march 14-20, 2024 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT Monterey bay f.c. kicks off 14 | An oscar-winning role 30 | beyond chowder on the wharf 32 Published by 2024-2025 FREE Best of Monterey Bay® Wedding Guide cover_WG24.indd 1 2/22/24 10:53 AM Inside: Best of Monterey Bay® Wedding Guide noun. a place or condition in which one’s activities are open to public view or scrutiny. For Sunshine Week, the annual Foilies Awards recognize the worst of government transparency. p. 16 By Electronic Frontier Foundation and MuckRock

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 14-20, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com March 14-20, 2024 • ISSUE #1858 • Established in 1988 Katie Slupinski (Sony a7iii, Sony 200-600mm, Sony 1.4X Teleconverter) A cedar waxwing, probably on its seasonal migration through Carmel Valley, takes shelter in the leaves during a rainstorm. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@mcweekly.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: Transparency laws at the state and federal level are meant to provide public access to government records. The annual “Foilies” awards acknowledge the worst freedom of information fails and obstruction efforts. Cover illustration: Karen Loutzenheiser and Alexis Estrada 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


4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MARCH 14-20, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH If a government agency refuses to provide you with a requested public record, chances are you’ll have to sue to compel them to abide by transparency laws. That was the takeaway from a nationwide review by the Associated Press and CNHI News released during Sunshine Week, which found that fewer than a third of states have procedures to resolve open government complaints without going to court. In California, there is no office that reviews disputes, although the attorney general and local prosecutors have some authority to go to court over alleged open meetings violations, according to the report. Connecticut, as an example, has a Freedom of Information Commission, which reviews complaints to determine if open records laws were violated, and has the power to impose fines on agencies that are found to be in the wrong. “Unfortunately, in the United States, almost everywhere, you have to go to court to enforce these laws. And that’s just wrong,” David Cuillier, director of the Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Project at the University of Florida, told the AP. “If the system requires the average person to hire an attorney to make democracy work, then it’s really broken.” Good: A team of Greenfield High School students proved they know their stuff when it comes to foreign policy. Enrique Anguiano, Abraham Carrillo and Daniel Morales took first place in the Academic World Quest Competition on Feb. 24 against four other Monterey County high schools. Organized by the World Affairs Council of Monterey Bay Area, the team game requires the students to answer questions in 10 categories, which include “NATO: Alliance and Collective Defense in a Changing World,” “Sports and Diplomacy,” “Promoting a Green Europe” and “Navigating AI.” The students and their coach, Evangelina Mateo, will now head to Washington, D.C. to compete at the national level on April 20. “My favorite part of the competition was the thrill of finally completing the competition,” Anguiano said in a press release. “This was rewarding because of all of the time and effort that went into studying for it.” GREAT: Great news for the Monterey High School Toreadores boys’ basketball team, which made history and clinched its first-ever state title after a 74-66 win over the Chatsworth Chancellors in the California Interscholastic Federation’s Division 4 contest on March 9. “This marks a historic moment as it’s only the second time a team from Monterey County has seized the coveted state title,” the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District announced. Ryan Roth, 18, says winning the title is still setting in. “It’s just a lot of hard work, and to see all that hard work pay off, it’s just super rewarding,” he says. The team finished with 25 wins and 6 losses. Coach Greg Daniels Jr. says talent is only one of the factors a team needs to succeed. “We have a family environment. We care for one another. We try to play for one another and I think that’s important,” Daniels says. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The number of women who have served in the California State Legislature. Since 1849, a total of 4,496 people have served. Assemblymember Dawn Addis, D-Morro Bay, who represents the coastal portion of Monterey County, is the 176th woman to have served. Source: California State Library 192 “I would like to inform those who feel terrified by my presence that I will be in town.” QUOTE OF THE WEEK -Monaco-based developer Patrice Pastor, speaking March 5 in Carmel. He suggested: “Either take a vacation during this period or come meet me for a relaxation class” (see story, mcweekly.com). There is great need for healing in the world today, and Christlike humility can help us to meet that demand. Saturday, March 16, 2024 11:00 am PST First Church of Christ, Scientist 780 Abrego Street, Monterey An in-person talk on Christian Science by Mark McCurties, CS Member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship For more information, please call 831-920-2300 www.christiansciencemonterey.org Sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Monterey, California Humility that “Overcomes the World” 101 W. Laurel Dr, Salinas • (831)443-6161 Mon-Sat 9am-6pm Sun 10am-5pm $2.75 Rooster Chicks $4.00 Pullet Chicks with a purchase of one of the following items 50lb medicated chick start & grow 50lb non-medicated chick start & grow 35lb organic chick start & grow 50lb flock raiser crumble Chicks and feed must be purchased at the same time for special pricing to apply. Special pricing cannot be combined with any other discounts or offers. Special pricing does not apply to 25lb bags of feed. Offer valid while supplies last. Chick Days MARCH 22 Low cost vaccination clinic for dogs & cats. Microchipping. Prescription flea/tick medication. OPEN SAT 2:30PM-4:30PM • SUN 11AM-1PM

