april 11-17, 2024 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT salinas considers rent stabilization 11 | A rabbi’s journey 30 | surf and turf and tacos 32 Local kelp forests have been disappearing in the past decade. Is there any hope to bring them back? p. 16 By David Schmalz Sea Change

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY arpil 11-17, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com April 11-17, 2024 • ISSUE #1862 • Established in 1988 Karen Loutzenheiser (iPhone 12) Echium, also known as Pride of Madeira, blooms in purple-blue hues illuminated by early-morning sun in Pebble Beach. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@mcweekly.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: A kelp forest off Monastery Beach in Carmel, as seen in 2020. Healthy kelp forests are home to a variety of fish species, invertebrates and marine mammals, as well as a beautiful destination for ocean recreation. Cover photo: Patrick Webster 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 11-17, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3 831.479.6000 • www.bayfed.com • 888.4BAYFED Federally Insured by NCUA | Equal Housing Lender 3.30% APY* 3-month Certificate 3.82% APY* 6-month Certificate 4.13% APY* 12-month Certificate Short-Term Goals, Long-Term Gain! *Annual Percentage Yield (APY). APY is effective as of April 1, 2024. $1,000 minimum deposit required to open and maintain Certificate account. APY assumes the dividends are reinvested and remain in the account for the full term. Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Certificates are eligible for this offer. Penalty for early withdrawal. Bay Federal Credit Union membership required. This offer is subject to change without notice. Other terms and conditions may apply. For more information, visit any Bay Federal Credit Union branch or contact us. Visit a Branch Today! 1524 N. Main Street | Salinas 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

4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY APRIL 11-17, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH When someone makes a request for a record, a public agency is required to make a concerted search for it under the California Public Records Act. In an October 2023 decision in City of Gilroy v. Superior Court, the Sixth District Court of Appeal determined that lower courts can only decide whether an agency unlawfully withheld specific records, with no further penalty. That case centered around whether the city violated the CPRA when it declined to release body camera footage of police officers conducting sweeps of homeless encampments. In a December letter to the California Supreme Court, the First Amendment Coalition argued that the court incorrectly decided that the CPRA prevents courts from issuing any remedy beyond ordering disclosure of records. Without consequences to hold them accountable, such a decision will make it easy for agencies to “sabotage the CPRA with impunity by ignoring their search obligations,” FAC stated in the letter. “To allow the ruling to stand would threaten to make a mockery of the CPRA’s founding premise: ‘Openness in government is essential to the functioning of a democracy.’” The California Supreme Court recently agreed to review the case. Good: Sun Street Centers’ dream of more than 20 years is coming true. The organization that offers addiction treatment and recovery services broke ground on its new recovery center in Salinas on April 4. The center will serve men, women, teens and families suffering with chronic addiction and mental illness. The nonprofit projects it will serve 300 people a year at the center and 40 men and women a year in sober living transitional housing apartments. It will be built at 284 and 286 Calle Cebu, next door to Sun Street’s current residential treatment program, with an expected late 2025 opening date. The estimated $4.4 million cost is being funded through grants and donations. “We are thrilled to take this momentous step forward to addressing the challenges of substance abuse in our community,” Anna Foglia, CEO of Sun Street Centers, said in a press release. GREAT: Over 4,000 prospective students and their families signed up for Admitted Otter Day at CSU Monterey Bay, which took place on Saturday, April 6. The turnout represents a 30-percent increase over last year, according to the university. The day was a chance for high school seniors who had been admitted to CSUMB but not yet committed to see what life is like on the university campus. It included tours, demonstration classes, information on clubs and organizations, and even an Otter Athletics women’s water polo game. Current students, alumni, faculty and staff were available for questions and there were workshops on financial aid and the career center in both English and Spanish. Ben Corpus, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, told attendees that 80 percent of all California counties were represented that day, along with nine states. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The number of animals spayed and neutered in Monterey County in 2023 by the SNIP Bus. The mobile clinic focuses on communities that have historically lacked easy access to such services. Source: Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez’s office 5,426 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “Our kids need protections… not dereliction of duty.” -Yanely Martinez of Safe Ag Safe Schools, speaking about a lawsuit filed against county and state agencies over pesticide use near North County schools (see story, mcweekly. com). 17th ANNUAL WOMEN’S FUND LUNCHEON Friday, May 17, 2024 11 A.M. REGISTRATION & NETWORKING – 12-1:30 P.M. PROGRAM A CONVERSATION WITH Morgane McNally Resident Director Merrill Wealth Management, The BMRB Group The Power and Progress of Women TICKETS: give.cfmco.org/WomensFund2024 Mistress of Ceremonies, Erin Clark News Anchor, KSBW Action News 8 Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel And Spa PLEASE JOIN US! $75 per person Sponsor a table of 10 for $1,000 Additional Levels Available PRESENTING SPONSOR Purchase tickets online by May 10, 2024 Questions? 831.375.9712 x110 or events@cfmco.org

