march 21-27, 2024 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT Artist studios on the move 10 | dispatches from gaza 15 | a local lens 29 | Vegan tacos 32 Celebrity poet David Whyte brings a message about renewal to a workshop at Asilomar. p. 18 By Agata Pope¸da The Poet-Philosopher

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 21-27, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com March 21-27, 2024 • ISSUE #1859 • Established in 1988 David Schmalz (iPhone 11) Turkey tail mushrooms grow on a log at Rana Creek Ranch in eastern Carmel Valley. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@mcweekly.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: David Whyte at his home office on Whidbey Island in Washington state, a place the poet says has been good for him. But if he stays away from England and Ireland for too long, he misses the place of his origins. Cover photo: Javier Hinton 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, Tonia Eaton, Caitlin Fillmore, 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 MARCH 21-27, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3 Get your irregular heartbeat back in sync at Community Hospital. If you have atrial fibrillation, or any other kind of irregular heart rhythm, Community Hospital’s Tyler Heart Institute has a range of treatments to manage your disease and even decrease your risk of stroke.  Medication management  Ablation  Pacemakers — including the wireless Micra® and AVEIR™ VR  Defibrillators montagehealth.org/heart Enjoy the rhythm of life

4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY March 21-27, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH It’s typical for social media companies to collect and store users’ data. ByteDance, the China-based owner of TikTok, is no exception. But U.S. lawmakers have long had the app in their sights due to fears that ByteDance could turn over user information to the Chinese government. On March 13, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7521, the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, which next heads to the Senate. If signed into law, the bill would compel ByteDance to sell the app to an American entity, otherwise it would be banned nationwide. (Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley, voted yes on the bill; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, voted no.) A variety of free speech groups including the ACLU, Center for Democracy & Technology and Electronic Frontier Foundation are advocating against the bill. “H.R. 7521 is censorship—plain and simple,” they wrote in a March 6 letter to lawmakers. Instead, EFF and other groups advocate for a more even-handed prohibition on companies from collecting, storing and/or selling user data, regardless of where the company is based, including domestically. Good: As soon as word spread about the prospect of Monterey Peninsula becoming an island ahead of the first major storm of 2023, hotel reservations fell as hard and fast as the rain itself. The island never happened, but tourism in Monterey County took a big hit. The county’s visitors bureau, See Monterey, met the challenge by creating new ways to attract travelers, including creating the Monterey County Artichoke Trail with 40 locations, which received national exposure on the Rachael Ray Show. On March 12, Visit California recognized See Monterey’s efforts with a Poppy Award for “Best Crisis Recovery.” Rob O’Keefe, president and CEO of See Monterey, says it was the combination of the hospitality industry helping the community during the storms and the recovery efforts after that clinched the win. The bureau also won an award for “Best Group Meetings Marketing.” GREAT: The Big Sur Land Trust’s Carmel River Floodplain Restoration and Environmental Enhancement Project (known as Carmel River FREE) is a green infrastructure project intended to mitigate flood risk on the lower Carmel River. It took an another step forward as Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley, helped secure $3 million for the project through Congress’ annual budget appropriations process. The project has been in the works for years, and Rachel Saunders, BSLT’s director of conservation, says it will help close the funding gap to reach $52 million, the current estimated cost of the project. Other funding has come from a slew of state agencies, and Saunders says BSLT is still working to secure a $27 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If everything lines up, Saunders says, construction could start in the summer of 2025. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The number of meals delivered by Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula to homebound clients and group diners across Monterey County in 2023. A total of 232 volunteers drove more than 187,000 miles to make deliveries throughout the year. Source: Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula 384,000 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “Chowder is the stereotype of the wharf.” -Rick Beidoun of Crab Louie’s Bistro, when asked if “Monterey style” clam chowder is a real thing (see story, mcweekly.com). 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.

