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By Eric Johnson
Published Apr 01, 2024

Prop 1 includes funding that will build institutions to treat mental illness and addiction—hopefully nothing like what Randle Patrick McMurphy encountered in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' Prop 1 includes funding that will build institutions to treat mental illness and addiction—hopefully nothing like what Randle Patrick McMurphy encountered in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'

Sandhill Cranes, Foster Kids, and Coercive Compassion

This week’s Newsletter takes me back to the very beginnings of my journalism career in California, and then jumps forward to a story I wrote last week. One story offers what might be a surprising perspective on the recently passed Proposition 1, and the other is about an organization working to help young people forced to navigate our complicated court systems through no fault of their own.

The stories are connected because they both deal with the consequences of untreated mental illness and addiction disorders.

But first: I am writing this on Easter Sunday, and as is traditional in my family, I am thinking about resurrection, renewal, and that kind of stuff. In that spirit, here is the second edition of One Good Thing.


Life After Death

Sandhill Cranes are magical creatures. In the marshes where they hunt with their spear-beaks, they stand four to five feet tall. Their wings can span six and a half feet. Their trumpeting calls and mating dances are hypnotic. By the middle of the 20th century they had been slaughtered to near-extinction. But they're back.


The Return of Sandhill Cranes

A magnificent Sandhill Crane in flight.
After being reduced to three or four nesting pairs in all of California in 1944, Sandhill Cranes have come back from the brink and are returning to Lake Tahoe.

Coercive Compassion

My position on Prop 1, and my thoughts about the benign neglect of our homeless neighbors suffering from mental illness or addiction disorders, are informed by a story I edited the week I returned to California, in March of 1997. That article was about the impending closure of a state hospital that treated Californians with developmental disabilities or severe mental illness. At the time, as you will see, many questioned the wisdom of emptying the hospitals and sending patients to live in halfway houses—which, as it turned out, were never adequately funded.

I understand if you are among those who struggle with the idea of coercive care, and I want to share a quote from Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), a supporter of Prop 1 who is also a PhD-packing clinical social worker.

“There is nothing compassionate about leaving suffering human beings on the street untreated or waiting until they have committed a crime and treating them in prison; rather than intervening to get them the help they desperately need.”


Newsom’s Prop 1: Revolution or Return to Reason?

An assembly hall at Agnews Developmental Center in Santa Clara. Agnews was one of five hospitals that served California residents with developmental disabilities and mental illness, all of which were emptied in the misguided move toward “community care."
Prop 1 was designed to help unhoused people get off the streets by forcing them into treatment. That’s one reason it took two weeks of vote-counting to pass.

Helping Young People Whose Parents Are Struggling

The very best thing about doing community journalism is that I get to help some remarkable people tell their inspiring stories. That happened last week when I met Danielle Dace and Matthew Romsa. CASA Sacramento is the only organization in the region that offers help to kids who have been removed from their parents care due to neglact or abuse. Often, the grownups involved are stuggling with addiction, and the families can be reuinted once they've gotten treatment. That has become increasingly difficult, so the need for help is great. 

There are CASAs in most California counties, and you can find them under Families and Children in our Community Groups and Nonprofits database.


A Court Appointed Special Advocate Can Change a Child’s Life

Danielle Dace and Matthew Romsa of CASA Sacramento
A conversation with two committed professionals who help CASA Sacramento match trained volunteers with children in the foster care system.

Recipe of the Week

Our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening publish a recipe from their gardens every Sunday, which we feature here so you can start your week with some yum.

See more recipes in their Taste Spring! cookbook.


This springtime carrot cake has a difference

Carrots and chocolate -- how perfect for Easter or any other spring occasion.
Chocolate glaze especially appropriate for a holiday dessert


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Ecology Action states its mission concisely: “Reduce emissions.” The nonprofit group advocates for innovative energy, water, and transportation solutions in communities across California.

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From Our Media Allies

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Monterey County Weekly logo Highway 1 Closes at Palo Colorado Due to Slip Out Near Rocky Creek.

Caltrans announced on social media just before 6pm, March 30 that Highway 1 is closed just north of Palo Colorado Road due to a slip out near Rocky Creek.

Monterey County Weekly logo A Complete Makeover of a New Monterey Building Brings Five New Housing Units.

An eclectic building in the heart of New Monterey that once housed the Paper Wing Theatre (moved to Cannery Row) and the Cat’s Meow vintage clothing store (moved to Santa Cruz), is now under a major remodel.

Salinas Valley Tribune logo Work Continues on Arroyo Seco Road Slide Area West of Greenfield

Monterey County Public Works, Facilities and Parks is reminding residents about the ongoing construction work on Arroyo Seco Road, west of Greenfield.

