april 25-May 1, 2024 montereycountyweekly.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT diocese flirts with bankruptcy 14 | redefining liquor licenses 16 | missing, not forgotten 32 Decades after regulations and rulebreakers plunged pinball into darkness, the game is experiencing a renaissance. By Erik Chalhoub p. 20

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3 INSIDER SQUID SAYS: SUPPORT LOCAL & INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM Join your neighbors and become an INSIDER HOW TO JOIN Go online at insider.montereycountyweekly.com Or by mail: 668 Williams Ave., Seaside, CA 93955 Your contribution level: $500 $150 $50 $20 $15 $10 Other $________ Contribution schedule: Monthly (dollar match special) Annual One-time Name_________________________________________________________________________ Address_ ______________________________________________________________________ City, State_ ____________________________________________________________________ Email_ __________________________________ Phone________________________________ May we include your name in public acknowledgements? Yes How would you like your name to appear?__________________________________________ No, I would prefer to be anonymous Payment: Credit card number_ ____________________________________________________________ Expiration date __________________________CVV code_ _____________________________ Name/Billing address (if different from above)_ _____________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ In the media landscape of today, the Weekly and NOW rely on reader support to fulfill our mission. We’re thrilled that 3,641 readers have already supported us with financial contributions. Thank you. These are your friends and neighbors, and you can join them by scanning the QR code below. This is a group that has earned the moniker Weekly Insiders. We’d like you to consider joining them and help us grow this community. Weekly Insiders are a collection of people recognizing the value of local journalism and choosing to help underwrite the costs. If you become a Weekly Insider before the end of April, your first month’s contribution will be matched, dollar for dollar. But wait, there’s more: If you join before the end of April at the $15-per-month level (or above!) we’ll send you a stylish “Totally Locally” Squid reusable shopping bag with our sincere appreciation. DOLLAR MATCH SPECIAL Sign up as a monthly supporter by April 30 and your first month’s donation will be matched dollar for dollar.

4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY arpil 25-may 1, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com April 25-may 1, 2024 • ISSUE #1864 • Established in 1988 Elizabeth Slay (iPhone 15 Pro Max) A clowder of kittens from Monterey County’s Hitchcock Road Animal Shelter. Currently in the foster program, they are still too young to leave their mother, but they’ll be coming up for adoption to loving homes soon. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@mcweekly.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: Lucy Cachux plays in a weekend-long pinball tournament at Lynn’s Arcade in Seaside. The pinball arcade has quickly become the hub for a growing community of gamers in Monterey County and beyond. Cover photo: Daniel Dreifuss 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 25-MAY 1, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 FOR GIVING YOUR TIME. FOR SHARING YOUR TALENTS. FOR YOUR COMPASSION AND COMMITMENT. Our incredible volunteers at Salinas Valley Health make a difference every day in the lives of our staff, patients and community. To them, we express our heartfelt gratitude. Learn how you can get involved at SalinasValleyHealth.com/Volunteer or by calling 831-755-0772. CELEBRATE NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK | APRIL 21-27, 2024

6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH It’s no secret that local newsrooms are shuttering across the state and country at an alarming rate, causing misinformation to run rampant, especially in an election year. Lawmakers have been drafting legislation to help save local news, including Sen. Steven Glazer, D-Orinda, who is expected to soon introduce a bill that would tax tech giants who barter with users’ data for free access to their services. The funds from the fee would then go to newsrooms on a sliding scale, weighted in favor of smaller organizations. “It’s a smart and exciting approach, and similar concepts have been used around the world to fund important public services like schools and infrastructure,” said Brandi Rivera, vice president of Association of Alternative Newsmedia. The fee is expected to only be assessed against tech behemoths such as Meta and Google, which have been working to silence local news organizations as legislation such as the California Journalism Preservation Act—a bill that would require them to share profits with media outlets—works its way through the process. Good: Making sure every child in Monterey County succeeds in school and beyond is the noble goal of Bright Futures Education Partnership, an initiative founded in 2015 by CSU Monterey Bay. On April 10, Hartnell College announced it will be the new home for the program, organized around the goals of preparing children for school, early reading, critical thinking, youth development, college and career readiness and career pathways. CSUMB, which served as the anchor organization until July 2023, will continue as a partner, along with Monterey Peninsula College, Bright Beginnings, First 5 Monterey County, Monterey County Office of Education, Salinas Union High School District, United Way Monterey County and Monterey Bay Economic Partnership. “Taking on Bright Futures aligns with our commitment to ensuring that every student in our region can achieve their potential,” said Michael Gutierrez, Hartnell’s superintendent/president. GREAT: Low-income residents can now get a free box of fruit and vegetables at the Seaside Certified Farmers Market every Thursday. An initiative of Everyone’s Harvest and Farms Together, the boxes of produce, which are estimated to be a $27.50 value, will be offered on a firstcome, first-served basis from 3-7pm at Laguna Grande Park in Seaside. Those eligible must show proof of income, such as a CalFresh EBT card or Medi-Cal card, to receive the produce. Boxes will be distributed at Everyone’s Harvest’s information table through October; participants are encouraged to add their names to a list for quicker pickup. Farms Together works with small- to mid-scale family farmers throughout California and coordinates with organizations such as Everyone’s Harvest to bring farm boxes to distribution sites. The program is funded by the USDA Local Food Purchasing Assistance Program, helping get fresh, local produce to more local people. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The number of drug-related overdose deaths in Monterey County in the first half of 2023, which is the most recent data available. It is already well above the 88 recorded in all of 2022. Narcan dispensers have been installed at the Monterey Transit Plaza, Monterey Police Department and Monterey Outreach and Navigation Center to help reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. Source: California Department of Public Health 109 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “The vibe this year is upbeat and positive despite the economy.” -D.L. Byron of Bike Hugger, speaking about the thousands of people who descended upon Laguna Seca Recreation Area for the Life Time Sea Otter Classic from April 18-21 (see story, mcweekly.com). FOR MORE INFO + REGISTRATION MONTEREY.ORG/REC (831) 646-3866 SCAN ME! REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! THE CITY OF MONTEREY BEST SUMMER EVER! CAMP QUIEN SABE OVERNIGHT CAMP WHISPERING PINES DAY CAMP TINY TOTS SUMMER CAMP SPORTS CAMPS SPECIALTY CAMPS LEGO, GYMNASTICS, WOODWORKING AND MUCH MORE!