www.montereycountyweekly.com MARCH 14-20, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 Habitat Monterey Bay is seeking a new CEO Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay is seeking a new Chief Executive Officer with a proven track record of organizational leadership and community engagement, preferably in both Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. They will lead the organization to accomplish its recently approved strategic plan initiatives, continuing the success of affordable home-building, volunteer engagement, and expansion of the organization’s impact into Monterey County. With a new thirteen home project in the permitting stage, additional funding to assist twenty families with mortgage assistance, and an expansion of the footprint into Monterey County, there is much to accomplish. Candidates should submit a resume and cover letter to CEOsearch@habitatmontereybay.org by March 29, 2024. To learn more, please visit our website https://www.habitatmontereybay.com/ceosearch The Honorable Leon E. Panetta Former United States Secretary of Defense Thursday, March 28th, 2024 Monterey Conference Center Steinbeck Ballroom One Portola Plaza, Monterey 11:15 am: Registration • 11:45 am: Luncheon • 12:45 pm: Speaker Presentation Registrations are due by Sunday, March 24, 2024 | www.wacmb.org “Abroad there is Putin’s war against Ukraine, turmoil in the Middle East, and looming threats in Asia. Put succinctly, the fate of the West is being decided by what happens in the East. At home, American democracy is withering from misinformation, tribalism, domestic terrorism, political intolerance, the dysfunction of Congress, assaults on the press, crippling polarization, the undermining of elections, racial intolerance, inequality and more. We are a superpower at a pivotal crossroads. Will the America of the 21st century make up its mind and act to provide the necessary world leadership to protect democracy in Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and elsewhere? Will it preserve the American dream of giving our children a better life?” —Secretary Leon Panetta Join us when Secretary Panetta, Co-Chairman of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, discusses some of the most important issues of our day. Leon Panetta is the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA, White House Chief of Staff, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Representative from our 17th Congressional District. He was born and raised in Carmel Valley, California. Space is limited for this event — please register early. We regret that we cannot accommodate auditors for this event. World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area “The Challenge of World Leadership in the 21st Century” 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? 2020 INFORMATIONAL SESSIONS AND INTERVIEWS TO BE HELD AT 2:00 PM AT THESE LOCATIONS THE SUPERIOR COURT URGES YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN IMPROVING YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT! Greenfield Tuesday May 12 Monterey Wednesday May 13 www.monterey.courts.ca.gov/grandjury (831) 775-5400 Extension 3014 Salinas Thursday May 14 Monterey Courthouse May 8 at 2:00 pm Salinas Courthouse May 9 at 2:00 pm King City Courthouse May 10 at 10:30 am The 2024–2025 Civil Grand Jury Needs You! 2024 Informational session AND INTERVIEWS TO BE HELD AT THESE LOCATIONS

6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MARCH 14-20, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 Phoenix Gonzalez was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome when he was 6, causing him to have uncontrollable movements that subjected him to the cruelty of his classmates. His mother Gail Gonzalez says they decided to keep quiet about it for a while, not telling family members of the diagnosis. But as the bullying worsened, they knew something had to change. Gonzalez says they reached out to groups that raise awareness of Tourette syndrome, and heard one constant message. “Everyone said the same thing: You have to speak about it,” she says. “If you educate them, the bullying will lessen.” At the height of the bullying in third grade, Phoenix and his mother put that advice into action. They organized a presentation on Tourette syndrome in front of his class, telling the young students that Phoenix’s movements were involuntary, and it was just something he was born with. “It was a complete 180,” she says, adding that Phoenix came home beaming that day, telling his mother that “everybody at school likes me now.” “When kids don’t know what’s going on, they might tease or bully. But when they knew it was involuntary, something he was born with, then they were all completely understanding,” she says. “Since then, Phoenix and I both realized: knowledge is power.” Phoenix, now 12 and a seventh-grader at Seaside Middle School, has grown into an advocate for people with Tourette syndrome, and is now taking his message to Washington, D.C. The Seaside pre-teen is one of 64 youth from across the country to be chosen as a Youth Ambassador for the Tourette Association of America. Phoenix, the youngest of this year’s group, headed to Capitol Hill on March 6, where he spoke with legislators to advocate for public polices for people with Tourette syndrome and tic disorders. “Right now, barely anybody knows about Tourette’s, if they know it at all,” he says. “There’s no proper education about it. There’s so much bullying going on. I used to be in one of those situations. None of the other kids knew what Tourette’s was. They thought I was weird, making random movements for nothing.” An estimated 1 in 50 school-aged children in the United States has Tourette syndrome or a persistent tic disorder, which causes them to make sudden uncontrollable movements and sounds called tics, according to the Tourette Association of America. Due to the complexities of the disorder, 50 percent of individuals affected are undiagnosed. The Youth Ambassador Program launched in 2002, and has consisted of over 500 teens who have completed more than 1,000 activities that are estimated to have reached more than 5.5 million people, according to the Tourette Association of America. Since that third-grade presentation, Phoenix has shared his story to help raise awareness, including a segment on NBC Nightly News in 2022. “It’s been a tough road, but he’s come a long way,” his mother adds. “He’s super strong. He’s learned to self-advocate and speak up for himself.” Gonzalez says there are many misconceptions about Tourette syndrome among the general public. While movies and television shows may exclusively portray those with Tourette’s as consistently shouting vulgar language, such a condition of the syndrome, called coprolalia, is extremely rare, Gonzalez says, affecting only about 1 in 10 people with Tourette’s. Tics may also not be visible. Phoenix, for example, had trouble focusing in class because he was mentally counting the number of words spoken by his teachers, Gonzalez says. But as he grows older, Phoenix says the tics appear to be calming down. “Over the past year, I’ve figured out that my tics have slowly started to slow down,” he says. “A few years ago, I used to have them multiple times every couple of minutes. Nowadays, I’m starting to get more used to them. I’m getting them a few times a day now.” Tic Talk Seaside pre-teen heads to Capitol Hill to advocate for those with Tourette syndrome. By Erik Chalhoub Phoenix Gonzalez of Seaside hopes his story helps others with his condition. “I want them to know that there are millions of other kids that have Tourette syndrome, and they’re not the only ones,” he says. “Right now, barely anybody knows about Tourette’s.” TALES FROM THE AREA CODE DANIEL DREIFUSS

www.montereycountyweekly.com MARCH 14-20, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 www.cfmco.org • 831.375.9712 Design your giving plan. We can help. Donor Advised Funds • Charitable Estate Planning • CGAs, CRTs • IRA Charitable Distributions • Family & Business Philanthropy • Scholarships & More Learn more: cfmco.org/GivingOptions 831.375.9712 | cfmco.org | GRATITUDE “We’ve led an exciting life. Now we have an opportunity to give back. Education is something you can keep forever.” – Michael and Gloria Ipson The Ipson/Tully Memorial Scholarship Fund of the CFMC 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

