december 7-13, 2023 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT Crab for Christmas? 14 | Small Man, Big Screen 44 | Sardine Factory Fresh 48 The future of the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply remains in question. How did we get here and where do we go? Grab some dice and find out. p. 28 By David Schmalz Rt hoel lDiincge ♥ Shop LOCAL this holiday ♥ season ♥ p. 24 Play the Cease and Desist board game! p. 30 Find your way to water utopia where happy steelhead frolic and there’s water for everyone.

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY DECEMBER 7-13, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 7-13, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3 Let us help you reach your best health. Choose the health and wellness services that are right for you — when and where you want it. z Emergency care z Urgent care z Virtual visits Visit: montagehealth.org/care Healthy, how you want it. z Primary and specialty care z Preventative programs z And much more

4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY DECEMBER 7-13, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 7-13, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 Our medical center is nationally recognized for excelling in quality and safety. We earned the 8th consecutive “A” Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group. Congratulations to our outstanding team, keeping our community rising in good health – and safety! Leading the Way in Patient Safety Learn more about our awards by scanning the QR code.

6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY december 7-13, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com december 7-13, 2023 • ISSUE #1844 • Established in 1988 Karen Loutzenheiser (iPhone 12) A happy, soggy dog waits to leap into the water again on the next toss of a stick during a game of fetch at Seal Rock beach in Pebble Beach. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@mcweekly.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: Since 1995, the Monterey Peninsula has been under a cease-and-desist order from the State Water Board to protect steelhead in the Carmel River. Play the board game to try out one of two competing proposals to get that order lifted at long last. Cover Illustration: By Karen Loutzenheiser 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 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.

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8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY DECEMBER 7-13, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH The long list of advertisers backing out of X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, is getting longer. The withdrawal comes after Elon Musk, owner of X, endorsed an antisemitic tweet alleging that Jewish communities express “hatred against whites.” Musk posted: “You have said the actual truth.” He added: “I am deeply offended by [Anti-Defamation League’s] messaging and any other groups who push de facto anti-white racism or anti-Asian racism or racism of any kind.” Advertisers including Disney, IBM, Comcast, Walmart and Apple have suspended advertising on the platform, some attributing it specifically to hateful posts, and others to a broader ad strategy. Speaking on Nov. 29 about the exodus of advertisers at the DealBook Summit hosted by the New York Times in New York, Musk told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin he doesn’t care: “If someone is going to blackmail me with advertising or money, go fuck yourself,” Musk said. In an Oct. 27 statement on the one-year anniversary of Musk’s acquisition, CEO Linda Yaccarino wrote: “We believe open and respectful discourse is the single best way for humanity to thrive.” Good: Happy 100th birthday, Monterey County Health Department. Nearly a century before it became the local agency at the forefront of leading the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Health Department was founded in 1923, just after insulin was discovered (1922) and before penicillin (1928). “We didn’t understand viruses. We didn’t understand bacteria that well,” Health Department Public Information Officer Karen Smith says. The agency celebrated the centennial milestone with an exhibit that opened on Friday, Dec. 1 (in its headquarters at 1270 Natividad Road, Salinas) featuring a timeline of history and changes to public health and the local department administering it in the past century. It includes stories and photos from former employees and residents, and is viewable to the public. “If you’re interested in history, it’s a good walk down memory lane,” Smith adds. GREAT: The Educational Theatre Foundation announced that five U.S. high schools have been selected for the 2023-24 Pathway grant program, an initiative fostering racial equity through school theater. Among the lucky schools is Alisal High School in Salinas, which will receive a $10,000 grant to put together a play, La Cortina de la Lechuga (The Lettuce Curtain), written by Cristal González. This contemporary play is about homelessness in California. The school will hire at least two professionals, both people of color, who will serve as mentors to students during the production. The Pathway program, inspired by the late producer Craig Zadan, aims to create opportunities for students in communities of color to work with industry professionals while performing works that address issues of diversity and racial equity. ETF is the fundraising arm of the Educational Theatre Association. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY Median sale price of a home in Monterey County in November, setting a new high record over the previous median high of $1,093,000 in October. Source: Rocket Homes $1,109,000 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “Behavior change has its limits.” -Genevieve LeBlanc, Blue Zones policy lead, speaking about the launch of Double Up Food Bucks at two La Princesa Market locations in Salinas, giving a 50-percent discount on fresh produce at the register to shoppers using CalFresh, a benefit of up to $15 a day, meant to incentivize healthy eating (see story, mcweekly. com). DECEMBER 3-25, 2023 SPECIAL EVENTS INCLUDE A visit from Santa December 3 & 10 Wine Receptions Live Music & Local School Performances WondeWrlianntedr Experience the magic of the Holiday Season at Portola Hotel & Spa Two Portola Plaza, Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 649-4511 portolahotel.com FULL SCHEDULE

