12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 28-april 3, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Milo Costa may have a career in politics in about 15 or 20 years. He approached the Pacific Grove City Council podium on Wednesday, March 20, to deliver a polite and clear message with an added edge of humor. “I would like to point this out,” he said, holding up a homemade poster that read, “One Skatepark Please (and thank you).” He was one of the eight kids who made comments that night in support of a skatepark. Costa noted they cared enough to stay at a city council meeting past 8pm on a school night. A temporary skatepark concept was outlined by Public Works Director Daniel Gho. The idea, following a directive from the City Council to the P.G. Recreation Board in November, was to repurpose an employee parking lot located on 16th Avenue between the P.G. Fire Department and Youth Center into a smooth surface with wooden ramps. It would be in place for three to six months as a trial period. However, the Council’s discussion foreshadowed disappointment—something supporters of the P.G. Skatepark Project have come to expect. City officials had already rejected three other prospective locations, and the intent of a temporary site would be to “result in a consensus as to where the skatepark should be ultimately located,” Gho wrote in a report to council. Mayor Bill Peake along with councilmembers Luke Coletti, Nick Smith and Lori McDonnell, opposed the temporary proposal, saying the $132,896 preliminary quote—excluding maintenance and some additional costs—was not worth a non-permanent solution. Audible boos were heard in the chamber after the 4-2 vote to nix the temporary skatepark, with Joe Ameilio and Chaps Poduri dissenting. Alex White, one of the P.G. Skatepark Project leaders who first brought forward the idea with her two sons in 2022, is frustrated. “We listened to literally everything [the City Council] said,” White says, citing the list of requirements for the location of the latest proposal from the P.G. Parks and Recreation Commission: at least 100 feet from any residence, on an already-paved surface, one-tenth of the cost of the original skatepark proposal, close to resources like the youth center and temporary in nature for the purposes of gauging interest. White admits it will probably take a new City Council with fresh faces to advance a skatepark. Hopefully for supporters of the project, that will be before the time that Costa will be eligible to run for office. Approximately twothirds of Monterey residents are renters, and the engine of the city’s economy is tourism. Yet as rents have consistently trended upward in recent years as the lack of new housing has constrained supply, some renters—including those who work in the city’s tourism industry—have struggled to make ends meet. Addressing that issue was at the heart of a program the Monterey City Council approved on March 19, in a unanimous 4-0 vote (Alan Haffa was absent). Council approved a pilot program to allocate $250,000 toward assisting renters with making payments for rent or deposits, or other associated housing costs. (The funds will come from the current 2023-24 fiscal year’s general fund.) As he introduced the draft regulations, City Manager Hans Uslar emphasized the program is a new one, and that city staff would continue to learn the nuances of implementing it through experience. He urged the council to approve the regulations so that assistance could start going out the door as soon as possible. “Let’s not let perfect get in the way of good,” Uslar told the council. And while the council had some suggestions for potential tweaks in the future, they approved the draft regulations as proposed: Up to $5,000 from the pot could go to renters to help with housing costs, with the potential to get another $3,000 for things like legal or financial consulting fees. Among other things, residents have to provide a valid lease agreement, show a history of making payments and proof of being Monterey resident for at least a year, and prove their household income is below 120 percent of the county median to qualify. The funds will be allocated on a first-come, first serve basis until they run out. Mayor Tyller Williamson thinks it’s a program that will stick. “I see it staying [in place] permanently,” he says. “Even once you get housing developed, that’s not going to be enough to get rid of the shortfall so many in our community are dealing with.” Wipe Out Pacific Grove City Council rejects temporary skatepark, all but killing the idea. By Sloan Campi news Right to Choose Stacy Cross, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, speaks about the organization’s efforts to provide abortion access in light of rollbacks to reproductive freedom in other states. 11:30am-1:30pm Thursday, March 28. Hilton Garden Inn, 1000 Aguajito Road, Monterey. $40/Democratic Women of Monterey County members; $45/ non-members; $25/students. info@ dw-mc.org, dw-mc.org. Where there’s a will Interim, Inc. hosts a webinar about how to take care of loved ones with special needs and create a legacy for them. Hear insights from an estate attorney on steps to take to keep public benefits, administer a trust and understand the role of a fiduciary. 5:30-7pm Thursday, March 28. Virtual event. Free; registration required. 6494522, interiminc.org. Have Hope Carry a beacon of hope for people in crisis by becoming a suicide responder. Suicide Prevention Service of the Central Coast is holding an intensive training and a seven-week training for residents to acquire essential knowledge and skills and to be part of a compassionate community to help those in crisis. If you are in crisis, dial 988 for the suicide lifeline. The intensive training dates are 10am-2pm Monday-Friday, April 1-12 via Zoom. The seven-week training meets from 5:30-8:30pm on Wednesdays, April 17-May 29 via Zoom. Free. Apply online. 423-9444, sp524hr@fsa-cc.org, suicidepreventionservicecc.org. Help Here The Pajaro Assistance Center is open to help residents and business owners apply for support through the County of Monterey’s Unmet Needs Program, which has $10 million total to distribute to those who were affected by winter storms and flooding in Pajaro last year. Hours are 10am-7pm Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 2-7pm Thursdays and Fridays; 10am-2pm Saturdays, until April 27. Bring documentation such as proof of residency. (888) 451-4649 (English), (888) 807-0790 (Spanish), montereycountyworks.com. Rent or Own The Monterey Rental Inventory is open for property owners to register, and city staff are available to help. Drop-in hours are available for assistance with online registration. 1-4pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, until April 18. Monterey Public Library solarium room, 625 Pacific St., Monterey. 242-8740, rentalinventory@monterey. org, monterey.org/rentalinventory. Hands Helping The City of Monterey is moving forward with a pilot program to assist struggling renters. By David Schmalz Alex White spent years organizing and advocating for a skatepark in Pacific Grove. All proposed concepts, most recently in a city parking lot (above), were rejected. e-mail: toolbox@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX “We listened to literally everything [the City Council] said.” Daniel Dreifuss