december 14-20, 2023 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT rethinking downtown marina 10 | airport art, ready for takeoff 39 | take a chill pill 46 Old trees and power lines can be a dangerous combination. Is Monterey County ready for another winter? By Pam Marino p. 22 On the Lines ♥ Shop LOCAL this holiday ♥ season ♥ p. 30

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY december 14-20, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com WORSHIP Holiday St. Mary’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church 12th & Central, Pacific Grove • Stmarysbythesea.org Heaven and Nature Sing Christmas at St. Mary’s Christmas Eve 4 pm Family-friendly Holy Eucharist with Celtic Christmas Music 9 pm Holy Eucharist with Choir, Organ, Handbells, Trumpet, and Violin Christmas Day 10 am Holy Eucharist with Harp All are welcome! All services live-streamed on YouTube - StMarysPG Follow us on Facebook! StMarysPG Church of the Wayfarer 10 a.m. Sunday Worship Lincoln and 7th • Carmel-by-the-Sea churchofthewayfarer.com • 831-624-3550 Dec. 10 at 3 pm: A Little Christmas Cheer stories, music, poems, songs Dec. 20 at 5 pm: Time of Quiet Reflection music, candlelight Dec. 24 at 7 pm: Christmas Eve Candlelight Church of the Wayfarer 10 a.m. Sunday Worship Lincoln and 7th • Carmel-by-the-Sea churchofthewayfarer.com • 831-624-3550 Dec. 10 at 3 pm: A Little Christmas Cheer stories, music, poems, songs Dec. 20 at 5 pm: Time of Quiet Reflection music, candlelight Dec. 24 at 7 pm: Christmas Eve Candlelight Church of the Wayfarer 10 a.m. Sunday Worship Lincoln and 7th • Carmel-by-the-Sea churchofthewayfarer.com • 831-624-3550 Dec. 10 at 3 pm: A Little Christmas Cheer stories, music, poems, songs Dec. 20 at 5 pm: Time of Quiet Reflection music, candlelight Dec. 24 at 7 pm: Christmas Eve Candlelight Dec. 20 at 5 pm: Time of Quiet Reflection music, candlelight Dec. 24 at 7 pm: Christmas Eve Candlelight The Rev. Karla J. Lundin, Pastor First Presbyterian Church of Monterey December 21 • 6:30 Blue Christmas Worship Service Christmas Eve December 24 11am Worship with Children’s Musical 7pm Worship with Chancel Choir 10pm Contemplative Worship Service 501 El Dorado Street • Monterey 373-3031 www.fpcmonterey.org The Rev. Mark Peake, Pastor Christmas Eve December 24 11am Worship with Children’s Musical 7pm Worship with Chancel Choir 10pm Contemplative Worship Service 501 El Dorado Street • Monterey • 373-3031 www.fpcmonterey.org The Rev. Mark Peake, Pastor First Presbyterian Church of Monterey December 21 • 6:30 Blue Christmas Worship Service Come Celebrate the Christ in Christmas Great peace have they which love thy law: I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight. —Psalms 119:165 (to:), 174 Sunday, December 25th Christian Science Church 780 Abrego St., Monterey 10:00 am Service • Sunday School 831-920-2300 • www.christiansciencemonterey.org [ Child care provided \ Great peace have they which love thy law: I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight. —Psalms 119:165 (to:), 174 Come Celebrate the Christ in Christmas Monday, December 25th Christian Science Church 780 Abrego St., Monterey 10am Service • Sunday School 831-920-2300 • www.christiansciencemonterey.org e Child care provided E

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 14-20, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3

4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY december 14-20, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com december 14-20, 2023 • ISSUE #1845 • Established in 1988 Patricia Grogan (Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra phone camera, automatic settings, Black and White filter applied.) Early morning light filters through the oak trees on campus at Monterey Peninsula College. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@mcweekly.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: Monterey firefighters cut a fallen tree on Skyline Drive in Monterey on Jan. 4, 2023. 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 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 DECEMBER 14-20, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 Scan the QR Code to learn more Salinas Valley Health and Anthem Blue Cross Reach Agreement on Contract All commercial Anthem Blue Cross plans are now in-network at Salinas Valley Health Medical Center, Clinics, Doctors on Duty and Taylor Farms Family Health & Wellness Center. Continuing to care for the health and well-being of our community. SalinasValleyHealth.com