8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 14-20, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com news The fallout of last month’s massive cyberattack by the hacking group BlackCat on UnitedHealth’s digital reimbursement clearinghouse that threatened the existence of clinics and pharmacies across the country has ensnared a small therapy provider, Equine Healing Collaborative. The Carmel Valley-based nonprofit delivers services to 400-450 children and adults every month. “I have to furlough you, I’m not going to make payroll,” EHC Executive Director Jennifer Fenton remembers telling her five full-time clinicians, soon after Change Healthcare, UnitedHealth’s clearinghouse for reimbursement claims, was shut down on Feb. 21. The move left EHC without reimbursement for tens of thousands of dollars, according to Fenton. At least 48 appointments had to be canceled. The furloughed employees are continuing to see their clients as volunteers, Fenton says. Six part-time clinicians, seven volunteer clinicians and student interns are also seeing clients at EHC’s four locations, three in Monterey County and one in Santa Cruz County. Fenton says UnitedHealth offered workarounds for repayment, but those workarounds took EHC staff hundreds of hours and have not been successful. EHC started a GoFundMe account (bit.ly/ehcemergency) asking for donations to keep them afloat. The cyberattack fallout has left providers like Fenton angry that UnitedHealth, which earned $371.6 billion in revenue in 2023, did not invest more money in cybersecurity. On March 7, UnitedHealth estimated it would be able to process claims beginning March 18, but it will take two additional weeks before EHC sees any money. Unmerry-Go-Round A local equine therapy group falls victim to UnitedHealth cyberattack. By Pam Marino The planned new County of Monterey building in Seaside doesn’t have a name yet, nor has the county identified funding to build it, which the latest estimate pegs at $115 million. But what county officials do have is a vision. At Seaside’s Oldemeyer Center on Feb. 29, County Supervisor Wendy Root Askew hosted a town hall meeting to talk about that vision. After a few opening remarks, Askew handed it off to Lori Medina, director of the county’s Department of Social Services and the first of one of a handful of speakers whose agency has a stake in the future of the project, which would replace an aging county building at the same location at 1281 Broadway Ave. Her department serves half of the county residents in a given year through a full gamut of services, among them child welfare and abuse prevention, cash aid, aging and adult services, and veteran and military affairs. In the existing county building at the site, Medina says, about 63 staff members facilitate the distribution of about $194 million of benefits annually. About 25,000 county residents visit the existing building each month. When the idea to replace or refurbish the existing building first started to be discussed, Medina said, it generated a vision of a campus that could provide other services too. In the plans, the Monterey County Free Libraries branch in Seaside, currently located next to Seaside City Hall, would move into the county building. The District Attorney’s Office would have a place as well—the idea is that the place can be a hub for a whole suite of county services. “We want a safe, affirming and inviting facility for our families,” Medina told the crowd. “This is not going to be just another county building. We’re looking at a new way of doing business, and we think this can be a model for how the county does business in the future.” District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni described plans for a family justice center in the building to help build resilience and support children dealing with trauma. “What do you need to build hope that the future is better than today?” she said. The DA’s Office already has a King City site for a family justice center, and this would give them a Peninsula location. Hillary Theyer, the county’s library director, noted the plan includes a library that would match the existing library’s size. She said the Seaside branch has the most hours of operation of any county library branch, and is a critical connector for the community and the resources the county provides that may help them. One problem planners are still trying to solve is what to do about Casa de Noche Buena, a nonprofit homeless shelter that houses women and families and provides case management for residents. As currently envisioned, the plan will displace the organization’s existing building on the county-owned campus. Architect Kyle Matti says it’s something he and his team are working to incorporate, if possible. And every county official in attendance agrees that Casa de Noche Buena will continue to have their full support—it’s just a matter of finding a new location if it can’t remain onsite. Root Askew estimates the project will cost between $100-$200 million. The design phase of plans for the County of Monterey’s Seaside campus call for a 60,000-square-foot, four-story building and 250-space parking structure. Leveling Up The county’s plan to replace a building in Seaside promises to be an upgrade in services and aesthetics. By David Schmalz Equine Healing Collaborative Executive Director Jennifer Fenton with Skip, a therapy horse that helps treat clients. EHC is hanging on financially, waiting for delayed insurance reimbursements. “This is not going to be just another county building.” NM&R Architects Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountyweekly.com MARCH 14-20, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 Rental Inventory Enrollment Drop-in Assistance Staff will be on-site to answer questions and assist any residential rental property owners or managers with registering their properties located in the City of Monterey. 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays through April 18 For more information visit monterey.org/rentalinventory or call the Rental Inventory Hotline at (831) 242-8740. Any residential rental property owner or manager who wants help registering their Monterey properties should drop in. ATTENTION ALL RESIDENTIAL RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS & MANAGERS: ALL RESIDENTIAL RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS MUST REGISTER OR CLAIM AN EXEMPTION Monterey Public Library's Solarium Room 625 Pacific Street, Monterey Two Portola Plaza Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 649-4511 portolahotel.com SUNDAY, MARCH 31 | 10AM-2PM RESERVATIONS & PRICING Join us on Easter Sunday inside the Portola Hotel & Spa for a spectacular Easter brunch celebration! Indulge in a lavish buffet featuring holiday favorites like Cinnamon Swirl French Toast Bake, Wild King Salmon, Maple Glazed Pit Ham, Apple Crisp and so much more. Dine in our newly renovated ballroom while enjoying live music with Dave Conley on piano. Children’s Easter Egg Hunt at 10AM & Noon $89.95 Adults | $74.95 Seniors (over 65) $45.95 Children 12 & under Prices exclude tax and gratuity | 20% Service charge for all parties Reservations are required. To reserve a table, please call (831) 649-7892 or email BrianHein@portolahotel.com.

