Big Sur Multi-Agency Advisory Council


Congressman Sam Farr and Supervisor Dave Potter, Co-Chairs
FRIDAY, July 15, 2011 10:00 A.M.
Pfeiffer Big Sur Lodge Conference Center
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur


10:00 a.m.
I. CALL TO ORDER Congressman Sam Farr


III. APPROVE MINUTES OF February 11, 2011



1. Presentation from the U.S. Census Bureau
2. Rocky Creek Permanent Restoration Project – Steve Price

(please bring written report)

Big Sur Resident Member
Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
Coast Property Owners’ Association
Monterey County Planning Department
Monterey County Board of Supervisors
Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District
California Coastal Commission
State Parks and Recreation
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
United States Forest Service
27th District, State Assembly
15th District, State Senate
United States Congress

12:30 p.m.

IX. NEXT MEETING ON: October 21, 2011
(10:00 a.m. Pfeiffer Conference Room, Big Sur Lodge)


The meeting was called to order by Assembly Member Bill Monning at 10:20 am. Role call and introductions were made. Attendees are: Alec Arago for Congressman Sam Farr, Assembly Member Bill Monning, David Meyerson for Representative Sam Blakeslee, Kathleen Lee for Supervisor Dave Potter, Mat Fuzie (State Parks), Sherry A. Tune, (USFS), Lance Gorman (Caltrans), Laura Lawrence (County Planning), Karen Grimmer (Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary), Kirk Gafill (Chamber of Commerce), Ned Callahan (CPOA), Richard Ravich (Resident of Big Sur), and Kathleen Novoa (Resident of Big Sur). Guests were: Sheriff Scott Miller and Bill Pearlstein (CHP).

I. Minutes:
• Minutes of October 22, 2010 approved as corrected.
II. Public Comment on Non-Agenda Items:
• Pam Silkwood – “Great Balls of Fire” golf tournament to benefit Rancho Cielo to be held April 8th at Laguna Seca.

I. PG&E Condor Retrofit Project / Sherry Tune (USFS) and Mike Best (PG&E):
• The project to underground the Anderson Peak Tap Line that serves AT&T and FAA facilities will be done in 3 phases.
• California condors are colliding with the power lines; there have been fatalities. Bird diverters were installed, but there was a fatality shortly thereafter.
• AT&T and FAA have facilities at the top of Anderson Peak and need reliable service. The line starts at Julia Pfeiffer Burns and goes to the top of Anderson Peak.
• Alternative projects have been reviewed: underground the line; changing the power to solar with a diesel generator back-up; or a stand alone diesel generator to power the site. The underground option was chosen.
• The power line will be installed in an existing utility easement adjacent to an existing trench line occupied by AT&T that goes from Highway One up to Anderson Peak. A local contractor will be hired to do the work.
• Biological opinion (BO) states the project may affect condors, but not negatively, if the work is conducted during the nesting season. The project has an overall benefit to condors. The BO also requires the project to avoid Seacliff buckwheat.
• Currently in final stages of the environmental review, both NEPA and CEQA. Hope to start construction in August. Estimated cost is 4.2 million.
• Blaze engineering to do the work.
• Funds to construct the project come from Avian Protection Program.
• Mike Best responded to Mike Caplin that this is outside wilderness area and uses existing easement.
• Wendy Sarsfield commented that these monies are from Avian Protection Program, not undergrounding funds.
• Mat Fuzie thanked PG&E for their work as it has been most amicable.
• Asking for the community’s concerns, comments, and viewpoints.

I. Public Health Planning / Ray Bullick, (Monterey County Health Department):
• Monterey County Health Department is undertaking a Strategic Planning effort, in conjunction with federal health care reform, to find solutions to health problems in Monterey County.
• Looking for community input on where community wants to be.
• Previously used morbidity and mortality rates; instead, this planning effort addresses years of life lost due to causes of premature death.
• Life expectancy is 75 years; deaths at ages younger than that add to the years of life lost.
• Plan also summarizes racial/ethnic differences as well as regional differences in years of life lost.
• Education increases lifespan by providing options to a healthier lifestyle.
• By approaching healthcare as a community vs. treating individual illness/disease, healthcare costs will be reduced.
• Gang violence is a public health issue; hazardous roadways are also public health hazards.
• Bill Monning stated that as chair of the Health Committee, we know that approach to health care as a community is key. For Hispanics we know that 30% will be diabetic by 30, 50% by age 50, a function of poor diet and lack of exercise. Monterey County has twice the homicide rate per capita than elsewhere in the state. Accidents on Highway 101 and 1 are high fatality areas. The bypass at Salinas Road will help.
• Mike Caplin stated Rancho Cielo at risk youth are learning how to be productive members of society.
• Arden Handshy applauds efforts to address the issues. Wife is a teacher so she sees the issues first hand. #1 issue is too many people. People who are having kids they can’t support.
• Bill Monning noted higher literacy rate equals higher use of conscious family planning.
• Ray Bullick says studies show #1 deterrent to teen pregnancy is after school sports.

