february 15-21, 2024 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT Another round on the roundabout 10 | Hartnell special election 11 | Teacher takes a walk 26 The top 10 stories the mainstream media is ignoring involve the intersection of environmental destruction and corporate greed. p. 14 By Paul Rosenberg Project Censored

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY february 15-21, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com february 15-21, 2024 • ISSUE #1854 • Established in 1988 Karen Loutzenheiser (iPhone 12) Winter rains bring rushing waterfalls just below the Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@mcweekly.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: Project Censored shines a light on the top 10 stories missed, or ignored, by the mainstream media in 2023. Corporate greed and toxic chemicals highlight the list. Cover illustration: Anson Stevens-Bollen 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 bradley@mcweekly.com (x103) Publisher Erik Cushman erik@mcweekly.com (x125) Editorial editor Sara Rubin sara@mcweekly.com (x120) associate editor Erik Chalhoub ec@mcweekly.com (x135) features editor Dave Faries dfaries@mcweekly.com (x110) 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. 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 FEBRUARY 15-21, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3 √check. √check. √check. New Hotel, Restaurant, Apartment Building, or a Kitchen Remodel. MPWMD staff review building plans to determine water needs and to ensure the Peninsula’s limited water supplies are enough for new jobs and housing. MPWMD.NET Connect with eager couples and their families to make their Monterey County wedding even more memorable. Happily ever after begins in Monterey County for More info: 831-394-5656 Published by 2023-2024 Wedding GuideFREE Best of Monterey Bay® Best of Monterey Bay® Wedding guide CoMing MarCh COMMUNITY INPUT SESSIONS Marina Education Center Planning Wed. Feb. 21 2pm - 3:30pm Fri. Feb. 23 12pm - 1:30pm Tues. Feb. 27 5:30pm - 7:00pm *Only need to participate in one session Monterey Campus (LF-103) & ZOOM Marina Campus (Lobo Hub) Participate in the planning for a significant expansion of facilities, academic programs, and supportive services to be offered at MPC’s Marina Education Center. Marina Campus (Lobo Hub) To learn more visit mpc.edu/ShapeMPC

4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY FEBRUARY 15-21, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH Lots of journalists got their start as students, but whether or not student journalists go on to pursue it as a career, there is a lot of power and learning to be done through shining a light on public institutions— chiefly schools—that serve students. Student Press Freedom Day on Feb. 22 celebrates that spirit. (This year’s theme is “Powerfully Persistent.”) And for the occasion, the Student Press Law Center, First Amendment Coalition, Society of Professional Journalists and others are offering a virtual workshop for student journalists. The focus is on promoting accountability and transparency, and how public records can be used to that end. Speakers include experts on open government from FAC, and student journalists. Staffers from The Citizen at Peralta Community College District will speak about taking a public records battle to court. Delilah Brumer, the 2023 California High School Journalist of the Year, will speak about using public records in stories she wrote at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Southern California. High school and college journalists can register to attend the webinar (at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 21) at firstamendmentcoalition.org. Good: York School’s Musical Theatre stands proud as one of 17 schools chosen from across the country for the opportunity to showcase Stephen Schwartz’s musical, Children of Eden, at the newly renovated David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York. Scheduled to captivate audiences on Feb. 18, the production will be under the expert direction of Broadway Tony Awardnominated performer Tony Yazbeck, featuring nearly 400 voices on stage and a 30-piece orchestra. Over the past two months, 27 students from York School, ranging from grades 8-12, have diligently immersed themselves in the beautiful choral-based score under the guidance of Performing Arts Director Spencer Williams. Williams expressed his excitement, stating, “In my almost 20 years of teaching, this is one of the most thrilling opportunities I’ve provided to students.” GREAT: Ending homelessness continues to be a goal at all levels of government, which is why solutions are prioritized at budget time. It’s a great week in the TriCounty region, after U.S. representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was allocating $13.2 million to nonprofits and agencies. Monterey County groups set to receive money include Bay Area Community Services that operates the SHARE Center in Salinas and Step Up on Second Street, which is assisting people in Salinas and King City. Others receiving funds include: Community Homeless Solutions; YWCA of Monterey County; Interim Inc.; Coalition of Homeless Service Providers; Community Human Services; Gathering for Women; Epicenter of Monterey; and the Veterans Transition Center. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY Total funds raised during Monterey County Gives! in 2023, a 7 percent increase compared to 2022. This year’s campaign included 8,024 individual donors who supported the more than 200 nonprofit organizations benefiting from MCGives! Source: Community Foundation for Monterey County $11.9 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “We are in an insurance crisis in the State of California.” -Insurance broker Eileen Topete, describing the skyrocketing rates for homeowners in fireprone areas (see story, mcweekly.com). million 9 MONTH CERTIFICATE 5.29%APY 22 MONTH CERTIFICATE 4.50%APY SPECIAL LIMITED Time CERTIFICATes APY = annual percentage yield. Minimum opening deposit $10,000. Maximum opening deposit $999,999.99 Funds to open this certificate must be new to Monterey CU. New to Monterey CU means the funds must not have been on deposit with Monterey CU in the last six months. Limit one promotional share certificate per member. This offer is available for a limited time starting January 1, 2024, and subject to change or cancellation without notice. Early withdrawal penalties apply. Visit us at www.montereycu.com or call us at 831.647.1000 Is it time for a Room Refresh? Your home is your sanctuary and should support personal growth. Let’s have a conversation about what’s missing in YOUR space… VENTANADESIGN.CO A Monterey Bay Interior Design Firm

