Monterey County Connect

Monterey County has a new app available to download to your iPhone (don’t know re android) or iPad. It was announced at the BSMAAC meeting, and thanks to Anni Agren, I now have that app on my phone. Just search for Monterey County Connect. It is free. (Note, there is a place to report graffiti, as well as a place for road information and events.) Can’t wait to use it!


Ferrari Commercial at Bixby

Now that Labor Day has passed, filming at Bixby Bridge and other places along the coast has resumed. Thursday, in addition to the filming, there were many construction areas along Highway One. It took me 3 and 1/2 hours to get from my home to the VA Clinic in Marina.

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Tourist Tuesday, 4/3/18

I took  a closer look at thepresentation MCCVB made at the last BSMBAAC meeting. While I can see the need for a “Destination Master Plan”  for Monterey County, I think we need a separate and community oriented, implemented, and managed Sustainable Destination Stewardship Program/Plan for Big Sur. In discussions with Tammy Blount of MCCVB, she has agreed that a separate, “special” forum should be held for Big Sur. I look forward to working with Tammy and finding a common vocabulary which will strengthen our sense of community here in Big Sur – the crown jewel of Monterey County.

A “Master Plan” reminds me too much of dystopian novels like 1984, Brave New World, Handmaiden’s Tale, Soylent Green, etc. Personally, I think the Sustainable and Stewardship components of any plan are critical to how we approach the issue of sustainability of both the community and the environment of Big Sur as tourism continues to increase exponentially. The focus needs to shift from making money to sustaining the sense of place, in my opinion. Making money is only relevant if it is used to enhance the experience – not profit from it. I also see that Big Sur needs a bigger voice in any planning endeavor.  Big Sur needs to take the lead in any efforts to “market” her unique beauty, and if necessary, tell others she is not for sale. Several members of the board of CPOA are willing and delighted to work with us on creating an entity for such a purpose.

Naming, to me, helps to define, refine, and focus our goals so we don’t get distracted from the purpose we have for going forward, obtaining financing, other backing, and instituting meaningful change to save our community and place while we share it with visitors. Also, it will help establish the roles of all our various governmental and non-governmental agencies who claim a stakehold in Big Sur by helping them to fulfill their management plans and see the many ways each is compatible with the others. We need to get away from the singularity which defines each government agency and begin to see our Big Sur Coast as a holistic entity, entitled to the protection she needs and deserves.

Here is a quarterly event that MCCVB hosts that addresses this issue:


The above is a screen shot, so the registration button is not “live.” Here is a link you can go to to register for the Sustainable Moments marketing forum: Sustainable Moments Quarterly Forum. I have signed up to attend, and will report back after the Forum. Marcus Foster has also indicated he is interested in attending. I would encourage all of you interested in the future of Big Sur and her tourism component to come to this forum to listen, learn, and contribute, if appropriate. Big Sur is the driving force behind tourism for the entire Monterey Peninsula. It is time we have a bigger voice that is heard.

Next week, I will seek out information on how to work with and organize all the diverse stakeholders present in Big Sur. Thanks to others in the community with whom I have had conversations, I am convinced that the MCCVB is NOT the appropriate entity to spear head an issue to preserve and protect Big Sur, and am looking at a whether a disinterested outside consultant might be the way to go, along with formulating a non-profit Big Sur entity capable of grant-writing, funding a consultant, fund-raising, organizing, and implementing a long-term plan that incorporates all the various interlocking pieces that comprise Big Sur and make her who she is. If you want to be a part of this process, please let me know how you see yourself contributing, either in the comments or via email to

I had not intended to make this portion of my blog a full-time endeavor, but that is what it is becoming. Big Sur needs protecting and all of us must become proactive in this. All the individual concerns we have: bathrooms, traffic, degradation of the wilderness, camping, enforcement, tourists who drive Highway One (poorly), but don’t spend here, preserving our community, work-force housing, our history, protecting our environment and so much more are pieces of this much larger puzzle. Join us in becoming a part of the solution, instead of just bitching. Let’s save the love of our lives and our home, Mama Sur.

Monterey County Visitors Bureau Response

Hi Kate

Thanks for sharing this feedback. And I’d also like to thank you for sharing with your followers the list of things we are doing to support responsible tourism in Big Sur ( One of the main points of that list was to illustrate the wide range of ways we are trying to support the businesses in Big Sur and the people they employ – but do so in a way the emphasizes respect for the environment and the people who live in Big Sur.

As much as we are doing to maintain balance, there is always room for more ideas and collaboration. So appreciate your sharing this latest comment. Some feedback on that:

· Bixby Bridge – clearly we know people are going to take pictures. So much of our messaging is designed to encourage people to be safe and smart. To use proper parking/pull-outs and be cautious at all times… We’ve posted such messaging in our social channels, stress this with travelers who come to our Visitor Center and among other things on our website, we have a Dos & Don’ts page for Big Sur on our website that further elaborates on this.
· On the line of copy about “sleep under the stars” – this was vague so we made more specific and refer directly ‘sleep under the stars… at Fernwood Resorts’. This has been updated in our material.
· One of the comments in today’s post ( was whether MCCVB was directing people – on purpose or inadvertently – to private property. We certainly do not do this, in fact, we ask travelers to be respectful specifically of private property. But we’ll look at our messaging to see how we can further emphasize.

