april 4-10, 2024 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT Tin Cannery saga continues 8 | big sur access, gone again 12 | Back on stage 36 | nacho hunt 42 These local celebrities don’t care about the fame. After all, they’re cats. p. 16 By Agata Pop˛eda Famous Felines Training Canines (and Humans) p. 18 Yoga with Dogs p. 20 Readers’ Pets p. 22 The Pet Issue FamilyFREE 2024-2025 Published by Best of Monterey Bay® • SummER camp liStingS 2024 • KidS in thE KitchEn • KEEping mEntally Fit • advicE FRom SoccER pRoS cover_family_24.indd 1 3/21/24 3:05 PM Best of Monterey Bay® Family magazine inside

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY arpil 4-10, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com April 4-10, 2024 • ISSUE #1861 • Established in 1988 Steve Zmak (DJI Mavic 2 Pro, Hasselblad camera, 28mm lens, ISO 120, f/2.8, 1/30 sec.) In between storms, a drone shot captures a painting-like sunset over Fort Ord National Monument. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@mcweekly.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: Meet Jack Kerouac, the cat. If you want to pet this dedicated librarian, visit Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur (well, maybe not this week—Highway 1 is closed to the public). Jack likes to hang out on the porch in nice weather. On rainy days, you may have to wait for him for hours. Cover photo: Cat photo by Lauren Lubeck 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 APRIL 4-10, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3 Learn how to plan for a serious illness and end-of-life care. Taking these steps now will reduce stress later and allow your choices to be honored. Join us for this workshop to: y Select the best document to record your wishes y Receive expert medical coaching on the risks and benefits of life support treatments y Update advance planning documents you already have y Submit your documents into your Community Hospital medical record Advance healthcare planning Scan the QR code or visit montagehealth.org/planning to browse upcoming online and in-person workshops. Registration required. Questions? Call (831) 625-4977

4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY APRIL 4-10, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH For years the City of Salinas has shared its meeting agendas online and delivered them electronically to residents who enrolled via email. Technology has grown, and now, our primary source of information is at our fingertips: our smartphones. So city officials took sharing agendas and community events a step further: They now send agendas and upcoming community events to phones via text. “One of our goals is to make sure we are communicating with residents and that they can easily access information,” says Sophia Rome, Salinas’ community relations manager. The text option was added because not everyone is connected to social media nor regularly checks their emails, making it easy to miss updates. Besides meeting agendas, residents can register to receive information for an array of events including festivals, parks, libraries, the Alisal Vibrancy Plan and more. Anyone can register at bit.ly/3PLtilR and choose to receive information via text or email. GOOD: CSU Monterey Bay Athletic Director Kirby Garry was recently recognized on a national level. National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics named Garry as one of the 2023-24 Athletics Directors of the Year. According to a press release, the award highlights the efforts of athletic directors for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities. “I’m thankful to be recognized by my peers,” said Garry, who has worked at CSUMB for 16 years, a decade of that time as athletic director. “I also think it’s a team award for Otter Athletics. It’s a reflection of the support we’ve had and the dedication of our staff. I just happen to be the athletic director.” The 28 winners are chosen from seven collegiate divisions. The awards will be presented June 11 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. GREAT: Hartnell College students in need of groceries and other basic necessities now have a place to go without leaving campus. El Mercado, an on-campus market, launched on Monday, April 1. Developed by the Hartnell College SOUL Center (Office of Basic Needs), the initiative is designed to provide students with free groceries, personal care items and basic necessities throughout the year. Open to all currently enrolled students, El Mercado replicates a traditional grocery store, offering fresh produce, meat, dairy, clothing, childcare items and more. “El Mercado and our SOUL Center symbolize more than just a space—they embody our compassion and collective commitment to ensuring all Hartnell College students have their basic life needs met,” said Mario Flores, Director of Basic Needs at Hartnell College. “This initiative underscores our dedication to fostering an environment where every student can flourish.” GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The amount raised for SPCA Monterey County during A Day of Giving on March 14. The one-day telethon event aired on local television and encouraged viewers to call in with donations. Source: SPCA Monterey County $290,000 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “Hear a full symphony orchestra play the opening to Jurassic Park and imagine being eaten.” -Monterey Symphony President/CEO Nicola Reilly speaking about an upcoming concert on Hollywood themes (see story, page 38). 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

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 4-10, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5

