november 23-29, 2023 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT Condors Fly Free 12 | On Alert 14 | holiday spirit 38 | The Art of Charcuterie 48 David Cushing Fuess’ portraits of artists, healers and old-timers, some taken 50 years ago now, preserve a certain time in the Monterey Peninsula’s history. p. 26 By Tajha Chappellet-Lanier Bird’s-Eye View ♥ Shop LOCAL this holiday ♥ season ♥ p. 34

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY NOVEMBER 23-29, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE PROBLEM THE SOLUTION

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www.montereycountyweekly.com NOVEMBER 23-29, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 “ 240 San Jose Street, Salinas | SalinasValleyHealth.com/mammography To make an appointment at our Salinas Valley Health Nancy Ausonio Breast Health Center, please call 831-759-3091. I’m grateful to the staff at the Nancy Ausonio Breast Health Center for early detection and wonderful, compassionate care. I’m also thankful to the surgeon, oncologist, nurses, technicians and staff at Salinas Valley Health Cancer Care for taking such great care of me. Mylene Peralta, RN Breast Cancer Survivor

6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 23-29, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com november 23-29, 2023 • ISSUE #1842 • Established in 1988 Holly Haynes (iPhone 13) A sand artist at work during low tide on Carmel Beach. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@mcweekly.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: David Cushing Fuess got a job at the Carmel Pine Cone in 1975, shortly after moving to Carmel. His collection of portraits, some now 50 years old, began as photos to accompany the stories he was writing—feature stories about artists, healers, old-timers and other local characters. 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 bradley@mcweekly.com (x103) Publisher Erik Cushman erik@mcweekly.com (x125) Editorial editor Sara Rubin sara@mcweekly.com (x120) features editor Dave Faries dfaries@mcweekly.com (x110) associate editor Tajha Chappellet-Lanier tajha@mcweekly.com (x135) Staff Writer Celia Jiménez celia@mcweekly.com (x145) Staff Writer Pam Marino pam@mcweekly.com (x106) Staff Writer Rey Mashayekhi rey@mcweekly.com (x102) Staff Writer Agata Pope¸da (x138) aga@mcweekly.com Staff Writer David Schmalz david@mcweekly.com (x104) Staff photographer Daniel Dreifuss daniel@mcweekly.com (x140) MONTEREY COUNTY NOW PRODUCER Sloan Campi sloan@mcweekly.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 karen@mcweekly.com (x108) Graphic Designer Kevin Jewell kevinj@mcweekly.com (x114) Graphic Designer Alexis Estrada alexis@mcweekly.com (x114) Graphic Designer Lani Headley lani@mcweekly.com (x114) SALES senior Sales Executive Diane Glim diane@mcweekly.com (x124) Senior Sales Executive George Kassal george@mcweekly.com (x122) Senior Sales Executive Keith Bruecker keith@mcweekly.com (x118) Classifieds business development director Keely Richter keely@mcweekly.com (x123) Digital Director of Digital Media Kevin Smith kevin@mcweekly.com (x119) Distribution Distribution AT Arts Co. atartsco@gmail.com Distribution Control Harry Neal Business/Front Office Office Manager Linda Maceira linda@mcweekly.com (x101) Bookkeeping Rochelle Trawick rochelle@mcweekly.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.

www.montereycountyweekly.com NOVEMBER 23-29, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 Swing into 2024 Register for your 2024 Annual Pass www.bbhgolf.com/2024_annual_passes 1 McCLURE WAY, SEASIDE 831.899.7271 BayonetBlackHorse.com • $54 Green Fee Monday - Thursday • $84 Green Fee Friday - Sunday • Reduced Cart Rental Fee - $15 • 30 Minute Early Access to Twilight Times • Up to 7 Guests at Discounted Rate • 20% off Apparel and 10% off Golf Clubs • 20% off Food in the Restaurant COMPLIMENTARY • Member Jacket • 1 Free Round of Golf ASSOCIATE PASSHOLDER PERFECT FOR THE FREQUENT GOLFER • Unlimited Golf and Range Balls • Reduced Cart Rental Fee - $20 • Earn Rewards Towards Free Cart • Up to 7 Guests at Discounted Rate • 20% off Apparel • Access To Players Club Tournaments • Free 1-Hr. Private lesson or Club Fitting COMPLIMENTARY • Member Jacket • NCGA Membership EXECUTIVE PASSHOLDER PERFECT FOR THE EVERYDAY GOLFER NEW PASSHOLDER: $625 Annual Fee MONTHLY DUES: $500 Single and $700 with Spouse NEW PASSHOLDER: $550 Annual Fee and $700 with Spouse

