10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY february 29-march 6, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Developer Patrice Pastor of Monaco has acquired a hefty portfolio of properties in the tiny village of Carmel, beginning with the purchase of a home in 2015, growing to at least 16 properties totaling nearly $124 million. The latest purchase for $7.5 million, of the historic La Rambla building on Lincoln Street, prompted one Carmelite to tell SFGATE that residents were “terrified” by Pastor’s expanding Carmel real estate empire. News publications in New York and Europe picked up on the story. Pastor is chairman of the family development company founded by his great-grandfather, J.B. Pastor & Fil. He’s also head of Pastor Real Estate, based in London. His family is reportedly worth billions, with control over vast real estate holdings in Monaco. In recent years he reportedly experienced a falling out with the ruler of Monaco, Prince Albert II, attracting press attention in Europe and internationally. In Carmel Pastor operates under a few limited liability companies: Esperanza Carmel, Esperanza Carmel Commercial and Esperanza Carmel Residential. He started off buying three homes over three years, including two next door to each other on Scenic Road, purchased separately in 2016 and 2018. His commercial purchases took off from there—between October 2018 and December 2020 he purchased multiple properties, including L’Auberge hotel, home to Aubergine Restaurant, and the building where Hog’s Breath Inn is located, once famously owned by Clint Eastwood. In 2023 he purchased three properties, the most prominent of which was the Mrs. Walker Clinton House on the ocean, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, purchased for $22 million. Company representative Christopher Mitchell did not respond to a request for comment. Pastor told the Daily Mail he couldn’t understand why locals would be worried. “We love the town, and we want to protect its unique history and character,” he said in a story published on Feb. 20. Pastor has experienced some hard lessons in what Carmelites consider “village character.” It took three attempts with the Carmel Planning Commission to land on an acceptable design for his proposed multi-use Ulrika Plaza at the corner of Dolores Street and 5th Avenue. Last year he lost a bid to move a decorative wall in the way of another project near Dolores and 7th after the Carmel City Council deemed it historic. For many, landlines are almost an urban legend. But for people who live in isolated areas with unreliable cell phone service such as Cachagua, Royal Oaks or Big Sur, landlines might be the only way to communicate when they’re facing an emergency. In March 2023, AT&T Corporation sent a request to the California Public Utilities Commission to be released from being a Carrier of Last Resort, which is a designation that requires it to offer landline telephone service. “This obligation requires AT&T California, but not its major competitors, to wastefully operate and maintain two duplicative networks: one, an antiquated, narrowband network with an ever-dwindling base of subscribers, and the other, a forward-looking, fiber and wireless broadband network,” AT&T officials wrote in their request. County Supervisor Chris Lopez says landlines are a “lifeline” for many areas. “I think about communities like Arroyo Seco that recently experienced a landslide,” Lopez says. “Their only way to communicate with the other side of that landslide was through those copper wires that are required to be maintained by AT&T.” On Feb. 20, 15 members of Congress, including Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley, sent a letter to Alice Busching Reynolds, CPUC’s president, raising concerns. “AT&T’s application to cease landline service in our communities threaten public safety in an area plagued by earthquakes, severe storms, floods and fires,” they wrote. If approved, the change would impact several cities in Monterey County, including Carmel, Greenfield and Marina, and unincorporated areas such as Bradley, Carmel Valley and Spreckels. Lopez is in talks with AT&T representatives to organize a meeting with South County residents and suggested residents submit comments to CPUC. As of Feb. 7, the CPUC has received over 3,000 public comments. After six in-person meetings, the commission holds virtual meetings on Tuesday, March 19 at 2pm and 6pm (tinyurl.com/54h3teyd). Big Buy Carmel lands in the spotlight as a Monaco developer snaps up more village properties. By Pam Marino news HEALTHY HABITS The County of Monterey’s Behavioral Health Commission invites those concerned with mental and behavioral health issues to attend a public meeting. The commission will consider appointing an ad hoc committee and hear presentations and reports, while members of the public are invited to comment. 5:30pm Thursday, Feb. 29. Marina Training Room, 299 12th St., Marina; or via Zoom. Free. 755-4509, co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments. SOCIAL CENTER Monterey County Supervisor Wendy Root Askew hosts a town hall meeting to discuss important updates proposed for the County of Monterey’s Social Services building on Broadway Avenue in Seaside. 6pm Thursday, Feb. 29. Oldemeyer Center, 986 Hilby Ave, Seaside. Free. 883-7570, morae2@co.monterey.ca.us. DREAM HOUSE Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity invites you to attend a workshop to help potential first-time homebuyers. The event focuses on creating a budget, repairing credit, shopping for a lender and everything else you can expect from pre-application to escrow—registrants who attend can qualify for HUD housing programs. 9am-5pm Tuesday, March 5. Virtual event. Registration required, one registration per household. Email hbe@ echofairhousing.org to register. Free. bit.ly/HBE0302. POWER UP Pacific Gas & Electric hosts a virtual town hall meeting for Central Coast customers to discuss savings programs and work happening in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. Company leaders, including Regional Vice President Teresa Alvarado, will be available to answer questions. 5:30-7pm Wednesday, March 6. Virtual event. Free. pge.com/webinars. GOING GREEN Monterey County’s Alternative Energy and Environment Committee holds a special meeting to discuss the status of the Community Climate Action & Adaptation Plan and hear a presentation on the Monterey County Green Business Network. Residents are encouraged to participate and give public comment. 1pm Thursday, Feb. 29. Board Chamber, 168 W. Alisal St., first floor, Salinas or via Zoom at montereycty. zoom.us. Free. co.monterey.ca.us. Dropped Call AT&T’s request to the state to cancel landline requirement would impact rural customers. By Celia Jiménez The historic La Rambla building in Carmel, built in 1929 in the Spanish eclectic style, is the latest purchase by Esperanza Carmel for $7.5 million. e-mail: toolbox@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX Pastor couldn’t understand why locals would worry. Daniel Dreifuss