Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dennis Wolfe: "if you want to play political games with the security of your citizens then you...must be held severably and individually accountable"

ABSTRACT: At the Special City Council Meeting on April 3, 2008, during Appearances, Dennis Wolfe of “Citizens for Ethical Leadership in Government” commented on behalf of “local citizens” regarding Carmel-by-the-Sea's fire protection services. “Citizens for Ethical Leadership in Government” finds and exposes "situations where local governments violate the spirit of the Brown Act and our State’s Open Meeting Laws.” His comments are transcribed. REFERENCES, including summaries of Wolfe v. City of Fremont (144 C.A.4th 533), are presented.

At the Special City Council Meeting on April 3, 2008, during Appearances, Dennis Wolfe of “Citizens for Ethical Leadership in Government” made the following remarks:

“My name is Dennis Wolfe. I live in Fremont...and I have a state-wide Political Action Committee “Citizens for Ethical Leadership in Government.” We find and expose situations where local governments violate the spirit of the Brown Act and our State’s Open Meeting Laws. The clerk has material for you regarding my monumental recent state-wide precedent-setting decision regarding the Brown Act upheld in the State Supreme Court last year.”

“Right now, I would like to focus on the matter at hand regarding the fire safety. At the request of local citizens, I have been reviewing your actions, or should I say lack of action, regarding the delivery of adequate fire protection services for Carmel. It’s an apparent sleight-of-hand that seriously impacts the safety of all who live or do business here. And unfortunately, for you, as you are hearing from at least two people here, and probably hear from more voters are becoming very aware, that something is not right with respect to what you are doing. Carmel does not have adequate fire protection services and the responsibility for that rests squarely on your shoulders. Are you afraid to tell the citizens right before reelection that the cost of protecting the city has gone up and that could mean higher taxes? Well, no worries, I just did it for you. No one minds paying more if they’re receiving value for their dollars. Hidden agendas have unintended consequences, by continuing to run away from the reason you were elected and that is, one of those reasons is to ensure Carmel has adequate fire services. I guarantee that casualty insurance carriers are going to find out about it. I know. I’m a licensed casualty broker and have been in this business 32 years. They are going to seize upon your stall tactics and instantly recognize the real increase of the risk created by you. They’re either going to redline Carmel, their going to raise premiums so high that property owners are going to scream bloody murder or they’re simply going to cancel coverage. Three options. And that’s going to cost citizens a lot more than a justifiable tax increase if you need one. So one day if Carmel were to go up like a chimney because of inadequate fire protection services, you are going to bare a large part of the blame. How will you respond to the citizens in the days after a fire like the disaster in neighboring Pebble Beach? Did you know how close Carmel came to being wiped out back then? I do. I guarantee the Fire Department here knows. Ignore the risk and any sharp attorney is going to take you to court over the perceived liability that you bare. Suddenly, personal political agendas will not seem worth the prize on that day. Therefore, I urge all Carmel citizens to put you on written notice through their lawyers, if you want to play political games with the security of your citizens, then you should and must be held severably and individually accountable, you cannot operate with impunity, there is a prize to pay for assuming risk.”

REFERENCES:
City Council Members’ Reaching Consensus In Non-Public Discussions, Prior To Public Meeting, Violates Brown Act
Wolfe v. City of Fremont (2006 WL 3072602, Cal.App. 1 Dist., Oct. 31, 2006)

Brown Act Forbids Private Consensus-Building by City Councils
A California appellate court ruled in 2006 that under California's local government open meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, a city manager may not build a city council consensus on a matter of city business by meeting privately with each council member.
In Wolfe v. City of Fremont (144 C.A.4th 533), the court held that a city council cannot reach a "collective concurrence" through individual meetings with the city manager. In this case, a citizen contested Fremont's decision to change its policy concerning police responses to home invasion alarms. The citizen, Dennis Wolfe, contended that at a hearing a councilmember said the "council had been fully briefed on the (security alarm) proposal and had expressed their support." In overturning a trial court's dismissal of Wolfe's Brown Act lawsuit against the city, the appellate court said that this statement, if proven true, was evidence of a Brown Act violation. The city manager (or anyone else) may speak to every member of the council. But the court said a city council cannot lawfully reach a consensus about action to be taken through these private meetings because it denies the public meaningful access to the decision-making process, as required by the Brown Act.

Court of Appeal Denies Rehearing of Its Decision that Resident Stated a Claim against City for Violation of the Brown Act's Requirement that City Council Meetings be Open and Public

On November 30, 2006, the Court of Appeal denied rehearing of its opinion entered in Wolfe v. City of Fremont. In Wolfe, the Court held that a City resident successfully stated a claim for violation of the sections of the Brown Act (California Government Code section 54950 et seq.) that prohibit the legislative body of a local agency from conducting nonpublic meetings.

Specifically, the Court held that the City Council of Fremont violated the Brown Act by privately discussing a new policy promulgated by the city's police department. The Court further held that the resident's allegations led directly to the inference that the council members had reached a consensus through nonpublic discussions that took place among them, thereby violating the Act.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Random Reportings

ABSTRACT: Random Reportings on the Annual Sunset Cultural Center, Inc. Public Meeting, a Second Permanent Restroom Facility on Scenic Rd., the City Administrator, Salinas City Council and Exclusive Negotiating Rights Agreement with Widewaters & Carmel developer Robert Leidig and City Council Agenda Items are presented.

• Annual Sunset Cultural Center, Inc (SCC) Meeting:
According to Executive Director Peter Lesnik, the date for the Annual SCC Meeting “has not been selected as yet.” All previous SCC Annual Public Meetings were held in April at Carpenter Hall, Sunset Center; April 14 in 2007 and April 1 in 2006.

• Long Overdue Second Permanent Restroom Facility at Carmel Beach on Scenic Road:
At the City Council Budget Meeting on April 17, 2008, City Administrator Rich Guillen committed to adding to the Work Plan a second permanent restroom facility. The City Administrator stated that he had met with Rob Carver a week earlier and Carver “will be submitting the proposal to do some schematic design for us by the end of this month...I think we really need to address that, they are unsightly, they are difficult to maintain, we get a lot of complaints about their appearance and the use of them and so I think it's time that as a City we address that.”
Note: City Administrator Rich Guillen is referring to the port-a-potties on Scenic Rd. & Santa Lucia Av.

• City Administrator Misspoke at City Council Budget Meeting:
City Administrator Rich Guillen misspoke at the Budget Meeting when he stated that the port-a-potties on Scenic Rd. & Santa Lucia Av. were “only permitted for one year back in 2004” by the California Coastal Commission. According to a California Coastal Commission Staff Member, the City’s General Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan Policy P4-41 permits the second restroom facility at Santa Lucia Avenue “until it can be replaced by a permanent site.” Ergo, no permit was issued or required from the California Coastal Commission.

REFERENCE:
General Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan Coastal Access and Recreation Element

Recreation and Support Facilities
G4-3 Provide adequate facilities that will serve the needs of the public, mitigate damage to the environment, and respect the neighborhood. (LUP)

P4-41 Retain the current second restroom facility at Santa Lucia Avenue until it can be replaced by a permanent site. Remove this facility upon construction of one or more additional permanent restrooms south of Eighth Avenue. (LUP)

• Salinas City Council approval for Exclusive Negotiating Rights Agreement with Widewaters & Carmel developer Robert Leidig:
According to reporting in The Salinas Californian, on Tuesday, April 15, 2008, the Salinas City Council unanimously approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with Widewaters - a New York-based real estate group - and Carmel developer Robert Leidig for redevelopment of the city’s downtown, specifically the redevelopment of three blocks on Lincoln Avenue and the 100 block of South Main Street. Plans could include a new police station, city hall and mixed-use residential and retail space. Curtis Leidig, Robert Leidig’s son, of Widewaters stated, "We're looking at a $400 to $500 million project with a ripple effect of several billion dollars for Salinas."

City Council Reports:
Exclusive Negotiation Rights Agreement with Robert Leidig Associates and Widewaters Group

• Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments Consolidation & Forest Theatre Design Plan
At the City Council Meeting on April 3 and the City Council Budget Meeting on April 17, Carmelites pleaded with the City Council to place on an upcoming City Council Agenda the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments Consolidation and the Forest Theatre Design Plan. Question: Will Mayor Sue McCloud respect the pleadings of Carmelites by placing both these items on the May 6, 2008 City Council Agenda?

Friday, April 25, 2008

HIGHLIGHTS of ‘Carmel firefighters--in their own words’ featuring Carmel Firefighters August Beacham & Mitch Kastros

ABSTRACT: Fire Engineer August Beacham and Captian Mitch Kastros gave a power point presentation about the Carmel Fire Department, an update on the fire hydrants and answered questions from audience members. Highlights of the meeting are presented. COMMENTS are made with regard to the city government of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MEETING, ET CETERA:
• On Fire Hydrants:
The City water system is currently adequate.

