october 26-november 1, 2023 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT no bones about it 6 | hidden history on screen 32 | pumpkin spice…at the bar 38 20 Altar How-To 22 Spooky stories 36 Sweet treats Día de los Muertos and Halloween traditions break down the barrier to the spirit world. p. 20 Forget Me Not Spooky Season
2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY october 26-november 1, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com october 26-november 1, 2023 • ISSUE #1838 • Established in 1988 Anne Muraski (iPhone 14 pro) Hikers and photographers gather to watch a dramatic sunset on Saturday, Oct. 21 on the Bird Island Trail in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to email@example.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: An ofrenda is a classic component of Día de los Muertos celebrations not just in Mexico, but also in Monterey County. Marigolds, colorful paper, candles and treats are set on an altar and offered to the souls of the dead. Cover photo: Shutterstock 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 firstname.lastname@example.org (x103) Publisher Erik Cushman email@example.com (x125) Editorial editor Sara Rubin firstname.lastname@example.org (x120) features editor Dave Faries email@example.com (x110) associate editor Tajha Chappellet-Lanier firstname.lastname@example.org (x135) Staff Writer Celia Jiménez email@example.com (x145) Staff Writer Pam Marino firstname.lastname@example.org (x106) Staff Writer Rey Mashayekhi email@example.com (x102) Staff Writer Agata Pope¸da (x138) firstname.lastname@example.org Staff Writer David Schmalz email@example.com (x104) Staff photographer Daniel Dreifuss firstname.lastname@example.org (x140) MONTEREY COUNTY NOW PRODUCER Sloan Campi email@example.com (x105) contributors Nik Blaskovich, Rob Brezsny, Nic Coury, Tonia Eaton, Jeff Mendelsohn, Jacqueline Weixel, Paul Wilner Cartoons Rob Rogers, Tom Tomorrow Production Art Director/Production Manager Karen Loutzenheiser firstname.lastname@example.org (x108) Graphic Designer Kevin Jewell email@example.com (x114) Graphic Designer Alexis Estrada firstname.lastname@example.org (x114) Graphic Designer Lani Headley email@example.com (x114) SALES senior Sales Executive Diane Glim firstname.lastname@example.org (x124) Senior Sales Executive George Kassal email@example.com (x122) Senior Sales Executive Keith Bruecker firstname.lastname@example.org (x118) Classifieds business development director Keely Richter email@example.com (x123) Digital Director of Digital Media Kevin Smith firstname.lastname@example.org (x119) Distribution Distribution AT Arts Co. email@example.com Distribution Control Harry Neal Business/Front Office Office Manager Linda Maceira firstname.lastname@example.org (x101) Bookkeeping Rochelle Trawick email@example.com 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 october 26-November 1, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH Monterey County Superior Court is, in general, open to the public and the press. Media coverage that goes beyond the use of a pen and notepad requires a court order signed by a judge, granting permission to use tools like cameras in the courtroom. The Weekly, among other local outlets, received an order signed by Judge Rafael Vazquez for coverage of the murder trial of Gustavo Morales who, on Oct. 24, was convicted for murdering Salinas police officer JD Alvarado in 2022. But after day one of the trial, bailiffs delivered verbal orders to the media saying the judge’s order no longer applied—there would be no photography or videorecording. (Bailiffs first directed members of the press to leave the courtroom entirely and instead view a video stream of the trial, until the Weekly pushed back and the press was allowed back in to observe and take notes.) TV stations KSBW and KION requested permission to film the verdict read-out—but were denied. “People have the right to know what’s going on in that courtroom,” says Scott Rates, KION’s news director. Good: Another week, another grant for researchers at CSU Monterey Bay. This time, the university has received $5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Partnerships for ClimateSmart Commodities program. The fiveyear grant will help Arlene Haffa, a professor in CSUMB’s biology and chemistry department, and a team of researchers who will be measuring off-gassing in local agricultural fields, to help improve the way USDA estimates the climate impacts of specialty crops—like leafy greens, berries and broccoli—that are grown in the region. The work will also see a group of bilingual staffers provide small, underserved growers in the area with assistance in implementing more effective farming practices, with the promise of financial incentives if those growers adopt them. CSUMB’s project is one of 141 being funded through the $3.1 billion federal program. GREAT: Congratulations to Stephanie Nocita-Apperson, a paramedic with American Medical Response in Monterey County. She’s set to be recognized Nov. 5 at the American Ambulance Association’s Stars of Life Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., as one of 32 global medical response “stars of life,” one of the highest honors for emergency medical services personnel. Nocita-Apperson was nominated for life-saving action in two medical crises. In one case she rescued a woman who collapsed in Carmel Plaza and needed CPR. The other was a response to a 7-day-old baby experiencing cardiac arrest; he is now a healthy 2-year-old. These “field saves” both resulted in full recovery for the patient. “In this business we all put ourselves out there and hope for the best,” Nocita-Apperson says. “It’s amazing when things work out for the best.” GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The amount of an American Rescue Act capital grant awarded to the County of Monterey to expand health care infrastructure that will be used to purchase a mobile medical unit to serve both as a medical and dental clinic, the first of its kind for the county’s clinics. Source: Supervisor Wendy Root Askew October newsletter $1,017,066 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “I am asking myself, ‘What would Jesus do?’” -County Supervisor Mary Adams, who joined a 3-2 vote on Oct. 17 against a resolution in solidarity with Israel. Instead, the supervisors asked for revisions to reflect a desire for peace for Palestinians as well. A revised resolution again failed on Oct. 24, with a 3-2 vote to take no action (see stories, mcweekly.com). Monterey County Weekly’s 101 WORD STORY CONTEST First Prize is $101 2nd and 3rd place winners receive gift certificates! We’ll publish the winners in our December 21, 2023 issue Upload stories at: www.mcweekly.com/101words or by mail: Monterey County Weekly 101-Word Short Story Contest 668 Williams Ave., Seaside CA 93955 THURSDAY, NOV. 30 BY 5PM Write your name, address and phone number on each page you submit. Monterey County Weekly assumes no responsibility for returning submissions. Follow along and comment on stories at www.montereycountyweekly.com. 1. Stories may contain fewer than 101 words. 