Thursday, December 21, 2017

SOLEDAD — Six agencies came together on the evening of Dec. 13 to distribute over 500 presents and approximately 100 new bicycles to local children and their families at the South County YMCA.

The annual “Cops Giving Tree” saw a special guest appearance from Assembly Member Anna Caballero, who presented all six agencies with special recognitions for the event.

Soledad Police Department, Soledad Unified School District, the California State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Correctional Training Facility, Salinas Valley State Prison and the South County YMCA collaborated on meals for the attending families and gifts for disadvantage youth and their families for the eighth annual “Cops Giving Tree.”

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Thinking about giving a puppy or kitten as a holiday gift? If so, animal welfare advocates advise that you make sure the recipient is eager and ready for a pet, and they strongly suggest sourcing the animal from a shelter or a rescue group.

If you are determined to get one from a breeder or a pet store, you might want to double-check that you are actually buying the fluffy little bundle and not leasing it.

That’s right: Pet leasing is a fairly new but very real industry, and it is getting growing scrutiny from lawmakers and animal organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They say it is a predatory practice for pushing expensive puppies on people who cannot afford them and do not always understand they are essentially renting an animal for months — and paying far more than they might have realized.

Monday, December 18, 2017

SALINAS - In July 2015, 32-year-old Kate Steinle was out for an evening stroll with her father in San Francisco when she was struck by a bullet, and died in her father's arms. 

The shooter was 54-year-old Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an immigrant from Mexico who had been deported five times prior. 

The tragic story became a talking point in the national debate over immigration policy, and whether jurisdictions should take stronger steps to protect people from crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. It also became the impetus in Monterey County for Sheriff Steve Bernal to launch a pilot program about two months later, giving federal agents Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, access to the Monterey County Jail and inmate records. 

“We don’t want things like that to happen here in Monterey County,” Bernal told the Weekly of Steinle's death and his decision to launch the relationship with ICE back in 2015.

Friday, December 1, 2017

SALINAS – Increased affordable housing and proposed redevelopment of what was described as underperforming areas in Salinas were the highlights of the housing community meeting Thursday.

Salinas City Councilman Steve McShane and Assemblywoman Anna Caballero held the community meeting at city hall to discuss housing issues facing Salinas.

“It’s such a relevant topic for Salinas and our region,” said McShane. “It’s what we all experience, whether it’s skyrocketing rent or just the inability to find a place.”

Caballero said there is a need to build smaller units like condos that allows first-time homeowners to enter the marketplace and said there is a real cost in not building more houses.

“When you don’t build, there is lost revenue because people are spending too much money on housing costs and not buying things they need,” said Caballero. “It also means lost wages because when you build homes it creates more jobs.”

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Salinas >> A meeting to bring together state and local government officials, nonprofit and for-profit developers, and other community leaders in search of solutions to the affordable housing crisis, will take place Thursday in Salinas.

The Housing Community Meeting will be presented by Salinas City Councilman Steve McShane and State Assemblywoman Anna Caballero on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Salinas City Hall Rotunda.

“This is the first time, that I’m aware of, where state and local government officials engage non- and for-profit developers in search of housing solutions,” said McShane. “The goal of the meeting is to produce real ideas that both local and state government can put into action in response to an increasingly difficult housing crunch.”

A special panel offering commentary will include Hugh Walker of Thrust IV, a for-profit local developer; Dana Cleary of CHISPA, a nonprofit developer; and Megan Hunter, Salinas community development director. 

McShane said Matt Huerta, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership housing program manager will also be in attendance.

The Monterey Bay Housing Trust, the joint venture between the Economic Partnership and Housing Trust Silicon Valley, provided a sizable loan to CHISPA earlier this year for an affordable housing development in Castroville.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

GONZALES — Gonzales High School girls tennis team completed the season by participating in the Mission Trail Athletic League Singles and Tournament on Nov. 1.

The Spartans took part in the tournament with two singles players and two doubles teams. Competing for Gonzales were: Athena Landeros and Bianca Sanchez (singles); and the doubles teams of Adilenne Ramirez and Valeria Reyes, and the team of Isabel Mendoza and Elizabeth Arreola.

Gonzales head coach Rene Mendez was pleased with the efforts of his players at the MTAL tournament in singles and doubles play.

“Athena Landeros was our number one player all year and this was her first year playing singles and she represented and player very well,” said Mendez. “She never backed down and unfortunately drew one of the best players in the first round. Bianca Sanchez was the only senior on the team and was really nervous in the first set but played significantly better in the second set. She was our most consistent player all year and ended her high school tennis career with her head held high knowing she had left it all on the court. Adilenne Ramirez and Valeria Reyes played really well. They had points almost every game and just could not quite break through. Both Isabel (Mendoza), and Elizabeth (Arreola), played two and three singles all year and improved tremendously, so we are really looking forward to next year.”

Mendez is optimistic that the Spartan tennis program can be a better team next year with the experience gained this season.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A new law requiring hotels and other lodgings to post information on resources for victims of human trafficking could greatly help combat it in Salinas, advocates say.

"It really has the potential to make a huge difference," said Deborah Pembrook, an outreach advocate at the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center who specializes in human trafficking. 

Over the weekend, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill, Assembly Bill 260. It requires all motels, hotels and other lodgings to prominently post resources available for victims of human trafficking in a community, said Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, (D-Los Angeles), who wrote the bill. 

"(The law will) provide victims at various lodging places with crucial information that can lead to rescue and follow-up services," Santiago said in a press release.

Salinas' representatives, Assemblywoman Anna Caballero (D-30) and state Senator Anthony Cannella (R-12), both voted for the bill.