I've Figured It Out
I've managed to answer my own questions, so will document here what I have learned.
The AllData diagram is wrong about removal of the driver's kickpanel. There are no screws holding the front of the kickpanel near the steering column. There are four screws (two up under, one in the side vent, and the right-hand screw attaching the brake release lever) and the front is held by two pop-in clips .
So to remove the kickpanel, you remove the four screws and give a couple of sharp downward blows on the carpeted kickpanel to release it from the pop-in clips.
And, yes, you do have to remove the kickpanel in order to remove the driver's carpet.
And, no, there is no speedometer cable or clip (as reported in a previous post regarding removal of the instrument cluster) after you remove the carpet.
I did clean up the grounds (left-hand footwell) while I was in there. Now putting it back together.