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 11-17, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 Salinas Valley Health Orthopedics | 611 Abbott Street, Suite 101, Salinas | 831-757-3041 Call today for more information or to schedule an appointment. GENERATIONS OF HEALING John Bonano, MD, with mother Amy Bonano, RN SalinasValleyHealth.com/ortho John Bonano, MD was raised in Salinas and attended Palma School. He was a three-sport athlete and valedictorian of his class. He continued his athletic pursuits at the University of Arizona, where he was the starting field goal kicker on the football team. Attending medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Bonano completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at Stanford University, followed by an adult reconstruction surgery fellowship at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He joins us at Salinas Valley Health Orthopedics as an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacement surgery. Dr. Bonano is accepting new patients. Certified for Joint Replacement (Hip & Knee) I credit my mom for inspiring me to become a doctor... I’m excited and grateful to return home to the Salinas Valley to help serve patients in this community. — John Bonano, MD “ QUALITY HEALTHCARE DELIVERED LOCALLY FOR EVERYONE Accepting New Patients

XX MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY APRIL 11-17, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 Each morning, Anthony Catania arranges cards in a showcase at his little shop in Pacific Grove. The colors are vivid and the names they carry are legendary. Dizzy Dean, Ralph Kiner, Al Kaline and others stare back, looking out of the cards from past to present. “I put a lot of the big boys out so kids can see Jackie Robinson and Mickey Mantle,” he explains. “The 1956 Topps Ted Williams is my personal favorite.” But each day another set of eyes watches over Catania and his selection of sports cards and memorabilia. They belong to another Anthony—unseen, yet always present for the owner of Sharp Corners Cards and Collectibles. In the fall of 2022, Catania’s wife was pregnant with the couple’s second child. A checkup revealed that the unborn boy had a serious heart condition. They flew to a specialist in Houston to seek a solution, then traveled to another at Stanford. Little Anthony was born March 24, 2023, welcomed to the world by immediate heart surgery. Two days later, on March 26 during a second procedure, the infant died. Catania had worked in produce sales, glass installation and as a hotel manager. On the trip to Houston, worried about the future and what might become of the child, the couple managed to get through a late dinner at the hotel. During the meal, Catania told his wife he wanted to open a sports card shop—something he could share with his son. “He lives through the store,” Catania says on a Tuesday morning, the oneyear anniversary of the boy’s death. He honors Anthony by giving young customers a free mystery pack of cards on the 24th and 26th. “It’s one gesture,” Catania adds. “That’s what keeps the hobby alive—the kids.” The market worth of cards representing modern players are like stocks, climbing or dropping depending upon how well the athlete performed that day. While soaring prices may bring the promise of big ticket sales to dealers, Catania worries that speculation by adult collectors in it for the value will drive young people away. Sharp Corners stocks vintage and current cards—baseball, football, hockey and more. Catania is a San Francisco 49ers and football fan first, but appreciates all sports, as well as the associated cards. Mostly he enjoys watching children as they open a new pack. “They get excited—‘This is my favorite player,’” he says. “When I was a kid, I was the same way.” While the shop features a selection of mint condition cards from the 1930s through the 1960s, Catania distinguishes himself from other dealers and collectors. He pulls a rough Mickey Mantle card from a case. Its corners are frayed and a patch has been torn from the back. “To your eyes it’s a damaged card,” he says, speaking of the high-end hobbyists. “To mine it tells a story. The kid was playing with this card. Maybe he had it tacked above his bed.” What means more to Catania are the memories customers share. They talk about the joy of watching Stan Musial or Sandy Koufax play, the tragedy of returning home from college to find their mother had tossed out their collections and more. As a result, he says, “Sports means more to me now than when I was a kid.” And the shop means everything. Sharp Corners had been a Monterey fixture when it was owned by Royce Turpin—“He’s a living legend in the card world,” Catania points out. After his son passed, he purchased some of Turpin’s stock and began renovating a tiny storefront in Pacific Grove, with his wife, daughter and father pitching in. “It kept my mind busy, helped us look forward to something,” he says. “It was healing.” Catania recalls receiving the first shipment of new cards as he was getting ready to unlock the doors in August of 2023. “I opened my first box and thought, ‘Wow, this is real,’” he says. “It was emotional. This shop saved myself and saved my family.” And it also shares with young customers the memory of an infant boy. Sharp Corners Cards and Collectibles, 205 Cypress Ave., Pacific Grove. 521-5264, sharpcornerscardsandcollectibles.com. Card Stock A little sports card shop in Pacific Grove is also a saving grace for its owner. By Dave Faries Sharp Corners Cards and Collectibles owner Anthony Catania says everyone has their own way to collect sports cards. “There is no right way to collect cards—there isn’t,” he says. “You do your collection the way you want to do it.” “Sports mean more to me now than when I was a kid.” TALES FROM THE AREA CODE DANIEL DREIFUSS

