Blog Posts

I am absolutely engaged and totally engrossed in history-in-the-making as I watch our entire democracy in action. I am reading every document that has been released, including the court opinions of the lawsuits filed against this administration, the news reports, and the twitter feeds of the political analysts I follow. As a result, I am not paying as much attention to my blog as I usually do. I do not and will not cover politics here, so I might be MIA a bit more than usual. Please bear with me. If you are interested in my political interests, follow bigsurkate on twitter, and you will get a taste for who I follow and my observations and/or opinions on the subjects being played out on the international stage. I will continue to do the copy and paste of the notices sent to me that impact the community, but otherwise? No promises right now.

STRs in Big Sur

I have covered this issue before — last month before the end of the public comment period here: https://bigsurkate.blog/2019/05/16/vacation-rentals-tourism-and-big-sur/ but it comes before the Planning Commission next Wednesday, and I wrote an article for the Voices of Monterey Bay website published today.

Here is part of what I wrote:


“The special characteristic of the Big Sur Coast should also be recognized as a primary resource. Man’s presence along this coast continues to reflect a pioneering attitude of independence and resourcefulness; and the environment has been a special nurturing ground for individual and creative fulfillment. The community itself, and its traditional way of life are resources that can help protect the environment and enhance the visitor experience.”
— Big Sur Land Use Plan

By Kate Woods Novoa

Big Sur is raw, rugged, and humbling. It has been said that she can — and will — spit you out, if you don’t belong here. Longtime locals speak of her as if she is an entity. Visitors think of Big Sur as idyllic, and it is in many ways. But this romance does not have a place for short-term rentals.

Those who live here know the difficulties that are a part of the life here: the instability of the road, town trips and school days that must be canceled due to the ever-changing road conditions of Highway 1; storms that take out power lines and telephone lines; slides that take out our main artery, water systems and private roads, not to mention critical bridges; the isolation and the lack of any of the amenities most people have come to not just expect, but need. Get away from the highway, and you may see no services, except what landowners or neighborhoods provide. Here, it is still possible to live up close and personal with Mother Nature. That is why it is humbling. Those who survive the lessons that she has to teach become a community with shared values and a love for this place and one’s place in it.

Fabian Pfortmüller, a Swiss community builder and entrepreneur, defines community “as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” But community, to me, is more than that. We care about each other, help each other, and care about the places where we live. “This is where the magic of a community happens,” Pfortmüller said. “When people care about each other, they develop trust. And trust unlocks collaboration, sharing, support, hope, safety and much more. While most organizations in the world optimize their performance towards external goals, communities optimize for trust.”

Tales of collaboration, sharing, support, hope and trust are legendary in Big Sur. From the early settlers to the last fire, road closure, or bridge collapse, tales of neighbor helping neighbor abound.

For the rest of my article, please see: https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2019/06/20/big-surs-str-problem/

Mo Co Budget approved

The part we might be most concerned with is this: “Also Monday, the board agreed to back a proposal from board chairman John Phillips to devote $1.4 million in transient occupancy tax revenue to the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau. They also directed the organization to conduct a range of economic development initiatives, including a Big Sur tourism study and shuttle, and promotion of county destinations such as the Salinas Valley and River Road wine corridor, Lakes Nacimiento and San Antonio, the Pinnacles National Monument, and more.” From Monterey Herald http://www.montereyherald.com/supervisors-wrap-up-county-budget-hearings

Public Meeting June 6th at 10 am at MAF re use of the old Naval Facility

The Monterey District of California State Parks will hold a public meeting on June 6, 2019 to present its’ plan for initial public tours of the Point Sur Naval Facility located within Point Sur State Historic Park.

The purpose of the meeting is to disseminate information and gather public input prior to offering the initial public tours of the facility. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the Big Sur Station, Multi-Agency Facility, 47555 Highway 1, Big Sur.

Questions, inquiries and comments (for those unable to attend) may be directed to State Parks’ Supervising Ranger D.L. Kraft at dkraft@parks.ca.gov.

Mary Trotter sent me this. It was supposed to be noticed in several local media, but she was unable to locate it, so be sure to share this far and wide. Post to FB, twitter, and/or instagram so we can get the word out.

Naval Facility as seen from the Ocean.

June 6th at 10 am at the MAF Facility (Big Sur Station next to Cal Trans yard.)

