november 16-22, 2023 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT the region’s housing puzzle 14 | on the dance floor 40 | Thanksgiving wine decisions 46 The City of Gonzales created a Youth Council to give teens a voice in local government. Now other cities are following the model. p. 22 By Celia Jiménez Tomorrow’s Leaders, Today ♥ Shop LOCAL this holiday ♥ season ♥ pg. 30
2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY NOVEMBER 16-22, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com (831) 373-1241 • 2801 Monterey-Salinas Highway, Monterey • www.FentonKeller.com Christopher Panetta Sara Boyns Brian Call Troy Kingshaven John Kesecker Elizabeth Leitzinger Andrew Kreeft Kenneth Kleinkopf Alex Lorca Derric Oliver Carol Hilburn Marco Lucido Gladys Rodriguez-Morales Bradley Levang Ashley Cameron Christopher Long Christopher Nannini Tara Clemens Matthew Ferry Emmanuel Perea Jimenez Molly Steele Cyndi Claxton Of Counsel: Charles Keller ATTORNEYS At Fenton & Keller we are honored to be a part of a community that generously gives time and treasure to a wide variety of outstanding nonprofits dedicated to improving our lives and the community at large. As MCGives embarks on its mission to support the vital nonprofit organizations in Monterey County, we extend our support and heartfelt wishes for resounding success to all participating nonprofits. Your tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to making a difference inspire us. Thank you for the profound impact you create, enriching the lives of many. Together, let’s continue to build a better and more supportive community for all. American Institute of Wine & Food Animal Friends Rescue Project Big Sur Fiddle Camp Big Sur Health Center BirchBark Foundation Boystown USA Carmel Bach Festival Cavalier Petpourri Rescue Community Foundation for Monterey County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Monterey County Doctors Without Borders Girls, Inc. of the Central Coast Hadassah Helen Woodward Animal Shelter Humane Society of the US Humane Society International I Cantori de Carmel KQED Legal Services for Seniors Les Dames d’Escoffier International Lucky Star Cavalier Rescue Max’s Helping Paws M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Monterey County Bar Foundation Monterey Museum of Art Monterey Symphony Pacific Repertory Theatre Paws for Purple Hearts Peace of Mind Dog Rescue Pet Orphans of Southern California St. Andre’s School, Haiti St. Joseph’s Indian School St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital St. Labre Indian School Salvation Army Straydog, Inc. Texas Childrens Hospital The Carmel Foundation Unchained, Inc. US Holocaust Memorial Museum Veterans Cemetery of the Central Coast Veterans Transition Center Wounded Warrior Project FENTON & KELLER IS PROUD TO SUPPORT THESE NONPROFITS
www.montereycountyweekly.com NOVEMBER 16-22, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3 Healthy, how you want it. Where there’s a will, there’s a wave. 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 16-22, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com november 16-22, 2023 • ISSUE #1841 • Established in 1988 Fabio Bullara (Olympus C-765) Winter is here. That’s according to the monarch butterflies that are returning to the monarch sanctuary in Pacific Grove for the overwintering season. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to email@example.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: Aliyah Castillo, a member of the Gonzales Youth Council, speaks to the Gonzales City Council. Other local cities, including Salinas, are now exploring the creation of a youth council or commission. Cover photo: By 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. The fuTure is up To you To donate: mcgives.com/journalism Democracy depends on independent journalism. Producing that journalism requires new resources. Reader revenue and philanthropy are current models to assist news organizations. Your support is vital.
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6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY NOVEMBER 16-22, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH In its first action after selecting a new Speaker (Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana), the House of Representatives voted to pass a resolution, 412-10, expressing solidarity with Israel in the wake of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. On that, both of Monterey County’s representatives—Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley, and Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, voted yes. But when it came to a Nov. 7 vote to censure their colleague Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, both Lofgren and Panetta voted no. (Still, the censure—in essence, a public reprimand— passed by a vote of 234-188, with 22 Democrats voting yes.) Tlaib, the only Palestinian member of Congress, was condemned for her use of the phrase “from the river to the sea,” part of a Palestinian call for statehood that is also part of Hamas’ platform. (She called it “an aspirational call for freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence.”) “Every American has the right to free speech, and Rep. Tlaib’s social media posts are protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution,” Lofgren says by email. “The Republicanled censure resolution was an attempt to score political points. I voted against it on constitutional grounds.” Good: Art Abilities, a local nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities through personalized and adaptive arts programs, has a new, dedicated studio space in Pacific Grove. The organization, founded and led by Ritika Kumar, has received grants from the Arts Council for Monterey County and California Department of Developmental Services enabling the expansion of programs, and also won first prize in the Startup Challenge hosted by CSU Monterey Bay. To celebrate the grand opening of its brick-and-mortar home, Art Abilities hosts a ribbon-cutting at 4:30-6:30pm on Thursday, Nov 16 (220 Country Club Gate Center, Suite 10, Pacific Grove). The opening is free to attend, and programs are open to artists of all abilities—one of Kumar’s goals is to integrate people with and without intellectual disabilities to work creatively side-by-side. GREAT: For the first time in team history, the CSU Monterey Bay men’s soccer squad earned a spot in the NCAA Division II tournament. The announcement came on Monday evening, Nov. 13, following a season of records. With 12 wins, the Otters tied the team’s high mark for a season. They also scored more goals (42) than any previous men’s side, finished the schedule ranked 21 in the nation and advanced to the conference semifinals for the first time ever. On Saturday, Nov. 18 the Otters will face their season nemesis, Cal Poly Pomona in a second round match to open play. The Broncos knocked off the Otters 3-1 during the regular season then ended CSUMB’s conference run 2-1 on Nov. 10. “[We] know they are a good side, but we also know who we are,” said assistant coach Andrew Livingston in a statement. Kickoff is at 6pm at Kellogg Field in Pomona. