie nights per week, nightly scheduled performances or rehearsals, enhanced amplification and late-night cast parties are a concern. The Cultural Commission voted to cap seating at 540 persons, which the Forest Theater Foundation has said it will support. A study by Sunset Center staff showed that average audience size over the past eight years is 200 - 250. Over the next few months, the Cultural Commission will hold public hearings to determine the appropriate use level of the theater and the length of the operating season."

(Source: CRA News May 2001 http://www.carmelresidents.org/News0105.html)

COMMENTS:
Ironically, Mayor Sue McCloud was initially against the Design Traditions Project in part because the consultant was Nore Winter, a non-local professional. Yet, with the Forest Theater Master Plan (2001), Carmel-by-the-Sea architect Brain Congleton was contracted by the City to prepare the Plan which was later unfunded and not implemented.

If the Forest Theater Master Plan (2001) had been funded and implemented over phrases, as recommended, all of the Plan elements would have been realized by now. Moreover, Brain Congleton would have been here locally to assist throughout the process.

View a summary of the Forest Theater Master Plan (2001) FOREST THEATER FACILITY MASTER PLAN: A Study of Patron, User Group & Neighborhood Impact “Interrelationships”

View The Forest Theater Foundation’s NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING on Theater Architect Richard McCann’s “pre-design” for the Forest Theater property
; from the time of the “neighborhood meeting” in October 2007 to the present, the “pre-design,” et cetera, has not been placed on a City Council agenda for a public hearing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Carmel-by-the-Sea Resident: "I want due process. Fair treatment."

ABSTRACT: During Appearances at the City Council meeting on March 4, 2008, Carmel-by-the-Sea resident Susan Page spoke of a “dangerous tree” between Mayor Sue McCloud’s residence and her residence. Apparently, the removal of the Acacia tree was placed on a Forest and Beach Commission agenda for their January 3, 2008 meeting, only to be removed from the agenda. Page requested the item be “put back” on the Forest and Beach Commission’s agenda for March 6, 2008.


Views of Acacia Tree Canopy, Branches & Trunk
Near east property line
E/s Santa Lucia Av. @ San Carlos St.

City Council
Regular Meeting
March 4, 2008


VI. Appearances
Anyone wishing to address the City Council on matters within the jurisdiction of the City and are not on the agenda may do so now. Matters not appearing on the City Council’s agenda will not receive action at this meeting but may be referred to staff for a future meeting. Presentations will be limited to three (3) minutes, or as otherwise established by the City Council. Persons are not required to give their names, but it is helpful for speakers to state their names in order that the City Clerk may identify them in the minutes of the meeting. Always speak into the microphone, as the meeting is recorded on tape.

"Good Evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. My name is Susan Page. I’m been coming here since 1941. In 1973, my mother bought the house next to Mayor McCloud. We have a situation where there’s a dangerous tree between the houses. In January of this year, it was removed from the agenda. It’s been removed from the agenda for Thursday. I want it to be put back on there for Thursday. I want due process. Fair treatment. Thank you."

COMMENTS;
Déjà vu! Susan Page’s compliant about a lack of due process is reminiscent of the lack of due process accorded the residents of Dolores St. between 15th Av. and Santa Lucia Av. over the installation of the speed hump.

Acacia trees, including Blackwood Acacia (Acacia melanoxylon), are not listed on the CITY OF CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA RECOMMENDED TREE SPECIES LIST in the Forest Management Plan, Appendix G. Furthermore, it is a non-native tree.

Apparently, the City Forester is in agreement with the property owner about the removal of the Acacia tree.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dolores St. Speed Hump: Residents Express Concerns at City Council Meeting during Appearances

ABSTRACT: As of the February 5, 2008 City Council meeting, the “temporary,” “experimental” speed hump which was placed on Dolores St. between 15th Av. and Santa Lucia Av. in mid-October 2007 for 60-90 days, had been in position for over 110 days. Today, it remains in place after more than 150 days. Highlights of Concerns (by Categories) Expressed by Public Speakers during APPEARANCES are presented, including a “lack of due process,” Violation of Municipal Code, Violation of General Plan, Dangerous, Unwarranted, Aesthetics, Property Values and Miscellaneous. COMMENTS are made about a pattern of unilateral, covert decision-making and lack of due process by the City under the aegis of Mayor Sue McCloud.

View of Speed Hump on Dolores St. between 15th Av. & Santa Lucia Av., towards Santa Lucia Av.
Date: Sunday, March 16, 2008

City Council Minutes
Regular meeting
February 5, 2008


VI. APPEARANCES
Peter Boyle, Rod Schinnerer, Bruce Moore, Charlotte Boyle, Dr. William Greer, Margot Phillips, Roberta Miller, John Rainey, and Michelle Moore addressed Council about the speed hump on Dolores between 15th and Santa Lucia.

