Panetta calls for increased support for Wildfire Preparedness

For Immediate Release
June 15, 2020                        

Contact:  Sarah Davey Wolman 
 Congressman Panetta Leads California Congressmembers in Calling for Increased Support for Wildfire Preparedness
SALINAS, CA – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) led 18 members of Congress in the California Delegation in calling on House leadership to ensure that any future legislative package focused on infrastructure, economic stimulus, and job creation include robust funds to address deferred maintenance and wildland fire preparedness needs in the U.S. National Forest System. “For a long time, the U.S. Forest Service has not received sufficient funding to adequately complete its necessary infrastructure projects.  That backlog increases the threat to communities across the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest region, including California, as we move into the 2020 wildfire season,” said Congressman Panetta.  “As Congress considers legislation for infrastructure, economic stimulus, and job creation, we must fight for more funding for Forest Service projects that will not only generate jobs, but also give our federal firefighters the necessary tools to prepare for wildfires and keep our communities safe.” “It is important to note that the current backlog of projects in the USFS Pacific Southwest Region is particularly concerning as the state of California progresses deeper into its 2020 wildfire season, with fire officials predicting higher-than-normal fire potential through the fall.  As the Region works to swiftly implement new wildfire suppression tactics to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread at base camps, it is all the more important that USFS employees have access to working infrastructure,” the members wrote.  The text of the letter can be found here or below:  Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy: As Congress works to develop and disburse immediate relief to communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also consider the investments needed to bring tens of millions of people back to work to rebuild a stronger, more sustainable economy.  To this end, we write to you to ensure that any future legislative package focused on infrastructure, economic stimulus, and job creation include robust funds to address deferred maintenance and wildland fire preparedness needs in the U.S. National Forest System. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, communities across our nation have turned to National Forests as spaces to safely spend time outdoors while adhering to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) physical distancing guidelines.  Additionally, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) roads and bridges are playing a key role in ensuring rural communities can safely reach grocery stores and hospitals during the pandemic.  At the same time, our National Forest System is suffering from $5.2 billion worth of backlogged repairs for roads and road bridges, trails, and facilities, which far exceeds the $446 million included in the fiscal year 2019 USFS budget for infrastructure improvement and maintenance. In the USFS Pacific Southwest Region, which includes eighteen national forests spanning 20 million acres of land in California, a recent Regional review identified over 90 deferred maintenance projects with critical safety components for administrative facilities, fire facilities, and employee housing, including five priority projects on each National Forest in the state.  Completion of these projects would reduce maintenance costs, improve visitor experiences, support employee recruitment and retention, and allow for additional modifications needed to protect employees, particularly in light of COVID-19.  Notably, funding these projects would also create hundreds of jobs across the state.  It is important to note that the current backlog of projects in the USFS Pacific Southwest Region is particularly concerning as the state of California progresses deeper into its 2020 wildfire season, with fire officials predicting higher-than-normal fire potential through the fall.  As the Region works to swiftly implement new wildfire suppression tactics to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread at base camps, it is all the more important that USFS employees have access to working infrastructure.   To keep these federal employees and the rural communities they serve safe, we urge you to provide funding for the design and construction of new fire cache facilities and updated airtanker bases throughout the state.  By replacing the debilitated and aging Northern and Southern Operations Geographic Area Caches, the USFS Pacific Southwest Region would be able to significantly reduce leasing costs and increase wildfire preparedness.  Similarly, by updating the infrastructure at airtanker bases, the USFS would be able to generate jobs, more rapidly deploy large airtankers to the fire line, and enhance initial attack effectiveness to protect communities and firefighters. In addition to prioritizing the aforementioned physical infrastructure projects, we urge you to include funding for technology updates needed to provide real-time tracking and response of firefighting resources, particularly during rapidly escalating wildfires.  With upgraded information technology, firefighting teams will not only be able to virtually access weather and other incidental information but also share information in real time with other firefighting teams.  This type of collaboration will significantly enhance the common operating picture for all levels of a firefighting organization. For decades, the USFS has struggled with insufficient funds to address critical infrastructure needs, and every year, the backlog of projects becomes increasingly overwhelming.  As the COVID-19 pandemic puts new and unknown pressures on our National Forest System, we cannot wait any longer to prioritize these projects. Over the coming weeks, as you work to make critical funding decisions to address the current unemployment crisis, we ask that you strongly consider the high potential for USFS projects in the Pacific Southwest Region to create thousands of sustainable jobs, particularly during a time of heightened need for effective USFS services.  As the Pacific Southwest Region has already completed a comprehensive review of projects, we encourage Congressional investments directly to the Region so these projects can move forward in a timely manner. Sincerely, ###