www.montereycountyweekly.com FEBRUARY 15-21, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 Sand City is the Monterey Peninsula’s happening up-and-coming arts community! Come see why Travel and Leisure calls this town Quirky and instagram-worthy. Sand City’s legendary West End Festival isn’t the only reason to visit- -there’s always something worth checking out year-round. Visit our merchants, see our diverse architecture, and look at our nationally celebrated mural program. See why Sand City is quickly becoming known as the most creative town on the Peninsula! 495 Shasta Avenue, Sand City 831-920-2850 • www.classickitchens.us Find us at your local Farmers Market The Barnyard Tuesdays 9-1 Del Monte Shopping Center Fridays 8-12 Aptos at Cabrillo College Saturdays 8-12 Carmel on Ocean Avenue Thursdays 10-2 Pi Day! 3.14 465-D Olympia Ave, Sand City sweetelenas.com 831.393.2063 f P Open Monday-Saturday 8am-4pm Sunday 8am-1pm Phone orders still available Sweet Irish! Irish Soda Bread, Shamrock Cookies, Irish Lattes ’21 Best Restaurant Sand City Service and Repairs on: VOLKSWAGENS TOYOTAS HONDAS JUST ANDY Satisfying Local Customers for 30 Years! 394-4212 465-A Olympia, Sand City (Back exit of Home Depot) HOME OF THE FREE 6 WEEK WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE MONDAY - FRIDAY: 5-10AM & 4-8PM SATURDAY 7-10AM 325 ELDER AVE, SAND CITY (831) 233-9321 • THECAMPTC.COM 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net 490 Orange Ave, Unit D Sand City P: 831-582-1724 www.UntamedFire.net

6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY FEBRUARY 15-21, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 Nestled smack in the middle of Park Row in Salinas is a barber’s pole that’s been spinning for over 70 years. Beside it on each side is a red-framed door and window along with two small benches that complement the red, white and blue facade. But it’s a look inside of Park Row Barber Shop that really offers customers a stroll down memory lane. Lily Bogaards has been cutting hair for 63 years. In 1998, after almost 30 years working in other salons, she purchased Park Row Barber Shop (and its two original 1950s barber chairs) from longtime owner Jim Weaver. In 2008, Lily was joined by her daughter Adrianna, and for the past 15-plus years the mother-daughter tandem has shared an office on Park Row. With only two chairs and a small waiting room, the barber shop itself is less than 400 square feet. But as the Bogaards will tell you, this small space has bore witness to more than its fair share of history. “My kids practically grew up here,” Adrianna says. “Mom and I would be cutting hair and talking to our customers, and the kids were here learning to walk, then doing their homework. Growing up right here in the shop.” While the kids have grown up, Lily and Adrianna have settled into every corner of their 14-by-16 space. Among the chairs in the small waiting area are two vintage barber chairs, including a wooden model from 1883 as well as a 1901 version. Couple those with the display case full of antique razors and shaving kits and it’s easy to feel as though time hasn’t traveled quite as quickly at this barber shop. “It looks pretty much the same as it did when I bought it,” says Lily as she gazes around her shop. “Except for the hats, of course.” Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the neighborhood barber shop are the 700 hats that cover nearly every square inch of the wall space inside the shop. Trucker hats, as they’ve come to be known, have become the unofficial tradition of Park Row Barber Shop. “After my husband died, I brought in a few of his favorite hats to sort of keep me company,” Lily says. “Then gradually my customers would start bringing in some of their favorite hats, and now we’ve got so many hats we are starting to run out of space to put them.” The collection of hats reads like a history of Salinas, and is largely composed of local ag companies (both current and defunct) with legendary labels, names and brands. But you’ll also notice a significant amount of familiar hats representing our nation’s armed services. “We have a lot of veterans who come in,” says Lily, who arrived on the Central Coast by way of Fort Ord. “We feel like we’re a big part of that community.” Whether it’s the classic facade, the vintage chairs or the friendly barbers, Park Row Barber Shop is like a renaissance. Customers can get a haircut and even a quick shave for 15 bucks. They’re open early (7:30am), and there’s no appointment necessary. It’s no wonder the shop has become a mainstay on Park Row. “We spend 15 minutes with these people, once every few weeks,” Adrianna says. “But over time you share a lot with these people, and they kind of become family.” “Many of my customers, I’ve cut their hair since they were kids. In this very same chair,” Lily says. “Now I’m cutting their kids’ and grandkids’ hair, too. You really get to know these people.” Adrianna agrees. “We’re literally helping plan a funeral for one of our customers right now,” Adrianna says. “That shows how much these people can become a part of our lives.” Still going strong at the age of 80, Lily has no plans of retirement. As for the future of the shop? “I think she will outlive and outwork me,” says Adrianna of her mother. “But I love working with my mom. I feel lucky to get to spend all this time with her.” Park Row Barber Shop is located at 936 Park Row in Salinas. It is open daily from 7:30am-5pm and walk-ins are encouraged. Cuts of Nostalgia Mother-daughter duo have been trimming hair for generations of Salinas residents. By Jeff Mendelsohn Lily Bogaards, who has been cutting hair for 63 years, purchased Park Row Barber Shop in Salinas in 1998. Her daughter Adrianna (background) joined her in 2008. “Many of my customers, I’ve cut their hair since they were kids.” TALES FROM THE AREA CODE DANIEL DREIFUSS “At Santa Cruz County Bank I know exactly who to call when I need answers. The Bank makes decisions at a local level – the same way I do. The Treasury Management team walked us through the efficiencies of online and mobile banking and the security of having positive pay protection – all of which keep our bookkeeper very happy!”