Highlights of Concerns (by Category) Expressed by Public Speakers during APPEARANCES:
A “lack of due process
“...no prior public discussion, no letter, no phone calls and nothing to the majority of us who live” on Dolores St.

“No proper procedure, warning or discussion with the residents along Dolores St.;" overwhelming majority of Dolores St. residents opposed to the speed hump and City tactics.

• Violation of Municipal Code
Carmel-by-the-Sea
Municipal Code
Chapter 10.16
TRAFFIC-CONTROL DEVICES
AND SIGNALS*
10.16.010 Placement by Council.
The City Council shall have the exclusive power and duty to place and maintain or cause to be placed or maintained official traffic-control devices when and as required under this chapter to make effective the provisions of this chapter and may place and maintain such additional traffic-control devices as it deems necessary to regulate traffic under this chapter or under the State law, or to guide or warn traffic. (Ord. 196 § 20, 1938; Code 1975 § 519).

Speed humps not recognized by the California Vehicle Code as official traffic control devices, raising the potential of liability.

NOTE: The City Council did not hold a public hearing on the installation of the speed hump. Ergo, the City Council never authorized the speed hump installation by a vote of City Council Members.

• Violation of General Plan
Speed hump installation “contrary to the spirit, if not the letter of the General Plan.”

• Dangerous
“Extremely dangerous;” a driver trying to avoid the speed hump at 10:00 P.M. ran into a neighbor’s parked car, when there had never been a problem previously; “a liability,” another accident just waiting to happen.

There are probably 30-40 more dangerous locations in Carmel-by-the-Sea than Dolores St. between 15th Av. and Santa Lucia Av.

Speed hump “unnecessary, illegal and dangerous.”

• Unwarranted
Due to three Police Reports which found “no accidents, no pedestrian injuries” and an average speed of 19 MPH.

No “speed epidemic

• Aesthetics
Aesthetics are deplorable;” “ugly” speed bump and signage
Two big hump signs are even more offensive.
Speed humps “un-Carmel;” an “eyesore.”
Speed hump,,,”appalled by the unprecedented eyesore
Extraordinarily unsightly

• Property values
Property values “threatened now that it has been singled out for arbitrary treatment” of speed bump installation.

• Miscellaneous
Temporary” speed hump to be on Dolores St. for 60-90 days, now over 110 days.

In mid-December, City Administrator Rich Guillen had the speed and traffic data, indicated that the majority of residents on Dolores St. opposed the speed hump and there was no reason not to remove the experimental speed hump; the speed hump remains in place.

Questions requesting answers about who approved installation of speed hump, who approved appropriation of $5,000 for installation, et cetera.

Installation based on petition signed by many residents who don’t reside on Dolores St.

City found $5,000 for the installation of the speed hump, but could not find $3,000 for repairs to a fire truck.

A bad mark” against the City Administration

As a taxpayer, so many more important things that I would like to be spending my tax dollars on.”

City should decide if it wants speed humps and then develop consistent, uniform policies which relies on objective data rather that deploying them piecemeal which will lead to “chaos and inefficiency.”

COMMENTS:
The installation of the speed hump on Dolores St. between 15th Av. & Santa Lucia Av., like the removal of the Post Office bump-out and the installation of 80 lights in the Ocean Av. medians, is the most recent example of a pattern of unilateral, covert decision-making and lack of due process by the “City” under the aegis of Mayor Sue McCloud.

After more than 150 days, the speed hump is still in place on Dolores St. between 15th Av. and Santa Lucia Av. (see photo)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

PacRep Artistic Director Stephen Moorer Announces $6 Million Capital Campaign for the Renovation of the Main Stage Theatre, Golden Bough Theatre

ABSTRACT: During Appearances at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, PacRep Artistic Director Stephen Moorer gave an update on the Golden Bough Capital Campaign; a Campaign to raise $6 million for the renovation of the main stage of the Golden Bough Theatre. He introduced Jim Bennett, the first hired staff member for the Capital Campaign, who spoke to the public about his background, experience and goals for live theatre at the Golden Bough Theatre. Stephen Moorer closed by stating that we have “just entered the schematic design portion,” and “over the next three to six months, we expect to be making a number of presentations before you, meeting with city staff, meeting with neighbors, trying to come up with the best project we can all accomplish.”

City Council
Regular Meeting
March 4, 2008


VI. Appearances
Anyone wishing to address the City Council on matters within the jurisdiction of the City and are not on the agenda may do so now. Matters not appearing on the City Council’s agenda will not receive action at this meeting but may be referred to staff for a future meeting. Presentations will be limited to three (3) minutes, or as otherwise established by the City Council. Persons are not required to give their names, but it is helpful for speakers to state their names in order that the City Clerk may identify them in the minutes of the meeting. Always speak into the microphone, as the meeting is recorded on tape.