www.montereycountyweekly.com december 7-13, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 GET CCFCU PRE-APPROVED! Getting Pre-Aproved for an auto loan can make the process of purchasing a new vehicle simple and straight forward. Benefits of pre-approval include: • • You’ll know how much you can borrow Easier to decide on a vehicle • • Find potential credit issues beforehand Eliminate surprises during financing Give us a call at 831-393-3480 to get you into a new vehicle today! *Pre-Approval subject to credit check and other qualifying factors. NMLS ID: 786119 Christmas Dinner pick up will be on Sunday, 12/24. CHRISTMAS MENU $124 PER TICKET (TICKET FEEDS TWO PEOPLE) ENDIVE SALAD with Spiced Walnuts, Poached Pear, Bleu Cheese & Dijon Vinaigrette (GF, VEGETARIAN, CONTAINS NUTS) BRAISED BEEF with Rosemary, Orange & Red Wine topped with Pickled Fennel (GF, DF) BROWN BUTTER ROASTED CAULIFLOWER with Dried Tomatoes, Capers & Raisins (GF, VEGETARIAN, CONTAINS DAIRY) SCALLOPED POTATOES with Pumpkin & White Cheddar (GF, CONTAINS DAIRY) ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES with Honey, Chile & Ginger (GF, VEGAN) POTATO ROLLS served with Roasted Garlic Butter (VEGETARIAN, CONTAINS GLUTEN & DAIRY) LIMITED QUANTITIES, SO PLEASE ORDER SOON! @ELROYSFINEFOODS WWW.ELROYSFINEFOODS.COM 15 SOLEDAD DRIVE (831) 373-3737 MONTEREY, CA 93940 To place your order visit www.elroysfinefoods.com or scan this QR CODE! Quantities are limited, so order soon! Get your Christmas Dinner from Elroy’s CHRISTMAS To-Do List: Eat, Drink, Nap

10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY December 7-13, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 People have mixed feelings about circuses these days. But there are ways to satisfy all concerns, as an Italian family circus— Zoppé—has been proving since the beginning of December at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center. Their Carnevale di Venezia show is cordial, acrobatically ambitious and as family-oriented as a circus show can be. That’s because Giovanni Zoppé and Jeanette Prince-Zoppé, with their children, are the heart of the show. “We don’t force anyone to perform,” Prince-Zoppé says on the day the Zoppé circus arrives in Monterey. She adds that all the performing members, including dogs and horses—the only animals involved—are having fun. “Illario, as every great toddler, likes to copy,” she observes, pointing to her son, a seventh-generation performer who is furiously coloring in the family RV. “We are very old-fashioned,” Prince-Zoppé says. “Not fast and furious—it’s an ancient form of art.” Founded 1842 in Italy, the Zoppé family circus lost Alberto Zoppé to the New World—the U.S. of the 1950s— where other family performers have been continuing a family tradition. The circus now thrives on two continents. That’s 180 years of a family tradition, and nothing indicates an end any time soon. Giovanni’s sister runs Piccolo Zoppé, a boutique circus, performing in Arkansas and Texas. Offspring of Alberto’s brother, Luigi, perform and produce a circus in Italy. The current show, Carnevale di Venezia, is all about family, filled with Italian music. The audience on opening weekend in Monterey is mainly composed of children, and watching their reactions to the miracles happening in front of them is a joyful part of the experience. Their eyes light up and mouths pop open for a man on gigantic stilts, Puddles the dog jumping through rings, as well as truly daring acrobatic feats and a cyclist flying around an airborne track—there’s a lot going on. Even the most grumpy child in the audience seems mesmerized. Some appear ready to break out to the arena and join the fun. Some do when invited, speaking with very silly clowns. The performance is half-English, half-Italian, making the audience feel like true Venetians. The carnival shares some elements with Italian Commedia dell’arte, an early form of a professional Italian theater. This aspect is particularly visible at the initial part of the show, which begins in front of the entrance to the tent, with each character introducing themselves to the public. By the end of the performance—two 45-minute segments with an 11-minute intermission—even adults seem to forget they are not actually Italian, screaming “Bravo, bravissimo!” Among the most impressive tricks that can frighten or delight an adult are: backward flips from gradually higher platforms, the bicycle ring trick and the strong man act by a performer from Belarus, balancing on a cello. There are no evident safety harnesses, adding to the thrill. That being said, the whole team works hard to keep the circus as safe—and as human—as possible. Performers double as roadies, setting up and tearing down set pieces as the show progresses. The performance comes with an intimate seating arrangement. Those in the VIP section can don golden-hued Venetian masks they receive at the entrance. Circus is a culture, Prince-Zoppé explains, holding a puppy on her lap—a dog still in training, but a very good jumper. And while most young people don’t want to follow their parents’ steps, those raised in circus culture and lifestyle become very attached to it. “It’s almost impossible to find anywhere else this sense of a living community,” she says. “And this feeling of getting to the ring and giving your heart to the audience…The circus culture is so different from anything else, that sometimes we joke that we all should move to a commune.” Zoppé Family Circus performs at 6pm on Dec. 7 and 8, then at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm on Dec. 9 and 10, and 6pm on Dec. 11 at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center. $29.99/general admission; VIP and family packages available. 372-5863, zoppe.net. In the Ring A family circus brings an old-school thrill—and Italian heritage—to the big top. By Agata Pop˛eda The finale of Carnevale di Venezia. Zoppé, an Italian family circus, is in town until Dec. 11. The cosmopolitan group includes Italians, Kenyans and Mexicans all working together. “Not fast and furious—it’s an ancient art form.” TALeS FrOm THe AreA cODe COURTESY OF ZOPPÉ FAMILY CIRCUS SHOP. EAT. STAY. LOCAL Find local businesses at montereychamber.com/list SHOP SMALL shop local this holiday season!