www.montereycountyweekly.com FEBRUARY 15-21, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 Choose the Realtor Who Gets You. Renee Catania prides herself in providing a top-tier level of service in real estate with a genuine, personal approach. Hard-working, personable and efficient, Renee takes the time to understand the true needs and wants of her clients while providing crucial guidance along the way. Renee Catania 831.293.3668 www.ReneeCatania.com ReneeC@MontereyCoastRealty.com REALTOR® | DRE#01954589 Top 1% of Agents in California & Top 35 Highest Performing Individual on the Monterey Peninsula February is National Pet Dental Month! 25% Off Dentals Call now to schedule! Book by February 28th! VOTED MONTEREY COUNTY’S BEST VETERINARIAN THREE YEARS IN A ROW! 1023 Austin Avenue, Pacific Grove 831-318-0306 • www.pacificgroveanimalhospital.com ’23 ’22 ’21

8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY february 15-21, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com news When Mi Tierra, a Mexican market and taqueria in Seaside, closed for renovations at the end of August 2022, the notice on its door read that owners intended to reopen in spring of 2023. It was tough news for local taco lovers, as the store’s taqueria served arguably the best tacos in Monterey County, and the store itself has long been a beloved Seaside institution. But the first step of the renovations—a complete overhaul of the building’s interior—was delayed by challenges related to the building’s age: Once workers started removing the asbestos-laden flooring tiles, the rebar underneath was laid out haphazardly, meaning workers couldn’t use a concrete saw to cut in a straight line for fear of damaging the building’s structural integrity—the work had to be done painstakingly by hand. In August 2023, the project’s architect, Oswaldo Mejia, told the Weekly he expected construction would start soon, and take six to eight months. But Seaside City Attorney Sheri Damon, who Mejia previously told the Weekly has been a big help moving the project forward, says a building permit was recently pulled for reconstructing the store’s interior. Among the changes, the taqueria will be moved to the entrance. But given that permits expire after one year, the clock has started. One challenge, she says based off her conversations with Mejia, is getting the ducks in a row for each step of the renovation, so that various contractors and appliances are ready. According to Damon, Mejia is still refining the outside plans, which include an overhaul of the parking lot, and that those plans have not yet been submitted to the city. Taco Sunrise Long delayed, the renovation of Mi Tierra in Seaside shows new signs of life. By David Schmalz Fans of home renovation shows know it happens sometimes: a homeowner wants to renovate and then—surprise—the house is in such bad shape it might make more sense to tear it down and start over. It was just such an unpleasant surprise Carmel residents experienced in January, when a Carmel City Council subcommittee reported that the town’s police station—more than 55 years old and previously thought to only need a reno job costing a couple of million dollars—was “no longer suitable for occupancy by any police department,” according to a consulting firm. A preliminary estimate for a new building is $20 million. Anger was the response after subcommittee members Mayor Dave Potter and Councilmember Jeff Baron shared the report from Davisbased consultant Indigo Hammond + Playle Architects, along with their own findings in a meeting on Jan. 8, including their recommendation that the city build a new facility on city-owned land, possibly Vista Lobos park, just up the street from the existing station on Junipero Street. “All of a sudden you’re talking about a new police station? You’re talking about $20 million? You’re talking about putting it here? And not putting it there?” a man complained to Potter and Baron during a contentious subcommittee meeting on Feb. 1. “That tells me you need public input, you need sunlight, you need people involved,” the man said. “We didn’t do public outreach first, that’s on us,” Baron says of the residents’ reaction. He and Potter, along with city staff, came to the conclusion that a new facility might be the best option after touring the station with the consultants and reading the report, issued in October. The building is worn out, all agreed, including major systems like plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. It also must meet Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, as well as modern codes for fire protection and seismic activity. More space is needed to accommodate modern law enforcement needs, including increased security. “The building couldn’t really be band-aided and put back together,” says Baron. Fixing the facility for non-police uses could cost nearly $11 million, according to Indigo. A more precise estimate isn’t possible until the city figures out what else the building could be used for—it adjoins the Public Works facility, which is also in need of renovations. The city has known for years that the police building was in need of repairs and upgrades, but debates over how much was needed to be done and whether to include an addition delayed decisions. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the project was sidelined due to budget cuts. The council picked it back up in December 2022, but by then it had “become a bad project,” Baron says. The council decided to start over. In February 2023, they voted to hire a consulting firm with expertise in law enforcement facilities. Potter says he is arranging to take a group of interested residents on a tour of the station, followed by a tour of the Salinas Police Services Headquarters, opened in March 2020. That facility replaced Salinas’ original police station, built in 1958. “I think that will give them a good comparison,” Potter says. He expects another meeting of the subcommittee by the end of February. After delayed decisions on the future of the Carmel Police Station, the dated structure has “become a bad project.” Fixer Upper Opinions clash in Carmel over whether to renovate or replace the town’s police station. By Pam Marino The redesign of Mi Tierra’s interior now has the sign-off of Seaside officials. While that work is being done, plans for an exterior remodel are being finalized. “The building couldn’t be band-aided.” nic coury Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountyweekly.com FEBRUARY 15-21, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 (831) 755-4475 FCSMC.ORG Open your Heart and Home This Valentine’s Day, let’s share the love where it’s needed most! Your heart has the power to heal. Your home has the warmth to nurture. OPEN HEARTS, OPEN HOMES Get started on your journey to becoming a resource or respite family We are here for you. All day. All night. Estamos aquí para ti. Todo el día. Toda la noche. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s isn’t always easy. Cuidar a alguien con Alzheimer no siempre es fácil. 24/7 HELPLINE 800.272.3900 | alz.org 24/7 LÍNEA DE AYUDA 800.272.3900 | alz.org/español For Children and adults Consultation, testing and testing and individual sessions for remediation of learning problems and learning disabilities. “I am so impressed with your services and the work you do. One of the members on the IEP list has credited you with saving her grandson’s educational life.” “...very professional and dedicated. I can say that Dr. Rita Rispoli is not only a specialist who loves working with students, but that she was born to her profession.” “We would like to thank you for your support. S__ was very happy to see his good report card and I, for the first time, realized how hard he has been trying to achieve what he wanted. We owe you tremendously. Again, thank you for your dedication to students like our son. We appreciate your sincerity and kindness.” rita rispoli Ph.d., BCet | (831)375-9450 1011 Cass Street, Suite 116, Monterey www.LDspecialist.com | rrispoli@comcast.net Difficulty learning?

10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY february 15-21, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Are roundabouts, perhaps, overrated? That is a key question being asked right now about Caltrans’ Highway 68 Improvement Project, which is currently undergoing a final environmental review (public comment for the project’s draft environmental impact report closed Jan. 8). Dwight Stump, who lives near Corral de Tierra, attended the first public hearing for the project’s environmental review at Laguna Seca last July, and he doubted the promises of speedier travel times, and the assertion that roundabouts would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He started asking questions, attended further hearings and connected with another local with similar concerns. Pasadera resident Barry Jones is a retired civil engineer who started his career in the U.K., where as early as 1976 he helped design roundabout projects. Over the next few months, as the two dug in and asked questions to Caltrans and Transportation Agency for Monterey County employees, they increasingly became convinced there was a better and vastly cheaper solution to the corridor’s congestion by using AI. Per the draft environmental impact report for the project released last November, there are two potential plans in play. The first adds nine roundabouts at intersections along the corridor, while the other instead calls for adding more dedicated turn lanes around each intersection. The draft EIR estimates the former will cost around $210 million, the latter about $261 million, which—given the rising costs of construction year to year—could end up changing considerably. Jones believes that converting the traffic lights along the corridor to use adaptive AI—which would be gathering constant data—could be done for about $500,000. He adds that the data gathered would continually make it more efficient. For his part, Stump created his own website with some data and relevant documents—9roundabouts.com— and adds that, in his conversations with Caltrans engineers, they were intrigued by the idea and even applied to the state to do a pilot study. TAMC Executive Director Todd Muck confirms this. Jones, who moved to the U.S. to work for Sun Microsystems, points out that roundabout technology is static. Adaptive AI technology is evolving, and eclipsing it. He says that in the U.K., roundabouts are being replaced by traffic lights. Like cities and counties, school districts also review school boundaries and make adjustments to improve the student-teacher ratio at each campus. Alisal Unified School District held four meetings last week to discuss new school boundaries that the district would implement to balance enrollment at its campuses. Overcrowding conditions impact students’ experience at school. “There’s less opportunity for children to move around, use a playground area and all the facilities they have on campus,” AUSD Associate Superintendent Rais Abbasi says. Currently, Monte Bella and Fremont are the two elementary schools with the highest enrollment, with 808 and 711 students enrolled, respectively. If Monte Bella stays with the current boundaries, it could reach 1,000 students, according to the district. With the proposed boundaries, the five-year projection lowers the student population to 650. The new plan also aims to increase safety for students who walk to school. Currently, some cross major streets, including Constitution Boulevard or Freedom Parkway if they are attending Creekside or Loya elementaries. Tanya Perez, a mother of three who has a third-grader and a preschooler at Steinbeck Elementary, says the new maps are an improvement because it would be