Presently, there are 187 operating fire hydrants; the longest distance from one operational fire hydrant to another operational fire hydrant is 750 ft., adequate coverage for fire hose lengths of approximately 1200 feet.

The majority of fire hydrants are rated as greater than 1000 gpm.

The City’s infrastructure was installed in the 1920s; the expected lifespan is 100 years. The problem with Carmel’s 1920’s infrastructure is the 4” cast iron pipes are corroded and some require replacement.

Of the total fire hydrants, 9 fire hydrants have been removed, 11 fire hydrants have been replaced and 9 fire hydrants are scheduled to be placed on new water mains.

According to Fire Chief Andrew Miller, Cal-Am, the owner of the infrastructure, has budgeted $500,000 for this fiscal year and $400,000 for next fiscal year towards completion of 9 Project Site Phases throughout the City. The Project Site Phases represent replacement of water mains with standard new PVC 6”- 8” water mains; all 9 Project Site Phases are estimated to be completed by the end of 2008.

CAL-AM’S 9 FIRE HYDRANTS PROJECT SITES:
PROJECT SITE PHASE 1: 3rd Av. between Carpenter St. & Hatton Rd.

PROJECT SITE PHASE 2: Ocean Av. between Del Mar Av. & Carmelo St.

PROJECT SITE PHASE 3: Torres St. between 6th Av. & Ocean Av. & Ocean Av. between Torres St. to Santa Rita St.

PROJECT SITE PHASE 4:
Carpenter St. –Forest Rd. between 6th Av. & 8th Av.
7th Av. between east of Forest Rd. & Hatton Rd.

PROJECT SITE PHASE 5: Junipero Av. @ Rio Rd &Ridgewood Rd.

PROJECT SITE PHASE 6: Scenic Rd. between 8th Av. & 9th Av.

PROJECT SITE PHASE 7: Hatton Rd. between Mountain View Av. and Martin Rd.

PROJECT SITE PHASE 8: Mission St. between 8th Av. & 10th Av.

PROJECT SITE PHASE 9: 12th Av. between Lincoln St. & Mission St.

Note: An updated map of the Fire Hydrants and the locations of Cal-Am’s Project Site Phases 1-9 will be available next week as a public announcement and on the City’s web site.

Nationally, Fire Departments are a “Jack of all trades,” a “multidisciplined" force
Duties and responsibilities include Fire, Structure Fires, Vehicles Fires, Wildland Fires and Rescue. And Medical including BLS (Basic Life Support) “EMT,” ALS (Advanced Life Support) “Paramedic,” Ambulance Transport, First Aid, Assistance; Environment, including Sewage Spills, Toxic Chemicals, Hazardous Materials, Fuel Spills; Hazardous Conditions including, Wires Down, Winter Storms, Water Leaks, Gas Leaks and Daily Activities including Equipment Maintenance/Repairs, Business Inspections, Fire Hydrant Maintenance, Training, Emergency Response and Public Education.

• History of the Carmel Fire Department
Established in 1915

All Volunteer Fire Department until 1960s

In 1988, there were 43 members, including full-time staff of Fire Chief, Assistant Chief, Fire Marshall, 3 Engineers, 3 Captains and equipment including a volunteer BLS ambulance, 2 Type 1 Engines, 50 ft. Telesquirt Truck, Wildland Fire Engine, Rescue and Utility Vehicles.

In 2008, there are 6 full-time members, including 3 Engineers and 3 Captains. The Fire Chief is contracted with the City of Pacific Grove. Fire Marshall is under contract with Art Black. Duty Chief is contracted with the City of Monterey. There are 2 Type 1 engines and ambulance by Carmel Regional Fire Ambulance (CRFA).

In 1988 there were 35 Volunteers vs. 8 Volunteers in 2008; the change in the number of volunteers over time is due to demographics, entry requirements, training requirements and motivation.

• National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
“NFPA 1710 is a standard that sets minimum criteria for the effectiveness and efficiency of emergency operations to protect the safety of the Public and Fire Department employees.”

Background:
NFPA issued the standard NFPA 1710 after 10 years of research and debate in 2001. The standard sets minimum criteria for the staffing of fire fighters crews and how they will respond and operation at emergency scenes.

NFPA 1710 Requirements:
Fire Fighters will respond with a minimum of 4 personnel on each apparatus.

Fire Fighters will arrive at the emergency scene within 4 minutes of the dispatch center receiving the call.

The correct number of fully staffed and strategically located fire stations must exist to accomplish the standard.

NFPA 1710 Protects the Community Against Liability:
NFPA 1710 could be highly relevant to the question of whether a jurisdiction has negligently failed to provide adequate fire or emergency medical protection to an individual harmed in a fire or medical emergency.

Jurisdictions assume some additional legal risk by failing to abide by NFPA 1710, even where it has failed to adopt the standard.

Notes:
Presently, Carmel responds with 2 on engine, Captain and Engineer, and uses CRFA crew for OSHA “2 in-2 out.” CRFA is outside Carmel for long periods and mutual aid calls are taken from as far away as Salinas.

Presently, Carmel meets the 4 minute response criterion. “Weight of Attack” is lacking; that is mutual aid companies for balance of manpower is needed ex. Cal Fire.

• Future Scenarios
Stand Alone Department; too expensive and unsustainable

Contract for Services; temporary only

Cal Fire; State controlled, not local Fire Department

Merger; Shares cost over several Fire Departments, high level of service at reduced cost and sustainable. The Choice of Carmel Fire Fighters!

• Current Status
The Cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove are currently negotiating towards complete consolidation; consolidation start date is October 1, 2008. The City of Carmel-by-the-Sea is “on hold.” Apparently, the City withdrew from consolidation talks in January 2008. Advantages of Carmel/Monterey/ Pacific Grove Fire Departments merger are a fully staffed 4 person engine complete with ALS paramedic, long term viability of Carmel Fire Department and apparatus procurement and replacement program.

COMMENTS:
No one from the City Council or City Administration attended the meeting.

As was articulated at the meeting by former Mayor Jean Grace, there are three issues involving the Carmel Fire Department; namely, a contract between the City and the Carmel Fire Fighters (Carmel Fire Fighters have been working without a contract since July 2007), staffing of the Carmel Fire Department and consolidation of the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments. Moreover, the City has used closed session labor negotiations with the Carmel Fire Fighters about a contract as an excuse for not placing consolidation and staffing issues on a public meeting agenda for the benefit of the public.

One of the reasons Carmelites are currently in such an untenable predicament is because the leadership of the CRA has not energized their members to file for office and run aggressive, substantive campaigns on substantive issues against the “well-oiled machine.”

Thursday, April 24, 2008

‘Carmel firefighters--in their own words’ featuring Carmel Firefighters August Beacham & Mitch Kastros

‘19 CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA FIRE STATION 37’
S/s 6th Av. between Mission St. & San Carlos St.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA.

WHAT: CRA Hosts “Carmel firefighters--in their own words” featuring Carmel Firefighters Engineer August Beacham and Captain Mitch Kastros

WHEN: Thursday, April 24 @ 4:45 P.M.

WHERE: Vista Lobos Meeting Room (Torres St. between 3rd Av. & 4th Av.)

WHY: Update on the status of...
Carmel Fire Department Consolidation with Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments
Staffing of the Carmel Fire Department and
Cal-Am’s Fire Hydrants & Water Mains Replacement Plans

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Carolyn Hardy: "I’d like to see Carpenter St. repaired, particularly between 4th & Ocean Av."

Carpenter St
View to the south from 5th Av. towards Ocean Av.

Close-Up of Carpenter St. near 5th Av.

Alligator” Cracking
View of Guadalupe St. @ 7th Av.

ABSTRACT: At the City Council’s Budget Meeting on April 17, 2008, during the public comment period, Carmelite Carolyn Hardy spoke to her concerns about public works and street repairs. Hardy’s comments are transcribed. Information about Carpenter St. and Guadalupe St. from the City’s Pavement Management Program is reproduced. COMMENTS are made regarding City Council Member Ken Talmage’s remarks about the need to follow the Pavement Management Program’s recommendation of budgeting $660,000 annually to maintain an overall streets condition of PCI 70 (Pavement Condition Index Fair-Good Condition) and City Administrator Rich Guillen's performance as city administrator.