6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY December 14-20, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH That the business model for journalism is struggling is not new. What is new is a serious exploration by lawmakers as to how they can implement policies to help. The latest statewide effort is Assembly Bill 886, known as the California Journalism Preservation Act, introduced by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland. The California Senate Judiciary Committee held an informational hearing on “The Importance of Journalism in the Digital Age” on Dec. 5 in anticipation of considering the bill in the next legislative session. The bill would require Big Tech platforms such as Meta (which owns Facebook and Instagram) and Google to pay news publishers a “journalism usage fee” (an amount to be determined) for the use of their content; 70 percent of that revenue must be used directly for journalism staff. “Every day, journalism plays an essential role in California and in local communities, and the ability of local news organizations to continue to provide the public with critical information about their communities and enabling publishers to receive fair market value for their content that is used by others will preserve and ensure the sustainability of local and diverse news outlets,” according to the text of the bill. It passed 55-6 on the Assembly floor in June. Good: For those who look to food trucks for sustenance—or food proprietors who make a living by selling from a mobile restaurant—there’s good news in Marina. On Dec. 5, the Marina City Council approved an ordinance that will allow mobile food vending in the city, whether that be a food truck or a sidewalk vendor. This comes after the city put out a public opinion survey a few months back, and of the 202 responses received, 94 percent were in favor of allowing food trucks. The operators will be required to get a license from the city, which must be renewed annually and that expires every June 30. Vendors will be prohibited from setting up shop along Del Monte Boulevard and Reservation Road, and will not be allowed to obstruct any bike lanes. The allowed hours of operation will be between 7am and 11pm. GREAT: Great news for the Big Sur Health Center comes with hiring a new staff physician, Dr. Margaret Simon, before the retiring staff physician wraps up on Dec. 31. A staff physician is required for licensing reasons to keep seeing patients. “I was losing a lot of sleep,” Executive Director Sharen Carey says. “It’s a wonderful way to end the year, finding our new physician.” The search was long and slow as Carey learned from recruiters that the nonprofit was not competitive in its salary offering. A story ran in the Weekly in October detailing the challenging search; a reader, whose late parents received care at the Health Center, learned about the issue and donated $33,000 to support the new physician’s salary. Simon has been practicing for 13 years and completed her residency at Natividad in Salinas. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY Length of the mediated negotiating session between Hartnell Community College District and Hartnell College Faculty Association, which started on Dec. 7 and concluded at 1am on Friday, Dec. 8 with a tentative contract that includes raises. Source: Hartnell Community College District 16 hours QUOTE OF THE WEEK “The City expresses its gratitude to Chief Panholzer.” -A statement from Monterey city officials announcing the retirement of Fire Chief Gaudenz Panholzer, effective Dec. 30. The announcement came just weeks after the firefighters’ union said they’d cast a vote of no confidence in their leadership (see story, mcweekly.com). • Over 100 dealers 21,000 square feet The Largest AnTiques And COLLeCTibLes MALL on the Central Coast ’23 Voted Monterey County's Best Antique Shop 471 WAVE STREET MONTEREY (831) 655-0264 P M canneryrowantiquemall.com Holiday shopping? Come by to find a vintage treasure! Open Daily 11am-6pm sPeCiAL HOLidAY HOuRs CLOSED Christmas & New Year’s Day OPEN 11am -3pm Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve ♦ 3 Card Poker ♠ Century 21st No Bust Black Jack ♣ Texas Hold’em ♥ Baccarat FULL BAR! BLACKJACK BONUS POINTS PAYS UP TO $20,000 SMALL TOWN BIG PAYOUTS! 1-800-Gambler • Gega-003846, Gega-Gega-003703, Gega-000889 Gega-000891 Gega-002838 The Marina Club Casino ensures the safety and security of all guests and team members at all times, while providing exceptional service. 204 Carmel Ave. Marina 831-384-0925 casinomonterey.com ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ Just minutes from Downtown Monterey Where Monterey Comes To Play

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 14-20, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 831.479.6000 or toll-free at 888.4BAYFED, ext. 304 www.bayfed.com/HomeLoans 1524 N. Main Street | Salinas Don’t wait for the Rate! Bay Federal Credit Union offers flexible solutions to get you into the home of your dreams now. Call or visit a branch today to learn about your options. Federally Insured by NCUA | Equal Housing Lender MBARD is offering $500 to low-income applicants in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties as an incentive to purchase a Class 1, 2 or 3 electric bicycle priced at more than $1,000. Electric Bicycle Incentive Program MONTEREY BAY AIR RESOURCES DISTRICT LEARN MORE AT MBARD.ORG 831.647.9411

8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY December 14-20, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 Sometimes in life, when friends get together and go on a trip, magic happens. Everything just goes right. Earlier this year, when Seaside resident Pam Hampton’s daughter Erin Skilton asked if there were any bucket list items she wanted to do to celebrate her 80th birthday, Hampton floated two options: a stay at the TWA Hotel or a cruise. Skilton didn’t need more than a second to choose: “As soon as she said TWA Hotel, that was it.” In her past life, Hampton, who worked for the City of Seaside for over 20 years before retiring about a dozen years ago, worked for TWA at LAX as a ground hostess, and was later promoted to do the same at TWA’s Ambassador’s Club at the airport. This was in the 1960s. She looked after the travel and hospitality needs of celebrities—Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley are the only two she’ll name, and she demurs when asked for colorful stories that played out in her time at the club. She’s a fiercely loyal former TWA employee, her daughter says, and even now, honors the privacy of those she looked after. The TWA Hotel—which opened in 2019—is a boutique hotel housed in the converted former TWA terminal at JFK Airport in New York. It has fine dining, stylish ’60s-era decor and a cocktail lounge in a converted 1958 Lockheed Martin Constellation that sits outside the hotel on the tarmac. For Hampton, the terminal is special—she did her reservations training there for six weeks, and another six weeks to get trained on ticketing. “It just became a favorite place for me always,” Hampton says. “It was one of the most exciting jobs I’ve ever had.” So Skilton, who for years has been a casting director for Top Chef and is a pro at getting things done, organized the trip and invited family and some of Hampton’s friends. Hampton’s birthday was Oct. 1, and the itinerary was to arrive at the hotel Thursday, Sept. 28 and leave Tuesday, Oct. 3. In preparing for the trip, all the ladies—Hampton and two of her friends, her sister, along with Skilton and her friend—bought all-red TWA stewardess outfits on Amazon. They wore them throughout the weekend, and Hampton’s friend Candace Popper, who lives off Highway 68 near San Benancio Canyon, says they were looked at with wonder and joy by the hotel’s guests and staff. The hotel manager even gave them all TWA pins to add more flourish to their costumes. “You walk around with six gals dressed like stewardesses and doors open up,” Popper explains. Skilton was pleasantly surprised by the attention. “We didn’t really know what an impact it would make wearing those outfits in the lobby,” she says. “There are probably 500 Instagram pictures of my mom.” They had cocktail hours, great dinners and even crashed a wedding. On Sunday, Oct. 1—Hampton’s 80th birthday—they dressed up in regular, fancy clothes and made their way into Manhattan to catch a matinee show of Some Like it Hot. But traffic was shutdown around Broadway at the time, so they had to run to the show, and Hampton’s friends Margie Olsen and Popper helped keep her upright as they hurried to the theater. “We came in super hot to Some Like it Hot,” Skilton says. “Luckily they let you drink wine in the seats now.” Even in the city, their vortex of positive energy turned heads: After the show, while having dinner, an older gentlemen from Australia—Hampton is of the impression he’s in the gold business—came to their table (with his wife), wished Hampton a happy birthday and affixed a 14-karat gold kangaroo pin on her blouse. The same was also true on the flight to New York, when, on an American Airlines flight, Hampton, Popper and Olsen were all wearing TWA sweatshirts and hats, and the flight attendant revealed she was a former TWA employee, too. She gave the three free champagne and snacks. “All of us are well-traveled people, but none of us have experienced anything like [that weekend],” Olsen says. “This was the party of the year, an over the top celebration to honor Pam Hampton.” World Traveled When family and friends rallied for a Seaside resident’s 80th birthday, everyone noticed. By David Schmalz Seaside resident Pam Hampton (sunglasses) with her friends and daughter Erin Skilton (behind her) on the steps leading up to the “Connie” cocktail lounge at the TWA Hotel. “This was the party of the year.” TALeS FrOm THe AreA cODe COURTESY OF CANDACE POPPER

