january 18-24, 2024 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT Drive the Bus 6 | CSUMB on strike 10 | art of the harvest 26 | bread, hold the gluten 30 Nutrition, variety, freshness and from-scratch cooking are all increasingly part of the school lunch vision. p. 16 By Celia Jiménez What’s for Lunch?
2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY january 18-24, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com january 18-24, 2024 • ISSUE #18450 • Established in 1988 Gil Lucero (iPhone 14 Pro) January means extraordinary winter skies, and this cloud formation at sunset was no exception. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to email@example.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: To be eligible for federal reimbursement from the USDA, school lunches must include protein, vegetables, fruit and milk. On Tuesday, Jan. 9 one of the entrees available at Marina High School was a grass-fed beef hot dog from Cream Co. Cover Photo: Daniel Dreifuss etc. Copyright © 2024 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: $300 yearly, pre-paid. The Weekly is an adjudicated newspaper of Monterey County, court decree M21137. The Weekly assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Visit our website at http://www.montereycountyweekly.com. Audited by CVC. Founder & CEO Bradley Zeve firstname.lastname@example.org (x103) Publisher Erik Cushman email@example.com (x125) Editorial editor Sara Rubin firstname.lastname@example.org (x120) features editor Dave Faries email@example.com (x110) associate editor Tajha Chappellet-Lanier firstname.lastname@example.org (x135) Staff Writer Celia Jiménez email@example.com (x145) Staff Writer Pam Marino firstname.lastname@example.org (x106) Staff Writer Agata Pope¸da (x138) email@example.com Staff Writer David Schmalz firstname.lastname@example.org (x104) Staff photographer Daniel Dreifuss email@example.com (x140) MONTEREY COUNTY NOW PRODUCER Sloan Campi firstname.lastname@example.org (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 email@example.com (x108) Graphic Designer Kevin Jewell firstname.lastname@example.org (x114) Graphic Designer Alexis Estrada email@example.com (x114) Graphic Designer Lani Headley firstname.lastname@example.org (x114) SALES senior Sales Executive Diane Glim email@example.com (x124) Senior Sales Executive George Kassal firstname.lastname@example.org (x122) Senior Sales Executive Keith Bruecker email@example.com (x118) Classifieds business development director Keely Richter firstname.lastname@example.org (x123) Digital Director of Digital Media Kevin Smith email@example.com (x119) Distribution Distribution AT Arts Co. firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution Control Harry Neal Business/Front Office Office Manager Linda Maceira email@example.com (x101) Bookkeeping Rochelle Trawick firstname.lastname@example.org 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. We can tell you like the print edition of the Weekly. We bet you’ll love the daily newsletter, Monterey County NOW. Get fresh commentary, local news and sundry helpful distractions delivered to your inbox every day. There’s no charge, and if you don’t love it, you can unsubscribe any time. NOW IN YOUR INBOX Sign up today at montereycountyweekly.com/mcnow
www.montereycountyweekly.com JANUARY 18-24, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3 Classes and support groups Raising resilient children Tuesday, January 23, 5:30–6:30 p.m. Building mental fitness during pregnancy Wednesday, January 31, 4:30–5:30 p.m. Fathers group for new and expecting dads Wednesdays, 5:30–7 p.m. Mom’s corner Mondays, 9:30–11 a.m. Classes and support groups held in Ohana conference room, 6 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Monterey Register and learn more at montagehealth.org/ohanaclasses Building mental fitness
4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY JANUARY 18-24, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH With so much information—and misinformation— out there, there is lots of hand-wringing about how to discern truth from fiction. A new coalition of educators, journalists, librarians and government officials aims to promote media literacy among high school students. Partners in the coalition include the Monterey County Office of Education; California Council for the Social Studies; CSU Monterey Bay’s Department of Education; the History & Civics Project at UC Santa Cruz; the Institute for Media and the Public Trust at Fresno State; and the Monterey County Weekly. This group, the Media Literacy Coalition, will aim to advance a statewide initiative locally. Assembly Bill 873, signed into law in 2023, directs the state’s Instructional Quality Commission to incorporate media literacy content into the K-12 curriculum. “Thank you to Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing AB 873 and affirming that media literacy instruction is essential to keeping our students safer online and to safeguarding the future of our democracy,” the bill’s author, Assemblymember Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, said in a statement. Good: In what could be the first partnership of its kind in California, CSU Monterey Bay and Pebble Beach Company announced on Jan. 11 the Pebble Beach Scholars program, a $1.4 million endeavor that will provide eight hospitality students a year for four years with up to $5,000 annually for educational expenses as they work as interns at Pebble Beach Resorts. One perk of the program is continued on-campus housing throughout the year—PBC will pay for summer housing. Around 60 CSUMB interns have been hired by the company over the years, serving in leadership positions—PBC CEO David Stivers says having CSUMB nearby has made a huge difference for the company in finding quality employees. CSUMB President Vanya Quiñones says this is the first of what the university hopes will be similar community partnerships, providing students with paid internships in their fields. GREAT: Great news for farmworkers comes with more farmworker housing in the pipeline. On Jan. 10, the Monterey County Planning Commission unanimously approved a project at Schönberg Parkway and Alisal Road in Salinas. The project includes the construction of three two-story buildings with 46 units that can accommodate up to 360 workers during the harvest season, from April to November. (Each apartment will house up to eight people.) The housing will be open for local and temporary H-2A visa workers. The complex of 5.2 acres will be located on a 188-acre property owned by Bengard Farms. “This appears to me to be a way to provide safe housing,” Commissioner Martha Diehl said. The Planning Commission was set to consider another farmworker housing project, this one for up to 250 workers in Pajaro, on Jan. 18, but the meeting was delayed and a vote will be rescheduled. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY Square footage for a four-story building envisioned by County of Monterey officials to replace an existing campus at Noche Buena Street and Broadway in Seaside. It would house the Seaside branch of Monterey County Free Libraries, a Family Justice Center from the District Attorney, as well as social services offices. The total budget is $112 million. Source: Capital Improvement Committee report 60,000 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “We are determined to be as open with our community as possible.” -Sheriff Tina Nieto speaking about an investigation into a non-fatal shooting by two deputies of a suspect after negotiating with him for about an hour while he was barricaded inside a residence (see story, mcweekly.com). (831) 718-9041 merrillgardensmonterey.com 200 Iris Canyon Rd, Monterey, CA 93940 Merrill Gardens at Monterey knows how to celebrate — with music, entertainment, and special dining experiences. Join us and enjoy the benefits of our community lifestyle! Lic #275202591 Start New Traditions With Us Visit and Enjoy A Meal On Us!