6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY APRIL 4-10, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 When Charlotte Carter imagined what her wedding would be like in the future, she knew she wanted dogs to be a part of it. Specifically, she wanted a nonprofit rescue group to bring adoptable dogs to promote the idea of “adopt don’t shop” to her guests. Fortunately, she fell in love with someone who shared the same passion, so when Carter and Jessie Bucci married in October 2022, Peace of Mind Dog Rescue was on the guest list. “It was such a wonderful experience,” Carter says of including the Pacific Grove-based organization in the wedding. POMDR’s mission is to help senior dogs and senior people on the Central Coast, which many times includes placing dogs whose owners can no longer care for them—or who pass away—in new forever homes. POMDR rescues nearly 400 dogs a year and all of them live temporarily with foster families, according to a spokesperson. Carter and Bucci were so impressed with POMDR, they signed up as foster volunteers after the wedding and began welcoming dogs into their Carmel Valley home in November 2022. Foxy, a 12-year-old chihuahua, was their first foster dog, adopted by a woman in Santa Cruz. They’ve fostered around 10 dogs total—Carter does all the coordination of picking up the foster dogs, Bucci helps with their care. Currently there are 150 active POMDR foster homes. Fostering is a key way that shelters and rescue organizations are able to care for large amounts of animals and improve their chances of adoption. Besides POMDR, SPCA Monterey County has a foster program for all types of animals, as well as Hitchcock Road Animal Services, the joint shelter of the City of Salinas and the County of Monterey, Animal Friends Rescue Project and South County Animal Rescue. By being out in the community rather than in a shelter, animals have a better chance at adoption through foster volunteers sharing news of adoptable pets through their social circles—Carter and Bucci started the Instagram account @montereydogmoms where they post photos and videos of their foster dogs, often playing with their own dog, Maya, a chihuahua mix they rescued in West Hollywood in 2019, before moving to Carmel Valley in 2021. (Their beloved Daisy, another rescue chihuahua, died in December.) There are health benefits for both animal and human through fostering—a 2023 study through the National Institutes of Health refers to longstanding research that companion animals improve cardiovascular and mental health in humans, adding that dogs and cats studied in foster care show improved stress levels and exhibit less behavior issues compared to those living in shelters. “It gives these pets a chance to blossom and become adoptable pets to families,” Carter says. To become a foster volunteer through POMDR, people are asked to fill out an application and be willing to have the foster pets become part of the family while they’re living with them, including sleeping safely inside at night. There is virtual training for volunteers, a manual and ongoing help and support from other experienced volunteers, as well as behavioral experts and veterinarian staff. POMDR provides foster families with supplies like a crate, bed, collar, leash, bowls and flea prevention. All medical expenses are covered. They do ask that volunteers provide food, but it is available on request. Some senior dogs are near the end of their lives, and there are volunteers who will take those dogs into hospice care and give them the best life possible with what time is left. The foster dogs have stayed with Carter and Bucci on average about a month at a time. Is it hard to let the foster dogs go when they find forever homes? “Absolutely. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t,” Carter says. Both Maya and Daisy were “foster fails,” or “foster keepers,” as POMDR refers to them. With Daisy gone, Carter is committed to fostering more dogs in her memory. And as volunteers interact with adoptive families it’s not unheard of to stay in touch and receive updates about dogs in their new homes. Fostering Love One couple fell in love and then into a love of caring for dogs as foster volunteers. By Pam Marino Charlotte Carter, who along with her wife Jessie Bucci, have fostered approximately 10 dogs with Peace of Mind Dog Rescue. “[Fostering] gives these pets a chance to blossom.” TALES FROM THE AREA CODE DANIEL DREIFUSS THE PET ISSUE 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.


8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 4-10, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com news In order to become an Eagle Scout, one of the last things a scout must do is a community service project, and what exactly that may be is largely up to the scout himself. For Nathan Poggemeyer, who grew up in Seaside, it didn’t take much thinking—time he spent at Toro Park in his youth, including overnight camping trips with his scout troop, left a lasting mark. “In a lot of ways, I grew up around Toro,” Poggemeyer says. “I always wanted to give back what I had as a kid.” In part of the time he spent there in his youth, he also worked on a project as a student at the International School of Monterey, a K-8 school in Seaside, where he helped revamp the camping area. It was through doing that, he says, and working with County Parks staff, that he realized a solvable problem: Parks staff was always having to get on visitors about keeping their dogs on leash, but the park also didn’t have a dog park where dogs could be off leash. So he set out to change that, and he did: On March 28, the county hosted a grand opening at the Quail Meadows Dog Park, now officially open to the public. The timing of the event aligned with Poggemeyer’s spring break—he’s currently attending the University of Oregon—but if things hadn’t gone sideways, it would have happened sooner. In the winter of 2023, culverts backed up and forced stormwater runoff to course through the park, which set off a chain of delays. But the park looks pristine now. Poggemeyer built it, with the help of his scout troop, with about $1,600 he raised via GoFundMe, and estimates the total cost was $2,250—the remaining balance was paid by a sponsor, Advanced Restoration. He says