20th Anniversary -- Community Voices
More than two dozen local leaders get their chance to write for the Weekly – almost unedited.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
We thought you’d like to hear from someone other than us, since we get to have our way with you nearly every week. So we asked a number of community folks if they’d reflect on the past 20 years (or however long they’ve been here) and share their words about the Weekly, the community or the world at-large. We had no idea what we’d learn, but were prepared that not all of it would be glowing praise. Below are excerpts from some of their responses (following Esquire’s “Dubious Achievements” model).
Some Would Say We Still Need to Grow Up
Almost 20 years ago, the Weekly and I headed down our respective paths. At virtually the same time in 1988, the Weekly began publishing and I became a plaintiff seeking redistricting for the city of Salinas. The year after, I ran for a seat on the Salinas City Council. Both were historic events. Many doubted there was a place in Monterey County for a weekly newspaper with a progressive slant and even more doubted a Mexican-American could be elected to the City Council in Salinas. Two decades later we’re both still here, and still fighting the good fight.
The Weekly covered that groundbreaking race and went on to cover hundreds of other community and human interest stories. As we’ve both gained experience, we’ve both taken on bigger challenges. The Weekly has tackled subjects that other papers have ignored and I’ve championed causes that have not always made me popular. Have the Weekly and I always agreed on the issues? No, we’ve taken each other to task at times. I’ve been at odds about some of their stories and they have let me know what they thought of my stance on a particular bill or policy. Yet over the years I believe we have built a relationship based on mutual respect for the difficult job each of us has chosen. Congratulations, Weekly, on 20 years of hard work.
In the end, we have worked hard to strengthen our democratic institutions by respecting a diversity of viewpoints, community interests, and promoting good government by encouraging healthy debate of difficult issues.
Simón Salinas is the Monterey County Supervisor, District 3, serving East Salinas, Spreckels, Chualar, Greenfield, Gonzales, Fort Hunter Liggett, King City, Soledad, Lake San Antonio and South County.
One of the Benefits of Working Here is That We Read the Weekly on Tuesday
A usual Thursday night after dance class: snacking while flipping through the Weekly. Wait– go back– in the skinny column near the fold: “Plaque ceremony and talk tomorrow by Hicks Stone.” Edward Durell Stone’s son aka his muse and wife will be there. Stone is the architect of Seaside City Hall– really? And CHOMP– my workplace. Whoa! I go and sit front row. They exude warmth and a generous spirit. New friends all around. Local AIA chapter invite extended to Hicks– please speak at our 2008 lecture series. Fast forward to February. Hey, Weekly, thanks for the introduction and look what’s next. They say, what about the other E.D. Stone building? Weekly writes a CHOMP story. Friday night after the lecture, a gushing woman approaches me: “I’m so lucky I was reading the Weekly last night, or I would have missed this cool event… ”
Amy Essick is the art curator for the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, which has to be one of the best jobs in the health-care industry.
Our Non-Sicilian Advertisers Get Fig Newtons
Over the years,the Monterey County Weeklyhas taken sides on certain issues that have made my hair stand on end!However, I want to say that Weekly owner Bradley Zeve is truly a product of the American Dream, where hard work and commitment have made for a success story, and that is what makes our country great.
A major part of Bradley’s success is not necessarily his talent as a CEO/publisher, but it may possibly be the baking talents of his wife and mother-in-law.No matter how riled I get with certain issues, their Italian fig holiday cookies offer the most calming effect and set the world straight.
All kidding aside, my wife, Velma, and I sincerely love the cookies but more importantly, we appreciate the thoughtfulness behind them. That is one of the benefits of living on the Monterey Peninsula.We are constantly reminded of the generous people that make up this wonderful, intimate community, and Bradley and Jeanne are in the forefront.I am thankful to live here!
Ted J. Balestreri is chairman and CEO of the Cannery Row Company, and has done all right for himself (and his family).
(Unfortunately, Jeanne’s mother, Sarafina “Sarah” Miceli, passed away in July. We’re grateful that her cucidati fig cookie recipe lives on.)
We Owe Much of Our Popularity to Selective Memory
I can’t believe I’ve been here long enough to remember when Coast Weekly got started, but I remember clearly enough that it seemed like a great idea.
Over the years, I’ve found that the more I became committed to staying in this area and the more I got involved, the more central the Weekly became to my own understanding of the issues, people and events that shape our community.