PacRep Artistic Director Stephen Moorer:
"Madam Mayor, City Council Members, Members of the Public. I just want to give you a brief update on the Golden Bough and the PacRep Theatre...a real quick update on the Golden Bough Capital Campaign, which is still in its early stages. We’ve completed the pre-design portion of the Campaign; we’ve completed our donor feasibility. At our January Retreat the Board of Directors of PacRep Theatre, the Board committed to a $6 million concept of a Capital Campaign which would focus on the main stage theatre. We’re not anticipating or even thinking of adding seats…As I’ve said, we’ve committed to a $6 million project, and as of this week, we’ve actually raised just over $1 million towards that $6 million goal. And even more exciting news, we’ve brought on our first staff member for the Capital Campaign. I’d like to introduce today a former director of development for the SPCA, a former development director of Hospice, Jim Bennett."

Jim Bennett:
"Thank you Mayor and Members of the Council. I feel like I’ve come home. I started my career many years ago as a grad student at the Dallas Theatre Center. My background is theatre. The Army came along and I like many of you choose the Monterey Peninsula as your home and as a native Texan that was quite a big deal for me. I did theatre here on the Peninsula and then went on the road directing shows and landed in southern California and came back, what I felt like home. Then I worked in the theatre some and went to work and changed my life and my attitude about animals and worked for seven years as the Director of Development with the Humane Society, the SPCA here. And then went to Hospice. Thirteen years I’ve been working in that field as a fundraiser. People usually don’t get into fundraising on purpose. And I was working at a theatre in Los Angeles and the Artistic Director asked me if I was interested in doing some fundraising. Well, I said I don’t know much about it but I’ll try something. And so now I met Stephen in 1984. I had moved back to the Peninsula. He ran the concessions at the now defunct California Repertoire Theatre. And I was the struggling development director. And lo and behold, 24 years later, I’m the newest member of the team for PacRep, a place, where those of you who have attended, I’m sure all of you have, where magic happens. And the live theatre world is magic. And Carmel is so blessed to have this theatre and we’re so blessed to be a part of the community. And I look forward to some exciting, challenging times, as we make a difference in this community by enlarging and increasing, not only for the actors, but for the community itself, a wonderful experience in live theatre. Thank you for letting me introduce myself to you."

PacRep Artistic Director Stephen Moorer:
"In closing, we’ve just entered the schematic design portion, where we’re actually get into the nuts and bolts, what this is going to be, what its going to look like, working with the city planning staff, working with our neighbors, trying to solve all the various issues that everyone is concerned about on both sides of the curtain. So over the next three to six months, we expect to be making a number of presentations before you, meeting with city staff, meeting with neighbors, trying to come up with the best project we can all accomplish."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

REBUTTALS/CLARIFICATIONS to ‘An Open Letter from the City Administrator Regarding Fire Department Staffing’ Ad

ABSTRACT: In The Carmel Pine Cone of March 14, 2008, there appeared an ad, “An Open Letter from the City Administrator Regarding Fire Department Staffing.” This 'Open Letter' is reproduced with Rebuttals/Clarifications from sources August Beacham, Engineer and President of the Carmel Professional Firefighters and the International Association of Fire Fighters. COMMENTS are made regarding whom do you believe, the City withdrawing from consolidation discussions and the relative budgets of the Fire Department and Police Department. REFERENCE excerpts from the City's Budget regarding the Fire and Police Departments and NOTES on the International Association of Fire Fighters are presented.

An Open Letter from the City Administrator
Regarding Fire Department Staffing


The City of Carmel-by-the Sea values all of its employees and recognizes the important role they play in providing effective, efficient service. Whenever a critical, life-saving emergency arises, our staff at the Carmel Fire Department consistently provides the highest level of service to the citizens of our community, and the vital role they play can not be overemphasized. Nevertheless, there are some facts below that I hope will clarify statements by representatives of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 4579.

1. Minimum staffing levels: The Fire Department is staffed to initially respond to an emergency with four fire fighters and a Duty Chief. This staffing level complies with what is commonly referred to as the “2-in/2-out” OSHA regulation which requires fire fighters to work in teams of two. One team enters a building while the second team remains outside and ready to immediately rescue the inside team. Two of four firefighters are Carmel Regional Fire Ambulance (CRFA) employees who are also certified for medical aid. One is a fire fighter/paramedic and the other is a fire fighter/EMT (emergency medical technician). This staffing ensures that advanced life saving capabilities are included as part of the fire department’s initial response.

