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The Lockean Project

Tweaking the system, a small victory

Sent on December 5, 2023, Carmel Pine Cone, not published

How wonderfully refreshing to read of two members of the Carmel planning department (Pine Cone Nov 24) coming up with using the Coastal Commission as a possible end run around Newsom’s abusive ADU dictates.  One is too accustomed to seeing municipal officials in so many towns serving only to feather their own nests and thus will not confront oppressive edicts for fear of their own positions. Kudos to Brandon Swanson and Evan Kort for this innovative move. If it takes tweaking the system to fight abuse, go for it.

I had a small victory several years back against the churlish Forestry Lord of the City of Monterey.  He told me that I had to plant a replacement tree if I cut down a dead pine on my property. I told him the tree had died naturally. I was not seeking to remove a live one.  That did not matter to His Eminence.  His sensitivities became quite injured when I suggested I just leave the dead tree.  So instead, I innocently asked if I planted a replacement would the city water it?  Oh, no, he said, the city does not water on private property.  Well then, said I, I will plant a new tree but because we are in a restrictive drought, I am not going to use my water allotment for that. That really bruised his sensitivities.

But I was not done.  I had checked and found 15-gallon trees ran about $100 at local nurseries.  I was not going to pay for being insulted, so I dug up a struggling lemon tree in a too-shaded area of the property (there were no rules on where the tree was to come from), cut down the pine, and planted the lemon. I then called the officious tree nanny and left a message that his demand was satisfied but that I was just going to watch it slowly die.  It did, and he never returned my call.

Richard S. Hellam, Seaside