Thursday, May 29, 2008
UPPING THE ANTE… Two weeks ago we first gambled on Salinas businessman Sal Jimenez’s proposal for an upscale card room, called Bankers Casino, in the former Moose Lodge. The Salinas City Council May 20 placed its initial wager by endorsing an ordinance that would waive betting limits and increase the number of card tables from seven to nine. Parishioners at nearby Temple Philadelphia, however, aren’t happy. The congregation is protesting the card room, saying it will increase prostitution and addiction in the city. [ZS]
FEEDING THE HUNGRY… The last time we reported on Salinas’ Chinatown, neighborhood leaders and students revealed plans for a cultural center on Soledad Street. On May 7, Robert Smith, director of Dorothy’s Place and one of the leaders of Chinatown’s revitalization, was awarded the 2008 Hunger Fighter Award by the California Hunger Action Coalition. Smith, who started handing out sandwiches to homeless people on Soledad Street in 1982, has partnered with CSUMB to bring fresh veggies and job training to the down and out. [ZS]
TARGETING THE POOR… Last week we reported on the so-called May revise, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s revised state spending plan, and how it proposes to cut billions in state programs like education, health care and social services. Sacramento Dems, like Central Coast Assemblyman John Laird, called the planned cuts “draconian,” while the Guv called them “necessary” to fix the state’s $17 billion shortfall. Now, local health and social services officials are joining in the chorus of boos aimed at the Schwarzenegger budget.
“These cuts are a blow to those who work in our seasonal economy to feed the nation and welcome guests who come to visit,” Elliott Robinson, director of the Monterey County Department of Social and Employment Services, said in an official statement addressing the proposed reductions to Medi-Cal benefits for immigrants. “These kinds of cuts will not only harm immigrants, they will make life harder for all poor families and will take millions of dollars that small business relies on out of our economy.” If the cuts are approved, the department estimates more than 2,100 immigrants living and working in Monterey County will lose access to routine and preventive health care. [JL]