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Moniz' agenda: 'transparency,' more business

By MARY BROWNFIELD

Published: January 22, 2010

ADAM MONIZ, a 33-year-old energy consultant who is running for Mayor of Carmel in the April 13 election, said this week he would make city business more transparent, correct persistent problems at city hall, create incentives to bring more businesses to town and self-impose a term limit.

“The No. 1 issue of my campaign is the transformation of city hall to a fully transparent, open and accessible village government,” said Moniz, who moved to Carmel last year and said he was a regular visitor after discovering the town during the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

If elected mayor, Moniz pledged to make information available to the public as quickly as possible. And he said he would act on anything he found inappropriate and would “not hesitate to take any and all remedial actions necessary.”

As evidence of dysfunction in city government, Moniz raised the issue of lawsuits, such as the sexual-harassment complaint filed by human resources manager Jane Miller against the city last June. He also cited a condemning letter written by former administrative coordinator Stephanie Pearce that was published in the Monterey County Herald Jan. 7.

“She worked for four years at city hall and she was front and center," Moniz said, describing Pearce’s letter to the editor as a “game changer.”

In the letter, Pearce asserted that “city government in Carmel is badly broken” because of “a pattern of avoiding and ignoring resident and staff concerns.” She also accused Mayor Sue McCloud, who has been elected five times, of pursuing “pet projects,” and decried the staff reductions caused by budget cuts, which Pearce claimed have left the city “leaderless.”

“If people don’t think there are problems at city hall, they should read this letter,” Moniz said.

Regarding the future of the fire department and whether it should join a large Peninsula-wide consortium, contract with an outside agency or be a stand-alone department, Moniz said he wants Carmel firefighters to stay in town and to preserve response times, which tend to be three or four minutes.

“While I will be a fiscally conservative mayor, I will never jeopardize a life to save a dollar,” he said.

But having dollars to spend requires a strong commercial district, and Moniz said challenges facing the city include the number of vacant storefronts — which he predicts will continue to grow — and the poor relationship between the city and the business community.

“As mayor, I will launch a special initiative to identify and create superior incentives for the opening of more resident-oriented businesses in an effort to encourage the occupancy of currently vacant storefronts,” he said.

“Now more than ever, we need the city and the business district to work cohesively and to drop any existing animosity,” particularly between the administration and the chamber of commerce, he said.

A member of the Carmel Residents Association, which often comments on the lack of code enforcement in town, Moniz named three areas in which he would like to see more efforts to make people follow the rules: Beachgoers who climb down the bluffs instead of using stairs, gardeners who use gas-powered leaf blowers, and skateboarders who endanger pedestrians by riding downtown. All three are already the subjects of laws in town but are not well enforced, said Moniz, who is endorsed by former Mayors Ken White and Charlotte Townsend.

Other issues

Moniz also weighed in on several pressing city matters.

- Flanders Mansion: “The voters of Carmel have spoken on Flanders. As Mayor of Carmel, I will expeditiously implement the directives voters have given,” he said.

- Beach fires: While a few residents have called for them to be outlawed because they dirty the sand and leave debris, many Carmel residents have voiced their support for fires on the beach. “I look forward to fires on the beach continuing. Of course, we have to ensure they are in compliance with the Carmel code,” he said.

- Unleashed dogs: “Carmel has a rich history of being an extraordinarily dog friendly locale,” he said, adding that he would preserve that reputation. “My Norfolk terrier, Maddy, simply would not have it any other way, and neither would I.” He said the city’s existing laws are adequate.

- Historic preservation: “Once we knock down a historically significant building, we will never, ever be able to get that building back. We have to give all due consideration to any or all concerns raised in regard to a specific building.”

- Aging trees: “Carmel’s urban forest is in a current state of decline. As Mayor of Carmel, I will focus great efforts on replanting trees that have died or been removed.”

- 1,600-square-foot houses on 4,000-square-foot lots: “Our design guidelines and standards are part of what created the intimate charm and feel of Carmel that we all love,” he said. “I don’t see the need to modify any of our current building restrictions.”

- Redevelopment of older hotels: “In general, Carmel will greatly benefit from a greater diversification of accommodations,” he said, because residents need good lodging for visiting friends and family. The Carmel Sands property at San Carlos and Fifth “is a prime candidate for redevelopment,” but plans should be altered according to the direction provided by the planning commission.

- The water shortage: “Water has always been an issue for us here on the Peninsula, and it’s always going to be an issue,” he said. “There are great restrictions on what Carmel itself can do to address the situation.” Moniz encouraged city officials and residents to stay informed and involved in the dialog.

“We need to examine creative solutions,” he said.