Just when this scenic seaside village thought it had licked the sticky question of ice cream cones, novice Mayor Clint Eastwood used his new majority on the City Council to reopen debate on the propriety of dining on the street.
This time, however, gelato junkies may enjoy the sweet taste of victory.
Eastwood, presiding over his first complete City Council session since his April 7 election, ushered through a motion asking the Planning Commission to reconsider Carmel's strict policies regulating--and discouraging--take-away food shops.
The city's refusal to grant a permit for an ice cream stand last year, deciding that it would consume too much water in time of drought, focused worldwide attention on the tiny tourist town.
Eastwood campaigned in part on a platform that promised to do away with the old city hierarchy's "kill-joy mentality" in such matters. He said he fondly remembers eating ice cream on Carmel street corners as a youth and would support the licensing of new ice cream stands in the city.
"I hope to never read about the ice cream cones again," the actor-turned-mayor said with a good-natured smile after the vote.
He then placed his reading glasses back on his nose and pressed ahead with the rest of the 42 other items on the council's somewhat pedestrian agenda.
During the frequently tedious six-hour session, the rangy superstar shepherded debates about such things as public toilets, parking, stairways to the beach and an annex to the town's quaint old library.
And, although Republican Eastwood returned the Pledge of Allegiance to council meetings for the first time in many years, he joined the rest of the council in unanimously banning beachfront fireworks displays on the Fourth of July.
As expected, Eastwood's debut in his role as mayor drew a large crowd. More than 350 people showed up outside the council chambers, which has room for only 55 spectators.
"I think they (the big crowds) will diminish as time goes on," said the multimillionaire, who earns $200 a month in his new two-year job. "It's limited excitement."