The Weekly has also been a wonderful way to communicate with the community. When we started First Night Monterey in 1993, the Weekly signed on as a sponsor and [the late arts editor]Chuck Thurman served on panels. We could never have begun at all if it hadn’t been for the Weekly’s support!
I’m thrilled to see the Weekly going stronger than ever after all these years. Congratulations! And– thank you!
Paulette Lynch is the founder of First Night Monterey and the executive director of the Arts Council for Monterey County.
We Get More Delight from the Organic Glues
Almost four years ago, I sold most of my possessions, tearfully said goodbye to friends and colleagues and left the South for a new life in California. While I’d visited the area before, I was ill prepared for how different life can be here. I had scarcely been here a week when I stumbled into a hardware store in Carmel. From the corner of my eye, an attractive, elegantly-dressed woman and her equally well-turned-out Great Dane caught my attention. “Could you please show me where the organic wood putty is?” she inquired of the sales clerk. “Certainly,’’ he replied, leading them to something I never even knew existed. Still reeling from this encounter, I left the store to cross the street. Traffic stopped for me– both ways. What a wonderful place. Every day an adventure.
E. Michael Whittington is the executive director of the Monterey Museum of Art and a regular Weekly reader.
Remembering the Weekly’s Pioneering Plane-Jumper
We met in his small office behind the General Store in Carmel. It was about 20 years ago and Chuck Thurman, the arts and entertainment editor for Coasting, had called to see if I was interested in writing a music column for the paper. It was the beginning of a long relationship that launched my “career” as a music writer. During the eight years that I wrote for the paper that is today Monterey County Weekly, I witnessed many changes and the evolution of a newspaper that has come to play a vital role in our community.
Chuck, one of the paper’s early pioneers, was the consummate pro, forever dedicated to promoting the arts on the Monterey Peninsula. Still, Chuck covered more than just the arts. Given the opportunity, Thurman would jump out of a plane– and jump out of a plane he did– to get the story told. Chuck epitomized the spirit and the get-up-and-go attitude of a youthful newspaper that aspired to tell the other side of the story, to reach out to a community in Monterey County that was changing, and to cover stories that had been left uncovered. With the closure of Fort Ord and the arrival of CSUMB, the need became greater than ever.
What started out as Coasting– a weekly entertainment rag– has become much more. The little paper that could is here to stay and we have people like Chuck– one of many tireless young writers– to thank.
Steve Vagnini was the Weekly’s first rock-and-roll columnist. He is now the two-time elected county assessor, carefully monitoring your property values.
(Sadly, long-time Weekly Arts Editor Chuck Thurman passed away in April.)
He Doesn’t Agree With Us– Even When We’re Right
I have enjoyed a great relationship with the Monterey County Weekly and its staff. We don’t always agree but I feel that I have always received fair treatment and professional consideration.
I was very impressed with Raul Vasquez’s three-part series on immigration in December 2005. He did a good job of looking at the complex issues and relating it to our experiences here on the Central Coast. The leadership at the Weekly should be commended on allowing Raul the latitude to explore the controversial subject in depth and for setting the bar in the communities’ expectations of our local media outlets. The key to continued success of the Weekly is unbiased reporting and well-considered, insightful editorials. Keep up the good work– it is a service to our community.
Ralph Rubio is the mayor of Seaside.
(Raul’s three-part series on immigration won a statewide award for public service.)
You Mean It Won’t Be a Good Thing When Monterey Bay Is 20 Degrees Warmer?
The past 20 years have brought a dramatic transformation in the way we safeguard ocean resources along the Central Coast and beyond. Consider: In 1992, President George H. W. Bush established the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary– then and now the largest marine protected area in the continental United States.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore participated in the National Ocean Conference in Monterey, bringing new attention to ocean issues and laying the groundwork for a systematic evaluation of how we manage ocean resources.
In 1999, California adopted the Marine Life Protection Act, which includes provisions to create a network of marine protected areas along our entire coast. The first network was established on the Central Coast in April 2007.
And in 2000, two oceans commissions– one appointed by President George W. Bush, the other created by the Pew Charitable Trusts– began to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations to reform national ocean governance. Today, the commissions are hard at work to transform their findings into public policy.