At the City Council’s Budget Meeting on April 17, 2008, during the public comment period, Carmelite Carolyn Hardy spoke to her concerns about public works and street repairs, as follows:

“You were looking for ideas for projects. I’d like to see Carpenter St. repaired, particularly between 4th & Ocean Av. I’ve lived here 22 years, I’ve never seen any repairs done to the street and it’s in terrible shape, other than maybe filing a few cracks with a little more tar or a band aid here, a band aid there. It’s really, really in bad condition. And it’s terribly jarring to vehicles to drive the street...I live up on the hill by the Forest Theatre, because of the water problems that come through the hill, there are streets that always go to that alligator cracking. I would like a little more emphasis placed on reviewing the conditions of the streets up there. Water’s always a problem on that hill so that’s why the streets get to be in such bad condition...so I’d like to see some emphasis on street repair in residential areas...I’d like to see a little more emphasis on our N.E., N.W. quadrants.”
Note: View Video/Audio of Carolyn Hardy's presentation (Beginning 33:28-37:00 Ending)

The City of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Final Pavement Management Program by Nichols Consulting Engineers cited a PCI of 64 (Fair Condition) for Carpenter St. between 3rd Av. & Ocean Av. and a PCI of 48 (Fair Condition) for Guadalupe St. between Ocean Av. & Mountain View Av., as follows:

CARPENTER ST.
Begin Location: 3rd Av.
End Location: Ocean Av.
PCI: 64 (Fair PCI 40-69)
Highest PCI: 69
Lowest PCI: 60
PCI Date: 8/27/2007

GUADALUPE ST.
Begin Location: OCEAN AV
End Location: MOUNTAIN VIEW AV.
PCI: 48 (Fair PCI 40-69)
Highest PCI: 48
Lowest PCI: 48
PCI Date: 8/28/2007

Source: City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Final Pavement Management Program, Executive Summary, Inventories and Budget Analysis Reports, Nichols Consulting Engineers, CHTD., December 2007.

Note: Of the total 201 pavement sections identified in the Pavement Management Study, GUADALUPE ST. between Ocean Av. & Mountain View Av. was listed as number 194 of 201 for 2008 Projected PCI. (Only seven other pavement sections had lower/worse 2008 Projected PCIs.)

COMMENTS:
To his credit, City Council Member Ken Talmage cited the Pavement Management Study’s recommendation that the City must expend $660,000 annually to maintain Carmel’s streets at the current overall condition of a PCI of 70 (Fair-Good Condition). But then again, City Council Member Ken Talmage cited the City’s underfunding of the Carmel Fire Department by $400,000 as reported in the Fire Consolidation Feasibility Study only to later state that consolidation was not a viable option due to serious flaws in the Citygate Study’s financial analysis.

Why is it that a resident has to inform the City Administrator of the poor condition of Carpenter Street? Rich Guillen has been city administrator for eight years, he has a college degree in engineering and he had worked previously in public works, yet he is oblivious to the City’s annual expenditures for streets, roads and avenues.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Carmelites' Pleas to Restore Carmel's "Urbanized" Forest

"Signature" Monterey Pine (Upper Canopy) and Coast Live Oak (Lower Canopy) trees of Carmel's "Urbanized" Forest

ABSTRACT: In celebration of Earth Day and the environment, Carmel’s “urbanized" forest is featured; specifically, Carmelite Dick Dalsemer's remarks at the City Council’s Budget Meeting on April 17, 2008. His remarks focus on the need for the City Council to support the Forest and Beach Commission’s goal of hiring a permanent, full-time tree water/maintenance person beginning in FY 2008/09. Dalsemer’s remarks are transcribed and a link to a video/audio presentation of his remarks is provided. COMMENTS are made about analogous remarks in support of a full-time tree water/maintenance person by Carmelites Clayton Anderson and Steve Brooks.

At the City Council’s Budget Meeting on April 17, 2008, during the public comment period, Carmelite Dick Dalsemer spoke about Carmel’s urbanized forest and the need to budget for a permanent, full-time water/maintenance person as recommended by the Forest and Beach Commission. Dalsemer’s remarks, as follows:

“Dick Dalsemer. I’m a citizen of Carmel and also a member of the Friends of Carmel Forest. And I would like to also talk to you about the idea, the goal, that you got from the Forest and Beach Commissioners to have a full-time tree water/maintenance person. I think it’s absolutely vital from an economic standpoint as well as other standpoints. As you know, one of the reasons that Carmel is losing trees on City property much faster than they can be replaced is because there is no one to nurture planted trees…that is to say, we have a less than half time, or we have had a less than half time person to do that, but working, I believe 18 hours a week, she’s only been able to handle 24-25 new trees a year which is not replacing the trees that we’re losing. And…we have a deficit, if that’s the right word, of about 340, 350 trees that need to be replaced, should be replaced and haven’t been. It’s going to take a long time to do that."

“I think that Carmel’s urbanized forest is one of the most important reasons for visitors coming to stay here and tourism, as we all know, is the most important segment of the City’s economy. If you continue to allow the forest to disappear…something that will in all likelihood continue at an even faster rate because so many of our trees now are reaching the end of their lives and so are coming down in even larger numbers, I think, in the future. You will be seriously damaging our economy and the City’s already inadequate revenue stream. The longer that you fail to budget for at least one full-time tree water/maintenance position, the more expensive rejuvenating the forest will become in the future. If you don’t begin to act now, to allow adequate tree replacement that will eventually result in a forest that has parity, a healthy forest we used to have 20 to 30 year ago, the situation is just going to get increasingly difficult to deal with and more and more expensive. City Council’s which may find themselves in a position of having to choose in the future between spending a much larger percentage of the City’s budget on reforestation or…replacement of trees that formerly existed or saying we’ll just let the forest disappear which will undoubtedly have a really negative effect on the economy of the City as well as the quality of life.”

“Again, I urge you to include in your budget a permanent full-time water maintenance person beginning with this next fiscal year in order to begin to prevent what is already an acute problem from becoming even more serious.”

“Thank you.”

COMMENTS:
View video/audio presentation of remarks by Dick Dalsemer (Beginning 29:34-33:20 ending), Clayton Anderson (Beginning 6:55-9:06 ending) and Steve Brooks (Beginning 25:34-28:28 ending)

At the City Council Budget Meeting, the Friends of Carmel Forest pledged a grant of $5,000.00 for FY 2008/09 to the City to assist defray the expense associated with a full-time water/maintenance position, according to Clayton Anderson, President of the Friends of Carmel Forest.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Classic Example of Poor City Management

ABSTRACT: Selected, relevant excerpts from the City’s ADOPTED BUDGET FISCAL YEARS 2007/08 THROUGH 2009/10 regarding the Forest Theatre are reproduced. COMMENTS are made with respect to the ADOPTED BUDGET, the Forest Theatre, Scout House and statements made by public speakers and City Council Member Ken Talmage at the City Council Budget Meeting on April 17, 2008.

Selected excerpts from the City’s ADOPTED BUDGET, as follows:

CITY OF CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA
CALIFORNIA
ADOPTED BUDGET
FISCAL YEARS
2007/08 THROUGH 2009/10


CITY OF CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA WORK PLAN
Department: Community Services
Project: Forest Theater Renovation Plans
Start Date: 4/26/04
Due Date: ongoing
Cost: $ 400,000
Status: Forest Theater Foundation is working with an architect on a pre-design plan. Presentation to Council expected by June 2007. Foundation is fundraising to cover renovation plan costs.

City of Carmel-by-the-Sea
Capital Improvement and Capital Outlay Budgets
FY 2007-08 Thru 2011-12

Revised FY 2008-09
Capital Improvement
Forest Theater ADA Upgrades (design) $50,000

Note:
At the City Council Budget Meeting on April 17, 2008, a public speaker stated the expenditure for the Forest Theatre “design” was now $65,000.

COMMENTS:
In the City’s ADOPTED BUDGET FISCAL YEARS 2007/08 THROUGH 2009/10, a Capital Improvement for the Forest Theatre in the triennial budget is for “ADA upgrades (design)” of $50,000 in FY 2008/09. For FY 2009/10, there is no expenditure for implementation of the ADA upgrades (design). A City policy of budgeting for “design” without subsequently budgeting for implementation is imprudent and improvident. Similarly, in that ADOPTED BUDGET, there is an “ongoing” item for the “Scout House ADA” from 1999 for a “Feasibility study” without any subsequent monies budgeted for implementation. A pattern of budgeting for designs or studies without budgeting for implementation makes for an incoherent budget document and poor use of taxpayer monies.

At the City Council Budget Meeting on April 17, 2008, Carmel residents Monte Miller, Carolyn Hardy and Linda Anderson urged the City Council to hold a public meeting or workshop on the Forest Theatre design. Needless to say, no member of the City Council, or the City Administrator, responded positively or negatively to the repeated requests.