II. Update on Coastal Trail Project / Assemblymember Bill Monning, Noelle White:
• The purpose of the project is to establish a trail from the Oregon border to the Mexico border.
• The working group has met 7 times, many of which were on furlough Friday’s.
• Many agencies, local associations, and local businesses participate.
• Website construction is currently in progress to provide the community with updated information.
• The next meeting is scheduled for February 25th from 3:00 to 5:00 pm to finish the community proposal.
• Mike Caplin, Jack Ellwanger and Honey Williams stated these efforts are in memory of Cynthia Williams, matriarch of the Big Sur Coast who passed away several days ago and extended sympathy to Honey Williams.
• Mike Caplin stated that assistance from local government representatives has helped with negotiations with the Coastal Conservancy. Process started 3 years ago when Coastal Conservancy received money to start planning effort. The next step is to ask for approval of the planning process from the Big Sur Community on planning process from Carmel River to SLO border. Please sign up.
• Jack Ellwanger stated that the project started 8 years ago with resistance to allowing the community to decide where the trail should go. It is great to have the community start from the ground up planning process. It is very important for community to design, create and own the trail. This will be a great community-based project.
• Mary Trotter asked what the status was of the pilot project. She objects to that process because she feels it may prejudice where the final trail will go. Assemblymember Monning stated that no pilot project is being pursued; only a planning document is being pursued now.
• Dick Ravich wondered what the time line was; he noted that Lee Otter (CCC) is assisting.
• Fran Gibson stated that “Coastwalk” supports this community’s participation in the process.

Kathleen Novoa (Resident of Big Sur):
• Congratulations on the passage of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) by the Board of Supervisors; thanks to Supervisor Potter, Mike Caplin, and the CPOA.
• Pacific Union School District is reapplying for a special use permit for an interpretive trail.
• The Caltrans projects are proceeding down on the south coast and they are impressive.

Dick Ravich (Resident of Big Sur):
• The Firesafe Council has information on the CWPP.
• The NOAA weather alert transmitter is still alive and in progress.
• There was a meeting of the Broadband Consortium to review where broadband stands in the area. No grant funds were received under the Stimulus Funds. The County needs to facilitate the program.

Kirk Gafill (Big Sur Chamber of Commerce):
• Business levels in the hospitality industry are strong; the weather is a big factor. Other local businesses are doing well too. The Caltrans road work helps.
• The Big Sur International Marathon is being modified to eliminate the convoy process; they may close the entire road during the event.
• The Amgen Tour of California is returning in May; this may cause greater traffic impacts.

Ned Callahan (CPOA):
• He provided an open letter to Congressman Sam Farr on the Big Sur Unit Management Act (HR 4040) outlining the changes proposed by the CPOA. A meeting will be held on March 19, 2011 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
• They support the reintroduction of HR 4040 with the proposed changes.
• Acquisition and fuel management are central issues; affordable housing is ancillary.

Laura Lawrence (Planning Dept):
• Projects lists are available in the back; Kathleen Novoa says she appreciates the advanced schedule.
• Permit applications are down.

Kathleen Lee for Dave Potter (Monterey County Board of Supervisors):
• The Board of Supervisors (BOS) had a strategic planning session focused on the budget; they are still waiting for the state budget. The BOS is going into the process guessing what will happen. The BOS will hear input, but is not going to “cherry pick” projects; they will be looking at the County as a whole.
• The BOS is also dealing with other “fun” broad social policy issues such as the Rooster ordinance, Smart meters, and genetically-modified organisms.
• Margot Stengel from their office is extremely appreciative of the outpouring of support from the community after the passing of her son in Afghanistan. Assemblymember Monning adjourned the Assembly in his memory.
• Kathleen is now on the Board of the Monterey Regional Parks District. Jim Sulentich is the new Executive Director. Hopefully he will be at the April meeting.

Lee Otter (California Coastal Commission): absent

Lance Gorman (Caltrans):
• The Salinas Road project is moving along.
• The Basin Complex Fire permitting has been extended for two years; some netting in the Lucia and Limekiln Creek areas has been removed.
• Caltrans contacts for the following issues are: Dani Creek (Ken Dostalek); Signalization for projects (Shayne Sandeman); Landscape (Chris Griffin); Caltrans # (831) 372-0862.
• Jack Ellwanger requested that the speed limit through the Big Sur Valley be restored to 35 MPH; this will be agendized for the next meeting.

Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks: absent

Mat Fuzie (State Parks):
• Bids for the wastewater treatment plant have come in favorable.
• On March 2, the CC is having a meeting regarding the GP amendment for Point Sur; it takes the settlement with El Sur Ranch into account.
• $22 million in permanent reductions to State Parks; consequently, they are looking at service reductions in parks; the Garrapata and Limekiln areas will be affected.
• Proposition 20 did not pass because there is no support in the Inland areas of the state.

Bill Pearlstein (CHP):
• He state that closure of Highway for the Big Sur International Marathon (BSIM) is not part of the plan this year; locking down portions of the highway is better
• Kirk Gafill stated that the BSIM needs to bring stakeholders together to address the closure issues.
• Honey Williams inquired about the need to fully close the highway because of an accident in Carmel Highlands.

Karen Grimmer (MBNMS):
• The MBNMS is having budget issues too; they are focusing their resources on larger projects.
• The construction of the 14,000 square foot Santa Cruz Exploration Center is underway.
• She provided a copy of the Sanctuary Office Report.

Sherry Tune (USFS):
• There will be a meeting on February 15th at 6:00 pm to discuss the Milpitas Special Interest Area Collaborative Management Plan.
• Because of the Los Padres Watch lawsuit, there is an injunction on road work other than emergency work. The lawsuit charges that the USFS is working off of an old biological opinion.
• The new King City office groundbreaking is in May.
• The FireSCAPE half day workshop is open to the public.
• They will be replacing toilets in the Kirk Creek area with vault toilets in order to comply with water standards.
• There will be no acquisition of lands this year; the closure of Plaskett and Kirk Creek campgrounds is possible.
• Conditions are dry now; the potential for fire is here now.
• They have received a Freedom of Information Act request for information on HR 4040.

Bill Monning (27th District, State Assembly):
• $25 billion deficit; state revenues have dropped over 30% Governor Brown has proposed $12.5 billion in cuts and $12 billion in new revenue through taxes. Cuts are proposed to adult day care and disability services. The media is underreporting the gravity of the situation. Tax increases are proposed for the June ballot; if they are supported, there will only be $12.5 billion in cuts. If they are denied, there will be $24 billion in cuts.
• The climb out of the recessive has been only moderate; not steep as it has been in the past.
• John Laird was appointed as Secretary of Natural resources.
• The coastal trail efforts are a bright spot and are achievable through bonds.
• Smart Meters have had a controversial roll-out; they use radio frequencies. No evidence of adverse medical effects from the thermal impacts of radio frequencies has been shown. Moratoriums do not have authority to block PG&E. Working with PG&E and PUC on opt-out options.
• There is progress being made on funding the Monterey County Veteran’s Cemetery; however, more fundraisers are needed. An endowment fund is being set up to bridge the gap with federal funding.

David Meyerson for Representative Sam Blakeslee (15th District, State Senate):
• Representative Blakeslee is on the E3 taskforce; E3 is the taskforce on energy, environment, and the economy. He is also chair of the Recovery, Reform, and Realignment Committee. He is also participating on the steering committee for Highway 156 along with Jason Burnett.

Alec Arago for Congressman Sam Farr (United States Congress):
• The federal budget is the same story as the state budget but with different details.
• Deficit spending discussion; what will the impact be on federal government in Big Sur?
• Federal budget is done in steps; plan then appropriations. There is priority of the new majority to make dramatic cuts in discretionary spending.

Next meeting is scheduled for April 15, 2011. The meeting was adjourned at 12:45 pm.

2 thoughts on “Big Sur Multi-Agency Advisory Council

  1. Never attended one, I’ll try to make it. We could use some good planning, the surviving small businesses could use a thought or two. Living in Big Sur is a challenge we all try to meet. I hope some of the price-gauging (heaped on us when we had no roads out and zero customers coming in) by some local shops will be addressed, too. And the future of any business that will support the owners at all in Big Sur, or local shelter where they can possibly afford to live. What if eventually Big Sur is reduced to 3 pricey resorts, surrounded by miles of dark, empty, deserted, windblown stores and galleries, and no renters to fill them. NO profit is too much trade-off.
    Does anyone imagine there’d be no impact on tourism for the remaining places, and the state of California?
    Oh, Big Sur, the visitors might say, Nothing there anymore, we’ll drive straight through to LA.
    Ultimately, we’re all in the same leaky boat here. Not everyone notices.

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