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 831.479.6000 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 Mantener La Basura Fuera Keep Trash Out! Food Scraps Las sobras Recycle Reciclar 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 25-May 1, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 Alma Del Mar is part refillery store, where people can buy their everyday home products in bulk, filling reusable containers with laundry detergent or shampoo. There is also a line of handcrafted soap, made on the premises, called Wild. This line has been around for 20 years, longer than the store itself, which opened two years ago. The brand was created by Wild Thyme Botanicals, a small woman-owned business. Dionne Ybarra, owner of Alma Del Mar, says Andrea Smith, the previous owner, was retiring and looking for someone to take over her business. Soon after, Alma Del Mar bought the brand. “She wanted to pass it to another woman soap-maker,” Ybarra says. For Ybarra, it was important to keep the soap-making business alive. “The idea of making a product that was better for us by not using a lot of chemicals was important to me,” Ybarra shares. She notes minorities are not at the forefront in the beauty product industry: “We’re not represented in that field very often.” That aligns with Ybarra’s other passion—teaching young people to surf in the nonprofit The Wahine Project, which seeks to make everyone feel comfortable in the water, whoever they are. Ybarra didn’t have any soap-making experience, but Smith taught her every step of the way. Another change, besides shortening the line’s name, was moving away from palm oil. “We wanted a more sustainable oil,” Ybarra says. Most soaps are made with coconut oil; other base oils they use are olive and sunflower oil. “We’re going to spend more money, but it’s way better for us and better for the planet,” Ybarra says. Alma Del Mar is envisioned as an environmentally friendly store, which is how it aligns with The Wahine Project mission. The nonprofit’s headquarters are there, and it serves as a place for Wahine program participants to gather, buy surf gear and refillable or locally made soap. That mix-and-match approach applies to soapmaking itself. “The fun thing about making soap and bath bombs is that it’s a lot like cooking,” Ybarra says. Tools include blenders, thermometers, molds and spatulas. “It’s basically learning recipes and understanding how to make batches,” she notes. Wild uses charts as guides while making new soaps, to dial in scent and essential oils. Each season the staff explores new recipes, thinking about freshness and floral smells in spring, or woodsy and spicy in winter. Popular scents for men are Chai citrus clove, oatmeal spice and cypress pine, while women gravitate to flowery fragrances including tuberose or jasmine. It’s then mixed with sodium hydroxide lye—a chemical made from salt. Once mixed, the magic happens and the liquid hardens and turns it into soap. This method of making cold process soap is good for preserving oils and produces stronger fragrances. Just as with the fragrances, there is also a variety of colors from white to light brown, or featuring a sprinkle of flowers to multicolor and marbled. Once a new batch is completed, it sits for a couple of days to harden before it is cut into soap bars. It is then cured for about a month inside a room with a humidity regulator before hitting the stands or shipped to a customer. Besides soaps, Wild also makes bath bombs, room sprays and body sprays. The store features a soap of the month to motivate customers to try new options and get out of their comfort zone. One of Ybarra’s favorites is pikake, a flowery soap that smells like jasmine. She also never thought she would like cypress or pine, but surprised herself: “I loved it.” Soap-makers at Alma Del Mar’s Wild are different ages and come from different backgrounds, in keeping with the theme of the nonprofit and the store. “We all have a different idea of what to bring to the table,” Ybarra says. Wild soap is available at Alma Del Mar, 269 Bonifacio Place, Monterey. Open 11am-4pm Wed-Sun, 4-7pm Tues. 917-4099, instagram.com/_alma.del.mar_. Feeling Fresh A Monterey business continues a tradition of making environmentally friendly soap onsite. By Celia Jiménez Alma Del Mar owner Dionne Ybarra says soap-maker Andrea Smith shared all she knows about the process. “She had to learn the trial and error,” Ybarra says. “We didn’t have to go through as many mistakes.” Soap-maker Kaeli Bush is shown above. “Making soap and bath bombs is a lot like cooking.” TAlES FrOM THE ArEA CODE CELIA JIMÉNEZ

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 Tenant Ad Space 4.5" w X 4.125" h EVENT DETAILS Get to know packing expert ANNSLIE BIGBEE PACK LIKE A PRO PLEASE JOIN US FOR A SPECIAL EVENT Learn tips and techniques to efficient packing and selecting the perfect bags for your needs, whether it’s carry-on or checked luggage, all while connecting with fellow travelers. RSVP, Call 831-622-7500 Saturday April 27 11:30 Tops n Travel 219 Crossroads Blvd, EVENT DETAILS Tops n Travel Saturday, April 27 • 11:30am RSVP, Call 831-622-7500 219 Crossroads Blvd, Carmel 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

