Del Rey Oaks moves to join Monterey Bay Community Power

DEL REY OAKS – The city of Del Rey Oaks has approved joining Monterey Bay Community Power, adding to the list of Monterey Peninsula cities and regional jurisdictions that have joined the Community Choice Aggregation program.

City Council bypassed a resolution in the first reading of an ordinance required for membership said Del Rey Oaks City Manager Dino Pick.

“As with all cities joining there will be a second reading of the ordinance at our May 28 city council meeting,” said Pick. “City staff were very pleased to recommend to the City Council that the city of Del Rey Oaks join Monterey Bay Community Power at this point.”

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Agencies launch Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Incentive Program

MONTEREY — Officials from Monterey Bay Community Power and Monterey Bay Air Resources District announced the launch of the Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Incentive Program Wednesday, with electric vehicles available on site for test drives.

“We’re really excited to be a vehicle in partnership with other agencies like (Monterey Bay Air Resources District) to make sure that all consumers and all customers in the Monterey Bay get on this electrification train that’s coming right now,” said JR Killigrew, director of communications and energy programs for Monterey Bay Community Power. “It’s here and it’s going to help us bring an even more cleaner, more vibrant and economically feasible Monterey Bay region.”

The first phase of the program offers significant discounts pre-negotiated off the list price of electric vehicles from specific local dealerships as well as added incentives through July 31. Monterey Bay Community Power customers who are income-qualified can receive a $4,500 discount, nonprofit and public agency Monterey Bay Community Power customers are eligible for a $3,000 discount and all other Monterey Bay Community Power customers can receive a $1,000 discount.

Killigrew said the goal of the event Wednesday was to provide awareness of electric vehicles and the discounts now available.

Click here for the full article.

Agencies launch Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Incentive Program, by Tom Wright, Monterey Herald, May 1, 2019.

Most tri-county ratepayers to see savings on December energy bill

SANTA CRUZ — Call it a Christmas present from your local utility: Ratepayers in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties can expect to see a small savings on their December electricity bills.

Between $5 and $10 on average, the rebate is the first to be handed out to residential customers by Monterey Bay Community Power, a locally controlled utility that rolled out service to more than 200,000 tri-county customers in July.

Instead of paying shareholder dividends such as investor-owned utility Pacific Gas & Electric, the not-for-profit utility is using a portion of its revenues to give about $4 million back to its customers this year.

“As a not-for-profit public agency, our goals are different than investor-owned utilities,” said J.R. Killigrew, Monterey Bay Community Power’s director of communications and energy programs in a recent interview. “Our shareholders are our customers, not Wall Street,” he added.

Additional revenues are being used to fund investment in electric vehicle incentives and infrastructure, and to install solar panels on dozens of low-income homes in a partnership with Grid Alternatives, according to Killigrew. About $1.3 million is expected to be invested in those programs in 2019.

The credit on customers’ December bills reflects a bundled 3percent rebate on five months of service. Savings are expected to be larger in 2019, when the annual rebate will apply to a full year of service.

Commercial customers, which use more power, can see much higher returns from the rebate. Dole Fresh Vegetables, based in Salinas, is saving $50,000 this year, according to information provided by Facilities Manager Tom Messenger in a news release.

Thousands of solar-powered residences, however, won’t see the rebate this month because their switch to the local utility is on hold pending their annual “true up” date with PG&E, when electricity generated for the grid is offset against usage.

Monterey Bay Community Power was formed under an agreement between the three counties and the 18 cities within their borders.

The agency operates under a model called community-choice energy that allows local governments to form their own utility on the backbone of the traditional investor-owned providers.

Electricity rates remain the same, and billing, delivery, metering and natural gas continue to be provided by PG&E. Customers are also able to opt out of the locally owned utility and remain with PG&E, but so far, few have.

But there is at least one key difference. Bay Community Power is able to purchase its own energy entirely from carbon-free sources, while PG&E secures about 80 percent of its energy from carbon-free sources.

“Everything is the same except for you’re now supporting an entity that fits what you believes is the right course of action for your local economy, your community as well as environmentally,” Killigrew said.