it took 432 total man hours to build. Go Fetch Toro Park, a gem of the county parks system, finally has a place for a pooch to run free. By David Schmalz For years, opponents of a proposed luxury resort hotel to replace the American Tin Cannery contended the project was too large and not properly vetted by the City of Pacific Grove. Approval by the P.G. City Council in January 2022 was met with multiple appeals to the California Coastal Commission and a lawsuit. Commission staff agreed, and now, two years later, a somewhat smaller project with greater public access is headed toward a possible decision by commissioners on Thursday, April 11. “We are in full support of the staff’s recommendations for the project,” says Debra Geiler, representing developer Comstock Development. The revised plans drop the building area of the hotel by around 85,000 square feet, from approximately 340,000 square feet to 255,000. The mass is also reduced and provides 25-percent more open space than the previous plan, Geiler says. The original plans called for 225 luxury rooms at market rate. The new plan includes 222 rooms, 18 of which would be no more than $184 per night, according to the Coastal Commission staff report. Sixteen “shared accommodation” rooms were added to the plan, reminiscent of a hostel setup, where families and groups can stay together or singles and couples can reserve individual beds, at a cost of $85 per bed. Geiler says they also created a program that will offer 300 nights a year of no- to low-cost accommodations for groups from underserved communities. The lower-cost rooms came after commission staff determined the city didn’t go far enough in ensuring affordable coastal access, as required by P.G.’s Local Coastal Program, approved by the Coastal Commission in 2019. (The City Council did require Comstock to provide 56 low-cost rooms, but only for select people like teachers and first responders, plus in-lieu fees.) Thom Akeman is a critic of the project and a volunteer harbor seal monitor at the rookery at beaches along Ocean View Boulevard, just across the street from the project. Despite monitoring during construction, he still doubts that the noise created won’t disturb P.G.’s harbor seal population. “We don’t think [the conditions] will work nearly as well as they think they will,” he says. Akeman fears construction noise could drive away the harbor seals permanently, and points to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study from 2022 after city road work noise was considered the likely suspect in 23 miscarriages among harbor seals that year. He estimates 20 percent of the seal colony left and never returned. Geiler says Comstock agreed to abide by the same construction conditions required of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which in recent years has been retrofitting its underwater intake piping system. Another critic of the project, Anthony Ciani, filed a lawsuit in Monterey County Superior Court in February 2022 against the city, alleging violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, the Coastal Act and Local Coastal Program in approving the hotel. That lawsuit was suspended pending the Coastal Commission decision. The California Coastal Commission hearing is set to begin at 9am Thursday, April 11 in Long Beach. A livestream is available at bit.ly/CCCLivestream. The American Tin Cannery in Pacific Grove is mostly empty. Property owner Foursome Development has declined to renew leases due to the pending hotel. Cannery Redux A contentious P.G. luxury hotel proposal goes to the Coastal Commission with changes. By Pam Marino Nathan Poggemeyer celebrates the grand opening of the dog park he built in Toro Park. It was ready in time for Easter, a day that drew an estimated 6,000 people and hundreds of dogs. The revised plans drop the area by 85,000 square feet. Daniel Dreifuss Daniel Dreifuss The Pet Issue

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 4-10, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 JOIN US FOR FREE CONSERVATION WEBINARS Join us for free, interactive workshops in April, presented by Green Gardens Group via Zoom. The Monterey Peninsula is a leader in water conservation. Thank you for your commitment to being water wise! Learn more at: greengardensgroup.com/monterey-peninsula-classes Thursday, April 11 Garden Design 6 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23 Gardening for Shade and Other Landscape Challenges 6 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 4-10, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Two nonprofits working in Monterey County match people who experienced trauma with dogs in need. Soquel-based UnChained teaches youth to train homeless dogs in basic skills and manners. Since 2011, the nonprofit has paired nearly 400 kids with 200 dogs. “Rarely do our kids get asked to help somebody in need,” says Melissa Wolf, founder and board president. “Training, socializing and helping to place these dogs into adoptive homes is an attainable goal that helps our kids believe in their value to their community.” UnChained matches youth ages 11-25 in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties with puppies and dogs, where they work in teams of two with an adult coach. The young trainers have often experienced violence, poverty or addiction. While dog obedience is the task and pet adoption is the goal, Wolf says the benefits reach far deeper. “While training and socializing is extremely beneficial to improving the dogs’ chances for adoption, training dogs is primarily used as a vehicle for our youth to see their own capacity for kindness, compassion, patience, respect and responsibility for themselves and others,” Wolf says. “Dogs give honest feedback.” These meaningful benefits inspired the Veterans Transition Center to build a new program of its own. The Stripes and Paws program is a fresh idea for the 28-year-old organization, which provides housing and resources to veterans to help build