www.montereycountyweekly.com JANUARY 18-24, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 Provided through the generosity and support of Richard Klevins & Gay Nichols TICKETS TO THE FIRST 25 PEOPLE THAT SCAN THE QR CODE BELOW Experience the Magic of Your Santa Cruz Symphony Just scan the QR code to order your $70 ticket for just $10! (Limit 2 per purchase)
6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY JANUARY 18-24, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 On a sunny Jan. 8, just after the clock strikes noon, a handful of Monterey-Salinas Transit board members arrive via shuttle to MST’s coach operator training course just north of the intersection of 7th Avenue and Gigling Road in Seaside. The training course is a wide open, rectangular tarmac on the western side of the former Fort Ord, and there are a few MST employees already present. Several more disembark off the shuttle with the board members who signed up: Soledad Mayor Anna Velazquez, King City Mayor Mike LeBarre, Salinas City Councilmember Tony Barerra, Del Rey Oaks City Councilmember Kim Shirley and Marina City Councilmember Liesbeth Visscher. MST General Manager Carl Sedoryk, who came with the board members, addresses them as they congregate on the edge of the tarmac in their neon-yellow MST-branded safety vests. Sedoryk says the first thing is to adjust the steering wheel to your liking, and after that, the mirrors. MST is experiencing a shortage of drivers at the moment—there are currently 19 open positions—and the board members are there not to interview for a job, but to try their hand at driving an MST coach—aka bus—so they can better understand what it’s like to pilot in the easiest and safest of circumstances. There are no other vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists on the road, and no passengers aside from MST’s trainer Daniel Merillana, who guides them all through the steps to get the bus rolling and navigate the course—two wide turns, and a narrow lane of two rows of parallel cones, four on each side. Once inside the cockpit—aka the bus driver’s seat—of the coach, Merillana coaches the would-be coach operators on going from stopped to go: Put on your seatbelt, adjust your seat and mirrors if needed, release the parking brake and put it into drive with your foot on the brake. But here is why it feels so much different than driving a car: All the controls, outside of steering, braking and accelerating, are completely different. It’s more like an airplane cockpit, as the dashboard is a panel of metal switches, and the parking brake is released by pulling up a knob by the driver’s left elbow. And even though steering is still steering, the wheel is far more horizontal than that of a car, and turning the bus feels more akin to piloting a boat than an automobile. That being said, the turning radius of the coach is impressive, and tighter than one might expect for such a giant vehicle. Velazquez, the board chair, goes first. In the narrow lane of cones she knocks three out of place and knocks down one. When she gets off the bus, she’s glowing from the ride. “How many cones did I hit?” Upon being apprised, she says, “At first I was a little nervous because of the size of the bus, but it actually maneuvers pretty well.” That did not prove to be true for Visscher, who knocked down nearly the entire right row. While the driving is taking place, Mark Friddle, an MST bus driver for 23 years and now a trainer, is on the course resetting cones and providing damage assessments to the group after every turn. Everyone keeps hitting the last cone on the right, and LeBarre says of Friddle, “He put [the cones] way too close together.” (LeBarre hit the last cone on the right.) Sedoryk says the reason amateur drivers often hit that cone is because they’re focused on their left, not respecting the distance they need to keep on the right side— the bus is wider than a car. The top performer on the board is Barerra, who only nudges the last right cone out of place. When he steps off the bus, he raises his fist in the air triumphantly, and says, “Salinas! Board member of the week!” Smiles abound. Once MST hires a prospective coach operator, pay starts during training at $25.50 an hour, and rises to $26.85 an hour for those who already have a Class B license. Job offers occur on the spot if one passes a background check and onsite drug test. Just be sure to follow Merillana’s pro-tip when you’re straightening up to enter the cones: Hug the left. Coaching Up MST board members try their hand at driving buses— the agency, after all, is hiring. By David Schmalz MST trainer Daniel Merillana explains the steps to get the bus rolling to Soledad Mayor Anna Velazquez, chair of the MST board. “It actually maneuvers pretty well.” TALES FROM THE AREA CODE DANIEL DREIFUSS
www.montereycountyweekly.com JANUARY 18-24, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 pacificgrove.org | 831.373.3304 January 31st - February 4th 2024 $25/per person - 1 day $100/per person - 5 days Advance Purchase @ pacificgrove.org $5 Military Discount w/ID Day of Purchase Only 12 & under free NO REFUNDS Stay & Shuttle is Free Pacific Grove Shuttles in front of PG Museum of Natural History Forest/Central Avenues
