may 30-june 5, 2024 montereycountynow.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT Growing the art of bonsai 6 | dramatizing a hate crime 26 | old-world flavor, new owner 32 The same scenery that makes Big Sur such an extraordinary place makes Highway 1 precarious. That is only going to get more extreme. p. 16 By Sara Rubin Edge of the Earth

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY may 30-june 5, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com may 30-June 5, 2024 • ISSUE #1870 • Established in 1988 Travis Long (iPhone 15 Pro Max) On a sunset bicycle ride through Pebble Beach, 9-year-old Claire Long stops near China Rock for a moment to fly with the birds. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@montereycountynow.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: Bixby Bridge is one of Big Sur’s iconic scenes that makes Highway 1 a road trip dream—and also a chokepoint that creates major backups during tourist season. Cover photo: Joel Angel Juárez 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, prepaid. 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.montereycountynow. com. Audited by CVC. Founder & CEO Bradley Zeve bradley@montereycountynow.com (x103) Publisher Erik Cushman erik@montereycountynow.com (x125) Editorial editor Sara Rubin sara@montereycountynow.com (x120) associate editor Erik Chalhoub ec@montereycountynow.com (x135) features editor Dave Faries dfaries@montereycountynow.com (x110) Staff Writer Celia Jiménez celia@montereycountynow.com (x145) Staff Writer Pam Marino pam@montereycountynow.com (x106) Staff Writer Agata Pope¸da (x138) aga@montereycountynow.com Staff Writer David Schmalz david@montereycountynow.com (x104) Staff photographer Daniel Dreifuss daniel@montereycountynow.com (x102) Digital PRODUCER Sloan Campi sloan@montereycountynow.com (x105) contributors Nik Blaskovich, Rob Brezsny, Michael Dadula, Robert Daniels, Tonia Eaton, Caitlin Fillmore, Jacqueline Weixel, Paul Wilner Cartoons Rob Rogers, Tom Tomorrow Production Art Director/Production Manager Karen Loutzenheiser karen@montereycountynow.com (x108) Graphic Designer Kevin Jewell kevinj@montereycountynow.com (x114) Graphic Designer Alexis Estrada alexis@montereycountynow.com (x114) Graphic Designer Lani Headley lani@montereycountynow.com (x114) SALES senior Sales Executive Diane Glim diane@montereycountynow.com (x124) Senior Sales Executive George Kassal george@montereycountynow.com (x122) Senior Sales Executive Keith Bruecker keith@montereycountynow.com (x118) Classifieds business development director Keely Richter keely@montereycountynow.com (x123) Digital Director of Digital Media Kevin Smith kevin@montereycountynow.com (x119) Distribution Distribution AT Arts Co. atartsco@gmail.com Distribution Control Harry Neal Business/Front Office Office Manager Linda Maceira linda@montereycountynow.com (x101) Bookkeeping Rochelle Trawick rochelle@montereycountynow.com 668 Williams Ave., Seaside, CA 93955 831-394-5656, (FAX) 831-394-2909 www.montereycountynow.com We’d love to hear from you. Send us your tips at tipline.montereycountynow.com. now [nou] adverb at the present time or moment Monterey County Now Local news, arts and entertainment, food and drink, calendar and daily newsletter. Subcribe to the newsletter: www.montereycountynow.com/subscribe Find us online: www.montereycountynow.com

www.montereycountynow.com MAY 30-JUNE 5, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3

4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MAY 30-JUNE 5, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH At least 749 journalists and news media outlets around the world reporting on environmental issues have been attacked, either physically or through legal actions, between 2009 and 2023, according to a report released earlier in May for World Press Freedom Day by UNESCO. Worse, nearly half of those have happened in the past five years, showing that these journalists are increasingly under attack, according to the report, titled “Press and Planet in Danger.” The report also found that 44 journalists reporting on environmental issues have been killed in 15 countries over the 15-year period, with at least 24 surviving murder attempts. About 204 journalists and news outlets have faced legal attacks, with state actors filing charges against 93 of them, while 39 journalists have been imprisoned. “Reporters chronicling the climate crisis often find themselves in remote and isolated locations, far from the reach of immediate help or legal protection,” the authors of the report write. “Whether they are investigating deforestation in the Amazon, pollution in industrial regions, or illegal mining in Africa, the remote nature of these assignments adds a significant layer of risk.” Good: It’s the tail end of California Tourism Month and the industry is celebrating, not just its contribution to the economy (tourism spending in Monterey County was nearly $3 billion in 2023, and $150.4 billion in California) but also the people who serve as its backbone: the hospitality employees who work in hotels, restaurants, attractions and other visitor-serving businesses. The Monterey County Hospitality Association celebrated the more than 26,000 local hospitality workers with Hospitality Night on Wednesday, May 29, at the Monterey Bay Football Club game against the Charleston Battery inside Cardinale Stadium, after the Weekly’s deadline. MCHA members were scheduled to greet employees at the game, with prizes awarded during halftime and the reading of a special resolution from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. GREAT: It’s a great week for alternative transportation. On May 29, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County and City of Del Rey Oaks held a groundbreaking for the first segment of the long-dreamt-about Fort Ord Regional Trail and Greenway (FORTAG), an approximately 28-mile bike and pedestrian trail loop spanning the former Fort Ord from Marina to Del Rey Oaks, and connecting to the Rec Trail on the coast at its northern and southern ends. The brainchild of CSUMB professors Scott Waltz and Fred Watson—with an initial assist from Marina residents Gail Morton and Margaret Davis—the trail seeks to not only make the area more bike-friendly, but to also provide access to beautiful public land in the former Fort Ord that has been closed to the public for decades. Construction of the first funded portion, about 1.5 miles near DRO City Hall, is expected to take 18-24 months. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The average number of grams of carbon dioxide emissions per cruise ship passenger to travel 1 kilometer (0.62 miles). Shorthaul flights emit 241 grams, gas-powered cars 122 grams, and buses 18 grams for the same distance. Source: International Council on Clean Transportation and Institute for Sensible Transport 250 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “Why would you do that? It seems like a waste of egg to me.” -Adam Alonso, bartender at The Brass Tap, commenting on the long-forgotten phrase, “What do you want, egg in your beer?” (see story, montereycountynow.com). ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES Stop By To Shop And Find Your Vintage Treasure OVER 100 DEALERS 21,000 SQUARE FEET The Largest Antiques and Collectibles Mall on the Central Coast 471 WAVE STREET MONTEREY (831) 655-0264 P M canneryrowantiquemall.com Open Daily 11am-6pm ’23 Voted Monterey County's Best Antique Shop ♦ 3 Card Poker ♠ Century 21st No Bust Black Jack ♣ Texas Hold’em ♥ Baccarat FULL BAR! BLACKJACK BONUS POINTS PAYS UP TO $20,000 SMALL TOWN BIG PAYOUTS! 1-800-Gambler • Gega-003846, Gega-Gega-003703, Gega-000889 Gega-000891 Gega-002838 The Marina Club Casino ensures the safety and security of all guests and team members at all times, while providing exceptional service. 204 Carmel Ave. Marina 831-384-0925 casinomonterey.com ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ Just minutes from Downtown Monterey Where Monterey Comes To Play

www.montereycountynow.com MAY 30-JUNE 5, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 CONGRATULATIONS mpusd graduates 2024 class of We wish the graduates from Central Coast High, Marina High, Monterey High, Seaside High, and Monterey Adult School the best of luck on the next step of their journey. Our students will be attending the following colleges and universities this fall: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITIES California State University Bakersfield California State University Channel Islands California State University Chico California State University Dominguez Hills California State University East Bay California State University Fresno California State University Fullerton California State University Humboldt California State University Long Beach California State University Los Angeles California State University Monterey Bay California State University Northridge California State University Sacramento California State University San Diego California State University San Francisco California State University San Jose California State University San Marcos California State University Sonoma California State University Stanislaus Cal Poly Pomona Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Arizona State University Boise State University BYU at Idaho Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Hawaii Pacific University Colorado University Boulder James Madison University Johns Hopkins University Lewis and Clark College Ohio State University Rice University Santa Clara University Stanford University Tufts University Universal Technical Institute University of Michigan University of Oregon University of Pacific University of Pennsylvania University of Redlands University of Southern California University of Washington University of Hawaii at Manoa Cabrillo College Central Coast College Hartnell College Monterey Peninsula College The Barber Academy Monterey Adult School California National Guard US Army US Navy University of California Berkeley University of California Davis University of California Irvine University of California Los Angeles University of California Merced University of California Riverside University of California San Diego University of California San Francisco University of California Santa Barbara University of California Santa Cruz PRIVATE COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES AND OUT OF STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGES, TECH SCHOOLS, AND MILITARY SERVICES

6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY May 30-june 5, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com 831 Inside the Monterey Peninsula Buddhist Temple, a group of bonsai gardeners gather around their sensei, Katsumi Kinoshita, 86, while he shows his attentive crowd how to prep their trees for the upcoming bonsai exhibition. Kinoshita isn’t fluent in English and many of his students don’t speak Japanese, but they communicate in a different language: horticulture. Ardelle Gilbert joined the club over 30 years ago after seeing these miniature trees at the Monterey County Fair. Gilbert didn’t know much about bonsai trees when she started with this hobby. “I learned a lot through a lot of dead trees,” she admits. Trimming and shaping a small tree can be a relaxing and fulfilling experience. “It feels like music to me,” says Charlie Thompson, 70. Bonsai horticulture has been part of his life for 45 years, the last 10 through the Monterey Bonsai Club. “You sit down with an instrument and then start off, and an hour later, you look up and think, ‘Well, where’s the time gone?’ It’s the same with the trees.” But it might not be that way when you’re first starting out. “At first it’s scary, because you can’t put a branch back if you cut the wrong one,” Larry Fobian says. Bonsai is an ancient horticulture art form that developed in China around the year 700 called “pun-sai.” During the Kamakura period, 1192 to 1333, Japanese culture was introduced to the art of gardening and shaping miniature trees. The first bonsai trees were wild trees with interesting shapes transplanted into pots; it later became more of an art with pruning, wiring, rock planting and deadwood (preserving dead wood on a living bonsai tree). The goal is to recreate, at a miniature scale, a realistic representation of nature. “Every tree is like a puzzle,” Alyssa Synsteby says. Synsteby joined the club about five years ago when she was looking to share some hobbies with her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Max Fobian. Synsteby says she loves the spirit of the club. “Everyone is very kind and genuine and so generous with their knowledge,” she says. While these potted trees are small, ranging from a few inches to 4 feet, they aren’t dwarf versions of fullsized trees; they are cut to control their shape and growth. Any tree can become a bonsai. Bonsai art has been part of Monterey’s landscape since the 1960s when George Kadani started a group with five of his friends called the Monterey Bonsai Study Group. The bonsai enthusiasts met and shared their practice at each other’s homes. Later on, as the club grew, they moved to the Japanese American Citizens League Hall and became the Monterey Bonsai Club. The club now meets every third Saturday of the month at the Buddhist Temple in Seaside. The club is holding its 61st annual Bonsai Show on Sunday, June 2. Club members showcase part of their tree collections and those they’ve been working on all year long. Expect a range of colors, shapes, sizes and species including junipers, Monterey pines, maples and more. Club members have trees as young as 5 years old, while others tend to trees older than they are. Thompson’s oldest bonsai is a California juniper that’s at least 400 years old. He organizes his trees based on the amount of water and sun they need. “Water is the hardest thing because some trees, you give them the same amount of water as the rest and they’re completely drowned. Other trees, the more water you give them, the happier they are,” Thompson notes. During the event, Kinoshita uses his horticultural expertise and artistic eye to transform a bonsai within an hour. “This is the chance to see the master,” Thompson says. “With just a few hand motions, moving a branch or two, he can make the tree really emulate a giant, full-sized tree.” The Monterey Bonsai Club’s Bonsai Show takes place from noon-4pm Sunday, June 2 at Monterey Peninsula Buddhist Temple, 1155 Noche Buena St., Seaside. Free (donations are welcome). Tea and cookies provided. montereybonsai.org. Miniature Devotion For over 60 years, a local club has been learning about the ancient art of bonsai trees. By Celia Jiménez Sensei Katsumi Kinoshita (left) gives advice to Charlie Thompson about his red pine during a bonsai class. Kinoshita thinks the tree meets the requirements for a style called “Bunjin,” trees with contorted branches, slender trunks and minimum foliage. “Every tree is like a puzzle.” TaLeS FROM THe aRea CODe CELIA JIMÉNEZ LET' S CELEBRATE! 2024 BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce GET TICKETS! BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2024 Celebrating Excellence in the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Business Community! Thursday, July 18, 2024 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Monterey Conference Center VOTING BEGINS JUNE 3!

www.montereycountynow.com MAY 30-JUNE 5, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 Celebrating 32 years of community service with FREE admission! Bring your friends and family to enjoy amenities like the cardio and weight room, gymnasium, group exercise classes, pools, waterslide, sun deck and saunas. For free admission, present a photo ID to the front desk upon entry. Ages 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult. NEW WEIGHT ROOM AND EQUIPMENT FREE ADMISSION SATURDAY, JUNE 1 32 ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION The NEW weight room is now open! Check out the new Hoist equipment including a 14 station multi jungle system, prone leg curl machine, glute thrust machine, seated calf raise machine, target abs machine, squat racks and a wood lifting platform. Ages 13-15 must be accompanied by an adult in the weight room. Ages 16-17 may enter with a youth ID or membership. YEARS

8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MAy 30-june 5, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com news More than any other city on the Monterey Peninsula, Sand City feels like a place of possibility, somewhere that new ideas can take root and flourish. The latest such idea is something not unlike Night Market 831, a monthly music and art festival in the Sand City Art Park with live music and food trucks. The first Friday of every month since late 2021, the Art Park becomes a crush of people with long lines and not enough places to sit. But what if there was a food truck park open seven days a week? That’s the vision for The Yard, the brainchild of Jeanne Colletto. The concept seeks to turn a vacant, rectangular lot between California and Dias avenues into a landscaped food hub. The property has been in Colletto’s family for three generations—her grandfather used it to dry his fishing nets, and in the adjacent house, which he also owned, for himself and his friends to drink and play cards—John Steinbeck was a frequent visitor, she says. Colletto, her husband Gustavo Carvalho and her two sons Joshua and Noah Reeves are all collaborating on the project. They’ve yet to submit a full site plan for the project to the city. Colletto is working out a contract with the Carmel Valley-based firm Wild Land Workshop to help with the designs, and she estimates the site plan will cost $25,000 or more. Both she and Carvalho are concerned about making that kind of investment without more assurances from the city that it’s a project it wants, but City Manager Vibeke Noorgard says the city has been trying to move the project forward, it just needs the plans in hand. In concept, there is support. “The city wants this,” Noorgard says, “[but] we’re now at the stage where we need real plans.” Dining Out An idea for a permanent food truck park is starting to take shape in Sand City. By David Schmalz It was not the ending that anyone wanted for Forrest Eggleston’s life of 42 years. The local artist and off-road skateboard pioneer who was well-liked throughout the Monterey Peninsula, thanks to his friendly nature and collaborative spirit, was found dead of a suspected drug overdose on the Monterey Peninsula