november 2-8, 2023 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT when the homeowner’s away 6 | ag industrial complex 10 | curtain rises on first theatre 28 Afloat Again After being lost and sinking twice, the Western Flyer—the famous purse-seiner that John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts chartered for a legendary voyage—is back in Monterey Bay for a new chapter. p. 18 By Agata Pope˛da
2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 2-8, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com november 2-8, 2023 • ISSUE #1839 • Established in 1988 Melena Scampa (iPhone 13) A peaceful, still day at Stillwater Cove in Pebble Beach. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to email@example.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: Western Flyer Captain Paul Tate and Western Flyer Foundation president John Gregg on the bow of the Western Flyer, a legendary 1937 fishing boat that has returned to Monterey Bay and is shown here in Moss Landing Harbor. Cover photo: 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 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
www.montereycountyweekly.com NOVEMBER 2-8, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3 Healthy, how you want it. Be in the driver’s seat. Regardless of where you are in your journey towards a healthier you — Montage Health can help you reach it. For exceptional care within your community, visit montagehealth.org.
4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY November 2-8, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH Since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel responded by declaring war on Hamas, at least 8,000 people in Gaza and 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, according to news reports. Among the dead are journalists who were covering the conflict, as well as journalists who were not reporting on it. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 31 journalists are among the dead—26 Palestinian, four Israeli and one Lebanese. In addition, the nonprofit reports that as of Oct. 30, eight are injured and nine are missing or detained. (You can read all of their names and short bios at cpj.org.) Since Israel’s ground offensive began in Gaza, there are additional dangers to civilians there, as well as members of the press. The Israel Defense Forces wrote in a letter to Reuters and Agence France-Press: “In the vicinity of journalists and civilians…we cannot guarantee your employees’ safety, and strongly urge you to take all necessary measures for their safety.” Good: On Oct 26, staff from nonprofit Ventana Wildlife Society brought 10 California condors raised in captivity— three from Los Angeles Zoo and seven from Oregon Zoo—to VWS’ release site in San Simeon, where staff had modified the pre-release holding pens to prevent the transmission of a virulent new strain of avian influenza. All of the 10 young condors—an endangered species—have been vaccinated against that viral strain, and will get a final booster shot before being released into the wild, which VWS is set out to do in two separate cohorts on Nov. 28 and Dec. 12. Those birds will be the first anywhere to be vaccinated and released into the wild. Kelly Sorenson, executive director of VWS, says the avian influenza strain HPAI, which led to at least 10 deaths among the California condor flock in northern Arizona, has not been detected within the Central California flock. GREAT: Great news for arts in Salinas comes in the form of two grants from the Latino Community Foundation to nonprofits Hijos Del Sol ($50,000) and Artists Ink. The latter will use its $110,000 grant to revise a past and beloved Christmas production, La Posada Magica, a play written by Octavio Solis and composed by Marcos Loya. The tradition of this play is part of the Mexican religious celebration of the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge for Mary to give birth. Originally written for the community of San Diego, this La Posada rendition was revised to include references that are specific to the Alisal community—from the set design and costumes to the script. The grant will allow Artists Ink to pay its cast and crew. There will be multiple showings throughout December, beginning Dec. 1. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY Amount of debris in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary composed of plastic fragments, cigarette butts and wrappers from the five-year period 2017-21. Eating/ drinking contributed 27.9 percent of marine debris and smoking accounted for 24.5 percent. Source: NOAA report on marine debris, October 2023 59% QUOTE OF THE WEEK “We need to think about the totality of the region and get people off the coast.” -Retired congressman Sam Farr, speaking at the California Welcome Center in Salinas about a concept to promote the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail as a tourist destination (see story, mcweekly.com). The Peninsula’s Downtown Shops, restaurants, hotels and businesses Spend some time with us Downtown… oldmonterey.org ’23 Celebrating 9 years in Downtown! Sunday–Thursday 11:30am-10pm Friday–Saturday 11:30am-11pm 426 Alvarado St. Monterery 831-655-BEER asb.beer Monterey County’s BEST LOCAL BEER/BREWERY BAR FOR MILLENNIALS and BAR FOR GEN XERS 11:30am-close, 10am Sat & Sun 484 Washington Street Downtown Monterey 831.643.9525 www.melvilletav.com WOOD FIRED PIZZAS, BURGERS, PASTA, SALADS & SANDWICHES INDOOR, PATIO DINING & TAKEOUT HAPPY HOUR FOOD & DRINK SPECIALS DAILY 4-6PM WEEKEND BRUNCH MASSAGE | FACIALS | STRETCH MONTEREY 595 Munras Ave Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 920-0272 MASSAGE | FACIALS | STRETCH MONTEREY 595 Munras Ave Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 920-0272 595 Munras Ave Monterey (831) 920-0272 24/7 Booking at MASSAGEENVY.COM New Owners Try Us First. We Pay The Highest! MONTEREY COIN SHOPPE Since 1970 same street for 40 years Open Mon-Thur 11am-4pm and Friday by appointment only. Call for an appointment: 831.646.9030 449 Alvarado St., Monterey www.montereycoinshoppe.com WE BUY GOLD AND SILVER, JEWELRY, COINS, DIAMONDS, WATCHES, ART & RARE ANTIQUES
www.montereycountyweekly.com november 2-8, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 We are. YOUDESERVECOVERAGE.com To learn more, visit SalinasValleyHealth.com/healthplans or call 831-202-6870. Salinas Valley Health is doing the right thing for our Anthem patients, honoring in-network rates even though Anthem excluded us from its network in August. However, we cannot continue this practice after December 31, 2023. Take action before Open Enrollment ends by switching health plans so you can continue to receive quality care from your Salinas Valley Health providers. Below are the plans that include Salinas Valley Health. HMO Blue Shield of California, TRIO Private Healthcare Systems, Inc. (PHCS) Three Rivers Provider Network United Healthcare PPO Aetna Blue Shield of California Cigna Community Health Plan (CHP) First Health Health Net Health Smart/InterPlan Humana Choice Care Multiplan Pacific Health Alliance (PHA) Anthem is not prioritizing you.