8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY january 18-24, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com news The sound of mariachi music and a display of balloons accompanied the grand opening of Vallarta Supermarket in Salinas last November. The new store brought to life the abandoned Kmart building at Laurel West Shopping Center, which closed in 2019. “It’s nice to see that shopping center get used again,” says Salinas City Councilmember Andrew Sandoval, noting residents were concerned about the blighted property and potential for illegal activities, including drug use and prostitution. “[Now] the parking lot is so busy. That’s been a big improvement to that area.” (The store is located in District 5 in North Salinas, which Sandoval represents.) Early last year, the Southern California-based supermarket chain with over 50 stores across the state requested a permit to open a store in Salinas, and it opened before year-end. The building is a little less bright than originally envisioned—Vallarta wanted to paint the exterior freshly white, and instead was directed by the city to go with beige and more muted tones. But it still has an effect of brightening the area. “As part of the project approval, there are conditions to refresh the shopping center,” says Lisa Brinton, Salinas’ community development director. “We want to make sure that the landscaping and parking areas are maintained and safe with adequate lighting.” Thanks to Vallarta, the Laurel West shopping center now has new landscaping, trees, and an updated parking lot. Vallarta Supermarkets also plans to open a new store at another former Kmart location in Watsonville. Before opening in Salinas two months ago, the closest location was in the Central Valley. Market High Vallarta, a new Mexican grocery store, revitalizes an old Kmart on Davis Road in Salinas. By Celia Jiménez Ronald Britt, pastor of Seaside’s Greater Victory Temple, speaks to God often, and trusts that no matter what happens, it’s all part of God’s plan. “When I became the pastor, the lord said to me, find a way to stabilize the church’s finances,” he says. “Find revenue for the church.” The church’s congregation has shrunk over the years, Britt says, and one idea he had to create revenue for the church was housing. Initially, he thought perhaps the church should buy a house to rent out, but John Nash Sr., one of Greater Victory’s deacons, told Britt, as Britt recalls, “We can build on our property.” Starting this summer, that is set to happen. Greater Victory itself isn’t building the housing—that will be done by the developer of Seaside’s nascent Campus Town development, Danny Bakewell Jr., whose company KB Bakewell is set to break ground this summer on a 21-unit affordable housing building on Greater Victory’s property, in part of its parking lot, that will help Campus Town fulfill its obligation to meet Seaside’s inclusionary housing requirements and incentives. All of the units are slated to be for very-low-income residents. Per the approved agreements with the city for Campus Town, KB Bakewell is obligated to provide 45 offsite affordable housing units—the Greater Victory project will account for almost half of them. The Seaside Planning Commission approved the project on Jan. 10, and the only public feedback was in support of the project, so an appeal to City Council is unlikely, and probably not possible—unless there are objections raised in public comment or in writing, Seaside City Attorney Sheri Damon says one can’t appeal a Planning Commission decision. California’s Senate Bill 4, aka Yes In God’s Backyard Bill, was passed in 2023 and enables affordable housing to be permitted and built on church property relatively quickly, bypassing red tape. Bakewell expects the Greater Victory project will take only six to eight months to build. It will be on the southeast of the church’s property. Once built, it will be given to the church to manage. When asked how much revenue the project might help bring Greater Victory, Britt says, “I don’t know. But I’m quite sure this will be a blessing for the church.” The church and its land have long been paid off, but the church itself is about a 25,000-square-foot building that’s not getting younger, and requires maintenance, Britt says. Aside from upkeep costs, Britt says he hopes any revenue the project can generate for the church will go toward doing more ministry and outreach in the community, while at the same time helping “those less fortunate than we are.” His congregation is fully on board with that mission, he adds, and that other Seaside churches are watching closely. “Greater Victory is always the pilot program,” Britt says. “Everyone is always looking at what we’re doing. Other churches that want to do it, they’re waiting to see how this project works out.” Bakewell Jr. sees nothing but roses coming up. “This is one of those projects that I’m very excited about,” he says. “Here’s a church that’s well known in the community, getting 21 units of free housing, free development in the community. I think everyone is excited about it.” A rendering of the planned 21-unit very-low-income housing project at Greater Victory Temple in Seaside, as seen from Yosemite Street. On a Prayer Seaside’s Greater Victory Temple is set to be Peninsula’s first church with affordable housing on its property. By David Schmalz Vallarta Supermarket in Salinas now offers a butcher shop, bakery, fresh produce, packaged groceries and more in the 84,180-square-foot building that has been vacant since 2019. “I’m quite sure this will be a blessing for the church.” Courtesy of KB Bakewell Daniel Dreifuss
www.montereycountyweekly.com JANUARY 18-24, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 montereysportscenter.org PURCHASE ONLINE! JANUARY SHAPE-UP JANUARY 1 THROUGH JANUARY 31 301 E. Franklin Street Monterey (831) 646-3730 20% OFF ALL PERSONAL TRAINING PACKAGES Saturday, January 20, 2024 9a.m. – 12p.m. 2790 Seventeen Mile Drive, Pebble Beach (Located to the right of the Pacific Grove Gate.) Interviews on the spot These opportunities are for the period of January 29 – February 4, with most shifts February 1 - February 4. Hiring for the following areas: Bussers, cashiers, cooks, housekeepers, purchasing clerks, servers, stewards, retails sales, valets, and many more! Please come prepared to provide proof of employment eligibility. Questions: (831) 649-7657 We are hiring for the AT&T Pebble Beach PRO-AM Apply in person at Pebble Beach Human Resources Offices 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
