Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce August Business Journal

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Is Hydropower Green?




INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Child Poverty P.11 | Smoke Safety Regulations P.17 | Member News P.18

Hostile Takeover of PG&E?

Chamber CEO Earns Elite Certification

Paul Farmer is one of seven nationwide to form part of latest Certified Chamber Executive class

by Dale Kasler, The Sacramento Bee Billion-dollar hedge funds duel over bankrupt utility Two groups of multibillion-dollar hedge funds are fighting over control of PG&E Corp. in a battle with huge implications for California’s largest electric utility and the thousands of wildfire victims who hold claims against the bankrupt company. What had been a quiet tug-of-war turned into a hostile takeover battle recently. PG&E’s major bondholders, in a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, said they’re seeking to buy 85 percent of the utility’s stock for $19 billion. The effort is part of a larger reorganization proposal that would include paying billions to victims of the 2017 and 2018 wildfires. “They want to own the company essentially,” said Michael Wara, director of Stanford University’s Climate and Energy Policy Program and an advisor to the state Senate on wildfire issues. PG&E’s existing shareholders, led by a competing group of hedge funds, are sure to fight the plan, as they would see their holdings significantly dwindle in value if the bondholders succeed A PG&E truck makes its way past a hot spot in gaining control. during the Camp Fire in Paradise in November. PG&E wants the state to issue bonds to pay Camp Fire PG&E responded victims, and victims of the 2017 wine country fires. to the bondholders’ Photo Credit: Hector Amezcua • Sacramento Bee file

Paul J. Farmer, CEO of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce, has been designated as a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) by ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Farmer is one of only seven chamber professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Chamber Executive designation in 2019. These leaders represent chambers of commerce in seven states, including Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Montana and Utah. The newly-minted Certified Chamber Executives were recognized on stage July 15 at the 2019 ACCE Annual Convention in Long Beach, California. “The CCE program assesses and tests the applicant's knowledge of core chamber management areas —management, planning and development, membership and communication, and operations,” says Linda Rabe, CCE, IOM, president and CEO of Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce (S.D.) and CCE commission chairman. “Chamber professionals who are designated CCEs have rightfully earned this outstanding recognition through hard work, countless hours of dedication to their field, ACCE CEO Sheree Anne Kelly, Paul Farmer, and leadership of their chamber to Nancy Keefer (outgoing ACCE board chair) achieve the chamber’s goals. We are proud to have this year’s class join a long tradition of professional excellence.” Since the first CCE designation was conferred more than 40 years ago, about 500 professionals have become certified. CCE is recognized as the highest, and most elite, professional designation in the chamber of commerce profession. It’s the only globally-recognized certification program exclusive to the chamber of commerce

PG&E - Continued on page 6


FARMER - Continued on page 6




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Government Regulation in Salinas City Center by John Bailey, Chamber Board Chair In 2019, local governments have been in the news for their considerable efforts in addressing the local housing crisis, and the homelessness that is a symptom of the lack of local affordable housing. But if you take a walk around Salinas City Center this summer, what you will notice most is all of the considerable redevelopment of the downtown area formerly known as “Oldtown” and now called “Salinas City Center.” Even the City of Salinas is getting in on the action, as I have noticed that City-owned property is being improved right along with the privately held property. And the City of Salinas is finally using its code enforcement powers to more appropriately regulate nascent local business, without putting undue burden on those local businesses that survived the great recession, which officially lasted from December 2007 to June of 2009. That is not to say that people will not continue to find room for improvement with the planning process, or by sometimes overzealous use of code enforcement by local government. But the appropriate public-private partnerships to facilitate

appropriate government regulation can really help, as has happened in Salinas City Center. In early 2016, the property owners in formerly Oldtown Salinas formed a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation called Salinas City Center Improvement Association (SCCIA). Many property owners wondered if the extra tax charged to their properties would bring value. Well, the proof is in the pudding, and a quick walk around Salinas City Center shows that a whole lot has gone right since the Steinbeck Center attracted CSUMB to 1 Main Street in Salinas, and the Taylor Building, with its flurry of AgTech activity, brought new life to Salinas City Center. It is a pleasure to see the excitement and energy that surrounds some of the new uses of historic buildings in Salinas City Center. The Old Armory Building and the Old Fire Station have been recently improved, and are once again centers for social activities in our community. There is still room for improvement, and local businesses and government regulators still occasionally disagree on what should be improved, and when and how. But it is clear that Salinas

City Center is an example of how appropriate government regulation can revitalize a local downtown. A quick stop into the nascent local businesses is a pleasure, but reminds me that more needs to be done if the success is to be longstanding. Careful planning to attract shoppers to a vibrant shopping and restaurant district is still needed. And while there is a “Revitalization, Improvement and Beautification Plan for Downtown Salinas”, that plan will never fully succeed without prompt incentives to attract and keep the right mix of businesses and associated business uses in the Salinas City Center area. We at the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce are pleased to see local business leaders working within the local government regulations to make Salinas even better, and we support the efforts of those in the SCCIA, The City of Salinas, Taylor Farms, CSUMB, The National Steinbeck Center, Western Growers, and the many, many others who continue to work diligently to bring positive change to Salinas City Center. ■

2019 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chair - John Bailey Alternative Dispute Resolution ■ Chair-elect - Andrea Bailey Chevron ■ Past Chair - Jim Bogart Grower-Shipper Association ■ Vice Chair, GRC - Kevin Dayton Salinas City Center Improvement Assn. ■ Vice Chair, Finance - Bill Hastie Hastie Financial Group ■ Vice Chair, Events - Julie Ann Lozano MBS Business Systems ■ Vice Chair, Membership - Kristy Santiago KION TV ■


Bumba (Consultant Community/Health) ■ Esteban Calderon (Comerica Bank) ■ Raymond Costa (RHC Management, dba McDonald's) ■ Frank Geisler (Geisler3) ■ John Haupt (Haupt & Associates) ■ Albert Maldonado (MP Express Printing) ■ Rodney Meeks (Credit Consulting Services) ■ Tom Meyer (1st Capital Bank) ■ Kathy Miller (Aera Energy) ■ Krishna Patel (Valvoline Instant Oil Change) ■ Brandon Patterson (Brandon D Patterson Windermere Valley Properties) ■ Starla Warren (Monterey County Housing Authority Development Corporation)


Kasavan (SPARC) ■ Matt Huerta (Monterey Bay Economic Partnership)




Noble Boss Membership Director ■ Sydney Allred Member Services Coordinator ■ Phillip Saldaña Operations Manager ■ Pending, Finance Manager ■ Paul Farmer CEO & Chief Member Advocate CREATING A STRONG LOCAL ECONOMY PROMOTING THE COMMUNITY PROVIDING NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES POLITICAL ACTION REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF BUSINESS WITH GOVERNMENT

The City of Salinas invested to improve this fire department building in the heart of the city.

