Daily news from Monterey County Weekly

LOCAL INSPIRATION of the day by Moss Landing Marine Labs Quilt Guild. The Moss Landing Marine Labs Quilt Guild keeps on quilting, through two decades and one pandemic. This large quilt, about 7-by-7-feet, features sea life including purple squids, silver sardines, rockfish and a diver amid a kelp forest. It took a year-and-a-half to complete. 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).

Renters in Monterey have a loud voice—but only if they use it.

Good afternoon. 

Sara Rubin here, thinking about how precarious the lives of renters are. Even as a renter myself, I didn’t always feel this way—I pay my rent on time, I have good credit and I have always been able to find a place to live, and leave on my own terms. Then came Sept. 1 of this year, when my landlord called, I thought to invite us over to sign a new lease for another year. Instead it was a call to say her sister-in-law needed a place to live, and we had to move out in 60 days. 

A fast-paced and very demoralizing search for housing ensued. There were wildly overpriced places, some dumpy and fairly priced places, some nice places that were mobbed with people during a 45-minute open house because all of us are scrambling to find housing in a crunched market. Luckily for me, after an exhausting two-and-a-half week search, my landlord called. Her family was going to find another solution, and the eviction notice was rescinded. The rent went up, but we get to stay in our home. 

I had it good. Not only did I get to stay, but even the eviction letter was nice: “You have been exceptional tenants and it is with a heavy heart that I am writing this move-out letter.” It’s not like this for many renters, and Monterey City Council is taking a first big step toward addressing that tomorrow night. Council will meet at 7pm for a study session—meaning there’s no action to be taken, no ordinance to approve, but this is the earliest stage of a public hearing on what renters’ issues are that may guide future policy proposals. 

That means this is a perfect time to get involved and share your stories. City Council wants to hear from you. Councilmember Tyller Williamson says, “I really think the most important thing is getting people to turn out. This is a really huge moment for the entire Peninsula; these policies can be leveraged and used in municipalities throughout.” 

Exactly what “these policies” are remains to be seen, but might include things like rent control, the creation of a rental registry to track units or the creation of a city Rent Board, composed of tenants, landlords and mediators. What might be floated in the future depends on what people say today. And what renters say is critical, especially given that the council is composed entirely of homeowners.

According to a report by Monterey Community Development Director Kim Cole, the average monthly rent for a studio in 2019 was $1,289; for a one-bedroom, $1,734; and for a two-bedroom, $2,236. (When I first saw those numbers my eyes widened—then I realized they’re two years old so no, they do not represent the current reality, at all.)

Also according to Cole’s report, 66 percent of Monterey housing units are occupied by renters. That’s a community with a loud voice, but only if they use it. To join in, you can attend the meeting in person at Monterey City Hall, or via Zoom. You can also email your comments in advance to cityclerk@monterey.org.

We at the Weekly would also like to hear your stories as we gear up to do a special issue devoted to housing and look at potential solutions. Send me a note if you want to talk. 

-Sara Rubin, editor, sara@mcweekly.com 

 
BY THE NUMBERS

The percentage of Monterey housing units that are occupied by renters according to a report by Monterey Community Development Director Kim Cole.

LATEST LOCAL NEWS

The centerpiece for Marina’s biggest development moves to the front burner. As the economy finally rebounded after the Great Recession, single-family homes started going up at the 420-acre Dunes project, as did a hotel and movie theater.

A new CSUMB food services team is serving fresh fare and catering to different dietary needs. Pizza is hands-down the daily favorite menu item at The Eatery, the new name for the university’s dining commons. But there’s a lot more on offer.

A new cross country course is coming to Palo Corona. On Sept. 1, the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District board voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the nonprofit Big Sur Marathon Foundation to add Palo Corona Regional Park to the local cross country course portfolio. 

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LOCAL INSPIRATION

ETC. Photo of the day by Nicole Asselborn. Fall is a beautiful time of the year to hike in the hills, like these trails at Kahn Ranch in Carmel Valley. Photographed with Canon 80D ISO 160 f13. Submit your best horizontal photos. (Please include the location where the photo was taken in the caption.) 

Join the John Steinbeck Library Genealogy Work Group virtually for its September meeting where the focus is on understanding the basics of writing styles and writing tools to aid participants in genealogical research. It happens from 6-7pm tonight, Tuesday Sept. 28.

Calling all crafters. The City of Carmel is working toward its 50th annual Homecrafters’ Marketplace (to be held Nov. 20), and a selection committee will convene to review new vendors’ crafts from 10am-6pm on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at the Carmel Woman’s Club. Learn more about how to submit your work for consideration here.

Monterey Peninsula College Guest Authors Series presents: Poet Brynn Saito. The reading and discussion happens at 7pm on Wednesday, Sept. 29. The Zoom link for this online event is available by contacting Series Director Henry Marchand at creativewriting@mpc.edu.

BEST OF MONTEREY BAY® REAL ESTATE

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IN CONTEXT

R. Kelly is found guilty on all counts. It’s twenty-five years too late.
- The New Yorker, Sept. 27, 2021

Panel finds 80 alleged abuse cases tied to World Health Organization’s Congo work.
- The Associated Press, Sept. 28, 2021

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HELPFUL DISTRACTIONS

A Danish artist takes the museum's money and runs: "I will not pay it back," he says.

Miss the Jazz Fest already? Check out the official 2021 Monterey Jazz Festival playlist on Spotify.

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