06-06-24

JUne 6-12, 2024 montereycountynow.com LOCAL & INDEPENDENT Trader joe’s in marina 8 | rocky point’s turning point 11 | real talk with kathy griffin 34 A team of four women gets ready to shove off in a small boat for about 35 days, aiming for Hawaii. p. 16 By Daniel Dreifuss Out to Sea

2 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY june 6-12, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com June 6-12, 2024 • ISSUE #1871 • Established in 1988 Patrick Tregenza (DJI Air 2S, Lightroom) The San Giovanni, a classic wooden purse seiner, glows in the warm sunset light around 8pm on Monday, June 3. The woodenhulled boat was originally built in Oregon in 1943. Monterey County photo of the week Send Etc. submissions to etcphoto@montereycountynow.com; please include caption and camera info. On the cover: The four-woman rowing team the Hericanes has been living, working and training in Monterey since February. The team is often seen rowing along the coast in the Monterey Bay, and will take off on June 8 headed for Hawaii, a voyage that is expected to take about 35 days. 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, 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, Jesse Herwitz, 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 JUNE 6-12, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 3 $195.9 million That’s how much Community Hospital provided in support and services to community members and organizations last year. Rooted in community. Learn more about our Community Benefit program at montagehealth.org/communitybenefit Through our Community Benefit program, we worked with 180 organizations, businesses, and public agencies to improve the health and wellness of our community. $189.6 million Improving access to care $3.5 million Health education and wellness $2.3 million Building healthy communities $458,000 Special care for special needs

4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY june 6-12, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH There is no shortage of governmental bodies that review everything from street naming to police oversight. There is, however, a shortage of people able to put in the time required of such a commitment. That’s the issue Assembly Bill 817, authored by Assemblymember Blanca Pacheco, D-Downey, hopes to resolve by allowing advisory boards to conduct meetings purely virtually without complying with certain requirements of the Brown Act, a set of rules governing public meetings. Board members would no longer have to post their location or make it available to the public. The First Amendment Coalition opposes the bill, saying it would weaken open-meetings protections. “AB 817 doesn’t increase public access,” FAC Advocacy Director Ginny LaRoe wrote. “It offers an unfair trade-off: Let officials avoid appearing in-person in order for the public to have a right to a livestream. When public meetings go entirely online, how can a reporter approach an official to get comment or connect with community members who have views on issues being considered?” The bill, currently in committee review, would sunset on Jan. 1, 2026. Good: Businesses looking to start up, grow or just seek out advice now have more options. The Monterey County Business Council opened the Central Coast Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at 123 Capitol St. in Salinas on Wednesday, June 5. Additional outreach centers will celebrate their grand openings in Monterey at 353 Camino El Estero on Monday, June 10 and in Soledad at 502 Front St. on June 28. The centers provide free business advisory services, such as preparing a strategic plan, creating marketing strategies or guidance on accessing capital. They are also a source of training programs and resources to business owners. The Monterey County Business Council also heads up the Monterey Bay APEX Accelerator, which helps small businesses grab often-lucrative government contracts. GREAT: It’s literally a GREAT week for Greenfield. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, announced $793,856 in federal funding for the Greenfield Reconnecting Everyone Across Town (GREAT) project on Monday, June 3. The funds will go toward developing plans to construct a bicycle and pedestrian overcrossing across Highway 101. Plans also call for widening the two narrow overcrossings on Walnut Avenue and Oak Avenue. According to the City of Greenfield’s funding application, the two-lane overcrossings are inadequate to accommodate the city’s growing population, and create a chokepoint for people traveling between the west and east sides. “In Greenfield, specifically, bridges received ‘D’ service ratings and are worsening, so a cash infusion to plan and make improvements is desperately needed,” Lofgren said in a press release. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The number of miles bicyclists participating in the annual AIDS/LifeCycle will traverse over their weeklong ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. On Monday, June 3, the riders began the day in Santa Cruz and pedaled through Monterey County on their way to King City for the night. The ride raised nearly $11 million for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Los Angeles LGBT Center this year. Source: AIDS/LifeCycle 545 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “We didn’t do a thing wrong. I’m a very innocent man.” -Former President Donald Trump, after a jury on Thursday, May 30 found him guilty on 34 felony counts in a hush money case (see story, page 14). PETER B'S BREWPUB PRESENTS SUMMER MUSIC SERIES Join us every Thursday from 6PM to 9PM Indoors at Peter B’s Brewpub or Outdoors in our pet-friendly Beer Garden* 6.6 RYAN SESMA, GUITAR [INSIDE] 6.13 COASTAL COMMISSION 6.20 60 EAST BAND 6.27 COASTAL COMMISSION *Outdoor dates subject to weather conditions. LOCATED BEHIND THE PORTOLA HOTEL & SPA | COMPLIMENTARY PARKING (831) 649-2699 | PETERBSBREWPUB.COM Personalized Care: We get to know your pet’s unique needs and preferences to provide the perfect environment for them to feel relaxed and happy. Expert Staff: Our compassionate team of professionals is trained to care for pets of all shapes and sizes, including those with special medical needs. Clean & Safe Facilities: Your pet’s well-being is our top priority. Our facilities are meticulously maintained to ensure a clean and safe environment for your beloved companion. Outdoor Playtime: Our spacious, secured play area allows your pet to enjoy fresh air, exercise, and socialization while staying with us. PEt bOarding at Pacific Grove Animal Hospital Why we’re the best choice for pet boarding: 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