“This will be your chance to ask questions and make comments about viewshed issues.  Eleven point 4 million dollars of the Prop 72 money went to preserve the viewshed surrounding this facility.  It is therefore important that everything be done to prevent the eye being drawn to the blot in the landscape through parking lots, reflections off of cars, crowds of people milling around, additional signs and night lighting.
Self directed tours are being planned, and they speak of a visitor center. Is this what Big Sur needs now in this period of over-crowding, over-use.  New easements and new roads are planned – once again in the viewshed. No water is available.  Will the new ADA bathroom also be in the viewshed? Please come and get your questions answered.” Mary Trotter

Msg from Rep Panetta re: Oil Drilling on Public Lands on the Central Coast

 

Dear Neighbor,

The administration just announced a proposal to open over 700,000 acres of public land on the central coast of California to new oil and gas drilling. Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Fresno counties are included in the proposal.

Our community is concerned about expanded oil and gas exploitation on the Central Coast. You can share your opinion of the proposal directly with the Administration during the next 27 days, through June 9, 2019.

Click here to share your public comment here.

Tips for submitting effective comments can be found here.

In Congress, I have cosponsored bills that would prohibit oil and gas exploration and leasing on our public lands and off of our coast. I will continue to fight to protect our public land, ocean, and coastlines so that our communities, country, and future generations can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of the Central Coast.

I encourage everyone to speak out and participate in this public comment period.

Sincerely,

JIMMY PANETTA
Member of Congress

 

This is an official correspondence from Congressman Jimmy Panetta. If you have any questions please contact my office.
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PRIVACY POLICY Your e-mail address will not be shared with anyone else or sold in any way.

The Story behind California’s Powerful Coastal Commission

From UC Berkeley News: (https://news.berkeley.edu/story_jump/the-story-behind-californias-powerful-coastal-commission/)

No feature defines California like its 840 miles of coastline.

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And that’s no accident, said Todd Holmes, a historian with the Bancroft Library’s Oral History Center who has long studied California’s coast.

“There’s a reason we don’t look like Miami or the Jersey Shore,” Holmes said. “It is because of the California Coastal Commission.”

Holmes is the creator of a new podcast from the Oral History Center about the commission, a powerful — sometimes controversial — state agency created by voters in 1972 to protect California’s iconic coastal redwoods, golden beaches and rugged cliffs.

Each of the 15 episodes will examine a particular moment in the commission’s history, from efforts to preserve San Francisco Bay to a fight over the Hearst Corporation’s plans to build a golf resort in Big Sur.

“So much of what the commission does you don’t see,” Holmes said. “All these developments that didn’t happen.”

The project started when Holmes and his colleagues began to interview the men and women involved in the creation of the commission for the Oral History Center, which collects firsthand accounts of major moments in California and global history.

Holmes realized the long interviews could be crafted into a narrative about the commission’s work.

“This way, people can hear the story of why the coast looks the way it does,” he said.

The first episode, about a fight over development at Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz, is available now, and the remaining 14 episodes will be posted over the next year, Holmes said.

Eventually, he hopes placards along the coast will point people to the audio histories.

“You could be in Santa Barbara and hit a QR-code with your phone to listen to a story about the fight over offshore oil drilling,” he said.

Every Californian has a connection with the coastline, said Holmes, who grew up outside of Sacramento and still remembers spending a day on a Los Angeles beach with family when he was four years old.

They picnicked, played in the water and gathered together to watch the sun go down before driving home.

“I’ve been a fan of sunsets ever since,” he said. “There is no better place to watch a sunset than the California Coast.”

Listen to the first episode on the Oral History Center’s page

Draft (STR) Vacation Rental Ordinance now online

I realize I have surpassed my self imposed posting limit for today, but I know many of your are interested in this, so I wanted to get it out to you asap:

Vacation Rental Draft Ordinances and associated environmental analysis are available for public view at the following link:

http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-i-z/resource-management-agency-rma-/planning/short-term-rental-ordinances-coastal-ref130043-inland-ref100042

In the link above you will find the following:

  • Notice of Public Availability of Proposed Vacation Rental Regulations [PDF]
  • Draft Ordinance Amending Title 20 (Coastal Zoning) Relating to Vacation Rentals [PDF]
  • Draft Ordinance Amending Title 21 (Non-Coastal Zoning) Relating to Vacation Rentals [PDF]
  • Draft Ordinance Amending Section 7.02.060 and Adding Chapter 7.110 Relating to Vacation Rental Activities [PDF]
  • Environmental Analysis

 

 

 

 

CCC Meeting now online!