10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 14-20, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com The vision for Sand City’s Art Park was hatched during the height of the pandemic, when the community still wanted to socialize, but also stay outside and at a distance. Whether or not the term “social distancing” will stand the test of time—it’s an oxymoron of sorts—remains to be seen, but it’s clear Sand City is committed to the future of the Art Park. It is planned for a block of land almost entirely owned by the city, and which Sand City officials hope will not only help inject energy into the West End district, but also add much-needed housing to the region. The idea, in a nascent stage, was presented to City Council on Feb. 20 with a preliminary concept to expand the Art Park into something more. As described in a city report, the hope is the property can become “an outstanding landmark building that defines and enlivens the area, catalyzes future redevelopment, and meets practical needs.” City Manager Vibeke Norgaard sums that up succinctly. “Sand City doesn’t own a lot of property. We’ve got to try and look at what we have and do something innovative and exciting with it and that lines up with the council’s vision of where they want to go,” she says. There are no building plans yet, it’s just an idea, one that—if Sand City can pull it off—would be a brick-and-mortar foundation that would bolster the city’s recent identity as a hub for artists to both live and work. The combination is something increasingly challenging on the Central Coast, where the housing supply has consistently lagged behind demand—whether or not water supply is a constraint. Long term, the vision is that 60 percent of the Art Park will remain as is, while also accommodating a live/work space for artists that would include 16 affordable units, eight extremely-low income, and eight low-income units. But that same building that would displace some of the existing Art Park is envisioned to be mixed-use with commercial space on the ground floor, which could be an art gallery that opens up to the mural-lined Art Park and allow for community events—the idea is to fold that open space into a brick-and-mortar core. The possibility has been raised of acquiring the one corner of the property not owned by the city. It’s the home of A&R Plumbing, but no serious offers to make that happen have yet occurred. Right now, the idea is in a chrysalis, and it could be years before the wings catch light. The rising tide of unionization and successful bids by unions to secure more pay and benefits floated the hopes of California State University student assistants last year, envisioning that they too could be recognized and rewarded for their labor. On Feb. 23, 7,252 student employees on 23 campuses voted, with 7,050, or 97 percent, voting yes to join the California State University Employees Union/SEIU Local 2579. The vote was certified by the California Employment Relations Board (PERB) on Tuesday, March 5. CSU Monterey Bay student assistants were part of the historic vote to create what is reportedly the largest undergraduate student union in the U.S. The vote also made history as the first primarily digital election overseen by PERB. One CSUMB alumna, Leah Baker, won’t benefit from the new union yet nevertheless worked to make the vote happen starting last April, after student employee organizers approached SEIU for help. “I’m so proud to be setting this up for future student assistants to come,” Baker says. As a student she worked in CSUMB’s IT Department. The money helped pay expenses, including on-campus parking. She graduated in December. “I think there’s this idea that student workers, it’s nothing more than a paid study hall,” Baker says, adding she was doing all the work that full-time staff do while being paid minimum wage with no paid sick days or holidays. “All workers deserve to be treated fairly by their employers, even if that employer is their university,” Baker says. “Student work is running these campuses, and it needs to be acknowledged for the real work that it is.” The next step for the new union is to form a bargaining committee and enter into negotiations with CSU administrators. A few weeks before the student union vote, CSU faculty successfully launched the first strike of its kind in the system’s history, winning concessions from administrators after just one day. Art House Sand City is trying to create a landmark that will both define and energize its core. By David Schmalz news NEW TECH Loaves, Fishes & Computers celebrates its 15th anniversary and its new, bigger location. The public is invited to learn more about LFC services while enjoying refreshments and a tour of their facility where computers are refurbished, distributed and sold, and tech classes are offered. 5-6:30pm Thursday, March 14. LFC, 830 Park Row, Salinas. Free. 7517725, lfctech.org. PLAY TIME University Park Elementary is launching a new playground with a ribbon-cutting event. The park is Salinas City Elementary School District’s first fully inclusive playground, which includes ramps for children in wheelchairs and walkers, and play items set at accessible heights. 9am Friday, March 15. University Park School, 833 Acacia St., Salinas. Free. 784-2270, parkplanet.com. neighborhood voices Hear a presentation about Rana Creek by the Wildlands Conservancy at the Carmel Valley Association’s annual meeting, where an introduction of board members and a talk on local issues with County Supervisor Mary Adams also take place. Wine, music and catering are also provided. 3-5pm Saturday, March 16. Hidden Valley Music Seminars, 104 W. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. Free/CVA members; memberships available at the event for $35/person or $50/family. president@carmelvalleyassociation. org, carmelvalleyassociation.org. HEALTHY MOMS The 2024 Maternal Mental Health Forum happens thanks to sponsorships from the Parenting Connection of Monterey County and Natividad Foundation. Payors, policymakers, providers and partners are encouraged to join when they can throughout the day to learn more about supporting healthy moms and babies. The event happens 8:15am-2:30pm Tuesday, March 19 and 9am-2:30pm Wednesday, April 20 at Hartnell College–Soledad Campus, 1505 Metz Road, Soledad; also available virtually. $155; registration required. info@ policycentermmh.org, 2020mom. org/2024-annual-forum. TALENT SHOW Hartnell College hosts a STEM Expo and dives into the world of artificial intelligence. The event features a panel discussion on the future and impact of AI on our society. 1-5pm Wednesday, March 20. Hartnell College STEM Center Lobby, Building S, 411 Central Ave., Salinas. Free; registration required. mcstemtalentexpo. com. Student Union CSU student assistants vote to start a new union seeking better wages and benefits. By Pam Marino Sand City’s Art Park opened in 2021, and still hosts First Fridays and special events. A new concept envisions building live/work space for artists with 32 housing units. e-mail: toolbox@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX “We’ve got to do something innovative and exciting with it.” Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountyweekly.com March 14-20, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 Solemnity and sadness fill the auditorium at Chalone Peaks Middle School in King City on the evening of Thursday, March 7, where over 300 people are gathered to mourn the loss of four people who were killed at a house party on March 3. Faith leaders offered prayers to start the healing process after the tragedy. Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez, a former King City resident, wasn’t surprised by the turnout. “King City has always been a really strong and resilient community and we show up in times of crisis no matter what we’re facing. It’s what makes this community unique,” Lopez says. He used to live on 2nd Street where the shooting happened, and knew some of the victims. “I won’t say it broke me, but it bent me pretty hard,” he adds. Attendees at the vigil included Maria Pineda, who came with her youngest son. Pineda felt this tragedy pretty close; she lost her husband unexpectedly a few months ago. “That’s why I came. I know how sad and painful it is to lose a loved one that way,” Pineda says in Spanish. Pineda lives near the location of the shooting and heard a commotion, but didn’t dare go out. She learned about what happened the following day. The violence erupted one day after King City was euphoric with the Mustangs clinching their second soccer NorCal Division IV championship. According to law enforcement, three men wearing dark-colored masks and clothes arrived in a 2017 silver Kia and interrupted a party on the 200 block of N. 2nd Street on Sunday, March 3. The men opened fire, striking 11 people. The four people who were killed were Alicia Ramirez Aparicio, 32; Mario Guzman Mendoza, 42; Francisco Aldape Perez, 32; and Olivo Perez Piña, 32. Over 70 officers responded to the shooting and started a manhunt. As of March 12, the suspects remain at large. (The suspect vehicle was recovered in an unincorporated area of South County.) Monterey County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Andres Rosas is encouraging people to share any information about the case. “We know there is fear in the community,” Rosas says, but he hopes tips will lead police to the suspects. King City is offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the people involved. Despite rumors that the shooting was gang-related, Rosas says there is no evidence the family hosting the party has a gang affiliation, and he notes the investigation remains ongoing. “We don’t want to tell you that it’s a gang-related incident unless we have 100-percent confirmation,” he says. The King City Police Department is working with other local agencies on this case, as well as federal agencies like the FBI and U.S. Marshal Service. “We’re not immune from gang violence, like the rest of our country. Unfortunately, the scale of this event is something that is unimaginable,” Lopez says. On March 7, the Sheriff’s Office announced they and the California Highway Patrol would provide additional patrol in King City. Since then, they have announced three arrests unrelated to the March 3 shooting. In Grief A quadruple murder shakes King City as police continue to search for the killers and boost patrols. By Celia Jiménez Maria Pineda, a 38-year-old farmworker who lives in King City, attended a March 7 prayer vigil with her youngest son, Jefferson Ramirez Pineda. NEWS “We show up in times of crisis no matter what we’re facing.” DANIEL DREIFUSS For more information: www.ci.marina.ca.us REDUCE waste by bringing reusable bags to grocery shop. PREVENT wildlife from getting caught in sixpack rings by cutting them up. PLANT native gardens to save water, reduce pesticide use. RECYCLE at your home, business and school. PICK UP after your dog and dispose of waste in the trash to help prevent water pollution. VOLUNTEER for beach clean ups and storm drain stenciling. The City of Marina Storm Water Program invites you to help PROTECT our COASTAL COMMUNITY Your simple actions can have a positive effect for future generations! Try Us First. We Pay The Highest! MONTEREY COIN SHOPPE Since 1970 same street for 40 years Open Mon-Thur 11am-4pm and Friday by appointment only. Call for an appointment: 831.646.9030 449 Alvarado St., Monterey www.montereycoinshoppe.com WE BUY GOLD AND SILVER, JEWELRY, COINS, DIAMONDS, WATCHES, ART & RARE ANTIQUES

