Senior Guide 2023-2

Margie Kay, who for nearly 50 years has lived in the hills around the Elkhorn Slough, was drawn to activism because of values instilled in her by her father, a Jewish refugee who fled Berlin in 1938 and immigrated to America. When the U.S. declared war against Germany in 1941, he joined the U.S.Army. Once he learned he was going to be deployed to the Pacific front, he protested: He had family members in concentration camps, he was fluent in German and he wanted to fight Nazis. Because he was sworn to secrecy, it took about two decades before he decided to tell his family what he did during the war: He was a spy, essentially, pretending to be a German prisoner to glean intelligence from captured Nazi commanders. Kay’s father would prove to be a profound influence on both her and her brother—he understood that it wasn’t just Jews who were being persecuted, but various people of all colors and religions the world over. But Kay’s path into activism was circuitous. She volunteered for United Farm Workers in the summer before her senior year of high school—she grew up in Los Angeles—and after that, established a career as a bookkeeper. She moved onto the family’s property near Elkhorn Slough in 1976, when she was 23, and she’s lived there ever since. When a longtime neighbor passed away, Kay learned that his heirs were planning to sell the land and turn it into housing—this was sometime in the early ’90s—and that’s when she “cut her teeth” on land use issues, which she’s been devoted to ever since. “I started to realize a lot of North County was being planned for gated subdivisions for Silicon Valley workers,” Kay says. She soon became deeply involved in meetings regarding the county’s general plan update, and began attending public meetings about a range of topics. She’s continued to stay engaged in the public process, including through serving in leadership:Among other things, Kay is the longest-standing member of the county’s Illegal Dumping & Litter Abatement Task Force. If there’s one good thing that’s come out of the pandemic in terms of her day–to-day life, Kay says it’s that she’s not driving so much. “I wake up in the morning, I’m happy, and every day is different for me,” Kay says.“I love Zoom because I don’t have to travel all over like I used to, and then all of a sudden I’m back in bed at night. Everyday people ask me to do something, and I say,‘I’ll check my calendar.’” Keeping Watch Margie Kay, who’s lived most of her life along the Elkhorn Slough, became a self-taught land use watchdog. By David Schmalz DANIEL DREIFUSS 90 The Best of Monterey Bay® Living Well 2023-2024 Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula Community Center Comidas a Domicilio del Centro Comunitario de la Peninsula de Monterey • Lunch program • Fitness, health and nutrition classes • Computer classes • Information and Referral to community services • Produce Market on Wednesdays from 9-11:30am • M-F 9-5pm • Programa de almuerzo • Clases de acondicionamiento físico, salud y nutrición • Clases de computación • Información y referencia a servicios comunitarios • Mercado de productos Miercoles 9-11:30am • L-V 9-5pm 831-375-4454 Pacific Grove San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) Centro Regional San Andreas (SARC) • Services for persons with developmental disabilities including service coordination, information and referral • M-F 8-5pm • Servicios para personas con discapacidades del desarrollo que incluyen coordinación de servicios, información y referencia • L-V 8-5pm 831-900-3636 Outreach and Information Services Servicios de Divulgación e Información