April 21, 2015 – Monterey Herald, By Phillip Molnar
Monterey – With a looming federal base closure round coming in 2017, Monterey wants to show government officials how important the relationship between their schools — the Naval Postgraduate School and Defense Language Institute at the Presidio — and the city are to both parties.
One of the plans to show off its value to the federal government is with the inaugural Language Capital of the World Cultural Festival on May 2-3.
“This is where DLI and (NPS) belongs,” Monterey Mayor Clyde Roberson said after a City Council meeting Tuesday. “This is just one of the many steps we are taking.”
The Monterey County Business Council trademarked “Language Capital of the World” for the entire county with the Library of Congress in October.
Both NPS and the Presidio, automatically come under Congress’ Base Realignment and Closure process. The institutions, along with other Defense Department operations, contribute $1.4 billion to the local economy each year, according to the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.
The festival is separate, and on a larger scale, from regularly held language festivals hosted by the military installations. It will begin May 2 at 10 a.m. with a color guard procession down Alvarado Street to Custom House Plaza, where events will take place for the remainder of the festival. It will have an event honoring different cultures about every 20 minutes.
Some of the showcases are Indian folk dance, Japanese singing, Chinese violin, Pakistani folk dance, Chinese dragon dance, Indian Bollywood dance, a Mexican dance group and a Chinese tea ceremony. Festivities end at 5 p.m. each day.
The budget for the Presidio of Monterey has gone up considerably since 2010, despite Monterey’s efforts to help cut costs. Its budget was $57.1 million in 2010; $63.6 million in 2011; $65.6 million in 2012; $52.4 million in 2013; and $87.3 million in 2014, according to an information request to the school by The Herald.
The number of employees, not including service members, is decreasing at DLI despite the increased budget. There were 545 civilian workers at the language school in 2010, but 432 last year.
However, the Presidio as a whole has increased non-service member workers. There were 4,279 in 2010 and 4,467 last year.
The Naval Postgraduate School denied a similar request for information.
Roberson said saving both institutions will require more than just arguing it would hurt the Monterey region economically because that is what all military towns are going to do.
“We can provide the (Department of Defense’s) mission here better than anywhere else,” he said.
Roberson said the community has become “intertwined” with the institutions, with service members, employees and families attending local churches, sending children to schools and being a part of the community.
“They really feel welcome in Monterey,” he said.
In addition to the Defense Language Institute, the county has other language businesses to justify the language capital title.
Three local companies offer interpretation and related services: Language Line Services in Monterey, Medialocate USA in Pacific Grove and Richard Schneider Enterprises in Carmel.
The Monterey City Council passed on an agenda item to review its policy toward local massage businesses until its May 19 meeting. City staff recommended continuing the item because it is still under review by legal staff.
The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.