8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY November 23-29, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH The Ralph M. Brown Act governs public meetings in California, requiring most topics to be discussed in open session, with a few exceptions. On Aug. 11, the board of Carmel Unified School District met in closed session and voted 3-2 to approve a separation agreement with former superintendent Ted Knight. He resigned and agreed to drop all claims against the district— including a civil rights complaint and a pending lawsuit—and was paid $770,000 by the district. A new lawsuit filed against the district by a CUSD parent, Christine Davi (who also works as the city attorney for the City of Monterey), alleges the closed-session agreement violates the Brown Act and the terms of the payout violate other sections of government code, which sets a pay cap for government officials. She claims Knight was illegally overpaid by $524,480. Davi is also asking the district to comply with the Brown Act going forward by more clearly labeling its closed-session discussions on public agendas. CUSD has not yet filed a response, and Interim Superintendent Sharon Ofek notes the deadline to do so is in December. Good: It took a bit of work that included a reset, but two businesses in Pacific Grove were awarded the first-ever Businesses Serving Minority and Women Program grants by the P.G. Economic Development Commission on Nov. 9. M8 Wellness Studio and Lucy’s on Lighthouse Restaurant each received $10,000 after a competitive process. Originally, the EDC created the grant program to benefit businesses run by women or minorities, but after someone complained it was discriminatory, a review by the city’s legal team determined that because the money was from a city instead of a nonprofit, it would be subject to scrutiny under the U.S. Constitution. The grant was opened to all businesses and four more applied, bringing the total applications to 19. An EDC subcommittee reviewed and scored the applications. Their recommendation was approved by the P.G. City Council. GREAT: Although Joby Aviation’s big factory is going to be built in Ohio, not California, there is great news for the emerging aeronautics technology sector’s future in Monterey County with news that Joby will expand significantly at the Marina Airport. On Nov. 16, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) approved a $9.8 million California Competes grant to Joby to support expansion in the state, including 690 new jobs, most of them in Marina. Joby plans to invest an additional $41.3 million in California. “We’re honored to receive a prestigious CalCompetes grant to support pilot training and the growth of our manufacturing facilities,” JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, said in a statement. The company makes electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial passengers, sometimes referred to as flying cars. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY Thanksgiving meal kits distributed by the Food Bank for Monterey County since Monday, Nov. 20. Half are pozole kits; half are traditional turkey meals with sides like mashed potatoes, green beans and gravy. Source: Food Bank for Monterey County 50,000 “We strongly disagree with this lack of transparency.” QUOTE OF THE WEEK -Lisa Brazil of the California School Employees Association, speaking to the Carmel Unified School District board on Nov. 15 before the board met in closed session to consider hiring a superintendent. They opted not to appoint and instead make a plan for public input (mcweekly.com). HISTORIC DOWNTOWN MONTEREY SPONSORS OldMonterey.org (831) 655-8070 Join us by Candlelight FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1 5:00 PM Colton Hall Lawn 570 Pacific St. Monterey SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY Shop & Dine Downtown Monterey! SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25

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10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY November 23-29, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 Navigating the school system and feeling a sense of belonging on campus can be a drag, particularly for those students stepping into an unfamiliar culture or distant location. The experience can be overwhelming, and many times their studies suffer. “We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re alone going through the struggle, because we’re all going through that,” says Betsi Solis, a CSU Monterey Bay graduate who admits to struggling when she moved from Los Angeles to Monterey County with a full-ride scholarship. “It was a huge culture shock. I didn’t know anyone and my grades slipped.” At the time, Solis found it difficult to manage coursework and expenses, and was afraid of losing her financial aid. “Had I had someone here on campus to guide me, I think it would have been a little bit easier,” she says. Solis is now a co-director of El Centro, a hub at CSUMB that brings Latine students together and provides resources and support when they are struggling, both academically and emotionally. El Centro started during the spring of 2023, doing pop-ups and outreach at different school events. “We want to be Latinx-producing and Latinx-serving,” explains Suzanne García-Mateus, an El Centro co-director, speaking of the university as a whole. “What that means is creating spaces like El Centro, where students have a sense of belonging, students know where the resources are on campus, and more importantly, know how to access them.” The goal is to make students feel welcome on their campus and increase graduation and retention rates among the Latine population. Like Latinx, Latine is an encompassing word, embracing a group of people of multiple gender identities. The idea—being encompassing—applies to El Centro in other ways too. It is led by Latine faculty, staff and students. All them come from different Latin American roots, including Salvadorian, Guatemalan, Mexican, Chicanx and Panamanian. This semester, El Centro has a physical space decorated with the flags of many nations. CSUMB has long been recognized for its efforts to attract and support Hispanic and Latine students. Almost half of the student body—46 percent—identify as Latine. (With more than 25-percent Latine enrollment, it is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic Serving Institution.) The school has many programs to help students, such as Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, TRIO Student Support Services and the College Assistance Migrant Program. What sets El Centro apart is that many other services have eligibility requirements, geared toward low-income, first-generation or migrant students. But any Latine student can use El Centro. The hub offers workshops like Spanish tutoring, resume building and financial literacy. It helps students to develop their educational and emotional skills in order to succeed inside and outside the classroom. For Guadalupe Barragan, an El Centro student coordinator, the center is a safe space to take a break between classes. Barragan says she feels empowered every time she helps fellow students find resources on campus and wants them to know that “there’s a space for you, there are events that are hosted around your culture. We want you to feel comfortable to come to us.” El Centro also offers cultural events. In October, they set up a Day of the Dead altar. Students and staff bond over language, shared experiences and food. El Centro has offered conchas and coffee, a taco block party and, on Nov. 30, will host a poetry and pozole event. In its first year, El Centro has done well attracting local and international students. Now the goal is to advocate for increased diversity of CSUMB faculty. García-Mateus encountered her first Latine teacher when she enrolled in a required course and ended up making the subject—English literature—her major. García-Mateus notes that this wasn’t a coincidence. “I think it was because I finally saw someone like me,” she says. Life Support El Centro is a hub at CSUMB dedicated to helping Latine students on their educational voyage. By Celia Jiménez Students Gerson Orella Prudencio and Lara Arias—an international student—as well as faculty coordinators Kenny Garcia, Suzanne García-Mateus and Betsi Solis are all part of the team that supports Latine and Chicanx students at CSU Monterey Bay. “I didn’t know anyone and my grades slipped.” TALeS From THe AreA CoDe DANIEL DREIFUSS Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at MPCC! Feeling for our Members, Board of Directors & Volunteers and their efforts to make the Monterey County business community so vibrant! thankful

