About Us What's this all about?

JOE LIVERNOIS | Founding Editor | joe@vomb.org
JULIE REYNOLDS MARTINEZ | Founding Editor | julie@vomb.org
CLAUDIA MELENDEZ SALINAS | Founding Editor | claudia@vomb.org
KATHY McKENZIE | Editor | admin@vomb.org

VOICES OF MONTEREY BAY | PO Box 547, Salinas CA 93902
CONTACT US | admin@vomb.org

Our collective

Claudia Meléndez Salinas

A little over a year ago, by pure chance I stumbled into the book “The Children of Soledad” which tells the story of how a group of Soledad parents fought to end discriminatory practices in California schools that classified Spanish speaking children as dumb. The feeling I had when I read was both rage, when learning about the education condition these children had to live with, and exultation, when the story resolved in their favor. Most importantly, the peace and serenity I felt when I was reading about local people was indescribable. It was as if the mountains were whispering their secrets in my ears, as if the sun was shining on my face and these lands were blessing my steps.

Stories have the power to connect us to one another, to remind us of our humanity and our collective purpose. Stories can inspire us into action, move us into creating a better world. I really believe in the power of storytelling, and I believe mainstream media is doing a poor job of bringing forth those stories that help us develop a thriving democracy, a strong sense of connection among neighbors, and ultimately, a strong fabric for our society.

In this day and age of racial turmoil, I also know voices of people of color are needed more than ever. Latinos and Blacks and Asians have failed to see accurate representations of who they are for centuries, and Voices is well positioned to improve on that representation.

Joe Livernois

As a journalist who told other people’s stories for decades, I find it much more gratifying to provide a venue for others to tell their own stories in their own voices. Why should I be the one to interpret someone else’s authentic truth? That’s what sets Voices of Monterey Bay apart from others, and why I’m so proud to be a part of it.

But I am also old school about journalism and its role as the defender of truth, justice and the American way. I value investigative and explanatory journalism; I believe every community deserves a vigorous free press unencumbered by pressure from advertisers and hamstrung by hedge fund investors and vulture capitalists. Having spent almost 30 years witnessing the decline of journalism dictated by the free market, I’m optimistic that nonprofit journalism can provide a sustainable alternative.

Kathryn McKenzie

I have long believed that the future of journalism lies not in print, but in an online format. Getting involved in Voices of Monterey Bay has given me the chance to see that concept put into practice, and it’s actually more exciting and fun than I imagined. I love reading and hearing all the different voices in our Monterey Bay communities and it’s given me a much more intimate and deeper knowledge of the place where I’ve lived almost my whole life. 

It is also immensely gratifying to work with our Young Voices Media Project and to be able to pass on knowledge to the next generation of journalists. Last but not least, it gives me the chance to hang out with some of the best writers and editors that I know — the VOMB Squad.

Julie Reynolds Martinez

I was part of a group in Salinas that met over the years to drink and complain about local media. We were all journalists, all trying to find or create something better. Someplace where we could do the kinds of stories our former bosses always said took too much time or too many inches — or maybe should be in another language (like Spanish). We also wanted to see and hear from the voices that hardly made it into the dailies or TV news — high school kids, people in prison and jail, service workers, the homeless, Indigenous people and more. 

I’ve always been very cynical about for-profit media, even more so in this era of hedge fund ownership. I love that Voices is nonprofit, because as critical sources of news and information, we serve our readers, not shareholders. I’ve always seen Voices as a kind of mini New Yorker for the Monterey Bay Area — but bilingual, bicultural, and more grassroots and irreverent. I love that we function as a collective and that I get to work with this passionate and talented group.

About Voices

Voices of Monterey Bay (VOMB) is a not-for-profit bilingual news organization serving Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. It was launched in 2017 by veteran local journalists who believe the region needs a new journalistic vision, while providing a central location for people who have been ignored by the traditional media to express themselves or to report news from their neighborhoods.

Uniquely, VOMB includes an instructional initiative that includes ongoing journalism training by veteran reporters and editors. The training is available free to interested youth, with the expectation that the work they produce will be featured here.

Our Mission:
Voices of Monterey Bay seeks to amplify and celebrate the diverse peoples of the Monterey Bay Crescent. By providing a forum where new ideas are debated, Voices serves as a catalyst to improve its readers’ quality of life. 

Our Funding: As a not-for-profit organization, Voices of Monterey Bay has obtained temporary fiscal sponsorship and nonprofit status under the Institute for Nonprofit News. We are also funded by individual members, major charitable gifts, foundations and community partnerships. We depend on these contributions to continue our mission, and individual contributions to VOMB are tax deductible under IRS’s 501(c)(3) regulation.

Our Organization: 
Receiving independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit status is a priority of VOMB’s founders. Until then, the operations of VOMB will be administered by its core staff, including Julie Reynolds Martinez, Claudia Melendez Salinas, Kathryn McKenzie of North Monterey County and Joe Livernois of Monterey. Marcos Cabrera is director of the Monterey County Youth Media Project.

Our Advisory Committee: Voices of Monterey Bay has benefitted from the kind advice and support of many people in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. See our advisory board here.