10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 25-may 1, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com news A BMX pump track and skate park has been on the radar of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors since 2017. On April 16, the board approved moving the project to the Salinas Regional Soccer Complex from an original proposed location, on Laurel Drive near Carr Lake. “There is only one other skatepark in a city of 160,000—a city with a very young population,” said County Supervisor Luis Alejo, who represents Salinas. The concept features a 1.7-acre skate and bike park. The bike trails will go through the existing landscapes and trees. The skate park will have two 4,000-square-foot areas: a flow area where skaters can practice their tricks on bumps and bowled surfaces, and a street area geared toward all skill levels. In 2021, the county, along with the City of Salinas, Blue Zones Project and the Salinas Regional Sports Authority applied for funding from the California Department of Parks and Recreation Regional Park Program via Proposition 68, but the project wasn’t selected. County staff and the Sports Authority revised the idea in 2023 and worked on a plan to integrate it into the soccer complex. The park will be visible from the road, with access to bathrooms, parking and an existing multiuse trail system. The project has a price tag of $3 million, still unfunded. The sports complex has grass soccer fields, walking paths and exercise stations. It’s in the process of diversifying to also include areas for beach volleyball and a basketball court. “It’s becoming really a community hub, and a mental health and wellness [facility],” says Jonathan De Anda, the soccer complex’s manager. Skate Trick A pump track and skate park concept in Salinas inches forward after years of dreaming. By Celia Jiménez Joanne Kelly loved her New Monterey home. “It was magnificent,” she says. But the circular staircase worried her children. So in 2014, she put together $364,000 to buy into what was then called Forest Hill Manor, a retirement community in Pacific Grove with different levels of care, from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing beds. The idea was that if she ever needed more care, she was already in a place where she could get it. Now, a decade later, Kelly is 86 and still independent, but the living is not so good. She and other members of the residents association have a long list of grievances from food quality to too few nurses on staff. Their concerns were corroborated in a newly released report by Dr. Terry E. Hill for the Office of the California Attorney General in March, who found a series of cost-cutting measures while fees went up. Hill, a neutral third-party monitor, was assigned by the AG to examine two retirement communities: Forest Hill Manor, since renamed as Pacific Grove Senior Living, and Lake Park in Oakland. Both had been previously owned by nonprofit California-Nevada Methodist Homes, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2021. In California, the transfer of nonprofit-owned health care facilities to for-profit owners requires review by the Attorney General. In this case, the buyer was San Diego-based Pacifica Senior Living, which owns nearly 100 locations, including Park Lane in Monterey. Attorney General Rob Bonta approved the sale for $34 million in 2022 with a slew of conditions attached, noting that “Pacifica’s rate of citations was significantly higher than the average rate for all residential care facilities for the elderly in California.” (Pacifica did not respond to requests for comment.) Conditions included the business side—paying off debt and honoring existing residents’ contracts, for example—and safety measures. Hill’s report enumerates many issues of noncompliance at both the P.G. and Oakland communities. He found failures to honor resident contracts. For example, one woman was instructed to hire her own private caregiver if she wished to stay in her assisted living unit— despite a guarantee that she could receive needed skilled nursing care. (Her adult son moved her to a different facility.) Hill found a lack of emergency lighting, and “antiquated electrical, plumbing and heating systems.” He reported on declining food quality and reductions in activities. He determined that staff cuts led to safety issues and contractual violations. He reported on a two-monthlong heating failure in some units this winter, solved by distributing space heaters. “Pacifica doesn’t give a damn about seniors. We are the last thing on their mind,” says 90-year-old Rochelle Rutledge, a resident who was without heat from January-March. Bob Sadler, 80, and his wife, Sharon, moved into a fourth-floor apartment with a magnificent bay view two years ago, and hope to spend the rest of their lives here. “It is an absolutely magnificent place,” Sadler says. “But our basic health and safety is not assured here, at all.” Rutledge remains hopeful about change: “I just want it to be a happy place again,” she says. “It was.” From left: Joanne Kelly, Rochelle Rutledge and Bob Sadler are active in the Pacific Grove Senior Living residents association, a 501(c)(7) organization. Aging in Place Attorney General report on P.G. Senior Living shows residents what they already knew: Change is needed. By Sara Rubin A conceptual drawing for a skate park at the Salinas Regional Soccer Complex, a new location for a concept previously planned on county land on Laurel Drive to be leased to the City of Salinas. “Pacifica doesn’t give a damn about seniors.” Daniel Dreifuss Courtesy of Monterey County

www.montereycountyweekly.com April 25-May 1, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 Interested in volunteering with MPCC? Visit montereychamber.com for more information THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS! A special thank you to our volunteers for your continued dedication to the Chamber and for helping to keep our business community vibrant. Our economic region is better supported through all of your efforts — thank you, volunteers! AT JACKS MONTEREY RESERVATIONS & PRICING $24.95 per person | Excludes tax and gratuity Reservations are recommended. To reserve a table, book online or call (831) 649-7830. SUNDAY MAY 5TH | 5PM TO 8PM Live music with Mariachi Jalisciense from 6pm to 8pm JACKSATPORTOLA.COM (831) 649-7830 MEXI-CALI BUFFET Guacamole, Chips & Salsa Jicama & Cucumber Salad Sliced Carne Asada with Fresh Lime & Cilantro Traditional Pork Carnitas Tilapia with a Tomatillo Salsa Chile Relleno Cinnamon Churros And more! DRINKS SPECIALS Traditional Patron Silver Margaritas $10 Peter B's Brewpub Mexican Lager $7 Hornitos Tequila Shot $4