Again, we appreciate your sharing the outreach we are doing with your followers as well as receiving critical comments so that we can address. In fact, we’ve gone to great lengths over the years – not just related to the road closure – to ensure we are not ‘disconnected with Big Sur’. But there is always opportunity for more and better connectivity. So please feel free to reach out to me directly anytime with any suggestions.

Given that Big Sur is one of the most iconic and beautiful places on Earth, we know people are going to travel to experience it. The question is how can we make them more respectful tourists – that is a top priority.

Please let me know of any further questions/suggestions/ideas. We’ll take all the collaboration we can get…

Many thanks

Rob O’Keefe

Thanks, Rob for being so receptive. Now, if we could just find ways to get the “on the ground funding” we need for porta potties, trash collection, and patrolling to prevent campfires and illegal camping. Anything you can do in that regard, we would be very appreciative of, because no matter how much educating we try to do, it will not reach probably more than 1/2 the people it needs to reach. Of the 4000 people a day who contact you, how can we know how many don’t bother?

The beginning of bigsurkate, the blog

Used to be, all my readers knew how this site came to be. Now, only a few do. I started this blog 8 years ago because I got pissed off at the sheriff. It’s not wise to piss off a lawyer who has made her living going up against various forms of the government, especially law enforcement. If you want to read the early entries, go to the pull-down menu to the right for archives, and pull down and click on July 2008. I wrote over 50 entries that month. Eight years later, I have written 2,747 entries. Damn, how did that happen? I have had over a million, 100 thousand views. I thought this blog would have closed after the Basin Fire, but the Chalk Fire came on its heels, and by then the die was cast.

I got pissed off because of this:


Note the date and the time of this. 6 pm on the eve of a 3 day weekend. I got a copy on July 4 – Independence Day. I was pissed and went into overdrive. I stayed awake for almost 24 hours in order to combat this order and to learn how to blog. (It wasn’t as easy back then as it is now.) On July 5, 2008, I published both my first and second blog posts. This was the first:

“I began this blog, after 2 weeks of inundating everyone’s mailbox with news, links, editorials, and photos of the massive Big Sur Fire of 2008. I decided a blog might be a better venue for us all to stay connected, share information, and remain informed. PLUS, I got totally frustrated when my email send function became so erratic. I can receive, but sending is completely hit and miss. I am hoping the email fairy visits me soon!😉

I will also be posting some of my photographs, also, as and when I can.

Welcome! Once the fire is past, I will convert this to random musings, I suppose, or it will evolve into something else.”

Boy did it ever evolve into something else – something I could not even imagine back then.

A year later, I recounted as best I could, what happened those first few days. I wrote:

“July 4, 2008 – I cannot find my notes, and I did not write in my journal for much of July, as I was far too busy, but I started my blog one year ago tomorrow, so some of the story about last Independence Day was reported then. I am recreating the day, based primarily on a memory with holes in it – swiss cheese holes – a moth-eaten sweater. I also have no photographs taken that day, at least that I can find. The road was closed, as previously posted.

When I first got a copy of the 409.5 memo on 7/4, I called OES (Office of Emergency Services), and they had a Commander Teter of the MCSO call me back. When I got no satisfactory explanation about the issuance of the memo, other than it was to “educate” the Big Sur community about the power the MCSO had, I was furious. The MCSO was flexing its muscles and declaring a police-state in Big Sur, and fully intended on arresting who ever got in their way.

It was a holiday. Everything was closed. What could I do? The only places open were newsrooms. Having lived and worked in Monterey County, much of that in the justice system, I knew I needed to go outside of the county. I called the LA Times newsroom and the SF Chronicle newsroom. I posted something on Before my post was removed from surfire2008, Deborah Schoch, a staff reporter from the LA Times called. After speaking with her for some time, I got her phone numbers, and said I’d pass it on to a member of the Curtis family who was not in Big Sur, and if they wanted, they could pass it on to Micah and Ross. This resulted in more phone calls, and more long conversations with Curtis family members and LA Times reporter, Eric Bailey. Only a few days later, he and Deborah Schoch published a 3-page article about the police state in Big Sur. It is no longer accessible unfortunately.

This was the start of the battle between Big Sur Locals and the Mike Kanalakis, Sheriff of Monterey County. Kanalakis also made the mistake of taking on Cachagua in Carmel Valley. Both were big mistakes.