www.montereycountynow.com JUNE 6-12, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 5 For your growing family’s expected (and unexpected) healthcare needs Salinas Valley Health has the only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Monterey County providing minimally invasive interventions to help critically ill babies with premature lung disease breathe easier. Their affiliation with Stanford Medicine Children’s Health offers the skilled expertise of Stanford neonatologists, along with access to state-of-the-art facilities and technology, meaning more families can receive quality healthcare for their babies while staying close to home. Salinas Valley Health Medical Center | 450 East Romie Lane, Salinas | 831-757-DOCS | SalinasValleyHealth.com/nicu Robert Castro, MD, Salinas Valley Health NICU Director Neonatologist, Stanford Medicine Children’s Health

6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY JUNE 6-12, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com 831 Imagine a sun-filled Salinas-area property that is pretty much run by animals. An Icelandic pony named Donald Trump seems to be in charge, overseeing a growing horse rescue (nine horses), a donkey, a miniature mule named French Fry, two cats, Ben and Jerry, and a couple of dogs. A pig resided there until recently, as well as a rooster called John Snow. They all live in peace and harmony, and scenes such as a dog standing on a horse friend give you the idea of this animal paradise. When it comes to humans, the rescue is run by Ande Parker and her family, who live nearby but spend a lot of time with their animal neighbors. The property is big enough that to visit all the animals, Donald Trump gives humans a ride in a cart, trying not to provoke other indigenous residents— snakes, hidden in tall grass. Parker says she chose the name for her pony not because of politics but because of the pony’s hair—a big blond mane, typical for Icelandic ponies, which are smaller (Iceland is a small island) than regular ponies. Their abundant hair make them look like fairytale horses, almost too beautiful to be real. “I got him from an Ohio man who brought him to the U.S.,” Parker explains. Her daughter just graduated from high school, but Parker looks much younger, fit, with long brown hair and a hat to protect her skin from the intense sun. But it’s her enthusiasm and undeniable love for animals that are most striking. She cannot refuse taking an animal in, therefore she hesitates making a website for the rescue that is called the Reck Rake Rescue. “I don’t think we would be able to have more than 20 animals here,” she says. It seems that with nine horses and their companions she is pretty much at capacity. “Chickens are great pets too,” she says as she lists their favorite animals, while stopping the cart to let an upset, needy doggie climb onto her lap and participate in the tour. When she talks to her animals, it’s clear that she treats them as if they all are her children. Asked if she is vegetarian, Parker says she is trying, but her main issue with the meat industry is not that animals are being eaten, but how they are treated and eventually slaughtered to end up, sliced and packaged, on our table. She believes that there’s a better way to produce meat; grass-fed (no alfalfa) and humanely. No matter what you are trying to achieve, there’s no reason to beat or torture animals, she says. Until recently, Parker worked fulltime and now is fulfilling her lifelong dream, also full-time. She spends hours in the rescue every day mothering her happy animal family. She says she is exhausted every day, but every day she feels a sense of satisfaction. General friendliness among animals who seem to like and even take care of each other is one of the most enchanting features of the place. Another is the surroundings, the peaceful countryside off Old Stage Road. It’s a big country of large open landscapes and a line of mountains in a distant horizon. When it came to starting the rescue, Parker did some basic research: “We googled it all,” she says. Most of the animals come from friends and acquaintances who are not able to keep their pets. The rescue’s immediate neighbors have cows, who moo at the horses, trying to start a conversation—but good luck with that; friendliness has its limits and horses, such as the 35-year-old proud Contessa and her horse friends, Forrest Gump and Cody, know better than to talk to cows. Many of the horses have a traumatic past or unresolved physical and mental issues; some have their own humans who pay Parker to house and feed their pets. Before ending up in Monterey County, Parker was a beach-obsessed surfer girl raised in Ventura. She has loved horses, and other animals, all her life. “We are on the smaller side,” she says about the rescue. That said, Parker cannot say no to newcomers and their touching stories, so accepting other horses (or pigs, or roosters) is certainly a possibility. “It’s hard to say no,” she confesses. Learn more about Reck Rake Rescue at instagram. com/reckrakerescueandretirement. Animal Farm A horse rescue in Salinas is a place where its denizens— human and animal—care for each other. By Agata Pop˛eda Donald Trump the Icelandic pony gives a ride to his dog friend at Reck Rake Rescue. Animals live in harmony at this Salinas-area horse rescue. “Chickens are great pets.” TALES FROM THE AREA CODE ANDE PARKER