12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 25-may 1, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Usually, Monterey’s history is an asset, something to highlight, but in some cases, it’s complicated. History is part of what’s holding up a 42-unit affordable housing project on a 0.5-acre city-owned site adjacent to the Vasquez Adobe and behind Monterey’s City Hall. The project, proposed by MidPen Housing, was conditionally approved by the Monterey City Council in 2022, but it’s been a challenge to inch ahead because of the dilapidated buildings it would demolish. The houses slated for demolition date back to the 1880s, though looking at them, you’d never know it—they look like they could have been built in the mid-20th century. Regardless, they appear in bad shape, and no people live inside them—some are used to store junk from the city that should perhaps be put into an archive, landfilled, or taken to Last Chance Mercantile. But the potential historic nature of those homes—really, the historic nature of the area that surrounds them—has become an unexpected hurdle. The project has to pass muster with the State Historic Preservation Office in order to qualify for federal housing vouchers. While the streamlining of state laws for affordable housing would normally put the project on a glide path, it’s a sticky case on the federal side. The City of Monterey has been a willing and eager partner in the project—as envisioned, it will hopefully lease the property to MidPen. To expedite the process, the city hired Rincon Consultants, a firm that has a long and successful history with Monterey projects involving potential historic resources, to help clear the last hurdles. The price tag is roughly $224,000 for that work. On a recent weekday, Kim Cole, Monterey’s community development director, walks the site, just behind city hall, to show how it will lay out. The structures to be demolished will be cleared for two- and three-story buildings that will house studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The three-story sections, in the center, are envisioned to be set back from the street so as to not be visible from the sidewalk. There’s also a plan to relocate the community garden currently thriving in the middle of the decaying buildings—that will have a new location a stone’s throw away. And the parking lot behind City Hall will be cut in half—it’s housing ideal for those who don’t need to move on four wheels. But first, the wheels of bureaucracy need to spin a bit more. Soledad residents worked for months to bring a referendum to the ballot and motivate voters to reject a five-district map the City Council selected last year. Measure P was rejected by a massive 80-point margin, reflecting the voice of members of the public who had clearly said: No to five districts. While the referendum is over, the process of transitioning from at-large to district-based elections is not. Now that the election results are certified, the council will decide how to proceed. Council could adopt one of the four-district maps (with a mayor elected at-large) that were developed last year during the process. (City Attorney Mike Rodriquez noted this is the most cost-effective option, and the fastest, enabling district elections to begin this November.) Second, council could opt to restart the districting process and develop new four-district maps based on Census data. Or third, they could continue with at-large elections, despite a voting rights challenge in 2022 that led to this process to start with. (That option would leave the city vulnerable to a potential lawsuit.) “I want the community to come out and voice their input. What map do you like?” says Monica Andrade, spokesperson for Soledad Committee for Voting Rights, the group behind the referendum. Andrade, who is married to Councilmember Fernando Cabrera, notes that neighboring Greenfield had an engaging districting process: “The citizen [map] was the one they picked, and I liked that.” If the council wants district elections to begin to take effect for the general election on Nov. 5, it has to approve the maps and submit them by the end of May. The council is scheduled to discuss the districting process on Wednesday, May 15. Soledad is also in the process of filling former Councilmember Ben Jimenez Jr.’s vacancy; he resigned on March 25. The city is receiving applications until May 15 and will appoint someone on May 23 to serve for the reminder of Jimenez’s term. Home Base Historic or just old? A housing project in Monterey hinges on the answer. By David Schmalz news CARE CAFE Enjoy a soup and bread supper from local restaurants in a handmade bowl that guests can take home as a memento to benefit the Food Bank for Monterey County. Carmel High School Singers and Songwriters Guild entertains diners, and over 300 student works of art will be on display. 7pm Thursday, April 25. $20 donation. Carmel High School, 3600 Ocean Ave., Carmel. 624-1821. HEALTH REPORT The Monterey County Behavioral Health Commission holds its monthly meeting and receives reports on the participation committee, homelessness and more. Also, hear an update on the progress of nonprofit Sun Street Centers’ construction of a new recovery center. 