12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 14-20, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Democracy In Action Congratulations to [Assembly Speaker Robert] Rivas on your Tuesday primary results. Now onto November for an easy win (“Monterey County voters weigh in with support for returning three incumbents to Sacramento,” posted March 5). Chris Sierra | via social media Great photos and great reporting! Congrats to democracy in Monterey County! (“Early results from the Monterey County Elections Office are in,” posted March 5.) Esther Hobbs | via social media OMG!! So happy for you both [Kate Daniels and Wendy Root Askew for county supervisor]! Congratulations! Carmelita Garcia | Pacific Grove Well done and much deserved! Our districts are in good hands. Esther Malkin | Monterey Go Kate Daniels! Congratulations! (“Kate Daniels clinches an early victory for the District 5 seat on the Monterey County Board of Supervisors,” posted March 5.) Tina Giuliani | via social media I still don’t understand how/why the Democratic Party lined up against Alan Haffa. Corey Thornburg Brunson | via social media Broken Down First, I’d like to thank Pam Marino for her thorough and thoughtful reporting on the challenges we are facing here at 359 Larkin St. (“Monterey takes action to force repairs at a dilapidated apartment complex,” March 7-13). I’ve lived in this beautiful little complex for 20-plus years, so I’ve had the opportunity to witness firsthand how it’s changed during that time, and it’s true that it has certainly begun to show its age. Fortunately, a few months ago we had a young lady move in who has become our onsite apartment manager, and she has worked tirelessly to begin addressing many of the issues brought up by the City of Monterey, and I’m quite hopeful that with her continued direction, over the coming months we will see this lovely complex given the attention and care it so richly deserves. Derek Dean | via web Tax Season In 2018, everyone thought that cannabis would be a huge revenue source for local governments, but half of our local operators have been taxed out of business (“Growers hope to repeal 2018 tax on cannabis businesses,” March 7-13). The County slashed its taxes by 90 percent but the Monterey County Regional Fire District has only raised theirs. They were asked nicely to lower it, but it is up to the voters now. [MCRFD] can put up their own measure if they want. They need to balance their budget some other way. Bob Roach | Salinas Note: Roach is the former executive director of the Monterey County Cannabis Industry Association. Homing In Whew, what an article! (“For some residents of East Garrison, their dream home has become a nightmare,” Feb. 22-28.) In 2017, we were SO close to buying a home in East Garrison. We had visited the models at least a dozen times. We loved the idea of having a local library in walking distance, and an arts district with shops and restaurants. We had a model picked out and a couple of corner lots in our sights in the next phase, and as our number got closer on the waitlist, they gave me the login to look at cabinets and finishes. When the time came, we asked ourselves if we were really willing to pay Mello Roos [fees] and live under another HOA…and we walked away. No regrets. Amanda Whitmire | Monterey Flood Warning Thank you for your article about the flooding and aftermath in Pajaro (“The floodwaters have long receded from Pajaro. But one year later residents and businesses are still struggling to stay afloat,” Feb. 29-March 6). Also, as reported in the news at the time, a portion of Scenic Road just outside Carmel was undermined by waves and collapsed, restricting access to two homes and of course inconveniencing the tourists who love to drive that area for the view. This was in County jurisdiction just outside the City of Carmel, one of the richest areas in the world. County officials showed up the next day and promised to fix it quickly and they did, spending a lot of money on it. In the same time period, officials from the county, state and federal government showed up in Pajaro to tell the residents that there was no money to help them. Officials suggested that they ask local nonprofits for help. As always, “Them that’s got shall get; them that’s not shall lose.” Bruce Merchant | Carmel Out Loud In Assembly Bill 587, it is unconstitutional to include “disinformation” in that bill (“Free Speech,” March 7-13). If you will remember back in 2020, hundreds of people were getting censored, banned from social media, and even being jailed for spreading “disinformation,” some of which was later found to be true! Looking back, it would be easy to find multiple instances of our own government guilty of spreading information that was false. Freedom of speech is so important that our Founding Fathers put it before everything else. Once we start chipping away at our rights, we will slowly lose them. James Stoll | Marina Mixed Greens When we moved here, I was from Southern California, where the big crop was oranges (“Our region feeds most of the country, but many don’t know where their food comes from,” posted March 5). I looked at the fields, and thought I’d learn to recognize what I saw growing. Well—strawberries and artichokes, maybe—but I soon learned that there are so many crops here. It was like trying to learn to recognize all the different kinds of seaweed on the beach. Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to see a bit of Peru. I remember the driver carefully pointing out, “Those are eucalyptus trees,” and I thought, “Well, of course. That’s obvious.” Ann Folsom | Monterey 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 march 14-20, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 In his introductory remarks at a community meeting on Feb. 13, 2019, Seaside City Councilmember Dave Pacheco leaned into the fact that it was Valentine’s Day eve, offering seasonal cookies. He seemed hopeful that the spirit of love would influence the matter at hand, a proposed homeless shelter on Countyowned property at Noche Buena Street and Broadway Avenue. “We’re going to be cooperative, happy,” Pacheco said. “We’re all going to be positive and try to find solutions, rather than complaints.” As the next hour-and-a-half unfolded, that proved to be wishful thinking. While some residents expressed support, many expressed vehement opposition. “We finally get the town built up—now you want to take it and destroy it,” one speaker said. “I have no