www.montereycountyweekly.com MARCH 21-27, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5

6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY March 21-27, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 Hidden somewhere in Pacific Grove are priceless artifacts on display behind a closed door with a partial ocean view. But this isn’t a gallery. Nor is it a museum. It’s not a warehouse either, but it is where you can see Pacific Grove native Justin Barrett’s small—although there really is nothing “small” about it—and meticulously curated part of his collection of jade stones and sculptures. Barrett has spent decades working with jade, but still considers himself a student. His best teachers are his clients—those who know the stone, have collected it, written about it and been enveloped in its culture. Barrett’s work has transformed him just as he began transforming the pieces he’s hunted into wearables and polished specimens. He is the vice president of Jade Events Unlimited, which puts on a festival in Monterey’s Custom House Plaza every June benefiting Big Sur schools, and most recently the Monterey History and Art Association. The Monterey Bay Jade Festival draws over 45 vendors each year comprising enthusiasts and professionals to buy, sell and trade from one of the largest selections of nephrite and jadeite in the world. But to Barrett, working with jade is not just about buying and selling. “It’s about the energetic part of the stone,” he says. “It’s created a value structure that is something that transcends generations. It’s going to be around long after we’re gone—you can’t melt it. If a piece of jade is found and altered, it becomes a permanent artifact.” Throughout several strings of history and culture, jade was revered as something even more precious than gold—and it’s found in more places around the world than you may think. One of the first documented occurrences was in China. During Spanish conquests of Mayan and Aztec civilizations, jade was offered as the most precious mineral, after only gold and silver. Barrett’s exhibition in Pacific Grove attempts to bridge the gap between museum and art gallery. The jade pieces there are housed with nearly 200 books about the stone, some of which are no longer in print. Next to priceless sculptures that can fit in the palm of your hand and that date back to as early as 5600 B.C. are western contemporary fine art pieces from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. “Chinese pieces, like you see here, are the kind of pieces you’d only see behind glass,” Barrett notes. Hongshan ornament pieces around 7,000 years old are rougher with muted tones of green, while figurines are a lighter color and a vase from the industrial era shines bright white, with jade’s signature green tint. There are large, natural pieces of polished stone Barrett has hauled in— an immense challenge given the weight and density of a stone that can smash a diamond. “Part of this collection is not only antiquities and fine art, but also really high-end jade specimens from all over the world,” he says, showcasing how large rocks the size of car tires can be bespeckled with flakes of orange sand (from Wyoming) or have dark, forest green hues (from the Big Sur coast). Carvings that date back to before electricity were made using bamboo impregnated with garnet sand. Contemporary carvings in his collection include some from New Zealandbased artisans Donn Salt and Robert Lyons, as well as his own. Barrett’s collection is available for viewing by appointment only, and he is selective about his clientele. Members of the jade community are welcoming but discerning. When someone picks up a stone, they make an immediate call: “jade or not jade.” When he finds jade, Barrett knows it when he sees it, and describes the stone as “precious.” Though he does not consider any mystical qualities within his collection, he notes that many cultures have a story about what it means, and adds: “I’ve never met a stone that is more Gollum-esque.” Justin Barrett’s collection of jade is available for viewing by appointment only. 238-7122, bsjade@gmail. com, justinjade.com. Precious Stones A local jade hunter and carver houses part of his collection of artifacts in an unannounced gallery in Pacific Grove. By Sloan Campi Despite working with jade for nearly three decades, Justin Barrett still considers himself a student of the craft, and looks to his clients as mentors. “I’ve never met a stone that is more Gollum-esque.” TaLES FrOM ThE arEa cODE DANIEL DREIFUSS Join us for an informative update from the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center. From the bottom of the ocean to the stars and a new generator too! Find out what's new with FNMOC. Presented by the City of Monterey, the Monterey Bay Defense Alliance, and the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. GET TICKETS! FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2024 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM MONTEREY CONFERENCE CENTER TICKETS: $45 • INCLUDES BREAKFAST PRESENTED BY Join us for an informative update from the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center. From the bottom of the ocean to the stars and a new generator too! Find out what's new with FNMOC. Presented by the City of Monterey, the Monterey Bay Defense Alliance, and the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

www.montereycountyweekly.com MARCH 21-27, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 EASTER BUFFET Celebrate Easter at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa and enjoy a thoughtfully prepared buffet of seasonal favorites and coastal specialties by Chef Michael Rotondo SUNDAY, MARCH 31 | 9AM - 2:30PM $115 ADULTS $49 CHILDREN Ages 6-13 Free for children under 6 Tax and service not included RESERVATIONS (831) 645-4058 JOIN US EVERY SUNDAY BEGINNING MARCH 10 FOR 400 CANNERY ROW, MONTEREY coastalkitchenmonterey.com 400 Cannery Row, Monterey | montereyplazahotel.com 3 COURSE CHEF’ S TASTING MENU WITH FREE FLOWING CHAMPAGNE with available enchancements including signature Seafood Tower Sundays 9am – 2pm $75 per person Brunch Sunday