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12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 23-29, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com news Until recently, it’s been a tough few years for California condors. The Dolan Fire, which burned over 128,000 acres in Big Sur in 2020, caused the death of 12 condors. This spring saw the emergence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, aka HPAI, which spread rapidly among the Arizona-Utah flock, killing more than 20. But the Central Coast flock has thus far dodged the virus, and vaccines are being administered to condors raised in captivity. The nonprofit Ventana Wildlife Society is set to release 10 of them in the coming weeks—five on Nov. 28 and another five on Dec. 12—which will bring the flock’s total number to 101, which is where it was at when the Dolan Fire was ignited. The releases can be viewed by registering on the nonprofit’s website (ventanaws.org), and they offer anyone with an internet connection and time to spare the opportunity to see the moment a baby condor finds its wings. Of the 10 condors soon to be released, three are from the Los Angeles Zoo and seven are from the Oregon Zoo. Joe Burnett, VWS’ senior biologist, says which birds fly on Nov. 28 will be the first five to walk into the release chamber, and they’ll take flight of their own volition. None of the condors are yet named, he adds—their personalities are only just starting to show. This year has also seen four condor nests on the Central Coast—two in Pinnacles, two in Big Sur—and four chicks have fledged. The highest number of fledges in the flock since VWS has been tracking it is five. The release will start with an hour-long presentation, and the condors will start taking flight around 10am, weather permitting. Taking Flight Ventana Wildlife Society’s condor releases are a window into a species’ resurgence. By David Schmalz The floodwaters in Pajaro have long since receded, and state and federal officials gathered in Watsonville on Nov. 21 to announce progress on infrastructure improvements to the Pajaro River levee to prevent future flooding. But the impacts are still being felt by some residents. Farmworkers found their income diminished due to flooded fields. “The season was really bad—the biggest check was $600,” Fabiana, a Pajaro resident and farmworker who declined to give her last name, says in Spanish, noting many workdays were under eight hours. She is part of a close-knit community of about 80 people, many of them multigenerational families, living in apartments at 29 San Juan Road, who received tenancy termination notices on Oct. 20 from landlord Rose Rental LLC, giving them 60 days to vacate. On Sept. 28, the property owners (Joseph, Maria de Luz and Edward J. Nunez) received an administrative citation from the Monterey County Department of Housing and Community Development for violations in all 15 units, including lack of heating, non-operational windows, missing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and a roach infestation. They red-tagged one unit, Apartment P. Most of the units are office spaces converted into housing units without permits, county officials say. The landlords have options to either bring the units up to code or demolish them. If the Nunezes don’t fix the violations by Dec. 7, fines will pile up starting with $100 the first day, $500 the second, and $1,000 on each additional day. “We don’t have much control over the tenant-landlord relationships. We’re just out there making sure that housing is safe to live in,” says Craig Spencer, interim director of HCD. The situation leaves tenants in a bind. The notices indicate the last day to vacate is Dec. 20, but if they leave by Nov. 20, they will receive two months’ rent. Still, residents say finding a place to live is challenging and prices for available units are at least $1,000 more than what they currently pay. “I was cleaning my car to sleep there,” says Rocio Morando, a mother of three. Estela García lives in a two-bedroom apartment with her dad, her brother and his family (five total), and her son. They pay $2,350 per month and have lived there for a decade. “We don’t have resources to pay a deposit and pay rent,” she says, noting they’ve found homes for $3,500/month, but don’t have the $7,000 needed for first month’s rent and a deposit. García says with strawberry season over, only her brother is working part-time. A coalition of nonprofits has stepped in to assist, including Community Bridges, Raíces y Cariño, Legal Services for Seniors and more. “[The Nunezes] have knowingly been renting uninhabitable units to low-income farmworkers and have been exploiting the realities of how hard it is to find affordable housing in our community,” says Raymon Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges. In a statement, the Nunezes said: “Rose Rentals and the Nunez Family are committed to helping the families at 29 San Juan Road transition.” Community Bridges has raised $63,000 to help the tenants with rent, deposits or hotels. That includes a $50,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Monterey County, and $13,000 from over 100 donors via a GoFundMe campaign. A committee of tenants in the apartments on San Juan Road working with nonprofits has pledged to split money raised equally among all 15 apartments. On the Street Dozens of Pajaro residents facing eviction during the holiday season organize and fundraise. By Celia Jiménez Jade, seen here along the coast of Big Sur, hatched in the wild this past March and took its first flight in September. “I was cleaning my car to sleep there.” celia jiménez Joe Burnett