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The number of veterans in California experiencing homelessness in 2022, a 9-percent decrease from 2020. Source: California Association of Veteran Service Agencies 2023 annual report 10,395 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “This bar does not empty.” -Bar manager Viki Vickers at Monterey Peninsula American Legion Post 41 in Monterey, speaking about the perpetual camaraderie (see story, posted at mcweekly.com). 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 scholze Park (monterey) – mon. november 20th at 10am (English) Prunedale senior center – tue. november 28th at 10:30am (English) and 11:30am (Spanish) king city Library – Fri. december 1st at 9:30am (English) and 10:30am (Spanish) 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! *Take larger quantities—like leftover turkey fryer oil—to your local household hazardous waste collection facility Scrap the drain to protect critical infrastructure and the environment! ClogBusters.org TRASH* Cooking oil and grease GREEN CART Food scraps without a bag RECIPE FOR CLOG-FREE HOLIDAYS • Southern Monterey Bay Dischargers Group ReGen Monterey •
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8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY NOVEMBER 16-22, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 “Every league is different,” explains Renee Penalver, the enthusiastic president of Junior League of Monterey County. It’s the nature of any organization to take on the character of its community. Penalver has experienced this as a Junior League member in Iowa and Texas before coming to Monterey County. “In Iowa, we had 100 active members and 200 alumni,” she says. The local group is smaller by comparison, with about 20 active volunteers and 100 on the alumni roll. “But it’s more diverse here,” Penalver adds, pointing out that the midwestern organization drew a number of women with time to spare. “Our women have full-time jobs, so when meeting we keep in mind their lifestyle,” she says. Her day job is assistant professor of psychology at CSU Monterey Bay. She first joined Junior League as a means to socialize and become part of a community while moving around the country. And volunteering also brings a sense of purpose. Junior League brings women together in order to develop leadership skills that can be important not only in their careers, but also in furthering the work of civic organizations. In other words, it encourages a higher level of community involvement, and provides volunteer muscle to a number of other local nonprofits. The Monterey County chapter—one of 295 around the U.S. and England— has supported local foster programs through the county’s Department of Social Services; provided Christmas baskets for Gathering for Women, a daytime center for homeless women; and hosted monthly birthday parties at Casa de Noche Buena in Seaside, a shelter for families experiencing homelessness; and more. League members were there to help when the Shuman Heart House opened earlier this month, welcoming women and families to the homeless shelter. One of the most valued and popular workshops the nonprofit organized was this year’s “Women in Finance” meetings at the Carmel Woman’s Club. But they also mix fun with education and service. The members dined and watched Barbie together. They also toured a sustainable glass factory. All of this fuels Penalver’s enthusiasm. “My excitement is genuine, and people get excited,” she observes with a laugh. “Women join for different reasons—friendship, to advance their career, to be in the community.” Penalver often reminds members that their involvement presents opportunities to network and to put their skills to use. In her spare time—and one struggles to believe there is much of it—Penalver is a board member for the Child Abuse Prevention Council. Junior League of Monterey County has been going strong since 1963. But the history of one of the oldest volunteer institutions for women reaches back to the turn of the last century. It was 1901 when a 19-year-old Barnard College student and debutante, Mary Harriman Rumsey—sister of the future governor of New York, W. Averell Harriman—founded the first Junior League chapter. Harriman Rumsey was inspired by the settlement movement, a drive to improve the outlook of those trapped in the dismal urban working-class neighborhoods of the era through interaction. The nascent Junior League grew from this spirit of middle- and upperclass women anxious to improve society (Eleanor Roosevelt joined in 1903, also as a 19-year old). Keep in mind that almost two decades passed between the establishment of the Junior League and American women gaining the right to vote, in 1919. Monterey County’s chapter often works with children—speaking to Girl Scout troops on Leadership Day, organizing programs with MY Museum, and more. They also run professional development events for local women. New members are always welcome. The last general meeting of the year takes place Thursday, Nov. 16, from 6-8:30 pm, at the Veterans Transition Center at 220 12th St. in Marina. To learn more about the Junior League of Monterey County, visit montereycounty.jl.org. In the Lead The Junior League of Monterey County helps women take the lead in community activism. By Agata Pop˛eda The women of the Junior League preparing to thow a birthday party at Casa de Noche Buena. Standing: Tymeesa Rutledge, Carleton Mowell, Shannon Kirby. Seated: April Zitlau and Junior League president Renee Penalver. “My excitement is genuine.” TALES FROM THE AREA CODE DANIEL DREIFUSS