AUGUST 2019 (831)751-7725


The Birth of the National Steinbeck Center by Laura Harris As the largest literary museum in the United States and recognized internationally, the National Steinbeck Center (NSC) membership base includes local, regional, and international constituents; approximately 25,000 tourists visit the museum annually and, equally significant, nearly 9,000 guests engage with NSC events and programs designed for our local community of Monterey County. One of only 10 Americans to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, John Steinbeck’s writing continues to delight readers and only increases in popularity with succeeding generations. Utilizing Central California, particularly Salinas (his hometown), the Salinas Valley, and the California Coast Ranges region as the setting for many of his novels and short stories, he frequently explored the themes of fate and injustice, especially as applied to downtrodden or everyman protagonists. Steinbeck incorporated actual American (human) conditions and events of the first half of the 20th century into his writing, which he had experienced or witnessed first-hand as a news reporter. Often populating his stories with struggling characters; his works examined the lives of the working class and migrant workers during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Many hands took part in making the dream of the National Steinbeck Center come true. In 1974, the Salinas Chamber of Commerce asked that an ad hoc committee be created to develop a plan that would create a forum in which locals and visitors from around the world could experience the Nobel Prize-winning author’s life, work, and values, as well as the diverse culture of the Salinas Valley. From this committee came the formation of the Steinbeck Foundation established in 1984. The Foundation grew from 10 members to a Board of Trustees of approximately 40 prominent community and civic leaders. A committee of the Board of Trustees pursued a plan to acquire original manuscripts, letters, and other Steinbeck memorabilia. These materials, as well as many donated items, became the nucleus of the Steinbeck Archives at the John Steinbeck Library. Other committees such as design, display, project, capital campaign, festival, and membership were formed and the dream began to take shape. Museum consultants, architects, and design specialists began to work with the appropriate committees. The Board of Trustees, the Salinas City Redevelopment Agency, and the City Council worked closely together to achieve the final plan. A number of these community leaders that believed in preserving Steinbeck’s


rich, iconic legacy have passed on, but not before their leadership, enthusiasm, and hard work inspired many others to carry the building project to completion, the exhibit and archive impressively curated, and community literacy, education, and cultural programs successfully launched. In 1991, the Salinas Woman’s Club made the first major grant of $175,000 to the Steinbeck Foundation. Upon review of a feasibility study and community hearing, in 1994 the City and Redevelopment Agency pledged the land and financial support. This set a pattern which brought individual, corporate, and foundation support. Eventually, an impressive $10,600,000 was raised to design and build the National Steinbeck Center, a museum, archive repository, and cultural center. The Steinbeck Foundation became the National Steinbeck Center in July of 1996, and Rep. Sam Farr read the name change into the Congressional Journal. Having opened in 1998, the NSC has welcomed hundreds of thousands of regional, national, and international visitors to tour and explore the Steinbeck Exhibition Hall. Sustained interest has invigorated the NSC to continuously give back in various meaningful ways including educating and inspiring new generations of writers and authors. Without question, John Steinbeck and the National Steinbeck Center have greatly contributed to the cultural, educational, and economic value of Salinas and its Valley. Literally positioned at One Main Street, the NSC is not only a landmark but is the heart of Salinas. Its creation led the way for what is now a successful revitalization of the downtown area. A few years ago, California State University-Monterey Bay took ownership of the building, improving sustainability and allowing the National Steinbeck Center to continue serving its local and global communities. John Steinbeck achieved worldwide recognition for his keen observations and powerful descriptions of the human condition, proving his literary genius. His life was as rich and provocative as the Salinas Valley he immortalized in his writing. As 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s passing, the NSC leadership and community of stakeholders are committed to his enduring legacy worldwide while providing a continuity of important programs for our local community. ■


Please join the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce as we celebrate

Legacy of

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Sherrie Isaac

Vern Horton 5

➟ PG&E – Continued from page 1

plan with a court filing saying the proposal comes up billions of dollars short of what’s needed to pull the utility out of bankruptcy. It criticized the bondholders for undermining PG&E’s efforts to reorganize — and to try to seize control of the company “at a significant discount.” PG&E is expected to submit its own reorganization proposal in August. Any plan for reorganizing PG&E would need the approval of the company’s creditors, the bankruptcy judge and the California Public Utilities Commission. The utility was driven into bankruptcy under the weight of an estimated $30 billion in liabilities from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires. The bondholders’ takeover attempt reflects the belief on Wall Street that a well-run PG&E, once it clears up its liabilities, could be a profit machine. “They’re buying an asset that has some debts, maybe needs some significant repairs,” Wara said. “They feel they can take the dust off it ... and have something that’s much more valuable than what they paid for it.” According to a “commitment letter” they’ve filed, the bondholders could increase their investment to as high as $20 billion in exchange for 95 percent control of the company’s stock. They would also borrow billions of dollars for a total package of around $30 billion. Much of the money would go to paying existing wildfire claims, and to contribute PG&E’s share of a new insurance fund created by the Legislature to deal with future wildfire costs. The commitment letter builds on a proposal outlined last month by the bondholders in which they offered to pay $16 billion to $18 billion to victims of last November’s Camp Fire in Paradise and the wine country fires of 2017. Victims’ advocates have said they want more money but have called the bondholders’ offer promising. Hedge funds are partnerships generally limited to ultra-wealthy investors. The bondholders’ group, owed roughly $10 billion in total, are led by a dozen major Wall Street investors such as Apollo Global Management, Pimco and Elliott Management. Bondholders are lenders, while stockholders actually own the company. The group competing with the bondholders consists of three hedge funds that

own a combined 10 percent of PG&E’s stock — Abrams Capital, Knighthead Capital and Redwood Capital. They have become influential players in the company’s operations. In April they played a big role in installing Bill Johnson, the former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, as chief executive of PG&E. Their stock is worth just under $1 billion. While the fight is shaping up as a duel between billionaires, Jared Ellias, a bankruptcy expert at UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, said there’s a significant difference in the two groups’ plans for PG&E: The bondholders want to pay the old wildfire claims by injecting new capital into the company. PG&E’s management wants to take on new debt, a move that Ellias said could “weaken the company and ... make a return to bankruptcy court in the future more likely.” The bondholders’ group gained something of an upper hand when Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed AB 1054. The law creates a $21 billion insurance fund to pay future wildfire claims, financed equally by shareholders and ratepayers of PG&E and the other two big investor-owned utilities. The law doesn’t cover existing fire claims — and lawmakers disregarded PG&E’s plea for an amendment that would have allowed the utility to borrow billions to pay the 2017-18 fire liabilities, with the debt being repaid out of future profits. PG&E argued that the plan would create a quick way to get money to fire victims. Yet Ellias, the bankruptcy expert, said the plan also benefited existing PG&E shareholders. Although they’d forego some future profits, they’d still keep control of the company. Newsom told Bloomberg news that he doesn’t support PG&E’s proposal. But the utility plans to revive the proposal when lawmakers return from their summer recess, Bloomberg reported. The bondholders group, which lobbied lawmakers and Newsom’s office, argued that PG&E’s borrowing plan would load the company up with new debt and weaken its finances. With PG&E’s proposal dead, at least for the time being, that creates an opening of sorts for the bondholders to press ahead with their plan to pull the utility out of bankruptcy. ■