City Council Member Ken Talmage articulated at the City Council Budget Meeting on April 17, 2008 that the "next major capital project for the City is the Forest Theatre," implying that the City could only budget for one "major" capital improvement project at a time and that capital improvement project must be the Forest Theatre. A more prudent and provident approach would be to budget for both the Forest Theatre and Scout House in phases given the fact that the ADA improvements and upgrades for the Scout House are a few hundred thousand dollars, compared with the improvements to the Forest Theatre which represent a multi-million dollar project. Moreover, for the City Council to agree to remove the Scout House from the proposed Budget at that Budget Meeting is a dereliction of their responsibility to citizens to have all public assets maintained, open and available to the public, especially since the Scout House has a long history of being Carmel-by-the-Sea’s “Community Center.”

Sunday, April 20, 2008

City Council Members’ Rhetoric Inconsistent with Records

ABSTRACT: On Tuesday, April 15, 2008, the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea held a Swearing in Ceremony for City Council Members Karen Sharp and Ken Talmage and Mayor Sue McCloud. The oath of office is reproduced and COMMENTS are made with regard to their oath and their rhetoric being inconsistent with their acts and records.

On Tuesday, April 15, 2008, the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea held a Swearing in Ceremony for City Council Members Karen Sharp and Ken Talmage and Mayor Sue McCloud. Each of the three City Council Members took their oaths of office, as follows:

“I, _________________, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.”

COMMENTS
Yet under the mayorship of Sue McCloud, the City has violated the laws of the State of California and the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea including, but not limited to, as follows:

CEQA
On the Feasibility/infeasibility of leasing the Flanders Mansion property compared to selling the Flanders Mansion property; Monterey County Superior Court Judge Robert O’Farrell ruled that the City failed to provide an economic analysis to support its contention that the lease option is infeasible. (M76728 Flanders Foundation v. City of Carmel-by-the-Sea et al.)

California Government Code Sections 38440-38462
On the City’s proposed selling of the Flanders Mansion property, specifically its being discontinued and abandoned as a public park; the city failed to follow the proper procedure, including the adoption of a resolution “declaring that public interest or convenience requires the discontinuance of the use of such land as a public park, and that the legislative body intends to call a special election to submit the question of discontinuance to the city electors,” et cetera. (M76728 Flanders Foundation v. City of Carmel-by-the-Sea et al.)

California Government Code Section 54222
On the City’s proposed selling of the Flanders Mansion property: specifically, the City failed to follow the proper procedures for the disposing of “surplus land,” including the sending of a written offer to sell or lease the property to any park or recreation department of the county prior to disposing of that property, et cetera. (M76728 Flanders Foundation v. City of Carmel-by-the-Sea et al.)

General Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan Land Use & Community Character Element
On the City’s Historic Resources Board’s removal of 29 historic resources on the City’s Inventory of Historic Resources as a group; the California Coastal Commission informed the City of its violation of the Land Use Plan, specifically P1-91.

General Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan Coastal Resource Management Element
City failures to implement goals and objectives, including, but not limited to, as follows:
G5-4 Preserve and enhance the City's legacy of an urbanized forest of predominantly Monterey pine, coast live oak and Monterey Cypress. (LUP)

O5-11 Maintain, restore and enhance the upper and lower tree canopy of Carmel's urbanized forest. (LUP)

O5-14 Maintain a healthy forest.

G5-6 Preserve and acquire open space and parks. (LUP)

O5-35 Implement the Mission Trail Nature Preserve Master Plan maintenance provisions. (LUP)

O5-36 Monitor, study and develop effective management programs for the City’s parks and ESHAs. Endeavor to reduce conflicts between environmental protection and use of public and private property within ESHAs. (LUP)

O5-37 Reduce the introduction and spread of invasive horticultural species into and within identified ESHAs. Encourage a volunteer program of citizens and property owners to participate in maintenance and enhancement of sensitive habitats Develop a Stewardship Program based on the premise that resource management is a cooperative effort between the City and its citizens. (LUP)

Municipal Code Section 17.32.210
On the National Register of Historic Places Flanders Mansion; Monterey County Superior Court Judge Robert O’Farrell ruled that the City violated its Municipal Code, specifically with regard to the “minimum maintenance” required for inventory properties which “shall be preserved against decay and deterioration, kept in a state of good repair and free from structural defects.” (M76728 Flanders Foundation v. City of Carmel-by-the-Sea et al.)

Municipal Code Section 17.32.070
The City’s Historic Resources Board violated 17.32.070 D. Removal of Resources from the Inventory, when the Board removed 29 historic resources from the City’s Inventory of Historic Resources as a group without following the proper procedures, including evaluations by qualified professionals who determined that “substantial evidence” demonstrated that each resource was not an historic resource.

Municipal Code Section 15.36.070
On the City’s installation of 80 lights in the Ocean Av. medians; per 12.36.070 Lighting Requirements, Commercial Buildings/Zones, the City violated the Municipal Code which states that “All light fixtures shall not be directed toward the public right-of-way.”

California Elections Code Section 13210. (e)
On the City’s ballot for the April 8 Municipal Election; the City’s ballot instructions were correct in Spanish, but incorrect in English. That is, the English language instructions stated “vote for two,” when the correct language should have been “vote for no more than two.”

Beware of politicians whose rhetoric is inconsistent with their acts and records. After each of the City Council Members’ swearing in, each Council Member spoke a few words.

“I want to thank...I think your active participation is so important to all of us to get a diversity of views and to really feel as if we are representing all of you as we try our best to enact policies for the City.”
Mayor Sue McCloud, Swearing in Ceremony

In reality, in 8 years as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Sue McCloud has a well deserved reputation for being intolerant of a diversity of opinions, particularly opinions which differ from her opinions. To wit, her record of voting to terminate a Commissioner who voiced an opinion about her micromanagement of the city, dissolving Commissions when members had opinions which led them to pursue items not to her liking, causing the mass resignations of Board Members who had opinions that Sue McCloud did not respect their advice, et cetera.

“While they (Karen Sharp and Ken Talmage) ran independently...”
Mayor Sue McCloud, Swearing in Ceremony

During the campaign, Mayor Sue McCloud supported incumbents Ken Talmage and Karen Sharp. Ergo, Karen Sharp, Ken Talmage and Sue McCloud really campaigned as a slate or “team,” not independently. (Note: Karen Sharp and Ken Talmage had wine tasting events during the campaign together.) Moreover, if Michael LePage had won a seat on the City Council, Mayor McCloud would not have been perceived as welcoming LePage to the City Council or ready to treat him fairly based on her performance during the campaign.

“I’m sure you share my enthusiasm that we have a team which has proven that is can work effectively together to address such issues.”
Mayor Sue McCloud, Swearing in Ceremony

The City Council is charged with upholding the laws of the federal, state and local governments, including conducting the people’s business openly; the City Council is not charged with working as a “team.” Mayor McCloud’s overemphasis of her “team” concept communicates to citizens that operating as a team is paramount, as opposed to serving constituents as independent-minded public servants.


“I want you to keep the tough questions coming; it makes us all better at accomplishing what’s best for our lives, our village and for the future of both.”
City Council Member Karen Sharp, Swearing in Ceremony

While Karen Sharp may imply she encourages “tough questions,” during the campaign she did not substantively answer questions in a forthcoming manner. And neither did Ken Talmage answer questions in a substantive, consistent or credible manner during the campaign, particularly questions involving the Carmel Fire Department consolidation with the Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Election Analysis, Ballot Controversy & California Elections Code

ABSTRACT: Selected Official Final Election Results for 2008 are presented. ANALYSIS, information about the Carmel-by-the-Sea ballot controversy, including a synopsis and link to the letter from the Chair of the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee to the Carmel-by-the-Sea City Clerk, California Elections Code Section 13210. (e) and COMMENTS are also presented.

Carmel-by-the-Sea Municipal Election
April 8, 2008
Official Final Election Results


Registration and Turnout:
Registered Voters: 2781
Total Ballots Cast: 1373
Precinct Ballots Cast: 329
Vote by Mail Ballots Cast: 1044
Turnout: 49%

Mayor (one seat):
Sue McCloud: 926
Dogman McBill: 312
Total Votes Cast: 1238

Member, City Council (two seats):
Karen I. Sharp: 784
Kenneth K. Talmage: 769
Michael LePage: 747
Total Votes Cast: 2300

ANALYSIS:
Turnout for the 2008 election was 49%, compared to 48% in 2006.

Nearly one half of the “Vote by Mail Ballots Cast” (1044) were cast prior to the City’s issuance of a correction to the ballot language.

Of the total ballots cast in 2008 (1373), 1238 votes were cast for Mayor; 135 voters did not vote for Mayor.

The number of votes for Dogman McBill (312) and the number of people who did not vote for mayor (135) equals 447; 447 represents about one half of the votes cast for Sue McCloud.

In 2008, Sue McCloud received 926 votes of 1238 total votes cast, compared to 995 votes of 1344 ballots cast in 2006.

For City Council, 2300 votes were cast in 2008, compared to 2447 total votes cast in 2006. Since there were 1373 ballots cast in 2008 and voters could vote for two for City Council, the total ballots cast for City Council could have been 2746 votes if every voter voted for two candidates; 446 votes were not cast for a candidate (approximately 1 in 3 voters voted for only one candidate).

