Last night’s meeting was well worth the time. More people turned out than I had ever seen at one of our Big Sur Multi-Agency Advisory Council Meetings — a HUGE turn-out, in fact. SRO, with people lined up against all the walls and standing outside. I got to see north coast neighbors I had not seen since the fire began. Many hugs from many people. I am so very blessed to be a part of this extraordinary community that exhibits such compassion and heartfelt care for one another. Big Sur, as a community and as a voice, shined her brightest last night. I am honored to have been present.
The meeting was taped by a number of television stations and KUSP. You can see a photo of the crowd at life in the fire lane blog (on my blog roll) and download an audio of the meeting at: http://web.me.com/kellyeo/Life_in_the_Fire_Lane/Life_in_the_Fire_Lane_Downloads.html
Although there was some anger, the meeting was respectful, orderly, and enlightening. It was one of the best meetings I have attended in a long time. We shared stories of what happened in each of our respective corners of the world, some were absolutely amazing. I loved Frank Hathaway’s story about evacuating a SECOND time, only to later receive a phone call from Frank Pinney, our BSVFB Chief, telling him he was calling from Hathaway’s phone, inside Hathaway’s house, and that it was saved. Sula Nichols and Don Case were both there, both lost their houses, but neither spoke. Micah and Ross Curtis were both there from Apple Pie Ridge, and we got to hear their perspectives, particularly Micha’s, who was grandly applauded. Don McQueen also spoke about his experience, working with Blaze Engineering to build dozer lines, deal with the mandatory evacuation, and the sheriff’s response. Too many stories to repeat, but all well received, all applauded, and all heartfelt.
(Wile E. Coyote found on the side of Highway One on the way to meeting)
It would seem that the MCSO threatened many people with arrest for leaving their property during the emergency, while actually only arresting one, Ross Curtis. Others were handcuffed and then released. The one consistent theme, was, first, the FACT of the mandatory evacuation, which had never happened before, as far as anyone can remember, and second, the MCSO’s response to it. Neighbors weren’t allowed to help neighbor. That’s one of the best things about this community, neighbors DO help neighbors. This is not the big city, where one doesn’t know one’s neighbors. This is like most rural communities, where people still help one another. Telling us we could not, does not sit well.
Besides our Congressman, Sam Farr, our Supervisor, Dave Potter, and a representative from State Senator Laird’s Office, as well as various other County Officials, there was quite a presence by the Monterey Sheriff’s Office, but not the Sheriff, Kanalakis, himself. His presence is being “requested” by Dave and Sam for our next meeting on August 12th. Now, that ought to be interesting.
In the mean time, I hope to see some of you once again at the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Gala on August 9th at 6 pm, at the Monterey Conference Center to raise money for the fire brigades and the Big Sur Relief fund.