www.montereycountyweekly.com december 14-20, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 GET CCFCU PRE-APPROVED! Getting Pre-Approved* for an auto loan can make the process of purchasing a new vehicle simple and straight forward. Benefits of Pre-Approval include: •• YEoa us i’el lr kt on odwe chi doewomn uacvhe hyoi cul ec an b or row •• FE il ni md i pnoa tt ee ns tui ar pl cr irseedsi td ius rs iunegs b ne faonrce ihnagn d fi 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 GENEROSITY COUNTS EVERY ACT OF This holiday season, consider reimagining a world built upon shared humanity by making a financial donation to GCC. Every dollar you give helps change lives in our community through the power of employment. Goodwill Central Coast builds lives, families and communities by helping people with employment needs become successful, supported by innovative enterprises that preserve earth’s resources.

10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY DECEMBER 14-20, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com NEWS Between 2000 and 2010, on the heels of the closure of Fort Ord, Marina’s population dropped by 21 percent, bottoming out at 19,714 residents. During that same time, the city’s downtown, if one can call it that, flagged. Concurrently, in 2001, Marina City Council decided that an attractive, pedestrian-friendly downtown was critical to the city’s long-term prospects. Meetings were held and committees were formed, which all culminated in a Downtown Vitalization Specific Plan in 2006. At a Dec. 5 council meeting, as the hour was approaching midnight, the councilmembers stopped talking just long enough to allow two consultants who had come to the meeting from afar—one, a traffic engineer, and the other, a landscape architect—to give a presentation about a long-envisioned project that’s collected dust for more than a decade: revamping the commercial corridor of Del Monte Boulevard, which at one time was Highway 1, and it shows. City Manager Layne Long told the council, “This project really is a transformational project in our city,” adding that it’s been talked about since 2005. City Council will revisit the topic at its first meeting in February, Long says. As currently envisioned in the plan, on the southbound side heading toward Highway 1, the street would be narrowed from two lanes to one; on the northbound side, it would start to narrow after Palm Avenue. In surveys conducted by the city’s consultants, residents wanted drought tolerant plants that would look good all year, but also add some color. Pedestrian and sidewalk safety were also top priorities. Middle Ground Marina is finally dusting off its dream of making its downtown more vibrant and welcoming. By David Schmalz Since 2020, California’s Homekey program has created over 6,800 homes in the state for people who were living without housing or on the brink of losing their housing. The total awarded so far for projects either constructed or yet to be constructed is nearly $2 billion. In Monterey County alone, the state has awarded over $40 million in the last three years to create nearly 250 units in Salinas and King City. Unfortunately, those units may now be in jeopardy, since developer Shangri-La Industries has been racking up unpaid bills and defaulting on loans, as well as failing to pay property taxes. There are currently three active cases in Monterey County Superior Court where Shangri-La is named as a defendant, two involving unpaid bills for construction materials and work performed, and one for default on a loan at the first Homekey project in the county at 545 Work St. in Salinas. That project, sponsored by the City of Salinas, was awarded nearly $7 million by the state in 2020, toward the $12 million purchase price for the former Good Nite Inn. The deal included Shangri-La covering the rest of the purchase price, plus construction, and its partner nonprofit, Step Up, agreed to provide supportive services to residents. Shangri-La would remain the owner of the property, with units remaining affordable for 10 years. The plan was to create just over 100 units, and it was able to partially open in December 2020 to 64 residents. Unforeseen delays have prevented the project from being fully completed. To make up for the gap between the state’s award and the cost of purchasing the motel plus construction, Shangri-La took out loans, as it has done in all of its projects in the state. Medalist Partners Asset-Based Private Credit Fund is now suing Shangri-La for failing to pay the loan for 545 Work St., which with interest was $14.2 million at the time the case was filed on Nov. 8. According to court records, Medalist uncovered the fact that Shangri-La had not paid property taxes totaling $82,000. Medalist also asked the court to appoint a receiver for the property, removing control from Shangri-La. In a rebuttal to Medalist’s complaint, Shangri-La executives said in court documents that they are in the process of refinancing the loan and that they should be able to repay Medalist within weeks. (Shangri-La representatives did not respond to requests for interviews.) Two companies, Johnson Engineered Systems and Northstar Development and Construction, are suing over unpaid invoices for a project at 1030 Fairview Ave. in Salinas. Northstar is suing for breach of contract; the company claims it’s owed over $1.8 million. Subcontractor JES is claiming over $264,500 in allegedly unpaid invoices. Shangri-La has been awarded more than $70 million in capital costs by the state for projects in Monterey County and in Southern California. According to The Real Deal, a real estate news outlet, Shangri-La has failed to keep up payments on all its Homekey projects. “We are aware of these troubling reports regarding Shangri-La Industries,” a spokesperson for the state Department of Housing and Community Development says. “HCD is actively investigating apparent violations and cannot comment further at this time.” A Salinas Homekey project on Fairview Avenue sits unfinished. A contractor and subcontractor are suing Shangri-La for unpaid bills. Alarm Bells The developer behind Homekey housing projects is defaulting on bills and loans. By Pam Marino Making the median on Del Monte Boulevard in Marina safer and more aesthetically pleasing has long been a priority of the city’s elected officials. “We are aware of these troubling reports.” DANIEL DREIFUSS DANIEL DREIFUSS