5:30pm Thursday, April 25. Monterey County Free Libraries Castroville branch meeting room, 11160 Speegle St., Castroville or via Zoom. 755-4509, bhdcommunity@co.monterey.ca.us, countyofmonterey.gov. STUDENT STORE Everett Alvarez High School’s Agriculture Department launches a produce store that exhibits student-run projects. You can support the cause by purchasing vegetables, plants, olive oil, flowers and student art projects. The store will be open 4-6pm Friday, April 26 and 9am-noon Saturday, April 27. Everett Alvarez High School, 1900 Independence Blvd., Salinas. jessica. sweet@salinasuhsd.org. E PLURIBUS UNUM Discuss a growing threat to democracy posed by voters who believe that the United States is first and foremost a Christian nation. The film screening of God & Country shows insights on the role of religion in politics influencing policy such as abortion, public education and immigration. 7pm Tuesday, April 30. Unitarian Universalist Church, 490 Aguajito Road, Monterey. Free. dw-mc.org. TIDAL TRAINING Learn to collect water samples that help tell the story of regional water quality for NOAA’s 24th anniversary of Snapshot Day on May 4. Staff from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary train volunteers to fan out into the 10 major watersheds that flow into Monterey Bay and collect water samples for water quality testing. A training opportunity happens 6-7:30pm Tuesday, April 30 at REI, 145 General Stilwell Drive, Marina. One-day water sampling takes place on Saturday, May 4. Register online at tinyurl.com/snapshotday2024 or email lindsay.brown@noaa.gov. 236-6795. Districting 2.0 Soledad City Council will decide how to proceed with district elections after a referendum. By Celia Jiménez One of the eight structures that would be demolished to make way for two- and threestory buildings for a total of 42 units of housing, as proposed by developer MidPen. e-mail: toolbox@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX The wheels of bureaucracy need to spin. Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 (831) 755-4475 FCSMC.ORG Open your Heart and Home APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH Youth across Monterey County need your help! Resource and Respite families play a crucial role in providing SAFE HOMES AND CARE for children in need while Family Teams work on reunification. SPCA MONTEREY COUNTY thanks our caring and compassionate volunteers who make all our programs possible. THANK YOU for your love! spcamc.org Mother’s Day Brunch Sunday May 12, 9am-2pm ReseRve now!

14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY April 25-May 1, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Although a letter from Bishop Daniel Garcia of the Diocese of Monterey dated April 18 states that he’s writing “on an important topic: the sexual abuse of minors,” it’s notably about how the diocese is contemplating filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a move that church critics say would delay sexual abuse cases filed against the diocese and would likely limit what those who were abused could collect in financial compensation should they prevail in court. The diocese was named as defendants in approximately 100 lawsuits filed between January 2020 and December 2022, Garcia reported, alleging child sexual abuse occurring between the 1950s and 2002. The lawsuits were filed during a three-year window created by California Assembly Bill 218, the Child Victims Act, which allowed people claiming to have been sexually assaulted as minors to file civil lawsuits even though the statute of limitations had previously expired. A large volume of cases has prompted at least four California dioceses to file for bankruptcy with others considering it. Garcia stated that within the Diocese of Monterey, “We have been discussing how best to resolve these cases and how to be fair to all the victims,” adding that by filing bankruptcy, “It would allow all victims to be compensated from the limited funds the Diocese has and will be allocated in an equitable manner.” Critics disagree. “Basically bankruptcy is a good deal for the diocese,” says Melanie Sakoda of SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. Once a bankruptcy is in motion, the judge will set a time limit for more alleged victims to come forward and once that limit is up, those who waited to come forward with their abuse will be shut out. “Most survivors are ready to come forward between the ages of their 50s and 70s, so children abused in the 1990s and 2000s, they’re going to be out of luck, and I think that’s a travesty,” Sakoda says. Deacon David Ford, vice chancellor of the Diocese of Monterey, claims otherwise. “We’re definitively not trying to cheat victims and protect us, as much as how do we handle this large number of cases equitably,” he says. Monterey’s cases were funneled into a consolidated case in Alameda County Superior Court representing cases from multiple counties in Northern California. Rick Simons, the attorney serving as the plaintiffs’ liaison for those cases, says filing bankruptcy “has everything to do with getting the price down,” both for the diocese and for the insurance companies that represent them. “The bankruptcy system is not really concerned with the rights of people like our clients,” Simons says. “It’s all just a way to avoid responsibility for all the things that happened to the kids.” Garcia stated no final decision has been made but said it’s highly likely. He said the issue of sexual abuse of minors “deeply saddens and disturbs all of us,” and added the diocese has required annual training for all clergy and volunteers participating in ministry since 2002. Strategic Move Pile-up of sexual abuse lawsuits prompt Diocese of Monterey to contemplate bankruptcy. By Pam Marino Bishop Daniel Garcia of the Diocese of Monterey wrote in a letter dated April 18 that the diocese is committed to a zerotolerance policy regarding sexual abuse. NEWS “Bankruptcy is a good deal for the diocese.” DANIEL DREIFUSS “I brought my Subaru to Hartzel on advice of a friend and I was so pleased with the service & attention I got from them. Not only finished on time, but under the estimate I was given. Very rare these days. So pleased with the whole experience & great peace of mind knowing it was done correctly. Highly recommend this guy.” —David F., Seaside 2/14/19 510 California Avenue | Sand City | 394.6002 hartzelautomotive.com EXPERT SERVICE WHEN YOU NEED IT. Subaru Mazda Lexus Infiniti Saab vintage MG SCHEDULE YOUR NEXT SERVICE ONLINE TODAY Community workshops happening this spring — Register now! 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

