Supervisor Adams’s Update

March 26, 2020

MONTEREY COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MARY L. ADAMS, SUPERVISOR – FIFTH DISTRICT
Dear Kate,
I hope this message finds you well and safe and that you are making adjustments to a new routine at home. Learning how to live and conduct business as we Shelter-in-Place (or SIP) is quite a process for all of us. I can’t thank you enough for the effort you and your family are making to help Monterey County slow the spread of COVID-19 through our community.
If we’re at all alike, you have been watching and reading the news constantly to be up to the minute and fully informed. The amount and speed of information coming out is both dizzying and frustrating at the same time. Not wanting to inundate you with too much information, but also feeling the need to connect, we have decided to email you a bi-weekly newsletter for the duration of the SIP Order. This newsletter will be a sort of compendium of information and resources and will include responses to the questions most frequently posed to us over the previous days. It will also include pertinent updates from the County related to the pandemic. I hope you will find it useful. For those who would like a day-to-day update on the status of COVID-19 and our local response, please refer to the Monterey County Daily Situation Report. Or, you can opt to receive real-time updates by texting “MCCOVID19” to 888777. 
Please know that while the way we conduct work at your Fifth District Supervisor’s Office has shifted, the work has not stopped. I have quickly become an interactive meeting pro, virtually attending both the Board of Supervisors and Transportation Agency for Monterey County Board of Directors meeting this week, as an example. My team and I remain committed to ensuring the needs and issues of District residents are heard and addressed as quickly as possible. While working remotely, you can reach us at district5@co.monterey.ca.us for assistance.
Take care and be well. Again, I repeat my birth state of Kentucky’s motto “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”. Together, we will survive this extraordinary challenge.
Best, Mary. SIP Digest for the Week of March 18 – 25
Shelter in Place Order: The County reissued its Shelter-in-Place Order to align with the State’s Stay-at-Home order. The most significant change is the County replaced a planned end date of April 8th to an indefinite time. The Monterey County Public Health Officer Order is consistent with the statewide order and orders issued by other Bay Area local Public Health Officers.The order can be found here.
Monterey County Government Center schedule: The Government Center at 168 W. Alisal has modified the Public Access hours to promote safety among the public and essential government employees and to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For the time being the Monday – Friday schedule is as follows:PUBLIC ACCESS – OPEN: 7am – 1pmLIMITED PUBLIC ACCESS (doors locked) – 1pm – 5pm
If you need to access the Clerk’s office or County Council between 1pm – 5pm to ensure filing timely claims, service of complaints etc., please knock or signal the security guard for entry.
COVID-19 Hotlines, Websites & Email Address:  The Monterey County Health Department COVID-19 webpage is continuously updated with news, information and data.For health related questions, call the Monterey County Health Department information hotline at 831-769-8700 or 831-755-4521Monday – Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.  Or, email your questions to COVID-19@co.monterey.ca.us The COVID-19 Economic Assistance Hotline is available Monday-Friday from 8 am to 4 pm831-796-1909.Montage Health Virtual Care Option. Free to all community members experiencing mild respiratory symptoms including coronavirus/COVID-19. 831-622-8001Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System Coronavirus Hotline.831-755-0793. The hotline is staffed with registered nurses and is available from 7:00am to 11:00pm, 7 days a week. 
Essential Businesses: The County has published a list of business types that may remain open and those which should close during the SIP Order.  Essential businesses include a variety of services for home repair and maintenance, including landscaping. Golf courses are closed as directed by the State’s Stay-at-Home (SAH) Order.House cleaning services, for the purposes of disinfecting, continue to be allowable so long as appropriate social distancing practices are followed.  
Property Taxes: The Treasurer Tax Collector has issued a statement with important information regarding Property Taxes. Unfortunately, the authority to delay tax payments does not reside at the County level. 
Parks: County-owned park facilities, except for Laguna Seca, are open at this time.  This includes Jacks Peak, Royal Oaks, Manzanita, Toro, San Lorenzo, San Antonio (both shores) and Nacimiento.  There may be certain amenities within each park that may be closed, including play structures.
Libraries: While our physical libraries are closed to the public, the County is providing all online services.  Anyone who doesn’t have a library card can apply online and a card will be mailed to use for all online services.  We expect “Library By Mail” to continue operating as long as the library items are safely processed and returned. 
Businesses and Restaurants Open for Delivery or Take-Away: A variety of groups and individuals are publishing lists of businesses and restaurants offering drive-up or delivery services including:Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau – Travel UpdatesMonterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce – Who’s Open Daily UpdatePacific Grove Chamber of Commerce Open RestaurantsCommunity member developed resource – Aid Monterey
We have received a number of requests for the County to require stores to provide “Senior Hours” or limit the number products any one person can purchase at a time. Unfortunately, these are not actions we can take under the existing SIP Order.  That being said, I am happy to share that a number of businesses have stepped up and implemented these strategies on their own accord. Click here for resources provided by State Senator Anna Caballero’s office. 
Utilities: The CPUC has directed that utilities can NOT shut off services due to non-payment during the current COVID-19 crisis. From PG&E: If a customer is experiencing financial hardships and has trouble paying their bill due to the economic impact of COVID-19, please call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. For additional ways PG&E is supporting customers during the COVID-19 public health crisis, go to www.pge.com/covid19. From California American Water: To protect employees and customers, California American Water customer payment centers will be closed from Monday, March 16, until at least Monday, May 3. Customers may visit the website www.californiaamwater.com to view bills and pay online or may also pay by mail, by phone at 888-237-1333 or visit local third-party payment centers.
Educational Resources: The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) offers FREE online college and career readiness resources for educators and students through its Monterey Bay Career Connect.
Pebble Beach Access: On March 25th, Pebble Beach Company closed tourist related access  into the Del Monte Forest to support social distancing directives. 1200 Aguajito Road, Suite 1, Monterey, CA 93940 | (831) 647-7755 | district5@co.monterey.ca.us
Supervisor Mary Adams | 1200 Aguajito Rd., Ste. 1Monterey , CA 93940Unsubscribe kwnovoa@mac.comUpdate Profile | About Constant ContactSent by district5@co.monterey.ca.us in collaboration withTry email marketing for free today!