6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY November 2-8, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 The call came hours before guests were to arrive for an outdoor dinner party. It was an otherwise calm evening, suited to a patio gathering. But a skunk had chosen that particular moment to take up residence in the yard. Welcome to the world of a home concierge, where the routine of decorating or arranging services can be punctuated by the unexpected—in this case, coaxing an uninvited guest back to the wild. “You just manage it,” says Kristy Farmer. “There’s never a week that’s the same.” Farmer owns Central Coast Home Concierge, a company dedicated to resolving the details—large and small, routine or unique—that come with a second home or vacation rental. The service is part of a necessary and rather diverse niche. The necessity stems from the number of second homes and vacation rentals available in Monterey County. While the 2020 U.S. Census identified just over 40 percent of Carmel’s housing units as vacant, with smaller percentages—yet still in double-digits—vacant in Pacific Grove and Monterey, Farmer can point to observational data. “Is there business out there? Oh, yeah,” she says. “You can tell by the [private] jets that come in and out.” The diversity of the home concierge role is what separates it from the more traditional concierge. While placing reservations or directing people to sights and activities are part of it, there’s a responsibility companies like Farmer’s take on. If a family is traveling to their Pebble Beach retreat for Car Week, her crew can stock the refrigerator in advance. Should the owners be away for a while, Farmer can arrange for mail pickup and garbage cans to be trotted to the curb and back. “Who is going to meet the repair guy? Who is going to empty the refrigerator?” she says. “My approach is helping people.” Home concierge services—and there are several available in Monterey County, including those offered by local real estate agencies—exist to ease the stay of visitors to the area and secure the home when vacant. And for the most part the pattern is routine, from arranging private chefs to decorating for an occasion or maintaining the landscaping. Of course, the routine can be punctuated by moments of drama, when storm-battered trees collapse, taking down power lines and kicking on generators. More likely, there is a scramble to fill a surprise request or come up with a unique family activity. That’s part of what attracted Farmer to the idea of a home concierge startup. “I’ve always been service-minded,” she explains. “I like being creative.” A native of the San Joaquin Valley and agricultural finance student at Fresno State University, Farmer came to Monterey County immediately after graduation, lured by the challenges of produce marketing and sales. She grew up on a farm and participated in 4-H and FFA. Farmer continues to help with youth programs. She is currently a mentor with First Tee’s Pay it Forward, which aids first generation university students at CSU Monterey Bay (who, in turn, mentor First Tee children). “Hands down, it’s the coolest program I’ve ever been involved in,” Farmer says. “It teaches them a lot, it teaches me a lot.” Five years ago in November, Central Coast Home Concierge launched with a modest proposal. Farmer sent out a mailer offering holiday decorating services for vacation homeowners, so the festive array would be ready and waiting for the owners’ arrival. The scope of the home concierge market is difficult to pin down. Concierge offerings include medical, business, hospitality and even online travel services. Statista places the value of business concierge services at $3.5 billion. What can be known is Farmer’s schedule. Her calendar is filled daily. Just occasionally, she sends a team member out to discourage a wild animal from joining the party. “Do I juggle a lot? Yeah,” she admits. “But it’s all part of me.” Central Coast Home Concierge, 225 Crossroads Blvd., Suite 244, Carmel. 233-6460, coastconciergeservices.com. House Call Kristy Farmer says “there is no typical day” in the home concierge business. By Dave Faries Kristy Farmer pauses for a moment while taking inventory at a client’s storage facility, one of the many routine duties of a home concierge—a role which may also require scrambling for solutions during an unexpected situation. “My approach is helping people.” TALeS From THe AreA CoDe NIK BLASKOVICH
www.montereycountyweekly.com November 2-8, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 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 * Max Savings $100. Excludes tires and can’t be combined with other offers. Limited Time Offer 831-233-3263 1730 The Mall | Seaside sullivansautoservice.com What Falls in the Fall? Temperature Leaves The Price of Vehicle Maintenance 10% Off any VehiCle MaintenanCe seRViCe MaxiMuM SERViCE SavingS up to $100 BrakeS, filterS, BeltS & hoSeS, Spark plugS, etc. Thanksgiving Meal pick ups are available on both Tuesday, 11/21 and Wednesday, 11/22. THANKSGIVING MENU $112 PER TICKET (TICKET FEEDS TWO PEOPLE) OVEN-ROASTED TURKEY BREAST seasoned with Orange, Black Pepper & Cinnamon (GF, DF) ROASTED TURKEY GRAVY (GF, CONTAINS DAIRY) APPLE-SAGE STUFFING (CONTAINS GLUTEN, EGGS, BUTTER) (NOT VEGETARIAN) STRING BEAN CASSEROLE with Shitake Miso Cream Sauce & Crispy Shallots (GF, VEGETARIAN, CONTAINS SOY) RAW CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH (GF, VEGAN) BUTTERMILK-WHIPPED POTATOES (GF, CONTAINS DAIRY) DINNER ROLLS served with Sorghum-Pumpkin Butter (CONTAINS GLUTEN & DAIRY) To place your order visit www.elroysfinefoods.com or scan this QR CODE! Quantities are limited, so order soon! Get Your Turkey Dinner from Elroy’s Fine Foods LIMITED QUANTITIES, SO PLEASE ORDER SOON! @ELROYSFINEFOODS WWW.ELROYSFINEFOODS.COM 15 SOLEDAD DRIVE (831) 373-3737 MONTEREY, CA 93940 Poultry In Motion