www.montereycountyweekly.com NOVEMBER 23-29, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 Donate to provide quality mental health services for our children. montereycountygives.com/five Give the gift of a promising future. Donate to provide quality mental health services for our children. montereycountygives.com/five Give the gift of a promising future.

14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 23-29, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Thousands of Monterey County residents can expect their mobile phones to be abuzz with emergency alert tests in the coming weeks, as the County of Monterey trials a new alert and warning system. The Department of Emergency Management will commence a series of alert tests across select areas of the county beginning Monday, Nov. 27, and continuing through Dec. 7. They are meant to test the effectiveness of a new alert and warning system from Genasys Inc., which would replace the county’s existing alert infrastructure provided by Everbridge Inc. The first areas to be tested will be in Moss Landing and at CSU Monterey Bay’s campus on Nov. 27, followed by areas of San Ardo and Carmel Valley on Tuesday, Nov. 28. The community of Pajaro will be next on Nov. 30, while last will be a part of the city of Monterey—south of North Fremont Street, between highways 68 and 218— on Thursday, Dec. 7. All of the tests will commence at 10am, and will disseminate information in both English and Spanish. The alerts will vary across the system’s capabilities, ranging from SMS text messages and desktop notifications to geo-targeted “Reverse 911” phone calls and pop-up wireless emergency alerts akin to AMBER alerts. Kelsey Scanlon, director of the Department of Emergency Management, says the tests are designed to span a range of population sizes and geographies, to help officials better understand how specifically they can target notifications—from evacuation zones spanning a few blocks to entire communities. “We’re curious about how granular we can get,” Scanlon notes. “We have the ability to alert the entire county, that’s a no-brainer. What I’m curious about is, if I wanted to alert the community of Pajaro and not the city of Watsonville, can we conceivably do that?” County officials say the move to a new alert system was motivated by Everbridge raising its pricing for its software, which currently costs around $90,000 annually. They note that the new Genasys system will cost no more than that and promises better functionality, including more seamless integration with the county’s online mapping system. The public is also invited to participate in surveys that will be embedded in the alerts, to help county officials better determine the new system’s effectiveness. To sign up, text MCTEST to 65513. For more information, visit alertmry.org/exercise. In the immediate aftermath of a sewage spill at Carmel Valley Ranch on Aug. 6 and then another on Aug. 16, California American Water officials were out on the scene right away, seeking to contain the overflow. Paperwork moves much slower. Months later, in response to a notice of violation issued on Oct. 26 by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, Cal Am has filed a technical report explaining what the utility believes happened. “The overflow incidents occurred as a result of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) blockages in the collection line, causing untreated domestic wastewater (sewage) discharging into several nearby storm drains that lead to the Carmel Valley River,” according to Cal Am’s Nov. 15 response. “The effort to unblock the collection line during the first incident was not completely successful, resulting in the second spill.” According to the water board’s findings, “Due to the proximity of the storm drain to the manhole and the County [Environmental Health Bureau of the Monterey County Health Department]’s observation that sandbags were not effective in stopping the overflow from entering the storm drain, Central Coast Water Board staff assume that up to 1,200 gallons of sewage discharged to the storm drain.” Cal Am agrees that the first spill—in which an estimated 647 gallons of sewage were released— ended up almost entirely in a storm drain leading to the Carmel River. They say in the second incident, a berm was effective, so “very little was released to the Carmel River” and most of that leak was absorbed by the golf course. According to the company’s report, since the spills it has done additional cleaning; engaged in outreach on FOG management to Carmel Valley Ranch residents and the resort restaurant; and plans to conduct future sewer system maintenance in keeping with an updated plan. The water board will consider Cal Am’s report and may choose to issue fines of up to $10,000 for each spill. Keep Calm Residents will receive test alerts as the County trials a new emergency system. By Rey Mashayekhi news Search is On Salinas is searching for a new city manager and the Salinas City Council is asking for community input to learn what skills and qualifications residents are looking for. Survey deadline is 5pm Friday, Dec. 1. To complete the survey in English, visit tinyurl.com/SalinasCM; in Spanish, visit tinyurl.com/AMdeSalinas. Free. For more information, email sophiar@ ci.salinas.ca.us or call 758-7407. Shop local Forget Black Friday—Nov. 25 is Small Business Saturday, and local chambers of commerce and other business organizations are motivating residents to buy products at local businesses. Visit any small business near you as you start shopping for the holiday season. For more information in Monterey, call 655-8070 or visit oldmonterey.org. Giving back Get outside in a beautiful place, and help improve it for other recreational visitors. California State Parks hosts a volunteer day at Garrapata State Park. Activities include watering and planting, removing invasive species, picking up trash and more. 9am-noon Tuesday, Nov. 28. Free. Volunteer.Monterey@parks.ca.gov, sites.google.com/view/mdnrvp. Coffee with a cop This gathering invites members of the public to get to know Monterey police officers in a casual, non-confrontational setting. 9-11am Wednesday, Nov. 29. Starbucks, 316 Alvarado St., Monterey. Free. 646-3830, monterey.org. Young voices Future Leaders of America and UC Santa Barbara Center for Publicly Engaged Scholarship are conducting a study to learn from young people about the Central Coast and understand disparities in the region based on race and ethnicity in different areas including education, well-being and healthcare. For more information or to take the survey, visit bipocsurvey.com or email vrios@ucsb.edu. Survey is available in English and Spanish. Participants may win an iPad or cash prize of up to $100 for participation. Must be a Monterey County resident aged 14-26 to participate. Seeing the Future Soledad is updating its general plan, which will impact social, environmental and economic decisions in the city for the next 20-year period. A public engagement process is now underway with a survey. To complete the survey, visit bit. ly/3QSeGAC. Free. For more information, visit citysoledad.com or call 2235000. Clogged Drain As Water Board investigates two Carmel Valley sewage spills, Cal Am explains what went wrong. By Sara Rubin Should the tests prove successful, DEM Director Kelsey Scanlon says the county will likely switch to the new alert system by late December or early January. e-mail: publiccitizen@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX “We’re curious about how granular we can get.” Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountyweekly.com November 23-29, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 15 Thank You to all supporters. “We do this work together!” Furnishing experimental studio space to all creators in East Salinas at no cost with pleasure since 1993. Cultivating Community Monterey County Gives! is a special project of Monterey County Weekly in partnership with the Community Foundation for Monterey County and Monterey Peninsula Foundation 39 days 206 nonprofits Goals for 2023 8,500 donors $10,000,000 in donations Monterey County Gives! Overall Match Partners PRINT | WEB | MOBILE HOw tO dOnate 1. Visit www.mcgives.com 2. Choose your favorites 3. Click on dOnate button Totals as of 11/21/23 1,816 donors $4,233,069 in donations