➟ FARMER – Continued from page 1 industry. There are currently only 4 Chamber professionals who hold the CCE designation in all of California. John Bailey, Chair of the Salinas Valley Chamber Board of Directors shared this: “Paul has been a forward-thinking, capable leader for our Chamber for over seven years. We’re very pleased to see Paul earn this certification because it demonstrates to our members that we have a professionally-run organization. The CCE designation also lends greater credibility to our leader as our Chamber has been stepping up to work on problems at a regional level.” Paul has served as CEO and Chief Member Advocate of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce since 2012. Prior to becoming CEO, he served on the Salinas Valley Chamber’s Executive Committee while he was Cofounder and President of OfficeStar Computer Training Centers. Paul was the local and then State President of the California Junior Chamber (Jaycees). As part of the Certified Chamber Executive process, applicants must deliver a presentation in Alexandria, Virginia before a panel of industry experts. That presentation must cover an area in which the Exec has shown leadership in their community. Paul delivered his presentation on the “City Budget Crisis,” a series of research articles he wrote identifying the root causes and suggesting possible solutions to the City of Salinas’s structural budget deficit. ■



Correction re Farm Day In the Business Journal’s last issue, we erred in the article “Chamber Honors Local Leaders.” In the section we published on Candi DePauw, who is to be honored at the Chamber’s Legacy of Leadership event, we mistakenly gave her credit for starting “Farm Day” herself. DePauw was quick to point out that, while she currently leads the program, it was started by many others. To wit: Joanne Nissen and Claudia Smith conceptualized the Farm Day Experience and actually did the first ag presentations at school sites. For details of the master plan, Richard Smith, Butch & Vivien Lindley and Gary Robinson offered their efforts, among many others. To combat a lack of general understanding of the needs and benefits of agriculture, a local group began teaching the importance of agriculture through school visits. Driven by such industry leaders as Bill Barker, John Inman, Claudia Smith, Benny Jefferson, Dorothy Errea, Joanne Nissen, Mary Orradre and many more, the “Mobile Farm Story” became a much-requested enrichment program. The program was so popular that it became overwhelming to manage. Out of this success, Monterey County Agricultural Education, Inc. was born, and The Farm Day Experience initiated. In 1991, the organization was incorporated as a 501(c)3 and became a pioneer in the field of agricultural literacy and awareness.


Homeownership Amid Healthy CA Economy by Rose Meily, Enterprise-Record Economy healthy, no recession looming for California, economists say When they presented the California Association of Realtors 2019 Mid-Year Market Forecast recently, C.A.R. senior vice president and chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young and deputy chief economist Jordan Levine announced as of July, the U.S. was officially 10 years into its economic recovery period. The country has experienced the longest period of economic expansion on record. The economy is healthy, with GDP reaching 3.1 percent in the first quarter of this year. Unemployment was at 3.7 percent in June — the lowest in 55 years, and job growth was at 1.5 percent. Consumer confidence has remained elevated. Interest rates are at an all-time low, hitting 3.75 percent in June. There is speculation that interest rates may be lowered even more. Given the strength of the labor market and income growth, the economists said the housing market should be stronger. Appleton-

Young asked, “Why are the low rates not spurring even more home sales?” Levine speculated the federal tax code has removed the incentive for homeownership. Raising the standard deduction and capping the federal deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000 have undermined the motivation to enter the housing market and removed the financial incentives for homeowners to trade-up. Although inventory has increased, it is still constrained, so home prices remain at an all-time high. “It’s still pretty brutal out there for the buyers who want to find homes,” commented Levine. Appleton-Young said consumer confidence is fairly volatile. People are jittery, even with a strong labor market. There is also uncertainty about what the Federal Reserve Bank is going to do with rates and the slowing of growth in Europe and China. Despite these uncertainties and sluggish growth, the economists discounted talk of another recession looming. They said there are no obvious indicators to support a recession.

Consumers have a reasonable amount of debt with decent balances on credit cards and auto loans. The lending environment and housing are very different today. They doubt there will be a repeat of 2008 because the fundamental imbalances then are not prevalent today. C.A.R. forecasts a 2.4 percent GDP by yearend, an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, a 2.4 percent increase in real disposable income. By year-end, C.A.R. projects home sales will dip 4.3 percent, the median price will increase 4 percent, and the 30-year fixed rate interest will be at 4 percent. The market is rebalancing itself. Despite low inventory, properties are moving, said Appleton-Young. She added, “It’s just absolutely critical to price the property correctly, and by that I mean don’t overprice it or you’re going to be following the market down. The price strategies that worked in the market in 2017 don’t work in the market in 2019.” The C.A.R. chief economist maintains “low housing affordability is California’s Achilles heel.” California housing affordability

is at 32 percent, compared to the country at 57 percent. Research shows the only employment field which affords you to buy a home in the state is that of a software developer earning $127,950. “If no one can afford to live here, it’s going to be an issue,” she said. “The lack of supply of housing will eventually create a situation where the demand moves somewhere else.” The economists indicated 750,000 people have left the state since 2010. They fear the housing affordability issue is going to become an economic issue, as more millennials and Gen Xers than boomers move out of state to places like Texas, where there are no zoning or housing supply constraints. Levine indicated more than 100 cities in California are already classified as “majority renter cities.” If things don’t change, it is projected that the entire state of California will become a majority renter state by 2025. ■ Information provided in this column is presented by the Realtor members of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors at

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House Bill Would Increase Min. Wage To $15 by Jesse Naranjo, Wall Street Journal The House of Representatives passed a bill recently that would more than double the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025. The bill, which passed by a 231-199 margin, was sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D., Va.) and was a compromise that progressive

Democrats struck with more centrist members of the party. It is unlikely to see a vote in the Senate, and the White House has signaled its opposition. A study on the bill’s initial effects by the Congressional Budget Office report released this month showed that raising the federal wage floor to $15 by 2025 had the potential to lift 1.3 million people out of poverty, and increase pay for 17 million workers. But the study also showed such an increase could lead to 1.3 million people losing their jobs. ■

Advanced Solutions From Your Local Business Neighbors


Les Dabritz July 14, 1934 — June 30, 2019

Les Dabritz served as the CEO of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce during the 1970s. We recently learned of his passing from his family members. As the Chamber was an important part of his life, we wanted to pay our respects and say thank you to Les and his family. Leslie O. Dabritz was born July 14, 1934, in Santa Cruz. His family moved to several locations while he was growing up, as his father was a Methodist minister. Les graduated from Mariposa High School and was a graduate of College of the Pacific. He was a history major in college, but much of his time was spent on the track field. His love of running track stayed with him throughout his life. Les met the girl of his dreams while living in Modesto. He married Barbara (Mitchell) in 1962, and they had 57 years together. Les was proud of their children, Deron and Romy, and his two grandchildren. His career in Chamber of Commerce management brought him to several cities in California, where his accomplishments were always praised. Les worked hard to leave a Chamber in better shape than when he arriwved. The height of Les’s personality was his sense of humor and quick wit. His “Old Jokes” were the best. He left behind smiles with all who knew him.