self-sufficiency. “It’s very exciting to work toward this goal,” says Mike Stull, chief operating officer at VTC. “We’re combining many things we wish to provide to our veterans [with this initiative].” The program, approved by the VTC board on March 20, envisions veterans providing several pet services to the community. Stull describes a “threephase idea,” eventually providing dog training, grooming and a 16-kennel boarding facility on four acres of VTC’s headquarters in Marina. (They aim to raise $350,000 to construct it.) “Pets can be a major source of comfort for the veteran,” he says. “When we don’t break up that unit, the veteran has a much higher chance of achieving self-sufficiency.” Additional goals include generating revenue for VTC and providing longterm employment for veterans. But Stull also emphasizes the importance of the “canine-human connection.” “Canine therapy is extremely powerful,” he says. “[Dogs can] reduce suicidal tendencies and provide a sense of accomplishment. Both are working to support each other.” Laura Fenwick rides a friend’s horse boarded at Pebble Beach Equestrian Center at least once a week, riding on 27 miles of scenic trails along the shoreline and through Del Monte Forest. She fears the magic of those rides are coming to an end with plans by Pebble Beach Company to close the 100-year-old Equestrian Center by June. “This was one of the last places on the Peninsula you could sign up to go for a trail ride,” Fenwick says. She and a group of other dedicated horse enthusiasts are making a bid to PBC to reverse its decision, or at the very least agree to a compromise that will give equestrians a way to continue the tradition of horseback riding in the coastal area. “We’re sad,” she says. “It’s like taking the golf courses away from the golf people.” Company officials cited decreased income and usage as reasons for the closure, plus a need for $15 million in renovations. The decision is final, according to a spokesperson. Stephen Pellett, who runs his training business at the center, disputes PBC’s account, saying it had a waiting list of 50 people wanting to board who were not let in. He believes there was a way to make the center profitable. Fenwick and others at least want a way for horse owners to bring their horses into Pebble Beach by trailer. Reportedly there are plans in the works for trailers to be parked close to the trail system, which PBC officials have said they will continue to maintain. Since the company’s announcement, at least 25 of the 60 horses have been relocated by their owners. Owners are being offered rent rebates and assistance in relocating. Some horses owned by the company will be rehomed. Employees will have an opportunity to take jobs elsewhere in PBC. An online petition started by Pellett (online at bit. ly/reversePBCdecision) has gathered over 2,500 signatures. Fenwick says they are approaching the Monterey County Planning Commission for help, which approved a 2013 PBC housing plan that included the construction of a new equestrian center. Bark Power Nonprofits celebrating the ‘canine-human connection’ see continued growth. By Caitlin Fillmore news ACCESS for all The California Commission on Disability Access and the Civil Rights Office hold a discussion about access to small businesses. Business owners can learn how to accommodate all customers, including those with disabilities. 2-5pm Thursday, April 11. Virtual or in-person at the County of Monterey Board of Supervisors Chambers, 168 W. Alisal St., Salinas. Free; refreshments provided. (916) 319-9974, ccda@cgs. ca.gov. RENTER INPUT Residents are asked to share their thoughts about rent stabilization and tenant protections as the City of Salinas considers an ordinance. A survey is now available online, and multiple community meetings will follow. Residents can complete the survey online at bit.ly/SalinasTenantSurvey. Free. 758-7381, cityofsalinas.org. BOX ART The City of Seaside is looking for artists to celebrate the city’s 70th birthday by beautifying eight utility boxes with original, all-ages-appropriate artwork. Artists can submit work samples and applications on the city’s website. 5pm Friday, April 12 deadline to apply. Free; selected artists will be awarded $500. Contact Leslie Llantero with questions at Lllantero@ci.seaside. ca.us. 899-6832, ci.seaside.ca.us. ALL RISE Monterey County residents are invited to apply to serve on the Civil Grand Jury for one year. Grand jurors serve as watchdogs over the actions of public officials and will be trained to investigate topics then conduct interviews, research subjects and write reports with recommendations on how to improve government operations. Friday, May 3 is the deadline to apply. Information sessions will follow on Wednesday, May 8 at the Jury Assembly room at the Monterey Courthouse, 1200 Aguajito Road, Monterey; 2pm Thursday, May 9 at the Salinas Courthouse, 240 Church St., Salinas; and 10:30am Friday, May 10 at the King City Courthouse, 250 Franciscan Way, King City. 764-3094, monterey.courts.ca.gov/news/invitation-apply-civil-grand-jury. TIRED TIRES Tire recycling is happening at several locations. You can bring tires to one of three locations to dispose of them properly, for free. Tires accepted until May 19. Salinas Valley Recycles Recycling Center, 1104 Madison Lane, Salinas; Johnson Canyon Landfill, 31400 Johnson Canyon Road, Gonzales; Jolon Road Transfer Station, 5265 Jolon Road, King City. Free. 775-3000, svswa.org. Rough Riders Horse lovers ask Pebble Beach Company to compromise in lieu of closing its equestrian center. By Pam Marino The Stripes and Paws program is run by Wiley’s Wish and VTC at the prison in Soledad, coaching inmates to train rescue dogs that will act as service dogs for veterans. e-mail: toolbox@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX “Dogs give honest feedback.” Daniel Dreifuss The Pet Issue

