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Carmel Valley Prison: Real Threat or Incorporation Ploy?

Carmel Pine Cone, Nov. 7, 2008


A LEADING proponent of incorporation is warning Carmel Valley could be the site of a new prison if residents fail to gain a greater control of their political destiny. But the idea is a non-starter, according to supervisor Dave Potter’s office.

John Dalessio, president of the Carmel Valley Association, reported in the group’s November newsletter
that Monterey County was offered $50 million to construct a re-entry prison capable of housing 500 inmates, and Carmel Valley was identified as a potential site.

The subject of building a prison in Carmel Valley came up at the Sept. 16 board of supervisors meeting. Dave Potter left the meeting early because he had a doctor’s appointment, so he missed participating in the discussion. Potter’s aide, Kathleen Lee, conceded Carmel Valley was mentioned as a
possible site, but she equated the reference to a “flippant comment.” She said Carmel Valley’s lack of public transportation and public services made it an impractical choice. Two days later, the Corrections Standards Authority Board withdrew state funding for the proposed facility after failing to identify a viable site.

“The county and the state have formally ended negotiations for the site,” Lee reported. “It’s totally dead.” Dalessio, though, believes the proposal still has some life in it.

“The re-entry prison concept is alive and well,” he writes in the newsletter. “Sometime, someplace, the prison will be back.”

In Dalessio’s view, creating a Town of Carmel Valley is the perfect way to thwart such a plan.

“Incorporation will allow the people of Carmel Valley — not supervisors from Salinas, King City and Moss Landing — to decide the future of Carmel Valley,” Dalessio explained. “This latest shot — the re-entry prison — should be our wake-up call. We need to incorporate now, before saving Carmel Valley becomes a meaningless slogan. No one is going to ‘save’ us. We have to do it ourselves.”

Salinas was also identified as a location for the facility, but supervisors withdrew three possible sites because of opposition from neighbors.

In contrast to Monterey County, other communities in California — like the towns of Delano and Susanville — have welcomed new prisons because of the jobs and revenue they bring.

Last Updated: Dec 07, 08

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