SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 4, 2023 MONTEREYCOUNTYWEEKLY.COM LOCAL & INDEPENDENT THE HIP-HOP ARCHIVES 6 | LITHOGRAPHY MEETS VEGETABLES 22 | INSIDE ARTIST STUDIOS 30 THE RESULTS OF OUR ANNUAL READERS’ POLL ARE HERE. monterey county® best of ’23 History Series | Part II: A scientist documenting the Salinas Valley in 1861 brings historic Monterey County to life. By David Schmalz P. 14
2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY september 28-october 4, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com september 28-october 4, 2023 • ISSUE #1835 • Established in 1988 Daniel Dreifuss (Canon R6 Mark II, f/9.0, 1/2000, ISO 320) Wave watching (and surfing) at Lovers Point. The warm, sunny weather—coupled with a big swell in the Pacific—brought lots of people outside on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: Artists designed produce marketing labels using lithography, helping Salinas Valley farms differentiate themselves in the 20th century and become the Salad Bowl of the World that we know today. The style also graces our Best Of Monterey County® Readers’ Poll guide (see the glossy guide inserted in this issue). Cover illustration: Lani Headley, Karen Loutzenheiser, Daniel Dreifuss etc. Copyright © 2023 by Milestone Communications Inc. 668 Williams Ave., Seaside, California 93955 (telephone 831-394-5656). All rights reserved. Monterey County Weekly, the Best of Monterey County and the Best of Monterey Bay are registered trademarks. No person, without prior permission from the publisher, may take more than one copy of each issue. Additional copies and back issues may be purchased for $1, plus postage. Mailed subscriptions: $120 yearly, pre-paid. The Weekly is an adjudicated newspaper of Monterey County, court decree M21137. The Weekly assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Visit our website at http://www.montereycountyweekly.com. Audited by CVC. Founder & CEO Bradley Zeve email@example.com (x103) Publisher Erik Cushman firstname.lastname@example.org (x125) Editorial editor Sara Rubin email@example.com (x120) features editor Dave Faries firstname.lastname@example.org (x110) associate editor Tajha Chappellet-Lanier email@example.com (x135) Staff Writer Celia Jiménez firstname.lastname@example.org (x145) Staff Writer Pam Marino email@example.com (x106) Staff Writer Rey Mashayekhi firstname.lastname@example.org (x102) Staff Writer Agata Pope¸da (x138) email@example.com Staff Writer David Schmalz firstname.lastname@example.org (x104) Staff photographer Daniel Dreifuss email@example.com (x140) MONTEREY COUNTY NOW PRODUCER Sloan Campi firstname.lastname@example.org (x105) contributors Marielle Argueza, Nik Blaskovich, Rob Brezsny, Ari LeVaux, Jeff Mendelsohn, Jacqueline Weixel, Paul Wilner Cartoons Rob Rogers, Tom Tomorrow Production Art Director/Production Manager Karen Loutzenheiser email@example.com (x108) Graphic Designer Kevin Jewell firstname.lastname@example.org (x114) Graphic Designer Alexis Estrada email@example.com (x114) Graphic Designer Lani Headley firstname.lastname@example.org (x114) SALES senior Sales Executive Diane Glim email@example.com (x124) Senior Sales Executive George Kassal firstname.lastname@example.org (x122) Senior Sales Executive Keith Bruecker email@example.com (x118) Classifieds business development director Keely Richter firstname.lastname@example.org (x123) Digital Director of Digital Media Kevin Smith email@example.com (x119) Distribution Distribution AT Arts Co. firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution Control Harry Neal Business/Front Office Office Manager Linda Maceira email@example.com (x101) Bookkeeping Rochelle Trawick firstname.lastname@example.org 668 Williams Ave., Seaside, CA 93955 831-394-5656, (FAX) 831-394-2909 www.montereycountyweekly.com We’d love to hear from you. Send us your tips at tipline.montereycountyweekly.com. We can tell you like the print edition of the Weekly. We bet you’ll love the daily newsletter, Monterey County NOW. Get fresh commentary, local news and sundry helpful distractions delivered to your inbox every day. There’s no charge, and if you don’t love it, you can unsubscribe any time. SIGN UP NOW Sign up today at montereycountyweekly.com/mcnow
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4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY september 28-october 4, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH On Aug. 17, the Weekly made a request under the California Public Records Act to the City of Pacific Grove asking for a log of calls between City Councilmember Luke Coletti and City Attorney Brian Pierik, from Jan. 1, 2022 through Aug. 17, 2023. Such requests by journalists for logs of calls between public officials are quite common. Despite the Weekly not asking for the topics of the calls—just when they occurred and how long the calls lasted— Pierik denied the request on Aug. 29, basing his decision on a California code regarding attorney-client and work product privileges. According to attorney David Loy of the First Amendment Coalition, the code Pierik cites “does not typically apply to the mere fact that such a communication occurred, the date and time of the communication and the identities of the participants.” Loy based his opinion on case law decided by the California Supreme Court. The Weekly made a second request on Sept. 4, citing that case law. Despite the precedent, Pierik denied the request again on Sept. 19. Good: Martin Dunes, just south of the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge, might be the most pristine dune habitat in Monterey County, and that’s at least in part because its 125 acres are managed by an exemplary steward: the Big Sur Land Trust. On Sept. 15, BSLT announced that Montage Health, which was bequeathed some of the 125 acres, had donated its share to the land trust, meaning that BSLT now owns nearly 74 percent of the total area. “We are grateful for Montage Health’s outstanding example of inspiring love of land across generations, conservation of our unique Monterey County landscapes, and access to outdoor experiences for all,” Jeannette Tuitele-Lewis, BSLT’s president and CEO, said in a statement. BSLT organizes guided hikes and volunteer stewardship days for the public to get out and experience the unique and extraordinary habitat. GREAT: When Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 104 on Sept. 13, it provided $17 million in much-needed money for dam safety projects at both the Nacimiento and San Antonio reservoirs. After the Oroville Dam spillway failure in 2017, a statewide assessment of dams and spillways was initiated, during which it was found both Nacimiento and San Antonio dams, completed in 1957 and 1967, respectively, were in need of some work. The $17 million will go toward design and permitting over the next two years for a new