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 7-13, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 1524 N. Main Street | Salinas 831.479.6000 • www.bayfed.com • 888.4BAYFED Federally Insured by NCUA | Equal Housing Lender * Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is effective as of November 15, 2023. No minimum deposit required to open and maintain Certificate account. APY assumes the dividends are reinvested and remain in the account for the full term. New money is required to open a 15 month certificate. New money is defined as funds not on deposit at Bay Federal Credit Union in the 30 days prior to the certificate account opening. Penalty for early withdrawal. Bay Federal Credit Union membership required. This offer is subject to change without notice. This certificate is not extended to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) or organization accounts. Other terms and conditions may apply. For more information, visit any Bay Federal Credit Union branch or contact us at 888.4BAYFED or 831.479.6000. LIMITED TIME SPECIAL OFFER Let Your Money Work For You Open a 15-Month Certificate with $1,000+ and earn 5.25% APY.* Open an account today! MONTEREY AREA BUYING EVENT Monday & Tuesday, December 11 & 12 10am-5pm Hilton Garden Inn Monterey, 1000 Aguajito Rd. For directions to hotel, call 831-373-6141 MEET THE OWNER My name is Stan Walter and I’m from Wabash, Indiana. I founded Precious Gems & Metals in 1979 and we’ve been serving customers throughout the United States for over 40 years. We’re proud to have an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. We buy individual pieces or entire collections. 5% SENIOR BONUS Earn a 5% premium on any sale made to PGM. Present this coupon at an event or when we visit you. Must be 55 or older. Limit 1 coupon per transaction. Excludes Bullion. Over 40 years in business and an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. We encourage you to research our proud heritage! WE DO HOUSE CALLS! We offer an exclusive ‘House Call’ service for qualified customers. CALL NOW TO SCHEDULE YOUR PRIVATE HOME VISIT! 866-921-7826 CALL TODAY! 1-866-921-7826      

12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY december 7-13, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com news Emergency calls generate a reaction from first responders wherever you are and whether or not you have a roof over your head. Every month, Salinas police and fire departments respond to about 1,200 calls to aid unhoused individuals. In an effort to get the response that is needed and to minimize that number of calls, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, the Salinas City Council voted 6-0 to approve a mobile crisis services pilot program. A mobile crisis unit will respond to calls to provide services like risk assessments and follow up afterward, rather than generating a police or fire call when unnecessary. “The pilot program aims to improve community wellness, reduce the need for restrictive services, and provide crisis intervention services,” according to a report from Salinas Fire Chief Sam Klemek to City Council. Council approved a twoyear agreement for up to $390,000 with the County of Monterey, which will manage nonprofit Sierra Mental Wellness Group, the contractor operating the mobile unit, starting on Dec. 31. The contract will be in effect for two years, through 2025. Two fulltime staff will operate the unit with days and hours of operation expected to vary based on community need. The team will provide face-to-face assessments, a follow-up in the first three days, and referrals to relevant service organizations. Since 2015, the County has offered mobile crisis services and is working to expand them. A new state mandate means counties must provide mobile crisis intervention services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries by Dec. 31. The County-Salinas partnership will provide the first unit serving the city. On the Move Salinas approves a pilot for a mobile clinic to reach unhoused people where they are. By Celia Jiménez California State Parks, the Monterey Museum of Art and the City of Monterey are working together to bring a concept they call The Island of Adobes to downtown Monterey, turning the historic district into a hub for arts and culture. The State Parks-owned Casa Gutierrez Adobe, at 590 Calle Principal in Monterey, is set to become an art gallery in 2025. The building is adjacent to the Miller Adobe, which MMA purchased in July, after making a decision to stay on Pacific Street in downtown Monterey, its home since 1969. State Parks will start work on Casa Gutierrez as early as January 2024. The building has not been open on any consistent basis in recent years, according to Interpretive Program Manager Lisa Maldonado Bradford from the Monterey District of California State Parks. Bradford wanted to change this, and applied for an Arts in State Parks grant, and was awarded the $120,000 needed for an update. “Things are moving quicker than expected,” Bradford says. Soon, Casa Gutierrez will be updated in preparation to showcase artwork (with new lighting and more). The space will be available to use for free for exhibits by various nonprofit groups, changing a few times each year. After almost a decade of indecision, nonprofit MMA announced it will be staying downtown. The Island of Adobes project helped with that decision. This community transformation of downtown Monterey also includes partnerships with Monterey Public Library and Youth Arts Collective, according to MMA’s director of marketing and communications, Candace Christiansen. The Miller Adobe, purchased by MMA for $1.28 million from Raven’s Path LLC, will be used for administrative offices rather than as exhibit space. That will free up space in the museum (at 559 Pacific St.) for “more mission-oriented purposes,” Christiansen adds. Remaining on Pacific Street, in the property leased from the City of Monterey, will necessitate a major renovation; MMA anticipates developing a phased approach to fundraising and construction. It also wants to make sure the streetscape connecting MMA Pacific Street and Miller Adobe is inspiring and accessible. There’s also resolution for MMA as to what to do with its La Mirada location, as well as an adjacent parcel of land on Perry Lane, that the museum purchased in 2020 with the possibility of constructing an entirely new facility there. But consultants Lord Cultural Resources and HMC Architects, hired by the museum to conduct a facilities study, advised them to keep Pacific Street as a homebase, turning La Mirada location into an Institute for California Art, where the museum’s permanent collection and archives can be researched and studied. Long-term plans for La Mirada include offering adult art instruction, seasonal public programming, community partnerships and site rentals. The other property on Perry Lane will be sold. Casa Gutierrez was completed in 1846, before California became part of the United States, for Joaquin Gutierrez from Mexico, a soldier who settled down in Monterey and married a daughter of the old Escobar family; they needed space for their 15 children. Son-in-law John W. Miller built the Miller Adobe next door, at 580 Calle Principal, in 1874. California State Parks officials plan to convert Casa Gutierrez into an art exhibition space for organizations that need a venue to hang creative work. Brick by Brick Monterey Museum of Art and government agencies partner in a vision to expand an art footprint downtown. By Agata Pop˛eda Salinas Fire Chief Sam Klemek hopes a mobile crisis unit helps firefighters cut down on calls to respond to unhoused people, only some of which require a fire department response. “Things are moving quicker than expected.” Daniel Dreifuss Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 7-13, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 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 Landscape • Hardscape • Irrigation 831-624-4991 insideout1design@outlook.com f InsideOut Landscape Design CA LIC# 960809 w Landscape Design From An Interior Perspective Eliza DeCiantis believes that your landscape should be an extension of your interior space. Having received her Master Gardener’s Certification over 28 years ago, Eliza combines her 22 year career in television set design with her life-long passion for gardening to create beautiful custom landscape. Eliza is conscientious of our water management issues while creating a drought tolerant, deer resistant environment custom to your personal taste and budget. With a keen sense of attention to detail, Eliza will spruce up your existing landscape for a special event or create a new landscape to enjoy for years to come. InsideOut Landscape Design, Inc. can increase the value of your home, while enhancing the natural potential and beauty of your exterior space for your home or business. REMINDER PROPERTY TAX DUE DATE The deadline for payment of the first installment of 2023-2024 County of Monterey Property Tax is: December 10, 2023 Be sure to mail your tax payments postmarked by the United States Post Office on or before the December 10, 2023 delinquent date, in order to avoid a 10% penalty. Payments can also be made by telephone 1-800-491-8003 and via internet www.co.monterey.ca.us/taxcollector. OUR OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2023 THROUGH MONDAY, JANUARY 1, 2024. OUR OFFICE WILL RE-OPEN AT 8:00 A.M. ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2024. Payment options during the closure include: lobby drop-off, mail, telephone or via the internet. For mailed payments, the USPS postmark will determine the date of payment. Thank you, Mary A. Zeeb County of Monterey Treasurer-Tax Collector Executed at Salinas, County of Monterey, California, November 14, 2023 Published in The Weekly on November 30, 2023, and December 07, 2023