16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY November 23-29, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Monterey resident Leslie Joseph Flores has a full plate on his hands. City of Monterey building officials put him on notice almost a year ago for the dilapidated apartments he owns at 359 Larkin St. That was followed by officials red-tagging several units that were declared uninhabitable. In October, officials secured a warrant to enter and inspect the complex’s three buildings. A comprehensive notice detailing all the leaky roofs, broken water heaters and other problems is due to be delivered to Flores after Thanksgiving, an official says. The apartments are the least of Flores’ problems, however. On Nov. 5, Flores, 58, was arrested by Monterey Police as they were investigating a road-rage incident in the Monterey Vista neighborhood. Officers recognized Flores’ truck, and knowing he was out on bail for a past arrest, searched his vehicle, says Lt. Jake Pinkas. Inside they found an unserialized firearm, a so-called “ghost gun.” Flores was arrested on charges of possession of that firearm, as well as committing a felony while out on bail, and two other charges related to the weapon. He was booked in Monterey County Jail, where bail was set at $500,000; he was out shortly after. The road-rage investigation led police to Flores’ son, Les Flores, 28, who was accused of brandishing a weapon during the incident. Ten days later, on Nov. 15, MPD served a warrant on Les Flores. Their search uncovered a pistol, ammunition and drug paraphernalia. Les Flores was arrested that day on charges of violation of probation, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, criminal threats and a violation of the health code for narcotics paraphernalia. He was booked into Monterey County Jail on $30,000 bail, and has since been released. Over the years, the senior Flores has been involved in a number of criminal cases, mostly misdemeanors related to use of drugs and alcohol. He has one felony charge pending, stemming from a bar fight both he and his son were part of on St. Patrick’s Day in 2022, in downtown Monterey. The son pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge; the father was charged with felony assault. Flores was out on bail on the felony charge, but failed to show up in court as the case proceeded. He also had four misdemeanor warrants and two traffic warrants outstanding when MPD caught up with him on Sept. 17, and according to MPD, Flores tried to flee as police were apprehending him. In the scuffle, Flores allegedly attempted to disarm an officer’s Taser. He was taken into custody on the seven warrants and additionally charged with resisting arrest and taking an officer’s weapon. Flores’ defense attorney, William Pernik, declined to be interviewed until Flores is arraigned; an arraignment hearing is set for Nov. 30. On Nov. 8—just three days after he was arrested on the weapons charges— Flores appeared before Monterey County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Hulsey for a hearing related to the felony assault charge. Caving In A Monterey landlord finds himself in trouble for more than just moldy apartments. By Pam Marino Evidence collected by Monterey Police and the Monterey Peninsula Regional Special Response Unit while serving a search warrant on Les Flores at a residence on Cielo Vista Drive. NEWS They found an unserialized firearm, a so-called “ghost gun.” COURTESY OF MONTEREY POLICE DEPARTMENT carmel plaza • 831-625-8106 • khakisofcarmel.com New Holiday Arrivals Carmel-By-The-Sea Showroom DiSplayS for Sale 70% OFF! Visit our showroom Monday-Friday 10am-4pm 26386 Carmel Rancho Lane, Suite 104, Carmel www.carmelkitchens.com P.S. We are NOT going out of business! Inquiries: please email info@carmelkitchens.com or call (831) 624-4667 • Cabinets • Appliances • Hardware • Accessories • Decorative Plumbing *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 •