safer for parents and children who walk to school. But, she notes, the school will lose students, and therefore, funding. “If there’s not enough funding and classes, you don’t have engaged students, engaged educators,” Perez says. The plan would have minimal financial impact, officials say. “Luckily, in Salinas, schools are very close to each other,” Abbasi points out. The new plan will come to the board on Feb. 21. If approved, it would go into effect the next school year and would impact new students with no siblings at AUSD. “We want to keep families together,” Abbasi told parents. Circle Back Two retirees with ideas are causing agencies to rethink roundabouts on Highway 68. By David Schmalz news People’s voice The City of Soledad wants to hear from citizens about how to shape their city’s budget. Survey available until Feb. 23. English survey: surveymonkey.com/r/soledadbudget. Spanish survey: surveymonkey. com/r/presupuestosoledad Artist’s App Monterey County artists who are 18 years or older are encouraged to apply for the Individual Artist’s Grant by the Arts Council for Monterey County. Emerging artists have an opportunity to receive one of 16 awards worth up to $5,000 each and established artists can be granted one of two awards worth up to $10,000. Proof of residency required. arts4mc.org/grants/individual/. 6229060, info@arts4mc.org. Give Life The American Red Cross is offering a $20 Amazon.com gift card to those who donate blood in February. Hospitals are in need of all blood types, especially Type O. There are three opportunities to donate in Monterey County. 9am-1pm Friday, Feb. 16 at the Embassy Suites, 1441 Canyon Del Rey Blvd., Seaside; 9am-1pm Friday, Feb. 23 at Hilltop Park Center, 871 Jessie St., Monterey; and 8:30am-1:30pm Thursday, Feb. 29 at Madonna del Sasso Catholic Church, 320 E. Laurel Drive, Salinas. Appointment required. RedCrossBlood.org. 1-800-RED CROSS. Lighthouse Keepers California State Parks will be holding orientation/information sessions to learn about becoming a volunteer at Point Sur State Historic Park. Sessions will be held at 10am Saturday Feb. 17 or 1pm Sunday, Feb. 25 at the State Park Headquarters, 2211 Garden Road., Monterey. 647-8261. CCLK@ pointsur.org. Housing Plan The Pacific Grove Planning Commission will hear a presentation about updating the city’s housing plan, known as a housing element, as well as take public comments in a hybrid meeting. It’s an opportunity to weigh in about how best to add more housing units to the city in the future, as required by the state. 6pm Thursday, Feb. 15, Pacific Grove City Hall, 300 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove, or online at cityofpacificgrove. org/Zoom_PC. Free. cityofpacificgrove. org. Police talk The Seaside Police Department will hold a community meeting to discuss its use of military equipment. Feb. 21, 4-6pm at Laguna Grande Hall, Oldemeyer Center, 986 Hilby Ave. Safe School Alisal Union could change school boundaries to address overcrowding and increase safety. By Celia Jiménez Among the potential nine roundabouts being planned along Highway 68 from Monterey to Salinas is one at its intersection with Highway 218 and Monterra Road. e-mail: toolbox@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX Roundabout technology is static. AI technology is eclipsing it. TAMC

www.montereycountyweekly.com February 15-21, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 The trustees of the Hartnell Community College District Board were faced with filling a vacancy last fall after former chair Erica Padilla-Chavez resigned and moved out of the area. They could fill it by an election, maybe during the primary on March 5—possibly the least expensive election alternative—or they could save the cost and appoint someone to serve the rest of the term ending December 2026. The board chose the latter, and on Nov. 21, they selected a new trustee from three applicants. Weeks later the board discovered they’re on the hook for a pricier special election that could cost over $406,000. By law, registered voters of Area Six, represented by the vacant board seat that covers South County, had 30 days to request a special election. A group of voters took advantage of that law, and at the last minute, on Dec. 21, they presented a petition with 341 signatures to the Monterey County Office of Education. They needed 248 signatures out of nearly 17,000 registered voters to pass. In January the Monterey County Elections department verified 283 of the signatures, 35 more than what was needed. That meant that the board’s selection of Gonzales resident Sonia Jaramillo over two other applicants on Nov. 21 was nullified. She was interviewed during the meeting that night along with Carol Cordova Anderson and Soledad resident Monica Andrade. Jaramillo received four votes, Andrade received one. Trustee Ray Montemayor abstained, saying he believed the vacancy should be filled by special election. Jaramillo is a former president of the Gonzales Unified School District who works for the MCOE as a senior director of the Early Learning Program. Andrade is a member of the Soledad Committee for Voting Rights, which in November successfully won a referendum of a decision by the Soledad City Council to approve a five-district map and a rotating mayor over citizens’ objections. Andrade says she had nothing to do with the Hartnell petition, and has no idea who could be behind it. The petition lists five names as proponents— the Weekly was unable to contact four of the five, the fifth declined to speak. The petition only says that they, as registered voters of Area Six, want the Monterey County Superintendent of Schools to call a special election to fill the vacancy. At its meeting on Feb. 6, the Hartnell board voted 4-1—Trustee Margaret D’Arrigo voting no and Trustee Candi DePauw absent—to authorize a special election on June 4, 2024. The