Our Financial Support: In the interest of transparency and to avoid the appearance of conflict, Voices of Monterey Bay will list its donors online. Please see our Editorial Independence & Donor Policies here.

Voices launched with the help of two contributions of a combined $15,000 from Tony Dann, a businessman from Carmel Valley, and from Morley Brown and Ron Weitzman, philanthropists and activists from Carmel Valley.

Since then, contributions include:

$40,000 — The Claire Giannini Fund*
$6,500 — Penelope Karas Lockhart, in honor of Edie and Sam Karas.
$5,000 — Franklin Legacy Fund, The Fred Terman and Nan Borreson Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County*.
$2,500 —  Dan and Lillian King Foundation (in-kind)
$2,000 — Robert Danziger
$1,700 — Julie Engell
$1,500 — California Strawberry Commission, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Jenny and Don Rose, in honor of the Madison Rose Memorial Library, Eric and Carol Lee Petersen/
$1,000 — Robert Montgomery, Kim Solano, Rowland Rebele, Chuck Messenger, Gillian Neumeier, Andrea Duan, Joe and Loma Livernois, Mary Duan.
$500 to $999 —
Larry Parsons, John O’Brien, Royal Calkins, Loma Livernois, John Blankfort, Michael Beck, Bill Maxfield, Neil Shapiro, Karen Campbell, Jane Parker, Anonymous through a donor-advised fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County.
$101 to $499 — Betsy Buchalter Adler, George Riley, Corey and Robert Brunson, Constance Murray, Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula, Lisa Hoivik, Barbara Moore, Betty Matterson, Denise Adams, Donald Murphy, Michael Skoien, Lee Mitchell, Wendy Root Askew, Elizabeth, Delinda Robinson, Raptis Picco, Lisa Mitchell, Nancy Soule, Hillary Fish, Michael Castleton, Adelheid Ebenhoech, Mark Whittington, William Rawson, Robert Evans, Jeffrey Whitmore, Robin Aeschliman, Trish Triumpho Sullivan,  Thomas McCray, Loren Steck, Beverly Bean, Virginia Gagne, Steuart Samuels and Regina Gage, Sonja Koehler, Kate Novoa Woods, Paul Wilner, Charles Cassinelli, Paulette Lynch, Luke Coletti, Tesoro Collective, Stephen Collins, Jo Ann Novoson, J. David Myers, Cynthia Vandenberg, Carolyn Shimek, Marsha Zelus, Cameron Torgenrud, Thomas Moore, Alice A. Green, Jack Erickson, League of Women Voters of Monterey County, Julie Reynolds Martinez, Gary Thelander, Deborah Gill-Hesselgrave, Karin Strasser Kauffman, Maureen Lavengood, Katy Castagna, Bill Burleigh, Leslie Patino, Jane Haines, Marjorie Kay, John Speyer and Consuelo Alba Speyer, Vinz Koller, Jonathan Phillips, Mary Adams, Wayne Ross, Melissa Smedley, Edith Frederick, Nancy Selfridge, Janjaap Photography, Nancy Harray, John Fensterwald, Douglas Wilhelm, Juan Uranga and Anna Caballero, Judith Archibald, John Sinclair, Anne and Bob Herendeen, Amy Anderson, Peter Hiller, Leslie Austin, Dennis Mar, Susan Meister, Jane Parker, Lanny Larson, Liz and Marty Raptis Picco, Michael Fitzsimmons, Cristina Medina Dirksen, Timothy Smith, Robert Gotch, Michael DeLapa, Kristina Baer, Michael Stamp, Richard Johnson, 1 anonymous.
$5 to $100 — Jacqueline Atchison, Zan Henson, Susan Panttaja, Janine Robinette, An McDowell, Carol Collin, Susan Hocevar, Maren Martin, Robert and Sharon Sadler, Sharon Miller, Vista Verde Publishing, Roger Sullivan, Dr. Stan Mellin, Sameer Bakhda, Patrick Furtado, Rigoberto Soto, Leslie Patino, Jan Wagstaff, Dennis Hamilton, Peter Bolton, Marianne Gennis, John Norman, Virginia Hennessey, Mandy Spitzer, Michael Houston, Robert Smith, Julie Drezner, Betty Sproule, Ellen Davidson, Nona Childress,  Nancy Runyon, Nick Royal, Gilberte Tacheny, Fred Jealous, Gayle Tier, Linda Karin, Lawrence Levine, Cyndy Hodges, Diana Jimenez, Karen Kadushin Robinson, Vicky Martinez, Charles Franklin, Steve Retsky, Elizabeth Punch, Hillary Fish, Patricia McKeon, Julie Copeland, Lezlie Johnson, Rosalie Pinkert, Sylvia Shih, Robert Roach, Lisa Mitchell, Elaine