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 14-20, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 GIFT One GET One MONTEREY LANES 2161 N. Fremont St., Monterey 373.1553 VALLEY CENTER BOWL 1081 S. Main Street, Salinas 422.9031 STOP IN TODAY AND RELIEVE THAT HOLIDAY STRESS! *Promotional gift card valid 1/2/15-3/31/15. Not valid for alcohol of for league fees. is Holiday Season, spread a little cheer …and keep some for yourself! Buy $100 worth of gift cards and get a $20 Promotional Gift Card FREE* Buy $50 worth of gift cards and get a $10 Promotional Gift Card FREE* Give the perfect gi that can be enjoyed by everyone on your holiday list, PLUS get a gi card for yourself! MONTEREY LANES 2161 N. Fremont St., Monterey 373.1553 VALLEY CENTER BOWL 1081 S. Main Street, Salinas 422.9031 Buy $100 worth of gift cards and get a $20 Promotional Gift Card FREE* This Holiday Season, spread a little cheer …and keep some for yourself! STop in Today and relieve THaT Holiday STreSS! *promotional gift card valid 1/3/24 - 3/31/24. not valid for alcohol or league fees. Buy $50 worth of gift cards and get a $10 Promotional Gift Card FREE* Give the perfect gift that can be enjoyed by everyone on your holiday list, PLUS get a gift card for yourself! Gift One Get One A Cookhouse Holiday Join us for Christmas and New Years Eve Christmas Monday December 25th Happy Holidays! Bring your family and friends. 11am - 9pm New Year’s Eve Sunday December 31st Celebrate the New Year with us on New Year’s Eve! 11am - 9pm 2149 N. Fremont St. • Monterey • 831-642-9900 • MontereyCookHouse.com RESERvatioN RECoMMENDED DEpoSit REquiRED 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