www.montereycountyweekly.com November 16-22, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 Wellness Wednesday 20% Off All Skincare on Wednesdays It is time to pamper yourself and the perfect place to do that is at a unique Aveda concept salon and spa. Our Esthetician Alex 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 Two Portola Plaza | Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 649-4511 | Portolahotel.com Indulge in savory holiday favorites like Free Range Diestel Turkey, Maple Glazed Country Ham, Traditional Stuffing, Candied Garnet Yams, Classic Pecan & Pumpkin Pies. Served in the Bonsai Ballroom with David Conley on piano and in the newly refreshed Club Room. ADULTS $89.95 SENIORS $79.95 (65 or older) CHILDREN $39.95 (ages 6-12) Kids under 5 eat free 20% gratuity and tax will be added to all checks Thursday, November 23, 2023 | 1pm to 8pm Pricing & Reservations Reserve your table today! (831) 649-7870 or firstname.lastname@example.org Portola Hotel & Spa
10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 16-22, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com news Of the 9,660 students in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, about 20 percent are defined as homeless. That doesn’t mean they are unhoused, necessarily—some students and their families cram into a single room in a home, for example, or they may be staying in a hotel—but it means that their housing situation is unstable and, most likely, not conducive to schoolwork outside of the classroom. Carlos Diaz, MPUSD’s homeless liaison, says 63 percent of those 1,958 students are based in Seaside, so it seems fitting that the district’s pilot safe parking program will be located there, at the district’s Monterey Adult School on La Salle Avenue. On Nov. 2, Seaside City Council unanimously approved a safe parking facility license for One Starfish Safe Parking and Supportive Services, a nonprofit that operates a handful of such sites, which serve people who are sleeping in their vehicles throughout the Monterey Peninsula. Dorian Manuel, One Starfish’s programs director, expects the program to launch in the next few weeks. It will have room for 20 vehicles, and will have a bathroom and handwashing facilities on site; fencing will screen them from public view, and a security guard will check in the participants at 6:30pm and make periodic check-ins throughout the night until the lot closes at 7am. Diaz says the district currently has 23 students who are either living on the street or in vehicles. MPUSD Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh first brought this idea to MPUSD’s board about a year ago—navigating the permitting process took some time—and he says the program “will be there as long as the need is there.” Safe Haven MPUSD is set to open a safe parking facility for students facing housing challenges. By David Schmalz On Nov. 8, about 50 residents filed into the community room at the Monterey County Regional Fire District’s East Garrison Station with concern on their faces. Seated around a horseshoe of tables were members—resident volunteers—of the East Garrison Community Services District Advisory Committee, as well as a handful of employees with the County of Monterey, which manages the district’s finances. Jessica Cordiero-Martinez, a finance analyst with the county, started off the evening with a mea culpa: “Your concerns are valid, and we’re taking action,” she said.“Ultimately we missed the mark, and we apologize for that.” Residents were concerned about a recent property tax bill that showed an approximate 40-percent increase in charges related to the CSD, which pays for ongoing services, in perpetuity, for things within the district like park maintenance. (One homeowner who shared their bills from fiscal years 2022-23 and 2023-24 showed a jump from $1,586 to $2,218 for that line item.) And that’s on top of homeowner’s association fees, which run about $150 a month, and another fixed fee to pay for the “facilities” at the development, like its roads, sewers and an art park that currently has no art in it. That particular fee doesn’t expire until the bond is paid off in 2056 (though residents are able to pre-pay it, if they choose). Residents, rather than being angry, were for the most part just trying to understand what was going on, because the various taxes and fees East Garrison homeowners pay are wildly complicated. Cordiero-Martinez launched into a presentation trying to explain it all, starting with how the community was financed by Mello-Roos bonds, which were made possible by a 1982 state law that came in the aftermath of Proposition 13, which curtailed the property tax revenue that public agencies in the state came to rely on. Ultimately, Cordiero-Martinez said the county had been collecting more in taxes than it was using for facilities and services, and that it had been using that surplus to reduce taxes for the next year. But this year, county staff decided to use the surplus to start building up a reserve account, though Cordiero-Martinez said the county had reversed course—for this fiscal year, at least—and will once again use the money to reduce the tax hit by an average of $515 per homeowner. “It was a lesson learned for us,” Cordiero-Martinez said, adding that the county will meet with residents every July going forward to discuss the district’s finances. The residents then broke into applause. But bigger questions remain. There’s supposed to be a county sheriff substation at East Garrison (but there isn’t), and the EGCSD currently pays $675,921 in taxes annually to the county for its sheriff contract. Kadidia Cooper, who bought her East Garrison home in 2018, is a chief financial officer for a Marin County nonprofit and even she is befuddled by the tangled web of fees and jurisdictions. She also says that she didn’t learn the development was a MelloRoos district until she was getting her home financed. “We don’t really understand what we’re paying for,” she says. “We have to pay double for the sheriff. We have 1,000 homes here paying general property taxes—why isn’t that sufficient?” East Garrison residents gathered at a Nov. 8 meeting to try and understand the various property taxes associated with their homes. Fine Print Residents of East Garrison are coming to grips with taxes and fees that weren’t part of the sales pitch. By David Schmalz Carlos Diaz, MPUSD’s homeless liaison, says he expects the district to ultimately expand its safe parking program, as the need is great. “We don’t really understand what we’re paying for.” Daniel Dreifuss Daniel Dreifuss