spillway at San Antonio, as well as the rehabilitation of Nacimiento’s plunge pool over the next four. In a statement, Ara Azhderian, general manager of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, thanked a host of state and county elected officials representing the region, calling their work on the matter a “key component of the success in securing this critical funding.” GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The amount raised toward Maui fire recovery by the Hawaiian Luau hosted on Sunday, Sept. 24 by Roy’s at Pebble Beach in the Inn at Spanish Bay. Ticket sales were already underway when disaster struck in Hawaii. The team at Roy’s and Pebble Beach Company instantly switched gears to direct funds to the recovery effort. Source: Roy’s at Pebble Beach $32,000 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “That’s football— it’s a crazy sport. You can win it quickly, you can lose it quickly.” -Monterey Bay F.C. head coach Frank Yallop after his side conceded two quick goals in the 90th and 93rd minutes against San Diego on Sept. 20, losing 3-2 (see story, mcweekly.com). ♦ 3 Card Poker ♠ Century 21st No Bust Black Jack ♣ Texas Hold’em ♥ Baccarat FULL BAR! BLACKJACK BONUS POINTS PAYS UP TO $20,000 SMALL TOWN BIG PAYOUTS! 1-800-Gambler • Gega-003846, Gega-Gega-003703, Gega-000889 Gega-000891 Gega-002838 The Marina Club Casino ensures the safety and security of all guests and team members at all times, while providing exceptional service. 204 Carmel Ave. Marina 831-384-0925 casinomonterey.com ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ Just minutes from Downtown Monterey Where Monterey Comes To Play 146 12TH STREET • PACIFIC GROVE Join three of the West Coast’s finest exponents of traditional music for a rare full-length concert: Dublin IR button accordion player Johnny B. Connolly, Carmel fiddle player John Weed, and Portland OR guitar wizard/vocalist Cary Novotny for an evening of driving jigs and reels, rhythmic old time tunes, and Americana ballads that will delight the soul. SAT, OCT 7•7PM Doors open at 6:30pm St. Mary’s Bistro will be open for libations and snacks. Tickets available at www.celticsociety.org Celtic Society membership discount recognized. $30 ADVANCE / $35 DOOR Kids prices available. Call or text 831-224-3819 for more info. www.stmarysbythesea.org We Speak German… CARS! Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen and Mini-Cooper Using current modern technology our experienced staff will diagnose, maintain and repair your German car. Certified Monterey Bay Green Business 373.5355 249 DelaVina, Monterey www.ccrepairmonterey.com
www.montereycountyweekly.com SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 4, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 OUTPATIENT INFUSION CENTER DESIGNED WITH PATIENTS IN MIND Providing comprehensive cancer care close to home is a vital part of improving the health of our community. Salinas Valley Health Outpatient Infusion Center offers a more convenient, connected experience for our patients and their families. The center is centrally located and designed to ensure that every patient experiences the utmost level of care within a soothing and nurturing atmosphere. Patients can adjust the lighting to their comfort, and they can take advantage of free wholesome snacks and beverages. Scan the QR code for all the details of the services we offer in our Outpatient Infusion Center. Outpatient Infusion Center 515 East Romie Lane Salinas For more information about our cancer care services, visit SalinasValleyHealth.com/ cancer or call Salinas Valley Health Cancer Care at 831-755-1701. Comprehensive Care in One Convenient Location: • Chemotherapy infusion • Immunotherapy • Blood transfusion • Therapeutic phlebotomy • IVIG infusion • Iron infusion • Antibiotic infusion • Injections • Lab draws • Port-a-cath care • PICC line care
6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 4, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 It was 50 years ago that hip-hop reportedly originated at a New York back-to-school party. It has spread far beyond its beginnings in the Bronx to become the most popular music genre in the United States, and among the most listened to throughout the world. Fans have seen the genre evolve from disco-influenced instrumentals with carefree rhymes to the hard-hitting reality of gangsta rap to the recent drill generation. Brian Nagata, founder of the website Rapzines, has observed the evolution of hip-hop closer than most. While many fans have fond memories of the history of hip-hop, Nagata presents physical records of those times. That’s because Nagata has a collection of over 4,000 hip-hop magazines that reveal the genre’s growth—the rise of stars and the events that defined hip-hop from the past to the present. It’s a trove critical to understanding the genre. “Even with a billion dollars, I couldn’t recreate this collection,” Nagata says. “It’s important to preserve this because now it’s bigger than just my collection.” His archive includes more than just publications. There are hundreds of cassettes in milk crates, DVDs and toy figures of giants like 2Pac. Yet it is the magazines packed in shelves along the walls that contain the most memories. Growing up in East Salinas during the mid 1980s, Nagata always had an appreciation for aspects of hip-hop culture. He has fond memories of walking with a panel of linoleum flooring to breakdance on and having friends freestyle at his house. The love for hiphop was truly sparked, however, by his older brother, who shared cassette tapes of Run-DMC’s Raising Hell and Public Enemy’s Yo! Bum Rush the Show. From that point on, Nagata became a fanatic. He bought his first magazine in 1991 at the Sam Goody music store formerly in the Northridge Mall. “I opened up a copy of The Source and didn’t realize it was entirely for hip-hop,” Nagata says. “I read every single piece—even the advertisements.” The magazines served as much of a practical purpose as they did entertainment. “This was our internet back then,” he says. “I could use the magazines as a reference because these writers had the access and knowledge you could count on.” Nagata began seeking out regional publications. He would make trips to San Francisco on the hunt for new issues and, in the age of the internet, began posting ads on Craigslist inquiring for magazines. Nagata is proud to say he has never lost any to damage or misplacement. This is largely due to a dedication to preservation. That preservation seems as urgent as ever, with major magazines like The Source and Vibe no longer in publication. “Print media is kind of dead, but we lost some of the integrity with it,” Nagata says. “We’re missing out on a deeper level of insight, images and great writing.” A major intention of Nagata’s collection is to maintain a record of hip-hop history and