10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY january 18-24, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Each year for 43 years, the Soquel-based nonprofit Ecological Farming Association has hosted the EcoFarm conference. It’s become the largest organic farming conference for small and medium-sized farmers from across the country to network and learn from each other about how to manage their business from the ground all the way to the shelf. When this year’s 44th annual conference meets from ThursdaySaturday, Jan-18-20 at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, the programming will shine a light on farmers from minority groups including David Mas Masumoto, an organic peach and grape farmer in the San Joaquin Valley; Maria Ana Reyes, owner of Narci Organic Farms and an alum of the Salinas nonprofit Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA); and Doria Robinson, executive director of Urban Tilth, a nonprofit that promotes community supported agriculture in Richmond, California. “This year we have, more than ever, more diversified participation,” says Javier Zamora, owner of JSM Organics in Watsonville, and a former EcoFarm board member. Zamora supports the Spanishlanguage workshops and keynote speakers. “A lot of farmers in our area, their native language is Spanish and they might speak a little bit of English, but they feel a lot more comfortable when you are conducting workshops or seminars in Spanish,” Zamora says. Zamora says learning the legal aspects of running an ag business is critical to success. “That’s really, really critical for farms, especially for Hispanic farms, so they understand all the legalities that are necessary to run a business, whether it’s accounting, food safety, or all the regulations that we have to adhere to,” he adds. The event features over 60 workshops, both in English and Spanish, about topics from organic cropping to pest management, marketing, regulation and more. The EcoFarm expo, meanwhile, will showcase the latest technology in ag equipment, including tractors and automation. A beer and kombucha tasting returns this year, and highlights local producers. Pre-conference events, which started on Jan. 16, included a tour of farms in Santa Cruz County including Rancho Soquel, Esperanza Community Farms and the Center for Agroecology at UC Santa Cruz. If the faculty of the California State University system had any doubts about carrying out a one-week strike authorized back in October for the first week of Spring Semester, Jan. 22-26, while labor negotiations were still ongoing, those doubts evaporated in a dramatic moment during a bargaining session on Jan. 9. About 20 minutes into the session, CSU administration representatives announced an ultimatum: Take a 5-percent salary increase or face massive layoffs. Then they walked out. “It was shocking,” says Meghan O’Donnell, a CSUMB lecturer and member of the California Faculty Association negotiating team. She describes the confrontation as the ugliest she’s seen. “Anger doesn’t even express where the faculty are. They feel like [CSU Chancellor Mildred Garcia] has just turned their back on them and is indifferent to how it will impact students,” O’Donnell says. The CFA is asking for a 12-percent increase, among other demands. “Anything less than that is a pay cut in real dollars,” O’Donnell says. The union wants the lowest paid workers, lecturers who teach most of the classes, to make more than the current average for a lecturer with an advanced degree of less than $60,000 a year. In a statement released by the CSU after its representatives walked out of the meeting, the university announced a 5-percent increase would go into effect on Jan. 31. Anything more would lead to “massive cuts to campuses—including layoffs” and would jeopardize “the CSU’s educational mission.” O’Donnell says an independent analysis of the CSU’s finances—including reserves and investment accounts—shows otherwise. The union will take the 5-percent raise, “but we’re going to strike the rest,” O’Donnell says. “Our goal is to shut the system down.” CSUMB had the highest percentage of faculty on any CSU campus that voted for the strike, 95 percent. Members plan on picket lines at all entrances to CSUMB. A notice on the university’s website states that the campus will be “fully operational” and that “students should return to campus as planned.” Farm Team The 2024 EcoFarm Conference spotlights farmers from diverse minority groups. By Celia Jiménez news College Aid If you’re enrolling in a two-year or four-year college and need help with your Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act (CADAA) applications in Gonzales, Gonzales High School is partnering with local colleges to offer several workshops. 6-7:30pm Thursdays, Jan. 18 and 25. Gonzales High School cafeteria, 501 5th St., Gonzales. Free. 675-2495. Prom Ready Project Prom Salinas is organizing a prom dress drive to ensure students can look their best during this special celebratory night. They are collecting new and used prom dresses, suits, shoes, jewelry, purses and accessories. Even if you don’t have a dress to give, you can still donate by purchasing online at bit.ly/promdresssal. 11am-3pm Saturday, Jan. 20. Star Market parking lot, at the intersection of Main Street and Blanco Road, Salinas. For more information or donation pickups, contact email@example.com or 293-4428. coffee with a cop The Monterey Police Department invites you to join them for a cup of coffee and friendly conversation in a non-confrontational setting. 9-11am Wednesday, Jan. 24. Plume’s, 400 Alvarado St., Monterey. Free. 6363914, monterey.org. Pizza Party If you want to get to know the people who are patrolling your streets, check out Pizza with Police in King City. Residents can enjoy a slice of pizza and the opportunity to talk with local police officers in a conversational atmosphere. 5-6pm Wednesday Jan. 24. King City Pizza, 500 Canal St., King City. Free. 385-4848, kingcity.com. Needles and Thread If you like knitting or crocheting, the King City branch library offers a space for a knitting club. BYO supplies, and meet other local enthusiasts at these gatherings. 