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12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 16-22, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Having just released a draft environmental impact report on planned improvements to the Highway 68 corridor, transportation officials are now hosting a series of public hearings to present their plans and receive feedback from residents. Caltrans and the Transportation Agency for Monterey County have drawn up designs meant to alleviate congestion and improve safety on a nine-mile stretch of the highway linking Salinas to the Monterey Peninsula. The plans revolve around modifying nine intersections between Josselyn Canyon and San Benancio roads—with officials deliberating between converting the signalized intersections into roundabouts, or keeping the signals and expanding the intersections by adding turn lanes that would merge onto the highway. There would also be five new underground culverts that would act as wildlife crossings, taking the total number of culverts along the highway to eight with the goal of reducing traffic collisions with wildlife. While transit officials previously held an open house on the project in July, the new meetings are meant to canvas formal input from the community on its environmental impacts along the scenic route, as well as informal thoughts from residents and commuters on the plans in general, says TAMC principal engineer and project manager Doug Bilse. “We know there’s a call for action because there’s so much congestion and crashes that occur [on Highway 68], but we also have to do it environmentally sensitively,” Bilse says. “It’s a beautiful corridor and we don’t want to ruin what makes it a special place.” In addition to a meeting at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Nov. 15, there will be a Spanishlanguage hearing at the Salinas Police Activities League on Thursday, Nov. 16, and a meeting at the Monterey Conference Center on Wednesday, Dec. 6, that is geared toward the region’s hospitality workforce. All of the hearings take place from 3-7pm. The public can also provide input by phone or email, while TAMC is launching an interactive online map where people can drop a pin on a location and leave comments. The deadline for public comments is Jan. 8; officials hope to finalize the EIR by November 2024, Bilse says. Construction likely won’t commence until early 2028 and is dependent on state grant funding that would supplement $50 million in local Measure X funds. Phase 1 of the improvements would focus on the eastern stretch starting at San Benancio Road. The city councils of Monterey and Pacific Grove have each approved ordinances allowing retail cannabis in the past few weeks, with Monterey best poised to issue business licenses on a faster timeline than its neighbor. Monterey could begin reviewing cannabis license applications as early as Nov. 27. On Nov. 1, Pacific Grove City Council voted 6-0 to approve an ordinance allowing one retail location, as well as delivery services. However, the council must still approve administrative rules governing the businesses and must decide on a selection process to determine which company gets the single retail license. Due to the city’s small size and a 1,000-foot buffer zone around schools and daycare facilities approved by the council, a retail store will be limited to either the upper Forest Hill business district or the industrial area near Asilomar. The City of Monterey had already worked out a selection process ahead of its council’s approval on a 4-1 vote on Nov. 7. Councilmember Ed Smith voted “no,” as he has done in every cannabis-related vote since 2020. “We should not be in the business,” Smith said. The ordinance allows for no more than four retail permits, one in each of four designated areas of the city: the Lighthouse business district; Wave Street near Cannery Row; downtown; and North Fremont Avenue. No cannabis stores would be allowed along Cannery Row or on the streets that lead down from residential neighborhoods into the Lighthouse and Cannery Row areas. In addition, when looking for locations, cannabis businesses will be up against 600-foot buffer zones, as required by state law. Monterey’s ordinance comes back to the council on Tuesday, Nov. 21 for a second reading and to consider a report on retail application permit guidelines and criteria, as well as to update the city’s master fee schedule to include a cannabis license. A 45-day application screening period could begin Nov. 27 and would close on Jan. 11. Road Map Transit officials are seeking public input on Highway 68 corridor improvements. By Rey Mashayekhi news Life Savers Family Service Agency of the Central Coast, which runs various programs including Suicide Prevention Service and the Survivors Healing Center for survivors of sexual abuse, is opening an office in Salinas. Learn more and celebrate this expansion at a ribbon-cutting. 4-6pm Thursday, Nov. 16. Family Service Agency, 945 S. Main St., Suite 103, Salinas. Free. 751-7725, fsa-cc. org. Sea Side Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meets and, as always, accepts public comment. Topics for the day include an update on kelp health and a report from the sanctuary superintendent. 9am-3:30pm Friday, Nov. 17. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing (or virtually). Free. email@example.com, montereybay.noaa.gov/sac/advisory. html. Bird Watch Do you want to improve your birdwatching and identification skills? Join this introduction to seabirding session during the fall migration season to learn the basics of what to look for as birds fly south. 8-11am Saturday, Nov. 18. Rec Trail at Point Pinos, Ocean View Boulevard, Pacific Grove. Free. scollancooper@ yahoo.com, montereyaudubon.org. Spiritual Wisdom Neil Theise is a professor of pathology at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine—and also a longtime student of Zen Buddhism interested in “science-religion dialogue.” He speaks on the topic “A Science of Being—From Wisdom to Compassion,” and signs copies of his book. 10am Sunday, Nov. 19. Center for Spiritual Awakening, 522 Central Ave., Pacific Grove. Free. 372-1942, centerforspiritualawakening.org. Winter is Here The rainy season is starting. Sign up to receive emergency alerts from the County of Monterey to stay up to date on emergencies and hazards. Visit bit.ly/Alertsignups to sign up to receive landline calls, text messages or emails. Free. 755-8969, co.monterey. ca.us. Work in Progress Environmental cleanup on the former Fort Ord is still underway, and the U.S. Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) office is conducting a community survey about the ongoing work. You can read more and respond to the survey online, in English or Spanish. Ongoing. Survey available at fortordcleanup.com. Free. 393-1284. Budding Business Monterey and Pacific Grove are getting closer to allowing retail cannabis stores. By Pam Marino Members of the public listen in at an open house in July to learn about proposed changes to Highway 68, including installing roundabouts to replace traffic lights. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org TOOLBOX “We know there’s a call for action.” Daniel Dreifuss