REBUTTAL/CLARIFICATION:
OSHA’s two-in/two-out regulation is a “respiratory protection standard.” It requires employers to “establish and maintain a respiratory protection program for their respirator-wearing employees.” Moreover, “OSHA’s respiratory protection standard is not about counting heads. Rather, it dictates functions of fire fighters prior to an interior attack.” These regulations mean that at a minimum, four individuals are required, that is, two individuals working as a team in the interior of the structural fire and two individuals outside the structure for assistance or rescue.
(Source: http://www.iaff.org/hs/PDF/2in2out.pdf)

The two-person crew on the ambulance stationed in Carmel also responds to emergencies when available. In the case of a fire, in which two firefighters are required to stay outside a burning building while two others enter, the ambulance provides two of the necessary four.

“They have gotten used to the ambulance taking up the slack, even though their own study in February 2003 said that was temporary at best,” Beacham said.

And though neighboring agencies such as Cypress Fire Protection District also send engines to fires in Carmel as part of an automatic aid agreement, “the consultant’s report was very clear in the need for additional staffing for Carmel Fire Department,” Beacham said.
(Source: The Carmel Pine Cone, Firefighters call for merger with P.G., Monterey, MARY BROWNFIELD, February 29, 2008, http://www.pineconearchive.com/080229-4.htm)

Carmel Fire Department is challenged with maintaining proper staffing levels to provide the best level of service to its citizens. Because of the staffing response challenge at Carmel Fire Department, our diminished volunteer base and government standards and laws, which address staffing and response concerns, Carmel Fire Department is continuing to operate at less than minimum staffing, according to the standards of the National Fire Protection Association and OSHA laws.”
(Source: August Beacham, http://villageinforest.blogspot.com/2008/03/part-i-august-beacham-president-of.html)

2. Consolidating fire service with Monterey and Pacific Grove: The cities of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey and Pacific Grove continue to discuss “headquarters” consolidation–not full departmental integration. Headquarters consolidation means that “only” fire administration is consolidated, i.e. fire chief, assistant fire chief, clerical support, etc. The city successfully implemented headquarters consolidation in 2001 and now has a contract for $110,000 with Pacific Grove Fire Department to provide this service.

REBUTTAL:
CFD falls below staffing levels recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. While that standard calls for four people per fire engine, Carmel sends two — a captain and an engineer. It has no chief, assistant chief, supervisors, fire marshal, training officer or clerical staff.

Instead, for $110,000 per year, the city contracts with Pacific Grove for chief services and an administrative coordinator who works 12 hours per week, and for supervisors to come from Monterey during emergencies.

“The city has gotten used to this $110,000, thinking it’s normal,” Beacham said. But in reality, the price is so low, it almost constitutes a gift, he argued.
(Source: The Carmel Pine Cone, Firefighters call for merger with P.G., Monterey, MARY BROWNFIELD, February 29, 2008, http://www.pineconearchive.com/080229-4.htm)

3. Staffing during critical emergencies: If an emergency requires more resources, the fire department has systems in place to respond with extra staffing and equipment. These systems include any one or all of the following:
• 13 paid volunteers, including intermittent engineers, paid call fire fighters, and a paid call battalion chief
• Call-back of full time fire department personnel
• Automatic and Mutual Aid from nearby allied fire departments; in such cases, additional fire trucks and personnel will respond as needed. In past incidents, as many as five additional fire trucks arrived in Carmel within a very short period of time.

REBUTTAL/CLARIFICATION:
We are understaffed and underfunded, and have been for some time,” he (August Beacham) said.

Federal safety standards call for 14 or 15 firefighters initially responding to a blaze, according to the union, “to extinguish the fire, rescue citizens from the burning structure, treat the medical needs of the citizens, have backup crews available and have separate standby crews in a state of readiness to initiate firefighter rescue efforts if needed.”

Even with fire engines, chiefs and supervisors responding from other agencies, and the ambulance, Carmel’s numbers fall far below that, as do its response times, according to the union.
(Source: The Carmel Pine Cone, Firefighters call for merger with P.G., Monterey, MARY BROWNFIELD, February 29, 2008, http://www.pineconearchive.com/080229-4.htm)

Rest assured that your safety will never be compromised nor will the city ever place our fire fighters at risk. Having made this statement, it does not exclude the city from acting in a financially responsible manner. It is always our goal to provide you with exceptional public safety service.