Phone 831-759-8760 540 Work St., Suite E • Salinas, CA 93901


Update on Monterey Bay Community Power by Kevin Dayton, Chamber Board Monterey Bay Community Power is maturing as a public agency two years after its first official meeting in May 2017. It seems to be operating smoothly without controversies. The pressure groups that pushed the agency toward costly idealistic objectives in its first 18 months seem to have stepped back. The “clean, reliable energy at reasonable rates” faction seems to have prevailed - for now - over the “deep transformational societal change” faction. Some possible reasons for the current state of Monterey Bay Community Power: 1. A practical, experienced CEO 2. A Policy Board and Operations Board with majorities that are pragmatic rather than ideological 3. Regular outreach to business groups and large and small businesses 4. Public monitoring and oversight (particularly from Clear Honest Options in Clean Energy - CHOICE) that keeps agency leaders accountable 5. A Community Advisory Community that serves as a constructive outlet for the promotion of more radical policy proposals

agreement (PPA) for output from the Morro Bay Offshore Wind Project and, thus, aid in the successful development of the project.”

Final Statistics for Agency Power Procurement in 2018 Monterey Bay Community Power reported on its status in fulfilling a state “Renewables Portfolio Standard.” In 2018, 100% of the agency’s electrical supply was “carbon-free.” In addition, 34% of its electrical supply was generated from “renewable” sources: 12% geothermal, 11% solar, and 11% wind. The other 66% of electricity supply was generated by large hydroelectric sources, which are not regarded as renewable under state law. Customers who object to using power from hydroelectric dams can choose the MBPrime program, which costs a little more.

Future Sources of Power for the Agency In response to a Request for Proposals for long-term energy supply (15- to 20-year terms), 36 energy developers submitted 54 projects for consideration. No further information has been provided to the public.

Expansion of the Agency

Billing Contractor Has Failed It hasn’t received any news media attention, but the agency’s contractor for billing (Grid X) has made significant mistakes in data management and billing that resulted in billing errors for customers. The Policy Board was told at their June 2019 meeting that credits to customers to resolve the debacle will cost the agency $400,000. The problem may be even more extensive than reported.

Company Wants to Install Off-Shore Wind Turbines with Help from Monterey Bay Community Power In the past year, a company named Castle Wind LLC, in conjunction with a company called Trident Winds, has been getting attention in San Luis Obispo County for a proposal to place floating wind turbines in international waters 30 miles off the coast of Morro Bay. The complex would have a capacity of 1000 megawatts of power - this is huge. Tentatively the cable from this power generation would come ashore at the closed-down Morro Bay Power Plant, although the company had looked into having the cable come ashore at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, in Monterey, or at Moss Landing. On June 26, the Operations Board received a presentation from a Castle Wind LLC executive as background for a vote to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding as “a non-binding expression of Castle Wind’s and MBCP’s good faith intent to draft, negotiate, and enter into a power purchase


Cities in San Luis Obispo County and San Luis Obispo County are in various stages of joining Monterey Bay Community Power. In addition, cities in the northern part of Santa Barbara County and Santa Barbara County are looking at joining the agency. (PG&E serves the northern half of Santa Barbara County and SoCal Edison serves the southern half.) The agency also sent material to the Fresno City Council, which is now looking at getting involved with community choice aggregation. Don’t be surprised if the agency changes its name in the next several months.

Union Official Leaves Community Advisory Committee Andy Hartmann, business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 234, is the first of the original members of the Community Advisory Committee to resign from the committee. He has been replaced by an expert and activist on energy efficiency programs who is based in Santa Cruz.

Electric Vehicle Program Continues The Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Incentives Program started on May 1 continues, with Cardinale Nissan as the Monterey County participant (selling Leafs). Salinas City Manager Ray Corpuz expressed disappointment that a dealership in the agency’s most populous city was not chosen to participate. ■


Harassment Prevention Training Reminder by Sharilyn Payne, Fenton & Keller


areas of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment; or (3) a professor or instructor in law schools, colleges or universities with a post-graduate degree or California teaching credential and either 20 instruction hours or two or more years of experience in a law school, college or university teaching about employment law under the FEHA and/or Title VII. There are several resources available to employers to ensure that they meet these training requirements. The Salinas Valley Chamber offers online training through Cal Chamber that can be accessed via our website: The Chamber is also promoting inperson trainings in Monterey County coordinated by the Employer Advisory Council (on which we participate). That training is conducted in English and Spanish and costs only $20 per person. It takes place on August 8. Register here: And the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, pursuant to requirements under the new law, is supposed to produce and post 2-hour supervisorial and 1-hour non-supervisorial training on its website – Although no training is yet posted on that website, it is expected that it will be available toward the end of the year. Clean-up legislation has been introduced stating that the harassment prevention training must be provided by January 1, 2021 instead of January 1, 2020, and that employers that have provided the training in 2019 do not have to provide the training again for two years. If passed, the legislation would take effect immediately as an urgency statute. However, to date, this legislation has not been signed, and for now, employers should continue to plan to provide their employees with the required training with the January 1, 2020 deadline in mind. ■

Photo by Batista Moon Studio

At the beginning of this year, the law concerning harassment prevention training was greatly expanded. We’re halfway through the year, and it’s important for employers to remember their responsibilities under this law. Previously, employers with 50 or more employees were required to provide 2-hour harassment prevention training to supervisorial employees within six months of hire or promotion and every two (2) years thereafter. Under the new law that went into effect on January 1, 2019, all employers with just five or more employees, including full time, part time and temporary employees must provide 2-hour harassment prevention training to supervisorial employees every two years, and 1-hour harassment prevention training to non-supervisorial employees every two years. In determining if an employer has five employees, it must also count independent contractors. Under this new law, the initial training must take place by January 1, 2020, and training provided prior to 2019 will not fulfill the training requirements. Although the trainings must concentrate on the area of sexual harassment, they must also include discussions of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, as well as discussions of abusive conduct -- a term defined under California law that refers to bullying. The training must be interactive and can be in-person classroom training, e-learning with a trainer available to answer questions, or webinar training. There are specific requirements for those providing the harassment prevention training. The trainer must be (1) an attorney admitted for two or more years to the bar of any state in the United States and whose practice includes employment law under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and/or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”); (2) a human resource professional with a minimum of two or more years of practical experience in the