8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 21-27, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com news In January 2017, Monterey County was hit with an onslaught of storms, exacerbating damage in Big Sur and Carmel Valley from the 2016 Soberanes Fire, which left burn scars on 132,127 acres that were more prone to erosion and runoff. Big Sur’s Palo Colorado Road sustained major damage in various places, including a complete washout at Rocky Creek. That was repaired by 2018, but the approximately 3.8-mile eastern stretch of the road still needs work. The County of Monterey put out a request for proposals for engineering and design for the project in October 2020, and in March 2021 the County Board of Supervisors hired a firm, now called Consor Inc., to conduct the work, which last fall culminated in a “mitigated negative declaration” environmental document, which means the firm, and the county, do not believe the project will require a full environmental impact report. The Board of Supervisors approved that document on March 19 of this year, the first in a series of many steps to repair the road. There will be permits required from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the California Coastal Commission. There’s also the price tag: The estimated remaining construction costs are roughly $12 million. Enrique Saavedra, the county’s chief of public works, says only some of the repairs are eligible for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, so the county will be looking for grant opportunities. If the money was in hand, he says, the county could complete the project in three years, barring any permitting snags, meaning 2027—a decade after the damage was incurred. Long Slog Miles of Palo Colorado Road have been closed since 2017. Progress is happening, but slowly. By David Schmalz About 100 people rallied outside of a Pajaro Valley Unified School District board meeting on Wednesday, March 13, demanding the district bring back Community Responsive Education. “We’ve been asking for them to renew the CRE contract and they just keep ignoring us,” says Lourdes Barraza, a mother of two. CRE is a consulting group based in Oakland that helps schools and universities develop an ethnic studies curriculum, based on the needs and makeup of their communities. CRE has been part of PVUSD’s three high schools since 2021. In September, the board declined to renew a contract with CRE due to allegations of antisemitic views held by Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, a San Francisco State University professor and CRE’s founder. Tintiangco-Cubales was one of the authors of the state’s ethnic studies draft curriculum in 2019. The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported that Jewish organizations opposed the curriculum because “it did not reflect the American Jewish experience and even advanced some forms of antisemitism.” PVUSD teachers, parents and students say the board rejected the contract without conducting a thorough investigation. “They didn’t do any research. They didn’t talk to anybody, no students, nothing—and they just said no more content,” says Bobby Pelz, an English and ethnic studies teacher at Watsonville High. For over an hour, the board listened to numerous comments in favor of CRE and demands to bring the company back. Only one person showed support for the board’s decision. “You voted not to end ethnic studies, just to not renew the contract of CRE. That was the right decision then, and is the right decision now,” Gilbert Stein said. “Complaining about decisions that have already been decided is not the best use of your time.” Still, Claudia Monjaras, PVUSD’s assistant superintendent of elementary education, says the denial was surprising since the board has been very supportive of ethnic studies. The phase of the contract the board rejected would focus primarily on coaching and training administrators. Students will continue to have access to ethnic studies classes, but according to Monjaras, the end of the district’s relationship with CRE will hinder the district’s ability to develop more ethnic studies courses to fulfill student demands. “We need to have folks who are trained and experienced and have their degrees in ethnic studies to help guide us in that work,” she adds. Teachers say CRE improved the content they offer in their classrooms. At the beginning, their best resources were books and internet searches. “It was really just teaching ourselves ethnic studies,” Pelz says, noting most of the teaching team was white with no background in teaching ethnic studies. Students showed up at the rally and spoke in support of the curriculum. Emilia Hernandez, a senior at Watsonville High, says she feels more proud of her heritage and Maximiliano Barraza, 15, says he has become a better person. “It helps you improve the way that you perceive the world,” Barraza says. Last year, PVUSD received an anti-bias education grant from the state for $200,000 that it intended to use toward the $110,000 contract extension with CRE. A rally at a Pajaro Valley Unified School District board meeting on March 13. Students said ethnic studies classes helped them see things from different perspectives. Ethnic Clash A frustrated community demands the PVUSD school board bring back an ethnic studies consultant. By Celia Jiménez A complete washout of Palo Colorado Road at Rocky Creek in January 2017 was repaired by fall of 2018, with a much bigger and better-reinforced concrete culvert than before. “They just keep ignoring us.” celia jiménez nic coury