www.montereycountyweekly.com NOVEMBER 23-29, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 17 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 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! “I brought my Subaru to Hartzel on advice of a friend and I was so pleased with the service & attention I got from them. Not only finished on time, but under the estimate I was given. Very rare these days. So pleased with the whole experience & great peace of mind knowing it was done correctly. Highly recommend this guy.” —David F., Seaside 2/14/19 510 California Avenue | Sand City | 394.6002 hartzelautomotive.com EXPERT SERVICE WHEN YOU NEED IT. Subaru Mazda Lexus Infiniti Saab vintage MG SCHEDULE YOUR NEXT SERVICE ONLINE TODAY (831) 718-9041 • merrillgardensmonterey.com 200 Iris Canyon Rd, Monterey, CA 93940 M O N T E R E Y Lic #275202591 Call to Schedule Your Tour! A movie-watching bestie next door. A book-club bestie down the hall. And an exercise bestie upstairs. Please call or visit our website for more information. Just imagine the possibilities. Find Your Pals at Merrill Gardens Senior Living Quite possibly the best place to find besties

18 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY November 23-29, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Since arresting a Seaside man on suspicion of providing the drugs that may have led to a Monterey bar owner’s overdose death, local authorities have yet to charge the man with involuntary manslaughter in connection to the overdose. On Aug. 25, Monterey and Seaside police arrested Carlo Aiken, 42, in relation to the Aug. 20 overdose death of 49-year-old Christine Kerr, co-owner of the popular Bulldog Sports Pub on Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey. Officers said they found Aiken in possession of numerous narcotics—including counterfeit oxycodone tablets believed to contain fentanyl—as well as an assault rifle. Aiken has since been charged with 10 felony counts, including possession for sale of controlled substances and possession of an assault weapon. But while Monterey police initially announced that he also faced an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection to Kerr’s death, prosecutors have yet to bring any such indictment against Aiken. Though the investigation into Kerr’s death remains ongoing and such a charge could be filed against Aiken in the future, it currently appears unlikely, according to Monterey County Chief Assistant District Attorney Berkley Brannon. Brannon says investigators are still forensically examining cell phone evidence that could determine whether Aiken provided the drugs that led to Kerr’s overdose—but adds that they have yet to uncover enough evidence to back an involuntary manslaughter charge in court. “If we can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, we have no problem [bringing a charge],” Brannon says. “It’s just about whether we have that proof. We won’t file a charge just to file it.” Aiken’s attorney, Kimberly Barnett, has repeatedly delayed preliminary hearings in her client’s case in order to obtain and review police evidence including search warrants, body camera footage and interviews of Aiken. Barnett told the Weekly on Nov. 10 that she planned to file a motion to quash a police search warrant on Aiken, claiming the warrant erroneously stated that Aiken had previous drug sale convictions. But as of Nov. 21, Barnett had yet to file such a motion in court. Monterey Police Lt. Jake Pinkas counters that the search warrant made no such false claim. “There is no mention of Aiken having previous possession-for-sale convictions,” Pinkas says. “It does say he’s a convicted felon, and that he has numerous arrests for possession for sale, which is true. I do not believe that there’s any inaccurate information in that warrant.” The Weekly was unable to obtain a copy of the search warrant by press time. A preliminary hearing in Aiken’s case is now scheduled for Dec. 15. Barnett says her client has yet to receive a plea offer from prosecutors; Brannon says the DA’s Office is unable to do so “until we’ve concluded our investigation on [Kerr’s potential] homicide,” or else risks being unable to bring charges for Kerr’s death against Aiken in the future. Aiken was released from custody on Aug. 31 after posting $200,000 bail. In the Balance Prosecutors have yet to file manslaughter charges in Monterey bar owner’s overdose death. By Rey Mashayekhi Bulldog Sports Pub co-owner Christine Kerr was found dead of a suspected overdose on Aug. 20. Investigators are trying to determine where she may have procured the drugs that killed her. NEWS “It’s just about whether we have that proof.” DANIEL DREIFUSS Apply at www.centcoastfcu.com, visit your local branch, or call us at (831) 393-3480 Big Become A Member Today and Access Your Home Equity NMLS# 786119 Become A Member Today And Access Your Home Equity A home equity line of credit (HELOC) can be an easy, affordable way to nance home improvement projects, so go ahead, Dream Big! Seaside: 4242 Gigling Rd. Salinas: 1141 S. Main St. Soledad: 315 Gabilan Dr. King City: 510 Canal St. DreamBig Ready to unlock the hidden value in your home? *Terms and conditions apply. Apply at www.centcoastfcu.com, visit your local branch, or call us at (831) 393-3480 JOB FAIR Thursday, December 7, 2023 3p.m. – 6p.m. Fairway One Complex 3304 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach (Across from The Hay Golf Course) Interviews on the spot These opportunities are for the period of January 29 – February 4, with most shifts February 1 - February 4. Hiring for all areas Bartenders, bussers, cashiers, cooks, housekeepers, servers, shuttle drivers, stewards, retail sales, valets, and many more! Please come prepared to provide proof of employment eligibility. Questions: (831) 649-7657 AT&T Pebble Beach PRO-AM Temporary Special Event