8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 2-8, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com news Compact Disco opened in July, with a steady stream of dancers coming to downtown Monterey’s only house music venue, located on Tyler Street. But it was only three months later, on Oct. 24, that the venue was granted a corrected permit from the Monterey Planning Commission to continue operations as a nightclub, after the city’s planning department realized the need to reconcile the terms of a previous permit issued for the venue back in September of 2020. Back then, under different ownership, the space— part of the same parcel as Golden State Theatre, in a zone of historic significance—was about to become a tapas bar. Its previous commercial land use designation was modified with several conditions, one of them being a 12-month trial period to make sure the venue complied with certain requirements (such as modification to the entrance door, noise standards, etc.). A public hearing on compliance for the previously existing business should have taken place in September 2021, but never happened. In the meantime, the venue changed ownership. Upon checking on operating hours, sound control conditions, a security plan and a safety review from fire and police officials, the commission held the public hearing after a two-year delay, explained associate planner Matthew Buggert. Commissioners voted unanimously to grant the permit, allowing Compact Disco to operate as a nightclub with no further restrictions. “The proposed project will not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare,” Buggert said, while providing “entertainment opportunities for residents and visitors.” Disco Forever In a delayed hearing, Monterey Planning Commission greenlights Compact Disco permit. By Agata Pop˛eda Just a week before the first guests step over the threshold, crews are busy putting the finishing touches on the Shuman HeartHouse, Monterey’s first shelter for women and families experiencing homelessness. The kitchen is being assembled on Monday, Oct. 30, and lights installed in the computer room. The rooms for single women are almost ready, each with a bed, nightstand, basket of toiletries and a cheerful, handmade quilt by members of the Monterey Peninsula Quilters Guild. The shelter, owned and operated by nonprofit Community Human Services, will hold up to 35 people at a time—16 single women and four families. As much as that’s good news for those guests, the sobering news is that as of Oct. 30, there are 145 families and 67 women on the waiting list. Guests will be able to stay for up to 90 days, possibly more depending on circumstances like if they are actively searching for permanent housing, says Evangelina Ochoa, CHS senior program officer for homeless services. Case workers will meet with guests to assist with job and housing searches and connecting to services. The grand opening of the shelter marks the culmination of four years of work by Mark Shuman and his family and CHS. Standing in what will be the dining room as workers buzz about, Shuman says he searched for two years looking for just the right spot. It had to be within the city’s shelter zoning overlay and it had to have water credits. In 2021 the historic Union Ice Factory building on Franklin Street, at the time serving as a dance studio, became available and ticked all the boxes. The Shumans donated $3 million to CHS for the purchase. “This has been a dream for such a long time. For it to come to fruition and to see it, it has exceeded my expectations,” Shuman says. “My heart is full of love and gratitude [to everyone who made the shelter a reality].” The Shumans’ $3 million—plus contributions from the state, County of Monterey, cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, and donations from individuals, foundations and other organizations—brought the total raised to $7.8 million to launch and cover two years of operating expenses, according to CHS CEO Robin McCrae. The fundraising continues for operating expenses. In addition to money, groups like the quilters, Junior League, churches and others donated time and materials, including Sudz Cyber Laundry in Pacific Grove, which washed 300 pounds of new linens. Much of the character of the 1930 Spanish-style building has been maintained, like the arched windows and wood beams in the dining room. Mirrors from the building’s last life as a dance studio were repurposed. One wing of the building contains 16 small bedrooms for single women, a large bathroom and lockers. Another wing has four large bedrooms for the families and bathrooms. A separate building on the property will be home to an activity room, computer room and office. The property also has a large parking lot, and McCrae says micro homes and pet kennels “are on the table…it’s quite a bit of land, so we’ll be dreaming.” Shuman HeartHouse open house and ribbon cutting takes place 2-4pm, Saturday, Nov. 4. 600 E. Franklin St., Monterey. Free. 658-3811, chservices.org. Philanthropist Mark Shuman (left) with Community Human Services CEO Robin McCrae inside the new Monterey homeless shelter named for the Shuman family. From the Heart Monterey’s first homeless shelter for women and families is ready to welcome guests. By Pam Marino Business owner Kenneth Lesiak, aka Kenny Summit, invited planning commissioners to “check out the disco” during an Oct. 24 hearing. “I look forward to doing business with the city.” “This has been a dream for such a long time.” Daniel Dreifuss Daniel Dreifuss