The community-choice model is becoming increasingly popular in California, despite initial resistance from the investor-owned utilities.

Monterey Bay Community Power became the 12th community-choice energy agency to come online in California. The state’s first, Marin Clean Energy, formed in 2010 serving Marin County and surrounding areas.

According to Killigrew, Monterey Bay Community Power is expanding to include the cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay in 2020.

For information on Monterey Bay Community Power, visit


Most tri-county ratepayers to see savings on December energy bill, by Nicolas Ibarra, Santa Cruz Sentinel, December 26, 2018.

California regulators approve the world’s biggest battery projects

Batteries are getting big in California. And by big, I am talking about Dynegy’s plan to build a 300 MW battery project to replace a gas-fired power plant in Moss Landing, California.

Today the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved four contracts for battery storage contracts that utility Pacific Gas & Electric Company signed with developers, including the 300 MW lithium-ion battery from Dynegy, a 182.5 MW Tesla battery and two other li-ion battery projects totaling 85 MW, for a total of 567 MW.

Image from PV Magazine

The 300 MW battery is easily the largest lithium-ion battery project known to pv magazine. All have four-hour ratings, giving these batteries a total energy rating of 2.27 gigawatt-hours. All of these batteries will be located on or near the site of the Moss Landing Power Plant, a looming gas-fired power plant on Monterey Bay in California, 15 miles north of Monterey.

These batteries will not only connect to the substation and transmission infrastructure built for the Moss Landing Power Plant, but will replace the services provided by the plant itself. Plant owner Dynegy announced last February that it may close the plant, and according to CPUC another cogeneration plant in Gilroy has has signaled that it may go offline.

The potential closure of these plants and their replacement with batteries is part of a trend in California where conventional generation is increasingly being replaced with clean energy options including different combinations of transmission upgrades, renewables and batteries.

And it appears to be benefitting ratepayers. In CPUC’s order the organization found that the evaluation methodology which finds greater benefits than costs for the four projects is both reasonable and consistent with other energy storage solicitations, and that these plants offer greater value to ratepayers than other procurement options.


California regulators approve the world’s biggest battery projects, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine, November 8, 2018.

Monterey Bay Community Power announces solar deals

Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) recently signed two long-term solar development agreements, one of which will be the largest utility-scale, solar-plus-storage project ever built in California. With the approval of these two projects, MBCP will be making significant contributions to grid stability for California and to utility-scale storage capacity for California and the Nation.

The Slate 1 project, to be developed in Kings County, CA by Recurrent Energy, will provide 150 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity, plus 45 MW of storage, for a 15-year term. Just south in Kern County, the BigBeau Solar project, developed by EDF Renewables North America, will provide 128 MW of solar capacity with 40 MW of storage as part of a 20-year agreement. The two solar + storage projects combined will power 32,000 MBCP customer homes annually and will provide 840 temporary jobs during construction with commercial operation scheduled for 2021.

“We are excited to bring online the largest California solar-plus-storage project by CCAs to date,” said Tom Habashi, CEO of Monterey Bay Community Power. “Solar development has been a hallmark of California’s renewable energy boom and with the storage component, we can realize the full potential of solar generation.”

Both projects are the result of a joint-procurement effort between MBCP and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), their second such collaboration in less than 3 months. MBCP will be off taking 45% of the energy produced from both Slate 1 and BigBeau, while SVCE will harness the other 55%. The renewable energy produced from these projects will be utilized exclusively by CCAs, many of which are driving the recent rise in buildout of renewable energy infrastructure across the state.

The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA), a trade group that represents the state’s community choice energy agencies, applauded the joint procurement effort noting it represents a significant achievement for the CCA movement in California.

“This landmark purchase of utility-scale solar and energy storage resources shows that CCAs are ready, willing and able to sign long-term contracts with new renewable energy projects in California,” said Beth Vaughan, executive director of CalCCA. “It also reflects the commitment community choice programs have to supporting new sources of clean energy and fueling job creation and economic development.”