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 15 Ca’s Largest Family Owned and Operated Cannabis retailer is coming to monterey! We would love to meet you and learn how we can best serve the community 5:30 pm-7:30 pm Thursday, May 2 Oscar’s Playground 685 Cannery Row 3rd Floor Monterey CA Food/Drinks provided this weekend friday & saturday april 26 - 27 TRUNK SHOW special fitting expert: Michael Kern made in italy 831-625-8106 • carmel plaza • shop at khakisofcarmel.com Monterey One Water • ReGen Monterey • Southern Monterey Bay Dischargers Group GREEN CART Food scraps without a bag TRASH Cooking oil and grease ClogBusters.org Good kitchen habits protect the environment & public health from sewer overflows! www.ClogBusters.org Domenico’s on the Wharf features Cioppino-a house specialty, Boat to Table Wild Alaskan Salmon, Oysters Rockefeller are a sample of the many great menu choices. Also enjoy Fine Wines and Cocktails, Desserts and Great Service. A local favorite celebrating 43 yeARS on Old Fisherman’s Wharf. 50 Old FiSheRmAn’S WhARF mOnTeRey • 831-372-3655 www.domenicosmonterey.com Open Daily 11:30am to close Fresh Seafood, Italian Classics, Prime Steaks , with Beautiful Harbor Views.

16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Wave Street Studios is a perfect place for a party, a performance or even a talk show. Legally speaking, though, that party was never able to truly start without a bar in the venue, according to owner Rhett Smith. Now, there is a way forward. The City of Monterey’s Planning Commission on March 26 approved Wave Street Studios’ use permit that is linked to a new kind of liquor license, known as Type 90, which allows the sale of spirits as long as there is some kind of performance happening. For Smith, it means his dream of inviting the general public—not just private party guests—to experience the space he’s created is finally becoming a reality. “It allows me to attract an audience,” Smith explains. “Since 2008, we haven’t been able to serve food or drinks to the public without it being a private party.” The new type of California liquor license went into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. According to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, 12 Type 90 licenses have been issued so far, including one on April 12 that went to Pop & Hiss in Pacific Grove. Wave Street Studios’ application remains under review with the ABC as of the Weekly’s deadline. Pop & Hiss held a well-attended soft opening on Saturday, April 20 for its record store. It plans to have its bar and music venue in the rear of the store operational by summer. At Wave Street Studios, Smith parlayed the venue’s state-of-the-art video production capabilities into a YouTube channel called “Wave Street Live,” netting around $500,000 through subscription fees since 2008. Content featured on YouTube and wavestreetlive. com features mostly yoga, health and wellness videos. While this gave apprentices invaluable experience in media production, Smith would rather employ them. “The goal was to basically make it so that an intimate club setting could be shared with every web-enabled device on Earth,” Smith says. To satisfy musicians’ rights to the music they produce, Smith envisions a contract of co-ownership in which he offers them essentially a free recording—both audio and visual, with the live audience included. In return, people can subscribe to the channel and view it. However, if a media network wants to use it for profit, they must pay the artist, making Wave Street Studios a promotional vehicle with global reach. Smith eventually hopes to hold performances at Wave Street three times per week that could range from music shows, dances or comedy performances that the general public could attend (and would be able to order drinks, if they choose). He wants to empower promoters to showcase the best within specific genres—once per month to start, then ramping up to biweekly or weekly based on the success they have. “There’s no shortage of high-quality artists that tour through our area,” he says. Associate Editor Erik Chalhoub contributed to this report. Studio Audience Wave Street Studios is finally able to expand programming, enabled by a new type of liquor license. By Sloan Campi Rhett Smith of Wave Street Studios wants to showcase a range of musical genres including blues, jazz, Americana, reggae and world music like Indian and African. NEWS “It allows me to attract an audience.” DANIEL DREIFUSS WE LOVE OUR VOLUNTEERS! 147 El Dorado St., Monterey, CA (831)241-6154 gatheringforwomen.org info@gatheringforwomen.org Come join our amazing team of dedicated volunteers at Gathering for Women! Visit our website at gatheringforwomen.org/volunteer or email volunteer@gatheringforwomen.org to learn more. A special thank you to our volunteers for the time and talent they share with us. Each moment you spend with our guests brightens their day and lifts their spirits.