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA BALLOT & CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS CODE:
Letter from Vinz Koller, Chair of the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee, to Heidi Burch, Carmel-by-the-Sea City Clerk

Synopsis: The City of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s ballot for the 2008 Municipal Election for City Council had Spanish instructions, “Vote for no more than 2,” which is correct, and English instructions, "Vote for 2," which is incorrect. In a letter dated March 25, 2008, Vinz Koller wrote that the ballot for Carmel’s April 8, 2008 City Council election is “confusing and misleads voters. It is having a direct and material impact on a current election and violates the State Election Code Section 13120 (e)." Koller requested that the City “inform voters immediately of the error by mailing a correction notice to all registered voters in Carmel and by immediately placing a full page ad in a prominent location in the 3 newspapers” and conduct an investigation into the matter. The election results were certified by Monterey County on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 and Karen Sharp and Ken Talmage were sworn in on Tuesday, April 15. Representatives from the Monterey County Democratic Party said they will "reserve our right to challenge the results" of Tuesday's municipal election in Carmel; they or any voter or Michael LePage, the losing candidate, has 30 days, until May 9, to contest the results of the election. Last Monday, the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee advised the City it would “undertake preliminary steps to contest the election” in Monterey County Superior Court, according to The Carmel Pine Cone.

CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS CODE

DIVISION 13. BALLOTS, SAMPLE BALLOTS, AND VOTER PAMPHLETS

CHAPTER 3. BALLOT PRINTING SPECIFICATIONS
Article 1. General Provisions ................................13200-13220

13210.(e) In the case of all other candidates, each group of candidates to be voted on shall be preceded by the designation of the office for which they are running, and the words "vote for one" or "vote for no more than two," or more, according to the number to be nominated or elected. The designation of the office shall be printed flush with the left-hand margin in boldfaced gothic type not smaller than 8-point. The words, "vote for ____" shall extend to the extreme right-hand margin of the column and over the voting square. The designation of the office and the directions for voting shall be separated from the candidates by a light line. There shall be no line between the headings for federal or legislative offices and the designation of the office and the directions for voting.

COMMENTS:
An argument for contesting the election results is that one group of voters received one set of ballot instructions and another group of voters received another set of ballot instructions; that is, nearly one half of the 1044 “Vote by Mail” voters voted prior to the City’s issuance of a correction.

If previous City ballots have been similarly written, in violation of the California Elections Code, then that is not justification for the City's violation of the California Elections Code in 2008.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mayor McCloud Appeals Forest & Beach Commission's Unanimous Decision to Approve Removal of Neighbor's Acacia Tree

ABSTRACT: Relevant sections of the Forest and Beach Commission Agenda for April 3, 2008 are reproduced with respect to Susan Page’s application for the removal of a 30” dbh acacia tree in her side yard. BACKGROUD is presented, including a brief chronology and description of events from 2000 to the present. COMMENTS are made, including comments about the Forest and Beach Commission deliberations and Sue McCloud, the neighbor next door, who subsequently appealed the unanimous decision of the Forest and Beach Commission to approve removal of Susan Page’s acacia tree to the City Council.

CITY OF CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA
FOREST AND BEACH COMMISSION


REGULAR MEETING AGENDA
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Tour of Inspection – 1:30 p.m.
Regular Meeting – 2:00 p.m.

City Hall, Council Chambers
E/side Monte Verde between Ocean & 7th Avenues
Carmel, California

I. CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL
COMMISSION MEMBERS:
KATHLEEN COSS
JOE FORD
NANCY JOHN, CHAIRPERSON
TAD PRITCHETT

II. TOUR OF INSPECTION
Shortly after 1:30 p.m. the Commission will leave Council Chambers for an on-site Tour of Inspection of all properties listed on this agenda (including those on the Consent Calendar or Orders of Business). Prior to the beginning of the Tour of Inspection, the Forest and Beach Commission may eliminate one or more on-site visits. The public is welcome to follow the Commission on its tour of the determined sites. The Commission will return to Council Chambers as soon thereafter as possible to deliberate on the below listed items – SEE APPLICATION SECTION.

VI. APPLICATIONS/PUBLIC HEARINGS
IF YOU CHALLENGE THE NATURE OF THE PROPOSED ACTION IN COURT, YOU MAY BE LIMITED TO RAISING ONLY THOSE ISSUES YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE RAISED AT THE PUBLIC HEARING DESCRIBED IN THIS NOTICE, OR IN WRITTEN CORRESPONDENCE DELIVERED TO THE FOREST AND BEACH COMMISSION, OR PRIOR TO DELIBERATION OF THE ITEMS ON THE TOUR OF INSPECTION/PUBLIC HEARING.

1. Consideration of an application to remove one 30” dbh acacia tree due to its declining condition. The site is located on south side of Santa Lucia 3 east of Dolores. The applicant/owner is Susan Page.

BACKGROUND:
In the autumn of 2000, Susan Page applied to the City for the removal or, if removal not approved, pruning of a 16” acacia tree in her east side yard. The Staff Report recommended approving the acacia removal citing “past pruning practices” which “have created a tree with many potential limb failure points” and surface roots extending 30 feet from the trunk which have caused damage to the concrete walkway. The replacement tree recommendation was a 15-gallon oak. The applicant cited damage to the walkway, root growth into the house and limitation of light to the house as reasons for removal of the acacia tree.

Susan Page’s neighbor to the east, Sue McCloud, wrote “I am opposed to this removal and believe I may be the defacto owner or at least partial owner.” “For me, it is not a question of privacy, rather that there is a softness of greenery between the two houses. It is preferable to look out at greenery than solid walls.”

In October 2000, the applicant withdrew her application for removal of the acacia tree in favor of pruning the tree.

In the spring of 2006, Susan Page again applied to the City for the removal of the 16” dbh acacia tree. The Staff Report again recommended approving the application for removal of the acacia tree, citing the earlier reasons. The replacement tree recommendation was a 24” box fruitless olive tree in the “same vicinity to replace the acacia.” The applicant cited invasiveness and limitation of light to the house.

The applicant continued her application for removal of the acacia tree.

In 2008, Susan Page again applied to the City for removal of the now 30” dbh acacia tree. Susan Page cited its “declining condition” and her application was placed on the Forest and Beach Commission’s agendas of January 2, 2008 and March 6, 2008, only to be removed from those agendas. Finally, after Susan Page spoke during Appearances at the City Council meeting on March 4, 2008 asking for “due process” and “fair treatment,” her application was placed on the April 3, 2008 Forest and Beach Commission agenda. City Forester Mike Branson’s Memorandum included a Staff Recommendation to “approve the application” citing past pruning practices creating a tree with many potential limb failure points. The replacement tree recommendation was a 24” box fruitless live tree in “the same vicinity to replace the acacia.” While Mayor Sue McCloud sent a letter dated March 27, 2008, her sister Sarah Berling represented Sue McCloud citing her sister did not want to appear to exert “undue influence” on the Forest and Beach Commissioners. After deliberations, the Forest and Beach Commission voted unanimously to approve the removal of the 30” dbh acacia tree and the planting of 2 24” box fruitless olive trees to provide screening of Susan Page’s second floor and lower deck for Sue McCloud. Subsequently, Mayor Sue McCloud filed an appeal of the Forest and Beach Commission’s decision to the City Council.

COMMENTS:
In discussing Susan Page’s application, the Forest and Beach Commissioners focused on replacement trees and screening for Sue McCloud to the extent the Commissioners voted for two replacement trees in order to provide screening of a second story and a lower deck all for the benefit of Sue McCloud. While the focus was on determining an equitable result, there was no discussion of the appropriateness of planting a replacement tree or trees in a side yard of approximately 3 ft. between the exterior wall of the residence and fence. Moreover, it could be argued that a more appropriate decision may have been to approve removal of Susan Page’s acacia tree and recommend to Sue McCloud the planting of shrubs in her side yard for screening purposes, given the fact that Susan Page has more trees on her lot than the Municipal Code’s “Recommended Tree Densities” already.

While Mayor Sue McCloud stated in her March 27, 2008 letter to the Chair of the Forest and Beach Commission and City Forester Mike Branson that she was amenable to discussing a replacement tree for the acacia tree with Susan Page, her filing an appeal shows that this is not the case, especially given the fact that two 24” box fruitless olive trees were approved as replacement trees for screening purposes instead of the staff recommendation’s of one 24” box fruitless olive tree.