Thanks to Jim Kimball for archiving posts from surfire2008 and other sources, we have an excellent record of all that happened on this day last year. It was a busy day, with reports from locals coming in up and down the coast all day long. Let’s not forget what it was like to live in this police state from July 3, 2008 to July 8, 2008, when the road opened to locals and their employees, and July 11, 2008 when the road opened completely.

Go to this link, and scroll down. It is arranged as all blogs tend to be, with the older posts first, or backwards chronology. Just scroll down to July 4th and start reading. It is fascinating:

So, Big Sur, and lovers of Big Sur, we celebrate our independence, along with our country’s independence and may we never forget the battles we have fought against oppressive government entities in both 1776 and in 2008. Happy Independence Day. Keep strong, and battle on when needed.


Gas and Oil Extraction in Monterey County

From: “Bogdan, Grace x6414” <>
Date: February 11, 2015 2:54:33 PM PST
To: Undisclosed recipients:;
Subject: Second Stakeholder Oil & Gas Meeting

The second stakeholder meeting for amendments to the Monterey County Zoning Ordinance for oil and gas projects will be held in the Monterey Room on the second floor of the Government Center located in Salinas on February 24th from 6-8pm. This meeting is intended to gather input from stakeholders within the industry and general public at large. Please feel free to forward this invitation to any interested parties. A follow up email will be sent with the agenda for this meeting. Please contact Grace Bogdan with any questions at

February 24, 2015 from 6pm-8pm
Monterey Room
Government Center, 2nd floor
168 W Alisal St Salinas, CA 93901


NWS Drought Monitor


Here is the link drought monitor

Likely chance of rain on the 27th and 28th, but there are also early indications that early March may hold substantial rain. If so, maybe we can go from exceptional drought back down to extreme!

I am having trouble deciding whether to keep my links as-is (recently changed from fire to my winter weather watch links), go back to fire, or change to a combination, but pared down version of each. Think I’ll wait until mid-March and then decide.

Gloria Fire, 8/28/09

8;00 pm update: (I just got home so most of these are from the last couple hours)
at 6 pm – CalFire just updated
6,000 acres – 15% contained
1 residence destroyed

This was posted at 7 pm, from a guy w/ Benito/Monterey CalFire: “The fire spotted over the line in NE corner around 1400PDT and made large run toward the South. This was about1 hour after AT 911 [ed-DC-10] made a drop. At that time they released them from fire back to Victorville. They had to reorder the VLAT [very large air tanker] later on. It made 3rd drop of the day around 1700PDT returning after reloading at McCulen AB. for 4th drop of day Watching VLAT drop 3 times showed how well this weapon works when it has room. All of the drops I saw seemed to go for ever.”

And for the view from on Top o’ the World — lots of smoke to the east, both down toward Bryson, and up toward Gloria. No significant plumes just before sunset.
Triple digit temps, and single digit RHs expected to continue through the weekend.

11:00 am update: California Professional Firefighters Association is reporting: “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Monterey Counties in response to a new flurry of wildland fires dotting the coastal counties.

Some 1,500 residents of Rancho Palos Verdes were forced out of their million dollar homes by a stubborn blaze, and a new Monterey Co. fire near Soledad has burned more than 5,000 acres.” (original report of 8K was a typo in original quote.)

These three shots were taken between 7:30 am and 8:00 am. Here’s the smoke from the Gloria Fire from my front deck:

Here’s the smoke from the Gloria Fire from out back:

Finally, the smoke from the Bryson Fire shot through the skeletons of last year’s Chalk Fire:

9:00 am update – went out and took a look, not much to see. Smoke, but no plumes. And on the top of the Santa Lucia’s I can see the smoke from the Bryson, which is still burning to the south and the smoke from the Gloria burning to the north. Quite a perspective. I do have some shots, but not together — distance too great. What a view, though! Photos to follow.

NOTE: NOAA issued red flag warning for Pinnacles, area of Gloria Fire, Santa Lucias, and Los Padres National Forest. Warning in effect until noon today.

7:00 am – There is a lot of smoke out there. A quick check for info, then I’m off to the back to take photos. I can see the plumes from here, amid the trees, but want to get better shots.

I checked with Cheryl, and while she thinks the fire got to the edge of the ranch (it is 21K acres), nothing threatening her, but it is headed toward both Soledad, which is under threat today, and Pinnacles.

It is 5000 acres and 0-15% contained, depending on the source of information. 30-40 homes are threatened. It doubled overnight. Today is supposed to be hotter and drier, too.

July 3, 2008

July 3rd, 2008, one year ago today, the MCSO issued its infamous memo.


All our representative’s offices were closed for the long week-end. I am convinced to this day that the timing was purposeful. Can’t call Dave Potter’s office, can’t call Sam Farr’s office. Who can I connect to change this newly created “police state” in Big Sur. LA Times & San Fran Chronicle both come to mind. So, I call them. I provided the same story, but the LA Times was the most interested. Then, Ross Curtis got arrested.
(To be continued tomorrow.)