Montgomery London

As I think everyone is aware, we lost a great volunteer firefighter, Montgomery London. Today, her obituary ran in the Monterey Herald. I so love this photo of her, I wanted to share it with my wider audience! An amazing woman who will be missed by everyone who knew her. Just the day before her death, she was doing what she loved – a BSVFB rescue from JP Burns State Park.

Montgomery London, Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade Captain

Thanks for asking Avis. The Celebration of Montgomery’s Life will be held Sunday, August 21st from 2-6 at Esalen.

Donations in her name could be made to the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade or the Health Center.

Climate Change & Forest Fires

Yesterday, huffingtonpost covered the above subject from the report just released by scientists from Merced, California. Not surprisingly, there is a correlation between the two subjects in the title. Gee, ya think??

This report specifically targets the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park, which has been the subject of many studies re: wildfires.

The article has a number of links to lead the read to additional information about this important subject.

To follow along with the “theme” of the last few days, I also highly recommend seeing the documentary 11th hour.

Tim DeChristopher

I hadn’t heard of Tim DeChristopher’s case until today, the day of his sentence to 2 years in federal prison for disrupting a BLM auction of gas/oil leases after his trial on the charges. Here is just one of the many great quotes, included in the text of his speech – “The reality is not that I lack respect for the law; it’s that I have greater respect for justice.” (Tim DeChristopher at his sentencing on 7/26/11.)

Mr. DeChristopher is articulate, informed, and involved. He stands as a pillar of nobility amidst a system wrought with corruption. He is the essence of civil disobedience, in my eyes, and is a voice I would love to give audience to, and so, I write about him here. I am not the only one. The LA Times article was releasee about an hour ago. I don’t have staff, so it will take me a little longer.

What does he have to do with Big Sur? I have been writing about the fracking BLM project out by Bradley/San Ardo. Also reporting on the actions of the local activist email campaign out of Lockwood, also home to Steve Craig, local activist, and HOLD-ON. Mr. DeChristopher’s speech is applicable to what I have written before and the concerns I have expressed over the fraking gas leases the BLM has over in Southern Monterey County. It is concerns like these, which Mr. DeChristopher expressed not just in words, but in actions – peaceful actions of telling truth to power. Now, he will be spending the next 2 years in federal prison.

In 2008, Mr. DeChristopher went to a public auction of BLM leases for oil/gas. He filled out the form that he was a bona fide bidder. The leases generally went for $12 an acre – except for the ones DeChristopher bid on. Those fetched $125 an acre. He was charged with disrupting this meeting.

Mr. DeChristopher is a climate activist on the board of

His entire speech can be found there, on, as well as on I urge you to read it, and to show you why, here are just a FEW of my favorite quotes from today’s speech:

” … disagreement with the law should not be confused with disrespect for the law.”

“When a corrupted government is no longer willing to uphold the rule of law, I advocate that citizens step up to that responsibility.”

“The rule of law is dependent upon a government that is willing to abide by the law. Disrespect for the rule of law begins when the government believes itself and its corporate sponsors to be above the law.”

” My future, and the future of everyone I care about, is being traded for short term profits. I take that very personally. Until our leaders take seriously their responsibility to pass on a healthy and just world to the next generation, I will continue this fight.”

“But the speech [he gave on the day of his conviction, and which was only quoted to the extent of 1/2 of one sentence] was about empowerment. It was about recognizing our interconnectedness rather than viewing ourselves as isolated individuals. The message of the speech was that when people stand together, they no longer have to be exploited by powerful corporations. Alienation is perhaps the most effective tool of control in America, and every reminder of our real connectedness weakens that tool.”

“At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow. The choice you are making today is what side are you on.”

Whew! I wish I could write like that, and I could go on for pages just pulling a few of my favorite quotes. I hope I chose the “right” quotes to get you interested in reading this speech given today.

Spread the word. Make sure his words are quoted wherever you have a voice.

The full and complete version can be found many places, three of which are:,, or

I happened to find it here: Tim DeChristopher speech

Formulate your own opinion. Read the entire speech. I dare you!


I rarely think to photograph food before I dig in, but this salad at Marie Calendar’s was so colorful and pretty, I just HAD to photograph it – iPhone to the rescue, as I generally don’t take my Nikon into a restaurant. Hm, maybe I should start?

The colors of food by bigsurkate

Before you eat this, don’t you just want to “frame” it? I know this is not Big Sur related, but I couldn’t help myself!