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 11-17, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 Dr. Brynie Kaplan Dau, MS, DVM Compassionate Care with exCeptional mediCine. 1023 Austin Avenue, Pacific Grove • 831-318-0306 www.pacificgroveanimalhospital.com VOTED MONTEREY COUNTY’S BEST VETERINARIAN THREE YEARS IN A ROW! ’23 ’22 ’21 SURGERY DERMATOLOGY FELINE & CANINE MEDICINE PET BOARDING PREVENTATIVE CARE REGENERATIVE MEDICINE PRP (PLATELET-RICH PLASMA) LASER THERAPY EXOTICS AND MUCH MORE We are here for you. All day. All night. Estamos aquí para ti. Todo el día. Toda la noche. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s isn’t always easy. Cuidar a alguien con Alzheimer no siempre es fácil. 24/7 HELPLINE 800.272.3900 | alz.org 24/7 LÍNEA DE AYUDA 800.272.3900 | alz.org/español

8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 11-17, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com news The City of Marina is known for its coastal access, diverse community and an array of international food options, but it’s missing a well-defined downtown area. For decades, city officials have been working on a downtown specific plan hoping to change that. The last attempt started in 2017 and stalled because of Covid-19. Now that plan is advancing, and an environmental impact report opened on April 9 for public review, with a comment period until May 24. (Mayor Bruce Delgado says residents often provide input on projects after approval, “but by then, there’s really no going back.” He’s hopeful about engagement on this.) The 320-acre downtown area includes Reservation Road and Del Monte Boulevard, two arterial roads to get in and out of Marina. Many stores, restaurants and parking lots are in strip-mall configuration. Both streets are “a suburban environment incompatible with a traditional downtown,” the plan states. The plan calls for roundabouts and a reduction from four lanes to two on Del Monte, and evaluating whether that’s feasible on Reservation, to create “more inviting streetscapes.” The vision is to provide a walkable downtown where people can gather. It includes wider sidewalks, mixed-use buildings, higher-density housing (building taller, to three or four stories, could add 2,904 housing units in its core), and buildings instead of parking lots at the front edge of lots. It also calls for extending Del Monte to 2nd Street and connecting The Dunes neighborhood to downtown. City Councilmember Kathy Biala notes the city is growing, and it has to adapt—Marina is no longer a “slow-growth, small town,” she says. Sense of Place Marina’s downtown plan envisions changes in density, traffic flow and landscaping. By Celia Jiménez On Feb. 28, a Wednesday, the Seaside City Council held a special meeting in closed session to discuss three things: potential litigation (three matters) and performance evaluations of both City Manager Jaime Fontes and City Attorney Sheri Damon. The first minute or so of the meeting was streamed online from the conference room at Seaside City Hall, and seated at the table were members of the City Council, Fontes and Damon, City Clerk Dominique Davis and former city attorney Don Freeman, who long served in that role for both Seaside and Carmel. While a closed-session meeting like this is not entirely out of the ordinary, events in City Hall in the six weeks since have been anything but, including follow-up performance reviews of the city’s two top staffers, Fontes and Damon who, documents show, are at odds about personnel matters. The city entered into a contract with Freeman in June 2022 to act as a special counsel for the city at an amount capped at $24,000. During discussion of the matter on April 4, Councilmember Alex Miller asked Damon about the approximately $63,000 the city paid to the law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo, which was to help Freeman conduct investigations of city personnel. Miller was wondering why that contract never went out to bid, which Miller believed to be the legally appropriate course of action. Damon told Miller that a clause in Freeman’s contract gave him license to hire outside legal counsel irrespective of the cost cap. (The council approved an amendment to Freeman’s contract 4-1, with Miller dissenting.) Also on the April 4 agenda were closed-session discussions regarding the performance of both Fontes and Damon, although Fontes missed the meeting due to testing positive for Covid, so council tabled his review. That came two weeks after Fontes sent an email on March 21 to all councilmembers alleging that Damon, in recent months, had “shown a complete disregard” for city code and the Brown Act. “Instead of protecting the city from liability, Ms. Damon’s actions have invited liability” with respect to the ongoing personnel investigations of city staff, he wrote. Fontes wrote that only the city manager is vested with the power to authorize personnel investigations. Before that, on March 4, an attorney representing Finance Director Victor Damiani sent Damon a letter that stated Damiani “is concerned about potential retaliation from you” because “[he] provided direct testimony against you in a 2023 investigation of you.” It also expressed that Damiani was concerned about “unauthorized payment of outside counsel services.” On Feb. 27, Project Manager Adolfo Gonzalez sent an email to then-HR director Sandra Floyd outlining a host of complaints regarding the ongoing investigations, and also indicated he’s retained legal counsel. Floyd forwarded that email to Mayor Ian Oglesby, adding, “The volume of complaints and the severity I am receiving are astonishing.” Floyd, who Fontes hired in June 2023, resigned; her last day was March 1. Other employees that Fontes hired have resigned as well— Carolyn Burke, assistant public works director, had her last day with the city April 5. On April 9, Damiani gave notice—his last day will be May 3. Jaime Fontes became Seaside’s city manager in July 2022. At the time, he said in a statement, “Only by acting in unison can we deliver [quality services for residents].” Palace Intrigue Investigations of some Seaside city staff continue. Resignations, meanwhile, are piling up. By David Schmalz Marina City Councilmember Kathy Biala, shown at Reservation Road and Del Monte, is thinking long-term: “It could take 30 to 50 years before a downtown is like the vision that you set out to do.” “The volume of complaints…are astonishing.” Daniel Dreifuss Daniel Dreifuss