www.montereycountyweekly.com APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 17 May 11, 2024 Please visit bit.ly/ROS_2024 or scan the QR code to learn more, register, and check out our event sponsors! © Don't miss this rare opportunity to explore remote trails and conserved spaces! Join us on May 11 to support Big Sur Land Trust for our Race for Open Space. • 25K Williams Canyon • 35K+ The Lunch Bench Lollipop • and a family friendly 1-mile Fun Run! 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

18 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY april 25-may 1, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Pedal Power Amazing what this cycling team has done for this community (“Salinas High School has one of the state’s oldest mountain biking teams, and the sport is growing,” April 18-24). Mikey Baroni | via social media One of our favorite Monterey County Weekly covers ever! Mari Lynch | Salinas Note: Lynch manages bikemonterey.org. Down on Downtown The idea of creating a classic downtown in Marina is a fool’s errand (“Marina’s downtown plan envisions changes in density, traffic flow and landscaping,” April 11-17). The idea of downsizing Reservation Road and Del Monte Boulevard from four lanes to two in order to create a walkable downtown, a la Monterey’s Alvarado Street, Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove or Ocean Avenue in Carmel is an economic disaster looking for a place to happen. Those old-fashioned downtowns work in those places because they are tourism cities with lots of hotel rooms nearby and a population of visitors who don’t mind walking about town to see what’s going on. Visitors staying in Marina’s motels are not there to see Marina but to drive into Monterey, P.G. or Carmel. I lived in Marina for 15 years and loved how easy and convenient it is to get quickly around town. Big wide streets, not much traffic and easy parking everywhere you need to go are actually a real and tangible benefit for community members. The small, narrow, congested streets in Carmel, Monterey and P.G. are a real pain in the ass. There’s nothing wrong with being a modern, suburban city built with personal transportation as a primary means of accessing goods and services. Marina should celebrate its modernity and convenience and reject efforts to create a faux downtown. Mark Carbonaro | Monterey Horrible idea—there’s so much traffic now, why would you give less lanes. Yvonne Bates | Marina The rent is too damn high Sure, rent control sounds good at first (“Salinas is working on an ordinance that would control rent increases and protect tenants from evictions without cause,” April 11-17). It’s supposed to keep rents from skyrocketing and protect tenants from getting kicked out unfairly. But here’s the thing: It might actually make things worse. When landlords can’t raise rents to keep up with costs, they might not bother fixing things up or building new places. That means fewer options for folks looking for a home. Plus, some landlords might just decide to sell their properties instead of dealing with all the rules. That means even fewer places to rent. Instead of relying on rent control, let’s focus on things like building more homes and helping folks who can’t afford crazy rents. That’s the real solution to our housing mess. Victor Manuel Tafoya | Salinas “Housing is a human right”? Ah, but property rights aren’t? Oppressive ideology…just forcibly take what you want by the bludgeon of government force. Jeff Woods | Monterey Google It Great reporting (“Google tries to strongarm California into backing down on legislation to save journalism,” posted April 15). I purposefully don’t use Google as any of my search engines. I use the Mozilla Foundation brands Firefox and Firefox Focus browsers. I like that Mozilla is a nonprofit, and has an interesting history going back to Netscape. For my search engine, I use DuckDuckGo which uses a different model that protects privacy. Steven Harper | Big Sur I use DuckDuckGo. Rowan Chandler | Big Sur The proposed California Journalism Preservation Act would require Google and other Internet media companies to pay for the news products they carry on their websites. Apparently, Google and others oppose this proposal. From my perspective, this is no different than Spotify, Pandora, and similar music streaming sites which are required to compensate artists who produce the music they stream, and derive considerable income from. Len Foster | via email Damn you, Google. Thank you, Weekly, for the work that you do. I’m guessing that you don’t get a ton of feedback but we silent readers are out here with our unexpressed gratitude always looking forward to the next issue. Steve Beck | Big Sur Under Sea The thousands of urchins in these barrens, especially the ones away from the edges, are starving (“Local kelp forests continue to die off. Can they be saved? Divers say yes, but scientists and regulators want more answers,” April 11-17). If you open one up it is essentially empty, just a thin skin of tissue on the inside and outside of the test. Urchins can exist for years in this starved state, getting by on the diatoms that get started on their little patch of rock and catching pieces of drift seaweeds, especially after storms. That includes any tiny seaweed that gets started on their rock as well. That’s one reason that commercial divers need to get paid…they can’t sell these starved urchins as there is no uni. That’s also why the otters don’t bother with them. Henrik Kibak | Seaside Corrections A story about the Salinas High School mountain biking team inadvertently omitted Rancho San Juan High School from a list of local teams (“Salinas High School has one of the state’s oldest mountain biking teams, and the sport is growing,” April 18-24). Salinas High is not the only high school team. A story included the incorrect surname of CHISPA’s President/CEO Geoffrey Morgan (East Garrison’s ‘Town Center’ is coming, allegedly. But the rollout has been messy,” April 18-24). It is Morgan, not Rush. 