www.montereycountyweekly.com MARCH 21-27, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 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 WHERE TO APPLY: MONTEREY.ORG/SUMMERJOBS The City of Monterey is an Equal Opportunity Employer. THE CITY OF MONTEREY Now Hiring! APPLY Today!  Do you enjoy helping children?  Are you flexible and adaptable?  Do you have a positive attitude? SUMMER JOB OPPORTUNITIES • Playground Recreation Leader • Day Camp Counselor • Field Sports Recreation Leader • Camp Quien Sabe Resident Camp Counselor, Support Staff (Kitchen Helper, Handyperson, Crafts Assistant), Crafts Leader, Lifeguard and Cook LEAKS FIX A LEAK WEEK The average household’s leaks can account for nearly 10,000 GALLONS of wasted water per year. Worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaking valves are often EASY TO FIX and only require simple tools. MPWMD .NE T FIX & SAVE! MAR 18-24 Learn how to find and fix leaks: epa.gov/watersense

10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 21-27, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com The Arts Council for Monterey County (Arts4MC) has been a hub for all things artsy since its inception in 1982. In 2016, the organization held a breakfast with artists and art supporters, whose number-one complaint was no affordable art studio space around. Arts4MC came up with an idea to find the space, hold the lease and then sublease it out to individual artists. Its first location was in the American Tin Cannery building, where ArtWorks @ Pacific Grove opened in March 2017. Soon, the space was filled by 17 artists; they stayed there for fourand-a-half years. The landlord, Cannery Row property holder Foursome Development Company, was generous with an affordable, month-to-month lease, according to Jacquie Atchison, executive director of Arts4MC. But with yet-unrealized plans for a hotel advancing at the time, Foursome Development asked the Arts Council to move out in October 2021. The council announced that the ideal new studio space would be a “large, open environment,” at least 3,000 square feet, ideally with foot traffic. In 2023, Arts4MC moved its administrative headquarters away from a large, open environment in Seaside (where it was renting from the Monterey County Weekly) to Monterey. The space they left behind became available to four artists, who spent a year working in studios there. However, Atchison says, “The lease expires at the end of May 2024 and we do not have the funding to continue.” The artists from Seaside were encouraged to move to Salinas, where Arts4MC opened ArtWorks @Salinas on Main Street in September 2023, with studio space for seven artists and retail space. They also have the opportunity to exhibit during Salinas’ First Fridays. But all four Seasiders say it won’t be a good option for them, because of the distance but also because of the nature of their work, such as throwing paint on walls. Several other artists are moving into the Salinas space, Atchison says, and Arts4MC hopes to find another spot in the future. “Depending on the next year’s funding, we would like to find another affordable location in an area with lots of foot traffic, especially a First Friday, so maybe Pacific Grove or Monterey,” she says. In the meantime, the four artists in Seaside—Carly Ganley, Shagufta Khan, Michelle Robertson and Andrew Jackson—are having a final pop-up show from 11am-4pm on Saturday, March 30 at their studios at 1123 Fremont Blvd., Suite C, in Seaside. On Tuesday, March 19, Salinas City Council voted unanimously to appoint René Mendez as the city manager, filling the city’s top staff position. “René stands out as a city manager with expertise in economic development, with experience in homelessness, with experience in natural disasters, and so it was only a natural fit that we consider him and hire him as our next city manager,” Mayor Kimbley Craig says. Mendez has served as Watsonville’s city manager for the past two years. Before that, he was Gonzales’ city manager from 2005 to 2022. In Salinas, he will fill a vacancy created in October when City Council fired Steve Carrigan. Mendez will come to a city that has vacancies in some important leadership roles, including finance director, airport director and police chief. The search for a new chief of police came to a halt after community members voiced concerns about what they viewed as a rushed process and rumors that Vallejo’s interim police chief, Jason Ta, had accepted the police chief position in Salinas. As of Feb. 21, there are 91.5 vacancies, the highest in recent years. In 2019, the City of Salinas had 67.5 vacancies, while in 2021 it had 83.5, according to data provided by HR Director Marina Horta-Gallegos. Since the pandemic, many businesses have struggled to attract employees and the public sector is no different. The Salinas Police Department has 27 open positions and last year, due to a staffing shortage, the department implemented a priority-based call system, meaning that not all calls trigger a police response. In March 2023, the council approved $400,000 for an incentive program for police officers. Under this program, Salinas PD has recruited four officers for lateral moves, and nine new recruits. To further their recruitment efforts, on March 19 the council approved a five-month campaign with iHeartMedia Entertainment Inc. Art Hub The Arts Council is vacating Seaside artist studios due to a funding crunch. By Agata Pop˛eda news IN THE ZONE Seaside City Council hears a proposed zoning amendment to increase planning permit efficiencies. Several text changes to the zoning ordinance are being considered; the public has an opportunity to comment. The public hearing takes place during a Seaside City Council meeting that begins at 5pm Thursday, March 21. Seaside City Hall, 440 Harcourt Ave., Seaside or via Zoom. 899-6700, ci.seaside.ca.us. ROCK THE BOAT The Hericane Rowing team is holding a fundraiser to compete in a rowing trip across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii this summer. The team is composed of four women who need support for their boat, entrance fees, equipment and food to cross 2,800 miles of ocean. Learn about their goal and enter to win prizes. 