10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 11-17, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com There is one brass ring in California housing right now, the coveted certification of eight-year housing plans of cities and counties by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Once grasped, jurisdictions are free from possible fines and penalties for being late to finish their plans, known as housing elements. Only three of 12 cities in the county have achieved certification, which means the rest, plus the County of Monterey, are left vulnerable to consequences. Salinas was the first city to both approve its housing element ahead of a Dec. 15, 2023, deadline and be found in “substantial compliance” by HCD on Feb. 8. Seaside was next, approving its element in March and getting a nod from HCD on March 27. Carmel joined their ranks on Monday, April 8, after a pair of contentious special meetings of the Planning Commission and City Council. Despite protests by some residents, the council passed the city’s housing element 4-1, Councilmember Alissandra Dramov voting no. The vote came just one week before an April 15 deadline—the end of a 120-day grace period past the original December deadline—that, had they missed it, would have put the town in danger of penalties. It also could have left Carmel vulnerable to what’s known as “builder’s remedy,” from the Housing Accountability Act of 1990, that allows developers to build projects if a city or county does not have a certified housing element, as long as they include 20 percent low-income units. It could mean forcing a multi-unit development in the small town despite zoning that limits the number of units. “For me what was important, as a representative of the residents of this town, I needed to protect this city,” said Carmel Councilmember Bobby Richards. “[The builder’s remedy] scares me. It would be a real game changer in our downtown area if any developer wanted to come in and do a low-income or affordable housing program.” Carmel residents who packed the council chambers urged their representatives to vote against approval of their housing element, angry that the state was requiring them to add 349 units, 287 in the extremely-low to low-income categories and over the inclusion of city-owned parking lots as sites to consider for low-income housing. They were told that the state, attempting to fix the shortage of affordable housing, wasn’t playing around. Asked by one planning commissioner if the state was using builder’s remedy as a “threat,” Community Planning and Building Director Brandon Swanson replied, “If it’s a threat, it’s not an idle one.” The remaining nine cities in Monterey County without certification—Del Rey Oaks, Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Sand City and Soledad—are waiting for HCD to complete reviews of their draft housing elements, sometimes after a second round of revisions required by HCD staff. While they won’t make it before the end of the grace period, they may not face state fines or penalties, as long as they are working in good faith to finish their housing elements, says YIMBY Law’s executive director, Sonja Trauss. So far it appears the state is reserving punishment for cities and counties that take too long to complete, or refuse to comply outright. In addition, developers are less likely to pursue builder’s remedy projects if they are nearing certification, choosing to instead wait until jurisdictions have updated zoning. Standing alone in the mix is the County of Monterey, which has yet to complete a draft element to send to HCD in Sacramento. The first draft is expected to be released and available for public review in May, followed by a 30-day public review period, with opportunities for public comment, according to a spokesperson. HCD then has 90 days to review the draft. On March 28, a preliminary builder’s remedy application was submitted by a Monterey architect to construct 41 market-rate townhomes and apartments and 11 low-income townhomes and apartments at 24945 Valley Way, just over the Carmel border in an unincorporated area of the county. It’s the site of the former Carmel Convalescent Hospital, and the first location of the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. The proposal seeks to demolish non-historic buildings on the property and replace them with 52 units, leaving the historic hospital, built in 1930, intact. It’s been sitting empty for at least 10 years, since the convalescent hospital closed down. The site has vested water rights, a plus on the Monterey Peninsula. A proposed law, Assembly Bill 1893, authored by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, seeks to modernize builder’s remedy and provide more guidance to developers, cities and counties, making it easier to use. It would provide standards for upzoning parcels in “high-resource areas” (Carmel is considered one), and would make it easier for smaller projects to be approved, by reducing the affordability requirement from 20 percent to 10 percent. The goal is to provide more infill and “missing middle” projects, relatively small multifamily projects like duplexes and townhomes. The next challenge for cities will be rezoning on state deadlines, to incorporate increased housing units. House Poor County of Monterey and most cities failed to meet state deadline for housing plans. By Pam Marino news History on Tap The inaugural History on Tap panel features Chelsea Tu, executive director of Monterey Waterkeeper and a scholar of Pacific Grove’s Chinese fishing village, and Theodore Gonzalves, curator of Asian Pacific American history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, who will discuss the history of local and state Chinese-American communities. 