www.montereycountynow.com JUNE 6-12, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 7 GET TICKETS WeatherTechRaceway.com

8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY june 6-12, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com news Trader Joe’s is coming to Marina, marking the popular grocery store’s third location in Monterey County. Spokesperson Nakia Rohde writes by email to the Weekly that the company plans to open a store in Marina, but “at this time, we do not have a location or timeline to confirm. “We are actively looking at hundreds of neighborhoods across the country as we hope to open more new neighborhood stores each year,” Rohde writes. But building plans filed in March and updated on May 22 show the store’s specifics. It will be located at 150 10th St. as part of The Dunes Promenade, according to City of Marina permit records. The mixed-use development, where The Brass Tap recently opened near the Cinemark Century movie theater, is currently under construction. According to the plans, the 12,500-square-foot store will have a little more than 100 parking spaces. Developer Shea Homes announced earlier this year that a “well-known national specialty grocer” had signed a lease in the center to open in late 2024, noting that the name of the store would be revealed in the coming months. The Promenade development is targeted to be complete by fall. Once fully built out, the overall The Dunes on Monterey Bay development, which was approved by the Marina City Council in 2005, will consist of 1,237 homes and 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, according to Shea Homes. In other developments at The Dunes shopping center, Ross Dress for Less filed plans to open in the former Bed Bath & Beyond, which closed in 2022. The Five Below discount store opened earlier this year in the spot formerly occupied by Party City. Market Placed Trader Joe’s is opening in Marina’s new Promenade development. By Erik Chalhoub On April 1, the City of Monterey sent out a press release stating its intent to turn the 135-acre Old Capitol site off Highway 1 into a dinosaur amusement park. It was a joke. The site, which Pebble Beach Co. gave to the city in 2019, would be nigh impossible to develop—it’s heavily forested with Monterey pines—and also carries a lot of fire risk. After the land was conveyed, the City re-designated the property from very-low-density residential to parks and open space in its general plan, and also changed the zoning designation from planned community to open space. Now, the future of the Old Capitol Site is actively being dreamt about, as the City is going through a process to ask the public how they’d like to see the property utilized. (A survey on how best to use the site, the second so far, closes on Friday, June 7.) The site is divided into three parcels, all of which are south of Highway 1 and roughly across the road from the Del Monte Center. (Several streets, including Sylvan, Barnet Segal and Iris Canyon roads, cut through the property.) The site presents an opportunity for the city: It’s a beautiful open space, but, from a wildfire standpoint, it’s also a liability—it’s a forest of Monterey pines, on the edge of the wildland-urban interface. Two “special attention areas” provide permanent preservation of Monterey pine forest and other species. But much of the space will eventually open for recreation. Pacific Grove resident Peter Berridge leads the way through the westernmost of the three of the sites, and is ebullient in his support for the idea he’s putting forth: A cycling playground for Monterey Peninsula residents. “The connectivity to the city makes it such a rare opportunity,” Berridge says. He is a mountain biker and communications coordinator for the nonprofit Monterey Off Road Cycling Association, and sweeps his hand over the future parking lot on Site 2. His vision is for an adjacent “skill zone” space for young bikers to train. The idea is that it’s not a bike park, per se, but a multi-use park where both bikers and hikers are welcome. Some minutes later, Berridge picks his step through Site 3, the easternmost of the sites, which he’s hoping to make accessible for bikes only. But everything about the future of this property is up for grabs right now as the City’s survey process continues, and will eventually lead to a draft plan. Berridge sees youth as a big part of the movement he’s trying to lead, and his enthusiasm is effusive: “There really is room for every activity. That’s what MORCA is really all about.” That’s going to be the question the City wrestles with in the months to come. Managing public recreation spaces for walkers (or joggers or hikers) and cyclists has been a challenge elsewhere, so Berridge envisions a bicycles-only area to avoid conflict. He plans to speak up on Wednesday, June 12 at the Monterey Parks and Recreation Commission meeting in support of the cycling-friendly concept. The survey is available online (in English and Spanish) at haveyoursaymonterey.org/oldcapitolsite. Sara Rubin contributed to this report. Peter Berridge, a mountain biker and member of the Monterey Off Road Cycling Association, shows where a parking lot would be located at the Old Capitol Site. Ride On The bicycling community weighs in as City of Monterey considers making a new 135-acre park. By David Schmalz Construction is underway on a new 12,500-square-foot grocery store building within Marina’s Promenade