Laguna Seca races

Sorry, I haven’t been out and about, as Highway One becomes a motorcycle raceway with riders tempting death to catch them, if it can. The crotch rockets have ruled the road since Thursday. Thankfully, it will be over soon.

Each year, there are deaths on this highway due to the crazy behavior of the motorcyclists that come to witness the races at Laguna Seca. Every year, there are usually several. It is hard to travel on Highway One when this race is going on.

I had to run to Morro Bay, so I chose Thursday as the best possible day. I was wrong. I had to drive with utmost caution, keeping my eye on my side mirror for the group of motorcyclist who were racing and challenging each other to more and more dangerous driving behind me, getting set to pass me on a blind curve.

It is not fun to drive on Highway One when the Laguna Seca Motorcycle races are taking place.

Oh, and if you are out and about, and want to help, Surfrider is sponsoring a beach and trail clean-up today at Molera State Beach. They’ll have everything you need. Enjoy your day, whatever you are doing.

Fire Fighting Fees & Fire fighting workshop

Synchronistically, I received two notices today about information of interest to most of my readers.

This first segment is from the Big Sur Volunteer Friday Brigade about the new fire fighting fees I first wrote about a few days ago:

Some SRA Fee FAQ’s

Q: What is SRA?
A: SRA is defined in PRC 4126 found here:
SRA maps by county can be found at:

Q: What is the SRA fee?
A: The SRA fee is a “fire prevention fee” of up to $150 for each “structure” on a parcel within SRA

Q: What kind of structures will it be applied to?
A: The bill language defines a structure as “a building used or intended to be used for human habitation” including but not limited to a mobile home or manufactured home.

Q: How will the fees be collected?
A: The bill directs the Board of Forestry to adopt emergency regulations to establish the fee which the State Board of Equalization will be responsible for assessing and collecting.

Q: When will the fee go into effect and who will have to pay?
A: A lot of the details of the bill are still unknown. The Governor has asked a working group to address many of the complexities and issues.

Q: What’s the next step?
A: The legislation requires the Board of Forestry to adopt emergency regulations to establish the fee in an amount not to exceed $150.

Q: How can I voice my opinion on the issue?
A: The public can provide written comment to the Board prior to 5 p.m., Monday, August 8, 2011.

Via mail:
Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
Attn: George Gentry
Executive Officer
P.O. Box 944246
Sacramento, CA 94244-2460
Via facsimile (fax):
(916) 653-0989
Via e-mail:
The exact language of the bill can be found at
US Forest Service workshop on July 26, 2011
Big Sur Station, 9am to 4pm
Please park in the Trailhead parking area (no charge)
There are local establishments where lunch can be purchased
This one-day workshop will will help us understand the complexities of managing fire across our local landscape. The workshop will begin with a class on Basic Principles and Theory of Fire Fighting followed by a series of Round-Robin Exercises leading up to Sand Table Exercises.
Basic Principles and Theory of Fire Fighting will improve our understanding of how fire reacts and escalates based on variables such as fuels, slope, aspect and weather.
Round-Robin Exercises will cover: The physical challenges of fire suppression; Firefighter injury and fatalities; Predicting how different fuels interact in the fire environment; Wildland fire suppression decision-making process; Predicting fire behavior based on flame length, rate of spread and ember attack.
The Sand Table Exercise is a tactical decision exercise using a large box with sand created terrain and props for personnel and equipment. Scenarios will be created to simulate how fire management personnel make a myriad of decisions under circumstances of changing fire behavior, considering firefighter and public safety, land ownership, and more, in a tactical context.
Any questions, please contact
Jeff Kwasny
Monterey District Resource Officer
Los Padres National Forest
Big Sur Station #1
Big Sur, CA 93920

Swimming with Humpback Whales

And here is the information on the poster, if you are having trouble reading it:

B-SAGE sponsors another interesting event at the Big Sur Grange this Saturday Eve at 5:30 pm. Photographer Jodi Frediani has spent sixteen weeks over the past ten years following her passion: snorkeling with and photographing the North Atlantic humpback whales which congregate on the Silver Bank, Dominican Republic each year to calve. Her presentation will include the results of her recent efforts to identify ‘friendly’ humpbacks which participate in the swim experience. You can see some of Jodi’s photography at Special guests, Rise Up Singing, will introduce the program. Donations to defray costs appreciated, free pop corn B-SAGE is Big Sur Advocates for a Green Environment. If you would like to be notified of the meetings or have any questions, please call 831.667.8823