www.montereycountyweekly.com November 2-8, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING Join us at The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa for a bountiful buffet of seasonal favorites specially prepared by Chef Michael Rotondo on Thanksgiving Day, or take home one of our thoughtfully prepared dinners available for pickup throughout the week. Thanksgiving Day Buffet 1pm - 6pm 400 Cannery Row, Monterey montereyplazahotel.com Thanksgiving-To-Go Pick up 10am - 3pm For reservations and to order To-Go montereyplazahotel.com/dining/thanksgiving-dining $135 ADULTS $49 CHILDREN (Ages 6-13; free under 6) $325FOR A DINNER SERVING 6-8 GUESTS Order by Sunday, November 19 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. These meeting will take place on the following days: Monday November 6, 2023, from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM via Zoom Wednesday November 8, 2023, starts at 8:30 at 1441 Schilling Place, Salinas or via Zoom Tuesday November 14, 2023, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM via Zoom All meetings can be accessed via Zoom. Link below: https://montereycty.zoom.us/j/95332162459? pwd=Zkd0RmdPZitZZDQ2VTNxSW1peHJOdz09 The public comment period 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 Dr. Goodwein is a Board Certified Obstetrician / Gynecologist who received his medical school education at the University of Health Sciences / The Chicago Medical School and completed his residency training at Los Angeles County- University of Southern California. He has practiced in the Salinas Valley for the past 29 years and is now seeing patients in our Harden Ranch clinic where he provides a variety of Primary Care and Gynecologic services: • Well Woman Exams including PAP and STI testing • Birth Control Methods (IUDs, Pills, Injections, implants and rings) • Treatment of abnormal PAP tests • Treatment of absent or abnormal bleeding • Adolescent gynecology www.doctorsonduty.com Doctors on Duty is welcoming Shelley Goodwein, Md to our practice
10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 2-8, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Salinas city officials are exploring the formation of a new tax district to fund infrastructure improvements that would help develop the long-gestating Salinas Ag Industrial Center. Since being approved by Salinas City Council in 2010, the 257-acre agricultural property on the southeastern edge of the city—meant to house cooling, processing, warehousing and distribution facilities for local ag producers—has lain dormant. The main culprit has been a lack of roads, utilities and other “backbone infrastructure,” according to city officials, which are estimated to cost nearly $70 million to build—a price tag deemed “financially infeasible” for the site’s property owner, Uni-Kool Partners. Yet with the city looking to spur the center’s development, which promises 4.3 million square feet of facilities and nearly 3,000 permanent jobs, officials have floated creating a new tax district that would funnel the site’s future property taxes toward funding those infrastructure improvements. On Oct. 24, Salinas City Council unanimously approved a resolution allowing city staff to take steps toward forming an enhanced infrastructure financing district (EIFD) for the project. An increasingly popular form of tax increment financing in California, EIFDs allocate the revenue from a development’s future property tax increases for up to 45 years toward funding infrastructure improvements— typically using that revenue to pay debt service on bonds issued to finance the project. Marina officials recently pitched an EIFD as part of their unsuccessful proposal to house a new factory for air taxi startup Joby Aviation. With the site’s property taxes only gradually increasing over time, Salinas Community Development Director Lisa Brinton says revenues from the EIFD would likely be combined with other forms of public and private financing to make the project pencil. But she believes the proposal could solve the “chicken-and-egg” dilemma that has stunted development thus far. “The reason there hasn’t been traction is, who makes that [infrastructure] investment? Is it the property owner, or is that onus put on a future tenant?” Brinton says. She notes that Salinas considered an EIFD several years ago to fund an ag industrial facility that eventually went to Gonzales. City Council also approved a $129,000 contract with Kosmont & Associates to advise on the proposed EIFD. From here, the process will involve further fiscal analysis and stakeholder outreach. Lessons learned, says Teresa Rios, chief of the County of Monterey’s Emergency Medical Services Bureau, of two failed attempts at crafting new ambulance contracts since 2019. The first attempt resulted in only one bid from current provider American Medical Response that was rejected by the county as too costly. The second in 2021 resulted in zero bids. AMR sent a letter instead, calling the county’s request for proposals “seriously flawed.” The county and AMR made an agreement that kept the company in place. Some aspects of the county’s last two RFPs were good, Rios says, “but others needed to be finetuned.” And figuring out how to cover a rural county encompassing 3,700 square miles continues to be a challenge. “The complexity of our county makes it difficult to serve—the geography that makes it beautiful is the same thing that makes it difficult to serve,” Rios says. Since the last failed RFP, Rios says her agency has been making improvements that will lead to a more workable future ambulance contract. One of the biggest changes was restructuring how the county handles 911 calls, with a process for prioritizing “to assess the call better and send the right resource to the right person at the right time,” she says. “At one point, almost everything was an emergency.” AMR was also previously required to pair a paramedic and emergency medical technician for all calls regardless of the call’s status, says AMR Regional Director Michael Esslinger. Lower-level calls can now use two EMTs, freeing up paramedics for higher-level calls. Esslinger says recent changes are the best he’s seen in 20 years. AMR is still reviewing details of a draft scope of work, “but there’s been great progress.” The EMS Bureau is taking public input for a new RFP from 8:30am-12:30pm Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 1441 Schilling Place in Salinas. The draft scope of work and online public comment form is available at tinyurl. com/55axykby. The public comment period ends on Friday, Nov. 17. Open Land Salinas weighs a tax district to fund infrastructure at Ag Industrial Center project. By Rey Mashayekhi news Seasonal Work Santa Claus is coming to town—and hiring. This job fair focuses on holiday retail positions that will be available in the near future. Noon-4pm Thursday, Nov. 2. America’s Job Center, 344 Salinas St., Salinas. Free. 796-3341. Register and upload your resume in advance at pvapi.premiervirtual.com/s/x3z6od. Safe Streets The city of Salinas hosts a community workshop on strategies to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety. 6-7:30pm Thursday, Nov. 2. Police Department Community Room, 312 E. Alisal St., Salinas. Free; dinner and child care provided. 