REBUTTAL:
Choosing to continue with the status quo “means the city is willing to accept all of the risks, including personal liability, and is willing to compromise the safety of the citizens, by having an improperly structured emergency response system,” according to the union. “Combining staffing and resources from several independent fire departments into one consolidated department will deliver the ‘right amount of people in the right amount of time’ in critical emergencies. By doing so, not only are the citizens receiving the level of service they deserve and are entitled to, the emergency responders are able to perform their duties more efficiently and, most importantly, more safely.”
(Source: The Carmel Pine Cone, Firefighters call for merger with P.G., Monterey, MARY BROWNFIELD, February 29, 2008, http://www.pineconearchive.com/080229-4.htm)

Please call me at (831) 620-2058 or stop by City Hall to ask any questions regarding these facts.

Sincerely,
Rich Guillen
City Administrator

COMMENTS:
Whom do you believe? August Beacham, Engineer and President of the Carmel Professional Firefighters or City Administrator Rich Guillen, a City Administrator with a record of politicizing the Fire Department and using “acting in a financially responsible manner” as a guise for not expeditiously moving forward with the consolidation of the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments, which is supported by the Carmel Firefighers for safety reasons?

As reported in The Carmel Pine Cone, Carmel-by-the-Sea “withdrew a few months ago” from consolidation discussions with the Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments. Moreover, August Beacham stated that “the City of Carmel is continuing to consider other options, all of which are cost prohibitive and results in lower levels of services. This includes possibly reverting back to a single station fire department with stripped down staffing levels of years past" at the City Council meeting on March 4, 2008.

For Fiscal Year 2007/08, the budgets for the Police and Fire Departments are FY 2007/08 $2,673,132 and $1,678,154, respectively. Given these objective budget values, one inescapable conclusion is that subjective and irrational factors are driving the conscious decision to shortchange the Fire Department. It could be further argued that given the nature of “crime” in Carmel-by-the-Sea and the number and nature of fire and fire-related incidences in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Fire Department budget should be at least on par with the Police Department, which raises the prospect that the City overfunds the Police Department at the expense of the Fire Department and the citizens of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

REFERENCE:
FIRE
The Carmel Fire Department's primary responsibility is to save lives and protect property through the prevention and control of fires. This responsibility encompasses other emergencies including medical, automobile accidents and extrication, hazardous material spills, natural gas leaks, downed power lines, flooded basements and minor electrical problems.

The Fire Department provides educational programs for residents and the business community in the areas of fire prevention and public safety by conducting inspections, speaking to local schools and service clubs and offering instructional classes.

The Department also has primary responsibility for disaster preparedness for the community. This duty involves coordination with other agencies and City staff, public education, preparation and administration of the disaster plan.

POLICE
The Department is comprised of two divisions. The Administrative Division includes the detective, police services and reserve officer units. The Operations Division is comprised of the patrol and parking units. The Police Department enforces all laws and regulations enacted by the local, state and federal governments. The essential goal of the Department is "to protect and serve" with primary responsibility for ensuring the rights of citizens and visitors to live in peace and safety.

FULL TIME EMPLOYEES
FIRE: 6 Full Time Employees
Fire Captain (3)
Engineer (3)

POLICE: 22 Full Time Employees
Public Safety Director/Police Chief (1)
Sergeant (4)
Corporal (1)
Officers (8)
PSO/CSO (6)
CSO (2)

Public Safety (Police/Fire) 28 Total Full Time Employees
(Source: CITY OF CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA CALIFORNIA ADOPTED BUDGET FISCAL YEARS 2007/08 THROUGH 2009/10, http://www.ci.carmel.ca.us/)

NOTES:
The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in Washington, DC, represents more than 287,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 85 percent of the nation’s population. More than 3,100 affiliates and their members protect communities in every state in the United States and in Canada.

NEW LOCAL IN May 2007:
Local 4579
Camel Professional Fire Fighters, CA
President: August Beacham
5 members

Friday, March 14, 2008

Carmel Art Association Presents SUSAN GIACOMETTI’S SOLO SHOW “ABOUT WOMEN” & GALLERY SHOWCASE FEATURING JOHN MCWILLIAMS AND VERN YADON

ABSTRACT: Information about the Carmel Art Association’s All Member Show (March 6-April 1) featuring Susan Giacometti, John McWilliams and Vern Yadon, “The Age of Rembrandt” lecture/film by Painter Dick Crispo ( March 19) and Annual Jury for Artist Membership is presented.

Carmel Art Association
“Celebrating 80 years of local art”
Voted “Art Gallery of the Year” by the Carmel Business Association three consecutive years.
W/s Dolores St. between 5th Av. & 6th Av.
10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M., Daily, except major Holidays.
Open to the Public at No Charge

“Founded in 1927, Carmel's oldest gallery features the work of more than 120 professional local artists, and is dedicated to presenting only the finest work for sale by artists living on the Monterey Peninsula.”

For more information, http://www.carmelart.org/ or (831) 624-6176.