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14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY November 16-22, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Like Willy Wonka, in the world of California’s cities and counties, a housing plan that’s been certified by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development is as good as a golden ticket—one that means escaping potentially serious consequences like fines, civil penalties and forced development projects. Five cities in Monterey County are poised to win tickets and three cities may be on the cusp. Four cities and the County of Monterey are not so fortunate. The County, Gonzales, Greenfield and King City are hopelessly behind since they have not yet submitted draft plans, called housing elements, to HCD under the state’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation process, which seeks to significantly increase the number of housing units planned for between 2023 and 2031. The deadline to achieve a certified housing element is Dec. 15, which would have required submitting draft elements to HCD several months ago, giving the state agency up to 90 days to review the drafts and send them back for changes necessary to achieve certification. Three cities—Monterey, Sand City and Soledad—submitted their housing elements by early fall and, depending on when they receive comments from HCD, might avoid penalties. Pacific Grove submitted on Nov. 3, and combined with the others that have yet to submit, they cannot make the deadline and will be subject to what’s known as the “Builder’s Remedy,” part of the California Housing Authority Act passed in 1982. The remedy allows a developer to submit plans for a multiunit development, regardless of zoning, where at least 20 percent of units are designated for low-income households or 100 percent are designated for moderate-income households. Under Builder’s Remedy, cities and the county would have limited ability to deny the projects. There is one such project of 105 units reportedly proposed at the mouth of Carmel Valley within unincorporated County of Monterey. There are other consequences for not meeting HCD deadlines, including: a shortened time period to complete necessary rezoning to allow for more units; loss of state funding for things like affordable housing, transportation and infrastructure projects; fines of between $10,000-$100,000 per month; and legal action that includes a court-appointed monitor to bring a housing element into compliance. The five cities on their way to certification are Carmel, Del Rey Oaks, Marina, Salinas and Seaside, but it’s probable none will make the Dec. 15 deadline. They will be eligible for a 120-day grace period, which means they would have until April 15; each has received HCD comments and are working to amend their plans to get certified ahead of the deadline. “I’m not losing any sleep over a nine-page letter,” Carmel Director of Community Development Brandon Swanson says of the HCD comments he received Nov. 1. He likened HCD’s comments to “the state wanting to see more of our work,” or more data and rationalization for how the city is planning for an additional 405 units. Final Exams It’s truth or consequences time for the county and cities facing a tight state housing deadline. By Pam Marino Carmel is planning for 405 units—the 349 required by the state, plus 56 as a buffer, in case some are rejected. The Vesuvio building (above) was identified as one possible location for new housing. NEWS There are consequences for not meeting HCD deadlines. DANIEL DREIFUSS 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
www.montereycountyweekly.com November 16-22, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 15 The candidate filing period for the 2024 primary elections only officially opened on Monday, Nov. 13, but local voters already have a sense of who will be running to represent them on the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. While three of the board’s five seats are up for grabs on March 5, two of those seats—held by District 1 Supervisor Luis Alejo and District 4 Supervisor Wendy Root Askew—so far remain uncontested by any challengers. In District 5, incumbent Mary Adams has already announced her plans to retire, leaving the seat wide open. Three candidates have so far launched campaigns to succeed Adams: Monterey County Planning Commissioner (and Adams’ former chief of staff) Kate Daniels; Monterey City Councilmember Alan Haffa; and Bill Lipe, an agricultural businessman and water policy advocate. Both Daniels and Haffa announced their bids in May, while Lipe followed suit in September. If no candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote in the primary, the top two vote-getters will go to November 2024’s general election. Upon launching her campaign, Daniels unveiled a broad set of endorsements from elected officials— including four sitting county supervisors—and has gained a heavy fundraising advantage, with over $160,000 raised in the first six months of 2023, per her most recent fundraising disclosure. Haffa, an English professor at Monterey Peninsula College, has secured endorsements from local city councilmembers and school board officials, and raised $15,000 through the first six months of the year, per fundraising records. (Lipe’s endorsements were not publicly available, and he’s yet to file a fundraising disclosure.) While declining to provide specifics on her fundraising totals in the second half of this year, Daniels says they will likely be significantly less than the $160,000 she previously reported. “Fundraising takes a lot of time. My focus has really been on connecting with voters,” she