12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY december 14-20, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com There aren’t many hurdles left to clear for Monterey-Salinas Transit’s SURF! project, which is planned to be a rapid transit busway between Marina and Sand City, and would have its own, separated roadway to the west of Highway 1 between the two cities. In theory, the project seeks to reduce traffic during commute times. Once built, how many people will actually ride on it? That’s unknown, but the idea, MST General Manager Carl Sedoryk says, is akin to the famous Field of Dreams line, “If you build it, they will come.” The project is fully funded—it’s budgeted at around $78 million, with $6 million set aside as a contingency for potential cost overruns. The last pre-construction hurdles that remain are to get coastal development permits from the cities of Marina and Sand City, as well as the California Coastal Commission. Both cities have approved local coastal plans, which allow them to grant the permits without the matter coming before the statewide commission. However in this case, a 2.5-mile stretch along the highway is outside of both cities’ LCP jurisdictions. On Dec. 5, Sedoryk came to Sand City’s City Council meeting to apprise them of MST’s recent work in general, but the conversation quickly shifted to how the SURF! project would impact Sand City. One of the project’s two endpoints is on Playa Avenue, just west of its intersection with California Avenue between two high-traffic shopping centers in the small city. Vibeke Norgaard, Sand City’s manager, had already been in communication with MST regarding traffic impacts of the project on that intersection and wanted to see more data, and expressed a desire for there to possibly be a roundabout at the intersection. So MST’s traffic consultant on the project, Frederik Venter from KimleyHorn, ran a traffic simulation that shows the impact of a roundabout at that intersection. In short, it shows the roundabout would increase travel times because the path going north out of the Costco parking lot—which is California Avenue—would be reduced to one lane. Instead, of the four options Venter presented to the MST board at a meeting on Monday, Dec. 11, the board—along with Norgaard—agreed the best option is three lanes, with dedicated left- and right-hand turn lanes. Sedoryk says construction is expected to start next September and that it will take about 25 months. YWCA Monterey County serves people in crisis, including survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. In 2022, the nonprofit’s 24-hour crisis line received 2,675 calls related to domestic violence services. The YWCA also provides a shelter and counseling. It has also provided legal advocacy services since 2002, but no longer. On Nov. 2, the organization received a letter from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services notifying them they will not receive additional funds from the state’s Legal Assistance Program, which has provided funds to the YWCA since 2018. Legal advocacy services had been free to YWCA clients, who received assistance with restraining orders (for domestic violence or harassment), cease-and-desist letters, and in some cases, immigration cases. Only 29 out of 75 organizations received funding from Cal OES this year. August Rivera, lead legal advocate for YWCA, says Cal OES’ decision depended heavily on having an in-house family law attorney; YWCA has instead relied on partnerships with other agencies, including Monterey College of Law and Watsonville Law Center. The loss of funding means the end of the organization’s Legal Advocacy Department, which will primarily impact low-income migrant or undocumented women who are fleeing domestic violence and harassment. “The financial barrier created by the loss of this program will have a profound impact on victims seeking justice,” YWCA’s CEO Christine Duncan wrote in a letter to donors. According to the YWCA, 75 percent of calls its Legal Advocacy Department received last year included a request for a restraining order. In 2022, 575 survivors received aid with restraining orders, ceaseand-desist letters, child support and more. The nonprofit stopped providing restraining order services on Dec. 8, and on Jan. 1 will suspend all other legal services. High Tide MST’s SURF! project is advancing, but kinks are still getting smoothed out. By David Schmalz news Building the future MILPA is hosting a Youth Futures Workshop, inviting participants to use their creativity and imagination to propose solutions for the next 100 years in California, all while building community. 4-6pm Thursday, Dec. 14. MILPA, 339 Melody Lane, Salinas. Free; food provided. For ages 14-34. 676-3079, nloeza@milpacollective.org, bit.ly/yfmworkshop. Holiday Feast The City of Marina is looking for volunteers to contribute to its holiday dinner and Winterfest experience from 1-4pm on Sunday, Dec. 17. There are opportunities to help with meal prep, checking in guests, serving and more. Volunteer opportunities: 2-5pm Saturday, Dec. 16; 11am-2pm or 2pm-5pm Sunday, Dec. 17. Rocky Han Community Center, 211 Hillcrest Ave., Marina. Free. 760-0281, cityofmarina. org. Tree Trim In addition to its weekly park cleanup, Friends of Seaside Parks hosts a session on what you need to know to keep fruit trees healthy through pruning and care. Peter Quintanilla, a certified arborist and pruning specialist, shares the basics. 10am-noon Saturday, Dec. 16. Havana Solis Park, between Lincoln and Havana streets, Seaside. Free. Bring clippers and gloves to participate. Water Rates Marina Coast Water District is planning to update its service rates and the board will hear a report from a consultant on rate structure to help the district implement a five-year plan for water, recycled water and sewer services. The presentation will include information on rate-setting in California, the process and timeline. 6pm Monday, Dec. 18. Marina Coast Water District office, 920 2nd Ave., Suite A, Marina; also available via zoom bit.ly/4algtHl, using webinar number 845 8535 1458 and passcode 628311. 384-6131, mcwd.org. Civic Service The City of Pacific Grove has several open volunteer positions on committees and commissions available, including the Planning Commission, Historic Resources Committee and Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Each body meets at least monthly; appointments will be made on Jan. 17. Deadline to apply is 5pm Thursday, Dec. 21. Applications and forms available at cityofpacificgrove.org or the City Clerk’s office at 300 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove. For more information, email cityclerk@cityofpacificgrove.org or call 648-3100. In Need YWCA Monterey County eliminates legal advocacy services after losing state funding. By Celia Jiménez Though Sand City has less than 400 residents, thousands flow in and out of its shopping centers daily. The challenge is to keep things moving as bus traffic increases. e-mail: publiccitizen@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX Construction is expected to start next September. Courtesy of MST

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 14-20, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 831.375.9712 | cfmco.org/GiveBack Leverage Your Year-End Gift by December 31, 2023 Each donation to your choice of 206 participating nonprofits receives a partial match. Gifts of stock or IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions are welcome to benefit multiple nonprofits with one gift. montereycountygives.com MCGives! is a project of the CFMC, the Monterey County Weekly and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. Community Foundation for Monterey County inspiring philanthropy strengthening communities We are grateful to our donors and nonprofit partners for helping create healthy, safe, vibrant communities. Your Partner in Philanthropy Donor Advised Funds, Charitable Estate Planning (e.g. CGAs, CRTs), IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions, Scholarships & More JOB FAIR Monday, December 18, 2023 8a.m. – 12p.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