www.montereycountyweekly.com NOVEMBER 23-29, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 19 • Will address fentanyl crisis and opioid overdoses with youth intensive outpatient program. • Will support 300 individuals a year with counseling and family empowerment services and 40 men and women with sober living. • Will include intensive, youth outpatient treatment, as well as recovery groups. (November 9 - December 31, 2023) MontereyCountyGives.com/SunStreet (831) 753-5144 You can make an impact on substance abuse by helping us build a new Recovery Center to prevent the devastating effects of addiction for 340 Monterey County youth and adults a year. Donate Today!

20 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY NOVEMBER 23-29, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com MC GIVES “And remember: Spay and neuter makes you cuter!” This cheery voicemail sign-off is for Melanie Scherer, founder of the Spay Neuter Imperative Project (SNIP) Bus—a mobile clinic traveling to low-income neighborhoods and performing affordable surgeries for pets. It’s one of the slogans used when discussing pet overpopulation, leading to thousands of healthy puppies and kittens being euthanized each year only because there are too many, according to Scherer, a former executive sales recruiter. Scherer adopted the cause after realizing she could provide a practical solution. Scherer established the first SNIP Bus in the Coachella Valley in June 2016. Today, two vehicles serve pet parents from Kern County to Fresno. By 2018, Scherer was splitting her time between Southern California and Carmel. She soon learned of a similar challenge in Monterey County. “We needed a high-volume solution,” Scherer says. Now the one local SNIP Bus is “fully booked for November and pouring into December.” An average of 250 Monterey County pets per month receive care. Over five years, the nonprofit has spayed and neutered more than 30,000 cats and dogs in the county. The idea is to bring spay and neuter services to people where they are, making it convenient—the seemingly optional task can fall off of people’s priority lists, Scherer says, specifically citing South County and North County, further from veterinary hubs on the Monterey Peninsula. “These are very high-intake areas for animals and there is zero accessibility for vet care.” The team aboard the SNIP Bus is specialized in high-volume spay and neuter services, using a narrow clinical area with three anesthesia machines and three surgery tables. “There’s a very specific set-up to make this very effective,” said Scherer. “The team has to be on top of their game.” Trained teams and specialty vehicles don’t come cheap. Medical supplies like anesthesia and vaccinations alone top $10,000 a month. But Scherer’s conviction in her nonprofit’s role in controlling animal populations keeps her tirelessly advocating. “I know spay and neuter is the solution,” she says. “I wouldn’t be working COURTESY SNIP BUS Pet Parts SNIP Bus applies a practical solution—a mobile spay-and-neuter clinic—to solve pet overpopulation. By Caitlin Fillmore SNIP Bus’ RVT and vet techs at work inside the nonprofit’s mobile clinic, serving rural areas of Monterey County. At a Nov. 17 clinic in Greenfield, they spayed 27 large dogs. How to Donate Go to www.mcgives.com and click the Donate button. Meals on Wheels of the Salinas Valley, Inc. We provide more than just a meal… Nourishing & Nurturing Seniors Since 1972 Donate: montereycountygives.com/mows The Youth4Change Program is the Big Idea for 2023 MCGives! Fundraising Campaign CCA’s youth program, Youth4Change, focuses on bridging the educational gap by providing activities in college and career preparedness, academic success, leadership building, and civic participation. CCA builds and develops the skills of these youth by preparing them to attain, achieve and succeed in high school, college/university, professionally and socially. In short, the goal of CCA’s Youth4Change program is to develop dynamic and influential youth leaders. CCA is hoping its supporters will donate to the campaign when MCGives! becomes active on its website on Nov. 9, 2023 and runs through Dec. 31. Starting Nov. 9, go to montereycountygives.com/cca to make your donation, which will be matched in part when the campaign ends. cca-viva.org The Center for Community Advocacy

www.montereycountyweekly.com NOVEMBER 23-29, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 21 Expand services to 6 days a week Provide regular and easy access to basic health and dental care Increase assistance including homelessness prevention Help us grow our capacity to: Currently, guests receive nutritious meals, hot showers, clean clothing, case management, and access to enrichment programs. We aim to treat the whole person to better enable them on their pathway out of homelessness. montereycountygives.com/gathering Healing Hearts: H.E.A.R.T. to Hearth Capacity Campaign gatheringforwomen.org ~ 831-241-6154 #gatheringforwomen GATHERING FOR WOMEN - MONTEREY GFW is expanding our capacity to DO EVEN MORE!