says. “I don’t expect I’m going to have some tremendous [disclosure] at the end of December. I’ll continue to meet as many people as I can, and raise money as we go.” Haffa and Lipe did not return requests for comment. A lack of announced challengers has not prevented either Alejo or Askew from continuing to raise campaign funds. Alejo raised more than $56,000 in the first half of the year, bringing his total campaign funds on hand to nearly $242,000. Askew raised more than $152,000 in that period, taking her total funds to just over $167,000. Askew says she anticipates reporting around $200,000 in total cash raised come her year-end campaign finance disclosure. “I have to be prepared to launch a campaign—we just don’t know against who at this point,” says the first-term supervisor. To that end, Askew is celebrating her birthday with a fundraiser on Sunday, Nov. 19, at the Joby Aviation facility in Marina. More candidates could still come into the fold. The deadline to file is Dec. 8, and in District 5, where no incumbent is running, it’s Dec. 13. Off to the Races The field is shaping up for the Board of Supervisors primary election in March. By Rey Mashayekhi Supervisor Mary Adams is retiring after two terms representing District 5. She has endorsed her former staffer, Kate Daniels, to replace her. NEWS “I have to be prepared to launch a campaign.” DANIEL DREIFUSS
16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY NOVEMBER 16-22, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com MC GIVES Over 20 years ago, a group of moms wanted to give the next generation tools to empower themselves and succeed, inside and outside the classroom. They were fueled by an increasing teen pregnancy rate and a lack of resources at school. “[These women] really wanted to make a difference in the lives of other young women,” says Elizabeth Contreras, now the deputy director of what became Girls Inc. They launched the all-volunteer effort with about a dozen girls at Alisal High School in 1999. In 2003, they formalized the project as a member of Girls, Inc., an international organization since 1864. Little by little it expanded to other regions of Monterey County and beyond, into Watsonville and Hollister. Now, Girls Inc. of the Central Coast serves over 1,200 girls, ages 8 to 18, in 40 schools in the region. “We are not here to tell them what’s right and what’s wrong,” Contreras says. The emphasis is instead on providing information so they can make their own choices. Programs are still focused on the original organizing principles of empowering girls to chart their own future, focusing on an array of topics from mental and physical health to handling stress, career path planning, resume writing and more. At the Friendly PEERsuasion program during the summer, participants learn communication skills, decision-making and how to handle peer pressure. A parent-daughter program invites elders—older siblings, parents, grandparents or other adult caregivers—to a communication workshop. Contreras has been with Girls Inc. since 2002 and has seen firsthand how girls involved in the program have flourished. Roxana Javier, a Girls Inc. program facilitator who participated in the programs herself, says she found her voice when she started attending. “I was super, super shy,” she says, but she found confidence in public speaking and networking. Contreras says the work they do provides girls with skills they can use to build their future—starting with dreaming about what is possible, a skill that is especially important to share with girls from under-resourced communities. “If you don’t know how to get somewhere, then you’re not going to get where you want to go,” she says. DANIEL DREIFUSS Girl Power Nonprofit Girls Inc. envisions a generation of women who started shaping their own futures as kids. By Celia Jiménez Participants in an ice-breaker activity at an after-school program with Girls Inc. at Everett Alvarez High in Salinas, before hearing from a speaker on college opportunities. How to Donate Go to www.mcgives.com and click the Donate button. Bay Area Guest Artists 2 Shows: SAT DEC 17 7:00 PM SUN DEC 18 2:00 PM Performed at Santa Catalina School Performing Arts Center Tickets Adults - $18 Senior/Military/Student - $15 Children 12 & under - $12 Special kids rate : 2 for $12.00 Available At: Bookmark - 307 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove Thinker Toys - 480 Del Monte Shopping Center, Monterey (cash or checks at these venues only) Tickets also available online at www.balletfantasque.org General Info: 372-0388 A Non-Profit Co. This program is made possible in part by a grant from the Arts Council for Monterey County through funding from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, Yellow Brick Road and the Microsoft Match Giving Program. Performed at Santa Catalina School Performing Arts Center Tickets Now On Sale at Bookmark Music - 307 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove (Cash or check only at this venue) Tickets also online at www.balletfantasque.org General Info: 831-372-0388 A NoN-ProFIT Co. This program is made possible in part by a grant from the Microsoft Matching Gifts Program, local businesses and individual donors. Bay Area Guest Artists 2 Shows Sat. Dec 16 7pm Sun. Dec 17 2pm Tickets Adults $18 Senior/Military/Student $15 Children 12 & under $12 Special Kids Rate 2 for $12 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. A public meeting is being held to provide an opportunity to hear from our community. This meeting will take place on: Friday November 17, 2023, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at the Community Room, Marina Library, 190 Seaside Cir., Marina, CA 93933 Or via Zoom: https://tinyurl.com/dywmcr6z Passcode: 588333 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
www.montereycountyweekly.com NOVEMBER 16-22, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 17 Goodwill Central Coast builds lives, families and communities by helping people with employment needs become successful, supported by innovative enterprises that preserve earth’s resources. BY GIVING BACK COUNT YOUR BLESSING The true meaning of Thanksgiving is right in the name! Let’s give thanks for all we have, while turning hope into reality for others Share the love. Your donation to Goodwill helps empower others to build a brighter future through life-changing employment. Meals on Wheels of the Salinas Valley, Inc. We provide more than just a meal… Nourishing & Nurturing Seniors Since 1972 Donate: montereycountygives.com/mows