Photo by Batista Moon Studios

Clarissa Rowe, VP Community Relations Officer; Oscar Rico Mendoza and Yusdivia Tapia, Owners, Stevie’s Family Restaurant; Kathy Torres, VP MCB 17629 Vierra Canyon Road Prunedale, CA 93907 831.272.3356 A convenient, causal family style restaurant, STEVIE’S FAMILY RESTAURANT is open daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Always cooking with fresh, local ingredients . “Without Monterey County Bank, people like us wouldn’t be able to open our own restaurant. Monterey County Bank has changed our lives and we highly recommend them to help you fulfill your dreams.” Oscar Mendoza and Yusdivia Tapia, Owners, Stevie’s Family Restaurant

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Sharilyn Payne is a lawyer with the Fenton & Keller law firm in Monterey. This article is intended to address topics of general interest, and should not be construed as legal advice. For more information, please visit

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The Oldest Locally Owned, Locally Managed Bank in Monterey County - OVER 40 YEARS! The Leading SBA Lender in Monterey County Member F.D.I.C. ⬧ Equal Housing Lender


Child Poverty in Local Cities by Erica Hellerstein, San Jose Mercury

When Michele Beserra looks at her 3-year-old granddaughter, she sees a warm, loving girl with light brown curls and a nurturing instinct—the kind of person she hopes will become a nurse or a community advocate. But the 56-year-old Beserra becomes emotional when she thinks about her granddaughter’s new home: a tent on a plot of land in Watsonville, where the family will move this month because they can’t afford to rent anymore on her $400-a-month income. With her daughter and granddaughter, Beserra and her husband, who has been out of work for two years, plan to cook on a camp stove and bathe outdoors in a plastic pool on a ranch owned by a relative. “We have stuff like we’re going camping. So that’s what we tell my beautiful little granddaughter when she asks us: ‘Nana, why do we have to move? Why?’� Beserra said, her voice cracking. “Because, I go, ‘we’re gonna go camping!’ It just breaks your heart when she asks why.� The family’s story is not uncommon in Santa Cruz County, which has the second-highest child poverty rate in the state, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Los Angeles County has the highest rate. Experts say the statistics can largely be traced to high housing costs. But Santa Cruz County’s median household income of $79,704 is much lower than Silicon Valley’s and San Francisco’s, partly because the area’s dominant industries are hospitality and agriculture. “On this side of the hill, wages are lower compared to what the cost of living is,� said county Supervisor Zach Friend. “In Santa Cruz County, to afford a two-bedroom apartment you would have to earn about $70,000 per year. That’s a lot of money.� PPIC calculated poverty rates using the California Poverty Measure, which, unlike federal poverty statistics, take into account geographical differences in the cost of housing within the state, one of the major factors behind economic instability in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area. The organization analyzed statistics from 2014-2016, the most recent data available. It expects to release updated numbers within the coming weeks, but demographers don’t expect Santa Cruz County, with a child poverty rate of 27.2 percent, to gain much ground.


Even for families that are able to make rent or pay a mortgage, the high cost of housing in Santa Cruz County may put a strain on their ability to pay for other basic necessities, like food. “One of the things that we are seeing is that people who would be considered middle class come in and use our services,â€? said Suzanne Willis, the development and marketing officer at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Cruz, which serves roughly 55,000 people per month, half of whom are children. “We are in this area where we have low wages and a super high cost of living, and it’s making it hard for any family to survive.â€? Social safety net programs may not capture all families who need support. To be eligible for CalFresh, the state’s primary food assistance program, a household of four needs to earn less than $4,184 per month. Households making more could find themselves caught between the cracks: Earning too much to be considered poor by official poverty metrics, but not enough to make ends meet after spending the bulk of their incomes on housing. It’s not just the cost of shelter that can put families over the edge, Willis said. “The cost of food is high, gas is high, the rising cost of health care. So many families are just one layoff or illness away from financial disaster. It’s just a difficult place.â€? Beserra is enrolled in CalFresh but also regularly stops by the food bank to pick up produce and other items she can’t afford with her food stamps. She said the food bank has been a “lifelineâ€? that has helped relieve the economic pressures placed on the family. Though she knows they have a tough road ahead, she’s more relaxed now than when she first found out they would have to move out of the three-bedroom house they were renting. She’s bringing her dog and cat to the ranch and found someone to adopt her 7-year-old goldfish once they relocate. “I’m kind of at peace,â€? Beserra said. “I’m restful now compared to the way I was a couple months ago. I have my animals with me. My daughter. The grandbaby. When I look at her, it’s like, she gives me all the faith in the world to believe that there’s something better.â€? â–




Illustration: Josue D. Rubio / Art by: Jose G. Ortiz - Hijos Del Sol Arts




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Cima Collina's Urban Wine Room Marina, CA

w/ Hahn Family Wines • The Club at Pasadera


CSUMB @ Salinas City Center


Event & Ticket Info: 831.758.0725 • Festival Photography by Mag One Productions

Erica Hellerstein is a journalist at The Mercury News in San Jose working for The California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequity and economic survival in California.

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Government & Social Services The Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce encourages you to shop and dine at local businesses. For every $100 spent at locally owned businesses, $73 stays in the community.

Let’s keep the Salinas Valley strong – shop at these member businesses.

Government City of Salinas (831) 758-7227 Mission Trails Regional Occupational Program (831) 753-4209 Monterey County Administrative Office (831) 755-4800

Monterey County Workforce Development Board (831) 796-3600

Dorothy's Place/Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra (831) 757-3838

Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (831) 471-7518

First 5 Monterey County (831) 444-8549

Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority DBA Salinas Valley Recycles (831) 775-3000

Food Bank for Monterey County (831) 758-1523 Gateway Center of Monterey County (831) 372-8002

Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner Transportation Agency for Monterey County Jacob's Heart Children's Cancer Support (831) 775-0903 (831) 759-7325 Services (831) 724-9100 Monterey County Housing Authority Social Services Development Corporation Turning Point of California, Inc. (831) 775-5000 Ag Against Hunger (831) 758-9421 (831) 755-1480 Monterey County Office of Education United Way Monterey County (831) 755-0301 American Red Cross of the Central Coast (831) 372-8026 (831) 624-6921 Monterey County Supervisor - Luis Alejo Veterans Transition Center of Monterey (831) 755-5011 CASA of Monterey County County (831) 455-6800 (831) 883-8387 Monterey County Water Resources Agency (831) 755-4896 Community Homeless Solutions (831) 384-3388 A Special Thanks to Our Strategic Partners and Stakeholder Members



Hartnell’s Salinas Valley Promise by Aleen Stoddard

New Member Profiles Airmotive Specialties The passion of trying to be one of the best in the aircraft rebuild and restoration industry is very important to Dave Teeters. He has 44 years of vast knowledge and experience, care and attention to detail and a love of aircrafts. He built and flew model airplanes, he soloed at the age of 16 and best of all, he spent as much time as he possibly could with his dad and the other guys at the airport gaining the hands-on experience and the knowledge to get where he is today. Airmotive Specialties provides services for GA and corporate aircraft and helicopters. The company specializes in aircraft restoration, metal fabrication, and forming. They also do aircraft retrieval, shipping, and exporting. 37 Mortensen Ave., Salinas • (831) 757-7154

El Pájaro Community Development Corporation

Hartnell students appreciate and celebrate their education.