2. If a hyphenated word can be broken into two (or more) free-standing words it will be counted as two (or more) words. 3. Abbreviations are counted as one word. (“CA” or “California,” it’s still one word.) 4. Contractions are counted as one word. (“Isn’t” is one word; “is not” is two.) 5. Titles are not counted and are not necessary. 6. We reserve the right to re-title stories. 7. Poems are not acceptable. 8. Limit 3 entries per person. 9. If you mail in your entry, it must be submitted on 8.5 x 11 inch paper. PRINT | WEB | MOBILE DECEMBER 22-28, 2022 MONTEREYCOUNTYWEEKLY.COM LOCAL & INDEPENDENT HOUSING AGENCY BREAKUP 10 | BRIDGING THE GAP 14 | FATHER CHRISTMAS 34 | COOKIE RECIPES 40
www.montereycountyweekly.com OCTOBER 26-NOVEMBER 1, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 Saturday, November 4 | 2-4 p.m. COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE Event Sponsors: FREE 600 E. Franklin St. Monterey featuring family-friendly tours, refreshments, live music, artmaking & more & RIBBON CUTTING A Program of: chservices.org | 831.658.3811 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
6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY OCTOBER 26-NOVEMBER 1, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 If one is to believe the words of two men, each knighted by a pope, then this is true: Beneath the Carmel Mission, below the state’s first library, lies the skeleton of what might be a murder victim. It’s impossible to know whether the bones lie at the scene of a crime, as they’re not in a coffin, or a crypt— they’re lodged in what is believed to be the mission’s original wine cellar. And all evidence—though there’s not much of it, at least not yet—suggests that the bones are not remains of a Spaniard, Mexican or Native American. Rather, they’re most likely the remains of an American soldier. In 1931, when Harry Downie, a master cabinet maker, began what would become a lifelong effort to restore the ruined Carmel Mission to its former glory, one of the first orders of business was to dig down to the mission’s foundation. While excavating an area adjacent to the mission’s cenotaph, he and his crew unearthed a sandstone stairwell, and kept digging until they reached the base. There, Downie would later recall, was the skeleton, with a musket ball lodged in its spine. Around it were American-period artifacts and an American military saber of the type used during the Mexican-American War. (It’s currently displayed in the mission’s museum, without any accompanying identification.) But there was neither the money nor manpower at the time to uncover and stabilize the stone-vaulted chamber, which Downie was convinced was a wine cellar. So he decided to rebury what had been uncovered until a restoration could be done sometime in the future. For decades, the existence of the cellar remained mostly forgotten, but not by Downie. Enter Richard Menn, who began working with Downie at the mission in the late 1960s, when he was a young craftsman. Menn, who like Downie would later be knighted for his work on the mission (and other missions), did much of the restoration work over the last decade-plus of Downie’s life. He was his right-hand man, and eventually, his confidante—Downie told the story of the wine cellar discovery to Menn, and the only evidence he could provide, other than his word, was the saber. After Downie died in 1980, Menn would become the curator of California’s missions. In 2002, wanting to finish a job that Downie could not, he approached Ruben Mendoza, an archaeologist and founding faculty member at the fledgling CSU Monterey Bay. Menn presented him with a mission: rediscover the location of the wine cellar so that it could be recovered and restored. Mendoza, whose pickup truck wears a bumper sticker that reads “I Dig Missions,” accepted. The archaeologist and his students began work in January 2003, which they carried out for about two years. They uncovered artifacts that help fill in the mission’s history, but they didn’t find the chamber. On a recent Friday in Salinas at the Monterey County Historical Society— where Mendoza, now retired, volunteers every week—he recalls that dig some 20 years ago, and says he essentially guessed wrong about where the stairwell would be in relation to the library. “I dug on the south side,” he says. “The entry is on the north side of that room block.” Mendoza’s confidence in that is bolstered by the fact that, about a decade ago, a Carmel-area electrician approached him and recounted a story his dad told him about the wine cellar. He showed Mendoza the area where the stairwell’s entrance was—it lined up with Menn’s approximation, based on what Downie had told him. Mendoza hasn’t worked at Carmel Mission since 2005, but he’s confident the cellar exists. Based on his research, he believes the skeleton is the remains of a soldier under the command of Col. John C. Frémont. The whole story is detailed in a soon-to-be-published academic article Mendoza authored for Boletín, an endof-the-year print journal produced by the California Missions Foundation. While it’s fascinating to hypothesize about the various scenarios that led to a possible murder, it’s far more intriguing to consider the existence of the cellar itself—an archaeological treasure, still waiting to be rediscovered. Chilled Bones Is there a buried wine cellar under the Carmel Mission? And is a skeleton entombed within it? By David Schmalz Harry Downie, left, seen here at the Carmel Mission in the 1930s, near the beginning of his five-decade effort to restore the historic site. There was the skeleton and a military saber. TALES FROM THE AREA CODE MONTEREY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY/PAT HATHAWAY COLLECTION Spooky Season “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 “I have been a member of the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce since 2014, and highly recommend joining this peninsula-wide Chamber to other businesses. The Chamber provides great networking and marketing opportunities, which is very helpful, especially for new business owners.” WHAT OUR MEMBERS ARE SAYING: — Jacquie Atchison Arts Council for Monterey County montereychamber.com firstname.lastname@example.org 831.648.5350