18 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 16-22, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Buffer Zone A 5-percent reduction of “priority pesticides” in [the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s] five-year-plan disregards the communities living near agricultural fields throughout Monterey County (“Local advocates push state and local regulators harder on pesticide restrictions,” Nov. 9-15). Immigrant farm families make up the majority of the workforce in those fields. There is also another issue: No warning signs or alerts before spraying the fields (another one of Safe Ag Safe Schools’ goals). Children could be outside in a physical education class or eating lunch on picnic tables. We know that any exposure to a carcinogenic pesticide will negatively affect a child’s development in their formative years. I side with the organizer of Safe Ag Safe Schools, Yanely Martinez, that this is an environmentally racist policy. All communities living near agricultural production face these externalities, but the most vulnerable members of our society must be protected too. Lidia Villagomez | Castroville Swimming Upstream In the summer months, our Carmel River Steelhead Association rescues steelhead fry in the Carmel River as it dries up due to over-pumping for habitation and golf-course usage (“Fall is the season to count and tag juvenile steelhead on the Carmel River. This year was a good one, but the species remains in decline,” Nov. 9-15). Using electroshock, we stun the fry, scoop them up and relocate them to the lagoon where they can thrive. We also hand-carry older steelhead over the sandbar and release them in the sea. Without those efforts, it’s likely the steelhead would have already been done in. It’s a great thrill to carry a large steelhead from the lagoon and release it to the sea. We should implement more water conservation using dryscape for large sections of golf courses and housing landscapes to assist in this effort. Walter Wagner | Salinas Place Based Right in my backyard (“Big Sur Land Trust acquires the 5,105-acre Basin Ranch,” posted Nov. 7). Thank you Big Sur Land Trust. You are the best!! Maren Elwood | Carmel Valley Fantastic. Donna Jean Brown | via social media This makes me so happy! Susannah Cernojevich | Washington, D.C. This area is already packed with public and nonprofit-owned lands and the few remaining small cattle ranchers will be even further priced out if all the suitable grazing land is purchased for wildlife habitat. Wayne Stevenson | via social media Our community is incredibly fortunate to have the Big Sur Land Trust working behind the scenes to help make these types of acquisitions possible. A big thank you and job well done to all those involved. Derek Dean | Monterey Opportunity Knocking “When we ensure that every member of our community has equal access to economic opportunities, we not only foster prosperity but also cultivate a stronger, more resilient and united community, where everyone can thrive.” Not going to happen (“A foundation aims to change the way economic development works by empowering community leaders in Salinas,” Nov. 9-15). There is no socio-economic system that can provide “equal access to economic opportunities.” No matter where society sets the bar of opportunity, it will still be too high for some to leap over. There will always be a need for caregiving institutions to lift some over the opportunity bar through social programs that make essential goods and services accessible and affordable to those who can’t or even won’t leap over that bar. S. Duane Stratton | Monterey Finding the Way These people are insane. We live in the real world (“Are Carmel’s days numbered? City to debate adding house addresses,” posted Nov. 6). The people who serve Carmel are the ones who get screwed by the no addresses. I’m a delivery driver and I don’t take orders to Carmel because I can’t reliably tell where I’m actually delivering to. I’d love to take those orders, but it’s just not practical. But forget food delivery: ambulance drivers, emergency [responders], banks all need real addresses. But they’re not going to do it because of some intangible notion that they’re special or cozy?! Grow up! Frederick Jack Nelson | Seaside Curtain Rising I loved attending shows there growing up, and performed in my first show there (well, first outside of school production). Happy to see that it will be open and used again! (“After 20 years, California’s First Theatre in Monterey is a functioning venue again,” Nov. 2-8.) Stacy Wilmoth Koleszar | Salinas I used to go see shows with my elementary school class. Still remember it fondly. Noriko Ellen Okamoto | via social media We used to have such a great, fun time at California’s First Theatre. Such fun to have the melodramas, music and throwing peanut shells at the villain! David Finley | via social media Right and Left and Center I totally disagree with Sally Mayes (“Letters, Nov. 8-15). The media outlets that preach hate are from the right wing, totally behind a wannabe fascist dictator, Donald Trump: OAN, News Max, and especially Fox News. They are transphobic, homophobic, racist, anti-science. Sorry, Sally. If you don’t like it, tough cookies for you! You have the constitutional right to listen and watch un-American ideas on phony news outlets! In the meantime, kudos to Monterey County Weekly for telling the truth about matters. LD Freitas | Aptos 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 16-22, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 19 For many people, this is the time of year to trade recipes (some very committed home cooks even practice them ahead), determine just how many potatoes you need to serve a crowd and read up on how to roast a turkey without drying it out. For many other people, it’s a season of poignant awareness of that which they do not have— the ability to sit around a table and host a big feast. Celebrating Thanksgiving in the classic American way (along with other holidays) requires resources. For those who don’t have the ability to shop for groceries and cook, or go out to a restaurant, or order in, throngs of volunteers step up to share the spirit of the season. For a feast hosted by The Angel Project in Carmel Valley, Darrell Richards will start by preparing a butter with herbs and spices to rub under the skin of some two-dozen