Big Sur: Overtourism to Ghost Town

I published the following article in Voices of Monterey Bay, tonight.

One day Big Sur locals are complaining about the invasion of tourists in our formerly peaceful little village, and the next we are struggling to survive. Mother Nature has decided to put the brakes on tourism everywhere, including Big Sur.

Big Sur is no stranger to natural disaster, and we have had our share in the last few years. Just in the last four there was the Soberanes Fire that started July 22, 2016 and lasted until October, and we had  assorted Highway 1 closures that stranded us for weeks at a time. So this is not new to us. We have ridden out similar scenarios many times, and we are good at it. It is always during a disaster that Big Sur really shines and takes care of its own.

“We as a community simply can’t help but work harder and try our very best to persevere,” Kurt Mayer, owner of Big Sur Deli and Big Sur Taphouse, once said.

In Big Sur, like elsewhere, businesses scrambled to figure out how they would handle this latest natural disaster. What did it mean for staff, employees, and customers? By Wednesday, businesses were in compliance with the county order and our local Big Sur markets and stores were busy contacting locals to find out what they wanted so they could stock appropriately.

Diana Ballantyne, general manager of Fernwood Resort, Rick Aldinger, general manager of Big Sur River Inn, and Ken Harlan, owner of Lucia Lodge, are soliciting input from locals about stocking their stores to help residents avoid town trips. Fernwood is also offering a 10 percent discount to all locals — except on alcohol and tobacco. River Inn is still dispensing propane and gas, paid for at the pumps. Best to call for hours, though. Just got word from Big Sur Bakery that they are open for take-out and are exploring available options.

Mayer’s Big Sur Deli has a history of stocking the store for locals, as he did when the bridge was out and Paul’s Slide was closed. The area in between became an island. Locals should give the store a call and let them know what you want them to stock for you. Also, those businesses that carry propane, like River Inn, will have it available but with limited hours.

River Inn, Fernwood, Riverside  Campground and Gorda are all still accepting guests as of this writing. Gorda’s gas station (pay at pump only) and general store are likewise open, as is take-out from the restaurant.