As a leader among CCAs driving California’s climate action success, MBCP is also poised to provide its own community with significant benefits.  After just eight months of operation MBCP is projecting to save tri-county a combined $3.5 million in cost savings, contribute to 300,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions spared from the atmosphere, and reinvest an additional $2.5 million in programs designed to help offset the cost of electric vehicles (EV) and EV charging stations for residents, businesses, schools and public agencies. Additional programs to support low-income rate payers are also being evaluated.

According to a May, 2018 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report: At the end of 2017, 708 MWs of utility-scale battery storage capacity was in operation in the US. With the approval of these two projects, MBCP will be contributing to a 12% increase in US Storage Capacity

About Monterey Bay Community Power

Monterey Bay Community Power is a Community Choice Energy agency established by local communities to source carbon-free electricity for Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties while retaining PG&E’s traditional role delivering power and maintaining electric infrastructure. As a locally controlled not-for-profit, MBCP is not taxpayer funded and supports Tri-County economic vitality by providing cleaner energy at a lower cost, supporting low-income rate payers, and funding local renewable energy projects. For more information, visit


Monterey Bay Community Power announces solar deals, by Monterey Bay Community Power, San Benito Live, November 2, 2018.

County Recognized For Monterey Bay Community Power

From Santa Cruz Co.: The County of Santa Cruz is pleased to announce it has been awarded a 2018 Merit Award be the California State Association of Counties in recognition of efforts to form Monterey Bay Community Power.

Now delivering power to thousands of customers throughout the tri-county Monterey Bay region, Monterey Bay Community Power is a community-choice energy agency focused on delivering renewable energy to local customers and reinvesting revenues in the community. Every year, the California State Association of Counties recognizes innovation and the creative spirit of California’s 58 counties through the Challenge and Merit Awards.

“When we started down this road, they said it couldn’t be done,” Supervisor Bruce McPherson said. “Monterey Bay Community Power is now a runaway success. When we work together to address the challenges of our time, our community can do great things. I thank the California State Association of Counties for their recognition.”

Led by McPherson’s office, Santa Cruz County was the lead agency behind formation of Monterey Bay Community Power, a joint powers authority comprised of 19 local governments around the Monterey Bay that came together in an unprecedented show of unity to benefit local communities and address climate change. With an operating budget in excess of $200 million, Monterey Bay Community Power has now been rolled out to commercial and residential customers throughout Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties, providing electricity at rates below PG&E while delivering 100 percent carbon-free power over the existing electricity grid. Despite launching just seven months ago, MBCP is expected to be debt free within the next month, and is poised to reinvest $16 million back into the community in the form of rebates and complimentary programs. MBCP serves 95 percent of the population in the tri-county market.


County Recognized For Monterey Bay Community Power, by News Desk, Patch Capitola, October 3, 2018.

Ahead Of Schedule And Beyond Expectations – MBCP Pays Off Startup Loan And Successfully Enrolls Customers In Monterey Bay Community Power

Monterey, CA – Sept. 18, 2018 – After just seven months of operation, Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) has successfully paid off a loan obtained through Lines of Credit totaling $6.2 million, as well as reimbursed the County of Santa Cruz for expenses incurred on behalf of MBCP prior to securing the lines of credit.

“Due to sound financial stewardship, low cost carbon free electricity procurement and smart decision making, MBCP will pay down this outstanding debt a year earlier than planned,” exclaimed Bruce McPherson, Board Chair of MBCP’s Policy Board and Santa Cruz County Supervisor. “This is an incredible success and demonstrates the value of having a locally controlled agency that can be a catalyst for economic and environment progress in the Monterey Bay.”

By focusing on business fundamentals to achieve better financial stability, MBCP will be in a stronger position to continue delivering on its promises around clean energy, lower cost and economic vitality for the tri-county businesses and residents. MBCP is successfully serving 97% of the eligible customer base across the 16 cities and 3 counties which constitute the newest Monterey Bay public agency.

“MBCP is big when it matters, small when it counts,” said Tom Habashi, MBCP’s CEO. “Our service territory is large enough to afford attracting the majority of small and large energy developers and suppliers, yet small enough to move quickly when opportunities for acquiring clean, efficient and economical resources present themselves.
As part of the fast-growing, statewide Community Choice Energy (CCE) or Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) movement, MBCP is playing an important role in helping the Monterey Bay Region and even the entire State of California meet their ambitious climate-action goals.

