6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY March 28-April 3, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH If you write a message in a public place, what rights does somebody have to erase that message? That question is part of the basis of a lawsuit filed on March 18 in Monterey County Superior Court by Sara Khalil, Maryam Khalil and Pearl Warrick against Max Steiner. Steiner also faces misdemeanor charges in connection to the Oct. 12 incident, in which he confronted the trio just after they had written “Free Gaza” out of plants on a sand dune widely known as Scribble Hill in Sand City. The criminal case focuses on whether Steiner grabbed and threw a smartphone (he is charged with assault and vandalism), while the civil case focuses on the right to free speech. “All members of our community have the right to peacefully express their opinions and disagree in a manner that enables the vibrant marketplace of ideas,” according to the suit. That Steiner removed the message in an allegedly violent and threatening manner is the basis of the suit, not simply that it was removed. “We stand firmly against the actions that sought to silence these voices through intimidation and physical harm,” said civil rights attorney Jeffrey Wang of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is representing the plaintiffs. Steiner has not yet filed a response in court. Good: It’s a good week for pastry-chefsin-training. Rancho Cielo Youth Campus in Salinas received $1 million in federal funding, making it one of 14 projects in Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s, D-San Jose, district to be awarded through the Congress’ Community Project Funding initiative. The funds will be used to expand Rancho Cielo’s Drummond Culinary Academy with a new 1,200-square-foot pastry kitchen. Rancho Cielo plans to create a social micro-enterprise, giving students real-world experiences in the culinary world and helping them gain entrepreneurship skills. The kitchen will be adjacent to the central kitchen and dining room, including a lab/ classroom, production room, administrative office, storage space and restrooms. “This funding will allow us to offer more specialized training and continue shaping the next generation of culinary professionals,” says Drummond Culinary Academy Executive Chef Estevan Jimenez. GREAT: The City of Salinas will have a new park next year: Ensen Community Park. The six-acre facility at Carr Lake will have picnic areas, playgrounds, courts, a dog park and more. The park concept has been years in the making and construction on the first phase, Ensen Community Park, is set to begin by March 31 and wrap up in 2025. (“Ensen” is an indigenous word that means blackberry. Blackberries were an important fruit in the diet of indigenous peoples who lived in the area that is now Carr Lake.) On March 19, the City and Big Sur Land Trust entered into a memorandum of understanding for the nonprofit to transfer the park to Salinas as each phase is completed. The “ultimate goal” is to turn all 73 acres of Carr Lake into a city park. The second phase includes a 67-acre restoration area. For this project, BSLT has raised more than $27 million in donations; the entire project is expected to cost $40 million. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY Hours of work completed by three Moxi robots in Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in one year. Since the first one was acquired on March 15, 2023, the robots have fulfilled tasks like delivering prescriptions to and from the pharmacy, saving staff time. Source: Montage Health annual meeting 11,000 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “I hate endings like this.” -Monterey County Sheriff Tina Nieto, speaking about the efforts to find missing hiker Caroline Meister in the Ventana Wilderness. 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