Harbor Seals and Pebble Beach Area D
We are now set to enact an ordinance to better protect the harbor seals on our
beaches, and also to protect Lovers Point Beach. The ordinance is written
to apply best practices consistent with federal and state law, and also in
coordination with the Coastal Commission, NOAA and the National Marine
Sanctuary, and our marvelous BayNet volunteers who have dedicated so many hours
to help protect and interpret the natural resources of our shoreline.
We will also be hearing public and staff inputs on a new Pebble Beach project
proposals that would be directly adjacent to Del Monte Park neighbors. Our
goal is to understand the situation and take whatever city action may be
appropriate at this stage of the project, recognizing that we are not the
decision makers -- the county is -- for this project. Still, we can
identify impacts where we should have a voice as a city.
The Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority has participated very
successfully in negotiations with both CalAm and the PUC to set 8 conditions for
the CalAm regional water project. This vital project still faces many
hurdles. Still, the unified voice of our peninsula via "the Mayor's
JPA" has helped advance the project while providing important protections
for the public on the future cost of water.
CalPERS and Pension Liabilities
It is very clear that the state legislature will not take further action on
pensions. We also see the courts continuing to reinforce entitlements that
we believe to be unsustainable. We face an increase of 50% in pension
costs over the next several years.
As a result, we are working on several fronts to better manage our retirement
benefit costs. Within the existing law, we are now negotiating with our
public safety unions to find ways to reduce those overall costs. We are
also examining CalPERS policies and practices to learn what flexibility we may
have to reduce costs based on how we may structure future employee contracts.
Cities throughout California, and the financial and legal experts that advise
them, point out that there is little cities can do locally. As a result,
we are reaching out to find alliances that may help drive fundamental change at
the state level, either through legislation or the initiative process.
Commercial activities produce fees and taxes that fund nearly 60% or our city
budget. A healthy business climate is vital to maintaining the quality of
life and the level of services that our residents desire. Further, over
35% of our general fund budget comes from visitors to our city, both the nearby
shoppers and the vacationers from farther away.
One of the completed actions is the update to our commercial zoning code.
We have removed the excessive obstacles to starting a business in Pacific
Grove. Next in line is an update to our sign code. Business signage
approvals should not cause a delay in opening a business, and new code language
has been drafted for council action next month.
We now have an Economic Development Manager on a part time basis. He has joined
with PG resident Bob Sadler to lead a small group of business and property
owners to explore new possibilities. The result of that group is a
remarkable agreement on both short and long term measures for improving business
vitality. The first of the short term measures are underway, including a
parking time limit adjustment for our downtown over the holidays. Longer
term, there is recognition that we need to make, and can make, changes to our
basic streetscape downtown.
Our city buildings, streets, sidewalks, and lighting need ongoing maintainance.
You may have seen some selective road repair to key intersections such as
Pine and Forest, also Eardley and Lighthouse. Prior to the wet season, we
will also repeat the crack sealing process. Not always pretty, but greatly
slows the decay of the road foundations.
Please contact me at email@example.com
if you have comments on any of these topics.
A Closing Thought
I believe the desire for a positive spirit is strong in PG. I
believe that we can find ways to work together. I believe we can
create the future we desire for ourselves and for our city. Yes we can!