5:30-7:30pm Thursday, April 11. Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, 165 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove. $20; $25/at the door; $15/museum members; free/ students with ID. 648-5716, pgmuseum.org/lectures. Road Diet The County of Monterey and California Department of Transportation are planning changes to Salinas Road in Pajaro. Officials share project details including bike lanes, reducing lanes from four to two and speed feedback signs. 6-8pm Thursday, April 11. Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 100 Salinas Road, Pajaro. Free. 796-3009, sanchezj9@co.monterey.ca.us. Slow Drip The Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency hosts a series of public workshops on water use and management in the region, with a focus on future supply and efficiency. 9am-1pm Fridays starting April 12 at North County Recreation and Park District, 11261 Crane St., Castroville. April 19 at Sherwood Hall, 940 N. Main St., Salinas. May 3 at Greenfield City Hall, 599 El Camino Real, Greenfield. May 10 at King City Recreation Center, 401 Division St., King City. May 11 at Hartnell College (Steinbeck Hall), 411 Central Ave., Salinas. Free. clerk@svbgsa.org, svbgsa.org. Growing Business El Pájaro Community Development Corporation and the Regional Women’s Business Center present Día del Empresario Latino, a day of workshops for entrepreneurs and established business owners presented in Spanish. Entrepreneurs from Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties are welcome to attend. 8:30am-4pm Sunday, April 14. CSUMB Salinas City Center, 1 Main St., Salinas. $35/in advance; $45/day of. 7221224, elpajarocdc.org. Get a Job Monterey County retailers and others take part in a youth job fair to present summer opportunities. Open to job seekers ages 16 years and older, attendees of the fair are advised to bring their resumes. 11am-2:30pm and 4-6pm Wednesday, May 8. Northridge Mall, center court near Starbucks, 472 Northridge Drive, Salinas. Free. montereycountyworks. com/events/youth-job-fair. The Carmel Planning Commission met in a special session to consider the city’s updated housing element on April 8. They voted 3-2 to recommend City Council approve it. e-mail: toolbox@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX “If it’s a threat, it’s not an idle one.” Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountyweekly.com April 11-17, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 Signs announcing “housing is a human right” and “rent is too high,” along with demands for rent control and stories of evictions, have become commonplace at Salinas City Council meetings. Residents speak in English, Spanish and Mexican indigenous languages, sharing their experiences of living in one of the most expensive cities in the country. On March 26, City Hall was packed during a Housing and Land Use Committee meeting, where officials discussed the Rent Stabilization and Tenant Protection report. “The purpose of this is to make sure that people remain housed and to make sure that people who are living in sick living conditions fully understand their rights, and that they have greater protection under the law from abuse in the housing market,” Councilmember Anthony Rocha says. For nearly two hours, people for and against a local tenant protection and rent stabilization ordinance voiced support or disapproval, with many citing the lack of available housing units. (Salinas hasn’t seen a large residential development in over 20 years.) Kevin Dayton of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce asked if the city was really doing its part to increase the housing stock. “Maybe the desire instead to do rent stabilization is an easier way to do it,” he said, adding that if the city implements a local ordinance, it could motivate landlords to take their properties off the market. Genesis Mujica, a youth organizer with the Center for Community Advocacy, said she sees families struggling every day to make ends meet. “These are the people who feed our table,” Mujica said, “yet they are squished in one room with their five kids. And yes, that is very unfortunate, but this is something that we could fix in the next few years.” Since October, Salinas officials have been developing a prospective ordinance that would limit annual rent increases and protect tenants from evictions without just cause. The state has implemented various laws, including the Tenant Protection Act in 2020, which created statewide protections against excessive rent increases and requires “just cause” for tenant eviction. Several laws have also gone into effect to speed up the process for housing projects. According to the Labor Market Information Division of the Employment Development Department, in 2023 the annual salary for farmworkers in Monterey County was $32,741, while the current median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,950 (22 percent above the national median, according to Zillow). City officials are now conducting a survey and will hold community meetings for input. A draft ordinance shows it could, for example, require a landlord to pay a greater amount of relocation assistance beyond what state law requires; cap rental rate increases (with the option for a landlord to petition for a higher increase); and more. The ordinance is still in its early stages and is expected to return to the council this summer. Rent Bill Salinas is working on an ordinance that would control rent increases and protect tenants from evictions without cause. By Celia Jiménez Members of the public spoke to Salinas City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 20, advocating for rent control. Local groups such as Center for Community Advocacy have mobilized residents. NEWS “They are squished in one room with their five kids.” CELIA JIMÉNEZ Try Us First. We Pay The Highest! MONTEREY COIN SHOPPE Since 1970 same street for 40 years Open Mon-Thur 11am-4pm and Friday by appointment only. Call for an appointment: 831.646.9030 449 Alvarado St., Monterey www.montereycoinshoppe.com WE BUY GOLD AND SILVER, JEWELRY, COINS, DIAMONDS, WATCHES, ART & RARE ANTIQUES

