The Pine Cone's editorial of the week

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Editorial: It wasn't just a shipwreck

Published: October 22, 2010

WHEN A rather pathetic boat owner ended up in the kelp off Andrew Molera State Park earlier this month, and then had to beach his 32-foot craft rather than see himself smashed to bits on Big Sur’s forbidding rocky coastline, only to have the boat destroyed anyway as it was tossed about on the beach, it wasn’t just a story of a foolish man who was very fortunate to escape with his life. It was also a story of land use policies gone cuckoo.

You may recall that not long ago coastal commission officials proposed new restrictions on building in Big Sur so that no new structures could be seen from the ocean.

The restriction was needed, the coastal commission’s executive director Peter Douglas famously explained, to protect the viewshed from boats.

At the time, the proposed rule was derided by Big Sur residents, who made the obvious observation that there are hardly any boats off the 70 miles or so of coastline from Carmel south to the Monterey County line. Very few recreational boaters brave that stretch of coast at all; those who do stay well offshore and out of harm’s way, along with all the commercial boats. What happened to Steve Gallagher at Molera Beach shows why.

For now, because of all the public outrage, the coastal commission’s “viewshed from boats” plan seems to have been forgotten. But when it decides to revive it, Gallagher should be one of the first to offer testimony about why it’s not needed.



Editorial: Be glad for the small things


IN SOME California cities, there’s so much crime that police have no time for lesser tasks such as staking out stop signs or running speed traps, or even for trying to catch people who are DUI. So if you’re driving through Carmel or Pacific Grove and you get a ticket for not coming to a stop or going a few miles an hour over the limit, instead of being upset or angry, be glad you live in a safe place.

Likewise, while cities all over the state are wrestling with dire budget deficits and are being forced to choose between closing libraries or reducing elder care programs, here in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the budget is in great shape and the biggest controversy last week was whether five Monterey cypress could be planted on Scenic Road ... and where (precisely) they might be put.

Ain’t it grand?