14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY december 7-13, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com It was a simple idea by a teacher in Germany in 1909 looking for low-cost accommodations to take students on trips into nature: Why not rent out beds in shared quarters instead of private hotel rooms? Richard Schirrmann opened the first hostel in 1912 and the idea took off: There are approximately 10,000 in Europe, with around 300 in the United States, including one in Monterey a few blocks from Cannery Row, opened in 2000. The pandemic nearly shuttered the hostel for good, but now it’s months from reopening with a new look. For nearly three years, Monterey Hostel has been undergoing a renovation inside the former Carpenters Union Hall just one block up from Lighthouse Avenue in New Monterey. A private developer purchased the property from the former owners in 2021 and partnered with another hostel nonprofit, HostelingOn Inc., to renovate and operate the property. “It was in pretty rough shape, it hadn’t been updated since it first opened,” says Ryan Oetting, executive director of HostelingOn. “We knew that we were going to take it and have to do a facelift on the inside and reconfigure it to be more marketable and viable in a post-pandemic world where shared dorms aren’t as desirable.” They replaced large dorm rooms with smaller rooms to accommodate individuals or small groups and families. Each room has a bathroom attached. Oetting says beds will start at around $65 a night—a far cry from last year’s average hotel room rate of around $300 a night. Private rooms will also be available inside the hostel at a price to be determined. In the spirit of hostels, guests will share the kitchen and dining area, laundry, and the opportunity to interact with other travelers, many of them students from high school to college. Oetting says his email inbox is already full of requests from public school teachers who want to bring classes to experience Monterey Bay. “We believe you shouldn’t have to be wealthy to experience the coast and so hostels are helpful institutions to make travel more affordable compared to other things on the market,” he says. As a nonprofit, HostelingOn is dependent on donations to keep the mission of providing low-cost accommodations available—they’re currently fundraising to purchase furniture and other necessities in time for the spring opening. Monterey Hostel is located at 778 Hawthorne St., Monterey. More information at montereyhostel.com. The first big industry in Monterey Bay was whaling. Then came fishing, and in recent decades, tourism. But the local fishing industry has hung on, if only by a thread. That thread is starting to fray. This year’s salmon season in California, which typically runs from April through August and is a primary income source for many fishermen, was canceled due to low population numbers brought on by years of drought and diversions from waterways. The commercial crab fishing season, which historically started every Nov. 14, is delayed indefinitely due to the continued presence of humpback whales, which can get entangled in crab fishing gear. And to add on to that, since November, the near-shore groundfish fishery has been closed off the California coast to protect quillback rockfish, which have sharply declined in numbers in recent years. And yet, local fishermen say they are mostly found much further north, between Oregon and southern Alaska. Moss Landing-based fisherman Walter Deyerle says he’s only caught a quillback two or three times in two decades of fishing, and that the nearshore fishery is where the money is when crab season is closed. He’s now forced to fish further offshore, like he did Dec. 5, when he went out on his boat solo to fish for black cod, aka sablefish. They taste great, but are turned into generic whitefish products and only bring in a fraction of the price of near-shore fish. And crab season, he says, is far more lucrative around the holidays than it is after, though he doesn’t expect it to open until late December or January. It’s calling into question whether the region can sustain a local fishery. “Guys are taking electrical jobs, construction jobs and depleting their savings. It costs a lot to keep a boat up and running,” Deyerle says. “They should just change the [crab] season date so you don’t have to wonder at this point. The whales are on a pretty set schedule.” The state Department of Fish & Wildlife conducts its next risk assessment of the crab fishery Dec. 8. Budget Inn A nonprofit is readying newly refurbished and affordable lodging for travelers. By Pam Marino news Food Drive For those struggling during the holiday season in need of food staples or holiday items, LULAC hosts a community food drive. 9am Friday, Dec. 22. Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church parking lot, 11140 Preston St., Castroville. Free. 818-7268. Next Gen The Salinas Youth Summit seeks to empower young people and inspire them to explore a range of interests including social issues, entrepreneurship, arts, technology and more. 9am-3pm Saturday, Dec. 9. Sherwood Hall, 940 North Main St., Salinas. Free; lunch provided; open to youth ages 13-18. To register, visit tinyurl. com/2023soy. For more information, email karinas@ci.salinas.ca.us or call 758-7166. statE of the state California State Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, presents a legislative update with his take on accomplishments and challenges, and offers a look at what’s ahead. 11:30am-1pm Monday, Dec. 11. Virtual event hosted by Democratic Women of Monterey County; register online. Free. info@dw-mc.org, dw-mc.org. Cost of Living Living in Monterey County isn’t cheap. United Way Monterey County hosts an interactive discussion about the cost of living and presents a report. 10am-noon Wednesday, Dec. 13. United Way Monterey County Impact Center, 232 Monterey St. (second floor makerspace), Salinas; event also takes place virtually. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/47K5VzN. For more information, email info@unitedwaymcca.org or call 327-8026. Book Worm It’s a good time of year to get cozy with a book, and Monterey County Free Libraries has started its fourth annual winter reading program. Those up for the challenge can sign up and track their daily reading and win prizes like a stuffed animal (for kids) or a USB drive (for adults). Participants also get to keep a free book. To sign up, visit a library branch or emcfl.beanstack.org. For more information, email dayaj1@co.monterey.ca.us or call 883-7542. The Current Climate You don’t have to go all the way to the COP talks in Dubai to have an impact. The City of Salinas is conducting a survey to learn more about residents’ priorities on addressing the climate crisis. To complete the survey, visit bit.ly/ SalinasCAP. For more information, call 758-7381. Docked Up Fishermen are reeling from closures that threaten the outlook for the local industry. By David Schmalz Ryan Oetting, executive director of HostelingOn, on a deck off of Monterey Hostel. It’s been extensively renovated to welcome future guests seeking lower-cost lodging. e-mail: publiccitizen@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX “You shouldn’t have to be wealthy to experience the coast.” Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 7-13, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 15 “Coming to Hijos del Sol makes me happy to be myself.” -Lil Joe Furnishing experimental studio space to all creators in East Salinas at no cost with pleasure since 1993.