Hartnell College is pleased and tremendously excited to announce the launch of the Salinas Valley Promise Program this fall. The Salinas Valley Promise aims to develop the next generation of strong and successful, lifelong learners through life skills training, financial support and mentorship. Mentorship is where YOU step in, because we believe that the success of this program is dependent upon the involvement of industry leaders like you, who are and will be committed to helping our students overcome challenges in order to reach their full potential. Please join us this year as a Salinas Valley Promise mentor! In order to make this program happen, we need to recruit 125 industry mentors to support our large number of incoming Promise students. Your commitment as a mentor will include 2-3 meeting times during


El Pájaro Community Development Corporation promotes the development micro-businesses by helping low-income minority entrepreneurs in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties. We assist in the creation economic opportunities in minority communities with limited resources, by providing instruction, bilingual/bicultural business training, business incubation, professional consulting and coaching. Our programs and partnerships help micro-entrepreneurs succeed economically. 23 E. Beach #209, Watsonville • (831) 722-1224

Site for Sore Eyes the school year, online mentor training, sharing your experience and expertise with a small group of students, and supporting them in achieving their personal, educational and professional goals. We are certain that you will have the opportunity to change lives, influence critical decisions, and deeply enrich the lives of our local young people. If you are interested in becoming a Promise mentor, or having your company’s employees commit to mentorship, please contact Margaret D’Arrigo- Martin to provide your contact information and receive further details on how we can work together. Please email or call Margaret D’Arrigo- Martin at: and (831) 905-6471. ■

Since 1979, with the establishment of its first store in Berkeley, CA, Site for Sore Eyes has gained a reputation for providing exceptional service in everything from quality eyewear to professional eye exams (which are provided by Independent Doctors of Optometry conveniently located inside Site for Sore Eyes). Today, this franchise has expanded to over 40 stores, each conveniently located and staffed with courteous salespeople and opticians to serve the eye care needs of the Northern California region. Visit us at our local store at 1241 S. Main St., Salinas, or call us at (831) 424-1242 •

WingStop WingStop is the destination when you crave fresh never faked wings, hand-cut seasoned fries and any of our famous sides. For people who demand flavor in everything they do, there's only WingStop - because it's more than a meal, it's a flavor experience. What began as a small buffalo-style chicken wing restaurant in Garland, Texas, continues to soar to great heights. Today there are more than 1,250 restaurants open across the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, UK and the United Arab Emirates. Visit us at one of our three locations in Monterey County. Salinas locations: 1488 Constitution Blvd. and 1130 S. Main St. Seaside: 1951 Fremont Blvd. •


Roth Benefits For 401k Plans

Chamber Events

by Bill Hastie, MBA Roth 401(k)s have only recently gained traction with plan sponsors, despite the fact that both the Roth IRA and the 401(k) plan have been around for decades. Since 2006, companies have been permitted to combine the two as retirement savings options for their employees. As of 2018, according to the latest bellwether information from the Callen Institute Defined Contribution Trends Survey, 85% of 401(k) plans now have a Roth option, up from 68% in 2016. For employee’s sake, a Roth 401(k) can be advantageous in several ways. First, it offers the potential for taxfree earnings if the requirements for a “qualified” withdrawal are met. A withdrawal from a Roth 401(k) is considered “qualified” (and is therefore tax free) if both of the following requirements are met – the account has been open for at least five years (the clock starts ticking on January 1 of the year the first contribution was made), and the account holder has reached 59½, is deceased or permanently disabled. If the employee fails to meet with requirements, then the withdrawals would be considered “non-qualified,” and earnings would be subject to income tax and potential penalties. Second, the contribution limits for Roth 401(k) plans are substantially higher than that of a Roth IRA $19,000, or $25,000 for those 50 and older, for the Roth 401(k) in 2019, and $6,000, $7,000 for those 50 and older, for the Roth IRA. Perhaps even more importantly is the Roth 401(k) is not subject to the same income phase-out

rules that apply to Roth IRAs. Higher-income Bill Hastie employees are often unable to benefit from Roth IRAs because the income phase-out limit begins at $122,000 and ends at $137,000 for single filers in 2019, and begins at $193,000 and ends at $203,000 for married filers. These phase-out limits do not apply to Roth 401(k) plans, thereby allowing these higher-income employees to reap a benefit previously not available to them with Roth IRAs. Lastly, planning for taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) can be vital for some employees. It’s important to note that as long as a non-key employee is still working for the plan sponsor, RMDs are not required even at age 70½ and beyond. Should this employee retire (assuming they are at least 70½), the RMDs kick right in and this applies to both traditional and Roth 401(k) balances. Employees and their spouse beneficiaries can sidestep the RMD on their Roth 401(k) balances by rolling these assets into a Roth IRA – but the timing rule is tricky. This transfer from the Roth 401(k) to a Roth IRA must be completed during the calendar year prior to the year the employee turns 70½. For example, if an employee (now retiree) turns 70½ anytime during 2020, they will need to transfer any Roth 401(k) balance to a Roth IRA prior to 12/31/2019 to avoid taking an RMD of the amount of their Roth 401(k) balance. As with most financial matters, a little advance planning and expert guidance can go a long way towards achieving one’s retirement income goals. Bill Hastie, MBA is the Founder of locally-owned Hastie Financial Group. If you would like to discuss your personal or company’s investment needs, please contact Bill at ■


Loose Caboose is one of the yummiest places to get a sandwich in Salinas, or so says the gang who showed up for Connect at Lunch.

“Monterey County Pops!” is passionate about exposing children to music. They perform free concerts geared towards families and children.

Kristy Santiago, who is a Chamber Board Director and General Manager of KION Right Now television, is flanked by several ladies at our joint Rodeo Mixer with the Monterey Peninsula Chamber.


Healthcare Day Our goal on Healthcare Day was to educate the cohort about the world-class resources available and issues that our residents face in Monterey County. Participants in the Leadership Monterey Peninsula program are afforded the opportunity to meet with top-level leaders at local institutions to learn about the issues face-to-face. The Leadership Monterey Peninsula programs enables the development of personal relationships that would be very difficult to build without a program like LMP. Our day started with an informative tour and discussion of Montage Wellness Center in Marina, where members of our community exercise in a very welcoming environment. We spent time with Dr. Steven Packer, President/CEO of Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, who shared details of the cost of healthcare, the Aspire Health plan and the importance of preventative Dr. Steven Packer, the top executive at Montage Health (CHOMP), meets with the class. care.