turkeys to marinate them overnight. He’ll butterfly those turkeys, removing the spines to help them roast faster. And by the time a small army of volunteers arrives to help prepare a meal for up to 450 in the kitchen of Sanctuary Bible Church in Carmel Valley, he says it will be relatively repetitive work on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 20-21, in preparation for the meal on Wednesday, Nov. 22. Roast, cool, carve, repeat. Richards, now a leak detection specialist, has experience in professional kitchens, hence he is in charge of the turkey preparation. He’s also a member of the Carmel Valley Kiwanis Club, which is responsible for the food prep, cooking, service and cleanup at this year’s Angel Project Thanksgiving meal, followed by delivery of about 85 meals to residents of the low-income Rippling River housing community. “It’s just one of those things I am going to do because I know it needs to be done and I can do it,” Richards says. There was a time, many years ago, that Richards was recently separated and new to Carmel Valley. Money was lean and Christmas was coming. He just happened to stop into the Angel Project’s store, where he got connected to food for the holiday and gifts for his two children. Seemingly simple things, but for his family during lean times, it made a world of difference. “They helped me out a tremendous amount,” Richards says. “It was just really special.” Massive meal preparation and service on this scale takes coordination, and organizations like local Kiwanis clubs are experienced in that. The Carmel Valley Kiwanis Club recently grilled burgers and brats for 500 people at a Porsche Club event; Thanksgiving for 400plus is in their wheelhouse. Still, board member Alan Crockett says, when the Angel Project first called about Thanksgiving three years ago, some members were a little bit skeptical: “It was like, are you kidding, 400-plus meals?” The concept has evolved, Crockett says, “from meal to feast.” That means bigger portions of course, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday. “We want to make sure people are stuffed,” Crockett says. It also means from-scratch preparation—you will find no cans here, but you will find contributions from celebrated local chefs like Tim Wood (stuffing), Todd Fisher (gravy and mashed potatoes) and the Hacienda’s catering arm (green beans). The Kiwanians and fellow volunteers, including local high school students, are on for the turkeys and cranberry sauce that yes, starts with raw cranberries. Meanwhile, the Monterey Kiwanis Club is keeping up its pandemic-era tradition of a drive-thru Thanksgiving meal, offered in partnership with the Food Bank for Monterey County and the City of Monterey. (Prepandemic, it was a sit-down meal at the Fairgrounds.) They plan to distribute 1,000 meal kits on Wednesday, Nov. 22—of those, 600 are portioned for six to eight people. Fire departments from Marina, Seaside and Monterey will follow with 35 deliveries to homebound residents. People signed up right away when the drive-thru was announced, says Monterey Recreation Manager Shannon Leon. “It filled within 24 hours this year, the fastest it has ever happened,” she says. “The economy is still a huge factor.” A decadent dinner may feel like a simple thing when you’re in a position to prepare one. For those who are not, hundreds of volunteers will be prepping and cooking for days to make this simple thing available to all. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Seats at the Table Volunteers strive to make holiday feasts accessible to all. By Sara Rubin Churn and Burn…Maybe it’s the ink-producing powers of cephalopods that gives Squid a bias for good, old-fashioned print newspapers. Maybe it’s Squid’s dedicated column here in the Weekly that gives Squid a bias for this particular paper. But Squid tends to think: The more the merrier—there are simply too many stories for any local outlet to keep up with, with a dozen cities, 24 school districts, an agriculture industry worth over $8 billion and so on. So even though it’s a competitor, Squid was happy to see The Salinas Californian had rehired at least one local staffer after a period of its Salinas office going totally dark. Manasa Gogineni debuted with a Sept. 24 listicle titled, “Fall is here! Here are 10 ways to embrace the season in Salinas.” The fall season isn’t even over, and Gogineni is already gone. (Folks at Gannett, the paper’s corporate overlord, assure Squid’s colleague they plan to hire a replacement and “our commitment to The Californian and the Salinas community is unwavering.”) According to LinkedIn, Gogineni is now an associate investment analyst at GQG Partners, which describes itself as a “boutique” equity firm. It’s no secret that private equity has a track record of wrecking the American newspaper business, but swallowing up journalists whole? Gulp. Fee Lunch…Squid’s never been to the moon, but Squid’s been to East Garrison. On the surface, they may not seem to have much in common—the moon is in space, and is barren, lifeless and cratered and whatnot—but the housing development in the northeast of the former Fort Ord has a distinctly lunar vibe. That’s in large part because it’s in the middle of nowhere—it has no “If you lived here, you’d be home” signs, because the only people who would see them are already home. Recently, residents have been asking questions about all the fees tacked on to their property tax bills that come as a result of the development being financed by bonds that gave the developer upfront capital to build out the nascent community’s infrastructure (see story, p. 10). There’s an art park with pedestals for sculptures, but no sculptures. There’s a snack bar that’s been used once in eight years, and there are dozens of striped parking spaces along Ord Avenue that will someday be used for…something? And in the documents for a recent residents’ meeting discussing the fees in the development—which is managed by a turducken of public and private bureaucracies—Squid noted that one project that was recently completed, replacing the American flag, included this note at the end of the line item: “Due to the East Garrison high winds the flag will continuously need replacing.” So maybe there were once “If you lived here” signs, but they blew off to find a more hospitable home. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “We want to make sure people are stuffed.” Send Squid a tip: email@example.com