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 25-may 1, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 19 For the second time in recent weeks, the police chief of Seaside has been appointed as acting city manager. But in an era of high turnover and a series of personnel investigations, doing two jobs at once might be the norm. As staff writer David Schmalz has reported in recent weeks, City Hall is bleeding staff. Former Human Resource Director Sandra Floyd resigned effective March 1. Assistant Public Works Director Carolyn Burke has been out since April 5. Finance Director Victor Damiani submitted his resignation on April 8. Public Works Superintendent Dave Fortune announced his retirement on April 18. And on April 18, City Council placed City Manager Jaime Fontes on administrative leave while there’s a pending investigation into Fontes. This all leaves a lot of unanswered questions about what is going on. Schmalz has been following a trail of breadcrumbs to figure it out, but personnel matters are confidential. But we can read between the lines to see a culture of intense distrust and a battle for control within City Hall. The first chapter of this story was an investigation into the city attorney, Sheri Damon, regarding complaints by some employees about her workplace behaviors. Since then, there have been other investigations. The former HR director, Floyd, wrote to Mayor Ian Oglesby in February: “The volume of complaints and the severity I am receiving are astonishing.” That employees of an organization of this size might complain, and that their employer (the City of Seaside) has a responsibility to investigate those complaints—and resolve them—is par for the course. The apparent bitterness and distrust that have emerged along with the series of investigations is unusual. It looks like a power struggle has been playing out between Damon and Fontes, the two officials appointed directly by City Council. (Worth noting: They should be on a team, not engaged in battle.) Fontes sent a searing email about Damon to members of council on March 21. “I am stating for the record that I am deeply concerned that the City Attorney’s actions over the recent months have shown a complete disregard for the strictures of the Municipal Code, the Brown Act, and her general duties to the City,” he wrote. “Instead of protecting the City from liability, Ms. Damon’s actions have invited liability.” There could have simply been a series of HR investigations that were conducted, completed and wrapped up. But instead, the series of complaints and investigations continues, implying underlying issues that remain unaddressed. Former city attorney Don Freeman was retained as special counsel, with a role of coordinating various investigations. To seek a dispassionate third-party investigator with no relationship to Seaside city staff, he asked the city’s insurer (California Joint Powers Insurance Authority) to recommend a firm. They suggested law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo, which has taken on the investigative role—what Fontes described as “unauthorized, politically motivated investigations.” At least one investigation involves questions of whether he appropriately hired Floyd, with whom he had worked previously in the City of Palo Alto. It’s a pretty typical thing to hire a proven colleague; it could be a reasonably typical thing to investigate and find the hiring justified and move on. But in Seaside, the investigation has multiple people hiring their own lawyers and running scared. I asked Mayor Oglesby about how to keep the city’s business moving forward while staff turnover is so high. He is generally optimistic about proceeding with big economic development projects, the annual budget (with a fiscal year beginning July 1) and also dayto-day city business. He’s also optimistic about less staff turnover in the future. “That’s the goal, yes. I would love to see that,” Oglesby says. But if regular line-level staff are caught in a power struggle between the city attorney and city manager, that’s no condition in which to advance big projects, or small ones for that matter. It’s just head-down survival mode. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@mcweekly.com. Rudderless Ship Seaside staff turnover leaves City Hall with a leadership void. By Sara Rubin No Good Deed…In Squid’s youth, Squid heard a story of a legendary money kelp plant that sprouted dollars. Squid has yet to see such a plant in real life. When Montage Health CEO Steve Packer announced last month the creation of the Montage Health Fund for Teachers, seeded with $5 million, it was presented as sort of a money tree. All K-12 teachers in Monterey County would magically receive up to $1,000 before the end of this school year, with the idea of using it toward health care costs. In his remarks on March 15, Packer did not mention that Montage is also in tense negotiations with the Municipalities, Colleges, Schools Insurance Group (MCSIG) regarding insurance policies for teachers and other public employees. But it was only a matter of time before some members of MCSIG would start questioning the money tree. Steve McDougall of the Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers union wrote to the board of Salinas Union High School District on April 21 to say: no thanks. Except he said it less politely, and raised the question of legality when it comes to an adjustment to compensation. “I refuse to accept these funds, and the District is creating exposure for itself as it shall not let a third party alter my compensation, neither positively nor negatively, sans my consent,” he wrote.(“We are shocked and dismayed,” Montage VP Kevin Causey says of the concerns.) In the money kelp story, there are no negotiations—just fast-growing green. Turns out it’s a myth. Shiny Objects…Squid’s been pleasantly surprised in recent years with how Seaside’s lower Broadway Avenue—the city’s downtown—has come to life with the infusion of new businesses and those hustling to make a buck. While Squid has consistently been a cheerleader for that success, Squid’s tentacles sometimes cringe when seeing how city officials are trying to promote the street. A so-called “Walk of Fame” to honor local residents was approved in 2022 by Seaside City Council, and has cost the city thousands of dollars. Also, it no longer exists. That’s because an attorney from Hollywood alerted the city that the concept was trademarked, so it was renamed to Seaside Stars, billed as “a unique attraction that enhances and encourages a walkable downtown.” The latest effort to brand the downtown is a new sign on the corner of Del Monte and Broadway that reads, “Welcome to Downtown Seaside, Broadway Avenue.” Even though anyone who is driving on Del Monte who could see that sign would either be driving by it, or already turning onto Broadway. The City Council approved it at a cost “not to exceed” $17,000 on April 18. But who’s counting? Squid suggests, next to the sign, that they put a fire pit to burn all the money the city is spending on clumsy attempts to brand a street that speaks for itself. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “The volume of complaints is astonishing.” Send Squid a tip: squid@mcweekly.com