Next, we visited with Adrienne Laurent, Chief Strategic Communications Officer, at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, where we were treated to a tour and a discussion about the population served, internships available for emerging medical professionals and the growth planned at the hospital. We also learned about Blue Zones Project, a new healthy living initiative that is a collaboration between Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, Taylor Farms and Montage Health. At Natividad Medical Center, we ended our day with Andrea Rosenberg, Assistant Administrator, who The Museum of Medical History is a hidden treasure educated us on at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital the complicated issues operating as a public safety-net hospital that is owned and operated by Monterey County, as well as details about their Level II Trauma Center and affiliation with UC San Francisco. ■

Our upcoming Leadership day will focus on South County.

Chamber Ambassador

Frances Greenberg

to a client site, in order to help close the deal.

Frances (on left) having fun with friends

Frances Greenberg was raised on the Monterey Peninsula, where she attended Carmel High School. She then attended Sonoma State University, where she studied English Literature. Frances went on to enjoy a career in Sales and Marketing, representing such esteemed names as Western Publishing (Little Golden Books), Disney Home Video, and Warner Brothers licensed product; she’s even sold heavy equipment to local growers and industrial clientele. Ask her about the time she drove a 12-pallet (forklift)


Today, Frances works as the District Recruiting Manager under Jeremy Connally and his all-star team at the Farmers Insurance District office in Salinas. She is responsible for locating and identifying top talent to represent Farmers Insurance - a name recognized as one of the top three brands in personal lines and commercial insurance in the United States. Frances says: “The best part of my job is engaging with the local community. As an Ambassador for the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce, I’m able to do what comes naturally: share, support, connect and network with local businesses and their representatives in this amazing community.”

In her spare time, you can find Frances enjoying the great outdoors: hiking through Big Sur, playing tennis at any number of venues, or just enjoying the bountiful harvest of Monterey County. If you, or someone you know is interested in learning about the various ways to become a Farmers Insurance Agent, feel free to contact her at: or call her at: 831.424.0829. ■


Focus on Non-Profits Big Sur Land Trust (BSLT) Big Sur Land Trust (BSLT) is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire love of land across generations, conservation of our unique Monterey County landscapes, and access to outdoor experiences for all. We see a future where natural landscapes, working lands, urban open spaces and healthy communities are cared for by people who share a love of nature and a deep appreciation for the richness of their diverse cultures. Since 1978, our generous donors and partners have conserved over 40,000 acres throughout Monterey County. Our work promotes healthy lands, healthy people and healthy communities. All supporters of Big Sur Land Trust have the opportunity to participate in self-guided hikes, docent-led hikes and other special events. We have several priorities throughout Monterey County. Our focus in Salinas is transforming a 73-acre site at Carr Lake into a spectacular public park

for a community in great need of green, open space. This new park will provide significant health benefits, a beautiful place to gather, and experiences in nature for all. In addition to the park, we will be restoring wetlands which will help improve the quality of the water that flows into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. We will continue to work with residents and community leaders to hone the vision for this park in the heart of Salinas. To learn more about our work at Carr Lake and throughout Monterey County, as well as upcoming hikes and events visit or call us at (831) 625-5523. ■

Non-Profit Calendar Aug 3:

Oct 15:

Weds nights

Aug 8:

Tuesday nights

Monday mornings

Sept 9:

Tuesday nights

Sept 28:

Weds and Fri mornings


Volunteer Event: Carr Lake Weed Warriors 8:00-11:00am 618 Sherwood Drive, Salinas CA, 93906 Non-Profit: Big Sur Land Trust 831-625-5523 • Speaker is Ruth Andresen. Lunch is grilled chicken/penne pasta. Please RSVP. $8 members, $10 non-members. 11:30am-1:30pm • 100 Harvest St Non-Profit: Active Seniors, Inc. 831-424-5066 • The Scramble 11:30:00AM • Monterey Peninsula Country Club Non-Profit: Hospice Giving Foundation 831-333-9023 60th Anniversary Celebration, displays, demonstrations, food and drinks, presentation by Mayor Joe Gunter. 10:00am-4:00pm • 100 Harvest St Non-Profit: Active Seniors, Inc. 831-424-5066 •

Harvest, Hops & Hounds 3:30-7:30pm 8022 Soquel Drive, Aptos Village Non-Profit: UnChained 831-687-9364 • Ballroom Dancing with Moon Glow Jazz band 7:00-9:00 100 Harvest St Non-Profit: Active Seniors, Inc. 831-424-5066 • Dance lesson with Sera Hirasuna 6:00-7:00 100 Harvest St Non-Profit: Active Seniors, Inc. 831-424-5066 • Yoga & Pilates, all levels welcome 8:45-9:45AM 100 Harvest St Non-Profit: Active Seniors, Inc. 831-424-5066 •

Line Dancing 6:30-8:30PM 100 Harvest St Non-Profit: Active Seniors, Inc. 831-424-5066 • Zumba with Loretta Salinas 8:45-10:00AM 100 Harvest St Non-Profit: Active Seniors, Inc. 831-424-5055 •

Friday mornings

Zumba with Loretta Salinas 10:00-11:00AM 100 Harvest St Non-Profit: Active Seniors, Inc. 831-424-5066 •

1st Sat; 2nd & 4th Fridays

Western Dancing with Pam McCrumb 7:00-10:00PM 100 Harvest St Non-Profit: Active Seniors, Inc. 831-424-5066 •


CA Sets Smoke Safety Regulations by Gabrielle Paluch, Palm Springs Desert Sun California just became the first state to set safety regulation for workers exposed to wildfire smoke California's workplace safety standards board voted recently to adopt an emergency regulation requiring employers to provide N95 safety masks to workers who could be exposed to wildfire smoke. The state's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board's emergency regulation will go into effect in early August and will be in effect for one year. When the Air Quality Index for airborne PM2.5 particulate matter measures higher than 150, or “unhealthy,” and when there is reasonable expectation employees will come into contact with wildfire smoke, employers are required to provide N95 respirator masks to workers. An advisory committee will

meet Aug. 27 in Oakland to discuss establishing a permanent regulation, OSHSB spokesperson Erika Monterroza wrote in an email. Worksafe, California Labor Federation and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, worker health and safety advocacy nonprofit groups, filed a petition to the OSHSB asking for the regulation in December 2018. According to a staff evaluation, experts found the N95 masks had an observable benefit when worn correctly, forming a proper seal around the worker’s face. The Department of Industrial Relations found that immediate action was required to avoid serious harm to workers following the fires in 2018. It is the first regulation of its kind in the United States that specifically aims to address occupational exposure

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to wildfire smoke, according to the agency. The new rule amends the existing California regulations for respiratory protections in the workplace, which are similar to federal regulations. The regulation adds requirements for employers to monitor air quality at the worksites for their outdoor workers. Employers must also take other measures to reduce exposure, such as allowing people to work from home, if a commute would add more than one hour of exposure to the unhealthy air. Doug Parker, the executive director of Worksafe, said he was pleased to hear the board had approved what he called an important emergency standard to address the lack of adequate protections in place for workers exposed to wildfire smoke. “Based on the experience of the

last few years, when hundreds of thousands of workers in California were downwind of wildfire smoke," Parker said, "it’s especially important that it happened in time to protect workers this wildfire season.” Alka Ramchandani-Raj, an attorney who works for Littler Mendelsohn P.C., a law firm specializing in labor law, said the emergency regulation includes language that could require employers to stock masks they had no need to distribute. RamchandaniRaj said if the regulation is adopted permanently, she thinks it should be clarified on that point. “The way the law is written," Ramchandani-Raj said, "it could require companies to stock the masks, even when it is their policy to tell their employees to go home during times of poor air quality.” ■

Take a Step Toward Better Health Let our unique health and wellness programs connect you with your best life. New physicians and topics every month. For more information and to reserve your spot, call our Health Promotion Department at 831-759-1890.