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8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY october 26-november 1, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com news On the Monterey Peninsula, the lack of available water is often highlighted by public agencies, and residents that favor a local desalination project, as the primary reason the region lacks adequate housing. Just how true that is remains an open question— there are several other hurdles for new development—but in Seaside, it’s about to be put to the test. On Sept. 28, Cal Am inked an agreement with the city for the transfer of sufficient water credits to set a meter to serve the long-stalled Ascent housing project, which is planned to be built on 2.85 acres along upper Broadway Avenue. The plans call for 106 units—a mix of one-, two- and three-bedrooms—16 of which will be affordable. Now it’s just a matter of the financing as to when the dirt will get moving. The project’s developer, Utah-based Cruachan Capital, has until Nov. 15 before its approval permits expire—the project was approved in November 2019—and needs to either get the project started or ask for an extension. The development is unsubsidized, which means the market-rate units must generate enough profit to offset any losses created by the affordable ones. (Cruachan representatives did not respond to calls for comment.) And the added cost of the water credits, which Seaside has spent a small treasure in developing over the past few years by transitioning its golf course to recycled water, will be borne by the developer. No money will change hands between Cal Am and the city. City Attorney Sheri Damon compares the arrangement to “renting” Seaside’s water credits until the state’s cease-anddesist order against Cal Am is lifted. In Ascent A housing project in Seaside will be a test for how the market meets the moment. By David Schmalz As Salinas Valley cities like Soledad and Gonzales look to expand their footprints by annexing surrounding farmland and converting it into housing and other uses, there’s an ongoing debate over the rules requiring that cities and developers make up for the fertile agricultural land they’re paving over. That debate was on display Monday, Oct. 23 at a meeting of Monterey County’s Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), the influential planning agency that describes its mission as “preserving agricultural lands” and “discouraging urban sprawl.” LAFCO’s staff has spent much of this year considering a review of its policies around agricultural preservation and mitigation—a set of guidelines that have been around since 1979 (and last revised in 2010) to balance the need for development with the preservation of farmland. When a city is seeking to annex farmland to make way for new development, LAFCO is charged with ensuring those cities and their developers mitigate the loss of agricultural land, either by preserving specific sites through conservation easements or, less typically, paying an in-lieu fee to fund the acquisition of future easements. LAFCO describes its ag mitigation policy to date as “intentionally broad and non-specific,” allowing flexibility on a case-by-case basis. As part of its review, it is considering its guidelines on the ratio of mitigated acreage to acreage being annexed (generally between a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio) and whether it should allow exemptions for specific types of developments like affordable housing (which it typically has not). Yet it is a third policy element that has drawn the most feedback and scrutiny: the timing of mitigation requirements, and when they must be carried out. LAFCO’s practice has been to require that ag mitigation be “fully executed” up front, before an annexation is allowed to go ahead—a policy that LAFCO staff, including Executive Officer Kate McKenna, has urged commissioners to uphold. But that policy has proven unpopular with Salinas Valley cities, with officials saying the requirement is too inflexible and burdens developers too early in a project’s timeline. Taven Kinison Brown, community development director for the city of Gonzales, told LAFCO commissioners, “If the expense of having to pay for [mitigation] is required up front, we’re not going to get anything [built],” and noted how Gonzales has approved its own ordinance allowing mitigation to wait until a project is about to break ground. Soledad City Manager Megan Hunter echoed Brown’s sentiment— citing difficulties in getting her city’s Miramonte development moving, and concerns that cities will be unable to meet their state-mandated housing goals. “Those upfront costs can cause a project not to happen,” she said. While expressing different opinions, the LAFCO commissioners determined they need to get the ball rolling on adopting a revised policy, whatever it may end up looking like. “We need a workshop, we need it in November and we need to move on this,” LAFCO Vice Chair and Salinas Mayor Kimbley Craig said. The commissioners voted to hold a public workshop on Monday, Nov. 27 from 2-5pm—inviting public and private stakeholders alike to provide input on the agency’s ag mitigation policies moving forward. All five Salinas Valley cities (including Salinas, above) are surrounded by farmland. LAFCO is considering a policy to mitigate the taking of ag land for development. Buying the Farm Salinas Valley cities urge more flexible ag mitigation terms to allow annexation, development. By Rey Mashayekhi At one point, Seaside was considering building a pipeline from its municipal water system to serve the Ascent housing project. After some horse trading, it will now be served by Cal Am. “Those upfront costs can cause a project not to happen.” Daniel Dreifuss Daniel Dreifuss
