8 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY june 27-july 3, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com news Cannery Row’s Salty Seal Brewpub and Sports Bar, one of the few live music venues on Monterey Peninsula, is up for sale. It doesn’t appear to be for lack of business: on a recent Saturday afternoon, the Salty Seal is abuzz with customers, some of whom, their lanyards revealed, are in town to watch car racing at Laguna Seca. Co-owner Rachael Smith, who founded the business with her now-exhusband Jim McLennan in 2021, says the business is successful, but she wants to downsize her responsibilities and also work closer to her home in Santa Cruz. The property, which for years prior was occupied by Cooper’s Pub and Restaurant (and before that by Bullwacker’s), was empty when Smith and McLennan took it over, but they plan to sell it with everything inside. “It’s completely turnkey,” Smith says. “Anybody coming in as a potential buyer really has little to do.” She adds they’ve had excellent employee retention, and that some staff have been there three years. The business, which leases an approximately 5,100-square-foot space from Cannery Row Company, comes with a prized Type 47 liquor license and an outdoor patio/venue. The business is currently listed for $795,000. Smith says it’s not an ideal time to sell—typically, she says, you’d want to see through to the end of your five-year business plan to show consistency in numbers, so she expects it could be up to a year before they find a buyer. For now, Smith is just happy the doldrums of winter have ended and the high season is humming. “We really did have a brutal winter,” she says. “It rained literally every weekend for a five-month period.” Seal Deal The lease for one of Monterey’s few live music venues is for sale. By David Schmalz Salinas’ new City Manager Rene Mendez inherited a city with a number of leadership positions being filled by interim roles—chief among them at the police department. Mendez has said his top priority is finding a permanent police chief, which has been held on an acting basis by Salinas police veteran John Murray since former chief Roberto Filice resigned in January. Earlier this month, the City of Salinas released a survey asking the public what qualities and experience they want to see in the next police chief. A week after the survey went live, it had received more than 500 responses, according to Mendez. “I’m really encouraging the community to weigh in on what they want to see in a police chief,” he says. The survey, at tinyurl.com/ SalinasLeadership, runs through June 30. The initial search shortly after Filice’s resignation drew the ire of former police chief Kelly McMillin and others, who alleged it was taking place out of the public eye. Interim Vallejo Police Chief Jason Ta was reportedly tapped for the role, but an agreement never materialized, and city officials declined to comment, citing confidentiality reasons. Mendez says he’s hoping to get the community involved—he plans to report the results of the survey after it concludes as well as hold public meetings about the search. The city has retained the firm Bob Murray & Associates as the recruiter— which includes former Salinas chief Adele Fresé on its staff, who served in the role from 2016-2022—and the job listing went live on Tuesday, June 25. According to the listing, applications will be accepted through Aug. 4, and the position has an annual salary of $185,112 to $236,256, plus benefits. Mendez says the results of the survey will be shared with the recruiter, who will then review the initial candidates before narrowing them down for Mendez to interview and make the final decision. He expects the process to take about three months. “Ultimately I want to find a good fit for our community,” Mendez says. Murray, who has been with the Salinas Police Department for 28 years, is interested in the job. A Salinas resident for 32 years who is originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Murray has served in numerous positions in the department, most recently assistant chief before being named to lead the department after Filice’s resignation. “I’d like to continue the good work we’re doing,” he says. “I’m excited about the opportunity to make this permanent.” Murray, who holds a master’s degree in homeland security from the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security, says he encourages officers to pursue their own higher educational paths, which he adds makes them more “socially conscious in their own community” and open to creative approaches to policing. The Salinas Police Department is authorized to have 161 sworn officers, but is currently at 131. Law enforcement agencies around the country are facing challenges with recruiting and retention, and while Salinas is no exception, Murray says the department is at a turning point. “There’s a lot of energy, and we’ve done a lot of things to enhance our recruitment efforts and our retention,” he says. “We’re getting a lot of interest.” Acting Salinas Police Chief John Murray, who has been with the department for 28 years, says the 2020 move to a new building was a turning point for the agency. Round Two Salinas’ search for its next police chief begins in earnest for the second time this year. By Erik Chalhoub Rachael Smith, co-owner of The Salty Seal on Cannery Row, expects it might take a year to find a buyer for the business, but she’s happy to be back in the busy summer season for now. “I want to find a good fit for our community.” Daniel Dreifuss Daniel Dreifuss