12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 11-17, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com School Daze We should all be deeply troubled by your recent article exposing the culture of denial and silence within Carmel Unified School District regarding years of failure to address sexual misconduct (“After years of failures to address sexual misconduct, Carmel Unified School District tries to reset amid leadership turnover,” March 28-April 3). The trauma inflicted upon young women due to the disregard from district staff and leadership is heartbreaking. CUSD has unquestionably failed its students, parents, employees and the community at large. The lack of accountability and transparency surrounding the departure of former superintendent Ted Knight, along with his significant payout of $770,000, raises serious questions about the motives behind such decisions. The involvement of boardmembers Sara Hinds, Karl Pallastrini and Jason Remynse in approving this settlement begs the question of their suitability for their positions. Perhaps it is time for these members to consider resigning and allow the community to begin healing. Frances Dillard | Carmel Rental Lottery ​This pilot program raises questions about just how seriously elected officials are taking the housing crisis in our community (“The City of Monterey is moving forward with a pilot program to assist struggling renters,” March 28-April 3). The article states two-thirds of Monterey residents rent their homes, meaning there are tens of thousands of renters in the city. What fair and equitable selection process will the program use to choose the 50 or so lucky individuals who’ll receive a $5,000 subsidy? Second, if this pilot program were to be adopted at scale, wouldn’t it worsen the housing crisis? Government subsidy of a product with inelastic supply (like Monterey housing) increases prices in the long run. It’s disappointing to see politicians focused on what is popular and easy (throwing a little bit of taxpayer money at a massive problem) rather than the hard and crucial work of building new housing. Reid Norris | Carmel Valley Road Work Everyone that lives down here knows the importance of tourism to Big Sur and its economy. It’s just that many of us feel that Highway 1 may ultimately be non-sustainable with the projected growth of visitation in the future (“Can Big Sur strike a delicate balance between tourism and locals?” April 4-10). Estimates show it has basically doubled from 3 million to 6 million visitors in the past 25 years. Drive down on a busy weekend in the summer and imagine what Big Sur and its scenic highway would look like if visitation doubles again in 25 years. The Big Sur Land Use Plan limits destination commercial and residential development so as many people can enjoy access to the highway for recreational scenic driving, the primary activity for visitors. Sara Rubin is right that most places don’t stay as “pristine” as when you first arrive. But the Land Use Plan’s policies, if protected, are to keep Big Sur from changing and for it to stay pristine! Marcus Foster | Big Sur The author has it wrong. The issue is commercialization vs. nature. Has this author never seen Big Sur on any weekend? The Big Sur Land Use Plan was created to keep the Big Sur coast from being commercialized like so many other places. Over the years traffic has increased, and small quaint cabins have been bought up by out-of-state conglomerates who turn those cabins into luxury resorts. All of this has created a loss of campsites and affordable cabins for the average person. Keep Big Sur Wild seeks to preserve the natural beauty of Big Sur for ALL and for perpetuity. The Big Sur Land Use Plan needs to be enforced, not amended. Allowing expanded commercial development of the coast ruins its natural beauty, urbanizes its wild character and displaces the public. Keep Big Sur Wild is asking the County for a “hold” on new proposed luxury glamping and other proposed visitor-serving units until definitions about what constitutes a campsite versus a room are clarified. The concern is with affordability and commercialization. This is about money vs. nature, not local vs. visitors. Sharon Petrosino | Big Sur Cop to It Thank you for your excellent story on the lack of safety for personnel and the public at the Carmel police station (“Carmel’s police station is falling apart,” posted April 2). The citizens need to understand it’s a public resource that serves them, regardless of their opinion toward policing. So many times no one wants to fund a project until a tragedy occurs. That station is a disaster waiting to happen at best, and multiple lawsuits at worst. It’s not only officers who work in that building but records clerks, animal services, support staff, all toiling away in an antiquated dilapidated unsafe structure. It’s been that way for years. Hopefully your piece will shine light on this problem. Barb Patchin | Marina build up This is a huge improvement, that building was an eyesore for decades (“A complete makeover of a New Monterey building brings five new housing units,” posted March 30). Now this, with the other revitalization in the area, will make Lighthouse much nicer for all. Eric Gates | Marina Ugh, no charm at all! Colleen Green | via social media In The Chocolate Factory Monterey Peninsula College’s Theatre Arts chair, Todd Siff, picked a winner in presenting Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka as MPC’s first mainstage production since 2019. It