If Mayor Sue McCloud was concerned about the appearance of exerting undo influence on the Forest and Beach Commissioners to the extent she could not represent herself before the Commissioners regarding Susan Page’s application, then she is certainly creating the appearance of exerting undo influence on the City Council by appealing the Forest and Beach Commission decision to the City Council due to the fact that three of the four Council Members were originally appointed by her. Her appeal then raises serious questions about whether the City Council Members have the ability to render an objective, fair and impartial decision.

A public service oriented mayor would have honored the decision of her appointees on the Forest and Beach Commission and not appealed the Commission’s decision to the City Council. In appealing the Commission’s unanimous decision to the City Council, Mayor McCloud has once again acted on personal, selfish desires. To wit, Mayor McCloud consistently strives to impose her own personal, egoistical preferences on Carmel, thereby distorting and corrupting the decision-making process.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

PacRep, Golden Bough Theatre & the Forest Theatre

ABSTRACT: A SYNOPSIS of The Carmel Pine Cone article “New Golden Bough to be quieter, prettier, more comfortable” by Mary Brownfield from the April 4, 2008 edition is presented. COMMENTS and QUESTIONS are made with respect to Pacific Repertory Theatre, the Golden Bough Theatre and the Forest Theatre.

SYSOPSIS:
Under the leadership of Executive Director Stephen Moorer, Pacific Repertory Theatre (PacRep) has contracted with theatre architect R. F. McCann for a preliminary design, schematics and 3-D model for the proposed demolition and rebuild of the Golden Bough Theatre’s main stage, a 300-seat theatre constructed half a century ago. McCann’s plans call for “new walls, roof, floor, stage, basement, bathrooms and infrastructure.” The design entails a reversal of the old theatre layout; that is, the main stage will back onto Monte Verde Street and the new larger lobby will have views of Point Lobos.

When the 3-D model is completed in about six months, it will serve as a key fundraising tool for PacRep’s $6 million capital campaign. Jim Bennett, who was hired by PacRep in March 2008, is set to launch “Encore Circle,” PacRep’s planned giving program. Pac Rep’s “quiet campaign” is to raise the first $3 million through spring 2009; PacRep has raised $1 million already. PacRep intends to form a “blue ribbon committee” of about 40 “community leaders, major donors and foundation representatives” who will make monetary contributions, et cetera. Once $3 million has been secured, PacRep will take its “financial plea” to the general public. PacRep hopes construction can begin in spring 2010, with the new Golden Bough Theatre’s main stage opening in 2011.

COMMENTS:
The Forest Theater Foundation contracted with theater architect Richard F. McCann to complete a “pre-design” for the Forest Theatre. On October 30, 2007, the Foundation held a “Neighborhood Meeting” on the “pre-design” at Vista Lobos. Since October 30, 2007, the “pre-design” has not been placed on a city council agenda for the purpose of informing all Carmelites about the “pre-design,” et cetera, for the Forest Theatre.

Pacific Repertory Theatre (PacRep), under the leadership of Executive Director Stephen Moorer, has contracted with Richard F. McCann for the preliminary design, schematics and 3-D model for the “rebuild” of the Golden Bough Theatre’s main stage; McCann has completed the preliminary design, is currently working on the schematics and expects to complete the 3-D model in six months. In March 2008, PacRep hired Jim Bennett to oversee their $6 million capital campaign.

According to The Carmel Pine Cone (April 8, 2008), Mayor Sue McCloud, City Council Members Ken Talmage and Karen Sharp put “updating the general plan and refurbishing the Forest Theater in time for its centennial in 2010 among their top priorities.”

QUESTIONS:
If Mayor Sue McCloud, City Council Members Ken Talmage and Karen Sharp have “refurbishing the Forest Theater in time for its centennial in 2010” as one of their “top priorities,” then why have six months elapsed since the Forest Theater Foundation’s “Neighborhood Meeting” on the “pre-design” without the “pre-design” being placed on a city council agenda for the purpose of informing all Carmelites about the proposed project?

What is the City’s plan for “refurbishing” the Forest Theatre in time for its centennial in 2010? Will the City form a partnership with The Forest Theater Foundation and commit financial resources to realizing the “refurbishing” of the Forest Theatre?

Given PacRep’s current $6 million campaign for the renovation of the Golden Bough Theatre’s main stage and the finite number of potential private donors, what is the likelihood that sufficient monies will be able to be raised from private donors for the “refurbishing” of the Forest Theatre at the same time PacRep is soliciting monies for the Golden Bough Theatre renovation?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wildflowers in Monterey County

ABSTRACT: Photos of Central California Wildflowers seen in Lucia (52 miles south of Carmel via CA-1/Cabrillo Hwy), along Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd (25 miles through the Santa Lucia Mountains, Los Padres National Forest and Hunter Liggett Military Reservation) and along Jolon Rd northbound towards King City (18 miles) are shown from a day trip on Thursday, April 10, 2008.




















Notes:
Click on Photos to Enlarge
More Photos of Wildflowers in Monterey County
About California Wildflowers, by Color, Family, Latin Name, Common Name

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Media Capture & An Uninformed Electorate

ABSTRACT: Media Capture by City Hall was a ubiquitous and transparent phenomenon during this past municipal election campaign; that is, collusion between the local media and City Hall, particularly Mayor Sue McCloud, to influence and dictate the outcome of the election. What is meant by “Captured Media” and the failure of the local media to uphold the “principles of journalism” is discussed.

Media Capture by City Hall was a ubiquitous and transparent phenomenon during this past municipal election campaign; that is, collusion between the local print media, principally The Monterey County Herald, Monterey County Weekly and The Carmel Pine Cone, and city council incumbents, particularly Mayor Sue McCloud, to influence and dictate the outcome of the election.

What is meant by “Captured Media?” In the context of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, “Captured Media” is characterized, as follows:

Promulgates propaganda and suppresses negative or unfavorable information.
Vital issues are never substantively presented to the extent that the issues do not enter the public’s consciousness.
Ignores and under-covers stories.
Fails to hold politicians accountable for their actions with follow-up questions and context.
Bad” politicians are never identified because their records are never scrutinized.
Results in high incumbency reelection rates.

Theorically, the media is supposed to empower citizens to make good electoral decisions by informing citizens on the vital issues of the day. However, the media can do so only if the media strives to uphold the “principles of journalism,” especially “JOURNALISM'S FIRST OBLIGATION IS TO THE TRUTH,” “ITS FIRST LOYALTY IS TO CITIZENS,” “ITS ESSENCE IS A DISCIPLINE OF VERIFICATION,” “ITS PRACTITIONERS MUST MAINTAIN AN INDEPENDENCE FROM THOSE THEY COVER,” ”IT MUST SERVE AS AN INDEPENDENT MONITOR OF POWER,” “IT MUST STRIVE TO MAKE THE SIGNIFICANT INTERESTING AND RELEVANT” AND "IT MUST KEEP THE NEWS COMPREHENSIVE AND PROPORTIONAL.” Moreover, when the media fails to uphold the “principles of journalism” and has a “cozy” relationship with government, the news content is unduly influenced by government to the extent that government is no longer accountable to citizens.

In the local media’s coverage of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, particularly the past municipal election campaign, instead of striving to uphold the “principles of journalism,” the media were purveyors of candidates’ propaganda, slogans and talking points. Furthermore, the media ignored the issues of the day and failed to make the candidates answer substantive questions about significant issues, including questions about “open government,” the City’s budget and overall fiscal condition, the future of the Carmel Fire Department and consolidation, historical and cultural assets, Carmel’s “urbanized” forest and storm water discharges into Carmel Bay.

In closing, when the media coverage of the past municipal election campaign is characterized by “we print what we’re told,” unreported stories on significant issues and unasked questions, Carmelites are not making electoral decisions as informed citizens on the issues of the day. As a consequence, uninformed citizens are all the more susceptible to viewing as credible the media’s editorial commentaries and endorsements, no matter how unfounded and unreasoned.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Carmel Beach & Forest Theatre Requisite Repairs for Summer Season

UPDATE (Sunday, 18 May 2008): The southernmost stairway to Carmel Beach has been repaired and is open for access to Carmel Beach.
View of Southermost Stairway Access to Carmel Beach from the Beach Bluff Pathway

View of Repaired Stairway Landing from Carmel Beach

ABSTRACT: With Memorial Day and the summer season approaching, the southernmost stairway access to Carmel Beach is in need of repair and Forest Theatre grapestake fence sections along Josselyn Lane are also in need of repair. Photos of the BEACH CLOSED southernmost stairway to Carmel Beach and Forest Theatre fence sections along Josselyn Lane are shown. COMMENTS are made regarding Carmel Beach access and the Forest Theatre's perimeter grapestake fence.

BEACH CLOSED
HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS
Sign
Southernmost stairway access to Carmel Beach
Scenic Rd near Martin Way.