As we all know given the speed of this virus, and the orders being issued, this could change tomorrow, or even by the time this is published. All are implementing deep cleaning and sanitation routines. Other businesses have temporarily closed completely. Treebones is closed for the duration of the shelter in place. Esalen has completely closed for four weeks. Deetjen’s and Henry Miller Library have completely closed temporarily as well. Just heard from Nepenthe, and they say they are also completely closed for the duration.

The State Parks have closed all their parks to overnight camping. The Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest has also closed off all its developed campsites in compliance with Monterey County’s shelter-in-place order.

If you are a Big Sur local and have any special needs, I urge you to call one of our local businesses and see if they are able to accommodate you.

It is always during a disaster that Big Sur really shines and takes care of its own.

Another unreported side effect of this current situation is what is happening with people who have second homes outside of major cities and the impact on their tenants/caretakers. Here in Big Sur, these owners are coming to hide out in their second (or third) home. One South Coaster told me that “I can’t speak for all of Big Sur, but our landlord just told us he’s coming up with his kids for a few weeks. He asked me to do a huge grocery shopping trip for him, his nanny, and three boys and it feels hugely unfair and dangerous. We spent the last few weeks stocking up just so we could stay home during this time.”

There are probably other similar stories out there I have not yet heard about.

The South Coast of Big Sur is unusually positioned. We live like this, particularly in winter. We sometimes spend a good deal of our summer getting ready for winter. Yes, we tend to be a bit squirrelly. Some make town runs weekly, others monthly, and a few only go every six months or so.

We once used CB radios to communicate. Now it is Facebook, DM, or email and text. Tuesday night, a neighbor and I were communicating this way and we shared that we were both going to King City the next day. She was refilling her stock of gasoline and propane and picking up some food while she was at it. Her husband was away, and she only had the back-up vehicle, which had a battery problem. She was glad to know a neighbor would be around in case she had trouble. She did, and we found her being assisted by two guys in a Subaru and so we followed her home. We stopped and shared stories.

Big Sur can have a wicked sense of humor as evidenced by this gem from Diana at Fernwood: “But seriously, let me know if there is something in particular, other than the basics.  I’m thinking a case of asparagus, so the entire Big Sur valley starts smelling like asparagus pee at the same time.” She says it is arriving on Thursday.

It is the way we come together as a community that always makes me proud and honored to be a part of it. We are like small towns all over America who come to the aid of neighbors during times of crisis, and usually with a sense of humor. We may freak out momentarily, but then the shirt sleeves get rolled up and we have at it. Be safe, be healthy, be patient, but most of all … be kind. https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2020/03/19/from-over-tourism-to-ghost-town/

Fantastic Fungi Movie at Grange

UPDATE: THIS SCREENING IS BEING POSTPONED TO A DATE DTB

This is a screen shot. For tickets to this event that is being shown simultaneously in 500 locations across the globe, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fantastic-fungi-movie-at-the-big-sur-grange-32620-tickets-97922921093

Hazard Mitigation Forum

Dear BSMAAC and Big Sur community members:

Monterey County Office of Emergency Services is hosting a Hazard Mitigation forum at the Big Sur Grange Hall on January 16th from 6pm to 8pm.

Join us to help your community be hazard ready!

Monterey County is updating its current (2016) Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. In compliance with FEMA’s published requirements and procedures for local hazard mitigation plans in 44 CFR §201.6(c)(1), the public outreach strategy for hazard mitigation will provide a mechanism for coordination and accountability among the jurisdictions, as we seek to enhance community engagement and education.

Monterey County is a community with diverse concerns and needs. Hazards such as, fires, drought, floods, landslides and severe weather are just a few hazards that cannot be prevented. Come join us on our hazard mitigation community event to learn more about creating strategies to reduce disaster loses and foster community resiliency.

You can register to attend here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/monterey-county-hazard-mitigation-community-forum-district-5-tickets-86190822069

Christmas Story — Esselen tribe to get their land back…

…At least some of it. “Although the history of Native American indigenous peoples have unquestionably been filled with hardship, the Esselen Tribe in California—maybe the smallest native tribe in the country—has perhaps struggled the most. But now, thanks to a historic deal, it has gotten its land back.