a form of media from a bygone era. That doesn’t mean, however, that this isn’t also deeply personal. Among his collection of iconic issues are many he has come to treasure. In 2006, Death Row Records filed for bankruptcy. The label was home to the likes of 2Pac and Snoop Dog, and was largely responsible for the gangsta rap scene that defined California in the 1990s. So when the label had a goingout-of-business sale, Nagata jumped at the opportunity to buy its collection of magazines. The only problem was that he was low on funds, so he called up his late cousin. His cousin, understanding Nagata’s passion, didn’t pry into why he suddenly needed a few thousand dollars. Nagata holds the copy of BRE magazine with a warm smile on his face. “When you’re collecting, a lot of the joy comes from the story behind the item,” he says. Nagata realizes his collection is a one-of-a-kind archive. “My last move is to preserve my collection and digitize it to keep it safe,” he explains. “Because after 50 years, the music deserves to be respected and remembered.” You can check out (and purchase) some of Brian Nagata’s collection at rapzines.com. We Be The Infamous A Salinas man’s massive collection of hip-hop magazines chronicles 50 years of the genre By Ivan Garcia Brian Nagata no longer archives important hip-hop items for his own purpose. Sixty publications from his collection are currently on display in Mass Appeal’s #HipHop50 exhibit in New York. “Now it’s bigger than just my collection.” TALES FROM THE AREA CODE DANIEL DREIFUSS “Graniterock has been a proud member of the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce for over 40 years! The social aspect of chamber membership has always been a highlight and in today's rapidly changing world the networking, support and resources afforded our company have been invaluable. I would urge any business in the area to join the chamber and as with any organization, the more involved you are, the more you will get out of it.” Join Today! at montereychamber.com “Graniterock has been a proud member of the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce for over 40 years! The social aspect of chamber membership has always been a highlight and in today's rapidly changing world the networking, support and resources afforded our company have been invaluable. I would urge any business in the area to join the chamber and as with any organization, the more involved you are, the more you will get out of it.” WHAT OUR MEMBERS ARE SAYING: — Keith Severson Graniterock, Seaside Member since 1978 montereychamber.com email@example.com 831.648.5350
www.montereycountyweekly.com SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 4, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7
8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY september 28-october 4, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com news While they have no way of knowing it, southern sea otters—a threatened species once thought to be extinct— scored a big win last week. In February 2021, Jonathan Wood, counsel for both the California Sea Urchin Commission and Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara, filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking to delist southern sea otters as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The crux of the petition’s argument was that otters are no longer in danger of extinction, in large part because of regulations put in place since they were listed in 1977 that reduced their potential mortality due to oil spill events. It also stated that “regulations resulting from the sea otter’s listing also interfere with sustainable harvest by exposing urchin divers to the threat of significant criminal and civil penalties should their activities disturb an otter.” In August 2022, USFW completed a 90-day finding suggesting that delisting otters may be warranted, which prompted an in-depth, 12-month review that relied on a wide array of scientific data about their current status and future threats. That review was published Sept. 19, and concluded that southern sea otters, which have rebounded from the brink of extinction and now number about 3,000, should remain listed as a threatened species for a host of reasons. Chief among them are climate change, which is expected to increase the otters’ exposure to harmful pathogens and algal blooms. Another key threat is shark bite mortality, which has limited the species’ ability to expand its current range to its historical range, which extended from Baja to Washington state. Threats Remain A coalition of fishermen tried to get protections for sea otters removed. They failed. By David Schmalz A long-ago dream to build Monterey Peninsula High School on 50 acres off of Highway 68 never materialized—but now the land that was purchased and set aside for the campus is being talked about as a village of teachers, nurses, doctors, scientists, technicians and other employees of the Peninsula’s largest employers, which are struggling to attract and retain workers due to the high cost of housing. The idea was broached in a discussion at the joint Monterey City Council and Planning Commission meeting on Sept. 19, as leaders took a look at possible amendments to the city’s housing element under California’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation requirements. Due to RHNA, the city must add to its housing plans the possibility of 3,654 new units between 2023 and 2031. To get to that number, planners are looking at every possibility, including infill sites, former Fort Ord land and “opportunity sites,” including locations like schools and churches. Consultant Andrew Hill of Dyett & Bhatia shared that some big employers—Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, Montage Health and Monterey Bay Aquarium—have signaled interest in collaborating on employee housing. One site Hill pointed to was the 50 acres owned by MPUSD on the south side of Highway 68, east of Monterey Regional Airport, where approximately 300 units could conceivably be constructed. Concepts don’t always work into reality, however, and MPUSD Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh is not excited about the 50-acre site in Monterey for housing. “Of all the sites in the district, that would be the hardest to develop,” he says. Currently there is no infrastructure, plus water supply could be an issue. “There are other pieces of property that the district owns that are more feasible to take the next step with,” Diffenbaugh says—but they would not help Monterey with its RHNA goal. Those sites include one near Seaside Middle School between the school and Bayonet & Black Horse, and another by the Marina Child Development Center. Matt Morgan, vice president and chief financial officer for Montage (which operates Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula), says the