16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY December 7-13, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com When the California state budget allocated $20 million to the County of Monterey to use for recovery efforts in Pajaro following massive flooding in March, no strings attached, it was a gift remarkable for its size and its flexibility. How to divvy up that $20 million is a tougher project. It has been the subject of five months of community meetings hosted by the County Department of Emergency Management. That led to DEM’s recommendations to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Dec. 5, on how to allocate the $20 million. But as community members spoke to the board, it immediately became clear that they have different priorities than DEM officials suggested. DEM proposed distributing $6.7 million to natural and cultural resources, including $3.5 million for upgrading the Pajaro library to offer additional space for community gatherings; $3 million for community grants to support things like beautification, education programs and interpretation services; $2.7 million for street improvements and signage; $1.15 million for emergency preparedness and response, including $500,000 to purchase vehicles such as a flood rescue boat. The recommendations from DEM also included $6 million for recovery, including direct financial support to businesses and individuals, regardless of immigration status. That became a sticking point for community members who spoke up during the meeting on Dec. 5, and wanted to see $12 million—double the proposed amount—go toward direct financial relief. “We want to ensure residents and small businesses are given financial relief first,” said Sister Rosa Dolores Rodriguez, founder of Casa de la Cultura and chair of the Pajaro Disaster Long-Term Recovery Alliance. Jessica Guzman of the Centro Binacional Para El Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño said the funds shouldn’t go toward infrastructure projects. “It feels that the County is evading its responsibility, funding things they have failed to do long before there was any damage by the floods,” Guzman said. Carmen Herrera-Mansir, executive director of El Pajaro Community Development Corporation and Erica Padilla-Chavez, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank, echoed the request to allocate $12 million for relief. County Supervisor Luis Alejo questioned several line items, including $500,000 proposed for a study on housing: “How is that going to help us advance getting housing built?” Supervisor Glenn Church suggested a compromise plan to increase the amount of direct relief funds from $6 million to $9 million. He also suggested cutting the housing study, plus another $500,000 for a welcome sign and $2 million for Pajaro Middle School‘s recreation facility upgrades, which will not impact the timeline to reopen the still-shuttered school. Amid extensive public comment and discussion, the board delayed a vote, and planned to reconvene on Dec. 6, after the Weekly’s deadline. Dividing the Pie With $20 million in state funds to spend on Pajaro, residents ask for more in direct aid. By Celia Jiménez The levee on the Pajaro River breached on March 11, leading to widespread flooding and evacuation orders impacting about 2,000 people in Pajaro, where recovery efforts continue, nine months later. NEWS “It feels that the County is evading its responsibility.” DANIEL DREIFUSS