www.montereycountyweekly.com April 4-10, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 After 90 years of operation, Los Coches Animal Hospital in Soledad closed effective Monday, April 1. Services for its customers and pet patients are continuing at its sister location, Romie Lane Pet Hospital, in Salinas. The closest veterinary options for Soledad residents are now either Salinas or King City, exacerbating an existing issue. “It was hard to get urgent care for our pets,” says Monica Andrade, a Soledad resident who has two dogs, three cats, a turtle and two goldfish. “We pretty much had to rely on services outside the city.” Los Coches had been in Soledad since 1959 and survived ownership changes, but didn’t survive a nationwide veterinarian shortage. “We have been recruiting for a full-time DVM for a few years now with no luck,” says Erin Askew, hospital manager at Los Coches. (Askew will move to Romie Lane, which is expanding its hours to 7am-6:30pm.) The recruitment challenge is not unique to Los Coches. Brynie Kaplan Dau, the veterinarian at Pacific Grove Animal Hospital, says she’s seeking a second veterinarian to join her practice. “It is really hard to find doctors,” she says. She adds that the cost of living makes it harder to hire from outside the area. Dau specializes in exotic and small pets. She has nearly 2,000 clients, averaging two or three pets each. “It’s a pretty big practice for just one doctor,” Dau says. The wait time to book a wellness exam is about one to two weeks. There is a shortage across all veterinarian specializations in the U.S. According to a 2022 analysis by Mars Veterinary Health Research, 55,000 additional vets for pets and small animals will be needed by 2030. The Los Coches closure will have more impacts on South County than just added pressure on veterinary practices and longer drive times. It also served as a temporary shelter for stray animals. “The Soledad Police Department is working on a temporary shelter so that animals don’t have to come up to us [on Highway 68 near Salinas] if they’re able to rehome them or find their owners quickly,” says Beth Brookhouser of SPCA Monterey County. Shelters are also affected by the veterinarian shortage. San Francisco SPCA conducted a statewide survey in 2023 and found that over 344,000 animals in California didn’t have adequate access to veterinary care. “Shelters are becoming overcrowded, illness is rising, and adoptable animals are being euthanized,” the report states. The local SPCA has three veterinarians, and the joint County of Monterey/ City of Salinas shelter, Hitchcock Road Animal Services, has one; it is currently seeking to fill a part-time position. The Hitchcock Road shelter receives about 4,000 animals annually. Currently, it is at 113 percent of capacity for dogs (with 74) and at 18 percent capacity for cats (with nine). SPCA will increase its mobile clinic services in Soledad for spay/neuter procedures, “in solidarity with Los Coches closed,” Brookhouser adds. “But we know this does leave a hole for the community, and it’s very sad.” Pet Rescue Los Coches Animal Hospital closes in Soledad, leaving fewer health options for pet owners. By Celia Jiménez A kitty at the SPCA Monterey County. The kitten population at local shelters is expected to increase seasonally starting in springtime. NEWS “This does leave a hole for the community, and it’s very sad.” DANIEL DREIFUSS THE PET ISSUE *APY =annual percentage yield. To earn 8.33% APY on the first $10,000 of balance for any monthly statement cycle, you must make at least 25 debit card purchases, have logged into MCU online banking at least once during the 90 days preceding the end of the statement cycle, and be enrolled in e-statements. 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12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 4-10, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com The same geologic forces that make the Big Sur coastline an attraction—the steep cliffs, the plunging river valleys, the vast ocean to the west—make it a terrible place for a highway. And yet Highway 1 through this dramatic landscape, at the edge of the continent, is a leading attraction for California visitors. It’s also the only artery that connects residents and workers in Big Sur to places with amenities generally described as “civilization” (the Monterey Peninsula to the north, San Simeon to the south). And Highway 1, like the unstable cliffs it is built on, is subject to geological forces. Those forces mean the highway in Big Sur is now closed at four points, the most recent being a slip-out just south of Rocky Creek Bridge that occurred on Saturday, March 30. A chunk of pavement and the stone wall next to it collapsed—along with the earth underneath them—down the cliff to the ocean below. “The Big Sur coast is understood to be a geologically active area,” says Caltrans spokesperson Kevin Drabinski. “That has certainly been the case since the highway opened in the 1930s. You have a combination of steep cliffs leading down to the ocean, and steep cliffs leading up to the Santa Lucia Mountains. It poses a challenge for maintaining the roadway. Rain makes the dirt heavier and lubricated, and it wants to find the lowest level. That is one of the reasons we predictably see slide activity on the Big Sur coast.” Three slides on the South Coast—at Dolan Point, Regent’s Slide and Paul’s Slide, a point that has been closed to traffic since Jan. 8, 2023—mean no access to Big Sur from San Luis Obispo County. The Rocky Creek slide means no access to and from points north, with a road closure at Palo Colorado Road. An estimated 1,600 visitors were south of that closure when the road slipped out. Luckily for them, as well as residents, Caltrans engineers monitored the slip-out overnight, and determined it was stable enough to allow vehicles to continue to travel in the northbound (inland) lane. Convoys for local traffic only, with a Caltrans or CHP vehicle leading the way, began twice daily on Sunday, March 31 and have continued since. (Rain in the forecast for Thursday-Friday, April 4-5 