secretary of defense leon panetta was back home on the central coast this weekend. the former monterey congressman and C-I-A director was in Carmel saturday night, to help mark the start of a year-long celebration of Junipero Serra's 3-hundredth birthday. serra founded california's original missions, and used Carmel as his headquarters for many years. along with panetta, the event was attended by the Consul General of Spain, the Consul of Mexico, and Bishop Richard Garcia of Monterey Diocese. panetta, a carmel native, attended the event as a private citizen, not representing the Department of Defense.
The Carmel Mission Basilica is currently undergoing renovations to bring it in line with modern safety codes.