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 7-13, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 17

18 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY December 7-13, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com MC GIVES Growing up in Salinas, Jonathan De Anda remembers playing on the fields of the Salinas Regional Soccer Complex when they were more dirt than grass. “It was hard to find a place to practice and play,” he recalls. “The facilities weren’t up to standard. Playing travel soccer, there were teams from the Bay Area that wouldn’t want to come down and play against us.” Now, in his role as the complex’s manager, De Anda is helping to ensure that the next generation has a worldclass facility at their disposal—one equipped with top-caliber grass and synthetic fields, as well as other infrastructure that will make it a state-ofthe-art resource. Though the nonprofit Salinas Regional Sports Authority was formed back in 2008, it took a decade to finalize a lease with the City of Salinas for the 68-acre property at Constitution Boulevard and East Laurel Drive, and to secure the public and private financing needed to commence construction. Work finally began in late 2018 on the project’s $1.5 million first phase— which ripped up the old fields, built a new irrigation system, laid 14 new grass fields, and installed a half-mile walking path and exercise stations. Phase 2 broke ground earlier this year and is split into two parts. The $8 million Phase 2A will bring two full-size, synthetic soccer fields that will allow the complex to operate yearround, plus more than 400 new parking spots and a new entrance/exit on Constitution Boulevard. De Anda says $2 million of the $3 million needed for Phase 2B has already been raised—with another $1 million required to begin work on 2,500 bleacher seats, nighttime floodlights and a scoreboard. Further out, the $5 million Phase 3 would include seven more grass fields, plus a sand court that could accommodate 16 beach volleyball courts. Last but not least, the $16 million Phase 4 would build five multipurpose courts allowing tennis, basketball, futsal and pickleball, as well as a two-story fieldhouse with an indoor soccer field, a cafeteria, and space to house afterschool programs, a day care, and a mental health and wellness center. “Soccer is at the core of it, but it’s a facility and organization that does a lot more than soccer,” De Anda says. “It’s a resource to enrich peoples’ lives through physical activity.” SALINAS REGIONAL SOCCER COMPLEX Kicking Off The Salinas Regional Soccer Complex is well underway— but more funding is needed for future phases. By Rey Mashayekhi Phase 1 of the Salinas Regional Soccer Complex was completed in 2019, and the fields are now used by competitive and recreational youth and adult players alike. How to Donate Go to www.mcgives.com and click the Donate button. The Heartwarming Impact of Read to Me Project The magic of the Read to Me Project is illuminated by what participating 4th, 5th, and 6th graders say about their experiences while reading to the pre-schoolers at home. They are shining a light into their homes for us to see how Read to Me Project is setting young lives on course for a lifetime of equitable opportunities. Aldo was always watching TV. When I started reading to him, he started identifying animals and tries to say the scientific names. He loves animals and books and singing with me. Aldo is more adventurous now and is learning more. He’s thinking about new things he’s learned and wants to do them. If we read a book with a firefighter, he wants to be a firefighter. - 4th grader reads to her 4-year-old brother My little sister wants me to read the book a lot of times and then when I say I don’t want to anymore, she gives the book to my mom for her to read it. My mom is learning to read new words just like my sister. - 4th grader reads to her 2-year-old sister Please support early literacy. Your generosity will be percentage matched by donating through Montereycountygives.coM/read Readtomeproject.org

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 7-13, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 19 montereycountygives.com/nonprofit/al-friends-sunday-breakfast/ 1 in 4 Monterey County Residents are FOOD-INSECURE To date, Al & Friends has served over 45,000 meals; not missing a single Sunday brunch-style breakfast since 2010 at Window-on-the-Bay, Monterey Please help us to continue serving hot nutritious meals to those in need. Donate now through December 31 to have your donation matched Serving hot nutritious meals rain or shine Our “BIG IDEA” is continued sponsorship for the national youth education program called Academic World Quest (AWQ) that involves all Monterey County High Schools in international studies competition. The Monterey County winning team earns a trip to Washington, D.C. to compete at the national level. AWQ is a fun, fast-paced team competition focused on knowledge of current international politics, economics, geography, history and cultures. The World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area conducts numerous programs involving the presentation, discussion and study of international affairs. montereycountygives.com/wac Please donate to support World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area We are excited to again participate in the Monterey County Gives Campaign Join the World Affairs Council to gain a better understanding of your world www.wacmb.org