We’ve come a long way, as evidenced by the thriving wildlife we enjoy along our local coastline every day. Still, our oceans don’t get the attention they deserve. After all, they not only represent the largest ecosystems on Earth, they’re essential to the future of all life, including ours.
As environmental concerns, including global climate change, loom larger each day, there’s no time to lose in actively working to ensure the oceans we know and love will endure for the future.
Julie Packard is executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and an international leader on ocean education and policy.
If Only He Knew That Reporter Flunked College Science
When asked to submit an article on the local community, my thoughts went toward the plants and animals that populate our shores. I came from Southern California to the Central Coast in the early ’60s and was captivated by the rich, diverse communities of the rocky shores and kelp forests of our Peninsula. As a long-time resident of the shores of Hopkins Marine Station, I began to be troubled in the mid ’80s when I became aware that things were beginning to appear more like my memories of Southern California shores.
I tried for years to sell my idea of documenting responses to climate warming by studying changes in the intertidal community of Hopkins. In my last course before retirement, Raphael Sagarin and Sarah Gilman came to Hopkins for the spring quarter course of undergraduate research in 1993 and took up the challenge. They re-ran a 60-year-old census of the animals on a marked strip of the shore and documented a dramatic change. Those species with a more southern distribution increased in abundance, those with a more northern distribution decreased and the rest were evenly split. Shoreline water temperature records at Hopkins showed about a one-degree temperature rise over the 60-year period between censuses.
Their research was first presented to the world in Coast Weekly and then later in the prestigious journal Science. This was the first research paper published on community restructuring in response to multi-decadeal climate warming. It served as part of the stimulus for an impressive research effort that continues to this day, demonstrating that species and natural communities are dramatically impacted by what we would have thought to be trivial changes in temperature.
Chuck Baxter is a retired lecturer from Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Lab, Pacific Grove. He now grows roses the size of giant squid.
Next Time Let’s Stay Up All Night and Play Poker
Last spring, the Monterey Institute of International Studies hosted author and climate activist Bill McKibben for a public discussion on objectivity in reporting on the environment. I was particularly pleased that Bradley Zeve and his colleagues from the Weekly were in the audience, and even more so when we continued animated conversation well into the evening.It was obvious to me that they cared deeply about both journalism and the environment.
It struck me then that the Monterey County Weekly and the Monterey Institute of International Studies are kindred spirits– two relatively young institutions that in recent years have become increasingly intrinsic to life on the Peninsula.Moreover, both are driven by what I would call pragmatic idealism.
At the Institute, the growing student body, now representing more than 70 countries, drives our creativity and seriousness of purpose. Whether they stay on the Peninsula or work in far-flung corners of the world, our graduates are expert problem-solvers with idealistic outlooks.
The Weekly knits together stories of the local and the immediate, but its reporting is informed by a lofty mission and broad vista. After all, not every local paper would send correspondents to Iraq and Saudi Arabia; not every publisher would attend lectures on the environment.
I look forward to the delivery of the Weekly to our campus each week, just as I enjoy the energy on the campus, with a thousand internationalists learning, sharing experiences and designing solutions in this “mini-U.N.,” right here in Monterey.
Clara Yu is president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies and speaks several languages better than we speak one. She is retiring later this year.
There’s No Time for Dialogue– Let’s Do Something
The Monterey County Weekly and the city of Monterey have shared a common goal for the last two decades: We are both stewards of the community, responsible to the people who live, work and play here. In the city, we’ve carried out the vision of previous mayors and councils by opening up Window-on-the-Bay. We’ve rebuilt the city’s economic base after the closure of Fort Ord. We’ve done a good job maintaining Monterey’s physical infrastructure: the streets, sewers, storm drains and public facilities, such as the conference center, library, sports center and police and fire stations.
The challenge for the next 20 years will be rebuilding the city’s infrastructure. We have used up much of the infrastructure paid for by our parents and grandparents. Ongoing maintenance and repairs won’t be enough to keep our city’s infrastructure in good enough shape to leave to our children and grandchildren. If we are to maintain our commitment to being “good stewards” of the city, we will need to invest heavily in Monterey’s future. This is a conversation we are beginning to have in our community. The Weekly will play a key role in our dialogue about the future of Monterey, just as it has over the past 20 years.
Fred Meurer is city manager of Monterey and remembers a time when the public could drive through DLI.