6-8pm Friday, March 22. Alma Del Mar, 269 Bonifacio Place, Monterey. Free. instagram.com/hericanerowing, bit. ly/4a2Bvdl. NO BUTTS Residents are invited to help beautify Laguna Grande Park in honor of Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action with Blue Zones Project Monterey County. Volunteers are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and closed-toed shoes, bring a hat, sunscreen and a reusable water bottle. 10am-noon Saturday, March 23. Laguna Grande Park, 401 Virgin Ave., Monterey. Free. lidia.wilding@sharecare.com, montereycounty.bluezonesproject.com. POLICE FORCE The Monterey Police Department hosts a town hall meeting about their military equipment use policy, as required by Assembly Bill 481. MPD gives a presentation and opens the floor for attendees to ask questions and address comments or concerns. 6pm Monday, March 25. City Council Chambers, 580 Pacific St., Monterey, or virtually via Zoom. Free. 646-3965, bruno@monterey.org, monterey.org/ police. PEOPLE’S VOICE Residents from California’s 19th Congressional District are encouraged to voice their opinions about President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s office. A survey is available online to decide which issues that were discussed are most important. To take the survey, visit bit.ly/3x1GJrj. Free. 424-2229, panetta.house.gov. Top Job Salinas appoints a new city manager, and works to fill more vacant positions. By Celia Jiménez Painter Andrew Jackson and photographer Michelle Robertson have been tenants of the Arts Council’s Seaside studio space, but will move out before the lease ends on May 31. e-mail: toolbox@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX “We do not have the funding to continue.” Daniel Dreifuss

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12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY March 21-27, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Cecily Salazar is a doula, a non-medical support person trained and certified to care for pregnant women before, during and after giving birth. “It stemmed from my own birthing experiences,” says the mom of two boys. Her first birth experience was traumatic, so the second time she educated herself and worked with a doula, who supported her through the birth. “It was empowering for me,” Salazar says. She became a doula herself in 2019. Doulas have been around since the 1980s but have not been well known until more recently. They’ve been operating independently, but because research has shown the benefits of doulas—their work has been linked to increased positive delivery outcomes, fewer C-sections, lower epidural use and reduced anxiety and stress during the birth process—the California Department of Health Care Services added doula services as a Medi-Cal benefit in January 2023. Last year, the Central California Alliance for Health—the Medi-Cal provider for Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Mariposa and Merced counties—signed on to provide doula services and nearly a year later, starting April 1, two doulas will be available in Monterey County for Alliance members. The agency is actively recruiting for more doulas to join as providers. Dr. Dianna Diallo, a pediatrician and medical director with the Alliance, says adding doulas to the medical team caring for mothers and babies is a valuable step. “The way I see it, the more the better, because really, especially for new moms, it’s just such a vulnerable, isolating time,” Diallo says. “Healthy mommy, healthy baby.” Doulas typically meet with expecting parents ahead of the birth, providing information and answering questions. They can be present during the birth if requested, serving as a support through labor and delivery. About a week after the birth they meet with parents and baby as a follow-up. Signing up doulas was slow going at first, since there is a process for doulas to become Medi-Cal providers, as well as a process for reimbursements. The Maternal Mental Health Task Force, part of Bright Beginnings Early Childhood Development Initiative in Monterey County, worked to facilitate conversations between the Alliance and doulas and is now recruiting to add more doulas to the Medi-Cal network. Sonja Koehler, director of Bright Beginnings, says joining benefits the doulas, the health care system, the mother, child and the community as a whole. Including doula services for members of the community who might not be able to afford the services on their own “elevates the importance of this work,” Koehler adds. The Alliance is offering incentives for doulas who join, including 150 percent of the state Medi-Cal fee-forservice rate, and personalized support through all steps of certifying as a Medi-Cal provider, reimbursement and other challenges. The agency is also offering grants to health organizations that recruit doulas, including a $10,000 bonus grant for recruiting bilingual doulas. Baby Bump Pregnant women on Medi-Cal have a new option for support before, during and after delivery. By Pam Marino Cecily Salazar became a doula in 2019 and has helped with around 40 births in Monterey County. She has thought about joining the Medi-Cal network under a new initiative, but isn’t sure she’s ready. NEWS “Healthy mommy, healthy baby.” DANIEL DREIFUSS 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 BREAKTHROUGH Is Inside You! If you are feeling "stuck" or just want more out of life, Breakthrough has the tools to help you create something new now. If you are feeling "stuck" or just want more out of life, Breakthrough has the tools to help you create something new now. The Fulfilling Life You’ve Always Wanted... Is Inside You We’ll Help You Discover It. Life Tools For Men Use this QR code to sign up for a free introductory meeting If you are feeling “stuck” or just want more out of life, Breakthrough has the tools to help you create something new now. www.breakthroughformen.org this weekend fri, sat, sun TRUNK SHOW made in italy special fitting expert sport coats suits dress shirts sports shirts trousers & more… 831-625-8106 • carmel plaza • ocean & junipero • khakisofcarmel.com