means convoy travel on those dates is canceled, with ongoing monitoring.) But in the roughly 20 hours in between the closure and the good news that limited traffic could continue to travel on that stretch of highway, the Big Sur community incident command group convened, comparing notes to the Monterey County Department of Emergency Management’s official incident command team. The community group includes Big Sur Fire Chief Matt Harris, Big Sur Chamber of Commerce President (and Nepenthe manager) Kirk Gafill, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) leader Martha Karstens, Big Sur Health Center Executive Director Sharen Carey and Patte Kronlund, executive director of the Community Association of Big Sur (CABS). “It was hallelujah when Caltrans notified us there would be convoys,” Kronlund says. “Now our resources weren’t going to be depleted—we could get folks out. There were people who needed medications, or needed to get to cancer treatment this week.” And Big Sur leaders know what it’s like to be fully stranded on an “island” without even guided convoy access twice daily, at 8am and 4pm. Kronlund and Gafill each readily tick off a list of closure or access disasters in the past eight years: the Soberanes Fire in 2016, the Pfeiffer Bridge undermined in a slide in 2017 (creating an island effect), the pandemic from 2020-21, Paul’s Slide and other impacts of winter storms in 2023, followed by the Dolan and Regent’s slides in 2024, now Rocky Creek to the north. Nacimiento-Fergusson Road to the east has been closed since the atmospheric rivers of January 2023. “These things get more tiresome each time, but you try to keep your spirits up and rely on past lessons learned,” Gafill says. Primarily those lessons concern information flow and communication, striving to convey to residents and businesses the most accurate information possible. “We try to make sure everyone knows what is going on,” Gafill says. Sometimes that includes unknowns. Caltrans is hopeful about installing a traffic signal, for instance, allowing 24-hour access in the northbound lane to and from Big Sur at the slip-out to the north—but rain this week could change things, and there is no timeline yet provided. Meanwhile, springtime usually corresponds to the start of tourism season, when Big Sur’s workforce earns the bulk of its income for the year. At Nepenthe, there are currently 113 active employees; only about 15 have been working since the road closure on March 30, on things like maintenance and landscaping that are not directly visitor-serving. If the closure goes on, Gafill hopes to put another handful of employees to work on projects like refinishing furniture, but most of the workforce will have to file for unemployment. (For 26 employees who live on the property, Nepenthe can also be a patient and understanding landlord.) “For us, duration is everything. The longer this goes on, the more impactful it will be for the business community and employees, in terms of loss of income,” Gafill says. Road Rage Highway 1 slides and slip-outs have again closed off public access to Big Sur from all sides. By Sara Rubin news Above and below: Drone views of the section of Highway 1 that collapsed, along with the earth underneath it, on Saturday, March 30. Caltrans officials say a combination of rain (from above) and heavy swells and high tides (impacting the cliff below) led the area to slip out. “It poses a challenge for maintaining the roadway.” Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 4-10, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 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 www.monterey.courts.ca.gov/general-information/grand-jury (831) 775-5400 Extension 3014 The 2024–2025 Civil Grand Jury Needs You! 2024 Informational session AND INTERVIEWS TO BE HELD AT THESE LOCATIONS EMERGENCY FOOD AND SHELTER GRANTS AVAILABLE Funds are available for 501(c)3 nonprofits, faith based, and government organizations that provide emergency food, shelter, rental assistance and other eligible expenses. The Monterey County Emergency Food and Shelter program has been awarded $320,785. This grant is made possible by the Emergency Food and Shelter Program Phase 41. Requests for applications are due by April 19th at 5:00 p.m. Applications may be obtained from the United Way Monterey County website at https://www.unitedwaymcca.org/efs-grants Eligible organizations can contact: Josh Madfis, Vice President, Community Investments, at (831) 318-1996 with any questions. United Way fights for the financial stability of people throughout Monterey County. 232 Monterey St. Suite 200, Salinas www.unitedwaymcca.org 831.479.6000 or toll-free at 888.4BAYFED, ext. 304 www.bayfed.com/HomeLoans Your Home Loan Partners Our professional consultants are here to walk you through every step of the home lending process. Contact us today! 1524 N. Main Street | Salinas Federally Insured by NCUA | Equal Housing Lender

14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 4-10, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com That’s Politics David Schmalz has it completely wrong on the “halcyon days of professional, cordial lawmaking and oversight on both sides of the aisle” that were supposedly the good old days of American democracy and global peace before Donald Trump came along (“Leon Panetta speaks on world leadership in a time when democracy is under attack,” posted March 29). Here’s a brief list of bipartisan causes that leaders like Secretary Panetta and others of his generation joined hands across party lines to support: the invasion of Iraq, the Patriot Act, a drone warfare program that has extrajudicially executed thousands including American citizens without due process, a 20-year war in Afghanistan that ended with power returned to the Taliban, the oversight of prisons at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and now the war in Ukraine. On these issues there was very little daylight between the Republican and Democratic