Monterey County Weekly logo The City of Monterey Is Moving Forward With a Pilot Program to Assist Struggling Renters.

On March 19, the Monterey City Council approved a pilot program to allocate $250,000 toward assisting renters with making payments for rent or deposits, or other associated housing costs.

Salinas Valley Tribune logo New Look and Name for 2024 Artists Studio Tour

Arts Council for Monterey County (Arts4MC) will be continuing the Artist Studio Tour’s legacy, previously run by Arts Habitat.

Monterey County Weekly logo Another Long-Standing Soledad Councilmember Resigns.

On March 26, Soledad city employees received an email announcing Councilmember Ben Jimenez Jr.’s resignation, a little less than a year before the end of his term. He is the second councilmember to resign in less than six months.

Salinas Valley Tribune logo Monterey County Supervisors Spare Sputtering Cannabis Equity Grant Program

A Monterey County program to ensure equity in the local commercial cannabis market is sputtering but will continue on a smaller scale.

Monterey County Weekly logo Widening Imjin Parkway Is Impacting Plant Habitat – And Public Access to Beloved Fort Ord Trails.

Construction is underway on a project widening Imjin Parkway through Marina, changing the routines for thousands of commuters that travel from and to Salinas. But drivers aren’t the only ones impacted.

Monterey County Weekly logo Pacific Grove City Council Rejects Temporary Skatepark, All but Killing the Idea.

The proposal to convert an employee parking lot at 16th Avenue between the Pacific Grove Fire Department and Youth Center into a smooth surface with wooden ramps for a three to six month trial was denied over cost.

Monterey County Weekly logo Seaside’s Second Fire Station Takes a Step Toward Construction With Environmental Documents.

In 2022, the Seaside City Council approved conceptual designs for a second fire station at the corner of Gigling Road and First Avenue. The station took another step toward construction with the release of a mitigated negative declaration study on …

King City Rustler logo Condors Lay First Egg of Year at Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park biologists have confirmed the first condor egg within the park for 2024.

Monterey County Weekly logo Pajaro Assistance Center Will Open on March 27.

The Pajaro Assistance Center to aid people who were affected by the winter storms in 2023 will open on Wednesday, March 27 at Pajaro Park.

San Jose Inside logo California Extends Student Financial Aid Deadline to May 2

Responding to a federal financial aid glitch, Caliifornia legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom within two weeks gave students an additional month to apply for state aid.

KSQD logo KSQD Seeks Volunteer Coordinator

Monterey Bay's public radio station KSQD is building a team of volunteer coordinators and volunteers as the expand their presence in the region.

King City Rustler logo Community Foundation for Monterey County Announces LEAD Institute 2024 Participants

MONTEREY COUNTY — Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) has selected 21 emerging nonprofit managers to join the LEAD (Leadership, Education and Development) Institute’s 2024 cohort.

Salinas Valley Tribune logo Community Foundation for Monterey County Announces LEAD Institute 2024 Participants

Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) has selected 21 emerging nonprofit managers to join the LEAD (Leadership, Education and Development) Institute’s 2024 cohort.

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Recent Local News

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• Western Flyer Artifacts to be Sold

Original parts from the storied Western Flyer still held by the previous owner are to be sold.

(04/01/2024) → Monterey Herald

• Dungeness Crab Season to End Early

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials ordered an April 8 close to the commercial season to citing the risk of fishing gear entanglement by migrating humpback whales.

(03/28/2024) → Monterey Herald

• Sand City Working to Expand Art Park

Sand City is seeking to acquire property adjacent to Art Park as part of that space's visioning plan.

(03/28/2024) → Monterey Herald

• Ensen Community Park Project Begins

The $15M Big Sur Land Trust project to build a six-acre park at Carr Lake in the center of Salinas has begun.

(03/26/2024) → Monterey Herald
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Recent Statewide News

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• Salmon Populations Are Struggling, Bringing Economic Woes for California's Fishing Fleet

Captains of fishing boats on the California coast are bracing for salmon fishing to be severely restricted — or possibly canceled for a second year.

(03/30/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• CA Fast Food Workers Get Higher Wages, but Which Ones?

According to emails obtained by CalMatters Capitol reporter Jeanne Kuang in response to a public records request, a range of employers have been trying to figure out if they must pay $20 ever since the law was signed late last September.

(03/29/2024) → CalMatters

• Your Doctor or Your Insurer? Little-Known Rules May Ease the Choice in Medicare Advantage

Disputes between insurers and providers can lead to entire hospital systems suddenly leaving the plans.