20 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY december 7-13, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Ocean Front I must clarify one thing; lest our lender becomes upset (“Against the odds, a developer is pushing a Cannery Row project that no longer has a permit,” Nov. 30-Dec. 6). As for “free and clear,” it is a clear title but not free as one of our priorities is to pay off our lenders. Second, I don’t quite recall “pipe dream.” I am quite analytical and calculated. Just as when I purchased the property, I studied all legal concerns and knew what the ultimate ruling would be. The same is true with our California Coastal Commission lawsuit. The Writ of Mandamus is not about the change of circumstances, but instead about the legal requirements that the Coastal Commission transfer the then valid permit before any decision of “changed circumstance.” This suit is about property rights, in which ultimately, we should prevail—for the good of the community and all property owners. Bob Faulis | Monterey I’d rather see a “big gaping hole” than have another developer take away what little we have left of the original Monterey. Thomas Michael Chavarria | via social media Maybe some local residents do not want “87,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, 38 market-rate condos, 13 workforce housing units, 377 parking spaces and an onsite desalination plant.” Maybe retail seems to be shuttering, as online marketplaces continue to outpace in-person shops. Maybe the Monterey County Weekly should consider that development is at odds with its purported environmental stance. Joseph Bridau | Seaside Here’s hoping that this piece of Cannery Row stays as it is. Vibrant and full of life. In the spring, gulls and other birds collect grasses for nesting. The cormorants are residents on the platform just offshore. Deer tracks are seen on McAbee and nearby beaches. This fine example of Cannery Row history is perfect as it is. Patty Kolb Hubble | via social media Has anyone tried to park anywhere near Cannery Row lately? How’d you like to add this to the mix? You’ll be wishing someone had come along and made a beautiful green space along the ocean. Wouldn’t that be something? Kira Godbe | via social media They should let him develop it. And thank him for developing that abandoned lot. This will not only make Cannery Row even better, it will also create more jobs. Nicholas Shake | Monterey Up and Out If the concern is destroying farmland then why isn’t Salinas building up? (“Housing and agricultural needs clash in a major land use policy decision,” Nov. 30-Dec. 6.) The people in this state will say they need housing but then insist that every city not build upward because of some silly idea that every city needs to feel like a small town and everyone needs a view of their neighbors’ ugly, ill-treated yards full of garbage and weeds. We have slightly more people in this state than all of Canada. The only option if you want to stop eating up land is to build up, and stop being afraid of buildings over five stories. James Vollbringa | via web Gun Fire So he has a lousy shot, hit his target but several others too (“Surviving shooter in double homicide in Pajaro bar fired in self-defense, prosecutors say,” posted Nov. 30). It appears to be negligent homicide of the innocent bystander. I’m surprised [District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni] is not letting a jury decide. He was carrying, so should he be held to the higher standard of not being a lousy shot? In any event, the innocent victims have a civil claim against the shooter. Walter Wagner | Salinas Raise a Glass Cheers! (“After a long, often frustrating growing season, winegrape harvest delivers a very promising vintage,” Nov. 30-Dec. 6.) Gretchen Allinson Walker | via social media Christmas Spirit Greetings from the North Pole! As the holidays approach, I wanted to share some exciting changes happening in Christmas preparations this year. I am delighted to announce that our beloved reindeer will be retiring to a beautiful sanctuary. They have served tirelessly, guiding my sleigh through snow and stars for years, and it’s time for them to graze peacefully and bask in the care they deserve. In their place, we will be introducing a new, eco-friendly electric sleigh. This change aligns with our commitment to reducing our carbon hoofprint and taking steps towards a greener, more sustainable future. But that’s not all! This year, I’ve made a personal choice to embrace a vegan lifestyle. In doing so, I encourage families around the world to join me in spreading kindness to all beings. Instead of the traditional cookies and milk, I kindly ask children to leave out vegan cookies and plant-based milk. I understand change can be unexpected, but I hope these adjustments will inspire a sense of togetherness for our planet and its inhabitants. Christmas is a time of love, generosity, and making the world brighter for all. With cheer, Santa Claus Lisa DeCrescente | Odenton, Maryland Corrections A story about negotiations between administrators and teachers union members at MPUSD (“Class sizes and compensation are on the table in negotiations for MPUSD and teachers union,” Nov. 30-Dec. 6) incorrectly stated that the parties had agreed to a pay increase of 8.22 percent. That counteroffer is still under negotiation. In addition, Monterey Bay Teachers Association President Nicky Long’s last name was incorrect in a caption; it is Long, not Williams. A story about singer Macy Gray omitted a mention of her most recent album (“Grammy-winner and R&B star Macy Gray is coming to the Golden State Theatre with old favorites and new works,” Nov. 30-Dec. 6). The Reset, released on Dec. 1, 2023, is her most recent album, not 2018’s Ruby. 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.