www.montereycountyweekly.com MARCH 21-27, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 ZOOM event Wednesday, March 27 7:00 - 8:00 PM Free and open to all MPC Guest Authors Series Darcie Little Badger Join us for an enchanting evening with fantasy novelist Darcie Little Badger. Darcie will read from her new novel and then engage with attendees in a discussion about writing fantasy and Young Adult fiction. More info: www.mpc.edu/ga-march2024

14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 21-27, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Beach Front Very sad this location has closed right at spring break time and nicer weather (“Pacific Grove expects strong interest in space that housed The Grill at Lovers Point,” posted March 11). I hope whomever is selected will preserve the old-fashioned, small town beach feel—and be able to make as good of a burger at a value price. Let’s get it open soon! Sharon Houy | Seaside A sad day for P.G. It was a good spot by the beach, if a bit overpriced. Derek Hanneman | via social media I’m excited to see what happens there. Hopefully something both locals and visitors enjoy. (Like more skinny French fries!) Justin Tyme Noren | via social media Water Front We love going to Cafe Fina. Food and service are amazing and it feels way less touristy [than other locations on Fisherman’s Wharf] (“Some of Monterey’s most admired restaurants are on a strip that some residents avoid,” March 14-20). Katy Annigoni | via social media I think it’s mainly [because of] too many tourists and overpriced food. Local discounts might bring more residents in. Frances Morrow | Pacific Grove Most restaurants have a locals’ menu. Entrees sometimes include chowder or salad and dessert. It’s a touristy area, but excellent food. Old Fisherman’s Grotto has the best chowder and fried calamari. The atmosphere and service are amazing. Ask for the locals’ menu and enjoy gourmet food at a great price! Janet Reyes | via social media Paluca Trattoria is my go-to restaurant on the wharf. Jen Randall | via social media We had clam chowder on Saturday night! Stephanie Johnstone | via social media Water Supply I really appreciate your covering the fight against Cal Am’s greed and the California Public Utility Commission’s continued rubber-stamping (“Peninsula’s water supply drama is now playing out in court,” posted March 13). I am not an activist, just a pissedoff citizen who started paying attention as I watched my water bill double, then triple and beyond. I always heard about corrupt institutions, but the CPUC in multiple ways—anti-solar decisions in favor of PG&E, Cal Am’s desal plant to name two—is blatantly not protecting me, but instead protecting the interests (profits) of the industries it is supposed to be regulating. The legal system has become the average citizen’s only defense against a regulatory entity that has abdicated its responsibilities and is in the governor’s and industry’s pocket. Literally. Berj Amir | Seaside A Deep Hole How could City leaders let it get that far? (“Salinas needs $1.1 billion to repair all of its disintegrating streets,” posted March 7.) Joey Espinoza | via social media Read and Write Bird by Bird, baby! (“Author and activist Anne Lamott reflects on life and literature before her 70th birthday, and a talk in Carmel,” March 7-13.) It is one of Anne Lamott’s books on writing which has always been such a help to me. There is a charming vignette in it recounting an experience her older brother had (p. 19 of the 1994 edition). He had procrastinated on a writing assignment until the evening before it was due. He had to write a report on birds, and was panicking on how he was going to get it done, as so many of us writers are wont to do. Lamott’s father was a writer, and her brother tried to get a solution from his father on how to complete his assignment in time. Their father told Lamott’s brother, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” I can’t tell you how many writing crises that phrase/title has gotten me through. Anne Lamott is the best. C.S. Noel | Carmel Valley I love Anne Lamott! Her words continue to inspire me as I continue writing, about poultry, elephant seals, all the life that parades through my life, now here on California’s beautiful Central Coast. Christine Heinrichs | Cambria Agata Popeda’s story on Anne Lamott was so good—insightful and engaging, a delight to read! Patrice Vecchione | Del Rey Oaks Health Costs As a former employee of MCSIG (Municipalities, Colleges, Schools Insurance Group) for over two decades, I have seen many instances where the MCSIG board touts contracts like the recent Salinas Valley Health in-network hospital agreement as “a win,” but are really a colossal gift of public funds (“A health insurance agreement with Salinas Valley Health is a milestone,” March 7-13). The contracts involve millions of dollars of taxpayer money, may provide some initial cost savings in year one, but then dramatically increase in year two and three, erasing any initial savings from the teaser rates. Providers like Salinas Valley Health are in business to make profits (see CEO’s pay package), not hold down healthcare costs for our local public school and city employees. Neil Hertsch | Seaside Animal Kingdom Rebecca is incredibly knowledgeable and an all-around great human! (“Rebecca Dmytryk is at the forefront of humane solutions to problem animals,” March 7-13.) Miranda Taylor | via social media Peace Time The old Del Monte Hotel is truly iconic and should be preserved, including its out-buildings. That leaves Alternative 1 (“The public comment period is open for NPS’ proposed Naval Innovation Center,” posted March 8). This