www.montereycountyweekly.com OCTOBER 26-NOVEMBER 1, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 MONTEREY AREA BUYING EVENT Sunday & Monday, October 29 & 30 10am-5pm Hilton Garden Inn Monterey, 1000 Aguajito Rd. For directions to hotel, call 831-373-6141 MEET THE OWNER My name is Stan Walter and I’m from Wabash, Indiana. I founded Precious Gems & Metals in 1979 and we’ve been serving customers throughout the United States for over 40 years. We’re proud to have an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. We buy individual pieces or entire collections. 5% SENIOR BONUS Earn a 5% premium on any sale made to PGM. Present this coupon at an event or when we visit you. Must be 55 or older. Limit 1 coupon per transaction. Excludes Bullion. Over 40 years in business and an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. We encourage you to research our proud heritage! WE DO HOUSE CALLS! We offer an exclusive ‘House Call’ service for qualified customers. CALL NOW TO SCHEDULE YOUR PRIVATE HOME VISIT! 866-921-7826 CALL TODAY! 1-866-921-7826 Wellness Wednesday 20% Off All Facials on Wednesdays in November Get Fabulous This Fall and the perfect place to do it is in a unique boutique environment – In Bloom Salon & Spa Monterey We Care. MPWMD carries out a Vegetation Management Program along the Carmel River to reduce the potential for bank erosion and the hazards associated with large trees that fall into the river. Our staff also visits with property owners to help guide them in keeping their riverbanks stable. This often includes recommendations for native plants that will help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. Vegetation management plays a critical role along the Carmel River. MPWMD.NET
10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY october 26-november 1, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Raymond Torres, a native of Soledad, was diagnosed with disabilities over 25 years ago and within a couple of years was connected to housing and services through the nonprofit Central Coast Center for Independent Living. At 63, he’s doing well, living independently in a subsidized senior apartment complex in Monterey. He’s not shy talking about his experiences with others in need of help. “I try to show them, it can be done. It’s not the end of the world,” Torres says. Torres’ experiences and passion for outreach made him an ideal choice for a new steering committee to create a master plan on aging and living with disabilities in the Salinas Valley, made possible by a $200,000 grant from the California Department of Aging to Salinas-based Alliance on Aging in August. He was recommended by CCCIL to provide his insights to the committee. The nonprofit applied for the grant specifically for the Salinas Valley—one of 15 regions in the state that received funding—because it’s historically been underserved and because of its unique geography, with towns spread far enough apart that distances can lead to people feeling isolated, says Alliance on Aging Executive Director John McPhereson. “We want to see if there are opportunities to address the needs of seniors and people who are disabled in those communities,” as well as determine ways to better connect them to each other, he says. A steering committee of nearly 50 representatives from the Salinas Valley was created, then divided into three subcommittees. Their charge is to develop a Local Aging and Disability Plan, part of the larger Master Plan for Aging created by Gov. Gavin Newsom via executive order in 2019. The steering committee first met the week of Oct. 16. In early January they will release a community survey, and later will analyze the results and create an action plan that will be presented to cities and the County of Monterey in early 2025. One focus of the committee’s work, McPhereson says, is to create a short list of actionable ideas for improving people’s quality of life, as well as extending life expectancies. From Torres’ vantage point, he sees two challenges that need improvement: housing and transportation. The state’s master plan focuses on five goals: increasing housing; closing the health care equity gap; preventing isolation; creating a million “high-quality” caregiving jobs; and increasing economic sufficiency among seniors. Earlier this month, the cities of Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City rejected three proposals they received for waste hauling services. The main factor was price. “Everybody was surprised. We thought by combining all together, we would probably get a better, more competitive rate,” says Patrick Matthews, general manager of Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority. (SVSWA, also known as Salinas Valley Recycles, is overseeing the hiring of waste hauling services.) The rates residents would pay under the bids that came in would be 30- to 50-percent higher than current rates. The cities received proposals from Waste Management (currently King City’s and Monterey County’s provider); GreenWaste Recovery, which serves several cities on the Monterey Peninsula; and Recology, based in San Francisco. Tri-Cities Disposal & Recycling Service, the current waste hauling provider in Gonzales, Soledad and Greenfield, did not bid for the contract. The existing contracts expire on June 30, 2025. For Tri-Cities, 32-gallon garbage cart service runs $29.50; the lowest bidder for the new proposal was GreenWaste at $38.58 per month. Last year, the four South County cities decided to bid collectively for future contracts, aiming for better prices. The aim was to have a new contract before the end of the current fiscal year, June 30, 2024. Officials say it’s important to award waste hauling contracts at least one year before operations start, especially if a new operator is selected. Setting up new service routes can take a year, in addition to potentially needing to order new curbside carts and trucks. “Ordering new garbage trucks alone can take nine months to a year, potentially even longer,” Matthews says. Since the cities rejected all three bids received, their next step is negotiating extensions with the current haulers (Tri-Cities and Waste Management). They may seek contracts independently, rather than collectively. Life Plan Work begins on a master plan for people aging in the Salinas Valley. By Pam Marino news Small Town, Big Questions Mayor Scott Donaldson and County Supervisor Wendy Root Askew host a town hall meeting to address questions about Del Rey Oaks. 5:30-7pm Thursday, Oct. 26. Del Rey Oaks City Hall, 650 Canyon Del Rey Blvd., Del Rey Oaks. Free. delreyoaks. org. Come in Peace Amid global violence and conflict, CSU Monterey Bay hosts a peace walk. Participants are encouraged to wear white. Noon-1pm Friday, Oct. 27. CSUMB Heron Hall, 3110 Inter-Garrison Road, Seaside. Free. email@example.com. Ranking Projects King City has $250,000 in funds for Safe Routes to School projects and is now conducting a survey to get feedback on people’s favorite ideas. Voting is open to King City residents and workers ages 12 and up, with voting available in person or online. Voting runs from Friday Oct. 27-Sunday, Nov. 12. Ballots available at all King City schools, City Hall and other locations. To find the closest ballot/dropoff location, visit bit.ly/kingcitypb. Free. To vote online, visit bit.ly/471539s. Showing love To celebrate Make a Difference Day, Amor Salinas is organizing local park cleanups. For volunteers ages 13 and up. 8-11am Saturday, Oct. 28 at El Dorado Park, 1655 El Dorado Drive, Salinas; register at tinyurl.com/salinasfunam. 