Carmel Art Association Presents SUSAN GIACOMETTI’S SOLO SHOW “ABOUT WOMEN” & GALLERY SHOWCASE FEATURING JOHN MCWILLIAMS AND VERN YADON

Thursday, March 6 – Tuesday, April 1, 2008

SOLO SHOW: SUSAN GIACOMETTI’S “ABOUT WOMEN
(Center Room)

Printmaker/Painter Susan Giacometti exhibits her paintings and mixed media prints “inspired by the funny little things women do.” View Giacometti’s education, samples of her Drypoints with chine colle and Collages, et cetera.

GALLERY SHOWCASE: JOHN McWILLIAMS & VERN YADON
(Segal Room)

Painter John McWilliams exhibits his plein air landscapes of Elkhorn Slough. View McWilliams’ biography, Artist’s Statement and “Farm Road” and "Dia de Los Muertos" oil paintings.

Painter Vern Yadon exhibits his “birds of sea and shore in watercolor.” View Yadon’s biography, "The Columbine Patch" and "Otter Gathering" watercolors.

Opening reception Saturday, March 8, 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

LECTURE SERIES:
On Wednesday, March 19, 2008, Painter Dick Crispo will present “The Age of Rembrandt,” his life and work, including a film.

Free, No Reservations Necessary.

ANNUAL JURY FOR ARTIST MEMBERSHIP:
April 15, 2008: The Carmel Art Association’s next jury for artist membership.
April 10, 2008: Application Deadline

Artist Membership Requirements:
• Applicants must have resided within thirty-five driving miles of Carmel for at least one year prior to application.
• Applicants must document having shown their work in one juried competitive show.

Artist Membership Categories:
• Painting
• Graphics
• Sculpture
Note: An artist may apply in one category only.

Applications must be picked up in person at the Carmel Art Association (CAA) and complete application, along with the $10 fee, mailed to CAA Jury, PO Box 2271, Carmel, CA 93921 or submitted at CAA.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

PART II: August Beacham, President of the Carmel Professional Firefighters, & City Council Candidate Michael LePage on the Carmel Fire Department

ABSTRACT: After August Beacham spoke during Appearances at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, Michael LePage, Candidate for City Council, spoke about the Carmel Fire Department. Specifically, LePage spoke about his dismay that “the Council has chosen not to put the Fire Department consolidation issue on the agenda.” “The community deserves to have an open hearing on this so that they can hear all the information that surroundings this issue and it can be discussed.” LePage then requested that the Council put the Carmel Fire Department merger with Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments on the April 2008 agenda.

City Council
Regular Meeting
March 4, 2008


VI. Appearances
Anyone wishing to address the City Council on matters within the jurisdiction of the City and are not on the agenda may do so now. Matters not appearing on the City Council’s agenda will not receive action at this meeting but may be referred to staff for a future meeting. Presentations will be limited to three (3) minutes, or as otherwise established by the City Council. Persons are not required to give their names, but it is helpful for speakers to state their names in order that the City Clerk may identify them in the minutes of the meeting. Always speak into the microphone, as the meeting is recorded on tape.

Good Evening. Honorable Mayor and City Council. I’m Michael LePage. The first responsibility of the City is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community. I am greatly dismayed that the Council has chosen not to put the Fire Department consolidation issue on the agenda. This is an issue which directly affects the safety and the well-being of the community and our residents. The City Administrator has stated that this consolidation issue is not being put on the agenda because of the election cycle. This sends the wrong message to the community and should not be a reason to keep an item of such great importance to the community. The community deserves to have an open hearing on this so that they can hear all the information that surrounds this issue and it can be discussed. I request that the Council put, give this the attention it deserves, and put it on the April agenda. Thank you very much.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

PART I: August Beacham, President of the Carmel Professional Firefighters, & City Council Candidate Michael LePage on the Carmel Fire Department

ABSTRACT: During Appearances at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, August Beacham, President of the Carmel Professional Firefighters, spoke about the proposed consolidation of the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments, which the Carmel Professional Firefighters support. Beacham noted that “the contract in its current form is unsustainable due to Carmel being charged a low good faith fee by Monterey and Pacific Grove. What we need now is for the City to make a permanent commitment to the system and pay its fair share.” He urged the City to “move forward towards the merger with the Cities of Pacific Grove and Monterey and Carmel Fire Departments.” A COMMENT is made with regard to August Beacham’s remarks and our profoundly dysfunctional city government under Mayor Sue McCloud.