would be a huge boost for our economy, both in the short-term construction, as well as in the long-term increase in persons working at the facility. More housing will be needed, of course. Walter Wagner | Salinas 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 21-27, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 15 Her grandmother always insisted that education was the key to opportunity, and Rolla Alaydi took the message quite literally. The eldest of six, she was raised in Al Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, and left home to attend a prestigious university in the West Bank. Then she landed a scholarship at the University of Texas at San Antonio to pursue a master’s degree in education. She came to the U.S. in 2001, and learned English while earning her master’s then a PhD, and teaching Arabic to support herself. She got married and had a son, now 13. She moved to Pacific Grove eight years ago for a job teaching Arabic. She built a life here, a world away from her family home, a three-story house in northern Gaza with a lemon tree, a fig tree and her book collection. “I was the luckiest one,” she says. “It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time, because I am the only one here. It is hard.” On Nov. 10, the Israel Defense Forces bombed Alaydi’s hometown, part of Israel’s ongoing response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. Her family’s home (and the fruit trees and books) were demolished. Since then, her four brothers and their wives and children—21 people, all told— have been on the move, fighting for their lives. They send updates periodically, when they can get a charge and a signal. The families have split up, a painful but strategic choice. “This is a decision so if anything happens to them, at least our family will not be erased,” Alaydi says. She is 44; the youngest of their siblings, a sister, died from cancer before the war. The other four brothers are 41-year-old Mamdouh, whose wife and their six children (ages 3-17) are living under a tarp in Rafa. Her 40-year-old brother, Medhat, and his wife and their five children, are in Khan Yunis. Mehat has diabetes and has not had any insulin treatments since October; Alaydi says when she sees his face in a video, the bones are visible. Their youngest brother, 26-year-old Muhamad, has Stage 1 cancer but cannot get treatment. Musbah, 36, was taken into custody by the IDF during their evacuation when they began heading south, and has not been heard from since. His wife, Shireen, and their twin 13-year-olds are in central Gaza; Shireen has had no time to grieve for her own father and brother and his family who were killed in a bombing. As an American citizen, Alaydi is a beacon of hope for the family. “My whole family now sees me as their savior,” Alaydi says. “I am doing what I can.” Doing what she can means working with the Arab American Civil Rights League for pro bono immigration services, submitting I-130 petitions (at a cost of $575 per person, for 21 people) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, hoping to evacuate at least some of her family from Gaza to Egypt to the U.S. Her siblings never intended to follow her to the U.S.—they all have college degrees and established careers in Gaza, with no interest in leaving, but they now find themselves walking hours to get water, and sharing two small eggplants and a piece of bread among an entire family in a daily fight for survival. “It is like going 1,000 years back,” Alaydi says. The immigration applications (“petitions for alien relative”) are something of a test case for Gaza, and there is no guarantee any will be granted. But Alaydi is latching onto what she can, while still sleeping with her smartphone under her pillow, waiting for updates any time. “I am hopeful—and I am scared too,” Alaydi says. “I don’t want to be scared. But the whole world is failing them.” I asked Alaydi what we can do here, while news of the worsening humanitarian crisis continues daily. She is indeed raising money (for the immigration applications, and hopeful future resettlement expenses for her family members, at gofund.me/345a85a3), but she hopes for something different, perhaps harder to achieve but ultimately more world-changing. “I hope people see me and my family as human beings,” she says. She wants people simply to know who her siblings and nieces and nephews are—people with achievements, careers, dreams. Alaydi invokes a Jewish saying from the Talmud, that to save one life is to save the entire world. “If we can do this, at least we are doing something,” she says. “The rain drops will fill the bottle.” Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@mcweekly.com. Lives on the Line A P.G. woman from Gaza fights to save her family, against the odds. By Sara Rubin Adults Only…Government meetings are typically reserved for adults, and not because it’s a requirement, but who under the age of 18 is eager to spend their night listening to the excitement of city ordinances and budget appropriations? Squid attends countless meetings across Monterey County, and they are generally welcoming to all ages. But recent Seaside Planning Commission meetings have been R-rated affairs. In December, the commission revoked the licenses of two massage parlors on Broadway, Sunny Spa and Perfect Spa, after they reportedly violated terms of their agreements, mainly by offering sexual services. Squid’s beak fell open when Squid dug deeper into the Dec. 13 planning commission documents, which included an extremely detailed report by a Seaside Police officer who went undercover seeking special, but prohibited, services as part of an investigation. The report reads like poorly written erotic fiction, such as this line: “She looked at him and gestured with her hands as if she was holding a cylindrical object and moved her hand up and down.” On March 13, the commission agreed to let two new massage businesses move into the