10:30am-2:30pm Saturday, Oct. 28 at Sherwood Park (bring your Halloween costume), 920 N. Main St., Salinas; register at tinyurl.com/salinasfunpm. Free. 758-7096, firstname.lastname@example.org. ca.us, cityofsalinas.org. Street Food Various local cities (including Monterey, King City and Salinas) have food truck ordinances and the City of Marina is considering one, as well. City officials are seeking community input before moving forward. The city is conducting a survey to learn what residents think about food trucks, where they should be located and how many should be allowed in the city. To complete the survey, visit bit. ly/46IFJoW. Free. For more information, call 884-1278. Book Worms Each community has different needs, that’s why Monterey County Free Libraries wants to hear from library users with the goal of adapting operating hours based on need. Each branch has its own survey. To take the survey, visit shorturl.at/ lyAHX. For more information, contact your nearest library branch or visit emcfl.org. Garbage Out High prices push South County cities to reject trash service proposals. By Celia Jiménez Goals in the plan include preventing isolation for seniors and people with disabilities. Similar programs like water aerobics at the Monterey Sports Center help do that. e-mail: email@example.com TOOLBOX He sees two challenges: housing and transportation. Daniel Dreifuss
www.montereycountyweekly.com OCTOBER 26-NOVEMBER 1, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 The current agreement for Ambulance Services between the County of Monterey and American Medical Response is set to expire June 30, 2025. The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency is developing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for ambulance service for the County of Monterey Exclusive Operating Area (EOA) to begin on July 1, 2025. The EMS Agency is seeking feedback from members of the community, city and county officials, and the EMS system as a whole on the Draft RFP Scope of Work (SOW). The draft of the RFP SOW and a form to submit feedback are available via the EMS Agency’s website at www.mocoems.org. Public meetings are being held to provide additional opportunities to hear from our community. One of these meeting will take place on Wednesday November 8, 2023 from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM at 1441 Schilling Place, Salinas. Public comments closes on Friday, November 17, 2023. The EMS Agency looks forward to hearing from you. RELEASE OF DRAFT RFP SCOPE OF WORK (SOW) FOR PUBLIC COMMENT MONTEREY’S PREMIER GERMAN CAR SPECIALISTS CALL OUR HOTLINE FOR PORSCHE PARTS 831.372.2312 249 DELA VINA AVE. MONTEREY 831.373.5355 CCREPAIRMONTEREY.COM R E P A I R TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31 3:00 – 5:00 P.M. Trick or Treat Children dressed in boo-tiful costumes are invited to trick-or-treat at participating merchants. Pumpkin Patch Free Entertainment Visit shopdelmonte.com for details JOIN US FOR PUMPKIN PANDEMONIUM Highway 1 at Munras Avenue, Monterey 831.373.2705 shopdelmonte.com
12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY october 26-November 1, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com After losing a wrongful termination case in May to a former Community Hospital for the Monterey Peninsula supervisor, with an award at that time of nearly $10 million, an official for CHOMP and parent company Montage Health says they are weighing whether to file for a new trial. It’s a gamble, since a new jury could rule against the nonprofit company and award even higher damages. On the other hand, Montage faces the potential of employees suing in the future and citing the jury’s decision, says the attorney who represented the former supervisor. Montage and CHOMP “are considering all options,” says CHOMP Vice President Kevin Causey, including appealing recent rulings by Monterey County Superior Court Judge Vanessa Vallarta, in which she denied their motions for setting aside the jury’s award, as well as for a new trial for CHOMP. She did rule Montage could file for a new trial but only on the question of whether former supervisor Jared Stiver was an employee of CHOMP and Montage, or just CHOMP. “We believe that there were errors made in the trial that will be addressed on appeal, including the fact that Montage Health never employed Mr. Stiver and could not have been liable for any of the alleged conduct,” Causey says. “We will continue to vigorously pursue all avenues available to overturn what they consider to be an erroneous jury verdict.” Stiver was fired in November 2021 and immediately filed a lawsuit against both CHOMP and parent nonprofit company Montage—the two share the same executive management team— claiming that he was retaliated against for reporting “improprieties” in patient care and issues with billing practices, among other allegations. CHOMP and Montage representatives denied all of Stiver’s claims. Executives testified in the trial that Stiver would have been fired anyway for being a “bully” and “toxic.” “However,” Vallarta said in a ruling on Oct. 16, “the jury and the Court were not persuaded.” The jury’s initial award of $9.95 million was reduced by Vallarta in July to $9.475 million, with CHOMP required to pay $475,000 for emotional distress and Montage responsible for $4 million in lost wages plus $5 million in punitive damages. In making their determination for punitive damages, jurors voted 12-0 that Montage and its officers engaged in conduct against Stiver “with malice, oppression or fraud.” After the jury trial, Vallarta ruled separately that the defendants violated a