Welcome to Our Magic Kingdom
The Weekly has been one of my heroes since my first art show in 1993 for so many different reasons. First, as always, at no cost (I’m an artist) doing articles on some of my own endeavors. I moved here at the end of 1989 to apprentice to an artist and become a great painter. It was an artist town with a drinking and a golf problem– my version of Disneyland (moving here from Anaheim, only nine blocks from Mickey’s Magic Kingdom).
Second, promoting almost all of my efforts to bring to this area different and new artists from cities of the U.S. and abroad.
I continue to feel a huge helping hand from our weekly in getting out into the hands of this unique community the awareness of all of the creative efforts this historically artistic majority has to offer. The Weekly was there to open my one-man gallery in 1996 and to re-open the Outer Edge. They were also there to give both Michael Keenan and my wife Sunshine and I the farewells we deserved.
It is the balance of community and the need-to-know news we rely on every Thursday.
Andrew Jackson is the founder of Outer Edge Studio and rumored to have Andy Warhol visit him in his dreams.
Think of All the Water We’d Collect If Artichokes Were Used as Cisterns
Sometime necessity produces creative and admirable solutions.When farmers and ranchers in the Monterey County saw new environmental regulations coming their way in the 1990s, they found proactive involvement was a better answer.Their work created a template for cooperation and collaboration on environmental issues.
Bill Barker, the long-time executive director of Monterey County Farm Bureau, helped six county Farm Bureaus on the Central Coast form a Water Quality Coalition.Instead of waiting for someone to impose regulations, farmers and ranchers opted to work with environmental and government interests to find voluntary solutions.The goal was to anticipate and meet environmental protections while maintaining the economic viability of agriculture.Bill passed away while that coalition was getting started.He would be proud of its success.
Today, the Central Coast Agricultural Water Quality Coalition has a proud record of programs and cooperation with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and other agencies and groups that improve water quality and help protect the sanctuary.Projects developed with partner organizations include things like cover-cropping and efficient irrigation, managing soil moisture and nutrients, and implementing better erosion control that help farmers improve the quality of water flowing into the sanctuary.The newest opportunities for the coalition include research and projects to enhance compatibility between water quality and food safety.
The success of proactive involvement has inspired farmers and ranchers across the state to help develop water quality solutions that benefit everyone.
Robert Eli (Bob) Perkins is the executive director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau and is fond of eating broccoli.
These Grads Sure Can Party (We Should Know)
Anyone familiar with our university won’t be surprised that thoughts of the Monterey County Weekly and what it means to CSU Monterey Bay naturally turn to students.
We are committed to students’ success, both on campus and in life, and the Weekly has proven an outstanding partner on both counts.
By providing internships, the Monterey County Weekly has given about two dozen CSU Monterey Bay students the chance to play a real role in a real-life business.
The relationship has been mutually beneficial: Our students get opportunities to acquire experience– and the Weekly gets well-trained, motivated employees.
I’m especially proud to note that four CSUMB alumni are working at the paper right now: reporter Zach Stahl, graphic artists Adam Joseph and Gretchen Miller, and classified advertising manager Carrie Kuhl.
We are thrilled to see our graduates stay in this region and contribute to its economy and cultural vitality.
The Weekly also is a strong supporter of our Farm–to-School Program, which helps introduce youngsters to agriculture, healthy eating and the environment.
Also, in 2007, the Weekly assisted the Otter Realm student newspaper in obtaining a $1,500 grant from the California Newspaper Publishers Association to purchase much-needed production equipment.
Congratulations to the Weekly staff on 20 years of service to Monterey County.
Dianne Harrison was not an intern at the Weekly but still became president of CSU Monterey Bay.
One Giant Step for Radicchio
June of 2003, I was part of a “harebrained” scheme– or maybe it was better described as a “shot in the dark at a daydream”– from a group of spring-chicken Cal State Monterey Bay graduates. Our organization, Everyone’s Harvest, opened Marina’s Certified Farmers Market, and it actually worked.
But still, our group was cutting through that American bureaucrat tape. Our fight at hand: a city business license. The city demanded every vendor pay an individual license. Across the country, other cities used an umbrella license. Everyone’s Harvest brought this fact to the city. Their view didn’t change. An ethical conflict arose. Should we continue but at the cost of setting a precedent for future markets? We felt powerless; the city would no longer meet with us. “Call other rabble-rousers,” a friend recommended. What did the rabble-rousers say? “Go straight to the media!” So we did.