development. City records show Trader Joe’s is the tenant. “There really is room for every activity. That’s what MORCA is really all about.” Daniel Dreifuss Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountynow.com JUNE 6-12, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 9 4.50%APY 22 MONTH CERTIFICATE 5.29%APY 9 MONTH CERTIFICATE 5.64%APY 4 MONTH CERTIFICATE APY = annual percentage yield. Minimum opening deposit $10,000. Maximum opening deposit $999 999.99. Funds to open this certificate must be new to Monterey CU. New to Monterey CU means that funds have must not been on deposit with Monterey CU within the last six months. Limit one promotional share certificate per member. This offer is available for a limited time starting 06/01/24 and subject to change or cancellation without notice. Early withdrawal penalties apply. Open a Special Summer Certificate! Visit us at montereycu.com or call us at 831.647.1000 GET FREE MULCH For additional eligibility requirements and to receive your voucher for FREE natural mulch, visit montereywaterinfo.org/mulch-madness. FREE MULCH FOR YOUR GARDEN California American Water (CAW) and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) are sponsoring a free mulch giveaway.* We are offering: • A voucher for five (5) FREE bags of prebagged natural mulch OR two (2) FREE cubic yards of natural mulch. • A 25% discount on natural mulch purchased beyond the first five bags/ two cubic yards of mulch. *Supplies are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. WHY MULCH? Mulch helps soil retain moisture and reduces water use by up to 25%. It also impedes weed growth and improves the health of your soil. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS • Must be a CAW water service customer or a resident living within MPWMD’s jurisdiction. • For personal use only; not for resale. TOURISM MATTERS TO MONTEREY COUNTY AND SO DOES YOUR OPINION RSVP HERE Join See Monterey for a professionally moderated discussion on the impact of tourism in our community. COMMUNITY INPUT FORUM Wednesday, June 12, 2024 6:00pm - 7:30pm Monterey Conference Center SeeMonterey.com

10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY june 6-12, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com A sea of purple met the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, May 29, just as supervisors were set to discuss the $2 billion 2024-2025 recommended budget ahead of a vote on June 20. Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 521 packed the chambers wearing T-shirts in the union’s colors of purple and gold, while holding signs declaring a staffing crisis. Each time a union member spoke, the rest rustled their signs in support. Their message was focused on preserving and bolstering the county’s 5,900-member workforce, asking the supervisors to protect existing positions as well as fill dozens of vacant positions, which SEIU members said were leading to overworked employees. “My name is Carina Romero and I come with my son in hand, covered in banana, to show you who we are fighting for,” the psychiatric social worker told the supervisors while holding her toddler, who was holding a big piece of banana as his mom spoke at the podium. Romero said she is doing the work of two positions, working with youth who have committed sexual offenses. “Yes, the work is getting done, but at what cost?” she said through tears. “You guys don’t see the late nights, the hours that we work, the time we don’t spend with our families because it has to get done.” Also looming large over the supervisors that day was the potential loss of $13.5 million in state funding for assistance and support programs administered by the county’s Department of Social Services (DSS), due to California’s projected budget deficit. It meant the possible elimination of several programs, vacant positions and at least two employees. Noting that the cuts “come with pain,” for employees as well as those who receive services, DSS Assistant Director Roderick Franks asked the supervisors to save two positions in the CalWORKS program, and provide funding for general assistance and homelessness programs, for a total augmentation request of just over $1 million. Besides cuts in state funding, the dilemma facing the Board of Supervisors in the coming budget year and the next few years is that the county’s revenues are not keeping up with expenses, according to County Administrative Officer Sonia De La Rosa, who presented the recommended budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Rising labor and pension costs and expansions of health and social service programs, along with new programs for homelessness housing assistance and disaster recovery efforts in Pajaro, were some of the reasons given for increasing expenditures. The budget presented included $2 billion in spending, which is $64 million over the current fiscal year, a 3.4-percent increase. It’s a balanced budget, De La Rosa said, in large part because of eliminating—for one year—a $10.4 million contribution to a pension trust fund the county set up to pay for future unfunded pension liabilities. There were $24 million in unassigned funds the supervisors could use to save positions or add new positions, like three new positions Sheriff Tina Nieto requested. Nieto said the roles are needed to gain increased compliance with the Hernandez court settlement that the Sheriff’s Department is mandated to follow in order to improve conditions at the Monterey County Jail. It was not clear at the end of the day whether they had majority support for those positions, after Supervisor Mary Adams left shortly before the end of the 10-hour meeting. What a majority of supervisors did support was to keep two DSS positions, along with two additional social service positions in South County, as well as a parks ranger, plus smaller