1-3pm third Thursday of each month. First meeting is on Jan. 18. Free. 3866885, catalog.emcfl.org. Free Pass The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a wonder to behold, but the cost of entry can be a barrier. To that end, the Aquarium offers winter/spring passes in partnership with the Salinas Public Library for families who otherwise can’t afford to visit. Those who received a fall season pass are not eligible. For more information, contact the Salinas Public Library at 758-7311, or go to your nearest Salinas branch library. At Odds A one-week CSU faculty strike is on after administrators walk out on negotiations. By Pam Marino Javier Zamora at JSM Organics. He shares his success story at EcoFarm of growing the business in 12 years from just his four-person family to about 50 employees. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org TOOLBOX “We have, more than ever, more diversified participation.” Daniel Dreifuss
www.montereycountyweekly.com January 18-24, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 For more than 10 years, the County of Monterey has been working to create new regulations around short-term rentals in places visitors desire, like Big Sur, Pebble Beach and Carmel Valley. So far nothing has stuck despite repeated attempts. In 2020, residents’ concerns that vacation rentals could displace them or their neighbors played into why the regulations were kicked back to staff yet again. The Board of Supervisors said they wanted an environmental impact report that answered that question, and a draft EIR is now out for public comment. As proposed, the county’s regulations would allow up to 6 percent of the total number of single-family residential units in a land use area to be used as a commercial vacation rental, with Big Sur as an exception, as well as low-density residential zoning districts in unincorporated Carmel. With approximately 34,600 units total, that could mean just over 2,000 rentals allowed, according to the DEIR. It reports that in 2023 there were 825 advertised rentals—all but around 30 are operating without permits. There could then be room for just under 1,200 more rentals, the draft report states. One of the biggest concerns that stymied the process four years ago was the fear that vacation rentals would negatively impact long-term housing. The DEIR states that “relatively limited additional growth” in vacation rentals is expected, around 76 additional rentals per year. They are “not expected to displace a substantial number of residents as a result of the proposed regulations.” “That is a very surprising statement,” says C.S. Noel, president of the Carmel Valley Association, which has been pushing the county to keep vacation rentals under control. With just over 5,000 housing units, a 6-percent cap could mean up to 300 vacation rentals allowed in the Valley. The DEIR estimates that converting 50 percent of allowable vacation rentals from long-term to short-term could displace an estimated 1,800 people from long-term housing, if the full 6 percent of vacation rentals are realized. While some would relocate to other rental housing in the county, “it is likely that, due to high housing costs, some would relocate outside of this county,” the DEIR states. But with a 6-percent cap, the DEIR called any impacts “less than significant.” There are six alternatives listed in the DEIR, including keeping current regulations, which it states could lead to an uncapped number of conversions of housing units and more resident displacement. Other alternatives include: allowing “homestays” where the property owner lives in the home and rents out a portion; implementing a cap lower 6 six percent; or not allowing conversions of long-term housing. Alternative 6 would prohibit commercial vacation rentals in residential zones in Carmel Valley—it’s the one CVA supports, Noel says, although she says the group will have more detailed comments to share by the deadline, Monday, Jan. 29. Comments can be submitted to CEQAcomments@ co.monterey.ca.us. Rinse, Repeat Over a decade in, the county tries yet again to create new short-term rental regulations. By Pam Marino C.S. Noel, president of the Carmel Valley Association, says CVA supports no commercial vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods, one option the county could choose. NEWS There could be room for 1,200 more vacation rentals. DANIEL DREIFUSS Our Mission: “To educate all children toward becoming conscientious, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world.” APPLY NOW! ISM invites ALL families to apply now for the 2024–2025 school year. ISM is... • Public and FREE! • Open for ALL students, with selection through a blind lottery • A charter school serving grades K-8 in Seaside • A community of diverse families representing ALL races, cultures, ethnicig ties, abilities and family income levels. • An international school supporting global perspectives • Project-based and driven by student inquiry • Focused on student character and developing the whole child ISM is accepting applications through January 31, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. Our Mission: “To educate all children toward becoming conscientious, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world.” APPLY NOW! ISM invites ALL families to apply now for the 2024–2025 school year. For more information and to apply, do one of the following: • Go online to ISMonterey.org/admission • Call ISM at 831-583-2165 between 8:30 AM and 2:30 PM on any school day • RSVP for a tour online. Tours are on campus on Friday mornings from 9:15-9:45, Wednesday mornings from 10:15-10:30, and Tuesday afternoons from 2:30-3:00 • Drop in during one of our community outreach sessions for help applying online. For days and times, go online to ISMonterey.org/admission • Come to our Open House on campus on Saturday, January 6, 2024 9:30 - 11:30AM ISM is... • Public and FREE! • Open for ALL students, with selection through a blind lottery • A charter school serving grades K-8 in Seaside • A community of diverse families representing ALL races, cultures, ethnicig ties, abilities and family income levels. • An international school supporting global perspectives • Project-based and driven by student inquiry • Focused on student character and developing the whole child ISM is accepting applications through January 31, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. 