Monterey County Weekly associate editor Sue Fishkoff listened to our situation attentively. She assigned reporter Niko Kyriakou to the story. Niko interviewed the city’s Finance Department, a farmer, a council member, a Watsonville city official and myself (the market manager). A week later, Niko’s article “Farm Stand: Marina Farmers Market Fights City Hall” was published (July 3-9 of 2003). The article expressed the situation in crystal-clear terms. Two days later, the city contacted us to re-discuss the matter. By the end of July, we had an umbrella license for the farmers market. The power of MC Weekly created a community victory!
Iris Diana Peppard of Marina is the executive director of Everyone’s Harvest and knows a fruit when she sees one.
You’re Not the Only One Who Wishes We Lived Back East
My relationship with the Monterey Coast Weekly is bittersweet. I’ve watched the paper grow from a thin little paper, seen it learn to speak clearly about important subjects and issues, take stands which weren’t always popular, kept me and others entertained and informed. I felt badly when it fell into disfavor over controversial stories but pleased when it got up and remembered and pursued its mission. It puts the community at the head of its priorities, sometimes taking unpopular stands on vital issues but always acting for the good of the public. It reminded me of a child growing and maturing into adulthood.
And, now the bittersweet part. With the success of the paper, I am like a proud parent. Sometimes, I wish that the Coast Weekly was the Atlantic Coast Weekly, and not 2,500 miles away from our home. Still, I’m filled with pride each time the mailman delivers the Weekly to our door.
Continued good luck!
Florence Zeve is the mom of our CEO Bradley Zeve, and lives in Pittsburgh, Penn. She was going to vote for Hillary.
(FYI, we changed our name from Coast Weekly to Monterey County Weekly in January 2004 to better reflect our distribution are but many long-time readers still refer to us as Coast Weekly.)
One Day We’re Going to Get Old, Too, You Know
It began when my own parents were ill and we struggled with finding care for them. About the same time, a group of senior care providers were trying to help families better navigate the systems of care for local seniors. When we asked Bradley Zeve if the Weekly would like to do a story on this, he had a bigger and better idea. Why not publish a guide to the resources for care in Monterey County, organized around stories of local people? The Weekly donated the time of a great writer and photographer and all of us wrote the 36-page Monterey County Eldercare. The Weekly published and distributed it as an insert, and then convinced the other local newspapers to insert it in their papers, too. Thus more than 80,000 copies of the directory reached families throughout the county, and leftover copies were made available at all hospitals for a year afterwards. The project was done very economically and received high praise from local professionals and many thanks from families who used it to help loved ones. Thanks, Bradley and staff!
Robert J. Melton, MD, MPH, FACPM, is the former director of the Monterey County Health Department (now retired) and knows the importance of washing his hands several times a day.
If We Could Paint, We’d Give Up Writing
Bring us the idea that we are all related.
I think that we are like a family nucleus, a planetary machine, in which each one of us is vital and important.
We all have a certain task to execute so that this great machine continues on its course.
I believe that the written word has its task.
The Weekly has contributed with their written word and photographs, to our era and our tiny space, here in the east side of Salinas.
The painters workshop “Hijos del Sol” is grateful for the services and attention that they have shown to our continuous task in bringing instruction to our parientes (relatives) in drawing, painting and muralism.
May you continue on your journey and may we not lack that little ray of light you bring us every Thursday.
Si podriamos pintar, dejariamos de escribir
Trae la idea de que todos de alguna manera estamos relacionados.
Pienso que somos como un nucleo familiar, una maquina planetaria en donde cada uno es vital e importante.
Todos tenemos cierta tarea que ejercer para que esta gran maquina siga su curso.
Creo que la palabra escrita tiene su tarea. The Weekly ha contribuido con sus letras y fotografias a nuestra epoca y a nuestro lugarcito aqui en el este de Salinas.
El taller de pintores “Hijos del Sol” agradecemos los servicios y atenciones hacia nuestra continua tarea de brindar, instrucion en dibujo, pintura, y muralismo a nuestros parientes.
Sigan adelante en su jornada y que no nos falte el rayito de luz que cada jueves nos brindan.
Jose G. Ortiz is an awesome muralist and the founder of Hijos del Sol, an after-school youth arts program in East Salinas.