California health and safety code that prohibits hospitals and health care facilities from retaliating against any health care worker for complaining about unsafe patient care, whether they’re an employee or not. According to Stiver’s attorney Mark O’Connor, the $9.475 million award stands because of Vallarta’s decision that they violated health code, even if Montage were to win a new trial. Vallarta set a date of Nov. 28 for a case management conference to set a date for a retrial, should Montage and CHOMP choose to go forward. Decision Point Montage Health weighs its options after losing a $9.475 million verdict in an employment case. By Pam Marino An attorney for parent company Montage Health argued in court it has no employees, thus can’t be held liable for conduct alleged by a former CHOMP employee. NEWS “The jury and the Court were not persuaded.” DANIEL DREIFUSS SHIP Grant Statement This project was supported, in part by grant number 90SAPG0094-04, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy. It’s tIme to thInk about your medIcare coverage! For questions, please contact the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) at 800-434-0222 Learn more at a Free Seminar alliance on aging (salinas) – thurs. october 26th at 3pm (Spanish) soledad city hall – Wed. november 1st at 1pm (English) and 2pm (Spanish) Meals on Wheels Monterey Peninsula (Pacific Grove) – Wed. november 8th at 12:00pm (English) oldemeyer center (seaside) – mon. november 13th at 10am (English) www.allianceonaging.org Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program - ‘HICAP’ medicare costs, medicare advantage (Part c) and the Prescription drug plans (Part d) change each year… Learn more about options to re-evaluate your coverage at one of our Free medicare update presentations! Showroom DiSplayS for Sale 70% OFF! Cabinets • Appliances • Hardware Accessories • Decorative Plumbing Visit our showroom Monday-Friday 10am-4pm 1368 S. Main St C, Salinas www.cabinetsandsuch.com P.S. We are NOT going out of business! Inquiries: please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (831) 422-9900
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14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY OCTOBER 26-NOVEMBER 1, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com In 2010, a Monterey County jury found Jon David Woody, a volunteer with the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, guilty on 20 counts of child sex abuse for molesting four young girls under his mentorship through the program. Woody was sentenced to 226 years in prison, which he has since been serving at a state correctional facility in San Diego. Now, one of the women whom Woody molested as a child has brought a lawsuit against Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the organization’s local chapter—alleging that they had reason to know of, failed to prevent and attempted to cover up Woody’s sexual abuse of her and other children he mentored as a Big Brother. The lawsuit was filed Oct. 10 in Monterey County Superior Court on behalf of Jane Doe, an anonymous 30-year-old woman who was molested by Woody between 2000 and 2002 during her time in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monterey County program— now known as Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County, after a 2010 merger between the nonprofits’ local chapters. The complaint’s charges against the defendants include infliction of emotional distress, negligence and sexual harassment. It specifically charges Woody, also named as a defendant, with sexual battery, gender violence, and two penal code violations related to sexual acts with a minor. The plaintiff is seeking damages to be determined at a jury trial. As a result of Woody’s abuse, Jane Doe has continued to suffer “psychological, mental and emotional distress,” including severe anxiety, depression, nightmares, trust and control issues, and “loss of enjoyment of life,” according to the suit. The filing notes she has incurred expenses for psychiatric and medical care due to the abuse, and has also “been damaged in her employment,” leading to lost wages. The complaint alleges that “there were ample warning signs, reports, and/or investigations about Woody’s unfitness” as a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor. It claims the organizations had knowledge of prior misconduct while continuing to allow him to be alone with children, including in his home. The filing describes the organizations’ actions as a “cover-up” under California law, alleging that they “engaged in conduct to conceal the sexually inappropriate behavior of Woody” and “did nothing to protect the plaintiff” or inform her parents of the risk she faced. The lawsuit also cites data, including reports published by Big Brothers Big Sisters, detailing how the program “attracts child sexual abusers.” One report by the American Bar Association found 304 reports of child sexual abuse in the organization’s programs from 1982-1991. Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Clubs of America have both faced numerous lawsuits in recent decades from plaintiffs alleging they were sexually abused as children by mentors in the programs. Attorneys for the plaintiff and representatives for both Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County did not return requests for comment. Hidden Costs A woman who was sexually abused by a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor is suing. By Rey Mashayekhi Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County operates two clubhouses in Seaside (pictured) and Salinas. The lawsuit also names Big Brothers Big Sisters, its predecessor until a 2010 merger. NEWS One report found 304 reports of child sexual abuse from 1982-1991. DANIEL DREIFUSS DR. BRYNIE KAPLAN DAU, MS, DVM SURGERY DERMATOLOGY FELINE AND CANINE MEDICINE PREVENTATIVE CARE REGENERATIVE MEDICINE PRP (PLATELET-RICH PLASMA) LASER THERAPY EXOTICS AND MUCH MORE COMPASSIONATE CARE WITH EXCEPTIONAL MEDICINE. 1023 Austin Avenue, Pacific Grove • 831-318-0306 www.pacificgroveanimalhospital.com VOTED MONTEREY COUNTY’S BEST VETERINARIAN THREE YEARS IN A ROW! ’23 ’22 ’21 HAPPY HOUR SUNDAY BREAKFAST 4PM TO 6PM LATE NIGHT 9PM TO 10PM 9:30AM TO 11AM Catch all your favorite teams on 18 HDTV’s LOCATED BEHIND THE PORTOLA HOTEL & SPA | COMPLIMENTARY PARKING (831) 649-2699 | PETERBSBREWPUB.COM VOTED BEST SPORTS BAR BY MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY READERS!