831.625.8106 • carmel plaza ocean ave www.khakisofcarmel.com 831-625-8106 carmel plaza • ocean ave soft jackets sport coats sneakers sweaters trousers new arrivals carmel plaza • ocean ave & junipero st • 831.625.8106 carmel-by-the-sea, california • shop at khakisofcarmel.com Showroom DiSplayS for Sale 70% OFF! 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12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY january 18-24, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com War and Peace This is an exemplary article that highlights humanity and respect for human life (“As war in Gaza continues, local leaders look for a way to say yes to life,” Jan. 4-10). Thank you. Safwat Malek | Monterey A tone-deaf article making no mention of the 30,000 Gazan deaths, or all humanitarian organizations calling Israel an apartheid state. Clearly all this says is Palestinian lives and liberation do not matter as much as Israeli lives. Shame on you Sara Rubbish and Monterey County Weekly for this absolute disgrace of journalistic integrity. Sara Khalil | Monterey You said it so well: if we cannot see the humanity in each other, we reduce the other to an enemy. We visited the Baltic states last spring, and saw the success of three peoples who had been downtrodden for eight centuries by German and Russian occupiers, and when the last of them evaporated when the USSR collapsed in 1989-91, those brave people, seeing the humanity in Russians among them, decided the Russians could stay and become Latvian citizens if they applied and then learned rudimentary Latvian. The result has been, until the Russian invasion of their neighbor, peaceful trading relations and calm coexistence. They were kind when the power was theirs; they did not expel and murder in their turn. There is so much we can all learn from that example. Allan Groves | Seaside Like you, I find myself in a minority view. I am neither “pro-Israel” nor “pro-Palestine.” I am pro-children. I would like to see programs (private, UN, or other) that would allow the children from all over Israel and Gaza to remove themselves from the hatred that emanates, the tit-for-tat. I would like to see a program where the children can live in other countries for a 1-year breather while their parents sort it out. Walter Wagner | Salinas I join you in pleading with people to act with consciousness of humanity rather than us-against-them. Barbara Furbush | Monterey Taxing Times Should a billionaire get a big discount on his property taxes because he bought a famous trophy house? (“The Carmel City Council puts the brakes on a property tax break for a wealthy landowner,” Jan. 4-10.) I was under the impression that the Mills Act was to help people who own historic properties maintain them. [Patrice Pastor’s] opportunism and exploitation of Carmel make him the quintessential carpetbagger. The amount that Pastor will be saving if he gets the Mills act contract is small change to him. He should be ashamed to ask for this give-back. Marilyn Ross | Carmel Unit by Unit “...around 30 people showed up and raised concerns about increased traffic, off-site parking and child safety.” (“Concerns have been raised, but there is support for a farmworker housing project in Salinas,” posted Jan. 8.) I really wish cities would stop giving time and attention to people who bring those things up as if they aren’t addressed when the builders come up with these plans and the city reviews them. Those kinds of comments are always cover by NIMBYs and homeowners who want to exclude people from having housing of any sort unless it’s yet another boring McMansion or dreadful single family home that only the well off can afford. John Mercer | Seaside The Oldest Profession Ridiculous (“Seeking to abate a surge in sex work, Salinas officials look to nuisance law,” Jan. 4-10; “City of Salinas approves Red Light Abatement Act ordinance,” posted Jan. 12). The nuisance may be the fact that this sweet, law-abiding, church-going neighborhood is where the sex workers are finding…ahem…work. You don’t like it in your neighborhood? Then maybe your neighbors should stop paying and the workers would find another place. Or you could use this opportunity to teach your church-going children, I don’t know. Mercy? Love? Human kindness? Just a couple of cents to throw in the conversation. Carrie Glenn | via social media Monterey County Weekly, consider that the woman in this picture is likely already being exploited in a variety of ways, and is now being re-exploited by the media posting an exposing picture of her. Molly Lorenzi | via social media Map Maker I received a copy of William H. Brewer’s “Up and Down California” from my deceased father-in-law’s library (“Observations on 19th-century culture and wilderness on the Monterey Peninsula,” Jan. 11-17). It was a delight to read and I recommend it to everyone interested in early California history. What struck me the most about this book is what a kind and compassionate man Brewer was. At an historic time of white arrogance in California he showed compassion toward flora, fauna and humanity regardless of whether they were man or woman, white, native or Hispanic, rich or poor. His observations and reflections are at times poetic. Patricia Woodman | Marina Show Time That was a lot of fun, David Schmalz! Thank you for sharing the link (“When you learn that you made the cut in a hit Korean reality TV show,” posted Jan. 8). So much goodness! Dhana Owens | Monterey Sushi Bar I have lunched at Ichi Riki since maybe 1983 (“Now with new ownership, Ichi Riki is in good – and