At Least We Gave Them Something for Their Facebook Page
Reading the byline of a student in the Monterey County Weekly was among my greatest sources of satisfaction when I was a journalism instructor at CSU Monterey Bay.
Whether Kimber Solana was writing about a high school senior’s cancer treatments, Andie Aguirre was profiling a palm reader or Adam Joseph was turning his Capstone project on methamphetamine addiction into a cover story, I always felt great pride in their accomplishments. And I was grateful for a forum that allowed young journalists to explore innovative approaches to reporting that demanded more than a dry recounting of events.
I tacked their stories to the bulletin board in the Otter Realm newsroom as examples for the new reporters in their first semester on the campus newspaper.
Students who interned at the Weekly came back to school the next semester better prepared for leadership roles at the campus newspaper. The experience taught them to demand more from themselves and from the novice reporters they guided.
The Weekly was the place they began building their professional networks and comparing the ideals we discussed in class against the reality of deadlines and limited space.
For journalism students, the Weekly has been an extension of their education and preparation that could not be duplicated.
Juanita Darling, former assistant professor, coordinator of Journalism and Media Studies program and Otter Realm adviser at CSUMB, now teaches at San Francisco State University
Everyone Needs a Happy Ending After Those Rancorous County Board Meetings
Ever since my husband and I founded the grassroots environmental advocacy organization Friends, Artists and Neighbors of Elkhorn Slough, we’ve learned to rely on Monterey County Weekly as the best source of accurate news for our region. My favorite series of articles during the past nine years was Jessica Lyons’ “Sex in the County” series parodying the hit TV series, Sex in the City. Nine years ago, Monterey County was also starting the process of updating the General Plan. We got involved with enthusiasm, never dreaming that the process would still be underway today.
In 2003, Jessica was inspired to try to add a bit of brevity and humor to endless public meetings where the same opposing factions showed up to argue how Monterey County should or should not grow. Jessica continued to report the details with accuracy, but took a new approach as the “fashion-conscious girl reporter” poking fun at the usual players’ fashion statements and predictable public comments.
The humor was a welcome relief. Ironically, the result was that the usual participants from opposing points of view enjoyed chiding each other about how they were portrayed in her articles, leading to a more conducive attitude to working together. Through wit and humor, Jessica’s unique reporting truly fulfilled the Weekly’s mission: “To inspire independent thought and conscious action.” Bravo, Jessica!
Mari Kloeppel is a painter and political activist living in Moss Landing.
It’s True, We Get a Cut of the Fines Collected at Rotary Club
One of my favorite Thursday afternoon rituals is to search out one of our numerous local newsstands for the most current issue of our own Monterey County Weekly.I really look forward to the cover art on each issue. Sure, what’s inside is always top-rate, but it’s the picture on the front that stirs my imagination as to what I’m about to find behind that first page.
Some covers are whimsical, some serious, yet for many of us, most are thought-provoking.And there’s always a nice blend too. One week we’ll find acartoon something-or-other jumping out at us, followed up by a more somber,topical event-oriented picture that reminds us of something we sometimes don’t want to be reminded of.
I don’t collect the covers, but I hope someone does.I imagine that a retrospective ofthe Weekly cover artwork would tell us much about the people, the stories and the community in which we live. I truly look forward to such an exhibit.
I wish continued success for this wonderful information resource and I can’t wait to visit my local newsstand this next week.
Bruce Sterten of Carmel Valley is a co-owner of Ventana Vineyards, a retired television producer and the inventor of a well-known board game.
Love is All You Need, Not to Mention a Good Book
As a writer, I appreciate good writing. As someone who writes about how to build caring communities, I particularly appreciate it when, as in the Weekly’s recent article on the trials and tribulations of people in the Cachagua trailer park, the writing displays sense, sensibility and caring.
The longer I live on the Monterey Peninsula, especially now that I travel to fewer keynoting conferences worldwide, the more I see how much sense, sensibility and caring there is in our wonderful community.
Recently our dear friend, the well-known cartoonist Bill Bates, had a heart attack. Then he developed pneumonia and a terrible staph infection. For two months he’s been hovering between life and death in the intensive care unit. While he and his wife and daughter despaired, my husband, David Loye, began to rally Bill’s friends and admirers to visit him and in any way possible support his recovery.
The response was phenomenal. To lift his spirits, musicians came to his room for personal concerts. Scores of Carmelites signed a big get-well plaque at the post office. A call for prayers pulled in responses from as far away as South Africa and the Philippines.