Giampietro, Ariel Benson, Hillary Fish, Barbara Paul, Demi Briscoe, William Siegfried, Kris Pitschka, Nansco, Christina Turano, Michael Helmes, Nick Royal, James Ricketts, Janet Shing, Raymond Hames, Jane Kingsley, Gary Peterson, Mary McMillen, Barbara Bullock-Wilson, Stephen Johnson, Doreen Silva, Mary Conway, Sandra Coppin-Tugel, Catherine Rivera, Kelly Stack, Wayne Clark, Katharine Richman, Jonathan Collins, Janet Brenna, Janie Rommel-Eichorn, Jon Balcom, Richard Ramacier, Hallie Mitchell Dow, Matthew Zefferman, Catherine Crockett, Jan Shriner, Gregory Simmons, Antonette Goroch, Alison Kerr, Allison Kerns, Jean Vengua, Deb Warden, Sally Meread, Karen Araujo, Robert Seals, Vicky Ward, John Mescall, Keith McKenzie, Anne Helms, Michelle Noble McCain, Jamison Kaufman, David Ramos, Joseph Hertlein, Maria Owen, James Ringrose, Betty J.  Stallings, Kathleen Nevin, Wendy Root, Allen Beebe, Sandra Nunnally, Marjoriie Abel, Panda Communications, Mary Ruiz, Whitney Gravel, Patricia Dally, Majorie Bullock, Barbara Shuler, Books by Ed Mitchell.com, Justina Walsh, Donna Perelli-Minetti, Marlow Mercedes-Werks, Carol Voss, Ann Hill, Ann Bialy, Helene Constant, Jeff Lindenthal, Michael Marcus, Karl Braun, Lisa Ciani, Kristina Brown, Robert Melton, Kamille Hammerstrom, Patricia Gable, Marc Del Piero, Macarena Hernandez, Fred Hernandez, Mac McDonald, Heidi Feldman, Jean Evers, Gary Karnes, William Monning, Carol McKibben, Mary McCarthy, John Pearse, Victor Almazan, Douglas Williams, Karen E. Smith Aurajo, Lisa Imanuelson, Yvonne Bowen, Peter Garneau,  Juli Hofmann, Linda Locklin, Michael Helmes, David Beech, Joel Wilson, Dale Hillard, H.J. Maupin, Daryl Wise, Elissa Benson, Marla Anderson, Carl Christensen, Irwin Speizer, Lynn Kennedy, Barbara Meister, Jeffrey Levine, Perry Rice,  Sandra Weaver, Jenny McAdams, John Gianelli,  Mary Gandesbery, Vanessa Vallarta, Peter Berry, Natalie Bernasconi, Tony Seton, Celeste Akkad, Karl Pallastrini, Kathryn Ramirez, Libby and Wayne Downey, Vanessa Jackson, Carol Hogeboom, Dan Laidman, Spencer Critchley, Susan Rosen, Bev Kreps, Amy Kennedy, John Ittelson, Vera Cordova, Amaury Berteaud, William Rothschild, Dominic Dursa, Patricia Lerman, Karen Ferlito, David J. Gordon, Jennifer Smith, Hugo Ferlito, Joanne Kelly, Douglas Wenger, Susan Erickson, Kathleen Davis, Bernard Cook, John Ittelson, Jim and Julie Cunanan, Sherrie and Barry Amundsen,  Gary Green, John Livernois, Maria Gaura, Beverly Bean, Luana Conley, Steuart Samuels, Wild Ridge Organics, Claudia Melendez, Joseph Rodriguez, Carol Weesner, Linda Franklin, Frank Calamia, Susan Rochelle, Julie Tucker, John Pearse, Judy Karas, Jason Reed, Ed Mellinger, Robert Mulford, Elizabeth Nolan, Sue Cross, Michael Wellborn, Celia Sigmon, Jason Warburg, Kathy Lampkin, Cathy Hartzel, Fernando Hernandez, Victoria Manley Thompson, Helga Fellay, Margie McCurry, Deborah Christie, Cindy Davis, Jesse Herrera, Anna Lowery, Steve Howell, Patricia Marshall,  Arnold and Marianne Owens, Andrew Kreyche, Lynne Yaghoubian, Peggy Schmidt, Betsy Galbreath, Jeremy Woodward, Sandra K. Nisley-Leader, Louise Berry, Nadine Semer, Hidden Treasures Monterey, Douglas Kasunich, Barbara Simpson,  P. Clapp, Kathryn Nichols, Phillip Molnar, Vibeke Norgaard, Edwin Lee, National Coalition Building Institute Monterey County, Arlen Grossman, Carl Miller, Rhickan, 23 anonymous.


Mobilizers: Leonora Clow
Community Builders: Catherine Fanoe
Empowered: Richard Kreeger, Mary Adams, Chris Campbell, Marcella McClure, Michael Skoien, Edmundo Fimbres, Marla Anderson
Ice Breakers: Amaury Berteaud, Claudia Meléndez Salinas, Davide Vieira, Myrleen Fisher, Nancy Selfridge,  Consuelo Alba-Speyer,  J. David Myers, Kim Stemler, Gene Davis, Edith Frederick, Tama Olver, Spencer Critchley, Jill Kasapigil, Douglas Kasunich, Nancy Harray, Peggy Schmidt, Nona Childress, Peggy Bocox

*  To support Voices’ Youth Journalism Project