College campus on Tuesday morning, May 14. His friends and family say they knew addiction had been a struggle for Eggleston, but it was not the thing that defined him. Eggleston’s light “shone brightly” even though he struggled with addiction, says his cousin, Zarosh Eggleston. The two spent time together the day before Eggleston was found dead. “He was the happiest he had ever been,” Zarosh says. Just three days before, Eggleston spent Mother’s Day with his mom, Maura McPadden. “We had a great day,” she says. Although she knew he had an addiction, “he never went to a dark place, he stayed in the light,” she says. “He was just the friendliest person, he could talk to anyone—and he would.” Now McPadden is planning his celebration of life, to be held in July, possibly around Eggleston’s birthday on July 30. “What I realized is nobody chooses [addiction]. It’s something that takes over people and they don’t have the power to stop,” she says. “Nobody chooses this, it just gets a hold of you. As far as fentanyl goes, we have a real scourge in our world right now, because it’s straight-up deadly.” It won’t be known what drug caused Eggleston’s overdose for up to three months, as toxicology tests are completed by the Monterey County Coroner’s Office, says Monterey Police Lt. Jake Pinkas. Fentanyl is suspected because of how it’s flooded the local drug supply over the last several years. Another person was found dead of a suspected drug overdose a day later, on Wednesday, May 15, on Lottie Street in Monterey. Both deaths are being investigated by police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Two overdose deaths a day apart and a surge in all overdoses this year prompted MPD to issue a notice to the public. From Jan. 1-May 1, there were 283 reported overdoses, most non-fatal. According to the California State Department of Public Health, Monterey County saw 31 opioid-related deaths in 2022. The total numbers for 2023 are not available, but what is known is that in the second quarter of 2023, the number of overdose deaths was 109. Every year overdoses and related deaths are increasing, Pinkas says. “We get overdoses every week now,” he adds. Spike alerts—issued in the county every time there are two or more overdoses reported in a 24-hour period—are happening more frequently. Highly addictive fentanyl is often the cause. And while previously the issue was counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl with users unaware of the opioid’s presence, police are seeing more straight powdered fentanyl in searches. Recently, the City of Monterey began making naloxone—the antidote to opioid overdoses—more widely available through free distribution boxes at the Monterey Transit Plaza in downtown, the Monterey Outreach and Navigation Center (401 Camino El Estero), and the Monterey Police Station at 351 Madison St. Forrest Eggleston, born and raised in Carmel, at one time operated the Underground Forest, a space inside The Barnyard, where artists, musicians and others gathered. A Light Lost Two more deadly drug overdoses leave families grieving and police seeking justice. By Pam Marino The above rendering, property owners say, captures the vibe behind a proposal for a food truck park in Sand City. The plan would also add weatherproofing elements. “Nobody chooses this, it just gets a hold of you.” courtesy Maura McPadden Gustavo Carvalho

www.montereycountynow.com MAY 30-JUNE 5, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 831.479.6000 • www.bayfed.com • 888.4BAYFED Federally Insured by NCUA | Equal Housing Lender 3.30% APY* 3-month Certificate 4.08% APY* 6-month Certificate 4.60% APY* 12-month Certificate Short-Term Goals, Long-Term Gain! *Annual Percentage Yield (APY). APY is effective as of May 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                       €  Our 65+ Bay Area locations let us peek at a lot more boos. In-person or virtual visits at Pediatrics – Monterey genpeds.stanfordchildrens.org

10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MAy 30-june 5, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com It’s two steps forward, one step back for Monterey-Salinas Transit’s SURF! project, a busway between Marina and Sand City that is proposed for the rail corridor owned by the Transportation Agency for Monterey County. In April, the Marina Planning Commission unanimously approved coastal development and tree removal permits for the project’s span through Marina; that decision was appealed to the City Council. The Council considered the appeal on Tuesday, May 21, but delayed a decision until June 4 due to some unexpected events. On May 15, Kevin Kahn, manager for the California Coastal Commission’s Central Coast district, wrote to Marina planner Alyson Hunter to ask that the City not consider the appeal until the Coastal Commission has a chance to vote. (The project needs a coastal development permit from the commission as well as from Marina and Sand City, as 2.5 miles of the proposed road are outside of both cities’ jurisdiction.) And on May 17, Kahn wrote to both the California Transportation Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission’s rail division, expressing a host of concerns about the project and asked both agencies to make a determination about its compatibility with Prop. 116 funding (TAMC used Prop. 116 money to acquire the land from Union Pacific) and its compatibility “with the intended future use of the rail corridor for rail.” (There are currently no active plans to revive the rail line.) “The rail corridor in question is made up entirely of dune environmentally sensitive habitat area,” Kahn writes, “where only development dependent on the [environmentally sensitive habitat area] is allowed pursuant to the Coastal Act. A busway does not so qualify.” The letter was forwarded to the City Council on the morning of May 21, which in part caused the meeting that night to go off the rails. Carl Sedoryk, MST’s general manager, was exasperated when addressing the council, saying that he felt it was inappropriate for the agency to weigh in on a matter under the City Council’s purview. Also, he says the Coastal Commission staff—until Kahn’s