parties, and all were said to be in furtherance of democracy. If “democracies are under threat,” as Schmalz argues, Americans should identify moments where the parties are in lockstep for forever-war, pause and ask hard questions. What is with all this neocon, warmongering shit lately in the Weekly? Reid Norris | Carmel Valley How amazingly brave you are and how you reflect everything in my being! Everything gets so tangled up with the lies and strategies that are being used to promote individual agendas that don’t promote common good, decency, respect and democracy for us all. Thank you. Fran Muir | Monterey I found your article on Panetta’s speech and your decision to call out Trump to be superb. I applaud your courage to put it out there so clearly and passionately. Craig Mills | Philadelphia (formerly Seaside) I am curious why you chose to put Donald Trump’s name into this discussion when Leon Panetta left it out for a reason. The war between Biden and Trump is causing a distraction from the Evil lurking in the dark. As far as politics, I don’t want to be on one side or the other. There is good and bad on both sides. It has caused Americans to turn on each other, and that is never good. You are right about one thing, politics has become a soap opera that is starting to look rehearsed and staged. I’m beginning to doubt that any of it is true. It has been proven that the event on Jan 6. was in no way an “insurrection.” Now you yourself just called it an “insurrection.” Why is that? I don’t blame you for wanting to make your story interesting but the truth would be so much more interesting, as well as what the American people long to hear. Mr. Panetta would probably appreciate that as well. Norma Ray | Salinas Thank you once again, David, for speaking up. This time about the threat that Donald Trump poses to democracy and how few people are willing to address this. The people in Gaza and Ukraine and the USA are suffering because of Trump controlling the GOP still. I know young Americans are disillusioned by all politicians, but I hope that we can persuade enough of the millennials and Gen X to vote for the best candidate to keep democracy safe: Biden. He may not be their first choice, but it is important to not give Trump any votes. Jana Young | Marina Schoolhouse Rocked Thank you also for a terrific story about the culture of silence at Carmel High School (“After years of failures to address sexual misconduct, Carmel Unified School District tries to reset amid leadership turnover,” March 28-April 3). That was top-notch reporting and analysis, and beautifully written. Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts | Carmel Fantastic article. Thank you for covering CUSD. You attended or listened to countless meetings. Your time and attention to the issues and bringing them to light is most appreciated. Thanks for your persistence and dedication. I especially appreciate your balanced coverage. It wasn’t just a hit piece. There are good people and there are comparative positive test scores. Hopefully, now that matters are more out in the open, the issues will be addressed, students and staff will be in a safe environment. Appreciate your investigative, thorough reporting. Joseph Hertlein | Carmel Valley Land Transfer This is a wonderful treasure (“Rana Creek Ranch—a vast, majestic property in Carmel Valley—is slated to become a recreational treasure,” March 28-April 3). Every effort should be made to ensure the visiting public does not unintentionally cause harm. Adequate boardwalks, visitor information areas, etc. need to be developed. Walter Wagner | Salinas mixed use, mixed opinions Yay! More unaffordable housing! (“A complete makeover of a New Monterey building brings five new housing units,” posted March 30.) Heather O’Donnell | Salinas They should be making affordable housing for the hospitality industry! Those people are the bread and butter of the Monterey Peninsula. Rachelle Davi- Razzeca | via social media Weed Money By our estimate, licensed cannabis operators have invested over $1 billion in the county (“Growers hope to repeal 2018 tax on cannabis businesses,” March 7-13). This includes rebuilding abandoned greenhouses and warehouses, installing fencing and security systems, fire suppression systems, buying forklifts and cargo vans, soil and fertilizers and more. Over $70 million has been collected by the County in cultivation tax—plus sales taxes, property taxes, employment taxes, building permits. Time for the special fire tax to go! Please support this measure to give much-needed relief to our emerging green industry who have invested so much to operate here. Chris McGrowin | Salinas Note: McGrowin is CEO of GrowBIGogh, Inc. 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 april 4-10, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 15 Sunday night, March 31, was quiet in Big Sur. A slip-out on Highway 1 at Rocky Creek Bridge had closed the rural community’s access to the Monterey Peninsula the day before. By Sunday morning, Caltrans engineers determined it was safe to allow convoys to come and go. That meant stranded tourists had a way to get home, no rescue helicopters required. It meant Big Sur residents could get to town to get groceries and fuel, to drop off trash, see a doctor. It also meant people on the outside world couldn’t get in— proof of residency is required to enter the closed area. And at the Big Sur Taphouse, locals were celebrating that. “Yeah, it’s just us, all the visitors are gone! Then comes a moment of being somber—wait, no visitors, no work,” says Patte Kronlund, recounting the gathering secondhand. “It’s a balance. We need both.” Kronlund is executive director of the Community Association of Big Sur, one of many local organizations that are involved not just in immediate disaster response but in longer-term planning. How to balance the region’s dependence on tourism with its very real impacts is a longstanding challenge. And ongoing updates to the Big Sur Coast