“MBCP continues to exceed expectations that were put forth as the first tri-county Community Choice program in the state of California,” said Steve McShane, Vice Chair of MBCP’s Policy Board and Councilmember from the City of Salinas. “By retiring its debt early, MBCP exemplifies what is means to be a well-run public agency for the Monterey Bay region. I am excited for the future of MBCP in providing tangible value to its customers through outreach, education, customer rebates and customer programs.”

In addition to being debt free and fast-tracking statewide climate-action goals, MBCP has made notable accomplishments in in all three of its focus points during only seven months of operation:

Reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
• MBchoice: Carbon free electricity as default service offering and MBprime: 100% eligible renewables service offering
• Close to 97% enrollment of customer electricity demand
• 90 MW, 15-year New Wind Project to meet 10% of MBCP Annual demand
• 125 MW Solar + 38 MW Storage – Long term agreements near completion

Affordable rates and customer re-investment
• 3% Rebate to all customers – est. $3.5 million applied to customer bills
• Higher rates for net energy generation for customers with on-site generation
• 2% of gross revenue set aside for customer energy programs – $2.5 million for MBCP customers
• Over 230 voluntary customer enrollments to MBprime, MBshare & MBgreen+

Stimulate local economy
• Potential for 20 MW of renewable local generation
• Employed 19 staff members, working and mostly living locally
• Supported the move of GridX’s, MBCP Data Manger, to our offices for a Tier 2 local call center
• Executed $450k in contracts with local service providers
• Hosted Cal-CCA 2018 Annual Meeting at Asilomar conference center in Pacific Grove for over 300 attendees
• Sponsored and supported over 135 community events and organizations
• Examining the feasibility of partnering with MBARD and State Agencies to deploy Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program for Level II & DC fast chargers in the Tri-County

Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) provides competitively priced carbon-free electricity to our participating communities while reducing the need to consume fossil fuels to generate energy that powers all sectors of our local economy. MBCP actively promotes the economic vitality of the Monterey Bay Region while preserving its clean water and air. For more information, visit

Shelly Whitworth
O: 831-641-7206 C: 831-229-0277

Monterey Bay Community Power begins residential service in July

The vision of Monterey Bay communities buying their electricity from a local, publically-owned utility that sells only carbon-free energy from renewable sources will become a reality this July. Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) will begin selling 100 percent “green” energy to residential customers on July 1st, and the bill from this new utility company will be incorporated into the regular bill from PG&E.

The MBCP is new, regional public utility under the control and oversight of local governments- created as joint powers authority between three county governments and 16 cities around Monterey Bay, including Hollister and San Benito County.  It operates in partnership, but also as something of a competitor, with PG&E, using PG&E’s transmission lines, customer service capabilities and billing services.

The MBCP essentially replaces PG&E as the wholesale buyer of electricity in the tri-county central coast, buying 100 percent of its power from renewable, carbon-free electric power generators. MPCP then sells this power at the same regulated, retail rates as PG&E, using PG&E’s transmission lines and billing services, according to Marc Adato, Community Outreach & Events Coordinator for MBCP.

“We are able to operate much leaner than PG&E and retain net revenues and invest back into the local communities with some good projects and programs,” Adato said. This local, on-going investment in renewable energy- expected to incentivize the local “green energy sector” and create many new jobs- is made possible by the revenues that are not paid as dividends to the stock holders of the privately owned PG&E.

Current PG&E customers will be automatically enrolled in MBCP. Customers who want to go back to PG&E as their electric power source provider will have the opportunity to “opt-out” of the MBCP. Current PG&E programs such as CARE and FERA for low-income households will continue under the MBCP.

Those customers with their own solar equipment who periodically sell power back or get credit from PG&E can expect slightly higher prices from MBCP than the wholesale price paid by PG&E.  According to Adato, the MBCP will pay closer to a mid-point between the wholesale and retail price for this “returned” electricity, thus encouraging more solar power gained from roof-tops.