The recent community meeting in Big Sur with California Coastal Commissioner Carole Groom is available online on the Monterey County Government Channel YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edIoIi-B8aI

Maia Carroll
Communications Coordinator
County of Monterey

Highway One Closure Update, 11/29/18

 

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Above, Paul’s Slide earlier today

  1. Today’s Date: November 29, 2018

  2. District:            05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa
  3.                         Cruz Counties
  4. Contact:          Susana Z Cruz (bilingual) or Colin Jones
  5. Phone:            (805) 549-3138 or 549-3189
  6. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
  7. -UPDATE #1-

**TRAFFIC ADVISORY**

TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF HWY. 1 AT MUD CREEK AND PAUL’S SLIDE CONTINUES THROUGH TOMORROW MORNING, FRIDAY, NOV. 30 WHEN IT WILL BE ASSESSED

 

MONTEREY COUNTY — The National Weather Service (NOAA) has informed Caltrans of more significant rain forecast for today and into tonight. Caltrans has determined that tomorrow morning, Nov. 30, will be the first time it will be safe for Geotechnical Design, Construction and Maintenance staff to investigate site conditions and formulate a plan to reopen the road in the areas of Mud Creek (PM 8.9) and Paul’s Slide (PM 21.6) on State Route 1 in the Big Sur area.

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road (PM 18.9) is the alternate route to reach Hwy. 1 between Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide. However, there is a 12-foot height restriction at one of the bridges (green) along this route. Please check with Fort Hunter-Liggett for more updated information on their road at: https://www.facebook.com/FortHunterLiggett.

Caltrans’ Geotech, Maintenance and Construction units are on call and prepared to inspect/clean up during the daylight hours following each storm when it is safe to be onsite again; this will take place tomorrow morning, Friday, Nov. 30. Caltrans’ intent is to open the roadway as quickly and safely as possible and our staff remains on-call 24/7.

The gates on either side of Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide will be key locked. These gates will not be manned when the highway is closed and there will be no access to anyone, including Emergency Services or Caltrans employees until a proper assessment can be made and any necessary cleanup has been completed.

NOTE: This advisory applies only to the Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide areas with each closure being treated separately—both are closing today. Please stay tuned for additional information when the roadway opens again. SEE ATTACHED CLOSURE MAP.

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Veterans Day, 2018

 

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A partial repeat: In 1967, the Summer of Love was over. Viet Nam protests were barely beginning, and I found myself without a place to live, and had quit a job with an abusive boss. I did not know what to do, and so I joined the USWACs. The Army was segregated in those days — not by race, but by sex. All WAC training was held at Ft. McClellan, AL and so the Army flew me out to begin my training. It was in Alabama, in 1967 that I first observed racial segregation. I saw “whites-only” bathrooms and water faucets. They were NOT just a “left-over” relic from an earlier and sad time. They were a commentary on how far we still had to come, and have come. Racial segregation, at least not overt, was minimal in California. It was still rampant in Alabama when I was there.

In 1968 I was stationed at Ft. Huachuca, AZ at the Combat Surveillance School/Training Center Headquarters. (Spook School) I was on my way home to California when an automobile accident almost took my life, and did take my leg.

I ended up at the Veteran’s Hospital in West LA, associated with UCLA medical center. The medical care there was the best available. What wasn’t the best, was how they treated women veterans. We were a rarity, and the VA was not set up to deal with us.

There were no changing rooms for physical therapy for women vets, and I was the only one in the program. They had me use a broom closet. Of the over 400 bed hospital, only 16 were for women, and we had a separate open ward.

In 2018, more women have been elected to state and federal offices than ever before in history and more people of color are fulfilling their dreams of public service. There was both a blue wave and an estrogen wave. In my lifetime, women have traversed a difficult path with determination and with grace. We are making a difference.

In Harris County, TX, home of Houston TX, 19 black females were elected to the bench this past Tuesday. In TX. In GA, a black female is still in the running for Governor, as of this writing. This past Tuesday, there WAS a shift in the American conscience. We achieved so much and overcame much of the hatred and racism which had infected some of our leaders. We told them, NO MORE. I could not be prouder of us and how we are taking back our democracy from those who have been trying to destroy it for the last couple years. We are a nation that is inclusive, not devisive. We are becoming stronger than ever before. America is powerful because of our diversity. Let us celebrate how much stronger our love is than the hate. Blessings to all our veterans and those who support them.