BEACH CLOSED Sign
Base of stairway on Carmel Beach

Staircase requiring repair since January 2008

New posts for grapestake fence
Along Josselyn Lane, Forest Theatre

Leaning grapestake fence with sections of missing grapestakes
Along Josselyn Lane, Forest Theatre

Representative section of grapestake fence without new posts and missing grapestakes
Along Josselyn Lane, Forest Theatre

New asphalt overlay in front of Main Stage
Forest Theatre

COMMENTS:
The southernmost stairway access to Carmel Beach from the beach bluff pathway has been boarded up with a sign, BEACH CLOSED HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS, since the January 2008 storms. For residents and visitors alike, it is incumbent on the City to repair the stairway and open the stairway for access to Carmel Beach ASAP.

After grapestake fence sections fell over, et cetera, from the effects of the January 2008 storms, the City contracted for the repair of grapestake fence sections at the Forest Theatre. The last “repair” was to the fence section along Josselyn Lane; however, the “repair” only consisted of replacing 8 posts with new pressure-treated posts. By comparison, the other fence sections repairs consisted of removing the fence, replacing the old posts with new pressure-treated posts in concrete, replacing the two horizontal boards with pressure-treated boards and re-nailing the grapestakes onto the boards.

Examination of the entire perimeter grapestake fence at the Forest Theatre shows newly reconstructed sections and dilapidated, rotten, rusty exposed nails and missing grapestakes sections. Instead of the City contracting for minimum repairs due to storm damage, the City should have contracted for the reconstruction of the entire perimeter fence as an investment worthy of a historic, cultural and environmental public asset.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Carmel Art Association Presents DONOVAN'S & LONG'S SOLO SHOWS & GALLERY SHOWCASE FEATURING CARVEL, MATTESON & PICKFORD

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 DONOVAN’S SOLO SHOW “FAMILY ALBUM,” LONG’S SOLO SHOW “FOUR YEARS WITH THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS” & GALLERY SHOWCASE FEATURING CARVEL, MATTESON AND PICKFORD

Thursday, April 3 – Tuesday, May 6, 2008

SOLO SHOW: GAEL DONOVAN’S “FAMILY ALBUM
(Center Room)

Painter Gael Donovan exhibits paintings which “capture people in moments in time, conveying the feeling of snapshots from a family photo album.” View sample of a Gael Donovan painting.

SOLO SHOW: M RALPH LONG’S “FOUR YEARS WITH THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS”
(Beardsley Room, South Wall)

Painter Michie Long exhibits oil landscapes on canvas from her time living in the Pacific Northwest. View a sample of a Michie Long painting.

GALLERY SHOWCASE: FRED CARVELL, RIP MATTESON & ROLLIN PICKFORD
(Segal Room)

Contemporary landscape painter Fred Carvell exhibits his abstract, textural landscapes in acrylic. View Fred Carvell’s biography, et cetera, and paintings "Blue Hills,” “Autumn Reflections" and “Autumn Fields."

Figurative Painter Rip Matteson exhibits his oil paintings and portraits depicting the female form. View Rip Matteson’s Artist’s Statement and three oil on canvas paintings.

Painter Rollin Pickford exhibits watercolor landscapes of the Monterey Area and the Central Valley. View a sample of a Rollin Pickford painting.

Opening reception Saturday, April 5, 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

ATTENDANCE REQUESTED: City Council Meeting Today @ 4:30 P.M.

WHAT: City Council Meeting, City of Carmel-by-the-Sea

WHEN: Meeting commences today, Thursday, April 3, 2008 @ 4:30 P.M. Since the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments Consolidation is not on the Agenda, the time for members of the public to speak is during Appearances, near the beginning of the meeting.

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

WHY: The City’s $110,000 annual “headquarters” contract with Pacific Grove expired in November 2007; the City is currently attempting to negotiate a new contract with Pacific Grove and Monterey. The City terminated full consolidation negotiations in January 2008 and since that time has yet to place the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments Consolidation on a pubic hearing agenda for the purpose of informing Carmelites and receiving input from Carmelites. It is the professional judgment of our Carmel Professional Firefighters that full consolidation is in the best interests of Carmelites; the alternative is a properly staffed stand alone department, which the administrative setup would cost close to $1 million annually. The mayor, city council members and city administrator are against full consolidation. Ergo, only our Carmel Professional Firefighters are acting in the best interests of Carmelites and deserve our support by informing the city council of our concerns, et cetera.

HOW: Only with an overwhelming outpouring of vocal public support of our Carmel Professional Firefighters and full consolidation will the mayor, city council members and city administrator change course and resume negotiations with the Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments on full consolidation, which would go into effect July 1, 2008.

REFERENCE:
Special Meeting
Thursday, April 3, 2008
4:30 p.m., Open Session


City Hall
East side of Monte Verde Street
between Ocean and Seventh Avenues

Hearing assistance units are available to the public for meetings held in the Council Chambers

The City Council welcomes your interest and participation. If you want to speak on an agenda item during its review, you may do so when the Mayor opens the item for public comment. Persons are not required to give their names but it is helpful in order that the City Clerk may identify them in the minutes of the meeting. Please keep remarks to a maximum of three (3) minutes, or as otherwise established by the City Council. Always speak into the microphone, as the meeting is recorded on tape.

I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Pledge of Allegiance

IV. Extraordinary Business

Recognition of Officer Rachelle Lightfoot as “2007 Officer of the Year”

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

A. Announcements from Closed Session.

B. Announcements from City Council members. (Council members may ask a question for clarification, make a brief announcement or report on his or her activities).

C. Announcements from City Administrator.
• Receive update on fire hydrants

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, per the Brown Act (Open Meeting Law), will not receive action by the Council 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.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

City Administrator’s Lame Anti-Full Consolidation Excuses

ABSTRACT: As reported in the article “Firefighters battle city over merger” in the March 28, 2008 edition of The Carmel Pine Cone, statements attributed to City Administrator Rich Guillen are presented followed by comments or responses from Fire Engineer August Beacham. QUESTION & COMMENTS are presented.

City Administrator Rich Guillen:
Guillen stated he is skeptical the public would support a full consolidation, which could put Monterey firefighters on engines in Carmel. “The feeling is we should keep our firefighters, because they know our streets, we know them and they know us.”

Comment: For any city administrator to posit that he is “skeptical the public would support a full consolidation” without proactively educating the public and placing the item on a pubic hearing agenda for public input is unprofessional and engaging in projection. Moreover, Guillen’s “feeling” is an insult to the professionalism of all firefighters everywhere.

• City Administrator Rich Guillen:
“This staffing ensures that advanced lifesaving capabilities are included as part of the fire department’s initial response.”

Fire Engineer August Beacham:
That system only works when the ambulance is at the Carmel Fire Station and available to tend to emergencies with the engine.

“The ambulance responded to more than 500 calls outside the city last year, sometimes as far away as Salinas,” he said, since CRFA crews help outside their jurisdiction when Westmed, the county’s provider, is unavailable. It also went to 372 medical emergencies inside the city, each taking it out of service for about an hour.

“During these times, there are only two firefighters left on the engine in Carmel, and our ability to effect a rescue is severely compromised,” Beacham said, because they have to wait for an engine from another agency or for an ambulance dispatched from somewhere outside the city. “It puts us in danger and puts the citizens in danger.”

• City Administrator Rich Guillen:
Regarding “staffing during critical emergencies,” Guillen stated “that agreements with neighboring agencies provide additional engines for structure fires and other major incidents in the city.” And the department can also summon off-duty personnel and has “13 paid volunteers, including intermittent engineers, paid-call firefighters and a paid-call battalion chief.”

Fire Engineer August Beacham:
“The volunteer ranks have dwindled as training requirements and regulations have increased…They only responded to 10 percent of the calls in 2007, and one person was responsible for half of those responses.” Additionally, the “aid agreements with other fire departments only work if their crews are available.” “They may be responding to emergencies in their own jurisdictions.”

• City Administrator Rich Guillen
Guillen wrote in his taxpayer funded advertisement in The Carmel Pine Cone that the city puts residents safety first...It is always our goal to provide you with exceptional public safety service.

Fire Engineer August Beacham:
Engines at neighboring Carmel Highlands and Cypress Fire Protection District stations carry four people, including a paramedic.

“How can Mr. Guillen argue the citizens of Carmel are receiving the best level of service when others are receiving far better service?”

• City Administrator Rich Guillen:
City Administrator Guillen’s letter stated “it does not exclude the city from acting in a financially responsible manner.”

Comment: With an annual budget of $13 million and reserve funds of nearly $10 million, Guillen’s statement about “acting in a financially responsible manner” is not credible. It is a matter of fiscal priorities, not quantity of financial resources.

• City Administrator Rich Guillen:
Guillen’s letter stated the three “continue to discuss ‘headquarters’ consolidation — not full department integration,” meaning a combination of their management and clerical staff.