But while Bill’s condition slowly got somewhat less critical, his family’s situation was getting more critical. Morley Brown and Ron Weitzman stepped in with us and we formed “Friends of Bill Bates.” Other community leaders soon joined the group’s Founding Council. Many others are doing what they can to help Bill and his family at this critical time and through the difficult period that lies ahead.
In my books, I often write that spirituality is, above all, putting love into action. It is wonderful to live in a community where so many people are committed to caring for one another.
Riane Eisler of Carmel is best known for her best-seller The Chalice and The Blade, now in 23 languages. Her newest book, The Real Wealth of Nations, describes a caring economy that works for people and the planet. Her website is www.rianeeisler.com.
(A fundraiser for Friends of Bill Bates will be held at Carmel Mission’s Crespi Hall Oct. 26 from 2 to 6pm. Donations can be sent to: P.O. Box 146, Carmel, CA 93921.)
You Call Drinking Out of a Glass Boot Fun?
Sixteen years ago I arrived in Monterey, youthful, eager to flourish and full of beans. In search of friends and my favorite sport, I sought out the ultimate frisbee scene, which happened to be thriving on Wednesday nights under the bright lights of the MPC football field. I arrived one crisp evening, cleats slung over the shoulder, disc in hand, ready to meet ’n’ greet, run around and, as it turned out, drink muchas cervezas out of a glass boot over the years at The Peacock, now The Bulldog. One of those first Wednesdays out on the field, while we were all warming up, tossing the plastic around, I turned to the guy who had the pretty dog named Gyro and asked him a question.
“So … ” I asked Bradley Zeve, “what do you do?”
“Publish the Coast Weekly– so I edit, write, publish, you know, gettin’ the paper going.”
“Oh wow, how cool! Is that fun?” I squeaked.
He hesitated. I don’t think he’d ever been asked if being a publisher was fun.
“Fun?… Uhhh, well, yeah, I guess. I guess it’s… fun… sure… sometimes… kinda fun.”
I know now that it’s an immense challenge to get a free Weekly paper off the ground, and that numerous other adjectives would better describe the job. So my hat’s off to Bradley and the whole Monterey County Weekly crew for providing us with 20 years of wicked entertainment and thoughtful writing. Congratulations, BZ and MCW! Hope it’s been as much fun for you as it has been for us.
Ximena Waissbluth, originally from Chile, teaches ESL, is a leading advocate for banning single-use plastics and is the former chair of Surfrider’s Monterey Bay Chapter.
Somebody Give This Man a Free Puppy and an Espresso
It was a most public falling out. Not unlike a toddler yelling, “I hate you!” at his mother, right there in the produce department. No one actually believes the kid means it, but it’s uncomfortable to watch nonetheless. Unlike toddlers, adults take a little while to come to their senses. You know those divorced couples who end up remarrying one another years later? Well, I’ve never really understood that, but perhaps it’s a product of realizing how much they needed one another to begin with. (Either that, or else one of them wanted their books back.)
It was sort of like that with the Weekly and me back in 2002. “What happened between you and Bradley?” was a question posed to me often. I’m still not sure who played the part of the toddler back then, but once we all grew up, it became clear both parties were willing to remarry. I can’t imagine living in a community that didn’t have an alternative paper like the Weekly. And, as more than one of their employees has told me over the years, the feeling is somewhat mutual. Yes sir, it’s nice to be back in our familiar, though sexless, relationship.
Now if I can just get my damned books back…
Morgan Christopher is the owner of The Ol’ Factory Café in Sand City, the first green café in the county. As of our press deadline, we cannot confirm that he is affiliated with any puppy mills.
Who Would Believe That Farsi Would Be More Popular Than Polish?
We came to Monterey in 1976 to teach Polish Language and Culture at DLI. The 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, considered to be a long-time symbol of the Iron Curtain, changed the lives of many people. Life changed not only for our relatives in Poland, some changes also happened here. As a result of a decreased number of students, the Polish Department started to shrink. I knew my career at DLI may end; I started to look for other alternatives.