nonprofit has engaged in conversations with other employers but “moving into something more tangible has been a little tougher.” Montage is not currently interested in becoming a developer or co-developer with others, he says. The nonprofit did get into real estate in recent years with the purchase of 70 units in Monterey for employee rentals. The Aquarium faces similar challenges in attracting and retaining employees, a spokesperson says. Although the nonprofit is exploring solutions, “we do not have plans for employee-sponsored housing.” Diffenbaugh, who says he’s worked for five years on the housing problem, remains open to a collaboration to create housing under the right circumstances. “The thought is that each of us brings different resources to the table and if it’s possible to develop a winwin-win situation to develop housing for our employees, that’s a goal we all share and want to pursue,” he says. “At this point [MPUSD] is open to all options, all ideas and collaborations, because we’re losing over 100 teachers a year and it’s not a sustainable situation for our district.” MPUSD Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh (above) says the district has land, water and the political will to house teachers. “The challenge has been finances,” he says. Company Town The Peninsula’s biggest employers contemplate collaboration for creating employee housing. By Pam Marino Once thought to be extinct, southern sea otters, a federally threatened species, now number about 3,000. Historically, there were between 150,000-300,000. “We’re losing over 100 teachers a year.” joel Angel Juárez nic coury
www.montereycountyweekly.com SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 4, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 California American Water has been serving the Monterey Peninsula for more than 60 years. We’ve been working for many years on a solution to our water shortage crisis. Now the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) wants to waste money on an infeasible and expensive court battle. Contact MPWMD at 831-658-5600 to voice your concern. A TAKEOVER IS INFEASIBLE MPWMD’s attempts to take over California American Water’s existing operations have already cost ratepayers millions of dollars and have been proven infeasible been proven infeasible by the independent and state-mandated Local Agency Formation Commission of Monterey County. MPWMD’s own report states that there may be no cost savings for AT LEAST 30 years. MPWMD proposes issuing over $500 million in bonds, three times more than the largest bond issue in Monterey County’s history. In reality, it will cost much more. MPWMD was found to have been illegally taxing Monterey Peninsula residents last year. How much more money are they willing to waste? It’s time to focus on protecting the Carmel River and developing new water resources, not wasting more time and money. AN OCEAN OF GIFT- GIVING OPTIONS Visit the new Monterey Bay Aquarium Store at 585 Cannery Row. Members receive a 10% discount.
10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY september 28-october 4, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com During harvest season, the industrial area around Abbott Street and Harkins Road in South Salinas buzzes with dozens of trucks transporting fresh produce. Abbott Street is an important artery in Salinas, connecting travelers between the Peninsula and Highway 101. It’s also a major route for shipping and distributing fresh produce. And the road shows its use—it is worn and rutted with potholes. Norm Groot, executive director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau, and Christopher Valadez, president of the Grower-Shipper Association, have contacted the City Council asking them to prioritize Abbott Street for repairs. “We urge that Abbott Street (from Blanco Road/Sanborn intersection south to Harris Road) be considered a high priority for roadway enhancement funding,” Groot wrote in a letter. He has sent eight such letters. Mark Kennedy, co-owner of Green Rubber-Kennedy Ag, has run two businesses—one on Hartman Drive near Abbott Street—for over 25 years and says he’s never seen the street in this state of disrepair. “It’s to the point that I actually tell my guys to take another route because it’s so hard on our trucks to drive down Abbott,” he says. Groot and Kennedy say road conditions not only affect business owners, but also thousands of workers and visitors who commute on Abbott. In its budget, the City of Salinas allocated $7.8 million for street repairs for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. That amount will be divided equally among the city’s six political districts, each represented by a different city council member. Each district will receive $1.3 million for road repairs, which is insufficient for long-term road projects. This money is just a fraction of the estimated $1.3 billion the city needs to repair its roads—full repairs to Abbott alone are estimated at $8 million. Many streets are covered with potholes and lines have faded. In the past five years, road conditions have worsened, according to a Public Works report. There are multiple reasons cited, including lack of funding, a staff shortage and the winter storms of 2022-23. These factors “have caused many of the City’s roadways to require costly and extensive reconstruction,” a the report reads. On Sept. 12, the city council approved a prioritization road plan and Abbott Street is number one on the list for repairs in District 3. The street is also a candidate for a full pavement restoration project in Salinas’ Pavement Management Plan. The recent discovery of “jail-made weapons” at Monterey County Jail prompted jail officials to briefly require that inmates be belly-chained during attorney visitations—a policy that prompted a backlash from some defense lawyers. On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office officials informed attorneys that they had found knife-like weapons made from pieces of metal removed from the ceilings at the jail’s attorney visitation rooms. That led to an emergency policy requiring that incarcerated people be belly-chained when meeting with their lawyers in those rooms. Less than 24 hours later, jail officials informed attorneys that they were able to reposition the cuffing eyelets and had tweaked procedures to ensure incarcerated people are not left unattended—meaning that they would no longer have to be belly-chained during attorney visits. But the move still sparked an outcry from local defense attorneys like Salinas-based William Pernik, who wrote to jail leadership on Wednesday, Sept. 13, urging them to “suspend implementation of this policy” and citing the “state and federal constitutional rights” of the jail’s incarcerated people. MCSO Chief Deputy Garrett Sanders, who leads the department’s corrections bureau, says