is a blast, energizing both performers and audience! (“MPC’s Morgan Stock Stage is finally back in action, and its first production back is a big one,” April 4-10.) Scoop up a kid or just bring along your inner child and don’t miss this inspired renaissance of our beloved MPC Theatre. It shows until April 21. Roberta Myers | Montere 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 11-17, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 Most of the Gonzales High School art and yearbook students who visited the Monterey Museum of Art on Tuesday, April 9, had never before set foot in the museum. But Executive Director Corey Madden had a clear message to share with them: “We really want you to feel at home and comfortable in the museum.” That was perhaps made easier thanks to the reliability of photographer Joe Ramos, who was raised in the Harden Labor Camp south of Soledad. He studied photojournalism at Hartnell College, then got into fine art photography as a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. The exhibit of his black-and-white photographs now showing at MMA features faces and places of significance to him over the past 56 years. It was fitting that yearbook students joined him, given the scrapbook-like nature of this collection. There’s the Martinez family from his youth, notable for their garden in an otherwise muted labor camp. There’s a Salinas Valley lettuce field during the strike in 1971 (“I was probably out there with my parents,” GHS art teacher Jesús Velásquez says). There are portraits of Ramos’ own family—his Filipino father and Mexican mother and their relatives, Ramos’ son and his Black wife and their children. “We are all mixed,” Ramos said. The name of the exhibit is Mixed Up—Connected. It’s part of a series of exhibits now on display at MMA, this one until April 21. The series, taken together, is an immersion in farmworker life and Latino culture and heritage. Upstairs, photographs by Dorothea Lange document the humanity of people during the Dust Bowl, with unspoken suffering communicated through their eyes, as well as ramshackle homes and vehicles beside them. Ramos’ work is perhaps the most approachable—family portraits are as relatable as it gets— but the tone echoes Madden’s sentiment: This is your home, too. That is explicit in the gallery next door, where Seeing Chicanx: The Durón Family Collection is on display until April 21. This is the first-ever museum collection to display a significant portion of the family art collection of Armando and Mary Salinas Durón of Montebello in Southern California. The Duróns are not artists— he is a court commissioner, she works for the FDIC. In 1981, they began acquiring artwork by Chicano artists, with a big vision in mind. “I decided, as a Chicano, I needed to be engaged in the acquiring of our people’s patrimony,” Armando Durón says. “I realized that the only thing that lasts of any people is their art. That’s how we know the Greeks, the Mayans, a lot of peoples. What survives and who collects that and who interprets that is very important in how a people are perceived.” The Duróns have since amassed nearly 700 works of art in different mediums and more than 3,000 pieces of ephemera— invitations to art shows, brochures and the like. They change what’s displayed on the walls of their home roughly every two years, with a lot in storage at any given time. There are 92 works on display at MMA, and those works give a sense of the depth and breadth of “Chicano art”—it is as varied as the people who conceive of and create it, in both message and style. The Duróns set out to establish a narrative and show what Chicano art could be and what it could look like, from a Chicano perspective. Of course, this narrative is already part of the art world. The fourth exhibit of the season, on display until April 14, is titled Harvesting California: From the WPA Era to the Present, featuring works from MMA’s permanent collection featuring farms and farmworkers. As Weekly staff writer Agata Popeda has written, the collective effect is to reveal the connection between art and agriculture. And back on Ramos’ student tour, that link becomes obvious. A striking landscape shows a view of the Gabilan Mountains, farmworkers in the foreground, perhaps thinning lettuce. Another farm landscape includes chemical tanks. “At first I was kind of upset the tanks are there, but that’s part of the scene in the Salinas Valley now,” he said. Ramos turned his childhood home into fine art. Right nearby at Gonzales High School, he and MMA staff recently led a fine art photography workshop (using smartphones), capped by the museum tour. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@mcweekly.com. Art of the People Monterey Museum of Art exhibits invite us to rethink who art is by and for. By Sara Rubin Blame game…In Squid years, it’s practically half a lifetime ago that Salinas City Council voted in October to fire former city manager Steve Carrigan. They’ve since awarded a contract to a new incoming city manager, René Mendez. Meanwhile, San Bernardino in Southern California hired a new city manager, Charles Montoya, formerly of Watsonville. What do these things have to do with each other? According to a claim Carrigan filed last Nov. 28 against the City of San Bernardino, everything. He was a finalist there for the position, and he contends it was only an illegal leak that made that into public information—and that because of his leak, Salinas fired him (he claims San Bernardino owes him $731, 250 for the remaining two-plus years that were on his Salinas contract). He also alleges the leak cost him the job in San Bernardino, specifically based on his race (white), and that it was strategically meant to motivate the public to oppose his hiring “because Carrigan is not the correct, favored race (Black).” Yikes. Carrigan pegs damages to his future employment prospects and reputation at $1.5 million. These old grievances resurfaced because on April 3, San Bernardino