City Council
Regular Meeting
March 4, 2008


VI. Appearances
Anyone wishing to address the City Council on matters within the jurisdiction of the City and are not on the agenda may do so now. Matters not appearing on the City Council’s agenda will not receive action at this meeting but may be referred to staff for a future meeting. Presentations will be limited to three (3) minutes, or as otherwise established by the City Council. Persons are not required to give their names, but it is helpful for speakers to state their names in order that the City Clerk may identify them in the minutes of the meeting. Always speak into the microphone, as the meeting is recorded on tape.

"Madam Mayor, Members of the Council. My name is August Beacham and I am President of the Carmel Professional Firefighters here to discuss a possible feature of the Fire Department. Carmel Fire Department is challenged with maintaining proper staffing levels to provide the best level of service to its citizens. Because of the staffing response challenge at Carmel Fire Department, our diminished volunteer base and government standards and laws, which address staffing and response concerns, Carmel Fire Department is continuing to operate at less than minimum staffing, according to the standards of the National Fire Protection Association and OSHA laws. The volunteer firefighters, which used to augment staffing to reasonable levels, are not here anymore due to overall training and time requirements."

"The goal of the Fire Department regarding staffing and response is to develop a system which is both efficient and cost effective. The Department is currently in the third year of a process of attempting to combine fire service with the Departments of Monterey and Pacific Grove, which the Carmel Professional Firefighters support. Citizens need to know that the motivation for this proposal was based upon providing the best possible level of services to the community. Combining staffing and resources delivers the right amount of people in the right amount of time to time critical emergencies. By doing so, not only are the citizens receiving the level of service they desire and are entitled to, the emergency responders, us, are able to perform their duties more efficiently and more importantly, safer. This amount of staffing is designed to extinguish fires, rescue citizens from burning structures, treat medical needs, have back-up crews available and have a separate stand-by crew in case of the need to initiate firefighter rescue efforts. The staffing also is considered adequate to contain the fire to the area of origin, which results in a rapid positive result. Larger incidents obviously require more resources which the system can provide."

"In 2000, the City put us on a path to find something better in terms of fire and emergency service to our community. We found it and the last three years, through a contract with Monterey and Pacific Grove, have been involved in the aforementioned combined system which works in the best interests of the citizens. However, the contract in its current form is unsustainable due to Carmel being charged a low good faith fee by Monterey and Pacific Grove. What we need now is for the City to make a permanent commitment to the system and pay its fair share. In spite of having an emergency response system which is delivering the best level of service, the City of Carmel is continuing to consider other options, all of which are cost prohibitive and results in lower levels of services. This includes possibly reverting back to a single station fire department with stripped down staffing levels of years past."

"The Carmel Professional Firefighters urge you to assure that your emergency response system remains properly structured and staffed and to continue providing you with the best and most efficient levels of service which you have received for the last three years. Please continue to move forward towards the merger with the Cities of Pacific Grove and Monterey and Carmel Fire Departments."


COMMENT:
That August Beacham, President of the Carmel Professional Firefighters, felt he had to appeal directly to Carmelites in the hope Carmelites will rally and put pressure on City Council Members to proceed with the consolidation of the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments speaks to our profoundly dysfunctional city government under Mayor Sue McCloud.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Forest Theatre Fence Reconstruction: BEFORE, DURING & AFTER Photos

UPDATE: Forest Theatre Fence Repair costs total $9,090.00, according to the City's April 2008 Check Register, as follows:

Carmel-by-the-Sea
April 2008 Check Register
(Includes checks dated 3/25/08-3/31/08)

115094 3/25/08 KNA GENERAL CONSTRUCTION $ 7,590.00 FOREST THEATER FENCE REPAIR
115130 4/1/08 KNA GENERAL CONSTRUCTION $ 1,500.00 FOREST THEATER FENCE REPAIR

Along Mountain View Av.:
BEFORE: Downed and Leaning Sections of Grapestake Fence along Mountain View Av. (Post January 2008 Storm)

DURING: View of removed Grapestake Fence section along Mountain View Av.

DURING: View of 13 New Posts along Mountain View Av.

DURING: View of 1 New Post in Concrete

AFTER: View of Completed Grapestake Fence sections along Mountain View Av.

AFTER: View of Completed Grapestake Fence sections along Mountain View Av. in the Forest Theatre

Along Santa Rita St.:BEFORE: View of Leaning Grapestake Fence sections along Santa Rita St.

DURING: View of 6 New Posts in Concrete along Santa Rita St.

AFTER: View of Completed Grapestake Fence sections along Santa Rita St.

Along Josselyn Lane:
BEFORE: Sections of Leaning and Detached Fence along Josselyn Lane

NOTE: As of Monday, March 10, 2008, all of the leaning and detached fence sections along Josselyn Lane remain.

Monday, March 10, 2008

City’s Economic Revitalization Public Workshop

WHAT: Economic Revitalization Public Workshop

WHEN: Tuesday, March 11, 2008, 4:30 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.