Rate-payers will have the choice to invest the locally generated profit of the MBCP into different investment packages or plans, or simply chose to be paid back a 3 percent rebate, based on their consumption.

With some local fanfare, including congratulatory recognition of Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, one of the key local leaders getting the MBCP established, the MBCP celebrated its “first day of electric service” in Monterey on March 1st. That was the first day that some 37,500 commercial, agricultural, industrial and municipal customers began buying power from the MBCP, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the region’s total power demand.

The next big and final step in the startup of the MBCP, after nearly five years of planning, studying feasibility and technical studies, and negotiating with the 19 jurisdictions involved, is turning the switches to provide about 235,000 residential customers with carbon-free power beginning July 1st.

According to the PG&E website, renewable, carbon-free energy is currently 33 percent of PG&E’s electric power mix, with nuclear power the next biggest source at 24 percent, natural gas at 17 percent, 12 percent originating from large hydro projects, and 14 percent “unspecified”, with untraceable origin. Buying power from the MBCP changes this mix to 100 per cent “green”, carbon-free sourced energy from wind, solar and hydro-electric generators.

The legal and political background to these new, publically owned utilities is rooted in the California energy crises of 2000-2001. That crisis of sky rocketing cost and short supply of energy was instigated by the partial and poorly regulated deregulation of the California energy supply market, and manipulation of that market by unscrupulous traders such as Enron. With the energy crises as background, the state legislature passed the California’s Community Choice Energy law, AB 117, in 2002.

AB 117 authorized local governments to form “community choice aggregates” or CCA’s – allowing local governments to form their own utility companies and aggregating their buying power to enter into the newly deregulated supply market, without the need to invest in the infrastructure needed for transmission.

According to the California Community Choice Association, there are currently 13 CCAs serving customers in California, from Marin County to Silicon Valley to Los Angeles County, with more than eighty cities either actively engaged or currently considering community choice energy. It is estimated that over 50% of California residents will be served by a CCA by 2020.

“CCA Agencies bring the complexity of the electricity market down to the local level- for local control, for Green House Gas reduction (mandated by AB32) and economic vitality… (by) creating jobs related to building local energy resiliency and security- all while stabilizing and lowering rates for customers,” Adato explained in an email to the Press Banner.


Monterey Bay Community Power begins residential service in July, by Patrick Dwire, The Press Banner, May 2, 2018.

Monterey Bay Community Energy Customer Rebates and Community Investment

In 2018, MBCP plans to provide $4 Million in customer rebates and invest $3 million in local GHG reducing programs while building reserves for financial stability. MBchoice, the primary service for automatic enrollment, provides a 3% rebate on generation charges, annually in December. MBgreen+ directs the 3% rebate to invest in the build-out of new, local renewables. MBshare directs the 3% rebate to fund local low-income and/or nonprofit GHG reduction programs. MBprime provides 100% renewable electricity for one extra penny/kWh. Customers may keep their rebate or direct it to MBgreen+ or MBshare.


“Customer Rebates and Community Investment,” from CalCCA April 2018 Update E-Newsletter, April 17, 2018.


Monterey Bay Community Power: Green energy agency bolstered by regional cooperation

Monterey Bay >> It took five years of work, dozens of public meetings, more than 100 presentations to community interest groups, and a year of organization to take the Monterey Bay Community Power agency from concept to consummation.

Officials and others from Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties celebrated on Thursday the official start of power service for the first regional community choice energy agency encompassing three counties in the state and one of the largest, and the first tri-county joint powers authority in nearly half a century since the formation of the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District in 1974 and the creation of the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments in 1968.

Originally envisioned by former Ecology Action executive director Gine Johnson, the years-long campaign to get all tri-county jurisdictions to cooperate in a single regional power agency really kicked into gear when Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson hired Johnson as an aide and began backing the proposal after taking office in early 2013.

Johnson credited the former California Secretary of State, who served for years in both the State Assembly and Senate, for his leadership and focused political championship as “one of the most trusted public servants” in the state and the Monterey Bay, along with the efforts of Santa Cruz County executive staff, regional public partners, and community groups. She acknowledged the “diversity” of the region presented unique challenges and additional time, but said it was worth the effort.

