8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY June 20-26, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com news Yet again, the City of Seaside finds itself embroiled in a lawsuit over its attempts to develop the former Fort Ord, just over a week after City Council finalized an $850,000 settlement with Sacramento-based developer Paul Petrovich regarding his attempt to develop the so-called “Main Gate” property north of Lightfighter Drive and east of Highway 1. On June 14, nonprofits Center for Biological Diversity and Landwatch Monterey County sued the City over its approval of an environmental impact report for a general plan update on May 16. The general plan lays out a future vision for development through 2040. It’s not like the council wasn’t warned—both organizations sent letters to the city on May 15, alleging deficiencies in the environmental review of the plan update. Both number more than 40 pages. Landwatch’s letter lays out several root causes of their claims. Seaside East, a 635-acre parcel east of Gen. Jim Moore Boulevard is replete with many protected plant species. Its development would rely on water from the Marina Coast Water District, which has a water supply portfolio that is of questionable sustainability—much of it comes from the Deep Aquifer, which is ancient water that is essentially being mined and not replenished. The allegations in the lawsuit include inconsistencies within the plan, the impact on water supply, habitat and the failure to fully describe the plan and evaluate alternatives. The lawsuit asks that the City Council’s approval of the EIR be set aside, and to impose an injunction on any projects that would rely upon it unless the city amends the plan. City Attorney Sheri Damon could not be reached for comment before the Weekly’s deadline. Plan B Land use watchdogs sue the City of Seaside over its 2040 general plan. By David Schmalz There are some regular chants at Monterey Bay F.C. games, like “Let’s go Union,” and a call-and-response of “MB!” returned by “FC!” The crowd, including many regulars, sometimes chant together, at times led by Superfan Dan, who rallies the enthusiasm. Crowd participation is not all cheery—it regularly includes heckling the opposing team, part of the culture of soccer. But there is another chant that has become typical at the stadium that has left some fans wondering if they should attend the games: P___, a derogatory term used in Mexico to refer to gay men, similar to f____, an anti-gay slur in English. Pride Night on Saturday, June 8 went sour for several MBFC fans when they heard the hateful chant. One of them is Monica Lopez, who is queer, and their wife Noemi Mejia. “It really made me feel uncomfortable and it’s really making me consider if I want to renew, if I want to be a season ticket holder next year,” Lopez says. Merideth Canham-Nelson says she left the match after hearing it for the second time, and reported the chanting. “It’s been going on for the last three years,” Canham-Nelson adds. (That’s the entire existence of this relatively new pro soccer team.) Canham-Nelson and her husband have reported the chanting several times and feel little has been done to solve the issue. “I just want it to be a safe environment for everybody,” she says. The United Soccer League code of conduct and MBFC’s supporter season guidelines both condemn the use of derogatory language. USL’s sanctions include warnings, removal from games or arrest. MBFC President Mike DiGiulio notes the club’s code of conduct is posted at different locations in the stadium and is read during every match. DiGiulio says they are doing what they can to address the issue, which is generated by a small number of people, not a large group. This includes meeting with supporters in May to discuss it, and reminding fans about the code of conduct at every game. “Monterey Bay F.C. does not stand for derogatory chants. We never will. We never have and we’ll continue to follow the guidance of all the soccer federations and do the right thing,” DiGiulio says. “We strive for equality, unity and inclusivity,” DiGiulio adds. Consequences for clubs where derogatory language is used range from stopping a game and fines and matches without fans. On the international field, a men’s CONCAFAF Nations League game (USA vs. Mexico) was stopped because fans chanted the same antigay slur. In 2022, FIFA fined the Mexican national soccer team and they played two World Cup qualifying games without fans; the Mexican Football Federation received a fine of about $110,000. Canham-Nelson says she wants the hateful chants to stop. “The primary way for this to happen is for MBFC to take action against those who are doing it,” she adds. Toward the end of the game on June 8, a group of people received warnings and two were eventually escorted out of the stadium. Cardinale Stadium seats up to 6,000 fans. A small group has repeatedly chanted a homophobic slur in Spanish, prompting disciplinary action from management. Own Goal Derogatory chants at Cardinale Stadium turn Pride Night sour for fans of Monterey Bay F.C. By Celia Jiménez Seaside East, a 635-acre slice of land on the former Fort Ord, is a maritime chaparral habitat filled with protected species. The prospect of developing it has invited litigation. “I just want it to be a safe environment for everyone.” Daniel Dreifuss david schmalz