WHERE: City Hall
E/s Monte Verde St. between Ocean Av. & 7th Av.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA.

WHO: The City of Carmel-by-the-Sea

WHY: View an “overview of the Draft Plan” and solicit “personal input on the following topics;”
Accommodations

Retail

Restaurants

Entertainment

Parking & Traffic

Policy

Ambiance

Marketing

(Source: Advertisement, The Carmel Pine Cone February 22, 2008, http://www.pineconearchive.com/080222PC.pdf, pg. 12.)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Campaign Season Politicization of the Carmel Fire Department

ABSTRACT: The Carmel Fire Department was an issue at the Candidates’ Forum hosted by the Carmel Residents Association on Thursday, February 21, 2008. Statements of Mayor Sue McCloud, City Council Member Ken Talmage and City Council Member Karen Sharp are presented, as reported in The Carmel Pine Cone (March 7, 2008). COMMENTS are made, including statements by August Beacham, Engineer and President of the Carmel Firefighters Union, and the Union, as reported in The Carmel Pine Cone (February 29, 2008), and Questions are asked of Carmelites.

The Carmel Fire Department was an issue at the Candidates’ Forum hosted by the Carmel Residents Association on Thursday, February 21, 2008. According to The Carmel Pine Cone (March 7, 2008), Mayor Sue McCloud, City Council Members Ken Talmage and Karen Sharp agreed that the Carmel Fire Department “works as is and needs no changes.” Moreover, each stated, as follows:

“We are staffed the way we should be,” stated Mayor Sue McCloud.

The Fire Consolidation Study “had serious flaws in its financial analysis,” stated City Council Member Ken Talmage.

The Fire Department is “only outpaced by the Police Department in spending,” stated City Council Member Karen Sharp.

COMMENTS:
Mayor McCloud thinks the Carmel Fire Department is “staffed the way” it should be, even though August Beacham, Engineer and President of the Carmel Firefighters Union and the Union, stated in The Carmel Pine Cone of February 29, 2008, as follows:

“We are understaffed and underfunded, and have been for some time,” said August Beacham.

The city has gotten used to this $110,000, thinking it’s normal.” (The city contracts with Pacific Grove for chief services and an administrative coordinator and for supervisors from Monterey during emergencies for $110,000/year.)

They have gotten used to the ambulance taking up the slack, even though their own study in February 2003 said that was temporary at best,” said August Beacham.

Choosing to continue with the status quo “means the city is willing to accept all of the risks, including personal liability, and is willing to compromise the safety of the citizens, by having an improperly structured emergency response system,” according to the Union.

Question: Are Carmelites to believe the expert, veteran firefighters with years of training and experience or the non-expert who thinks she knows more about fire issues than professional firefighters?

City Council Member Ken Talmage now thinks the Fire Consolidation Feasibility Study has “serious flaws in its financial analysis.” Yet, at an earlier City Council meeting, Talmage stated that merging the Carmel Fire Department with Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments would cost the city an additional $400,000/year as the City was underfunding the Carmel Fire Department. Apparently, Talmage failed to detect the “serious flaws” in the Study’s financial analysis at his earlier reading of the Study. Irrespective of Talmage’s opinion, the crux of the issue is, as follows: if the City Council of Carmel-by-the-Sea decides to merge the Carmel Fire Department with the Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments, then the Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments would surely demand as a condition of merger that Carmel-by-the-Sea pay an additional approximately $400,000 annually, based on the Fire Consolidation Feasibility Study.

Question: Are Carmelites to trust the Carmel Firefighters who not only want to merge the Carmel Fire Department with Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments, but who feel the status quo means the City “is willing to compromise the safety of the citizens” or a City Council Member who doesn’t trust the judgment of the Carmel Firefighters?

Another important issue it that the City Council has a record of contracting with consultants to perform studies and then failing to implement the recommendations of the studies. A wiser use of taxpayer monies would be to either stop wasting taxpayer monies on unimplemented studies or start funding and implementing studies’ recommendations.

City Council Member Karen Sharp stated that the Fire Department is “only outpaced by the Police Department in spending.” The issue is not the relative budget amounts for the Police Department and Fire Department, rather the issue is whether or not elected and appointed city officials trust the judgment of professionals, such as the Carmel Firefighters and the Fire Consolidation Feasibility Study consultants, and act on the recommendations of the professionals.

Interestingly, Mayor Sue McCloud and her appointed City Council Members Ken Talmage and Karen Sharp are in agreement that no changes are needed in the Carmel Fire Department.

Question: Are Carmelites better off trusting the opinions of a mayor and two city council members eager to win an election in April 2008 or the professional judgments of veteran firefighters?