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16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY october 26-november 1, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Peace Plan Thanks for weighing in so articulately and wisely (“As war devastates Israelis and Palestinians, it becomes a political battle in Monterey County,” posted Oct. 18). If we continue to choose sides in a conflict in which no one is blameless and civilians on both sides face huge losses, we only perpetuate the problem. Debbie Sharp | Carmel Your reportage reflecting a personal viewpoint parroted the usual left-leaning position of the Monterey County Weekly. I would suggest you educate yourself by investing in a flight to Israel to absorb the realities of living with a neighboring society whose stated ambition since United Nations partition was and is to kill all Jews and drive them out of their homeland. For 75 years, the various Palestinians have rejected the peace plans their leadership had accepted. The only thing different now is that they have found oil-rich sponsors with unlimited monies to purchase rockets, mortars, machine guns and provide training for terrorists to achieve their goals. The rest is just idle conversation without reality. Dennis Lewenthal | Oakland, California Good reporting and good global viewpoint. There has to be a next step— perhaps achieving peace through a two-state solution as President Joe Biden has long suggested. Sam Farr | Carmel Gratitude to U.S. Reps. Jimmy Panetta [and Zoe Lofgren] for co-sponsoring a congressional resolution condemning the horrific atrocities perpetrated by Hamas against thousands of innocent Israelis. They joined over 400 elected officials, Democrats and Republicans, united in their moral clarity supporting Israel’s right to defend its citizens. Zionism is the movement for liberation and self-determination of the Jewish people in their indigenous homeland, the land of Israel. To call the Jewish resettlement in their ancestral homeland a colonial-settler enterprise is to deny the historic reality. Such descriptions are meant to demonize and dehumanize Jewish Israelis, an excuse for violence and rejection of peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs. Richard S. Gerber | Salinas I am disturbed by politicians who are trying to lock us into uncritical support of Israel without recognition of the humanity of those being killed on both sides and the policies that have contributed to hopelessness and conflict. Those will be required if we are ever to move to a resolution of the horrific status quo and the cycle of violence. Andy Hsia-Coron | Aromas As Meron Rapaport points out, there can be no peace in the Middle East without recognition of Palestinian rights as well as those of Israel (“Hamas’ attack on Israel shatters Netanyahu’s claim that peace is possible without the Palestinians,” Oct. 19-25). As we condemn the unspeakably horrendous attack by Hamas, we must also remember and deplore the decades-long occupation of the West Bank and the virtual imprisonment of 2 million civilian Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are reported not to be supporters of Hamas. Evenhandedness should also be displayed by the County Board of Supervisors. As President Biden said in his recent address, “We must, without equivocation, denounce anti-Semitism. We must also, without equivocation, denounce Islamophobia.” How difficult can it be for the board to grasp that concept and reflect it in its proposed resolution? Mads Bjerre | Carmel Up in Smoke Get rid of them (“Fireworks are an annual fixture around Fourth of July in Seaside, but do its residents still want them,” Oct. 19-25). Dangerous and annoying. Thomas Michael Chavarria | via social media The fireworks problem in Seaside has never been about little firecrackers and sparklers. The problem is loud, illegal fireworks, almost all imported from China, filled with lead and other toxins. The use of these is a middle finger to a community that does not want to be traumatized by the noise, nor poisoned by toxins. There is not another community on the Peninsula that would allow this to happen. Curt Chaffee | Seaside If our local cities put on a fireworks show, maybe the citizens wouldn’t have to take it into their own hands. Shawn Hall | via social media Building a Dream Wow! So amazing. Congratulations to all!! Thank you for putting Salinas on the map for something so positive (“Rancho Cielo vocational students win big in an international sustainable building competition,” Oct. 19-25). Acacia Torres | via social media Great job, and keep building your dreams into a reality. Ofelia Leon | Gonzales Congratulations! Monterey County needs more programs like this! Mattie Belisle | via social media Monumental Memory As the Weekly reminded us, General Joseph Stilwell was Fort Ord’s first commander and later played a significant role in Asia during World War II when George Marshall appointed him the Chief of Staff for Chiang Kai-shek (“Joseph Stilwell was at home in both Carmel and in China. Now he is a catalyst in a new type of diplomacy,” Oct. 12-18). And yet the general’s signature Fort Ord project, the Soldiers’ Club, was torn down in the early 2000s. Meanwhile, new development presses on and every day there is less of old Fort Ord to remind us about its contributions to winning WWII. Stilwell was a “soldier’s general,” beloved by all, even in Communist China. Statues of generals may not be in fashion, but if any general deserved one, it’d be Stilwell. There are a lot of roundabouts and future parks planned in the Fort Ord area. Just saying… Cameron Binkley | Marina Jazz It up What a joy it was to read this article (“Michael Jacobi is known for jazz festivals and as a radio host, even though he is a non-musician,” Oct. 19-25). Christian Mendelsohn | Seaside Letters • CommentsOPINION Submit letters to the editor to email@example.com. Please keep your letter to 150 words or less; subject to editing for space. Please include your full name, contact information and city you live in.