that the policy was meant “to give us time to address the issue” of inmates fashioning weapons out of building materials. Sanders says he consulted with Monterey County Public Defender Sue Chapman on the move, which was made before jail officials knew how quickly they would be able to reposition the eyelets to prevent handcuffed people from accessing the ceiling. Chapman confirms those discussions, saying she worked with Sanders “on a less restrictive policy to be implemented as soon as possible.” “When time is not on your side, you make an emergency policy to make sure nobody gets hurt,” Sanders says. He adds that the jail’s incarcerated people are again able to be uncuffed at their attorney’s request during visits. Deep Hole With limited funds for roads, a major ag corridor finally gets on Salinas’ priority list. By Celia Jiménez news Save a Life Pacific Grove Unified School District hosts a Narcan distribution (Narcan is the commercial name for naloxone, which reverses an opioid overdose). These monthly distribution events are an opportunity for students to have access to this potentially life-saving drug in the event of an emergency. 3:30-4:30pm Friday, Sept. 29 at all PGUSD school sites. Free; available to the PGUSD community. 646-6553, pgusd.org. Clean Air The City of Soledad and Ecology Action host a healthy, environmentally friendly fair. The fair provides nutritional information, snacks, arts and crafts, music, bike helmet fitting assistance and more. 10am-1pm Saturday, Sept. 30. Orchard Lane Park, 1505 Metz Road, Soledad. Free. 223-5000, cityofsoledad.com. Future of the Alisal If you want to participate in developing a new face for the Alisal neighborhood, the City of Salinas is hosting the Alisal Design Workshop, where residents can provide ideas for implementing the Alisal Vibrancy Plan—including art for public spaces, how to highlight the community’s identity and more. The event includes free food, raffles and interactive activities to gather community input on this topic. 11:30am-2:30pm Saturday, Sept. 30. Firehouse Recreation Center, 1330 E. Alisal St., Salinas. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/ADWrsvp; for more information, call 758-7381 or visit cityofsalinas.org. Better Transit The city of King City wants to hear from you about upcoming upgrades on Division Street. The project will include bike lanes and crosswalks designed to increase safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Friday, Sept. 29 is the last day to submit a survey. For English, visit surveymonkey.com/r/HPRGJMM. For Spanish, visit es.surveymonkey.com/r/ NVXYYS2. Free. For more information, call 385-3281. Good Citizen If you want to serve in local government, the City of Monterey is now accepting applications for various boards and commissions, including the Planning Commission and Board of Library Trustees. Priority review for applications received by noon on Monday, Oct. 2. For more information about eligibility and what is required, visit the City Clerk’s Office at 580 Pacific St., Monterey, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 646-3935 or go to monterey.org. Chained Up Jail-made weapons prompt revised attorney visitation rules at Monterey County Jail. By Rey Mashayekhi Norm Groot from the Monterey County Farm Bureau shows an example of damage on Abbott Street. Conditions cause slow downs for travelers as well as ag truck drivers. e-mail: email@example.com TOOLBOX “I tell my guys to take another route.” Daniel Dreifuss
www.montereycountyweekly.com SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 4, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 Federally Insured by NCUA | Equal Housing Lender 831.479.6000 • www.bayfed.com • 888.4BAYFED * APY is effective as of September 1, 2023. $1,000 minimum deposit required to open and maintain Certificate account. APY assumes the dividends are reinvested and remain in the account for the full term. Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Certificates are eligible for this offer. Penalty for early withdrawal. Bay Federal Credit Union membership required. This offer is subject to change without notice. Other terms and conditions may apply. For more information, visit any Bay Federal Credit Union branch or contact us. 3.05% APY* 3-month Certificate 3.56% APY* 6-month Certificate 4.08% APY* 12-month Certificate Elevate Your Earnings Terms Up to 5 Years Available PROGRAMS FOR ALL AGES THE CITY OF MONTEREY FOR MORE INFO + REGISTRATION MONTEREY.ORG/REC (831) 646-3866 SCAN ME! play! MONTEREY PRESCHOOL ADULT & SENIOR PROGRAMS ADULT ULTIMATE FRISBEE GYMNASTICS YOUTH DANCE CLASSES SCHOOL BREAK CAMPS YOUTH FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE AND MUCH MORE!
12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY september 28-october 4, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com The loud, continuous sound of horns disrupted the daily routine on Main Street in downtown Salinas on Sunday, Sept. 24, as a caravan of about a dozen cars carrying colorful anti-Ron DeSantis signs stopped outside Taylor Farms’ headquarters. They were there to protest the Republican presidential candidate’s visit to the Salad Bowl of the World on Thursday, Sept. 28. Several local agricultural leaders—including Linda and Bruce Taylor (Taylor Farms); Sandy and John D’Arrigo (D’Arrigo Bros.); Shelly and Steve Barnard (Mission Produce); Susan and David Gill (Rio Farms); Steve Church (Church Brothers); and Pam and Bardin Bengard (Bengard Ranch)—are listed among the event hosts. The fundraiser caused shock and anger within the community. Jessica Almanza, 19, a Salinas resident and Cabrillo College student, says she thought it was fake news at first. “I thought there was no way these huge companies whose workforce is all made up of migrants and Hispanics are representing this man, and what this man stands for,” Almanza says. “We don’t know what Big Ag thinks about us, about our community. If they’re thinking about bringing someone like him here, that raises even more concerns,” says Luis Xago Juarez, one the organizers of the protest. As governor of Florida, DeSantis has signed several controversial bills, including a tough anti-immigration law that makes it harder for undocumented workers to live and work in the state, and which increases penalties for employers who hire them. The governor also signed bills restricting reproductive rights, transgender health care, and discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools. DeSantis also backed controversial school guidelines teaching that enslaved people learned skills that brought them “personal benefit.” For several people who participated in Sunday’s protest, including Jose Larios, a Hartnell student, the protest was personal. “It’s like a spit in the face to us, because these are our parents,” Larios says, highlighting the conditions