email—consistently advised MST to get permits from the cities first, before coming before the commission. The $91.5 million project is fully funded and construction is expected to take two years. Sedoryk hopes MST will be able to start construction this fall, advancing a goal of offering a way to avoid Highway 1 traffic. Within a week after the Monterey County Department of Housing and Community Development released its draft 2023-2031 Housing Element—a plan for adding more state-mandated housing units to the unincorporated areas of the county—critics were crying foul. The element would promote urban sprawl, according to one criticism, by allowing up to 10,257 housing units, three times the state requirement. By the time the draft element hit the Monterey County Planning Commission 11 days later, on May 15, commissioners agreed with critics that changes were necessary. Top of their list was to reduce the number of units to the state-mandated 3,326, plus a 30-percent buffer, or approximately 4,300 units. Chair Martha Diehl argued that the county’s reliance on an inclusionary housing ordinance that allows developers to build market-rate homes as long as they include 20 percent affordable units is no longer usable. “If we get one thing from this report and the past history, we know we can’t do business as usual,” she said. Completion of the draft element is overdue—the state’s deadline was in December and a grace period ended April 15—and county planners have been racing to get the draft approved to avoid penalties. They wanted the Planning Commission to approve so it could go to the Board of Supervisors on June 4. Diehl asked for a special commission meeting on June 5 with the board refraining from voting approval until later. “If you want something badly, that’s how you’re going to get it,” Diehl said, quoting a past commissioner. “This is too important to do it wrong.” Diehl’s request was fulfilled. On May 28, the county announced that the board is postponing its discussion until Tuesday, June 11. The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for 9am Wednesday, June 5, inside the board chambers (at 168 W. Alisal St., Salinas). The meeting will also be available virtually. Slow Lane Monterey-Salinas Transit’s proposed SURF! busway is hitting bumps in the road. By David Schmalz news Meeting of the Minds Join a discussion on mental health with Dr. Emily Gray from Ohana Center for Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health, and Village Project founder Regina Mason and Executive Director Stacie Andrews. 6-8pm Thursday, May 30. Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Clubhouse, 1 McClure Way, Seaside. $30/members Democratic Women of Monterey County; $35/non-members; $20/ students, low-income; registration required. dw-mc.org. Forever Homes Hitchcock Road Animal Services is joining the statewide Adopt-a-Pet Day, offering free adoptions as well as free dog licensing and more. 10am-4pm Saturday, June 1. Hitchcock Road Animal Services, 160 Hitchcock Road, Salinas. 769-8850, hitchcockroadanimals.org. Straight to the Top Salinas City Manager René Mendez was sworn in on May 28, and holds his first meet-and-greet with community members one week in. Hear about his priorities for the city. 5pm Tuesday, June 4. Sherwood Hall, 940 N. Main St., Salinas. Free. 7587381, cityofsalinas.org. Talking Tourism See Monterey is conducting a survey and forum to understand residents’ opinions on visitors to the area. Those who love, loathe or are indifferent to tourists are invited to share their thoughts. 6-7:30pm Wednesday, June 12. Monterey Conference Center, 1 Portola Plaza, Monterey. Free; registration required. Survey runs through the end of May. seemonterey.com. Give Blood The American Red Cross is asking blood donors to make an appointment now before their busy summer schedules fill up. Help fill a future life-saving emergency need by participating in upcoming blood drives. 9am-2pm Tuesday, June 4 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 255 E. Alvin Drive, Salinas; 9am-1pm Saturday, June 8 at Oldemeyer Center, 986 Hilby Ave., Seaside. 1-800-733-2767, redcrossblood.org. Free Lunch The Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are offering free meals to young people ages 18 and under during the summer months. Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the Seaside and Salinas clubhouses. 8-9am breakfast; noon-1pm lunch. Monday, June 3-Friday, July 26. Salinas Clubhouse, 85 Maryal Drive; Seaside Clubhouse, 1332 La Salle Ave. 3945171, bgcmc.org. Race to Finish The Monterey County Planning Commission gets another swing at a problematic housing plan. By Pam Marino A rendering of a stop for the SURF! busway, designed to mitigate Highway 1 traffic. “It will be transformative for people who rely on transportation,” says Carl Sedoryk of MST. e-mail: toolbox@montereycountynow.com TOOLBOX “A busway does not so qualify.” Courtesy MST

www.montereycountynow.com MAY 30-JUNE 5, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 North County-based Ruvalcaba Nursery is a staple at farmers markets in nearby Watsonville and beyond, where owner Ana Ruvalcaba stands surrounded by colorful flowers as she peddles her wares. In May 2023, authorities reportedly discovered the Royal Oaks nursery was housing nearly 300 people in makeshift dwellings and squalid conditions. In the year since, the nursery installed a gate at the entrance to its property on the 1100 block of San Miguel Canyon Road, warning that trespassers will be prosecuted. Nearly 30 tenants sued the landlords, Ruvalcaba and her husband Nicolas, alleging dangerous housing conditions. The case was further complicated in March when the Monterey County District Attorney filed criminal and civil charges against the Ruvalcabas, with three felony counts of tax evasion, one misdemeanor count for failing to secure workers comp insurance, and seven misdemeanor counts related to housing conditions on the property. The Ruvalcabas were arrested by Monterey police on March 27, and each posted $30,000 bonds, according to court documents. The couple has not publicly addressed the case, and their attorney, John P. Hannon, did not respond to