objection to housing homeless—what I don’t understand is the location,” said another. “You have enough property to go elsewhere—these are our neighborhoods.” On it went with variations of a narrative that is commonplace in proposals related to any level of the housing crisis: I don’t oppose the premise of your goal [affordable housing, high-density market-rate units, a homeless shelter, etc.] but I don’t want it in my neighborhood. The but is laden with fear—of declining property values, diminished views, too much traffic and not enough parking, drug use and violence. Despite the neighbors’ objections, Seaside and County of Monterey officials moved forward. Nonprofits Community Human Services and Gathering for Women teamed up to create the shelter. When I visited on March 15, 2022 to celebrate the one-year anniversary of what became Casa De Noche Buena, the fears that had been voiced three years prior felt like an alternate reality. Instead, Casa was a clean, comfortable, inviting place with a playground. Casa didn’t go someplace else—it went right in the neighborhood (my neighborhood, as it happens). Property values have soared. It’s a busy, safe corner where I regularly walk alone, day or night. It is in a community, instead of on the outskirts. It is within walking distance of stores and restaurants, schools, a bus stop—it’s a regular place where regular people live. Homeless people are regular people too. On that first anniversary, despite pandemic-related challenges, Casa De Noche Buena reported 61 people had been sheltered, including 21 children; there had been 32 exits to permanent housing and four to transitional housing. This week, CHS and Gathering are celebrating the shelter’s third anniversary and report that 223 individuals have been served (80 of them kids) with 22,957 bed nights provided. More than half have landed in permanent housing; a quarter have returned to homelessness. Casa is an imperfect solution, but it is unquestionably part of the solution. It serves women and families and can accommodate up to 35 people, just a tiny fraction of the more than 2,000 people in Monterey County who are homeless. But it’s a project that illustrates some of the hardest lessons related to homeless solutions. First, various funding sources and services are available to just a small segment of the population—women, or single men, or veterans. The homeless community, like the community at large, is diverse. Local leaders working to address the issues include Roxanne Wilson, Monterey County’s director of homeless services, and Anastacia Wyatt, the City of Monterey’s housing manager. They’ll speak about some of what works in a panel discussion on March 14 (I’ll be moderating) in celebration of Casa’s third anniversary. They’ll talk about bureaucratic hurdles—how to get and utilize funds for certain types of state and federal programs, for instance—but also a part of the solution that’s entirely up to us: community buy-in. Community opposition can be enough to derail good projects. In the case of Casa De Noche Buena, leaders did not capitulate to NIMBY fears. Listening back now to concerns raised in 2019 makes them seem completely out of touch. Homeless people are part of our community whether we like it or not, and we have an obligation to solve this problem right here, not somewhere else. Solving Homelessness: A Community Conversation is at 2pm Thursday, March 14 at Carpenter Hall, Sunset Center, San Carlos and 8th, Carmel. Free. 658-3811, chservices.org. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@mcweekly.com. Thinking Big Looking back at what’s working to solve homelessness to guide the future. By Sara Rubin Different Shades…Squid is lucky to live under the sea, where Squid’s lair is decked out in all sorts of different colors thanks to the kelp forest. But how about the colors of the homes where land-dwellers reside? Not great, unless you like all the many “different” tones of beige. During one of Squid’s recent outings to Monterey County Superior Court, Squid came across a case that mentioned shades of gray. Naturally, Squid was intrigued to read more and see who was getting hot and heavy in the courtroom. The reality was much less sexy, but just as juicy as Fifty Shades. Susan Strathy is suing Las Palmas Ranch, saying the Salinas development’s Architectural Board continues to deny her home’s repainting, no matter what color she requests. “Many, many” homes in the development have been painted shades of white, green and yellow, she contends. But when it comes to gray, the board apparently practices “selective enforcement” among the homeowners, according to Strathy. Squid suggests the board limit the number of gray-shaded homes to 50, as it might be a strong selling point to potential buyers who also happen to be fans of E.L. James’ writing. Strathy, meanwhile, might have better luck requesting tried-and-true beige. She’s set to make her case in small claims court on May 2. Tough Talk…One recent night, Squid was low on shrimp-flavored popcorn, so Squid oozed over to the store to stock up the pantry. In the parking lot, Squid’s beak fell open when Squid saw a Tesla Cybertruck. At first, Squid wasn’t sure what to think. Was it a wartime vehicle, or a visit from extraterrestrials? Just the latest from Elon Musk. Described as an “ideal police vehicle,” this massive 800-horsepower beast is advertised as able to go from 0-62 mph in 2.9 seconds and tow up to 14,000 pounds. “You want a truck that’s really tough, not fake tough,” Musk said during a 2019 vehicle debut. “You want a truck you can take a sledgehammer to, a truck that won’t scratch, doesn’t dent.” (Two windows broke in a demo. Whoopsies!) It seems no amount of tough exterior can make up for driver error, however. Around 4:30pm on Monday, March 4, the Marina Fire Department responded to a report of a Cybertruck stuck on Marina State Beach. According to California State Parks spokesperson Douglas Johnson, the Nevada driver cruised over the curb at the end of Reservation Road, past a sign stating “No Vehicles on Beach,” and promptly got stuck. First responders helped release air from the tires (not rocket science), the vehicle was cited with what will be at least a $280 fine, and the driver took the bullet-proof (but not sand-proof) tank back onto the pavement, where Squid hopes it will stay. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “Go elsewhere— these are our neighborhoods.” Send Squid a tip: squid@mcweekly.com