amounts for separate programs that help “green” businesses, veterans and homelessness. With the sheriff’s request, there could be $20.3 million left over in unassigned funds that supervisors said they wanted funneled into a reserve account for unexpected expenses. The supervisors also debated on May 29, and again on Tuesday, June 4, about whether to put either a sales tax measure or transient-occupancy tax measure, or both, on the November ballot. Polling paid for by the County showed that 61 percent of those asked supported a sales tax increase, and 64 percent supported an increase in TOT. Only supervisors Wendy Root Askew and Glenn Church supported putting both measures on the ballot, noting that voters were more likely to support a TOT measure. Supervisors Luis Alejo, Chris Lopez and Mary Adams were only interested in pursuing a sales tax increase. The current county sales tax is 7.75 percent, below the 8.25 to 9.5 percent that cities within the county collect. Alejo, Lopez and Adams argued that they would collect millions more with a 1-percent sales tax increase than the county would in pursuing an increase in TOT. Alejo contended that they had a better chance of winning by pursuing only one measure. The three supervisors also agreed with hospitality representatives who said a TOT increase would hurt their industry, still not fully back from Covid-19 shutdowns. The supervisors agreed to bring the tax debate back for more discussion on Thursday, June 20. Adding a tax measure to the ballot requires a four-fifths vote. If they do, then it will be up to voters in November. During the same meeting, they will make their final decisions and approve the budget for 2024-25. Dip Ahead County faces tough budget decisions and a possible tax increase measure. By Pam Marino news Coastal Chat California Coastal Commission staff and representatives will be on hand in Big Sur to hear from residents. Share your concerns and suggestions with Commissioners Ann Notthoff and Justin Cummings, as well as commission staffers Dan Carl and Breylen Ammen. 5-6:30pm Thursday, June 6. Big Sur Lodge conference room, 47225 Highway 1, Big Sur. Free. 647-7755, courtneyc@countyofmonterey.gov. Housing Matters The City of Salinas’ Community Development Department is hosting two meetings about housing. City staff present information on housing initiatives and the rental stabilization ordinance. Attendees are encouraged to ask questions. 5:30-6:30pm Thursday, June 6 virtual meeting. 6-8pm Thursday, June 13 at Salinas PAL Center, 100 Howard St., Salinas. Register for Zoom link at bit. ly/RSOregister. Free. 758-7334, housingwebmail@ci.salinas.ca.us. Lots of Love At SPCA Monterey County’s Summer of Love adoption event, adopters can pick their price on all available pets. Here is your chance to bring a dog, cat, turtle or even Stevie the potbelly pig into your home. 11am-5pm Friday, June 7-Sunday, June 9. SPCA Monterey County, 1002 Highway 68, Salinas. 373-2631, spcamc.org. Art Heroes The Arts Council for Monterey County is seeking nominations for Champions of the Arts. The awards acknowledge people and organizations who are committed to supporting the arts in Monterey County. Deadline to nominate is midnight, Sunday, June 9. arts4mc.org/champions. On the Ballot The November election is right around the corner, and candidates interested in running for office are invited to attend a seminar presented by Monterey County Elections. Learn about requirements for office, important filing dates and more. 6pm Monday, June 10. Government Center, Cayenne Room, 1441 Schilling Place (North Building), Salinas. Free. RSVP at candidateservices@co.monterey.ca.us or 796-1499. montereycountyelections.us. Call for Artists The City of Seaside is encouraging artists to submit proposals for a new mural that welcomes visitors to the Oldemeyer Center. Deadline to submit is 5pm Monday, June 24. Send proposals to Seaside City Hall, 440 Harcourt Ave., Seaside, 93955 or email to pwinfo@ci.seaside. ca.us. ci.seaside.ca.us/bids.aspx. An SEIU Local 521 member speaks to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on May 29. Union members asked to protect existing positions and fill vacancies. e-mail: toolbox@montereycountynow.com TOOLBOX “Yes, the work is getting done, but at what cost?” Daniel Dreifuss

www.montereycountynow.com june 6-12, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 When Patrice Pastor’s real estate development company, Esperanza Carmel, acquired the Rocky Point Restaurant property near Big Sur’s iconic Bixby Bridge in 2021, they also purchased a slew of violations from the previous owner. The California Coastal Commission is expected to clear those violations from the board when they meet on Friday, June 14 in Morro Bay after a tentative agreement was reached between Pastor and commission staff last month to resolve the issues. Staff recommend commissioners approve the agreement. Additions or changes to the restaurant itself, which shut down in 2020 and has remained closed since, are not part of the agreement. The violations in question involve restriction of access to public land by Peter and Grace Wang, who owned the property from 2012 until 2021, as well as a number of unpermitted development projects, clearing native vegetation for a parking area and the introduction of nonnative plant species, among other things. According to Coastal Commission documents, Esperanza has agreed to remove unpermitted construction, restore native habitat, upgrade public access to the scenic coast and record conservation easements to prevent further development on much of the property. Even before reaching the proposed agreement, the new owners had largely reopened easy public access to county-owned land on three sides of the plot. Commission enforcement staff refer to the decision as an “amicable resolution” of the