14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY DECEMBER 14-20, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Forecasters keeping an eye on surface temperatures of the Southern Pacific Ocean earlier this year watched as those temps kept rising in the Eastern Pacific off the coasts of Ecuador and Peru—some were the highest ever recorded. Those record highs mean we are officially in an El Niño weather pattern, with a 95-percent chance it will last through next spring, and a 66-percent chance that it will be a “strong” pattern, according to one report. Just because we’re in an El Niño pattern does not automatically mean we’ll have a wetter winter, but it was enough to prompt the California Coastal Commission to issue a memo on Aug. 30 recommending that jurisdictions and property owners along the coast prepare for the worst, just in case. So far cities, PG&E and others are taking the warning seriously, especially in light of last winter’s storms that saw hundreds of trees toppled, and multiple power outages (see story, p. 22). PG&E has been stockpiling power poles, power lines, transformers and other equipment at locations around the Monterey Peninsula, says spokesperson Stephanie Magallon. Should the region be heavily impacted by weather, PG&E’s local emergency operations centers will be activated to allocate crews and equipment as quickly as possible. In Carmel, which saw numerous fallen trees last winter and experienced multiple power outages, some lasting for many days, city workers and contractors hired by the city have made storm preparation a priority, says City Administrator Chip Rerig. “We spent much of the spring and summer removing the broken trees and debris,” he says. “We really hit it like a bomb, the damage that was done [last winter].” Pacific Grove Public Works Director Dan Gho says his crews have been focusing on pruning trees in areas of the city they haven’t worked on in recent years, including the Beach Tract area, where large cypress trees are predominant. They spent the two weeks before the first rains in November clearing out storm drains. Monterey prepared by ensuring pumps in the Lighthouse Avenue tunnel are working, as well as a pump at Lake El Estero, says City Manager Hans Uslar. There’s also a new system in place to monitor the lake level remotely. A sand berm next to Wharf II has been constructed on Del Monte Beach and a contract tree crew is on standby. “We are prepared,” Uslar says. Officials are encouraging residents to prepare themselves ahead of storms, and to take precautions in the days after a storm hits. Visit the Ready Monterey County page at bit.ly/readymoco, where you can sign up for emergency alerts and find information on what to do in case of a severe storm. So far this season the weather has been “on the dry side,” says National Weather Service meteorologist Roger Gass. “We’re going into a wetter pattern over the next couple of weeks, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a wetter winter.” Long Winter Local cities and PG&E are already preparing for possible El Niño weather coming our way. By Pam Marino A Seaside resident fills a sandbag in winter of 2022-23. Cities and the County provide sandbags to residents ahead of large storms. In Monterey, all fire stations have sandbag filling stations. NEWS “We really hit it like a bomb.” DANIEL DREIFUSS The Military Lounge will be available to active duty U.S. military traveling on orders or for personal reasons during the December holiday traveling season. The Lounge will be provided as a courtesy of the airport. Overnight accommodations will not be available. MontereyAirport.com ADMINISTRATION OFFICE SECOND FLOOR OF TERMINAL BUILDING Complimentary meals, snacks, beverages, comfortable seating and wi-fi available for active duty flyers and travel companions. THE MONTEREY REGIONAL AIRPORT WELCOMES OUR MILITARY TRAVELERS HOLIDAY MILITARY LOUNGE DECEMBER 18-25, 2023 4:00AM - LAST FLIGHT THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 14-20, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 15 GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE EVERYTHING NOW PRICES SLASHED HURRY IN THIS WEEK WHILE THERE’S STILL A GREAT SELECTION All Lumber 40% to 80% 40% off all QUIKRETE 40% off all POWER & HAND TOOLS 50% off all LAWN & GARDEN 50% off all CLEANING PRODUCTS 70% off all PAINT 80% off all PLUMBING 80% off all HARDWARE 80% off all ELECTRICAL 40 TO 80% OFF! 2546 Del Monte Ave, Monterey • 831-655-7750 • Monday - Saturday 7am to 4pm. Closed Sunday • Cash • Visa • Mastercard • Discover • American Express • NO CHECKS • ALL SALES FINAL 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 18 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 12/12/23 4,126 donors $6,695,277 in donations

16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY DECEMBER 14-20, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com MC GIVES The facts about Parkinson’s disease are grim. First of all, there is no known cure. And the cocktail of symptoms differ from one person to the next. The neurodegenerative disorder also directly affects millions of families. With some 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the U.S., Parkinson’s is now second only to Alzheimer’s in its prevalence. Yet there is a glimmer of hope, and that’s where Power Over Parkinson’s comes in. “The only thing proven to slow the progression of Parkinson’s is exercise,” explains Terrill Dahl, who was a caregiver for her late husband Roger, who battled Parkinson’s for two decades. “I can tell you from personal experience it is a cruel, cruel disease,” Dahl says. Power Over Parkinson’s established an exercise studio in 2017, offering classes suited to the needs of each individual. Instructors focus on balance, strength and mobility. But it also provides something more. “The studio became a focal point of joy for my husband and me,” says Dahl, who joined the organization’s board of directors. “I’m on the board because I believe so earnestly in the mission of Power Over Parkinson’s. It’s as simple as that.” The mission is to improve the quality of life for those suffering from Parkinson’s—along with their families—through a tailored program of exercise, wellness, education and community. This curriculum is the core of the nonprofit’s Big Idea, but Power Over Parkinson’s is also intent on expanding its reach. They plan to increase the number of instructors and classes in an effort to bring membership to 100 and more. They estimate that at least 1,500 area residents are fighting Parkinson’s. Clinical adviser Dr. Maria Bellumori is a Parkinson’s researcher and CSU Monterey Bay kinesiology professor who developed exercise programs specific to the disorder. Her work has shown that such programs improve coordination and help patients better cope with the symptoms. Courses at Power Over Parkinson’s are offered six days a week. They range from tai chi to dance, stretching and pilates—and not all involve physical activity. There are also speech therapy sessions. “We are hoping to provide a place where people can do something that helps,” Dahl says. COURTESY POWER OVER PARKINSON’S Class Action Power Over Parkinson’s uses exercise programs to slow the progression of a debilitating disease. By Dave Faries Courses at Power Over Parkinson’s include boxing drills adapted from the sport that work on the fundamentals of balance, strength and mobility. 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 Join our drug and alcohol prevention program, S.T.E.P.S. Program in Salinas, South Monterey County and Monterey Peninsula. Support youth prevention services www.SunStreetCenters.org Are you a student in high school looking for volunteer opportunities? Prevention, Education, Treatment & Recovery serving youth, adults and families in Monterey County, San Benito County & San Luis Obispo County