www.montereycountyweekly.com december 7-13, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 21 There is a simple elegance to our democratic republic. The people elect leaders to represent them. Those electeds hear from constituents. Depending on what they hear, they may change course. Nowhere is this more visible than at the local level. People can organize to show up—and sometimes, decision-makers change their mind in real time. So it was on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 14 when Salinas City Council was set to consider what looked to be a rather perfunctory update to its retail cannabis ordinance. So perfunctory that it was scheduled for the consent agenda, meaning it wouldn’t even be a topic of discussion unless somebody requested a chance to discuss it. And many people did. Over two-dozen people lined up to tell council they did not want changes to the ordinance, aggrieved primarily by a proposal to shrink the buffer zone between dispensaries and sensitive sites, in this case, houses of worship. “Our churches should be safe places along with schools and youth facilities,” one pastor said. One speaker offered: “We really need to protect the community, we don’t need more dispensaries.” “Every day the church is under attack,” one congregant said. “Now we have to worry about dispensaries as well.” Another: “Can you imagine a green cross next to a heavenly cross?” Ultimately, persuaded by the outpouring of opposition, City Council decided against the proposed ordinance adjustments. The proposed changes would have enabled the city to issue a total of eight retail licenses to dispensaries and/ or delivery services, instead of the five currently allocated to brick-and-mortar and three for delivery. (All five of the former are spoken for, although two are inactive—that means with just three dispensaries in operation, permits are frozen out.) The proposed changes would have shrunk a buffer zone between dispensaries and places like churches from 1,000 feet to 600 feet. “Seeing here a more fervent push to keep these dispensaries away, I am going to sit with community and ask that we keep the [buffer zone in effect for] houses of worship,” said Councilmember Carla Viviana González, a member of the three-person cannabis subcommittee that had reviewed the rules in advance. “It’s clear from the community tonight that there is a serious fear about how cannabis economic input would be funneled into certain communities.” González’s colleagues on that subcommittee, councilmembers Orlando Osornio and Steve McShane, joined her in advocating to keep the ordinance as is and strike the proposed amendments. “We have spent thousands of staff hours on this, and hundreds of thousands of consultant money on this, so I want to say, what a waste of time for the subcommittee,” McShane said. “The community has spoken, and I think we should listen. Getting a joint is not as important as fixing a road, or putting in a new play structure at El Dorado Park.” (Those numbers—thousands of hours—are hyperbole.) Councilmember Andrew Sandoval took it a step further. He suggested not only keeping the existing ordinance as is, effectively shredding the subcommittee’s work, but also disbanding the subcommittee entirely. The proposal to kill the recommended amendments and the subcommittee was approved 7-0. In some ways, government may simply be catching up to the state of an industry that is imploding. The promise of cannabis as a revenue game-changer has not borne out—in Salinas, revenue has gone down every quarter since the first part of 2021. (Year over year, revenue in 2022 was down 25-percent from 2021, from $2 million to $1.5 million.) “Government hasn’t kept up with the fact that the market has really fallen apart,” McShane says. While it seems like a good idea from a business perspective to make it simpler for new dispensaries to get licenses, only a handful of calls, roughly four, have been placed to City Hall in the last year-and-a-half inquiring about a license—there’s just no demand. It wouldn’t be the first time governments set their hopes and dreams on a new industry to save them and the promise went unfulfilled. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@mcweekly.com. Bloom and Bust In a sign of the times, Salinas kills its cannabis subcommittee. By Sara Rubin Smell Test…Benjamin Franklin reportedly once said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days,” which Squid has always found curious: In a world without refrigeration, it seems like fish would start stinking in two days, tops. Perhaps noses were less sensitive back then. Unfortunately for residents of Marina, a stink, for years, occasionally wafts through the city’s neighborhoods. The problem became such a matter of concern that it’s been talked about frequently in public meetings in recent years, but the problem is: Nobody knows what’s causing it. Prime suspects were initially the pilot anaerobic digester at ReGen Monterey’s facility or Monterey One Water’s wastewater treatment plant. Perhaps, it was also thought, it could be RAMCO’s conversion of lands north of Marina from pasture to strawberry fields. So in response to public outcry, ReGen and M1W agreed last year to pay $75,000 each to fund an odor study to investigate the source, which culminated in a report that consultants SCS Engineers presented to Marina City Council Dec. 5, after Squid’s deadline. Yet per the report, the precise source of the odor remains unclear. SCS recommends further study to look at odor mitigation strategies for the RAMCO, ReGen and M1W operations. In the meantime, is there a Marina-based band called Fog, Wind & Odor? Someone should get on that. On Course…In the sea, competition is more about satisfying primal needs than tallying numbers. Yet Squid has always been impressed by the human desire to set personal goals and break records. It can be a source of inspiration. As Patrick Koenig said after topping a record earlier this year, “I think most people have that ability in them.” What was Koenig’s lofty endeavor? Nothing less than to set a new mark for the number of rounds of golf played in a year, seeking to surpass the old record of 449. By the time Koenig’s RGV Tour reached the Monterey Peninsula on Dec. 6, he’d played over 530 rounds, with most of the month left to go. Squid would be impressed. However, Squid learned that a man named Barry Gibbons completed 878 rounds in 2016, only to be beaten by Nolan Krentz, who played 990—a temporary victory, as Gibbons came back with 1,235 rounds in 2020. The competition for this title is fierce, apparently. So why can Koenig claim the record? Guinness World Records is strict. While others have indeed played more, Koenig’s quest was for the most rounds played at different 18-hole courses, and it has been thoroughly documented by Golf GameBook. Squid appreciates that Guinness takes such feats so seriously. Squid is now striving for the most shrimp-flavored popcorn consumed in one sitting. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “Can you imagine a green cross next to a heavenly cross?” Send Squid a tip: squid@mcweekly.com