22 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY november 23-29, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Lines in the Sand The piece about Scribble Hill was shocking (“A confrontation in Sand City brings the polarizing divide over the Israel-Palestine conflict to Monterey County,” Nov. 16-22). I wonder why the violent creep responsible wasn’t arrested. The young woman and girls who spelled out FREE GAZA on the sand are without a doubt not pro-terrorism. They are very likely just embarrassed, as am I, that our government is supporting terrorism in Gaza against civilians and even supplying Israel with unlimited arms to carry it out. Israel is committing terrorism and causing a humanitarian crisis that will surely be decried by future generations. Marilyn Ross | Carmel A little editorial skepticism would show one side was obviously lying. I’m not asking for a Watergatelevel piece of investigative journalism, but there is literally a full video of the incident, taken by the Khalil sisters, which they have refused to make public. A typical reader would immediately call into question the credibility of a party who had a video of an incident but refused to share it in its entirety. In fact, they used clips from it to make a TikTok video that has resulted in more than a month of death threats and antisemitic comments clogging my inbox. The single most important fact to this story is that the girls recorded the entire incident but have subsequently refused to share that footage with the press. Why, if the Khalils had a full video of the incident, would they want to hide it? So that’s my critique of this article. The writer was given a clear indication that one side is lying—and not only chose to ignore it, but also refused to acknowledge it directly for readers to draw their own conclusions. That is a sad reflection of journalistic standards in America today. Max Steiner | Chico Either way, Max Steiner is wrong. There’s nothing that family could have said that would justify him making it physical. We learn that in preschool. Yvonne Martinez | via social media On the Edge I am so glad that you highlighted this issue (“A solution for MPUSD students living in their vehicles illuminates the scale of the problem,” posted Nov. 18). I find it impossible to believe we can’t do better than to have students living out of cars. Do we really expect them to perform at their best? (“MPUSD is set to open a safe parking facility for students facing housing challenges,” Nov. 16-22.) I want to add that the same thing is true for a group of older women. What passes for “addressing the issue” is arranging for women to have a parking lot, perhaps at a church, where they can safely park together. Even then, there are neighbors who object. The women are not necessarily penniless but their meager incomes are insufficient to pay rent. I am appalled that living in one’s car is considered a solution. Keep highlighting the issue of homelessness among students and older women! Renee Franken | Monterey Crisis Control I really enjoyed your piece (“What will climate change mean for steelhead trout? It depends,” posted Nov. 15). I did not know about the tire chemical runoff, though I am not surprised. I enjoyed learning about it. I am often an optimistic person, but not so much on the prospects of climate change because it seems that most of us (humans worldwide) run on fear, and that we don’t change behavior until it directly and immediately threatens us personally. A lot of us (me too) tend to stay asleep at the wheel despite the information in front of us, until that information interrupts our personal life patterns front and center. We like to ignore the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz of life. Please keep sharing and writing. Thank you for your good work. Berj Amir | Seaside Empty Seats City Council filled the position immediately, saved election costs and ensured continuity of experienced leadership rather than wasting more time and money (“Appointment of another Greenfield City Council member spurs a lawsuit against the city,” Nov. 9-15). Furthermore, we have watched this same process occur starting back in December, when nominations were made to fill Councilmember [now Mayor] Bob White’s seat. It’s odd Beatriz Diaz claims surprise at Drew Tipton’s appointment when she was one of the nominees back then. Stephanie Garcia | Greenfield Living History Excellent story, a pleasant respite from the day’s news (“A dispatch from South County, 100 years ago,” posted Nov. 17). Allan Groves Thank you for the fun look down the King City Prohibition rabbit hole. The definition in context of “batch it” is: the location where they share a residence of some sort as bachelors. “Batching it” was a pretty common way to describe unmarried men who were rooming together. Trish Triumpho Sullivan | Salinas Fresh Flavors Legit best restaurant in Monterey County! Love Isabel and her crew (“Aki Fresh is a hidden Mexican treasure in the city of Marina,” Nov. 16-22). Kara Ochi | Marina This is my favorite place to eat! The mole con puerco duo is heaven sent. Isabel, Dana and Lupe are treasures! Brettie Page | via social media I will try it!! Thank you. Robin Rakouska | via social media Correction Due to an editing error, a story misquoted an addition to a proposed Board of Supervisors resolution expressing solidarity with Israel. Both times it was considered, it included language calling for “a just and lasting peace in the region, and for Israelis and Palestinians alike.” The updated version included additions such as: “The County of Monterey is home to a diverse population, including Jewish American and Palestinian American residents.” Letters • CommentsOPINION Submit letters to the editor to letters@mcweekly.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.