(03/28/2024) → California Healthline

• Homeless Infants and Toddlers Largely Unenrolled in Early Ed Programs

Evictions have exacerbated homelessness nationwide, increasing the rate of homeless infants and toddlers. Most of those children are not enrolled in early education programs.

(03/28/2024) → EdSource

• California’s Disabled Students Left Behind During Emergencies: ‘They Just Weren’t Ready for Someone Like Me’

After bringing his story all the way to the University of California Board of Regents, a disabled UC Berkeley student has prompted the UC to ensure emergency evacuation chairs are in every multi-storied building in the 10-university system.

(03/27/2024) → CalMatters

• RFK Jr. Picks VP, but Still Isn’t on California Ballot

Presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chose Oakland to announce his vice presidential pick on Tuesday, so it wasn’t too much of a shocker that his pick was Nicole Shanahan, a Bay Area tech attorney and philanthropist.

(03/27/2024) → CalMatters

• Feds Propose Killing Nearly 500,000 'Invasive' Owls to Save Calif. Native Owls

The goal is to eliminate habitat competition between "invasive" owls and native owls.

(03/27/2024) → SF Gate

• Reps. Gaetz and Greene Lawsuit Against Cities Where Political Rally Was Canceled Can Move Forward

A judge ruled GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene can move forward with their lawsuit against two California cities where rallies were canceled.

(03/25/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• At Stake in Mifepristone Case: Abortion, FDA’s Authority, and Return to 1873 Obscenity Law

Lawyers from the conservative Christian group that won the case to overturn Roe v. Wade are returning to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in pursuit of an urgent priority: shutting down access to abortion pills for women across the country.

(03/25/2024) → KFF Health News
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Government Announcements

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Image of United States seal. United States   (03/29/2024)

Lidl Voluntarily Recalls Deluxe Branded Macarons Party Edition Due to Undeclared Allergens

Lidl US has announced a voluntary recall of Deluxe branded Macarons Party Edition due to undeclared allergens. The recall was issued due to undeclared wheat, soy, egg, milk, and tree nuts (almonds, pistachios, and coconut) in the products as a result of non-English ingredient labeling. People who ha
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/29/2024)

Tropicale Foods Recalls Helados Mexico Mini Cream Variety Pack Because of Possible Health Risk

Tropicale Foods of Modesto, CA is voluntarily recalling 5,224 units of Helados Mexico Mini Cream Variety Pack with best by date of "MO Best By 10/11/2025", because the mango bars in the variety pack have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and someti
Image of City of Monterey seal. City of Monterey   (03/29/2024)

Organized Retail Theft Arrest

Image of United States seal. United States   (03/28/2024)

Shawnee Milling Company Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk and Egg in "5lb. Food Club All Purpose Flour"

Shawnee Milling Company of Shawnee, Oklahoma is recalling 5 lb.Food Club brand All Purpose Flour with Best if Used by date 03/07/2025, because it may contain undeclared milk and egg. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to eggs or milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic
Image of City of Monterey seal. City of Monterey   (03/28/2024)

Arson Arrest

Image of United States seal. United States   (03/27/2024)

Geisslers Supermarket Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Egg, Wheat, and Milk in Sushi Product

Geisslers Supermarket Inc. of East Windsor CT has issued a recall of all Sushi products produced by EZnoble Sushi for Geisslers Supermarket Inc. produced or purchased on 3/26/2024, and 3/27/2024, with a sell by date of 3/27/2024, and 3/28/2024. They may contain undeclared egg, wheat and milk. Custom
Image of City of Pacific Grove seal. City of Pacific Grove   (03/27/2024)

AMENDED TITLE 12 REVISIONS & APRIL BNRC REVIEW

Image of State of California seal. State of California   (03/26/2024)

Dawn Addis CA Assembly 30:
Addis Bill to Amplify Community Choice on Oil & Gas

Addis Bill to Amplify Community Choice on Oil & Gas sanchema Tue, 03/26/2024 - 13:36 Friday, March 22, 2024 SACRAMENTO Assembly Bill 3233, the latest bill introduced by Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay), aims to restore the right of local communities to make critical decisions surrounding their welfare, health, and economy. The Local Environmental Choice and Safety Act (LECSA) clarifies …
Image of City of Monterey seal. City of Monterey   (03/26/2024)

MEASURE S Citywide Road Resurfacing Project Phase 4

Image of United States seal. United States   (03/21/2024)

FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Ineligible Frozen Siluriformes Products Imported from the People's Republic of China

WASHINGTON, March. 21, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for imported frozen Siluriformes products that were illegally...