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Cityhood Opponents Voice Concerns: Foes Say Neighbors Don't Want Incorporation

Monterey Herald, Feb. 13, 2004


Positions for and against carving a city out of Carmel Valley appear to be hardening as the incorporation process moves forward.

Both sides crossed verbal swords at an informational forum, sponsored by the Monterey County Local Agency Formation Commission, held Thursday night at All Saints Episcopal Day School's gymnasium.

"I don't understand how someone can be opposed to getting the facts to the people," said former Monterey County supervisor and longtime Carmel Valley resident Karen Strasser Kauffman at a public forum on incorporation.

The incorporation campaign, retorted Bob Sinnotte, president of the Carmel Views Association and an early and vocal opponent to having his neighborhood become part of a new city, is being organized by activists so that "a handful of people can micromanage our lives."

He and the presidents of the Carmel Knolls and Hacienda Carmel associations threw down gauntlets of opposition, saying polls of their neighborhoods show more than 90 percent have no interest in being part of a city that would stretch from the mouth of the valley to the village past Los Laureles Grade Road.

"We have no connection to Carmel Valley Village," Sinnotte said. "If Greenfield decided to annex the village, what would be the reaction? Greenfield's closer to the village than we are."

The Carmel Valley Forum, which organized a petition drive that got 27 percent of the valley's registered voters to say they wanted to pursue incorporation, has presented itself as a neutral organization that merely wants to see if forming a city is feasible.

Strasser Kauffman and fellow Forum members Randy Randazzo and Scott MacClelland, however, as signers of the incorporation application, are legally considered proponents of incorporation, according to Kristina Berry, acting executive director of LAFCO, who moderated the meeting.

The Forum itself, she said, is not a proponent or applicant, but a fund-raising entity whose purpose is to educate the public.

Forum president Milt Kegley pointed out that donations to the organization are tax-deductible and envelopes for donations were spread out on a table at the gym's entrance.

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