existing violations. “It’s nice to have someone working hard to resolve this,” adds Martha Diehl, Big Sur resident and member of the Monterey County Planning Commission. According to Diehl, some of the restoration work involved may require additional permitting. “None of this is going to happen overnight,” she notes. Esperanza purchased the location for $8 million after the death of Peter Wang and has not reopened the restaurant since. Its proposal for facility updates has yet to be reviewed by county planning officials. “The county cannot review the plan as long as there are violations,” Diehl explains. What’s important at the moment, she points out, is that “this owner is returning public access.” In 2018, the commission began investigating reports that a gate, locked during non-restaurant hours, had been installed and signs declaring Rocky Point to be “private property” were posted on public access points. The investigation revealed further unpermitted work at the facility. Among the public access amenities to be added to the site per the proposed agreement, Esperanza will install ADA-compliant public restrooms, a picnic area overlooking the coast, and a number of dedicated parking spaces, with eight equipped for charging electric vehicles. The cost to Esperanza to mitigate violations and upgrade public access is estimated at $4 million. Fixer Upper A deal would clear Rocky Point violations, but any further development will take time. By Dave Faries The view from the back of Rocky Point restaurant. County-owned land, including the entry road, surrounds the property. The area has long been an attraction for sightseers and photographers. NEWS “This owner is returning public access.” NIC COURY

12 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY june 6-12, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com Off the Bus How many people are going to park their car in Marina and get on a bus that travels just five miles to Seaside? (“Monterey-Salinas Transit’s proposed SURF! busway is hitting bumps in the road,” May 30-June 5.) The proposed MST SURF! busway cost is now $91.5 million and the current route plows right through Fort Ord Dunes State Park. Goodbye to 92 trees and some very special coastal habitat. What a huge waste, in more ways than one. Christie Greenwall | Marina Governance 101 Perhaps it’s best that these people remain thoroughly engrossed in their mutual hostility (“The MPC board finally elects officers on split votes, reflecting deep divisions,” posted May 31). It would be a shame if they somehow got involved in running the college. Or anything else, really. What a parliament of clowns. Arnold Seibel | Pacific Grove To the Top Spoken like a true liberal!! (“A conviction for a former president proves that no one is above the law,” posted May 30.) Carolyn Sames | Carmel Great editorial: civil, carefully worded, but crystal clear in its message, a message for all Americans. Thanks. Christina Lund | Pacific Grove You would benefit from toning down your political bias especially when you don’t have a very good grasp of the facts. Susan Gleason | Pebble Beach Despite the guilty verdict, Donald Trump is still very much running for president. If he is elected to a second term, our democracy would be in serious peril. Don’t just take my word for it: Trump has pledged to weaponize the Department of Justice to seek revenge against his political opponents, pardon himself and his allies for crimes they commit, and deploy the military against demonstrators exercising their First Amendment rights—all while purging the federal government of anyone who doesn’t agree with him. There’s too much at stake to let Trump return to the Oval Office. It’s up to us to make sure we hold Trump accountable at the ballot box in November. Tony Paredes | Salinas The guilty [verdict] of a former president was a political stunt. Judge Juan Merchan was picked to destroy the Trump family and his campaign. District Attorney Alvin Bragg destroys New York every day with his lawlessness on the streets over and over while he appears in a kangaroo court. Trump will appeal and yes, we will vote for Trump just for the voters around the nation and the Central Coast who think they can gain Democrat votes on a felony charge. We know who saved our country with no inflation and low unemployment rates. We know who kept us safe from terrorism and no wars. We had low gas prices around the nation but not in California because of our wonderful gas tax thanks to Democrats. All the bad bills passed are authored by Democrats, not Republicans and we will not stop to save our nation or our state. Marilyn Galli | Carmel This isn’t just about hush money payments. It’s about breaking the law to hide the truth from the American people 11 days before a presidential election. Trump has a clear pattern of lying to the American people and trying to undermine our elections in order to cling to power. He still faces three additional indictments and 54 criminal charges, including federal charges for inciting an insurrection to overturn the 2020 election. In spite of all of this, he’s still running for president. Donald Trump is a convicted fraudster and criminal who still poses a massive threat to our fundamental freedoms. We can’t let him hold the highest office in our land in 2025. It’s up to all of us to hold him accountable and defeat him at the ballot box in November. Kelly Daggett | Seaside Tyranny of the Majority I’m so disappointed in the Pacific Grove City Council (“Squid Fry: Code Breakers,” May 30-June 5). They want employees and citizens to be held accountable but heaven forbid they are. One particular council member is costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s truly unbelievable. There is no transparency. It’s just lip service. Thanks for continuing to report on this. RJ Viray | Pacific