candidate filing period opened on Feb. 12 and runs through March 8. Both Andrade and Jaramillo say they are unsure whether they will run in the special election. Jaramillo, who is active in other community groups, is weighing her options. “My priority is the expansion of preschool services in Monterey County,” especially South County, Jaramillo says. By the People A Hartnell board appointment is scuttled by residents demanding a special election. By Pam Marino Sonia Jaramillo was sworn in on Nov. 21, 2023, after four members of the Hartnell College board of trustees voted to appoint her, filling an unexpired board vacancy. NEWS A special election could cost over $406,000. HARTNELL COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT “I brought my Subaru to Hartzel on advice of a friend and I was so pleased with the service & attention I got from them. Not only finished on time, but under the estimate I was given. Very rare these days. So pleased with the whole experience & great peace of mind knowing it was done correctly. Highly recommend this guy.” —David F., Seaside 2/14/19 510 California Avenue | Sand City | 394.6002 hartzelautomotive.com EXPERT SERVICE WHEN YOU NEED IT. Subaru Mazda Lexus Infiniti Saab vintage MG SCHEDULE YOUR NEXT SERVICE ONLINE TODAY Orbea Wild eMTB Pinkbike’s eMTB of the Year Open Tuesday ThrOugh saTurday In Downtown Santa Cruz – 585 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz See website or phone for details • 831-621-2309 • www.currentebikes.com EvEry BikE includEs: • Free LiFetime tune-ups • proFessionaL assembLy • assistance with sizing & adjustments • discounts on accessories, racks, etc. • compLete post saLe service mention this ad For an additionaL $50 off any BIKE In stocK eLectric bicycLes carmel plaza • ocean ave & junipero st • 831.625.8106 carmel-by-the-sea, california • shop at khakisofcarmel.com italian coats sweaters outerwear shirts vests shoes & more New arrivals Featuring

12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY february 15-21, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Back to the Ballot I just opened my mailbox to find my ballot for the upcoming March 5 election (“Candidates and measures on the March 5 primary ballot offer their vision to chart the future,” Feb. 8-14). I’ve been looking forward to it even more than usual because this will be the first time I can vote for Kate Daniels to represent me as District 5 County Supervisor. I endorse Kate wholeheartedly. I’ve known Kate and her family for many years. More recently I have worked closely with her on a wide variety of issues in her role as Chief of Staff to Supervisor Adams, as policy advisor to Senator Laird and as a valued colleague on the Monterey County Planning Commission. She has been thoughtful, sensible, persistent, hardworking and cheerful, even when the going gets tough. She really does her homework. She listens. She sees the big picture as well as the details. She is honest and caring, and—most importantly—she actually gets things done. I am carefully filling in the circle by her name on my ballot with my black pen right now. It feels great. Please join me and vote for Kate. You will be glad you did. Martha Diehl | Big Sur Note: Diehl serves on the Monterey County Planning Commission, along with Kate Daniels. You’re endorsing Kate Daniels for supervisor because she is running on a platform of relationships? My experience with Daniels was when we lived in Big Sur. I called her (when she was Mary Adams’ assistant) to ask if a very misleading sign on Highway 1 could be changed to make it clear that camping in turnouts is prohibited. It was very difficult to get the idea across to her. She was quite annoyed when I continued to call back every couple of weeks or so. Kate Daniels’ demeanor could make a freight train take a dirt road. Relationships indeed! Marilyn Ross | Carmel I always look forward to your annual voter guide recommendations. I must confess that just like George Costanza, I will do the opposite! Vince Tuminello | Pacific Grove Most of us wish that all public officials were smart, honest, ethical and demonstrated leadership abilities. Alan Haffa, who is running for Monterey County Supervisor in District 5, is just that kind of politician. He offers practical and realistic solutions to problems after actually listening to the groups affected, including groups often not listened to. Alan is honest, ethical, smart, compassionate, kind and direct. He doesn’t speak in platitudes but makes his positions on issues clear. He has 12 years’ experience as a Monterey City Council member, where he demonstrated that he studies issues carefully and crafts reasonable, practical proposals for solutions. His negotiating skills helped bring about consensus on a number of thorny problems. He shows great respect to people whether they are high in the power structure or students he teaches; average residents of the community or city staff. He is the kind of person who would do the right thing even if there wasn’t a law or regulation requiring it. In short, I trust him to do the job of county supervisor in a way that will effectively get things done and he will do it while working collaboratively with his colleagues. For all these reasons, I support Alan Haffa for Monterey County Supervisor. Renee Franken | via email At a Premium Someone’s getting filthy rich off of this (“The state’s fire insurance crisis means Skyline Forest homeowners face steep rate increases,” Feb. 8-14). Where is the Department of Insurance on this in keeping price increases reasonable? Time for new legislation, it appears. Alternatively, the homeowners could band together and form their own insurance company. Monterey Fire Insurance, Inc. perhaps? There should be rules that limit the increase in annual premium to a reasonable amount, say 10 percent maximum. Additionally, private insurance companies are