“Forcibly converted to Christianity by Spanish missionaries, pulled into missions for tutoring, and exploited for forced labor, the number of remaining descendants from their tribe located in Big Sur is so small that in 2010, the Bureau of Indian Affairs denied their request to be recognized as a tribe and given tribal status.

“Recently, however, California authorities managed to raise $37 million for 21 different cultural and city projects, including a $4.5 million grant to buy a large tract of ancestral Esselen land as part of the Esselen Tribal Lands Conservation Project.

“The 1,199-acre ranch, once owned by a Swedish man named Alex Adler, runs along the Little Sur Coast near the Central California shore where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise above the Pacific Ocean.

Tracts of old-growth oak and redwoods, grasslands, and chaparral cover the area where the Spanish missionaries first encountered the Esselen during their travels north through California. Thanks to the grant, the Esselen are no longer landless; the forests and fields where their ancestors lived are theirs once more to continue the traditions of the past.

“This is one of the first times a tribe has gotten its land back,” Tom Little Bear Nason told Monterey County Now. “We consider the place sacred and we intend to protect it. We will use it to preserve our traditions.”

“Nason, who heads the Esselen Tribe of Monterey, a nonprofit set up in June to accept ownership of the ranch, also added that there will be no commercialization of the land and their culture, although they do plan to allow small tour groups to visit and learn from their settlement a few times a year.”

For the rest of this article click on: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/smallest-native-californian-tribe-gifted-their-own-land/

Special Screening — short film on Big Sur, responsibility, and tourism

The screening will begin at 7:30 sharp. 
The film is about twenty minutes long. 

Directly following the screening will be a public Q&A session with the film makers along with a panel of selected community members –about the film, the future of Big Sur, the interaction with visitors, responsible travel and more!

*This is a FREE screening*

The event starts at 7pm
The screening starts at 7:30
Come as you are. 
Tea, coffee, and light snacks will be provided 

BSK MIA & New Voices Article

I apologize for my lack of blogging this week, but several things converged at once, and since Saturday, I have had to be selfish. First I was sick and ended up sleeping most of three days. Then, I had a deadline to make for Voices (see below), and finally, the winter power issues have hit, which means no internet, among other things.

I have recovered from that nasty bug (thanks in part to the Elderberry tincture I made last year), I made my deadline, and will give you the lead-in and a link below, and today, I am, hopefully, resolving my power issues, by making sure my batteries are fully charged after having replenished them with two gallons of distilled water.

From Voices of Monterey Bay:

“Big Sur is the greatest meeting of land and sea. It is where the mountains are constantly marching to the ocean. It is a place to which the word “iconic” has been applied much too often. It is a place that has been “discovered” and Instagramed into a cliché.

We have come to experience ‘LA-type traffic‘ here in paradise, and thus, we are in need of a plan.

Just in the last few days the magazine Fodor’s Travel put Big Sur on its 2020 NO GO list. It is in good company, along with Bali, Barcelona and 10 other popular destinations. With its beauty and all the promotion it gets, the chickens ’have come home to roost,’ according to Fodor’s.

Big Sur is past the point of needing to be ‘managed.’ Any plan that attempts to do this ‘managing’ will be, by necessity, complex and difficult. In the end, it is Mother Nature who determines much of what happens here. That is the allure and the draw. We humans must be careful to consider the needs of this place — her environment —  before our own. And a proposed plan meant to tackle the problem acknowledges that Big Sur’s terrain and remote location make solutions even more difficult.”

Please take a few minutes and read about the Traffic Demand Management Plan and the formation of the Byways Organization that will be charged with designing and implementing any possible solutions to our highway issues here: https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2019/11/21/traffic-demands-management-plan-for-the-highway-1-corridor-in-big-sur/

Partnership to address Tourist Impact

Dear Friend of Big Sur,

The Community Association of Big Sur (CABS) has launched a private public partnership to address tourism and its impact in Big Sur. In partnership with the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and their provision of a seed grant to begin the process, CABS has hired Costas Christ of Beyond Green Travel to lead the effort. 

