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ETC. Photo of the day by Barbara Davidge. A sunny morning in the gardens at the Cooper Molera Adobe in Monterey. Photographed with a Nikon D3200. Submit your best horizontal photos. (Please include the location where the photo was taken in the caption.)

A year later, what happened to the effort to change Carmel High’s mascot?

Good afternoon. 

Bradley Zeve here. For students, back-to-school season is a time of excitement and activity—of discovering what has changed, and how much, over the long months of summer. But for some looking at Carmel High School, the discovery is all about what hasn’t changed.

In early September, CHS graduate Noelle Mosolf Smith sent a letter to the Carmel Unified School District Board asking that her petition—an initiative created by Smith and two Carmel High graduates to change the name of the Carmel High mascot—show some progress. In Noelle’s words, “By dragging out the process of choosing to replace or keep the Padre, Carmel High is telling the community that this is not a priority and never was.”

Perhaps a mascot name isn’t the most urgent issue facing a school board today, but there’s immense power in language and symbols. CUSD formed a mascot review committee last year. But according to Karl Pallastrini, former CHS and Middle School principal and now a member of the CUSD board, “the committee has yet to make a report of any kind to the Board of Education.”

The committee did meet Tuesday Sept. 28. In attendance was CUSD Superintendent Ted Knight (his first such meeting since taking the job in July) who told me after that all voices should be heard on this question, particularly the voices of CHS students. He also notes that a community survey showed a fair amount of apathy about the issue. No decisions were made, and the committee will meet again next month.

The fact remains: It’s time for action.

Father Junipero Serra is important to California’s history, yet his 18th-century accomplishments are controversial today. The missions were an essential part of Spanish economic and political life in Alta California. Yet the missionaries wanted to “save” the Indigenous people, to help them find salvation through god. Those newly baptized were given jobs to serve the church, but they were not free to come and go at will. It’s believed that Father Serra enslaved those newly baptized native Californians.

History informs the present and is predicated on who’s telling the story. For Father Serra, it’s a complicated tale about the Indigenous people and their encounter with European conquestors. It deserves to be understood, in context.

Around the state there’s increasing public activism around Serra. Protesters decapitated the statue of Father Serra in Monterey’s Lower Presidio Park in 2015. San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Rafael and Sacramento have all had statues toppled or taken down since then – on Sept. 24 Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law to replace Sacramento’s toppled Serra statue with a memorial to the state’s native people. In March the San Diego Unified’s Junipero Serra High School was renamed to the Canyon Hills High School after a successful student petition.

CHS can teach about Father Serra without idolizing him. The purpose of education, according to philosopher Bertrand Russell, is to “not feel absolutely certain of anything.” That fuels curiosity, exploration. He also wrote that one of the fundamentals of education is to “be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.” CUSD’s board has an opportunity to model that right now.

There are reasons beyond history and a changing social response to that history to change Carmel High’s mascot, too.

First, Carmel High School is not a religious school—it’s a public school unaffiliated with the Catholic Church and separation of church and state is a core principle of our democracy. Second, and this is near to my heart as the parent of a daughter who attended and played sports at Carmel schools—the Padre is a gendered mascot. Many of CHS’ accomplished female athletes may not feel represented by this mascot, and rightfully so. Thanks to Title IX, public schools must ensure that girls get the same athletic opportunities as boys – we should keep this foundational civil rights law in mind when considering the importance of the mascot change.

Rather than be sexist or historically colorblind, the CUSD board must lead. And while many will be disappointed when the Padre name is retired, it’s the right thing to do.

-Bradley Zeve, Founder and CEO, bradley@mcweekly.com 

 
BY THE NUMBERS

There are currently 30 patients hospitalized with Covid-19 in Monterey County, down from the most recent peak of 47 in the first days of September. Statewide hospitalizations are also trending down.

LATEST LOCAL NEWS

The French plum trees at Massa Estate Organic Vineyards have an important job to do. The trees host trichogramma, a wasp that lays its eggs into the larvae of destructive insects—especially the grape moth. Before the moth eggs hatch, the wasps are there to kill them.

Monterey City Council holds a study session on tenant protections, rent control and more. In case you missed it, here’s Editor Sara Rubin’s story about what could come out of the meeting. If you want to chime in, the meeting happens tonight, Sept. 29, at 7pm.

“I’m looking forward to better bike and ped infrastructure across our area!” Readers weigh in on a story about the vision of the Fort Ord Regional Trail and Greenway, and more, in Letters to the Editor.

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LOCAL INSPIRATION

LOCAL INSPIRATION of the day. On paper, yes, it’s a “recreational league.” But Monterey Peninsula Soccer League president Tom Moore says you won’t hear that phrase uttered much among the players. He says everyone in the over-30 league is “pretty competitive.” Learn more about the league in this week’s Outside column. Photographed by Greg Harris. Submit your Local Inspiration (digital art, music, multimedia, video, etc.; please include the medium you’ve used, and note when and where it was created).

Help Ventana Wildlife Society name the condors. You’ve still got time to chime in before results are revealed live at the monthly Condor Zoom chat at 4pm on Thursday, Sept. 30. 

Biologist Steve Webster will explore the ocean’s master of disguise: Cephalopods. The event, called “Sooplapods: Masters of Disguise,” happens from 4-5pm on Thursday, Sept. 30. 

Pacific Grove Chamber hosts Flavors of Pacific Grove. This food and wine event will be held from 5:30-8pm on Thursday, Sept. 30. Tickets are $60.

BEST OF MONTEREY BAY® REAL ESTATE

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realestate.montereycountyweekly.com

  
IN CONTEXT

California outlawed the all-white-male boardroom. It’s reshaping corporate America.
- Los Angele Times, Sept. 29, 2021

U.S. Fish and Wildlife service proposed delisting 23 species from The Endangered Species Act due to extinction. “Based on rigorous reviews of the best available science for each of these species, the Service has determined these species are extinct, and thus no longer require listing under the ESA.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Sept. 29, 2021

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