“In the end, I think everyone involved was simply inspired by how community choice energy would change the environmental and economic game for the Central Coast and what a privilege it was to work together to make it happen,” Johnson said. Monterey Bay Community Power “will prove that local governments can be effective entrepreneurs and achieve extraordinary results.”

As an example of the level of buy-in, all but two local jurisdictions — Del Rey Oaks and King City — signed on to the power agency JPA despite occasional concerns expressed by Monterey County supervisors, as well as San Benito County and Hollister city officials, over governance and oversight.

“When communities collaborate, they have an opportunity to share in the successes of their investment,” said Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley. “The benefits of cross-community and cross-government input can be seen locally from the Monterey Model for our military entities to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to infrastructure projects like the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge.”

Salinas City Councilman Steve McShane told a crowd at Thursday’s ceremonial “turning on clean energy” kickoff event that Monterey Bay Community Power is at the forefront of a “huge, huge wave of change” with regard to sustainable energy and environmental stewardship, noting that major commercial businesses like Pebble Beach Company, the Seascape Resort and Leal Winery in the tri-county region are already considering and implementing green energy initiatives.

Monterey Bay Community Power CEO Tom Habashi said the biggest challenge facing the agency in the future will be the “lack of certainty” associated with PG&E “exit fees,” which are allowed by the state Public Utilities Commission to offset the impact on the company and its continuing customers of the new power agencies and are calculated annually.

The exit fees have already shown a tendency to fluctuate on a regular basis and have threatened to consume much of the difference between PG&E and CCE power agency rates.

Allowed under state law since the early 2000s, community choice energy agencies have been in operation since Marin Clean Energy came online in 2010, and there are now a dozen in California including Monterey Bay providing power, with others such as Los Angeles County and Ventura County in the pipeline.

Under the CCE model, Monterey Bay Community Power will take over power purchasing from PG&E and use that to focus its energy sources on carbon-free hydroelectric, wind and solar in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while offering customers comparable rates and redirecting PG&E’s corporate profit margin toward local green energy projects, creating jobs and economic benefit in the process.

PG&E will continue handling power distribution through its existing system, along with maintenance, billing and customer service, and will charge local customers for those services.

Residential customers will be offered 3-percent rebates on their annual bills, while non-residential customers will get their 3-percent rebate on a quarterly or bi-annual basis, and the power agency will collect 2 percent of annual power generation revenue projected at $175 million this year and $260 million next year for investment in local green energy projects such as wind and solar. The agency will offer customers an opportunity to sign up for one of three programs, including MBchoice which will credit the 3-percent rebate to customer bills, MBgreen+ which will allocate the 3-percent rebate to local green energy projects, and MBshare which will allow customers to donate the 3-percent rebate to local non-profit green energy initiatives through the Community Foundation.

All residential and non-residential customers in the participating jurisdictions are automatically enrolled in Monterey Bay Community Power unless they opt-out once they are sent a notice that power service is set to start, and will not be charged if they do so within a month of the start of service or for two months afterward. Residential customers will be required to pay a $5 opt-out fee and non-residential customers will pay $25 outside that notification window.

Less than 1 percent of all non-residential customers have opted out, according to power agency staff, and a slightly higher percentage of residential customers are expected to do so.

Monterey Bay Community Power outreach coordinator Marc Adato said in response to non-residential customers’ concerns about fluctuating power rates the agency is working on a proposal that would offer those customers a guarantee that their local rates would never exceed PG&E’s no matter how much they fluctuate in addition to a minimum 1.5-percent rebate. The proposal still needs approval from the power agency’s policy board, Adato said.

Some 37,500 commercial, agricultural, industrial and municipal customers representing nearly two-thirds of the region’s total power load started receiving Monterey Bay Community Power service on Thursday, while about 235,000 residential customers will come online July 1.

For information, visit

Jim Johnson can be reached at 831-726-4348.


Monterey Bay Community Power: Green energy agency bolstered by regional cooperation, by Jim Johnson, Monterey Herald, March 3, 2018.