Planning board gives support to embattled Clews


Christian Clews’ seat was saved on the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board, after a bylaw review showed that allegations that he shoved a jogger did not give the board authority to remove him.

Carmel Valley college student Matthew Guise requested the board remove Clews after an incident in which Clews allegedly pushed him to the ground on the Carmel Valley Restoration Enhancement property. The area near Clews Horse Ranch is set aside as mitigation for Highway 56.

Clews, one of two investor representatives on the board, said he believed Guise to be trespassing on his property, but Guise said he thought he was on public land.

No criminal charges have been filed against Clews, but he said he could not comment as court action has been threatened.

A review of the board’s bylaws showed they could only remove a member for three or more unexcused absences or for improper conduct when in an official capacity, said chairman Frisco White.

He said members can only be installed or removed through the election process - Clews will be up for re-election in March 2010.

“As much as we may not appreciate or condone Christian’s actions, the board does not have the authority to censure or reprimand any board member,” said White.

White reminded all members that the community looks to them as leaders, and that their behavior should reflect that.

“Our conduct on the board as well as in our personal lives should be keep to the highest standards,” he said.

While acknowledging they could not remove Clews, board member Anne Harvey said she was concerned as the alleged assault occurred in the restoration area and Clews is chair of the committee taxed with making sure everything goes right on the land.