a request for comment. However, in court documents, the Ruvalcabas denied the allegations brought forward by the plaintiffs. “We have not done any act which causes harm,” Nicolas Ruvalcaba wrote in court documents. Both sides in the case, Laura Espinoza, et al. vs. Nicolas Ruvalcaba, et al., met in court on Tuesday, May 21 for a case management conference. The judge designated the case as complex due to the number of plaintiffs and the new charges filed in March. The designation paves the way for the parties to decide how to continue the case in an efficient manner. Another case management conference is scheduled for September. The plaintiffs are represented by California Rural Legal Assistance. Not speaking on the specific case, Staff Attorney Tyler Sullivan says the state’s housing crisis is particularly severe in Monterey County, where a large population of farmworkers reside. There are some landlords that seek out “desperate” tenants by offering lower rents, but in doing so, provide inadequate living quarters, such as refusing to repair things that break or allowing overcrowded conditions, Sullivan notes. “There is a market for that,” he says. “Those conditions exist in Monterey County and we see a lot of it to varying degrees.” Landlords have much less risk when it comes to tenant disputes that go to court, while the tenant risks losing their housing. Sullivan recommends tenants understand their rights and do their research, as well as keep written records for everything, including rent receipts and repair requests. “There are solutions to the housing challenges we face,” he says. “There is not one housing project or city that is going to solve the housing crisis. Every little bit counts and will help.” No Way Home A North County housing case inches through the criminal and civil court process. By Erik Chalhoub A gate has been installed to the entrance of Ruvalcaba Nursery on San Miguel Canyon Road in Royal Oaks. The driveway was once open to passersby, and even captured by Google Street View in 2023. NEWS “We have not done any act which causes harm.” ERIK CHALHOUB

12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MAy 30-june 5, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com City Strife It is sad how disingenuous Kimbley Craig and Steve McShane have been on the way out (“After 12 years in public office, Salinas Mayor Kimbley Craig announces she will not seek re-election,” posted May 24). Craig is in tears about leaving Salinas politics, as if nobody remembers she tried to leave Salinas politics within one year of being sworn in as mayor to run for county supervisor. It is clear that Craig and McShane just did not like being relatively powerless in a 5-2 voting minority and looked for the exit. Understandable, but it doesn’t justify the very petty and dishonest behavior from those two on their way out. Embarrassing. Damian Maldonado | Salinas The reasons Mayor Craig cites for her pending retirement from the Salinas City Council are very distressing. She has been an effective mayor and council member. George Lentz | Seaside Honor the Fallen Freedom isn’t free; it’s costly. Memorial Day is the one day we as a nation honor the sacrifices of our fallen service members. It’s not a holiday for beer, barbecues, concerts and merchandise sales (“Several ceremonies are planned on Memorial Day to remember those who died while serving the country,” posted May 24). Considering the rich military history of the area, I was disappointed in the complete lack of coverage or respect for the sacrifices made on our behalf. In fact, the only military mention in last week’s issue was concerning the liability albatross former Ford Ord has become (“As Seaside stumbles through trying to develop its Fort Ord property, liability keeps cropping up,” May 23-29). The Weekly can do better! Jack Murphy | Monterey Note: Murphy is director of the County of Monterey’s Military & Veterans Affairs Office. Green Sheen Thanks for Erik Chalhoub’s article (“Cali Roots went green more than a decade ago, and the results speak for themselves,” May 23-29). It is encouraging to hear about the progress so far. Personally, I’m particularly excited about the bike and skate valet service. Nevertheless, I wonder if the “900pound gorilla” might be getting overlooked. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation to the event—let alone if someone is coming from out of town or even flying to get here— must surely dwarf the beverage containers that are consumed on site. Clearly, such carbon emissions should be factored into the greening of any of the local events that attract distant visitors. Eugene Loh | Pacific Grove Global Conflict Thank you for at last writing something more meaningful about THE WORLD (Gaza in particular) instead of trite nonsense about food and “fine dining” that seems to have been the staple diet of these newsletters and the paper (“A story of war and human suffering across the globe hits close to home,” posted May 20). The globe we live on is bigger than beautiful Monterey and we/ you should reflect on that in news copy and stories. Yes, local issues are important but in the overall scheme of things insignificant with where the geopolitical status of the world is right now. Less typical USA insularity! Keep up these types of editorials— less fluff about restaurants and their latest food offerings. Charles Knight | via email I thought you worked for Monterey County Now, not Al Jazeera. What’s the connection to the county? Some would accuse you of WOKENESS. The war [was] started by Hamas, as you know. Many Israeli babies are dead. Yes? Carl Silverman | New York Both Sides In her May 16 opinion piece, Sara Rubin works hard to find a villain where there are only passionate concerned citizens with the courage to speak out to solve big problems (“A new arts and culture group is subtly advancing a right-wing agenda,” May 16-22). I have attended a number of California Arts & Sciences Institute (CASI) events, including the one featuring Dr. David Henderson, a former member of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. Somehow Ms. Rubin fails to mention the purpose of the talk was to uncover the root of