426-5925, vamosmodo.org/salinas. Ride On Monterey-Salinas Transit holds meetings to accept public input as it sets goals for a future bus maintenance and operations facility. 10am Saturday, Nov. 4 and 6pm Monday, Nov. 6. Mobility Services Center, 15 Lincoln Ave., Salinas. Free. (888) 678-2871, mst.org. Starting Young Alisal Union School District holds a community resource fair with helpful information, plus entertainment including live music and dance. Noon-4pm Saturday, Nov. 4. Dr. MLK Jr. Academy, 925 N. Sanborn Road, Salinas. Free. 775-4500, alisal.org. All Together Now The National Coalition Building Institute invites allies of marginalized communities to share ideas and learn from each other about the best ways to combat racism, sexism and other forms of oppression. 1-5pm Saturday, Nov. 4. Free; RSVP required. Salinas location shared upon RSVP. 231-4052, ncbimonterey.org. Want and Need Has your kid already outgrown their shoes? This community exchange, hosted by Parenting Connection of Monterey County, invites you to give and take gently used items such as toys, clothing and school supplies. The day begins at 10am with the Mom Walk Collective, the exchange starts at 10:30am and La Madre Cachimbona leads an activity for little ones at 11am. 10am-noon Sunday, Nov. 5. Central Park, 420 Central Ave., Salinas. Free. 647-3333, parentingconnectionmc.org. Justice for All Officials from the Monterey County Jail and Probation Department are among the presenters on local restorative justice programs. Learn about how it works. 12:30pm Wednesday, Nov. 8. Unitarian Universalist Church, 490 Aguajito Road, Carmel. $25 (includes lunch). 236-1611, lwvmryco.org. Ambulance Ride The County of Monterey’s EMS makes improvements after failed ambulance contract attempts. By Pam Marino Amazon had considered building a 2.9 million-square-foot warehouse at the Ag Industrial Center site, but backed out due to construction costs. It remains empty. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org TOOLBOX She believes it could solve the “chickenand-egg” dilemma. City of Salinas Economic Development Staff
www.montereycountyweekly.com November 2-8, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 Join our drug and alcohol prevention program, S.T.E.P.S. Program in Salinas, South Monterey County and Monterey Peninsula. Support youth prevention services www.SunStreetCenters.org Are you a student in high school looking for volunteer opportunities? Prevention, Education, Treatment & Recovery serving youth, adults and families in Monterey County, San Benito County & San Luis Obispo County
12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY November 2-8, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Four years ago, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District put forward a project that was not expected to inspire opposition: An update to Monterey High School’s stadium, including lights for the playing field, a strength and conditioning center and a new softball and multiuse field in an adjacent dirt lot. Yet to date, not a pile of dirt has been moved, just reams of paper, as the project has been mired in litigation for over two years. And that’s not expected to change anytime soon. The latest salvo in the drama came on Oct. 23, when Monterey County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wills affirmed, in a lawsuit originally filed against the district in 2021 by a group called Preserving the Peace, that the district’s environmental review of the project is adequate and complete. Local environmental attorney Molly Erickson, representing Preserving the Peace, has appealed the ruling. Erickson is also representing a different group, Taxpayers for MPUSD Accountability, in a lawsuit filed in 2022 that also takes aim at the stadium project, but from a different angle. It names as a defendant the Division of the State Architect, part of the state Department of General Services, which oversees capital improvement projects on public schools. The next hearing in that lawsuit is Nov. 9, and Erickson—who built her case from sifting through documents amassed from multiple California Public Records Act requests—is asking the court to vacate approvals of both the stadium project and a separate parking lot project (which the district has dropped). Her claim centers on a fire and safety document related to the parking project that had a digital signature from a Monterey Fire Department fire marshal from 2020 that was copied and pasted by district staff onto subsequent forms relating to the various iterations of the projects. Altering or falsifying a public record, the lawsuit argues, violates state code and “destroys transparency of government…and makes public records unreliable.” California Deputy Attorney General Jerry Yen, representing DSA, filed multiple responses in the past few months seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed. The latest, on Oct. 18, argued that the allegations are moot, and that past versions of a project are outside the scope of DSA’s charge when approving a project. Furthermore, Yen argues, the document at the center of Erickson’s allegations—a form with the digital signature of a local fire marshal—was not required, and that the project didn’t require signoff from a fire marshal. Attorneys from Lozano Smith, the law firm representing MPUSD in the litigation, concurred with DSA’s stance, and took aim at Erickson’s allegations and asked that the court dismiss the lawsuit. “Enough is