empty spots. While Squid is glad to see two fewer vacant storefronts, Squid couldn’t help but squirm as one of the new owners spoke during the meeting, as translated from Mandarin: “I have the confidence to satisfy all the customers.” Squid hopes for a happy ending to this story, and not the kind the previous businesses were offering. Low Bar…Squid oozes around the local bar scene and has seen a belligerent customer or three. So too has Robin Boyd, food and beverage manager at the Monterey Elks Lodge #1285, per court papers filed seeking a restraining order against one very belligerent and even threatening regular. According to Boyd’s account, the man showed up at the Lodge on Feb. 14, a dinner night, meaning no alcohol—news that the customer did not want to hear, escalating an argument with Boyd and suggesting they take it outside. “Having been in this industry for a while, I am accustomed to dealing with belligerent patrons and calling their bluff for wanting to ‘take it outside’ is generally an effective way to deescalate the situation,” Boyd wrote. “However, respondent did not back down.” Monterey PD was called. The customer—who used to come to the bar once or twice a week—started coming daily, ordering water only, and staring Boyd down. That prompted the Elks Lodge to file for a restraining order on March 4, with a hearing in Monterey County Superior Court on March 26. Squid will be curious to see whether the Elks Lodge—full name the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks—gets an official protective order or not. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “I am hopeful— and I am scared too.” Send Squid a tip: squid@mcweekly.com

16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MARCH 21-27, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com World View Time and time again, the United States gets foreign relations with the Arab world totally wrong. By James J. Zogby FORUM One week before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel, President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser was quoted saying: “The war in Yemen is in its 19th month of truce, for now the Iranian attacks against U.S. forces have stopped, our presence in Iraq is stable—I emphasize for now, because all of that can change. The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades. Now challenges remain…but the amount of time that I have to spend on crisis and conflict in the Middle East today compared to any of my predecessors going back to 9/11 is significantly reduced.” Four-and-a-half months later: Israel is pursuing a devastating war against Palestinians in Gaza; Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia and Israel are locked in low-intensity but deadly and ominous cross-border shelling; Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria challenge U.S. forces in the region; and another Iranian ally, the Houthi movement in Yemen, has created havoc by attacking ships in the Red Sea. Needless to say, the White House has shifted from neglecting the Arab world to making it a fulltime concern, one for which they were unprepared. Since the end of the Vietnam War, despite their best efforts, every U.S. president has had the trajectory of their time in office shaped by conflict—and repeated blunders—in the Arab world. In the last half century, the U.S. has sent more weapons, spent more money, committed more troops, lost more lives and expended more political capital in the Arab world than anywhere else, and yet, time and again, it has failed. Beyond the lives, treasure, prestige and trust lost, we never acknowledge these failures, or are simply oblivious to them. Candidates for the presidency never seriously debate U.S. policy in the Middle East. They have never course-corrected our approach toward the region, while the media rarely calls them to account for inadequate policies. We continue to fail and act surprised by our failures. Too many of our policymakers see the Middle East through the lens of Israel exclusively. Time and again, policymakers either proclaim the issue dead or make efforts to sideline it, only to be stunned when Palestine erupts in violence and reasserts its centrality in Arab consciousness. U.S. policymakers have long been confounded by tumultuous “surprises” that should not have been surprises (for example: the 1973 war and oil embargo, Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the birth of Hezbollah, the Intifada, Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, 9/11, Iraqi resistance to our invasion, an emboldened Iran and the Arab Spring). We did not understand the dynamics unfolding across the region. Yet these momentous events shaped the presidencies of those who tried to manage them. We have been down this road too many times and are still being led by policymakers who have failed, have not learned, and seem determined to fail again. James J. Zogby is president of the Washingtonbased Arab American Institute. This story first appeared in The Arab Weekly. OPINION We continue to fail and act surprised by our failures. ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES Stop By To Shop And Find Your Vintage Treasure OVER 100 DEALERS 21,000 SQUARE FEET The Largest Antiques and Collectibles Mall on the Central Coast 471 WAVE STREET MONTEREY (831) 655-0264 P M canneryrowantiquemall.com Open Daily 11am-6pm ’23 Voted Monterey County's Best Antique Shop ♦ 3 Card Poker ♠ Century 21st No Bust Black Jack ♣ Texas Hold’em ♥ Baccarat FULL BAR! BLACKJACK BONUS POINTS PAYS UP TO $20,000 SMALL TOWN BIG PAYOUTS! 1-800-Gambler • Gega-003846, Gega-Gega-003703, Gega-000889 Gega-000891 Gega-002838 The Marina Club Casino ensures the safety and security of all guests and team members at all times, while providing exceptional service. 204 Carmel Ave. Marina 831-384-0925 casinomonterey.com ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ Just minutes from Downtown Monterey Where Monterey Comes To Play