www.montereycountyweekly.com DECEMBER 14-20, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 17 We bring help and hope to families and individual that call us each day seeking our services. ▪ Assistance with application to food & healthcare programs ▪ Assisting families on their path to financial stability ▪ Disaster response & preparedness support ▪ Immigration & citizenship services ▪ Tattoo removal services ▪ Connecting with other resources Join us in helping thousands of people in need in our community. Donate ONLINE MontereyCountyGives.com/Catholic Questions? Call (831) 393-3110 catholiccharitiesmonterey We bring help and hope to families and individual that call us each day seeking our services. ▪ Assistance with application to food & healthcare programs ▪ Assisting families on their path to financial stability ▪ Disaster response & preparedness support ▪ Immigration & citizenship services ▪ Tattoo removal services ▪ Connecting with other resources Join us in helping thousands of people in need in our community. Donate ONLINE MontereyCountyGives.com/Catholic Questions? Call (831) 393-3110 catholiccharitiesmonterey • Assistance with application to food & healthcare programs • • Assisting families on their path to financial stability • • Disaster response & preparedness support • • Immigration & citizenship services • Tattoo removal services • • Connecting with other resources • Celebrating 90 years of Conservation pointlobos.org • montereycountygives.com/lobos Donate today to help us ensure future generations can safely explore the beauty of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Photo by Chuck Bancroft Do not stop dreaming. Encourage your visions and believe in them. Cherish your dreams and try to make them real. -Orison Swett Marden Furnishing experimental studio space to all creators in East Salinas at no cost with pleasure since 1993.