Land Use Plan provide a venue for CABS and others to weigh in on that balance. The amendment process has been underway for 10 years, now under the purview of County planning commissioners Martha Diehl and Kate Daniels (also supervisor-elect) to update a plan first adopted in 1986. “It’s a document that has lived the test of time, but things have changed,” Kronlund says. “Glamping, yurts, short-term rentals, cell phones.” To some residents, those newfangled things threaten Big Sur’s very existence. On March 25, an attorney representing the group Keep Big Sur Wild sent a letter to the Monterey County Planning Commission asking for a moratorium on new visitor-serving units. Keep Big Sur Wild is just one entity in a long list to submit comments lately—some want bans on short-term rentals, others weighed in against prescribed burns. (Once the Planning Commission is ready to recommend a plan, it will go to the Board of Supervisors for adoption, then the California Coastal Commission.) But Keep Big Sur Wild also sent out a press release announcing, “Area residents ask Planning Commission to protect treasured international destination from irreversible impacts.” Note the unintended irony: It is a “treasured international destination” only because international visitors can visit, and there are accommodations to serve them. Of course there is tension between wanting a place to be pristine—or, more often, the way it was when you first arrived there—and modern amenities. For instance: the existence of Highway 1, a remarkable feat of engineering (and an extraordinary cost to all of us taxpayers to maintain—not as a private driveway, but for public access). “The existence of the Big Sur community, with very few exceptions, is entirely reliant on visitation by the public,” says Kirk Gafill, president of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce. The highway closure shows the duality in relief. There is peace, but no work. The draft Land Use Plan aims to do some big things. Specifically, it “hopes to achieve a balance between ensuring the survivability of the Big Sur community and its neighborhoods and the Coastal Act’s emphasis on other public benefits.” Even that premise has drawn criticism. One resident wrote on Feb. 14: “We survive well on our own as we always have, please redact this fearbased rhetoric.” The draft plan amendments are intended to help Big Sur survive— to preserve the relative peace and wildness, and also the ability of regular people to work and commute and live there, while addressing specific modern issues like drones (landings prohibited), public restrooms (placements recommended) and emergency helicopter guidelines (a permanent helicopter pad is prohibited, to protect wildlife and the region’s “wild character”). But the plan itself exists just on paper. The lived experience, the “survivability” of a community, comes only from the people who live and work there. Shunning visitors is not a productive or realistic place to start, at least not since Highway 1 opened in 1937. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@mcweekly.com. Highway 1, Revisited Can Big Sur strike a delicate balance between tourism and locals? Sara Rubin Free Reign…Squid attends far more public meetings than most landlubbing humans, and one thing Squid’s learned over the years is to always pay attention to the consent agenda. Public agencies in California must post an agenda for a meeting 72 hours in advance, which includes everything the agency’s board will discuss and vote on. At the top is the consent agenda, where all the items—could be one, could be 30—are passed by a single vote in one fell swoop with no discussion (unless somebody requests a discussion). The idea is efficiency for approving items deemed to be routine and non-controversial. But sometimes things on the consent agenda are not routine. For example, Squid is curious to see what happens when the Seaside City Council considers amending a contract for Don Freeman, the former city attorney, in his capacity as a special counsel for the city. The city hired Freeman in June 2022 as a special counsel for services that would be capped at $24,000, and on Thursday, April 4, City Council is set to consider a proposed amendment to that contract (on the consent agenda) to remove that cap. Freeman is billing the city at a rate of $375 an hour, which adds up quick. Close to two years in (and an unknown number of billable hours, though Squid’s colleague is asking for invoices) there are a flurry of closed-session special meetings to talk about both litigation and personnel matters. Squid’s cephalopod-sense is tingling indeed. Happening in Soledad…They say it takes a tough skin to be in politics, which makes Squid think it isn’t for cephalopods. Maybe the same goes for members of Soledad City Council, where Squid has watched the political factions change faster than a cephalopod’s skin can change color. The old 3-2 was replaced with a new 3-2 dynamic, and then there was a second resignation leaving council in a 3-1 configuration. Councilmember Maria Corralejo may feel lonely without her former allies, Alejandro Chavez and Ben Jimenez Jr., who have both recently resigned (Chavez because he moved, Jimenez to spend more time with his family). But not as lonely as the council chambers in Soledad City Hall felt on Wednesday, March 20. They had to cancel the meeting due to a lack of a quorum, with Corralejo and Jimenez (who hadn’t yet resigned) both absent. Fernando Ansaldo won a seat on council in the March 5 primary election to replace Chavez, but he wasn’t scheduled to be sworn in until April 3 (after the Weekly’s print deadline). The big question for Squid was whether enough current councilmembers—there are only three, Corralejo plus Ansaldo supporters Fernando Cabrera and Mayor Anna Velazquez— will show up to oversee his swearing-in. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “We survive well on our own as we always have.” Send Squid a tip: squid@mcweekly.com