enough,” MPUSD’s attorneys wrote, arguing that Erickson’s arguments are full of smoke, but there’s no fire. “There is not a present controversy for this court to adjudicate,” they wrote, “even assuming there were any past wrongs committed by the district.” MPUSD Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh, who is also named, as a defendant, declined to comment on pending litigation. Making Amends A tangle of litigation continues to stall upgrades to Monterey High’s stadium. By David Schmalz Proposed changes to the stadium at Monterey High (pictured) spurred the original lawsuits from neighbor groups, but the current legal battle focuses on a since-dropped parking lot proposal. NEWS “Enough is enough.” JOEL ANGEL JUÁREZ ♦ 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 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES Stop By To Shop And Find Your Vintage Treasure OVER 100 DEALERS 21,000 SQUARE FEET The Largest Antiques and Collectibles Mall on the Central Coast 471 WAVE STREET MONTEREY (831) 655-0264 P M canneryrowantiquemall.com Open Daily 11am-6pm ’23 Voted Monterey County's Best Antique Shop
www.montereycountyweekly.com November 2-8, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 831.479.6000 or toll-free at 888.4BAYFED, ext. 304 www.bayfed.com/HomeLoans 1524 N. Main Street | Salinas Don’t wait for the Rate! Bay Federal Credit Union offers flexible solutions to get you into the home of your dreams now. Call or visit a branch today to learn about your options. Federally Insured by NCUA | Equal Housing Lender NIGHT VOTED BEST SIT-DOWN AIRPORT RESTAURANT IN THE COUNTRY BY USA TODAY READERS. Join Us! MONTEREY AIRPORT / 200 FRED KANE DR / MONTEREYAIRPORT.COM
14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 2-8, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Home Free No senior citizen should be evicted from his/her home without a court hearing (“A Salinas man suffering from dementia lost his home. His family is trying to get it back,” Oct. 19-25). I would recommend a law that requires all HOAs to have contact information for the families of elderly residents so that they can be notified of late payment of dues before the HOA forecloses on the home! Jim Catalano | via social media This situation is troubling on so many levels. First, why are the HOA fees so high? How much effort did they make to reach the homeowner? If he didn’t respond to mail, find another way. If someone spends 20 years paying fees on time and suddenly stops, efforts should have been made to find out what was wrong. It is also beyond troubling that a person living alone progresses into dementia without anyone assisting him. Let this be a lesson to us all that plans are in place for someone to be our advocate should anything happen. This is a terrible story. Celia Bosworth | via social media $570 a month for HOA fees is the real crime. That’s ridiculous. Jaylean Elizabeth Arellano | Salinas It’s so awful that the HOA and Hero Homes could evict this poor elderly man with dementia, this should not be legal! And that “Hero Homes” claims to help homeless veterans while heartlessly evicting and ignoring the pleas of a veteran they made homeless, profiting off his misfortune. Danielle Egan | Mill Valley Ghost stories Thank you for your work about the late Monterey County historian Randy Reinstedt (“Randall ‘Randy’ Reinstedt built a self-publishing empire on disguising history as spooky tales,” Oct. 26-Nov. 1). During the many years that I was a reporter and editor at the Monterey Herald, Randy was a constant fount of history about this area. He was eager to share his knowledge as well as being approachable, friendly and also gracious with his time. We learned much from Randy that helped make for more comprehensive reporting. His works occupy a special place on my bookshelves. Through his writings, he will live on. Lewis Leader | Carmel Valley I have almost all of his books! He made such an impact on local history and lore. I appreciated how historically minded and journalistic his approach was. His legacy will no doubt live on! Jennifer Ruiter | Long Beach I had the pleasure of taking a local history class from Randy. Absolutely fascinating! I have numerous signed books of his. A wonderful, personable man! Veva King | King City I met him when I was a kid and he signed his book for me! I still have it to this day and always loved it. Sorry to hear of his passing. Nicole Cleary | via social media Verdict is In This is so sad and infuriating—and a lot of other outraged feelings (“The difficulties of covering a murder trial without cameras in the courtroom,” posted Oct. 25). You and your fellow journalists are heroes. Marilyn Brown | Pacific Grove It’s baffling to read of Judge Rafael Vazquez signing an order aimed at shutting down press coverage of the Gustavo Morales murder trial. Media agreed not to film or photograph anybody for safety reasons. So what’s up, Judge Vazquez? You owe your community an explanation. Michael Lojkovic | Monterey I appreciate your reporting on your experience covering the murder trial. The shifting guidelines, a bailiff making arbitrary decisions, the press being banned and/or sent to an inferior viewing spot? Outrageous! I hope you send your article to the Judicial Council for the State of California, the State Bar and whomever else oversees judges. I’m so sick of Monterey County acting like it’s the 1950s, with a lack of sophistication covering for incompetence. Banning the press from the courtroom—isn’t that against the law? Like constitutional law? It’s a big deal. Protest LOUDLY please! Thank you for imparting such important information to your readers. Susan Layne | via email Safe space Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County will never stop working to keep kids safe, and we take any allegation that might impact the well-being of the young people entrusted to our care very seriously (“A woman who was sexually abused by a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor is suing,” Oct. 26-Nov. 1). Our organization is aware of a