18 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY december 14-20, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Game Time Your article on the Peninsula’s water poverty is the best I have read to date (“Nearly 30 years after Cal Am was ordered to cut back on its pumping of the Carmel River, solutions brought by public agencies might finally end the Peninsula’s water poverty,” Dec. 7-13). Your organization of how this matter has developed is spot on. Even creating a game? Wow—way to keep the story fresh. The current conversation of where the replacement water for the Carmel River is going to come from is one that is surely contentious. I think the only water source that is “the one” is one that is failsafe. Too many of the water sources that the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is touting are not failsafe. The Carmel River Steelhead Association is backing a desalination project. CRSA simply cannot allow the degradation of the Carmel River to happen again. Should the water sources other than desalination lose their ability to provide, then the Carmel River becomes an “emergency” go-to source. All of a sudden, we fall back 30 years and everything CRSA has worked for goes down the drain. CRSA is turning 50 years old in 2024. I am sorting through all those years of documents, articles, meeting minutes, letters and stories to write the 50-year history. I could write it just about the characters it has taken to keep the ball moving up the field. Thanks for your great article. Steve Park | Carmel Valley Note: Park is president of the Carmel River Steelhead Association. Thank you, David Schmalz. This is a fantastic summary, history and synthesis of more than a decade of twists and turns between a complex mix of actors, motivations and interest groups. For everyone who has been sort of following the local water drama, but not sure how the pieces all fit together, or what the hubbub is all about, this provides the context and review that has been lacking. This piece deserves a Pulitzer Prize and is a must read for anyone who cares about who will manage and where their drinking water will come from in the coming decades. Michael Baer | Santa Clara County Really enjoyed your article. Plus the Cease and Desist board game is fun! Jeff Markham | via email As the author of MPWMD’s Summer Splash Water Challenge, I really appreciated your clever twist on the concept with your Cease and Desist game board. Well designed and hilarious. Thanks for the smile. Stephanie Kister Campbell | via email Note: Campbell is a conservation analyst at Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. Water War The issue of housing related to water is real, but not the whole story (“Letters,” Nov. 30-Dec. 6). The housing shortage has causes beyond water, including economics, race and politics. Blaming the water district is misplaced. MPWMD has worked very hard to sensibly predict and provide a water supply. Cal Am has a history of disregarding legal limits on the river and the Seaside basin, and failing to complete infrastructure already approved, while charging some of the highest rates in the country. Their cash-cow solution is an expensive, environmentally damaging desal. Pure Water Monterey expansion provides sufficient water for housing requirements and planned development. Also, while Public Water Now was the catalyst, it was the voters who made the strong decision to pursue a buyout of Cal Am, despite Cal Am’s $2.5 million propaganda campaign. Susan Schiavone | Seaside Upward with the Arts Thanks for the great article on the Monterey Museum of Art’s movement to create an arts and culture hub (“Monterey Museum of Art and government agencies partner in a vision to expand an art footprint downtown,” Dec. 7-13). This is a bonus for a city that has so much to give to the world. Just wish the City of Salinas had the same insight. Denise Estrada | North County I love the idea of creating a central collection for the artwork adorning our precious adobes (“Monterey Museum of Art’s choice to stay downtown is good news for the institution, and for the public,” posted Dec. 9). Every time I enjoy access to the adobes for various events (since 1984) and see fabulous artworks, I worry about their preservation and lack of viewing on a regular basis. To have a central museum for these treasures would be an investment that, I believe, the community would heartedly support. So many stories of artists, their works, the Bohemian culture…all are integral to the history of our Central Coast and Monterey Bay communities. They are going in the right direction, and I applaud the effort. Karen Cowdrey | Pebble Beach Sing out John Turri is incredible (“Although he didn’t start out as a musician, that’s where John Turri found his voice,” Dec. 7-13). I’ve seen him perform a few times in the area and he’s so kind. I adore his music. It’s about time he gets the recognition he deserves. Well done for the young man. Sean James | Seaside Life Saver I was very happy to read that Sun Street Centers is planning construction of this new outreach center (“Sun Street Centers plans a home for sober living and intensive youth outreach,” Nov. 30-Dec. 6). I’ve seen firsthand the impact that this type of help can make in people’s lives, and I heartily encourage folks to join me in donating whatever they can to this very worthwhile organization. Derek Dean | Monterey Be a Scrooge Hey Fisherman’s Wharf, just because you have 10,000 cheap Christmas decorations doesn’t mean you have to display them all (“Morsels,” Dec. 7-13). Very tacky. Steve Prelsnik | Pebble Beach 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 14-20, 2023 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 19 On a recent Thursday afternoon, The Hub at CSU Monterey Bay is buzzing. It’s a hybrid grocery store/thrift shop, and roughly a dozen students and a few staff members are grabbing bananas, spices and used shoes lined up neatly on a shelf. It’s actually more food pantry than grocery store—everything in here is free to the CSUMB community, on a limited basis. You can grab up to one item daily from Zone 1, for instance, and up to two during finals. (On this day, Zone 1 includes canned peas, enchilada sauce, and bags of pinto beans.) You can grab up to five items from Zone 2 (crackers, tortillas). Fresh produce—including curly kale, broccolini, celery—is unlimited. Junior Kris Bohrk, a Japanese student, is filling a bag with Brussels sprouts. “I used to hate Brussels sprouts until my first boss made them for me,” she says. “Just a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, bake at 375. It’s fantastic what you can find in here.” Last semester, Bohrk started every school day here to grab a free breakfast. That’s not uncommon for The Hub, which averages 350 “customers” a day, up from 60 one year ago. Last year, there were 16,000 visits; so far this semester, 3,600 individuals have visited 25,000 times. Some of this spike might be due to inflation and represents increasingly desperate times. Some probably comes from improvements to the space itself, which moved across the old student center to make way for El Centro, a resource space for Latino students, into a more open, inviting space. And the idea of creating a lively, inviting space—the exact opposite of whatever comes to mind when you summon “food pantry” to mind—comes from the team behind CSUMB’s Basic Needs Initiative. Joanna Snawder-Manzo, CSUMB’s care manager, started in 2015. She would receive referrals for students who needed extra support—they might be in crisis, or failing out academically. “I noticed the students were stressed because they didn’t have enough money for food and books,” she says. “There was a strong correlation between students being in distress and not having their basic needs met.” The Basic Needs Initiative has expanded to a team of three. Robyn DoCanto oversees The Hub and its student employees; Amy Zamara, the basic needs case manager, oversees a team of interns who are master’s students of social work and meet with students who need their services. The trio scrapes together funds through grants and donations—beyond their allocation of $136,000 annually from the CSU Chancellor’s Office—to make the suite of services a reality, with a budget of $200,000 this year. (CSUMB President Vanya Quiñones allocated funds for the fridge, to enable perishables to be distributed through The Hub.) The food in The Hub comes from a variety of sources, predominantly the Food Bank for Monterey County, as well as churches, occasional grocery store donations and beyond. Towers of nonperishable goods like cornbread mix, canned tomato sauce and diapers are stacked in what used to be the Starbucks, before the new student center opened. The clothing section of The Hub is heavy on kids’ attire; 1 in 5 CSUMB students are parents, Snawder-Manzo says. Up to 50 percent of students are food-insecure. If education is meant to be the great equalizer, we need to equalize education. To do that, we need to make sure that even the neediest students get their basic needs met. It’s a premise we hear about a lot in K-12 education, with initiatives like free school lunch for all—hungry kids can’t learn, the logic goes. The same logic applies in college. If students are desperate, how are they going to really dig deep into reading Socrates or comprehending that chemistry equation? It’s hard to imagine that free boxes of mac-and-cheese or bunches of kale are really going to help close the disparities that exist in higher education, but an hour in The Hub makes you think that they really can. Zamara says she recently overheard a student say that without this resource, they would never cook. “We are trying to meet them where they are at,” she says. “It’s startling how big the need is.” Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@mcweekly.com. Survival Mode CSUMB’s basic needs program reveals desperation—and a simple fix. By Sara Rubin Inquiring Minds…Squid has been waiting to see what unfolds in Pacific Grove City Hall. City Council parted ways with the last city manager, Ben Harvey, in July, sending him off with $438,000. In 2022, Harvey filed harassment complaints against Councilmember Luke Coletti; an investigator confirmed three of the complaints, yet Coletti suffered no real consequences. Other P.G. employees have left or filed complaints in the last two years, and based on records acquired by the Weekly via a California Public Records Act request, Squid sees a pattern of Coletti emailing employees demanding information. It might give any city manager candidate pause. Coletti introduced a proposed ordinance on Dec. 6 that would allow councilmembers to make direct “inquiries” of employees without going through the city manager. The council voted 5-1 to approve the ordinance. Coletti posted the ordinance to Facebook, and when one astute person pointed out it was essentially codifying harassment, Coletti responded: “Inquiry, not harassment. Thank you.” Meanwhile, the City is now circulating a survey to find out what Pagrovians want in their next city manager. The first question asks what are the major challenges facing the city. Squid has one thing to say to the council: The call is coming from inside the house. Not at Home…Squid loves a race, especially when it’s not against a sea star— that’s unfair. When it comes to public office, Squid thinks a challenge is healthy for democracy. So Squid was disappointed, if not surprised, to see that District 1 County Supervisor Luis Alejo is running unopposed for a third term. In District 4, Supervisor Wendy Root Askew faces one challenger, Jeremiah Pressey, who is also running for a seat on the Monterey County Republican Central Committee. Squid wanted to learn more about who he is beyond his campaign paperwork, where he identifies himself as a “father/homemaker.” A brief search of records in Monterey County Superior Court shows that “father/homemaker” is a bit of a stretch. According to a 2019 request for a domestic violence restraining order—which was granted for three years, along with full custody of the couple’s two children and one that was, at the time, on the way—his ex wrote that he “threatened to shoot me and the children for certain sins multiple times throughout our marriage” and “said he would kill his child if gay.” When the restraining order required him to turn over firearms, he produced five weapons. “I don’t want those past allegations to deter me from being an example to my sons,” Pressey says. The Veterans Transition Center alum says his top campaign issues are housing, public safety and quality of life. For Pressey’s own family, Squid is campaigning for safety and stability. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. If education is meant to be the great equalizer, we need to equalize education. Send Squid a tip: squid@mcweekly.com