sports 14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 14-20, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Monterey Bay F.C. hopes that the third year is the charm. Players, coaches and fans share this anticipation as the 2024 campaign gets underway, with the team’s home opener at Cardinale Stadium slated for Saturday, March 16 against defending champions Phoenix Rising. In its first two seasons, MBFC finished just out of USL Championship playoff contention. Head coach Frank Yallop says the first two seasons the team wasn’t quite ready for the playoffs. Last year, a run of poor play in the final stretch of the schedule doomed MBFC. “It’s usually year three when you start to see the fruits of your labor,” Yallop explains. “We want to get over that line and be in the playoffs. That’s our goal. So that’s the aim for this club right now.” Defender Hugh Roberts, the team captain a year ago, is gone, as are potent offensive-minded stars Christian Volesky and Sam Gleadle. The crop of new players on the roster promise to bring the squad to a new level, however. These include forwards Luther Archimède and Tristan Trager, midfielders Xavi Gnaulati and Pierce Gallaway, along with Carlos Guzman to bolster the back line. Midfielder Adrian Rebollar, a Watsonville native, returns for his third season with the Union. He says every year the team has improved. “We really started to build a relationship with all the players and the coaches—the whole club as a collective,” Rebollar observes. Yallop is pleased with the progress of both new additions and returning veterans during preseason play. “They’ve settled in emotionally and mentally, and I think that’s important,” he points out. “That will make them shine when they get on the field.” That chemistry is essential, particularly on a bilingual squad. Guzman, who speaks Spanish and English, jokes that Spanglish is the team’s official on-pitch language. But, he adds, “The most-spoken language is soccer.” That’s a language familiar even to the rookies. Gallaway is the first player from Monterey County brought to the squad, as well as the first to ascend from the developmental team MBFC2 to the first team. “This is something that I’ve been working for since I was a kid, and to have that opportunity to play so close to home, it’s a dream come true,” Gallaway says. Former classmates, coaches and relatives have reached out to him. “It’s been super cool to see all the love. I’m excited to see them here at Cardinale and give them something to cheer for.” Gallaway adds that friends and family have been calling with more than just congratulations. “My grandparents are hitting me up for tickets,” he says with a laugh. “So yeah, they’ll be here for sure.” For fans like Esther Hobbs of Seaside, roster changes are part of the excitement of spring. “I’m looking forward to having new favorite players this year,” Hobbs says, specifically highlighting Gallaway. “I’m very excited that we have our new local player come from Carmel.” Hobbs has a special bond with the team. Although a reluctant soccer fan initially, the first time she stepped through the gate at Cardinale Stadium she was hooked. “I really enjoy just seeing the whole community come together and cheer on a team,” she explains. “It’s just intoxicating.” Now a season ticket holder who even attends preseason matches—“with the exception of the one night that I went to a Taylor Swift concert”—Hobbs kept up with MBFC last year as she battled cancer. When told of her condition, the team presented Hobbs with a signed jersey. “I wore that signed jersey when I would go for my radiation treatments,” she says. Through her journey, she engaged her friends and family with the team, telling them that watching the matches and sharing results would keep her spirits up. Through the process, they also became fans. Perhaps the Union’s biggest fan— certainly the most recognizable—is Dan Devlin, known for his colorful outfits and resonating cheers. “Superfan Dan” is particularly looking forward to the home opener against Phoenix. “It’s my 22nd wedding anniversary that night,” Devlin points out. Devlin has known Gallaway since he was a youngster playing on local club teams. As the MBFC2 announcer, Devlin witnessed Gallaway’s progress with the second team. “He played really, really well last year as part of the MBFC2 team,” Devlin notes. “That was exciting. [I’m] very excited to see what Pierce can bring.” The USL Championship plays a 34-game season with 24 teams divided between two divisions, Eastern and Western. Monterey Bay opened the 2024 schedule at El Paso Locomotive FC on March 13, a match that kicked off after press time. Following the Saturday home opener, MBFC hosts Rhode Island in a Sunday afternoon contest on March 24. “Even if you don’t like soccer, I guarantee you come to Cardinale Stadium on game night and you join in with what’s going on in the stadium— cheering, chanting and playing—you’ll become a fan,” Devlin says. “You’ll be back.” Monterey Bay F.C.’s home opener takes place at 7pm Saturday, March 16. Cardinale Stadium, 4111 2nd Ave., Seaside. $29-$270/single game tickets; $290-$3,200/ season tickets. 324-2560, montereybayfc.com. Pitch Perfect Starting their third season, pro soccer team Monterey Bay F.C. is determined to make a playoff run. By Celia Jiménez Chemistry is essential, particularly on a bilingual squad. Abpve: Midfielder Pierce Gallaway, 22, a Carmel native and one of five new additions to the team. Below: Superfan Dan—Dan Devlin’s gameday persona—rallies the crowd during a contest in 2023. celia jiménez daniel dreifuss