farmworkers work in—through rain, heat, wildfires and the pandemic. “They deserve more than this.” Sam Gomez, a queer, nonbinary Latina, drove from Soledad to participate in the march. “He’s not welcome in the city that stands for inclusivity and acceptance and welcoming,” Gomez says. “He has shown time and time again that he does not believe we have the right to exist.” The protest started at the Salinas Amtrak station, stopped on Main Street, then turned down East Alisal Street, ending about a mile-and-a-half later at Foods Co. where about 25 people, including Salinas City Councilmember Orlando Osornio, rallied at the corner. The group was scheduled to do the same route again on Sept. 27, after the Weekly’s deadline. And on Sept. 26, Salinas City Council was set to consider a resolution denouncing DeSantis’ visit. The brunch with DeSantis takes place Thursday, Sept. 28. The cost to attend is $3,300 per person or $5,000 per couple, as a campaign donation. Voices Rising Residents protest Ron DeSantis’ fundraiser visit and call out agricultural leaders. By Celia Jiménez Protesters held signs with messages like “We feed you, DeSantis” and “Immigrant Lives Matter.” Participating groups included Padres Unidos, the UFW and Building Healthy Communities. NEWS “He does not believe we have the right to exist.” CELIA JIMÉNEZ Apply at www.centcoastfcu.com, visit your local branch, or call us at (831) 393-3480 Big Become A Member Today and Access Your Home Equity NMLS# 786119 Become A Member Today And Access Your Home Equity A home equity line of credit (HELOC) can be an easy, affordable way to nance home improvement projects, so go ahead, Dream Big! Seaside: 4242 Gigling Rd. Salinas: 1141 S. Main St. Soledad: 315 Gabilan Dr. King City: 510 Canal St. DreamBig Ready to unlock the hidden value in your home? *Terms and conditions apply. Apply at www.centcoastfcu.com, visit your local branch, or call us at (831) 393-3480 A SPA AND WELLNESS LOCAL GETAWAY Offering Facials, Body Massages, Body Wraps, Body Scrubs, Eyebrow Tint, Eyebrow Lamination, Lash Lift, Lash Tint, Waxing, Couples Massage and Slimming Body Treatments. OFFERING 15% OFF WITH FIRST SERVICE. 700 MUNRAS AVE CASA MUNRAS GARDEN HOTEL & SPA 831.372.1829 DESUAR.COM/MONTEREY
www.montereycountyweekly.com september 28-october 4, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 Over three days in September, the Salinas Sports Complex was transformed into an expansive expo floor displaying autonomous tractors, AI-powered weeders and unmanned spray drones. Dozens of exhibitors set up booths along the dirt-covered rodeo floor, as thousands of attendees perused the stands, shaking hands and hearing sales pitches. The occasion was FIRA USA 2023, an agricultural technology conference organized by the Western Growers Association, University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources research arm, and the Global Organization For Agricultural Robotics (GOFAR). An American offshoot of GOFAR’s annual World FIRA event in France, FIRA USA launched last year in Fresno but this year made its way to Salinas—where local organizers and industry stakeholders believe the region’s powerhouse ag sector, coupled with its proximity to Silicon Valley and a budding ag tech workforce, makes the area primed to become a hub for agricultural technology. “The shift to intelligent automation, on top of mechanization, is taking place—and Salinas has been in the middle of it for some time,” says Dennis Donohue, the former Salinas mayor who’s now director of Western Growers’ Center for Innovation & Technology. Exhibitors from 11 countries, as well as 1,700-plus attendees from more than 30 countries, showed up to FIRA USA—including global companies that are establishing a permanent presence in the Salinas Valley to better serve customers, like Francebased farming robot manufacturer Naïo Technologies. Those companies are not only drawn by the opportunity to serve the Salinas Valley’s year-round fields of leafy greens, berries and other crops. Regional educational institutions have also invested heavily in recent years to develop ag tech programs, training a workforce skilled in both traditional ag and tech realms like engineering, computer science and mechatronics. Hartnell College is among those institutions, parlaying millions of dollars in grants and donations from local giants like Taylor Farms and Rio Farms to train the next generation of ag tech workers. Clint Cowden, Hartnell’s dean of career technical education and workforce development, says around 100 of his students attended FIRA USA—including one who “walked away with 15 different business cards of companies that are looking for our style of students.” “Our students come with agriculture in their DNA—their families are working in it, they’re working in it, and they’re excited to be a part of this new economy,” Cowden says. He notes that Hartnell’s ag tech programs offer companies a pool of trained employees who “speak English and Spanish, understand Python [programming] and soil texture by feel.” While next year’s FIRA USA conference will be held in Davis, Donahue says Salinas is already set to host the event again in 2025. The expo’s continued presence should further his goal of “connecting the Salinas Valley with Silicon Valley,” he adds. Farming the Future An ag tech conference sets the stage for Salinas as a hub for farming’s tech-enabled future. By Rey Mashayekhi Salinas-based Stout Industrial Technology’s Smart Cultivator, which uses machine vision and AI to cultivate and weed farm fields, was among the technology on display at FIRA USA 2023. NEWS “They’re excited to be a part of this new economy.” RICHARD GREEN PHOTOGRAPHY MONTEREY PENINSULA MANAGEMENT DISTRICT MPWMD.NET Take control of Smart flow meters can monitor both indoor and outdoor water use. They measure water down to a fraction of a gallon and can send notifications to you through a web portal or mobile app that tracks usage and alerts you to leaks or plumbing malfunctions. Most smart flow meters can be installed with no modification to existing plumbing. Some strap to your existing water meter. Inline flow meters require minor plumbing and are a good choice for those who travel or have a second home. Smart flow meters can be purchased online or from your local hardware store. To receive a Smart Flow Meter Rebate, purchase a qualifying device and submit the receipt and rebate application to MPWMD, P.O. Box 85, Monterey CA, 93940 or email the documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. See montereywaterinfo.org for details and application form. Learn more about the following brands: Bluebot: bluebot.com Flume: flumewater.com Phyn: phyn.com Flo by Moen: moen.com/flo Alert Labs: alertlabs.com Get a $200 Rebate* your water use. *Rebate up to $200 or actual cost if less. Available to water users within the MPWMD.
