Daily news from Monterey County Weekly

ETC. Photo of the day by Rebecca Syverson. Did somebody say dinner time? A swallow feeds its babies in a Del Mesa Carmel carport nest. Photographed with a Canon Mark 4, 300-500. Submit your best horizontal photos. (Please include the location where the photo was taken in the caption.)

News from Salinas High School creates a state of deja vu.

Good afternoon. 

Sara Rubin here, in a state of deja vu. Just a week ago at this time, we were talking in the newsroom about Pacific Grove High School, where screenshots of a student’s racist social media posts circulated, prompting a petition. This week at Salinas High School, screenshots of a racist social media account that’s since been disabled are circulating widely, prompting a petition. 

As staff writer Celia Jiménez reported, it began with an Instagram account made on behalf of a baby Black doll, which had a caricatured face drawn on it. Photos show white and Latino kids posing with the doll, which they named Shaniqua, and some include comments using the N-word; video clips show kids posing with the doll, as well as stomping feet on the doll. They named the Instagram account @shaniqua.shs (for Salinas High School). 

Officials at Salinas High and at Salinas Union High School District have basically taken a vow of not speaking to the media, but to their credit, have at least issued some powerful statements disavowing racism, which is more than can be said about the circumstances at PGHS. 

SUHSD Superintendent Dan Burns wrote in a statement: “It goes without saying, the images and videos taken by several students at Salinas High School, as well as many others from our District high schools, are not only appalling, but they are simply unacceptable.

“Although the students involved have stated that anti-Black racism was not their intent, the impact of their actions has further highlighted the need for District resources to be aligned to provide more learning opportunities to ensure that all students feel that school is a safe and inclusive place for their learning. At the same time, it is a reminder that the work started over a year ago to emphasize the need to lift up our black students, teachers and parents has only just begun.”

But as I hear from students and parents and other community members, it’s clear that many members of the Salinas High School community are feeling far from uplifted. Kathleen Smith writes: “This is not a new issue, and the children in these posts have clearly learned this from parents, extended family, or friends within our community.” James Ryan writes: “It starts with the kids using the N-word as slang way too often. I’ve seen this over the years skating at skateparks… And it will happen again if parents don’t stand up for equality. It all starts at home.”

I also heard from Isaiah Corpus, a 2020 graduate of nearby Palma High School, who wrote to say that he finds the racist conduct not surprising—he remembers hearing homophobic slurs from SHS kids during football games (“P-A-L-M-A, all the Palma kids are gay”) and says he has heard students say the N-word. 

That it’s not shocking to a recent graduate is perhaps the most unsettling thing out of all of this—have young people come to expect this from their peers? 

No matter what kind of disciplinary action administrators take, change happens around the dinner table, in private conversations with parents, siblings, peers. That’s where young people (and people of all ages, for that matter) are learning what to make of this, how to archive this in their mind—hopefully as something we learn from and do not repeat, rather than when a joke (not a funny one, if it was a joke) was silenced. We all have a responsibility to help each other frame this, teach each other and ourselves to be better than this. 

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also speak out publicly, and people are doing that too. As of Monday night, Burns had already heard from almost 1,000 students. He’s likely to hear from many more tonight, when I expect an emotionally charged SUHSD board meeting right on the heels of these images coming to light, during what should’ve been a festive, feel-good football jamboree last Friday night. 

The board meets at 6:30pm in the SUHSD administrative office (at 431 Alisal St., Salinas). Jiménez will be there to report on what happens next. 

-Sara Rubin, editor, sara@mcweekly.com


Monterey County Health Department added a new data point to its Covid-19 vaccine reporting this week. The county is now reporting the proportion of residents (aged 12 and over) who are fully vaccinated—which currently stands at 67 percent. The department previously reported the proportion having received at least one dose.


Under new ownership, the hostel in New Monterey gets a makeover. The city’s only hostel is now set to reopen in 2022.

A national nonprofit finds a home in the Salinas Valley. Most of the vegetables distributed by Brighter Bites were coming from—where else—the Salad Bowl of the World, which meant contributors shipping food out of the Salinas Valley to aid families out of state. Then, in February of this year, Brighter Bites opened up a location in the valley and some of that produce began to stay right here.

State funds aim to improve students' mental health at local schools. The Monterey County Behavioral Health department and Monterey County Office of Education received $4 million from the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. The funds will go to what's known as an "interconnected services framework," designed to bring together community organizations offering mental health services support with schools.


Whaling Station Steakhouse Indoor Dining & Takeout Daily from 4:30pm. Click for menu/order. 373.3778, 763 Wave St, Monterey

Beach House at Lovers Point Indoor Dining & Takeout Daily at 4:30pm Sunset Supper, cocktails & wine. Click for menus/order. 375.2345, 620 Ocean View, PG.

Abalonetti on the Wharf Indoor & Outdoor Dining plus Takeout Everyday 11:30am-8:30pm. Monterey's Best Calamari plus seafood, pasta & more. Click for menus/order. 373.1851

The Sardine Factory Indoor dining nightly at 5pm. Special Early Dinner Menu from 5-6pm. Click here for menus, details and reservations or to place a takeout order. 701 Wave Street, Monterey, 831-373-3775

Advertise here for $49 for 12 words / +$10 xlarge / +$1 add'l. word
Email sales@mcweekly.com or call 831-394-5656.

LOCAL INSPIRATION of the day. Art in the time of Covid-19. Over 30 local artists in this exhibit submitted their truth about what curator Deborah Good calls “the surreal quality of the year 2020.” There is politics—a portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Eva Boynton, various Black Lives Matter references—and there is introspection, as in minimalist photos by Juanita Turner like the one above. The exhibit is viewable at the county Health Department (1270 Natividad Road, Salinas) until Dec. 31, or virtually at arts4mc.orgSubmit your Local Inspiration (digital art, music, multimedia, video, etc.; please include the medium you’ve used, and note when and where it was created).

The first concert of Festival Rolland will feature the Sierra Quartet and pianist Ian Scarfe playing Schumann, Adams and Beethoven. Rolland is a classical chamber music summer series, this time to be held in Carmel Valley. At 7pm tonight, Aug. 24, $25.

Cannot wait for the California Rodeo Salinas? You can get the 2021 vibrant poster featuring the classic rodeo event of Saddle Bronc Riding, originating from cowboys breaking horses to ride. The poster is available for purchase for $20 starting Tuesday, Aug. 24.

The Big Sur Food and Wine Festival is back, and in need of volunteers. This annual event, back after a Covid hiatus, showcases the best food and wine of the region. It’s one of the biggest events of the year in the small coastal community, hence the need for volunteers to help it run smoothly.


Click for more >>


How law enforcement in Northern California fell for an “antifa bus” hoax. Experts say the whole episode reveals that the police lack basic social media literacy.
- The Guardian, Aug. 23, 2021

Can the Internet survive climate change? How a warming world is sparking calls for a greener web.
- The New Republic, Dec. 18, 2019


Pome is back for another season. Matthew Ogle sends short modern poems to your inbox every day

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at 80. Celebrate his life by listening to a little music.

We welcome your tips, comments and feedback. 

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