Grove School Day California’s draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum was written by a committee co-chaired by Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, the consultant who was later hired by Pajaro Valley Unified School District (“Ethnic studies contract causes a rift in PVUSD—and a community group,” May 30-June 5). Tintiangco-Cubales’s 600-page draft contained just two references to the Holocaust. This was one of many reasons that Gov. Gavin Newsom referred to this draft as biased, bigoted and discriminatory and assured Jewish leaders that “It will never see the light of day.” The state’s Instructional Quality Commission scrapped her draft, replacing it with a more inclusive, less biased model curriculum that included lessons about antisemitism. Not incidentally, Tintiangco-Cubales was furious about the changes and demanded that her name be removed from the final adopted model curriculum. Doug Kaplan | Aptos Note: Kaplan is a former PVUSD trustee. Deep Roots Great guy, great place (“A unique Castroville nursery is trying to stay in business by buying the property it leases,” May 23-29). My banana trees are 20-plus years old. Cathy Kunkel | via social media This place is like a succulent museum! Carmen Oropesa-Siordia | via social media Love this place. I got some of my best cactus collection here. Elizabeth Gonzalez-Jaskulak | via social media 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 june 6-12, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 County officials knew they had to do something about the rising trend of short-term rentals before you’d even heard of VRBO or Airbnb. While the practice of renting out private residential homes for short-term vacationers wasn’t invented by these internet platforms, they helped the practice expand rapidly and by 2015, the County of Monterey convened a ShortTerm Rental Working Group. More than nine years later, the initial premise—that something must be done—is finally on its way to becoming reality. The Monterey County Planning Commission held a public hearing on May 29 on a proposed ordinance regulating short-term rentals in the unincorporated county, and to certify a final environmental impact report associated with it. The commission is set to reconvene on Wednesday, June 12 to deliberate and vote. Their recommendation will then go to the County Board of Supervisors. If adopted, the regulations as proposed would not only finally put to bed this longstanding, unresolved issue. They would thread the needle of how to manage a complicated issue. Depending on who you ask, short-term vacation rentals are the only way property owners can afford to keep their homes. Or they are also a get-rich-quick scheme for out-of-towners taking housing off the market, running commercial enterprises— basically unpermitted hotels—in residential neighborhoods. These divided perspectives were on display at the Planning Commission hearing, as they have been throughout the entire process. Commissioners heard from people who said vacation rentals have ruined the neighborhood. “My area is zoned low-density residential but the house across the street from me is a mini hotel,” said a resident of Yankee Point in the Carmel Highlands. There were also stories from STR owners who rely on the income to pay the bills. In one case of a Royal Oaks home inherited from her mother, a woman talked about trimming trees for fire safety. “What we’ve done with every dime is improve the county—we have put so much money into this house,” she said. “We are not some business, we are people.” The comments poured in, both spoken and written—letters were submitted in real time as the hearing unfolded. “One correspondent suggested that STRs allow seniors to have needed income and I’m not arguing with that,” one Pebble Beach senior wrote. “What has not been addressed is that seniors also want to feel safe and secure in their homes.” She went on to describe vacationers in the STR next door repeatedly peering over the fence—making her feel unsafe and insecure. So it went, for hours, as the commissioners listened. “I feel for you having to hack your way through these regulatory thickets,” said Kay Austen of the Monterey County Vacation Rental Alliance. Then she added: “Thickets that you have created.” The nine-plus years of work to contain this evolving landscape of short-term rentals landed with a proposed ordinance that, if adopted, would do a good job of addressing the disparate needs. Most importantly, it would distinguish between commercial short-term rentals that are, in effect, hotels, and hosted rentals, in which somebody lives in a place and rents out a room. It would also distinguish between repeat businesses and an occasional side hustle in which a home is rented out up to three times a year—the latter is not changing the fabric of a neighborhood. Staff from the County’s Housing and Community Development Department wisely propose making these nuanced but significant distinctions. Their proposal also reduces a cap on the portion of single-family homes used as commercial short-term rentals from 6 percent of the total to 4 percent. “Residences are for people to live in—that’s the point of residential zoning,” said Martha Diehl, Planning Commission chair. “It’s not in fact to support someone having a second home, it’s not in fact to support someone with an investment. We have a housing shortage, and everything we do I want to make sure I run through that [question]: Is this helping people to find places to live?” A proposal that allows this business—for some families, a lifeline—to continue, while also protecting neighborhoods is a good compromise. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@montereycountynow.com. The Long and Short of It After years of delay, County finally prepares to regulate short-term rentals. By Sara Rubin Shark Tank…Squid is constantly on the move—not only is the Monterey Bay a big place, but Squid has to avoid the always-circling sharks. Squid can’t imagine why anyone would welcome a shark into their home, unless they like to get bitten. But that seems to be what Taylor Farms is doing. The produce company’s massive headquarters at 150 Main St. in downtown Salinas is up for sale and seeking an investor to fork over $38.3 million, according to a listing posted on the commercial real estate website LoopNet on May 24. It advertises the nearly 100,000-square-foot property as an “absolute NNN lease,” or as it later describes in layman’s terms, “lessor has no landlord obligations.” That last sentence at first had Squid worried. Squid knows absentee owners and their “out of sight, out of mind” attitude can be a major issue. But such leases are fairly common among commercial properties, and Squid is confident Taylor Farms will continue to upkeep the building as it has since it was built in 2015. Taylor Farms purchased the building from itself for roughly the same price in 2015 as it’s now asking. Squid is no financial expert, but wouldn’t you want to invest in something that has shown to increase its value over time? Hump Day…When Squid is away from the lair and needs a nap, Squid usually doesn’t bother looking for a bed—cephalopods are happy just to burrow into the sand for some camouflage and to catch a wink. Squid understands that humans have more elaborate needs, hence the existence of hotels, motels and short-term rentals. The latter has been a thorny issue for years, and finally made its way to the Monterey County Planning Commission on Wednesday, May 29 (see story, left). Squid was there to see how the sausage is made—or, it turns out, to learn how the camel got its humps. One Carmel Valley short-term rental owner/operator, Charles Hawley, spoke up in support of lower fees, more streamlining and clarity in the regulations. “I hope you’ll simplify it as much as possible,” he said. He also had words about the years-long process that had brought everyone to this less-than-simple place: “Someone told me once a camel is a racehorse that’s been developed by a committee.” Commission chair Martha Diehl observed that’s exactly the point of soliciting all of the competing perspectives over the years: “The public process is designed exactly to develop camels,” she said. Squid isn’t sure why people don’t like camels anyway—maybe because they have a habit of spitting in people’s faces. But they only do that when they are annoyed. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “Residences are for people to live in.” Send Squid a tip: squid@montereycountynow.com

14 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY JUNE 6-12, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com Court Rules Donald Trump was convicted because of democracy— not in spite of it, despite what he claims. By John Nichols FORUM Immediately after his historically unprecedented conviction on 34 charges of falsifying business records, Donald J. Trump tried to suggest that the jury’s decision was an affront to democracy. “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people. And they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here,” said the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States, before he ripped into the prosecutor who brought the case, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “You have a Soros-backed DA and the whole thing. We didn’t do anything wrong. I’m a very innocent man.” As usual, Trump got it wrong. Trump was not convicted in spite of democracy. He was convicted because of democracy. Bragg pursued Trump as an elected prosecutor, a popularly chosen law enforcement officer who did the job that voters assigned him. Bragg did not obtain his position in a backroom deal. He was elected in a competitive eight-way Democratic primary, defeating veteran local, state and federal prosecutors, a civil rights attorney, a legislator and a public defender. On the basis of his experience, Bragg ran as the candidate who was ready and willing to hold the wealthy and the powerful, including when necessary former presidents, to account. He reminded voters that, as a state prosecutor, “I have sued Trump over 100 times. I can’t change that fact, nor would I. That was important work.” Bragg kept the promise that he made as a candidate to pursue equal justice under the law. Trump regularly claimed that the Manhattan district attorney was nothing more than a stooge of liberal billionaire George Soros, who has in recent years supported efforts to elect supporters of criminal justice reform to prosecutor positions across the country. But Soros explained in 2023 that he had never met Bragg, nor earmarked direct campaign contributions to the DA’s 2021 campaign. Trump’s attacks on Bragg, who is Black, and Soros, who is Jewish, were so persistent, and so ugly, that Magda Teter, a professor of history and the chair in Judaic Studies at Fordham University, observed: “With these attacks, Trump and his supporters, including Trump-supporting media outlets, tapped into deep-rooted antisemitic and racist ideas of Jewish power and Black gullibility, thus connecting antisemitism and racism.” Trump allies in Congress, led by House Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan of Ohio, accused Bragg of neglecting the work of prosecuting street crime in order to pursue “a radical political agenda.” The political pressure has been intense. Yet Bragg is, at least to some extent, insulated from that pressure—he does not report to the White House or to Jim Jordan. Bragg is an elected district attorney, who respects his duty to uphold the rule of law, and the voters who put him in a position to hold the powerful to account. 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