14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY september 28-october 4, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Scientist William H. Brewer was the first person Josiah D. Whitney hired to join him in carrying out the first-ever California Geological Survey, which lasted four years and traversed nearly every region of the state. Brewer led the field parties during the spring through fall months, and spent his winters in San Francisco writing up notes of his scientific observations. Up and Down Monterey County, 1861 | Part II - The Salinas Valley illiam H. Brewer, from late 1860 to 1864, served as the botanist of the California Geological Survey led by Josiah D. Whitney, and over the course of those years, their party traversed regions all across the state, focusing on places that might be of scientific—and perhaps economic— interest. Brewer’s time in Monterey County was exclusively in 1861, and for the most part, he was leading the party during that time—Whitney was often up in San Francisco, working out business arrangements and studying scientific specimens. During his expedition, Brewer wrote regular letters to his brother back east whenever the group made camp, describing the environs and the people he encountered in the days prior. They provide a timeless, contemporaneous account of the county as it was at the time, and what makes them even better is that Brewer was a fine writer with a keen, observant eye. The expedition’s journey into Monterey County began at its southern border, and in April, the Weekly published Brewer’s first two letters describing his journey in the county. The first was written at a camp the crew made on the upper Nacimiento River, the second from a camp on the San Antonio River near Jolon. The Weekly will be publishing, in installments, all of Brewer’s letters written during his time in Monterey County, and what follows is just one of those letters, which was written at Guadalupe Ranch, just southwest of what is now Chualar. It recounts Brewer and his team’s trek up the Salinas Valley, battling its relentless, afternoon winds. And even though it was May at the time, the valley was exceedingly dry, but as Brewer may not have known, California was in its last year of a 20-year drought. Months later, in December, the skies finally opened up, dropping so much rain through January it became known as the Great Flood of 1862, turning nearly the entire Central Valley into a lake and inundating the Central Coast too, not to mention parts of inland states as far east as Idaho and Utah. It remains the largest flood in American history. -David Schmalz Camp 31, Guadalupe Ranch. May 12, 1861 We left San Antonio Thursday morning May 9, and followed up the valley a few miles, then crossed a high steep ridge over 1,000 feet high, which separates the San Antonio from the Salinas, and then descended and struck down the great Salinas plain. Dry as had been the region for the last 60 or 70 miles, it was nothing to this plain. The Salinas Valley for a hundred or more miles from the sea, up to the San Antonio hills, is a great plain 10 to 30 miles wide. Great stretches are almost perfectly level, or have a very slight slope from the mountains to the river which winds through it. The ground was dry and parched and the very scanty grass was entirely dry. One saw no signs of vegetation at the first glance—that is, no green thing on the plain—so a belt of timber by the stream, from 20 to a hundred rods wide, stood out as a band of the liveliest green in this waste. The mouth of this valley opens into Monterey Bay, like a funnel, and the northwest wind from the Pacific draws up through this heated flue with terrible force. Wherever we have found a valley opening to the northwest, we have found these winds, fierce in the afternoon. For over 50 miles we must face it on this plain. Sometimes it would nearly sweep us from our mules—it seemed as if nothing could stand its force. The air was filled with dry dust and sand, so that we could not see the hills at the sides, the fine sand stinging our faces like shot, the air as dry as if it had come from a furnace, but not so very hot—it is wonderfully parching. The poor feed and this parching wind reduced our mules in a few days as much as two weeks’ hard work would. Our lips cracked and bled, our eyes were bloodshot, and skins smarting. We stopped for lunch at a point where the mules could descend to the river. A high terrace, or bluff, skirts the present river—that is, the plain lies from 75 to 150 feet above the present river. The mules picked some scanty herbage at the base of the bluff; we took our lunch in the hot sun and piercing wind, then drove on. We pulled off from the road a mile or so at night, and stopped beneath a bluff near the river. We had slept in the open air the previous night and did so again. It turns very cold during the clear nights, yet so dry was it that no dew fell those two nights, cold as it was! The mules found some picking where you would think that a sheep or a goat would starve. Friday we pushed on all day, facing the wind. We met a train of seven wagons, with tents and beds—a party of 25 or 30 persons from San Jose going to the hot springs, some on horseback. Two-thirds were ladies. A curious way for a “fashionable trip to the springs,” you say, but the style here. They will camp there, and have a grand time, I will warrant. [Note: Brewer appears to be describing what is now known as The contemporaneous letters of scientist William H. Brewer illuminate the rugged and relatively unpopulated Salinas Valley of the 19th century. By William H. Brewer Edited by David Schmalz We could see a house by the river every 15 to 18 miles, and saw frequent herds of cattle.