Mary Adams Fireside Chat

1200 Aguajito Road, Suite #1, Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: (831) 647-7755
For Immediate Release – January 8, 2020
Supervisor Mary L. Adams invites Fifth District Residents to Chat
The issues don’t have to be ‘hot’ to share your thoughts with Supervisor Mary L. Adams at her upcoming Fireside Chat.
Fifth District Supervisor Mary Adams will host her first Fireside Chat of the new year on Wednesday, January 15thfrom 5:30 to 6:30 pm.  This Chat will be held in the Cypress Fire Station, located at 3375 Rio Road in Carmel. At this first meeting of the year, you are expressly invited to come and help shape the Supervisor’s priorities for 2020.
About Fireside Chats
Fireside Chats are informal meetings held by Supervisor Mary Adams throughout the 5thDistrict. Meetings are held in the evening to increase access of working people to their County Supervisor. All District residents are invited to bring any issue or concern of importance to them to discuss with Mary and her staff.  
Other 2020 Fireside Chats are scheduled for:
·      March 18, City of Monterey Fire Station – 600 Pacific St., EOC Room, Monterey, CA
·      May 20, Monterey Regional Fire District Office – 19900 Portola Drive, Salinas
·      July 15, Cypress Fire Station, Rio Road, Carmel
·      September 16, City of Monterey Fire Station, Pacific Street, Monterey
·      November 18, Monterey Regional Fire District Office, Portola Drive, Salinas
An RSVP isn’t necessary.

Census Takers

Besides the allocation of funds, perhaps even more importantly, at least to me, if that the every decade census allocates the 435 seats in the House of Representatives among the states and the districts within the states. This is critical in times like these.

The Census Bureau is Hiring for the 2020 Census!

Part time and full time positions are available in Big Sur paying more than $20 per hour. Earn extra money !  Make us all count.

You can apply online by visiting or attend the recruitment meeting at the Big Sur Library on January 11th from 10 am to 1 pm and apply in person.

The census is completely confidential and safe!

The census is about funding and power: The population count of Big Sur and all of Monterey County determines the amount of federal funding our communities receive for programs like free school lunch, road work and repair, medical services, food vouchers and general benefits.  The census will also determine the political boundaries of our region and the congressional representation we will have, the foundation of our democracy!
Community Association of Big Sur
also needs volunteers
 to help reach
our neighbors up and down the coast.
To answer this call to service, email
your interest to:
 Download a copy of the 2020 Census, Frequently Asked Questions HERE. (PDF, 1 Page, 382 KB)

Coastal Commission 5-year Plan, Public Comment

California Coastal CommissionPublic Review Draft Strategic Plan PUBLIC COMMENT OPPORTUNITY
The Commission has released the 2020 – 2025 Public Review Draft Strategic Plan and is now seeking public input on the draft plan through February 14, 2020.
The Commission has released the Public Review Draft of the 2020-2025 California Coastal Commission Strategic Plan. The Draft Strategic Plan provides a framework of goals, objectives, and actions to set priorities and guide the agency’s performance for the next five years. It can be viewed at: Draft Strategic Plan identifies 189 priority action items intended to be undertaken in the next five years, organized under 9 separate goals related to: Internal Agency Capacity and Effectiveness; Public Access; Coastal Resources; Climate Change and Sea Level Rise; Environmental Justice, Diversity, and Tribal Relations; Coastal Planning and Permitting; Enforcement; Public Presence and Partnerships; and Information Management and E-Government.The public is invited to provide comments on the Draft Strategic Plan in writing or verbally at the Commission’s December 2019 or February 2020 meetings. Written comments must be received by February 14, 2020.
Comments can be mailed to:
California Coastal Commission   Executive Division45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000San Francisco, CA 94105
Or sent via email final plan is anticipated to be adopted by the Commission in April or May 2020.
California Coastal Commission | 45 Fremont St, Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94105

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:

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

To get to MC Gives to donate, click

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: 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:

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

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

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