www.montereycountyweekly.com october 26-november 1, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 17 The days of recruiting a doctor with a “help wanted” sign are long over. Big Sur Health Center’s medical director is retiring on Dec. 31 of this year, and the nonprofit is seeking to hire her replacement. Qualifications: You must be a physician, and interested in serving patients in a rural setting, attentively. “We don’t believe in the seven-minute visit,” Executive Director Sharen Carey says. “We believe in giving our patients the sense that we’ve listened and we really care about them.” That might go over well with patients, but when Carey met with a recruiter, she says that premise was met with bewilderment. The recruiter asked for the role’s productivity requirement, but Big Sur Health Center doesn’t have one. “There was this dead silence. Then she said, ‘In all my years of recruiting I have never heard that.’” Carey hadn’t budgeted a signon bonus, but the recruiter said she’d need to budget $50,000, minimum. And the salary range was too low. The changes would put the nonprofit’s budget $150,000 in the hole. “If you look at it as a pure business model, you’d say, ‘It is not worth hiring this person.’ But we’re not a private business—we are in the business of taking care of our patients,” Carey says. The idea of running a small healthcare nonprofit doesn’t make much business sense in general. This is, after all, an era of healthcare consolidation—big-box providers are on the rise, and small health systems are facing bankruptcy (see: Watsonville Community Hospital, or Hazel Hawkins Hospital in Hollister). But there’s a mission to serve patients in a place of relative convenience and comfort, not to mention the only accessible place during many occasions, sometimes for an extended period, when Highway 1 is closed. And to serve those patients, Big Sur Health Center is required (for licensing reasons) to have a medical director on staff. “We have to have a medical director or we can’t keep our doors open,” Carey says. That means the pressure is on to recruit a medical director before the end of the year. Housing is a factor, of course. And it’s a factor that other local health care systems are addressing as well. “There are not enough physicians graduating to replace the ones that are retiring. The gap and the need nationally is massive and growing,” says Dr. Mark Carvalho, CEO of Montage Medical Group. Since its inception in 2001, Montage has supported the recruitment of 194 physicians, with a package of $49.9 million— of that, $21 million was spent in the last five years alone. “It’s a war chest of sorts, a recruitment tool to help bring physicians here,” Carvalho says. Some goes toward relocation costs, sign-on bonuses and student loans. In the last four years, the majority of that war chest, 69 percent, has gone toward housing. “The biggest hurdle is the cost of living—housing is very hard to come by,” Carvalho says. To that end, Montage has long offered forgivable loans on home purchases. In August, they rolled out a new equity purchase program. Carvalho notes that a small entity like Big Sur Health Center has added pressures—for Montage Medical Group, there’s an economy of scale. (Still, they compete with bigger fish like Kaiser in the San Francisco and San Jose areas.) At Big Sur Health Center, there is one physician on staff, plus two part-time nurse practitioners, a registered nurse and medical assistant, as well as three office staff. The nonprofit serves roughly 1,200 patients with 3,000 visits per year. (That’s down from 3,500 visits per year, since the retiring medical director, Dr. Brita Bruemmer, has cut back on her hours, partly to help care for her husband, Steve Bruemmer, who survived a shark bite in 2022.) The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of up to 125,100 doctors by 2034. Montage’s most recent supply/demand study shows a 21-doctor shortage in its service area. Big Sur Health Center only needs one, but in the past few months has come up empty. “We are looking for somebody who is passionate about the work they’re doing,” Carey says. In the competitive world of doctor recruitment, that might not be enough. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Not Well Doctor recruitment challenge puts a small, rural health provider in peril. By Sara Rubin Park N Pay…Squid spent the last week checking out Halloween costumes for Squid’s dog Roscoe P. Coltrane on Instagram, when Squid’s feed suggested a new account to follow called @needsrepair.csumb. The account was started by an anonymous otter who first posted on Oct. 1, and has shared a few out-ofdate repairs needing to be made by CSU Monterey Bay, often with the hashtag #dobettercsumb. Squid then remembered finding a parking ticket on the old jalopy when it was parked at CSUMB a few weeks ago, which infuriated Squid because the parking pass machine was broken when Squid tried— honestly!—to use it. But @needsrepair.csumb calls out that the parking machine has been out of order for over a year. CSUMB does have ParkMobile signs, but four hours using that app to pay for parking costs more than purchasing a single 24-hour day pass at a parking machine. The @needsrepair.csumb account also shows other problems on campus, like exposed wires and hidden warning signs about asbestos. Fortunately, one repair was made in less than a week after a problem was posted on the account. CSUMB officials say students should not resort to social media for complaints, but given the response rate thus far, Squid is considering appealing Squid’s parking ticket via social media. Maybe Squid will get some traction there. Escape Plan…If the world goes to hell in a handbasket, Squid plans on hunkering down in the lair until the dust settles. Squid isn’t a prepper, but let’s just say there’s a stash of shelf-stable shrimp-flavored popcorn awaiting. Yet Squid was recently reminded that the super-rich have a different way to deal with troubles like climate disasters, war and other emergencies—by vamoosing to another part of the world. Squid learned this from an article that listed Carmel as the #11 location in the world where the “centi-millionaires,” people with over $100 million in assets, like to vacation. (Miami was #1.) The information comes from a company called Henley & Partners, which estimates there are 28,400 centi-millionaires in the world, double the amount that existed in 1997, when the company was founded. Henley & Partners’ website states that it exists to advise people on how to invest in foreign countries that in turn will award citizenship to investors, giving them access to alternate passports. The company’s stated purpose: “Enhancing human potential through global citizenship.” It further states it helps people “live in dignity and security in their countries of birth or countries of choice.” Which sounds to Squid like a fancy way to say that if things go south and you have enough money, you can escape to a less hellish part of the world—your country and less fortunate neighbors be damned. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “We have to have a medical director or we can’t keep our doors open.” Send Squid a tip: email@example.com