Comment: The City has already implemented ‘headquarters’ consolidation. The City “contracts with Pacific Grove for chief, assistant chief and clerical duties, and has Monterey supervisors respond to emergencies, for a total $110,000 annually.”
Clarification: The $110,000/year is the old contract amount which expired in November 2007. The City is in the process of negotiating a new contract with Pacific Grove and Monterey and is balking at proposals which are less than half of what Carmel should be paying as set forth in the Citygate Report. In addition, the “headquarters model” is not a sustainable option. At some point Carmel will have to either merge or be obligated to have a properly staffed stand alone department. The administrative setup of a stand alone department will cost close to $1 million/year.
(Source: Mitch Kastros, Carmel Fire Department)

QUESTION & COMMENTS:
Since the City Administrator misled Carmelites about "headquarters consolidation,” how can Carmelites trust him to act honestly and professionally in the best interests of Carmelites?

The mayor, city council members and city administrator are not presently supportive of the Carmel Professional Firefighters and are definitely not acting in the best interests of Carmelites. Now is the time for Carmelites to educate ourselves on the issue of fire department consolidation, demand accountability of our city officials by demanding the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments Consolidation be placed on a city council agenda for a public hearing and demand substantive reasons for the City’s abandonment of negotiations in January 2008 without input from the citizenry beforehand.

The mayor and city council members have a record of failing to inform Carmelites of vital information that the public has a right to know and of denying due process to Carmelites. Carmelites must demand better of their government representatives, or we will get a continuation of poor governance in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Issues of Honesty, Integrity and Competency: City Administration Rich Guillen imparted to Carmel Firefighters that he personally supported the consolidation of the Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments. Yet he used taxpayer monies to publish an advertisement in The Carmel Pine Cone seemingly rebutting the Carmel Professional Firefighters in an attempt to mislead and confuse Carmelites and demoralize our Carmel Professional Firefighters. In another matter, the Dolores St. speed hump, City Administrator Guillen told a resident that after reviewing the Police reports and the petitions, there was no reason not to remove the speed hump. Yet later at a neighborhood meeting, Guillen imparted to the residents that the speed hump was “lawful” and he had “no plans to remove it.” In sum, City Administrator Rich Guillen lacks the necessary attributes of honesty, integrity and competency to be a respectable city administrator worthy of citizen support.

In closing, City Administrator Rich Guillen’s excuses against Fire Department consolidation are not supported by credible factual evidence or reality. As a result, his actions exemplify a failure to act in the best interests of Carmelites.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

State Water Resources Control Board Meetings on Cease and Desist Order WR 2008-00XX-DWR

ABSTRACT: On Tuesday, April 1, 2008, the State Water Resources Control Board will hold a Meeting to Receive Public Policy Statements; “The purpose of the meeting is to provide members of the public the opportunity to present non-evidentiary policy statements to the hearing officers and other members of the State Water Board concerning their views on the proposed enforcement action...This meeting is not the time and place to present evidence for or against the proposed enforcement action.” The meeting begins no earlier than 1:00 p.m. in the De Anza I Room at the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey, CA. The Hearing will commence on Thursday June 19, 2008, at 9:00 A.M. in Sacramento, CA. A portion of Cease and Desist Order WR 2008–00XX-DWR is reproduced and link to the complete document is provided. Information about the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea filing a NOTICE OF INTENT TO APPEAR at the Cease and Desist Order Hearing for California American Water Carmel River in Monterey County scheduled for Thursday, June 19, 2008 and a letter from The Monterey County Mayor’s Association opposing the “Cease and Desist Order" issued by the State Water Quality Resources Control Board against the California-American Water Company is presented. Apparently, as reported in The Carmel Pine Cone, the City cancelled the regular City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 1, 2008 in order “to participate in the State Water Resources Control Board hearings.” The City rescheduled the meeting for Thursday, April 3, 2008 @ 4:30 P.M.

State Water Resources Control Board
Division of Water Rights
www.waterrights.ca.gov


NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING,
MEETING TO RECEIVE PUBLIC POLICY STATEMENTS
and
PRE-HEARING CONFERENCE
Carmel River in Monterey County


Selected relevant excerpts, as follows:

The State Water Resources Control Board will hold a Pre-Hearing Conference, a Meeting to Receive Public Policy Statements and Public Hearing to Determine whether to Adopt a Draft Cease and Desist Order against California American Water Company.

The Meeting to Receive Public Policy Statements will commence immediately following a meeting of the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday April 1, 2008, no earlier than 1:00 p.m. in the De Anza I Room Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay Two Portola Plaza Monterey, CA. The Hearing will commence on Thursday June 19, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. and continue, if necessary, on Friday, June 20, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. in the Coastal Hearing Room Joe Serna, Jr./Cal EPA Building 1001 I Street, Second Floor, Sacramento, CA.

PURPOSE OF HEARING
The purpose of this hearing is for the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board or Board) to receive evidence relevant to determining whether to adopt, with or without revision, draft Cease and Desist Order (CDO). The draft order was issued against California American Water (CAW) on January 15, 2008 by the Assistant Deputy Director for the Division of Water Rights Division) for the unauthorized diversion of water from the Carmel River in Monterey County.

KEY ISSUE
Should the State Water Board adopt the draft CDO? If the draft CDO should be adopted,
should any modifications be made to the measures in the draft order? What is the basis for each modification?

MEETING TO RECEIVE PUBLIC POLICY STATEMENTS
A meeting for the receipt of public policy statements will be held on Tuesday, April 1, 2008, at no earlier than 1:00 p.m. in the De Anza I Room at the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey, California. The purpose of the meeting is to provide members of the public the opportunity to present non-evidentiary policy statements to the hearing officers and other members of the State Water Board concerning their views on the proposed enforcement action. Persons who wish to address the State Water Board during the public hearing need not file a Notice of Intent to Appear. Policy statements to the State Water Board will be limited to five minutes or such other time as may be established by the hearing officer. Written submissions of oral statements are encouraged. This meeting is not the time and place to present evidence for or against the proposed enforcement action. Persons who wish to offer evidence regarding this matter may file a Notice of Intent to Appear for the evidentiary hearing in accordance with the instructions found in this notice. This meeting will be the only opportunity to present oral public policy statements. Oral statements will not be accepted at the hearing on June 19, 2008. However, written policy statements will be accepted until the beginning of the hearing on June 19, 2008.

STATE OF CALIFORNIA
CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD
DIVISION OF WATER RIGHTS


In the Matter of Unauthorized Diversion of Water by the
California American Water Company DBA California American Water
Cease and Desist Order WR 2008-00XX-DWR
SOURCE: Carmel River tributary to the Pacific Ocean
COUNTY: Monterey County
YOU ARE HEREBY GIVEN NOTICE THAT:
The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is authorized under Water Code section 1831 to issue a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) requiring California American Water (Cal-Am) to make further reductions in its unauthorized diversions from the Carmel River. The State Water Board issued Order WR 95-10 (Order 95-10) in 1995, determining that a substantial portion of the diversions made from the Carmel River by Cal-Am is unauthorized. At that time, the State Water Board deferred enforcement action and instead established water conservation goals and other actions Cal-Am could take to reduce the effects of its diversions as it sought to obtain an adequate legal water supply. In the twelve years since Order 95-10 was adopted, Cal-Am has not terminated its unlawful diversions from the Carmel River...


On March 14, 2008, the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea filed a NOTICE OF INTENT TO APPEAR at the Cease and Desist Order Hearing for California American Water Carmel River in Monterey County scheduled for Thursday, June 19, 2008. Thirteen names have been submitted to present testimony, including Mayor Sue McCloud, Vice Mayor Ken Talmage, City Administrator Rich Guillen, City Clerk/Deputy Administrator Heidi Burch, City Attorney Don Freeman, Police Chief George Rawson, Fire Chief Andrew Miller, Planners Sean Conroy and Brian Roseth, Administrative Services Director Joyce Guiffre, Engineer Gilbert Neill and Walter Kieser and/or David Zehndr. The estimated length of testimony for each participant is 20 minutes.

By comparison, the City of Monterey's NOTICE OF INTENT TO APPEAR listed only the mayor, Mayor Chuck Della Sala, for a 20 minutes presentation. The City of Seaside submitted five names, including Mayor Ralph Rubio, City Manager, Public Works Director, Economic Planning Systems Consultant and Redevelopment Project Manager. The City of Sand City submitted two names, including Mayor David Pendergrass and Community Development Director. And the Pebble Beach Company submitted five names.

The Monterey County Mayor’s Association, signed by 12 mayors, submitted a letter dated March 20, 2008 to the State Water Resources Control Board opposing the “Cease and Desist Order “ issued by the State Water Quality Resources Control Board against the California-American Water Company.

View Guest Commentary, “State needs to be realistic, flexible on pumping options,” by Dale Hekhuis, former member of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board.