supposed to keep the price reasonable, as an argument against State insurance. Perhaps that argument is no longer sound? The state Department of Insurance needs to step up to the plate on this. Walter Wagner | via web Pass Interference One clip of that Hail Mary play is taken from a high angle and makes it difficult to tell how Drew and Nate got tangled up (“Monterey High graduate Nate Wright played in three Super Bowls, but it was a different era,” Feb. 8-14). But there’s a ground-level clip that clearly shows what happened: Nate has Drew covered very well, but the pass is somewhat under-thrown. As Drew slows up to catch the ball, Nate’s leg hits Drew’s leg causing Nate to lose balance and fall. Both of them have their eyes on the ball and there doesn’t appear to be any attempt by Drew to interfere with Nate. I feel bad for Nate, but I don’t think either of them is to blame for the collision. Joe Snyder | Monterey Good Night I agree (“Good sleep—in both quantity and quality—is the holy grail for a healthy mind and body,” Jan. 25-31). Sleep is absolutely essential. It’s tricky, in old age, the metabolic rate decreases, and sleep becomes defective. A key to repair sleep is to repair metabolism. A trick for good sleep can be a bit of salt (as salt keeps adrenaline at bay) and some sort of saturated fat—milk, for example. Good article! Joseph Bridau | via web Correction A story (“The state’s fire insurance crisis means Skyline Forest homeowners face steep rate increases,” Feb. 8-14) incorrectly stated that the old deductible for Mountain Shadows Townhomes, before increasing to $100,000, was $25,000; it was actually $2,500. The story also stated that Mountain Shadows received insurance through California FAIR Plan; however it acquired its policy elsewhere, and is awaiting a quote from the FAIR Plan. 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 february 15-21, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 Members of local city councils and various special districts are elected to serve their city or district. But they also are appointed to fill various roles on boards of directors for regional agencies, giving them additional influence. Entities like Monterey-Salinas Transit, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County and Central Coast Community Energy are governed by appointees from various elected boards. These appointments can sometimes take on the tone of a perfunctory assignment process. Sometimes, the appointment process represents something much bigger. In the case of a seat for a member of Salinas City Council to Monterey One Water, the regional sewer treatment agency, it is political. A tense 5-2 vote on Tuesday, Feb. 6 to remove Mayor Kimbley Craig from the M1W board and instead appoint Councilmember Anthony Rocha was a blow to Craig, but also a sign of a bigger proxy battle in Monterey Peninsula water politics seeping into the Salinas Valley. A sewer district is perhaps an unlikely place for water supply politics to play out, but M1W is increasingly focused on transforming wastewater into irrigation and/or drinking water. The agency’s board already voted back in 2021 to expand its Pure Water Monterey project, which super-treats sewage to safe drinking water levels, as part of the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply. Support for that project became controversial, a stand-in for one’s support or skepticism of California American Water’s proposed desalination plant. By the time Craig joined the board of M1W in 2023, the Pure Water Monterey expansion was well underway. One thing she advocated for in her short tenure is adjusting the weighted voting system on M1W to better represent Salinas. For over 50 years, each member agency on M1W gets a vote weighted according to population (the Del Rey Oaks member now gets one vote, to Monterey’s three, to Salinas’ six). But Salinas represents over 56 percent of M1W’s population, and its weighted vote is just 27 percent. In September, the M1W board discussed the possibility of a new formula. Deliberations and a decision will be forthcoming this year. “I finally feel after 40 years that we are having a very open discussion about the weighted vote,” Craig said in defense of her leadership. Rocha says, “I want to build upon the work Kimbley has started to make sure that Salinas has adequate, fair representation.” Underlying their public statements, however, is where politics start to matter. A change to the weighted vote on M1W requires each of 10 member agencies to approve the change. Can Salinas get buy-in from across the Lettuce Curtain to increase its share of the vote? Both Craig and Rocha seem to think they are up to the task. But there’s a possibility that Rocha will have a better chance of doing so. And that’s because of an entirely separate vote Craig cast on a separate matter on a different regional board. In 2021, she cast a no vote on the Local Agency Formation Commission of Monterey County regarding a request from the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to pursue eminent domain to buy out Cal Am. Rocha may still have a hard time persuading all entities on the board to empower Salinas with a greater share of the vote, but he may have an easier time of it than Craig. Old grudges die hard in Peninsula water politics. “Kimbley has represented the city to the best of her abilities,” Rocha says. “However, I believe there are outstanding factors related to her vote on LAFCO that have hindered her ability to be effective.” Meanwhile, there is real fallout on Salinas City Council. “I don’t, frankly, see why this needs to be a divisive conversation,” said Councilmember Carla Viviana González. “I hope we look beyond personal or political agendas and see that this is a team.” It’s hard to see how it can feel anything but divisive when Craig faces a 5-2 vote to oust her after she developed a transparent, public-facing methodology for making appointments. “This council has asked me to be collaborative, has asked me to be compromising and I feel like I have done that,” she said. That is clearly the case. But no olive branch is long enough to cross the gulf of Monterey Peninsula water politics. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@mcweekly.com. Against the Flow Peninsula water politics create a wedge on Salinas City Council. By Sara Rubin No backsies…Grannie Squid taught Squid many valuable lessons, including the importance of staying true to your word. It was with considerable side-eye that Squid watched the Monterey City Council meeting on Feb. 6, when City Manager Hans Uslar recommended a 180-day pause on the city’s retail cannabis ordinance, less than two months after approval by the Monterey City Council. Between Dec. 15, when the ordinance was adopted, and Jan. 29, the city accepted applications from cannabis retailers—13 in all for only four allowed stores. Despite no previous dire predictions by staff of cannabis-related calamities, Uslar was suddenly sounding alarm bells due to increasing incidents of bands of robbers invading cannabis businesses in the region since 2023, including the fatal shooting of an Oakland Police officer on Dec. 29. In addition, Uslar outlined how the industry has imploded economically, resulting in less tax revenue than cities and counties had estimated. Kevin Dayton, representing the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, called reneging on the applications “abusive,” and warned other businesses may stay away as a result. The council voted 3-2 against a pause. Squid has no seahorse in the cannabis race, but sending 13 willing businesses packing after already being told they may get the keys to a spot seems like, in the words of ‘70s rock group Brewer & Shipley, one toke over the line. Plan F…Squid loves a good bank robbery movie, in part because Squid enjoys the often elaborate plans to get in and out of the bank quickly and then get away scot-free to some tropical locale, or perhaps just a motel room in flyover country. Squid’s seen many such movies, and one way they vary is the amount of cash in the haul, and whether it’s the last big score. That said, Squid’s never seen a movie in which that score might not even be enough to cover a month’s rent. Such was the case with Michael Todd Haley, who allegedly walked into Mechanics Bank in Salinas on Feb. 5 and stole $1,800. As alleged, it was not an elaborate plan, as Salinas PD checked the camera footage and found the white vehicle Haley escaped in. Further investigation linked the same vehicle to another robbery that happened two days before in Gilroy. Haley has a long criminal history that includes robbery arrests in Perris, Milpitas, Monterey and Salinas from 2009-2013. If Haley is convicted for this latest string of robberies, Squid recommends he take up a more lucrative and legal trade the next time he’s free. If not, he should at least binge watch some crime capers when he’s sprung and draw some creative inspiration from Hollywood. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “I hope we can look beyond political agendas.” Send Squid a tip: squid@mcweekly.com

14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY february 15-21, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Project Censored takes a look at the top 10 stories the mainstream media missed last year. By Paul Rosenberg Illustrations by Anson Stevens-Bollen Under Covered That the worsening climate crisis is making the planet increasingly inhospitable to human life is a storyline that finally appears in a number of news outlets. But there are more layers to our destructive treatment of our own home. For example, “forever chemicals” are so abundant in our world that rainwater is no longer safe to drink. Even though the PFAS story has received some mainstream media attention, the bottom line didn’t come through clearly to the general public. That is essence of what Project Censored’s signature “top ten” list is all about: exposing the suppression (active or passive) of vitally important information from the public, which renders the public unable to act in the way that a healthy democratic public is supposed to. This year’s compilation adds forever chemicals to a story that is all too familiar. Specifically, the revelation that companies responsible for them have known about their dangers for decades, but kept those dangers hidden—just like fossil fuel companies and climate catastrophe. The intersection of environmental/public health and corporate criminality is typical of how certain long-standing patterns of censored news weave together across the years, even decades. In the larger 25-story list in their annual book, The State of the Free Press, Andy Lee Roth and Steve Macek describe these patterns at two levels. First, invoking the metaphor that “exemplary reporting is praised for ‘shining light’ on a subject or ‘bringing to light’ crucial facts and original perspectives,” they say: “The news reports featured in this chapter are rays of light shining through a heavily slatted window. Each of these independent news reports highlights a social issue that has otherwise been dimly lit or altogether obscured by corporate news outlets…Censorship, whether overt or subtle, establishes the angle of the slats, admitting more or less light from outside.” In addition, they say, it’s important to see the “list as the latest installment in an ongoing effort to identify systemic gaps in so-called ‘mainstream’ news coverage.” Two themes—environmental harm and corporate abuse—dominate the top ten list. That dominance sends another message as well, a message about the fundamental mismatch between our needs as a species living on a finite planet and a rapacious economic system conceived in ignorance of that fact. The climate catastrophe is just