www.montereycountyweekly.com september 28-october 4, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 15 Paraiso Hot Springs west of Soledad.] We kept [to] the left bank of the river, through the Mission Soledad. Before reaching it we crossed the sandy bed of a dry creek, where the sand drifted like snow and piled up behind and among the bushes like snow banks. The Mission Soledad is a sorry looking place, all ruins—a single house, or at most two, are inhabited. We saw the sign up, “Soledad Store,” and went in, got some crackers at 25 cents a pound, and went on. Quite extensive ruins surround the place, empty buildings, roofless walls of adobe and piles of clay, once adobe walls. It looked very desolate. I do not know where they got their water in former times, but it is dry enough now. We came on 17 miles farther. Here we find tolerable feed and a spring of poor water, so here is a ranch. Sorry as has been this picture, it is not overdrawn, yet all this land is occupied as “ranches” under Spanish grants. Cattle are watered at the river and feed on the plains, and scanty as is the feed, thousands are kept on this space, which must be at least 4,000 to 6,000 square miles, counting way back to the Santa Lucia Mountains. The ranches do not cover all this, but cover the water, which is the same thing. We could see a house by the river every 15 to 18 miles, and saw frequent herds of cattle. The season is unusually dry, and the plain seems much poorer than it really is. In the spring, two months ago, it was all green, and must have been of exceeding beauty. With water this would be finer than the Rhine Valley itself; as it is, it is half-desert. As to the actual capability of the plain, with water, the Pacific Railroad Reports state that “At Mr. Hill’s farm near the town of Salinas, 16 miles east of Monterey, 60 bushels of wheat have been raised off the acre, and occasionally 85 bushels. Barley, 100 bushels, running up to 149 bushels, and vegetables in proportion” (VII, Pt. II, 39). We passed through a flock of sheep, the largest I have ever seen, even in this country of big flocks. It was attended by shepherds, and must have contained not less than 6,000 sheep, judging from the flocks of 2,000 and 1,500 we have seen often before. Some of our party thought there must have been 8,000. Sheep are generally kept in flocks of not over 1,800 head. High mountains rise on the opposite side, in the northeast, and still nearer us on the left. These latter were very rugged— from 3,000 to 4,500 feet high, black, or very dark green, with chaparral—yet not abounding in streams as one would imagine, although now only early in May. The Nacimiento and San Antonio rivers are the only tributaries of the Santa Margarita and Salinas valleys on the west side, this side of Atascadero Ranch—that is, only these two streams for a distance of 120 miles. And, from leaving the San Antonio, 61 miles back, we have not crossed a single brook or seen a single spring until reaching this ranch, where there is a spring. Yesterday I climbed the ridge southwest of camp. I ascended about 3,000 or 3,500 feet, a hard climb, and had a good view of over a hundred miles of the Salinas Valley from the Bay of Monterey to above where we last struck it, or over the extreme limits of about 130 to 150 miles, with the successive ridges beyond. Four-thousand to 7,000 square miles must have been spread out before me. I have never been in a land before with so many extensive views— Monterey County Historical Society/Pat Hathaway Collection With water this would be finer than the Rhine Valley itself. I have never been in a land before with so many extensive views. The Soledad Mission, seen here circa 1890, was in complete disrepair by that time, and for good reason: California’s mission system, established by Spain starting in 1776, was never self-sustaining—the missions required continual subsidies from the Spanish crown for upkeep and sustenance, not to mention what was essentially slave labor from ostensibly “converted” indigenous peoples who—once “converted”—became prisoners not allowed to leave, even if they wanted. When Spain ceded Alta California to Mexico in 1821, the mission’s physical structures began a slow, steady decline.
16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 4, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com the wide valley, brown and dry, the green belt of timber winding through it, like a green ribbon, the mountains beyond, dried and gray at the base, and deep green with chaparral on their sides and summits, with ridge after ridge stretching away beyond in the blue distance. Then to the north, a landscape I had not seen before, with the whole Bay of Monterey in the northwest. To the west and south of me was the very rugged and forbidding chain of mountains that extends from Monterey along the coast to San Luis Obispo and there trends more easterly—the Sierra Santa Lucia. I have found much of intense geological interest during the last two weeks. I had intended to spend at least two weeks more in this valley had we found water or feed as we expected. Not finding it, and having four weeks on our hands before the rendezvous with Professor Whitney at San Juan, I decided to push on to Monterey, which I had not intended to visit. We are now within eight or 10 leagues of there— will be there in a few days. I feel now that we are indeed working north and I long to be in San Francisco again. It is now over five months since I have attended church (Protestant) and have only had that privilege three times since I left New York. Sunday Evening. Today has been a windier day on the plain than any other day we were on it. I am glad enough we are sheltered here in camp. Clouds of gray dust, rising to the height of 5,000 or 6,000 feet have shut out the view in the north all the afternoon, and even the hills opposite could not be seen at times, and all day they have been obscurely seen through this veil. If it is thus in May, what must it be here in July or August, as no rain will fall for at least four months yet! It was interesting yesterday, while on the peaks above, to watch the great current of air up the valley, increasing with the day until at last the valley seemed filled with gray smoke. While speaking of the plain, I forgot to mention the mirage that we had. The sun on the hot waste produced precisely the effect of water in the distance; we would see a clear lake ahead, in which would be reflected the objects on the plain. This was most marked on the dry sands near Soledad—we could see the trees at the Mission mirrored in the clear surface—but it kept retreating as we advanced. The illusion was perfect. At times the atmospheric aberration would only cause objects to be distorted—wagons and cattle would appear much higher than they really were, as if seen through poor glass. I had intended to spend at least two weeks more in this valley had we found water or feed as we expected. The Weekly will continue to publish Brewer’s letters from Monterey County. The next installment of Brewer’s letters will take us into Monterey, circa 1861, and then on to Pebble Beach—at the time, called Pescadero Ranch—where Brewer marvels at the marine life he sees in the tidal zone. One piece of that section that haunts the reader, and reflects the cyclical nature of history, is when Brewer gets his hands on a newspaper from New York, which had arrived to Monterey from New York in just 11 days via the Pony Express: “I cannot write how heavily the national troubles bear upon my mind, they are in my mind by night and by day,” he writes. “God grant that we may yet save the United States.” See mcweekly.com/letters1861 or scan the QR code below for the whole package of historical writings, including earlier letters by Brewer as well as an essay by Robert Louis Stevenson. PRESENTED BY