City Council discussed Carrigan’s claim in a closed-session meeting and voted 4-2 to release portions of a city investigation into Carrigan’s claim. Squid’s colleague has requested that investigation, and Squid is waiting with shrimp-flavored popcorn within a tentacle’s reach to see how the next chapter in this drama unfolds. STOP and GO…Squid drove the jalopy down Highway 68 to the Monterey Peninsula on Tuesday, April 2, admiring the sunshine and the light traffic. But Squid’s mood quickly changed when traffic sputtered to a stop at the intersection with Highway 218. Turns out, Squid hit the tail end of traffic caused by major roadwork on Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey—about six miles away. Work began on Monday, April 1 to reconstruct areas of the road during the daytime. Pick nearly any other day outside of tourist season, and such roadwork probably would’ve caused only a minor inconvenience. But it’s been anything but normal on the roadways recently, which prompted Monterey City Manager Hans Uslar to issue an apology via YouTube video the next day. Uslar said the combination of Highway 1 closed in Big Sur, coupled with extended spring breakers, exacerbated traffic. Numerous side streets were also clogged, turning the Monterey Peninsula into a traffic nightmare typically seen in Los Angeles. The next day, city officials announced work would shift to night for the week of April 8-12. Squid expects the City of Monterey will now hear a different type of complaint, since the work is within earshot of Pacific Grove. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “The only thing that lasts of any people is their art.” Send Squid a tip: squid@mcweekly.com

14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY APRIL 11-17, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com All Bets are Off Sports betting is good for generating cash, but it’s bad for what makes sports special. By Dave Zirin FORUM Gambling is not just essential to the economy of sports and sports media; it has, in essence, become the economy of sports and sports media. Faced with an aging and fragmenting television audience, the sports world turned to partnering with legal gambling operations to fill its coffers. From a dollars-and-cents perspective, this has been wildly successful, and the revenue just keeps growing. But in the process, sports executives ushered a fox into the henhouse. It’s not a growing addiction among fans that concerns and threatens the corner office. It’s the scandals of the athletes themselves. In the past month, players have allegedly used inside information to place bets, allegedly fixed individual and team outcomes and damaged the credibility of their sports. These stories, once incredibly rare, now come out with the regularity of a metronome. One recent scandal involves Ippei Mizuhara, the former translator for the greatest baseball player on Earth, Shohei Ohtani. Mizuhara was caught betting $4.5 million with an illegal bookie operation that was raided in California. But Ohtani’s name was found on the betting slips. Mizuhara initially said that this was because Ohtani was helping him pay off his debts. But Ohtani says that Mizuhara stole the money from his accounts and that he was shocked—shocked!—to find that gambling was going on. People are skeptical of Ohtani’s account and wonder whose bets Mizuhara was really placing. No matter the truth of the story, it has tarnished Ohtani’s reputation and brought the outcomes of games into doubt. Then, as we were still getting our heads around the Ohtani scandal, Cleveland Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff came forward to say that he has been threatened by people betting on games. AllStar Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton said he feels like a gambling “prop” and, “To half the world, I’m just helping them make money on DraftKings or whatever.” Pro athletes are some of the most competitive people; they have disposable income and they are— like the rest of us—on their phones constantly. This will keep happening. It’s easy to “game a bet” since you are not just betting on wins or losses. You can bet upon the performances of individual players, which is far easier to manipulate. The media has normalized the hyper-focus on gambling. Big-time, award-winning broadcasters talk betting lines with the relish with which they used to talk about touchdowns and slam dunks. ESPN’s Rece Davis, after one gambling segment, said, “You know what? Some would call this wagering, gambling; the way you’ve sold this, I think what it is, is a risk-free investment.” How are we supposed to trust investigative sports media to examine the corrosive effects of gambling on the sports world when its economic lifeblood depends upon more bets? The thing that sports has over other forms of entertainment is the undetermined outcome. If people start to believe that the situation is rigged, they will turn away. Dave Zirin is the sports editor at The Nation, where this story first appeared. He is the author of 11 books on the politics of sports. OPINION Sports executives ushered a fox into the henhouse. MONTEREY’S PREMIER GERMAN CAR SPECIALISTS 249 DELA VINA AVE. MONTEREY 831.373.5355 CCREPAIRMONTEREY.COM R E P A I R CAN YOU SOLVE THE MYSTERY BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT? Follow the rabbit. Rob the bank. Travel through time to save the world....and many more. A 60 minute adventure, 9 rooms to choose from each with a different theme. Great for birthdays or special events. Kid friendly. All locations surrounded by great local restaurants. 3 MONTEREY LOCATIONS 765 Wave St, Ste A2 • 599 Lighthouse Ave and Oscar’s Playground 685 Cannery Row (Third Floor) 831.241.6616 BOOK TODAY! Escaperoom831.com Oscar’s Playground Voted Monterey County’s Best New Business ’23 VIDEO game ARCADE game repairs and mods used games and more ARCADE SHOP 2 PLAYER 398 FOAM ST. STE A, MONTEREY SAT/SUN 12-9 W-F 2-9 (831)324-0669 2playerarcade.com 2playerarcade