It was a quick decision to become a massage therapist. Some knowledge of marketing would also help, I decided. While attending the Monterey Institute of Touch and marketing workshops, I realized how important it is to invest some time and money.I visited all local papers and talked to many sales representatives. One place and particularly one person I was sold on: Kevin Smith at Coast Weekly! He was the only one patient with my accent and changing mind. He always helped me with a big smile on his face and made me comfortable enough to ask any question I ever had.I decided to go for it!
The Mind-Body Therapy Center ad started a whole new classified section: Mind-Body and Spirit. Now this section of the Weekly is huge and serves many alternative health-care providers as well as other professionals.
During our long relationship with Weekly we learned how important it is to be consistent. Since 1994 we did not miss even one week of advertising! We also learned an other very important thing: In our business, price is the last thing that counts. People here seek exceptional services and will pay more for THE BEST.
Some time ago Kevin was transferred to another department of Weekly, but I have always been treated with kindness and understanding like 14 years ago.
Since 1994, nothing changed, besides the size of our business and… maybe my accent a little bit.
Mirek Kozicki and his wife, Jolanta, gleefully run the Mind-Body Therapy Center in Monterey. He’s a devoted tennis player and dog owner, and gives a killer massage.
We Know Where We’re Going if the Icecaps Melt
In 1998 I was living, working and raising my family in Big Sur. El Niño winters came, washing the highway out in 17 places. It seemed the rains fell without stopping for days and weeks and months on end, a storm of biblical proportions.
With Highway 1 closed, Captain Cooper and Pacific Valley schools closed and the middle school/high school buses could not make the run into town. The situation went from bad to worse. Hurricane Point slid into the sea. It looked like we were in for months of isolation from the larger peninsula.
Within hours of the first road closure, I got a call from Lygia Chappellet. Lygia is a painter, a mother, a community organizer. “We’ve got to do something to get the kids together,” she said. “We can divide up by grades, have classes in living rooms.” Hotel lobbies and restaurant kitchens opened their doors to us and local residents came out of the woodwork to teach what they could teach.
We wrote poetry and made Valentines, put on plays, read French literature and doubled cookie recipes to demonstrate multiplying fractions. Lygia’s painting studio became a classroom; Nepenthe’s kitchens housed twice-weekly cooking classes. My husband, Tom Birmingham, tutored displaced high-school students in Algebra, and my best friend, Merrie Potter, joined me in teaching third grade in my living room. Within 48 hours of the road closure, we had twice-weekly classes for each grade up and running, involving dozens of volunteers and serving hundreds of children.
After the rains had stopped, we realized that together– individually and collectively– we had experienced something miraculous, something that we didn’t want to see vanish. Together, we planted a garden at Captain Cooper School and got grants to continue teaching art, music, and enrichment classes in local schools.
Today, the Big Sur Arts Initiative celebrates 10 years of service to the community, born out of that epic winter. This summer’s Basin Fire found a new crew at the helm. Lygia’s daughters Lukie and Sequoia stood up this time, organizing over 100 kids in after-school programs for children displaced from Big Sur due to mandatory evacuation. And our Children’s Garden continues to serve as an extraordinary outdoor classroom, where children plant seeds, raise crops, and enjoy their own harvests.
An artist stands at a threshold between inspiration and expression. In two separate natural disasters, I have shared in the experience of serving as witness, educator, and community organizer. This service has brought joy and meaning to my life.
Erin Gafill is a painter and co-founder of the Big Sur Arts Initiative and a lifelong resident of Big Sur who knows– but won’t tell– the secret ingredient in the sauce of Nepenthe’s Ambrosia burger.
A Bridge to Nowhere Might Get Us Somewhere
The Weekly fills a lot of holes in our lives, and I for one am glad to have it around. During the last two decades we’ve seen daily papers shrink, but the Weekly has stepped up tofill the vacuum. Reporters give us the investigative coverage we need and havewritten about so many issues that I’ve worked on, from Fort Ord’s closure and toxic waste cleanup to controversial developments and offshore drilling.
And while everyone has talked about our great quality of life on the coast, the Weekly took the initiative to catalogue what we truly appreciate with its “Best Of” series. How else would we track down the best barbers, shoe shines and new restaurants?
Finally, how can you not love a paper with an owner like Bradley Zeve? I remember years ago when Bradley called from the runway in France with a visa issue that we were able to help out with. I pride myself on being able to assist neighbors who get into trouble– even when they’re a continent away– but it’s nice knowing that Bradley’s newspaper will treat me the same as every other reader or newsmaker.