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Hydropower Doesn’t Count as Green in CA by Adam Gray, State Assemblyman, writing for CalMatters California refuses to enlist clean, cheap hydropower in fight against climate change. Is the cleanest, greenest electricity in the world green enough for California? For years, the people of the Northern San Joaquin Valley have been trying to get hydropower recognized for what it is: the original source of clean electricity. Our efforts have been stymied by people who feel entitled to decide what is, or isn’t, green enough. That’s why I have begun the process of modifying our state Constitution to recognize safe, abundant, carbonfree hydropower as a reliable source of renewable energy in our fight against climate change. I have authored Assembly Constitutional Amendment 17 to place this question before California’s voters. We’ve also begun the process of qualifying a ballot measure if the Legislature fails to act on ACA17. At the very least, it should start an important statewide conversation. The danger of climate change is clear. We see it in more extreme summer heat and rains that either flood or hardly fall at all. Since 2002, California has required all electricity providers to transition from polluting sources like coal and oil to strictly “renewable” sources. For-profit companies such as PG&E and public entities like Modesto, Turlock and Merced irrigation districts, which are owned by the people living within their boundaries, all must meet the same standards. Last summer, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 100, committing the state to using only carbon-free energy by 2045. An important milestone in SB 100 requires 60% of all California’s energy be generated from “renewable” sources by 2030. That’s where the law loses its way. It classifies solar, wind and geothermal as renewable but inexplicably excludes the most well-developed renewable energy of all: hydropower. If solar and wind power were cleaner than hydro, that might make sense. But hydro is every bit as clean as solar or wind power, and produces zero emissions. Turlock Irrigation District estimates leaving hydropower off the renewable list will cost its 100,000 customers an


additional $300 million. There are two reasons for that extra cost: First, with Central Valley temperatures exceeding 100 degrees on 10, 20 or more days per year we need more power than coastal residents to make our homes livable. Second, if hydropower isn’t classified as renewable then the Turlock Irrigation District, and the many other utilities that depend on hydro, will have to replace it with more expensive solar- and windgenerated power. Earlier this year Sen. Anna Caballero, Salinas Democrat, authored Senate Bill 386 to designate electricity generated at Don Pedro Reservoir as renewable. Several environmental organizations and SB 100’s author, former Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, went nuts. They insisted counting hydro as renewable would discourage construction of their preferred power sources. The bill was halted even though the federal government and virtually every other state considers hydropower renewable. Like California, the state of Washington passed a law requiring carbon-free energy by 2045. Hydro supplies 65% of Washington’s electricity. But instead of rejecting all that clean power to fight climate change, Washington’s law says hydro should be “maximized” as “our principal renewable resource.” Groups such as the Sierra Club, which fought so hard against Sen. Caballero’s bill, were happy to call Washington’s hydropower renewable. The Sierra Club also applauded leaders in Aspen, Colo., for pledging to go carbon free even though Aspen gets 45% of its power from hydro. When people in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento understand that hydropower is just as clean as solar but costs half as much to produce, they too might demand to be treated more fairly. My constitutional amendment will make state law reflect reality by recognizing hydropower as renewable. It’s common sense. It’s sound science. It will lower the electric bills of millions of Californians. Investing in other renewable energy sources shouldn’t mean ignoring the clean energy we already have. ■ Assemblyman Adam Gray represents Assembly District 21, which includes Merced and Stanislaus counties, assemblymembergray@ He wrote this for CalMatters.

Member News Hikari Development Honored The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials recently honored the Monterey County Housing Authority Development Corporation with the 2019 Award of Merit in Program Innovation for the Haciendas Phase 3 Affordable Housing Development (Hikari). The Haciendas Phase 3 housing development (named Hikari, meaning “light” in Japanese) is the final phase of a four-part overarching Haciendas redevelopment project. The Haciendas redevelopment project collectively replaced 100 dilapidated, previously HUD, public housing units with 200 modern, energy-efficient, functional living spaces. The Haciendas developments are an integral part of the revitalization of the Chinatown neighborhood of Salinas. Haciendas Phase 3 is a multi-family rental housing property that provides 50 affordable housing units to the community — a drastic increase from the 14 units that had previously occupied the land.

Soccer Complex Receives $5M + Salinas Regional Sports Authority has received $5 million in state funding that will be used to continue development of its world-class Salinas Regional Soccer Complex. The soccer complex on Constitution Blvd plans include 21 tournament-quality outdoor fields, an indoor field, an indoor learning, health and training center, a Celebration Plaza, a children’s play area, a perimeter walking and exercise path, and picnic areas. Monterey County and the City of Salinas each previously contributed $250,000 to the project and Chevron recently donated another $50k.

Aera on Forbes Best Employers List Aera Energy has been named one of the best midsize companies to work for on Forbes America’s prestigious 2019 Best Midsize Employers List. The Bakersfield-based company, which is one of California’s largest oil and gas producers, was ranked 13th on the list of 500 best midsize companies in the United States. Aera Energy, which employs about 1,100 employees and nearly 2,800 contractors in Kern, Fresno, Monterey and Ventura counties, also ranked second among 32 companies listed in the construction, oil and gas operations, mining and chemicals category.


August & September 2019 Aug

Ribbon Cutting- Blue Zones Project


Young Professionals Group Public Speaking Workshop





5-6pm • 252 Main St.

12-1pm • Chamber Office

Lunch and LearnCredit Reporting for Small Business 11:30am-1pm • Chamber Office


Salinas Valley & San Benito County Chambers Summer Mashup Mixer


Ambassador Committee Meeting





5:30-7pm • 304 Carpenteria Rd., Aromas 12-1pm • Chamber Office

Young Professionals Group Meeting 12-1pm • Chamber Office


Connect at Lunch- Pastability's


Lunch and LearnBusiness Insurance Advice from Field Experts



12-1pm • Farmers Union Pour House- 217 Main St.

11:30am-1pm • Chamber Office



It means Ready to Help