familiar – hands,” Oct. 12-18). Even though I left the area 20 years ago, I still go there when I’m in Monterey and will do so again this month with a troupe of my friends because it’s one of those timeless Japanese restaurants—not fancy, not pretentious, just authentically good. Another thing I really admire about Ichi Riki is their second chef, a humble man who started as a dishwasher and proved over a quarter-century that he has the right stuff. Ray Kamada | via web Letters • CommentsOPINION Submit letters to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 january 18-24, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 Hundreds of people gathered in Seaside on Monday, Jan. 15, the day that Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 95. They marched down Broadway, along Fremont Boulevard and ended their route at the Oldemeyer Center for a series of musical performances and remarks. There was, of course, a look back and a spirit of celebration, as a variety of youth groups were called to the stage to share music and ritual. But there was a lot of attention on the work left unfinished—by King, by the civil rights movement, by the generations that have come since. “Our call to action is to continue [King’s] march, towards that promised land,” Seaside Mayor Ian Oglesby said. “We still live in a racist society,” said Mel Mason, a longtime civil rights activist. “There are a lot of issues we still have to deal with…The systems we say are broken, they are rooted in slavery. The system is working the way it’s supposed to. We need to change the system that we have.” That can feel like an unwieldy call to action. But the day after MLK Day, on Jan. 16, a group of leaders and activists gathered at CSU Monterey Bay for the National Day of Racial Healing, a relatively new concept designed to channel that energy for what comes next and transform it into manageable, incremental steps toward progress. “We acknowledge the wounds of the past,” said emcee Vanessa Lopez-Littleton, CSUMB’s interim dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, “and commit ourselves to the ongoing work of dismantling systemic racism.” Identifying specific, actionable components of that work— and how to do it—is the hard part. Rosa Gonzalez echoed Mason’s message of the day before about building coalitions between Black and brown communities, as well as immigrants and indigenous people. “We know we are heading in the right direction,” she said. “And we also know we have a long way to go. It is going to take many more of us stepping up for the common good, instead of the delusion of our own self-interest.” The underlying idea is that when we all thrive, it’s good for all of us—but those who already hold power are unrelenting when it comes to sharing. The day focused on a few key ideas, but returned again and again to a couple of remarkably simple concepts: listening and belonging. The emphasis was on King’s notion of agape love, an underlying empathy and compassion for all, freeing ourselves from a cycle of hate, and how to practice it—with the acknowledgment that it’s easier said than done. Author and coach Glodean Champion spoke about the need to listen as a critical step in building empathy. “We can listen without a desire to tell the person why they’re wrong,” she said. “In your silence, you may learn something.” That also includes listening to oneself, tuning into those moments of reflex when your body suggests—based on learned bias—you should be afraid of someone else. By giving into those impulses, we create silos, instead of bridges. And Champion, a Black woman, shared a brief story illustrating how that bias can cut in all directions. She described a cross-country road trip she took in 2022 with a goal of spreading love. One person she did not expect to speak to was a heavily tattooed white man, wearing a motorcycle jacket, a guy who, according to appearances, she did not presume would be eager to talk to a Black woman about agape love at the carwash. She realized she was scared; but he spoke first, breaking her fear. They spoke about love, and ended up hugging farewell. Local NAACP President Lyndon Tarver spoke about walking through the Costco parking lot the other day and people in a vehicle locking their door as he passed their SUV. “Why are we still having Jim Crow-era thoughts?” he said. “It’s all about education and communication. We need to talk to each other, not at each other.” This, perhaps, is where the work begins on a personal level. Instead of fighting the system—a thing without a face, a thing that by definition is unlovable—build a bridge, a person-to-person relationship. Make a new friend who does not look like you. Diversify your own world first; the rest will follow. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at email@example.com. Race Relations The day after MLK Day, a group asks: What’s next? By Sara Rubin Getting Boared…As a member of a marine ecosystem, Squid knows the laws of nature: Without predators, a species can flourish—good for them—but also upset the balance of the ecosystem to the point where it’s bad for everyone else. Such appears to be the case now for wild pigs in Monterey County, where in the 1920s, George Gordon Moore—a wealthy socialite, and an avid hunter—released wild boars at Rancho San Carlos in Carmel Valley, introducing them to the West Coast. They have since run rampant. They breed so fast you must kill 70 percent of them annually just to keep the population even—that’s a lot of hunting and trapping. Dan Burton, owner of Seaside-based Urban Trapping Wildlife Control, which is contracted by the county to manage wild pigs in Monterey County Parks, says it’s not a matter of if there is an impending pigpocalypse, but when. He says pigs are starting to come down out of the foothills after the recent rains to feed on roots and bugs and whatnot— they love tearing up well-tended lawns, a problem for county parks—but on the phone with Squid’s colleague he shared a warning: “Once