poverty and lay a path for self-determination and economic vitality for working class families. At least that was my takeaway. Sounds pretty subversive, doesn’t it? Mike Gibbs | Pacific Grove This is not about a right-wing agenda or a left-wing agenda. This about people caring about their community, which is an up or down agenda. It is so easy to criticize conservatism, calling them right-wing just because the left-wing does not agree with conservatives. Marilyn Galli | Carmel Grow where it’s planted Navarro’s is such an amazing nursery! (“A unique Castroville nursery is trying to stay in business by buying the property it leases,” May 23-29.) Manuel is so knowledgeable and kind. I tell everyone that will listen to shop there. Lauren Dwight | Marina I hope he succeeds! I used to work with him. Stephanie Shonley | via social media No Grow The Photo of the Day is very lovely, but it unfortunately glorifies an invasive weed, ice plant (“ETC Photo, posted May 24). A picture showing a native flower would have been much better. Carl Nash | Washington, D.C. Picture Show This concerns Rob Rogers’ most welcome take on the fascist treasonous freak, D.J. Trump. I noted in your April 18 issue a letter from a disaffected, shrill nut [opposed to Rogers’ cartoons] (“Letters,” April 18-24). Please don’t let this nut influence you to curtail Rogers’ appearance. The point of his efforts finds much favor among many of your readers. Bruce G. Elliott | Salinas Letters • CommentsOPINION Submit letters to the editor to letters@montereycountynow.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.montereycountynow.com MAy 30-june 5, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 A conversation with Maximiliano Barraza Hernandez, an outgoing ninth-grader at Pajaro Valley High School, feels like going to an introductory college course in what some on the right might dismiss as “wokeness.” As he wraps up an ethnic literature studies class, he talks about social issues like the school-to-prison pipeline, mass incarceration and how the patriarchy negatively affects men. “It’s this endless cycle where men hurt other men and they are traumatized, and the cycle keeps going,” he says. I’m talking to Barraza Hernandez and his younger sister, eighth-grader Ixel Barraza Hernandez, because they and their parents have become leaders of an emerging movement in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District (which includes part of North Monterey County). Their dad, Gabriel Barraza (who is Mexican American), emphasizes the importance of the curriculum in a majority-Latino district. “If you close your eyes and picture someone as American, you are not going to picture someone who looks like me,” he says. But his vision is for more than inclusion—he also reflects on growing up in a community steeped in racist language toward Black, Chinese and Filipino neighbors. “We all have that capacity to carry this inside of us. What makes you different is that you make the decision, every single day, to not be that way,” he says. Their mom, Lourdes Barraza Hernandez, notes that her children’s learning has far outpaced her own growing up, first in Mexico then in Watsonville. “I attended K-8 schools here, but I never had a class like that,” she says. “When I went to college, I thought that racism was something from the past. It wasn’t until I went to Occidental that I got smacked in the face with racism.” This family might be unusually sophisticated in their discussion of structural racism. But in many ways, they represent the future norm after California’s ethnic studies curriculum requirement takes effect. Per 2021 legislation, high schools in the state must begin offering one semester of ethnic studies for the Class of 2030, meaning such coursework must be offered by the 2025-26 school year. Many districts, like PVUSD, are ahead of that requirement. But exactly what to teach and how to teach it remain flashpoints of controversy. In PVUSD, it became controversial two years into a three-year contract with the Oakland-based firm Community Responsive Education, which had been hired starting in 2021 to guide teachers and administrators in developing and implementing a framework for teaching ethnic studies. But CRE founder Allyson TintiangcoCubales—who’d also been hired to chair the committee developing the California Department of Education’s model curriculum for ethnic studies—came under fire for the model curriculum’s failure to completely and accurately depict the historic and ongoing struggle of antisemitism. (According to news reports at the time, the original 600page curriculum made only two mentions each of the Holocaust and antisemitism, compared with 317 mentions of Chicanos, 303 of Mexicans and 236 of Black people. In the model curriculum adopted in 2021, I count 58 mentions of antisemitism and 15 mentions of the Holocaust.) The controversy led the PVUSD board to abruptly vote not to complete year three of the district’s contract with the firm. It’s also had the unintended effect of mobilizing dozens of students and parents to form a new coalition engaged in school district matters. What began as Zoom meetings among about a dozen people has developed into repeat rallies at PVUSD board meetings of students and parents asking for a chance to weigh in on the CRE contract. As of May 20, it’s evolved into a coalition called Pajaro Valley for Ethnic Studies and Justice, which held its first in-person town hall meeting, featuring TintiangcoCubales as a guest who presented to some 75 people in the audience. I expect the coalition to run candidates, engage in a coming bond measure and more. “They ignored the community, and they created this mini movement,” Gabriel says. He adds that ethnic studies was never meant to be confined to the classroom, but to have real-life application: “Thank you for helping us to put it into action.” Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@montereycountynow.com. Culture Warriors Ethnic studies contract causes a rift in PVUSD—and a community group. By Sara Rubin No Comment…Squid enjoys trading sea snail mail for fun, but only uses it for work if Squid can’t get a response any other way. That’s how Squid’s colleague tried to reach the management at Pacifica Senior Living, the San Diego-based company that owns Pacific Grove Senior Living, to no avail. The company came under fire in a report produced at the request of the California Attorney General, which found a series of failures. The Weekly couldn’t get a response by phone, email or snail mail. But Squid still wanted to know what Pacifica had to say about the findings, so Squid oozed over to a meeting at PGSL on May 15. After an hour’s worth of updates to a roomful of residents about things like menus and landscaping, Pacifica VP Beau Ayers finally acknowledged the elephant in the room: the scathing report. “I am not here to go through it line by line,” he said. “There are things that were disputed and refuted within this report.” A resident asked: “Can you specify what things?” Instead of a specific response, Ayers said: “The majority of it.” The crowd laughed. He took some heat from residents for the company’s marketing, which portrays the retirement community as high-end. Speaking to a small group afterward, Ayers said that’s just how marketing goes: “Everyone says they’re the best.” Squid asked for a copy of the company’s response to the AG, but got nothing. Squid can only imagine what it might say: “We think we’re the best.” Code Breakers…Squid has done Squid’s best to follow the Golden Rule as taught by Granny Squid— Squid would hope everyone would do the same, but that’s not the case. Hence why we have rules, laws and, sometimes, codes of conduct. On May 15, Pacific Grove City Council considered updating its own code to allow censure of councilmembers for violations—but in the end it was left toothless. To be fair, the proposal brought by Councilmember Joe Amelio had issues: It included no process for how to perform a censure. Amelio offered to bring back an amended version, but was rebuffed. While the proposal focused on policing behavior, opponents talked as if it was about silencing others. Councilmember Luke Coletti (whose behavior has come under scrutiny in the last two years, still discussed in closed-session meetings) said a recent surge in censures in other cities “reflects a quasi-religious obsession with policing expression and tone.” Without naming names, he scolded Amelio and his lone supporter, Councilmember Chaps Poduri, saying: “This whole thing, going to war, it’s over, OK. We did it, it’s done with, time to move on.” Mayor Bill Peake said including censure would be a “tyranny of the majority.” Minutes later, a majority voted down the proposed code of conduct, 4-2. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “I thought racism was something from the past.” Send Squid a tip: squid@montereycountynow.com

14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MAY 30-JUNE 5, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com Oil Slick Monterey County’s Measure Z was approved by voters but killed by the courts. State law could change that. By Laura Solorio FORUM The November 2016 election showed how David can defeat Goliath. Measure Z, an initiative in Monterey County that banned fracking and the drilling of new oil wells and phased out wastewater disposal, passed with a whopping 56 percent of the vote. A local organization, Protect Monterey County, with volunteers across the county, managed to reach the voters about the dangers of oil production in one of the biggest oil-producing counties in California. Big Oil spent millions of dollars to convince voters otherwise, but they failed to dissuade voters from passing these common-sense protections for our health and environment. Unfortunately, our victory for people’s health and our climate was short-lived. A coalition of oil and gas companies led by Chevron promptly challenged Measure Z in court, leading its major provisions to be overturned. Protect Monterey County continued to appeal the court decisions up to the California State Supreme Court in 2023. The Supreme Court sided with the lower courts and, in 2023, ruled that parts of Measure Z were preempted by state law. The decision focused in particular on an antiquated provision of the California Public Resources Code which grants the California Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division (known as CalGEM) the broad authority to regulate oil and gas production methods, regardless of what local voters say. Communities like Monterey County, San Benito County and Los Angeles have taken steps to limit oil and gas operations. These local jurisdictions all faced fierce oil company opposition. The oil industry has since weaponized the Supreme Court decision to attack other legal local ordinances that limit drilling, even drilling in the middle of neighborhoods near residents’ homes. Assemblymember Dawn Addis, D-Morro Bay, represents part of Monterey County. This legislative session, she introduced Assembly Bill 3233, which would affirm the right of communities to make decisions about oil and gas operations that pose grave threats to public health, wildlife and the climate. AB 3233 passed in the California Assembly on May 22, by a vote of 43-14. In spite of heavy opposition by the oil industry, communities across the state urged their Assemblymembers to approve the bill. AB 3233 clarifies that cities and counties may ban, limit or regulate oil and gas projects, including production methods. As a medical doctor concerned with the effects of air pollution on people’s health, I was proud to support and defend Measure Z and I’m proud to support AB 3233 today so that local initiatives like Measure Z have a chance in the future. Assembly Bill 3233 now heads to the California State Senate. I urge everyone to contact state senators John Laird and Anna Caballero to ask for their yes votes on AB 3233. Our health and well-being depend on it. Dr. Laura Solorio is a physician and president of Protect Monterey County. OPINION The oil industry has weaponized the court decision. “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 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. new arrivals suits, soft jackets, sport coats, dress shirts sports shirts, trousers & more… 831-625-8106 • carmel plaza • shop at khakisofcarmel.com