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Poll: Many Oppose C.V. Incorporation

By Mary Brownfield
Carmel Pine Cone -- Dec. 13, 2002



SURVEY CARDS mailed to residents at the mouth of Carmel Valley have a resounding “no” on whether Carmel Valley should become a city, according to incorporation opponent Bob Sinotte. About 30 percent of 1,500 cards sent to people living in Carmel Views, Hacienda Carmel, Del Mesa Carmel, Rancho Rio Vista, Carmel Knolls, Quail Lodge and the Rio Road condominiums, have been returned, Sinotte said.

The cards asked whether a comprehensive fiscal study of incorporation should be conducted and questioned the level of support for a new city. After making their choices, residents sent the cards directly to the Local Agency Formation Commission, which would oversee any incorporation effort.

The cards from the eight neighborhoods returned so fare have averaged 87 percent opposed, 6 percent in favor and 7 percent undecided, according to Sinotte.

“I think anything over 51 percent is significant, so anything close to 90 percent is overwhelming,” Sinotte said.

But supporters of a petition drive to get the incorporation process moving counter the poll is premature and probably inaccurate.

“They sent out 1,500 and got a 30 percent return, which would not be a bad return,” said Carmel Valley Forum board member Max Tadlock. “But normally people who are violently opposed to something are the ones who respond.”

Catherine West, executive director of LAFCO, said the poll results will be noted but that her agency had no role in it. Initially, incorporation opponents asked LAFCO to sponsor the survey, West said. “We said no, but that we could accept any public comments, written or oral, pro or con.”

Although the survey cards go directly to LAFCO, she said, it is up to Valley Watch members to come in and count them. Sinotte said the cards are on file with LAFCO and can be viewed by any members of the public.



Sinotte cited these percentages

· Carmel Views: 96 percent opposed, 1 percent in favor, 2 percent undecided

· Hacienda Carmel: 95 percent opposed, 3 percent in favor, 2 percent undecided

· Del Mesa Carmel: 77 percent opposed, 11 percent in favor, 11 percent undecided

· Rancho Rio Vista: 82 percent opposed, 7 percent in favor, 5 percent undecided

· Carmel Knolls: 93 percent opposed, 5 percent in favor, 2 percent undecided

· Quail Lodge: 71 percent opposed, 7 percent in favor, 18 percent undecided

· Rio Road condos: 88 percent opposed, 3 percent in favor, 9 percent undecided



“In terms of this post card drive, LAFCO has them and will keep them on file and they will certainly become part of any staff report we do on the application,” West said.

But the time to register formal opposition comes after an application for incorporation had been filed, which will only occur if 25 percent of the registered voters within the proposed boundaries sign a petition.

C.V. Forum members began gathering signatures in October and have six months to obtain the numbers they need. They maintain it’s simply too early to have an opinion on whether local government should replace county government in Carmel Valley, and that LAFCO’s studies on the issue are the only way to get all the questions answered so voters can make an educated decision.

“The position Carmel Valley Forum is taking is that almost no one really knows what the issue are yet, so what are they being asked to respond to?” Tadlock said. “We ought to be carefully informing our citizens and let the decisions fall from an informed electorate.”

West anticipated it could take a year to study the services of the town, finances and environmental impacts. Then the commission will hold pubic hearings to decide if Carmel Valley can and should incorporate.

A LAFCO yes vote would trigger a protest hearing, at which point opponents could enter their formal written protest.

“Our law is very specific in term of protest: If we receive protest from 50 percent or more of the registered voters within the approved incorporation boundaries, then the project is dead and can’t come back for a year,” West said.

If it survives the protest hearing, the potential incorporation would end up on the ballot with the final decision resting with Carmel Valley voters, West said, but that could be as long as two years from now.

“Our intention is to build in an adequate amount of public workshops, forums, whatever we think would be necessary to get people to understand what incorporation is and what it means,” she said. “So that if they get the chance to vote on it, they will understand what it’s all about.





Last Updated: Dec 06, 08

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