However, we need to raise more funding in order to not only complete the analysis and planning process, but to also test out recommended mitigations. 

CABS is proud to announce that the Monterey County Weekly in partnership with the Community Foundation for Monterey County and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation have chosen our non-profit and this project to be highlighted in the Monterey County Givesfundraising campaign.

See link at below photo to go to the Monterey County Gives link to make a donation.

Your contribution will be matched by these sponsors, enabling our community to do this important work to benefit generations to come.
 
With gratitude,
Butch Kronlund, ED, Community Association of Big Sur
“Our community can design innovative solutions to ensure that tourism benefits businesses, visitors, residents and our fragile coastline.”Butch Kronlund, ED, Community Association of Big Sur
Donate to McGives & help Big Sur complete and implement a sustainable tourism plan.www.CABigSur.orgwww.BigSurPledge.org

To get to MC Gives to donate, click https://www.montereycountygives.com/nonprofit/community-association-of-big-sur/

Sustainable Destination Stewardship Plan for Big Sur

Big Sur Sustainable Destination Stewardship Plan Update
And A Request for Input

Dear Big Sur Community Members,

Many thanks to all the community members who participated in meeting with Costas Christ of Beyond Green Travel during his visit in August.  CABS has now entered into a contract with Beyond Green Travel to move forward on a Destination Stewardship Plan for Big Sur. To learn more about this process, go to the “Initiatives” page on our website.

An important component of this work is collecting data on traffic.  CABS is coordinating with traffic engineers, Cal Trans and TAMC to consolidate existing data sets and reports on traffic volume as a preliminary step to establish where we are going in terms of gathering data for overall vehicle impact on the Highway. 

Residents from up and down the coast have expressed that capturing traffic counts in real time, 24-7, 365 days a year for multiple years is an important place to start. Three locations stand out as initial gathering locations: Mal Paso Creek Bridge, Nacimiento Rd and Highway 1 intersection and the southern county line. 

We believe that the residents who travel the highway on a regular basis may have insights that could inform the scope of this study. You can help us with the following question. Aside from these 3 locations, above, where else along the Highway or side roads would data on traffic volume be of value?

Please email your input on this question to info@cabigsur.org

Thanks!
CABS

Tourist Tuesday, 8/27/19 — Emergency Response hampered by tourist traffic at Bixby Bridge

Today, I am going to forego my planned post on the “Invisible Costs of Tourism” to talk about a very real cost that many of us have been warning about for some time — that is traffic jams at Bixby and the impact on emergency response times. These costs are not monetary, they are to life and limb. I admit, I am biased. I lost my leg in an auto accident, and nearly lost my life. I am VERY aware that in emergency responses, time is a critical factor.

Medical Emergency on Highway One hampered by tourist traffic jam and road construction at Bixby Bridge.

There was a head-on collision at Big Creek yesterday, with several people injured, one critically. The CHP dispatcher wrote this:

12:07 PM8[24] A27-014 HEAVY TRAFF AT BIXBY / DOWN TO 1 LN / REQ 1141 BE ADVSD

Fortunately, Big Sur Fire is south of Bixby. Thankfully, Chief Matt Harris, and his supportive volunteer board is cross-training ALL volunteers not only for fire fighting, but for cliff-rescue as well as EMTs. They needed both for this incident, as is often the case. These are the men and women we count on, who are also there for our tourists. Please consider a donation to: http://Bigsurfire.org It is a completely voluntary organization dependent on donations and grants.

For the critical patient, our military neighbor, Fort Hunter Liggett, sent a medical helicopter. He was not able to land at Big Creek due to fog, so he landed at the Hermitage. Big Sur Fire, MCSO, AMR met him there and transferred the patient from the ambulance to the helicopter. Good job all, and I probably speak for the entire coast when I wish the patient a speedy and full recovery.

I would just like to note that all of these people involved are professionals, only one of which is not paid. Marcus Foster, and Big Sur Fire, I hold you in great regard. Thank you.

I should add, that in addition to the traffic problems at Bixby, there is currently road construction going on in the area which exacerbates the problem.

Photos by Brendon Shave:

Marcus Foster of Big Sur Fire