civil claim regarding allegations of abuse that date back more than 20 years ago and involve a former Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monterey County volunteer. The claims do not involve our organization as the alleged perpetrator has never been associated with BGCMC as an employee or volunteer, and our organization never merged with BBBSMC. Regardless, abuse of any kind runs counter to everything our organization stands for—no harm should come to any child under any circumstance. Our hearts are with the victim and their family. Ron Johnson | via email Note: Johnson is President & CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County. On Trail As much as the people in the photo and the person who took the photo appreciate nature and Point Lobos, as docents we see people who are oblivious to the ground under their feet, unknowingly trampling native plants as they leave the trail to take photos (“ETC. Photo,” posted Oct. 26). When Monterey County Weekly features this photo, you inadvertently encourage others to also leave designated trails and damage fragile habitats. Volunteer docents are dedicated to teaching guests to behave in a manner that preserves and protects Point Lobos State Natural Reserve for future generations. Photos like this should not be the example. Donita Grace | Marina Note: Grace is docent administrator at Point Lobos. 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 november 2-8, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 15 How do you solve a massive problem like California’s housing crisis? If you’re the State Legislature, by throwing a lot of potential solutions at the wall and making a good-faith effort to create new tools for development of housing units, without walking back reasonable planning principles. If you’re Carmel-by-the-Sea, apparently by sitting this one out and effectively saying: Not my problem. Back in May, Carmel City Council voted 3-2 to adopt a resolution in support of local control on housing and zoning issues, joining dozens of other cities including Gilroy, Palo Alto and Beverly Hills. The majority of state bills, the resolution stated, “usurp the authority of local jurisdictions to determine for themselves the land use policies and practices that best suit each city and its residents.” Those housing bills include, from this year’s legislative session, Senate Bills 4 and 423, intended to make it easier to build housing, including on properties owned by faith-based organizations. They include, from 2021, Senate Bills 9 and 10, which aim to streamline high-density residential zoning near transit hubs, envisioning a different kind of urban center in California, one that is less car-centric than today’s. According to a statement from the author of several of these bills, State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, “The era of saying no to housing is coming to an end.” According to statewide group Our Neighborhood Voices, which is now gathering signatures to get an initiative on the 2024 ballot seeking to overturn these laws, “The politicians are taking away our ability to speak out when developers damage and gentrify our neighborhoods.” The local group Helping Our Peninsula’s Environment endorses Our Neighborhood Voices and adds, “Sacramento politicians have ripped away our city planning and CEQA, giving developers authority to cause major damage to our neighborhoods and our environment!” That’s according to a flyer I received upon walking into a housing forum on Oct. 23 hosted by the Carmel Residents Association. The evening featured Carmel’s two representatives in Sacramento, Assemblymember Dawn Addis, D-Morro Bay, and State Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz. They made an effort to thread the needle of politics—telling their audience “one-size-fits-all” legislation doesn’t work for places like Carmel-by-the-Sea…and yet. And yet Carmel—like all jurisdictions in California—is obligated by the state to produce an eight-year plan for where new housing units could be built. Carmel is required to plan for 349 new units, calculated in the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process. “Perhaps the RHNA numbers are too large for Carmel, that I’m hearing loud and clear from this audience,” Addis said, to audience applause. And yet, she continued: “If it’s not these RHNA numbers, then what is it? We should not stop ourselves by saying ‘bad state, good us.’ If we can’t get Carmel to 349 units, how far can we get? And how are we going to diversify our communities for the health of all of us and our future? “There is a younger generation that wants to build wealth, they want to own homes, they want to live in a place like this, and they feel like they can’t.” Per real estate website Redfin, the median home price in Carmel is $2.9 million. Most people, even with 349 new units, will never be able to live in Carmel. But the charm of this singular city relies upon a workforce that commutes in to run restaurants and hotels. Carmel cannot and should not exempt itself from being part of the solution. Yet three members of City Council— Alissandra Dramov, Bobby Richards and Mayor Dave Potter—voted yes on the resolution declaring Carmel such a singular place that it should oppose statewide solutions. Members Karen Ferlito and Jeff Baron stood apart. “Keeping things the way they are doesn’t necessarily make our village a welcoming place,” Ferlito said at that council meeting in May. When I spoke to Ferlito after the CRA forum in October, she reiterated that point. “[State legislation] is not a punishment,” she says. “It’s an opportunity.” Every place will change. We can welcome it and shape that change or, like Carmel, we can fight back. Given that change is inevitable, the latter would seem to be a losing proposition. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Home Base Carmel pushes back against state housing goals. By Sara Rubin Fighting Words…Squid gets the warm fuzzies seeing kids get involved. So the Salinas Police Activities League, with its sports programs and car show, feels warm and fuzzy. But not so fuzzy after a member of Salinas City Council started asking questions about the nonprofit’s finances. Council historically appoints a member to serve in a non-voting, advisory role. In 2023, that was Tony Barrera with Andrew Sandoval as an alternate. Sandoval—famous for asking questions and putting people in the hot seat—wanted information on PAL’s finances, although the independent nonprofit is under no obligation to produce its records publicly. On Sept. 18, board chair Danny Garcia wrote to Sandoval to say he would not be turning over records. Meanwhile, on Aug. 8, Garcia and PAL President/CEO Jeff Lamb wrote to Salinas city leaders, notifying them that they were firing the city from its board: “We feel that Sandoval’s inappropriate inquiries do not particularly have PAL’s best interest in mind, and as a result we feel it is best to discontinue the advisory relationship effective immediately.” (Squid viewed the letters thanks to a Public Records Act request; IRS records show that at the end of 2020, PAL had $575,380 in the bank.) Treasurer Thom Taft tells Squid’s colleague the choice was unrelated, and it was just time to end the non-voting seats, including that of the police chief. Now Sandoval is asking for an audit of PAL. Meanwhile, the kids just wanna play. Photo Shoot…Squid loves a wedding among marine creatures, but Squid knows planning can bring out the prickly urchin in any of us, like the time a sea star bride asked Squid to get genetically modified to match the color theme. Some wedding requests are less extreme, like requesting a product you already paid for. Oscar and Janet Roque, a Salinas couple that got married last summer, hit a snag after their big day—getting photos. On Oct. 12, the newlyweds filed a small claims lawsuit in Monterey County Superior Court against wedding photographer Aidelena Martinez. The couple says they hired Martinez (for $1,200) to photograph key moments, not for her artistic opinion. Photos she provided include details like shoes and bouquet that aren’t important to the bride. Not included are their favorite images of exchanging vows, which they saw in thumbnails. Martinez says the three photos in question “are unworkable” and she only wants “the best of my quality work to be out there,” adding that the Roques signed a contract specifying poor-quality photos won’t be released. The Roques are seeking the missing images or a refund. They’re set to appear in court on Dec. 7. Squid is just glad to be able to ink Squidself out of photos. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “The era of saying no to housing is coming to an end.” Send Squid a tip: email@example.com
16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY November 2-8, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Green Team As we push for new housing, buildings should be designed to be energy-efficient, healthy and resilient. By Jay Gentry FORUM In addition to the impact of climate change, California is experiencing a housing crisis. In our tri-county area, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments is calling for thousands of new residential units. As homeowners and developers move forward, achieving state-of-the-science performance standards is both possible and important. New buildings (single-family and multi-family) always involve choices based on function, aesthetics and the realities of time and budget. In recent years we have learned how to create buildings that deliver high performance in terms of energy efficiency, healthy indoor air quality and resilience to extreme weather, fire, smoke and power outages. High-performance buildings, combined with electrification, contribute dramatically to the mitigation of climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. They’re also better for the health of the people who live in them. All new buildings in California are required to comply with the Green Building Standards Code known as CALGreen. This is a good thing, encouraging sustainable construction practices. But Passive House protocols go a step further and incorporate a nearly airtight building envelope, climate-specific insulation, and continuous fresh and filtered air, while delivering the world’s highest standard for energy efficiency. Integrating Passive House Standards with CALGreen elevates a building from simply code-compliant to high-performance. Building to Passive House Standards reduces the energy required for heating and cooling by up to 90 percent, increases resilience during hot/cold weather, wildfires and power outages, and dramatically reduces infiltration of allergens and pollutants (including smoke), as well as noise impact from outside. These factors provide occupants with increased comfort, health and safety, while also making homes more resilient to impacts of climate change. I urge developers, property owners and contractors to consider high-performance buildings as the baseline standard for new construction or retrofitting. The cost of designing and building, or retrofitting an existing building to high-performance goals does often involve a small increased investment, generally 2- to 7-percent higher than other buildings. But there are multiple federal, state, and/or utility-provided incentives available that can offset most or all of any increase. In addition, the extreme energy efficiency, increased durability, and lower maintenance needs over the life of a building provide ongoing operational savings. As our communities work to build housing for all income levels to help meet the needs of the housing crisis, it is important and urgent that we incorporate the highest and best design standards to protect the people who will live in those future homes, whether they are single-or multi-family buildings. Jay Gentry serves on the Passive House California board of directors. For more information on Passive House Standards, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit passivehousecal.org. OPINION They’re better for the health of people who live in them.