we do go back to a period of severe drought, I believe there will be a massive pig bomb in Monterey County,” he says. “It’s not hard to imagine feral pigs running down the streets of Salinas. It’s just a matter of time.” Squid’s never had a wild boar taco, but that might be a silver lining. Teetotaling Timeout…During the holidays Squid considered doing “Dry January,” but indulged in mimosas on New Year’s Day and decided “damp January”—focusing on moderation instead—fit the bill. A week later, Squid learned the Carmel City Council discussed whether or not to go dry at the city’s “Third Thursdays” events, held the third Thursday of each month, March through October during the weekly farmers market. (Except August because, Car Week.) Third Thursdays are festive affairs that include music, artist demonstrations and activities for children. In January 2023, the City Council officially approved the sale of alcohol. It’s been sold during three different events, with no reported issues. On Jan. 8, councilmembers revisited the topic for 2024, and there was resistance from councilmembers Alissandra Dramov and Karen Ferlito who declared serving alcohol was antithetical to the “family-friendly” events. “I love the Third Thursday events, I really do. I don’t happen to think alcohol is necessary,” Ferlito said. Parents, she said, should be minding their children and imbibing could be a distraction. Mayor Dave Potter and councilmembers Bobby Richards and Jeff Baron disagreed and the measure passed 3-2. Squid is not impressed by such clutching at pearls. A glass of wine that benefits local nonprofits is hardly worth the protest. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “We need to talk to each other, not at each other.” Send Squid a tip: firstname.lastname@example.org
14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY January 18-24, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Dreaming Big Martin Luther King, Jr. sparked a generation of dreamers—it’s time for us to follow through. By Liyah Jacks FORUM Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I shared this powerful quote of his: “If you cannot fly, then run. If you cannot run, then walk. If you cannot walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving.” It encapsulates King’s relentless pursuit of legal equality and human rights for all, transcending racial boundaries. King’s dream was profound—a world where individuals are judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. I then proceeded to ask the audience: “What’s your dream, and more importantly, what are you doing about it?” Dreams, without action, remain mere aspirations. King faced immense challenges, yet he persevered for desegregation, labor rights and voting rights. His journey wasn’t easy, but he pressed on, sacrificing for his dream. It’s a lesson for us all—dreams demand dedication, even in the face of adversity. Hope is a promise that anything is possible. Life might present challenges, but as King said, “Nobody really knows why they are alive until they know what they would die for.” Consider your purpose, whether the vision is clear or not. Start with small steps, and if you remain passionate and committed, you’re following your dream. Complacency is the enemy of progress. It’s not enough to desire change but retreat when faced with difficulties. It’s not enough to dream of making a difference but believe a title is necessary for impact. True change requires active involvement, like participating in community initiatives or attending city council meetings. King’s journey wasn’t smooth— he faced opposition, personal abuse, threats and imprisonment. Yet, he prevailed in achieving his goals. Similarly, your dream may encounter obstacles, but persistence is key. Reflect on what King endured for his dream and ask yourself: What are you doing to help others? How are you making a difference in your community? Your actions affect not only you but also those around you. Don’t keep your dream confined to drafts; bring it to life. Avoid the trap of complaining without actively contributing to solutions. Remember King’s motto, “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” Everyone possesses a unique gift that could contribute to making the world a better place, but silence inhibits progress. Remember, if you don’t build your dream, someone might hire you to build theirs. Start now, regardless of age or resources. “You never have to see the whole staircase; you just have to possess the faith to take the first step.” Similarly, your dreams may not be fully formed, but taking that initial step, no matter how small, is crucial. This is the season for not just conversation, but the action behind the speech: “The time is always right to do what is right.” Liyah Jacks is a 22-year-old college student from Seaside, California. She is studying journalism at Fresno City College and returned to Seaside to speak on Jan. 15, 2024 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march. The story above is excerpted from her remarks. OPINION Complacency is the enemy of progress. Prevention, Education, Treatment & Recovery serving youth, adults and families in Monterey County, San Benito County & San Luis Obispo County Recognize the signs and learn to take action when a drug-related overdose happens. Support youth prevention services www.SunStreetCenters.org Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug impacting youth and families. We Speak German… CARS! Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen and Mini-Cooper Using current modern technology our experienced staff will diagnose, maintain and repair your German car. Certified Monterey Bay Green Business 373.5355 249 DelaVina, Monterey www.ccrepairmonterey.com Pacific Grove Hardware 229 Forest Avenue • 646-9144 Locally Owned and Operated OPEN DAILY 8am-5pm Your Hometown Hardware Store take $5 OFF ANY $25 or more regular items With this ad. Exp 1/31/24 One discount per transaction BEST Hardware Store ’09-’23