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By Eric Johnson
Published Jan 15, 2024

Hey, Mickey—please pay attention to your driving! Hey, Mickey—please pay attention to your driving! Image credit: Antonio Gravante, Shutterstock

Killer Cars, COVID & Copyright

Happy MLK Day, California. A reminder that this day was dedicated to volunteerism when Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act of 1990, encouraging Americans to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy “with acts of civic work and community service.” If you are in a position to do that and plan to do so, we commend you.

And a reminder that below our featured articles, you will find an easily digestible digest of curated news from trusted sources. 

Are Fatal ‘Accidents’ a Form of Violence?

This week we begin with the first of two articles about unnecessary losses of life. Jon Vankin writes about the increasing phenomenon of “traffic violence,” which is also known as the automobile “accident.” As you will see, thousands of Californians lose their lives each year because we’ve designed our transportation system to optimize for cars instead of people. Meanwhile, pedestrians are being killed by distracted drivers in bigger and bigger cars in devastating numbers.

Death on the Roads: Traffic Fatality Crisis Far From Over

California traffic deaths dropped by 12 percent in the first three months of 2023, but road fatalities remain at crisis levels.
As the COVID pandemic eased, so did the epidemic of death on the road. Somewhat. But the ongoing crisis of traffic fatalities remains at high levels with early numbers form 2023 appearing to top 4,000 in California.

Reading ‘The Wisdom of Plagues’ on COVID

In his new book, a former New York Times science reporter and expert on pandemics writes: “If the lies hadn’t been told ... we really would’ve ended up with only about 600,000 dead instead of 1.1 million dead.” I consider the book’s harrowing truths while suffering from a late case of COVID-19.

COVID Still Sucks

As I post this, the tiny pipe-mark beneath the T on this COVID test card, indicating that I am still infected, feels like it’s lodged in my stinging left eyeball.
A new book, ‘The Wisdom of Plagues,’ makes me feel angry that I contracted the disease in what should be the post-COVID era.

Mickey Mouse Is Free

For generations, US copyright law was determined largely by the value of one iconic piece of intellectual property. The fascinating tale of the Walt Disney Company’s successful campaign to protect the world’s most famous mouse, which has finally come to an end.

Mickey Mouse Enters Public Domain. What That Means for California

The version of Mickey Mouse seen in the 1928 animated short “Steamboat Willie” is now free for public use.
Disney icon Mickey Mouse is now in the public domain, meaning anyone can create their own Mickey Mouse cartoons. Here’s what that means, and how it could affect the California economy.

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The Nonprofit Alliance of Monterey County was founded in 1994 by leaders of nonprofits to advocate for local philanthropic organizations. NAMC helps community-based groups develop leaders, build strategies, and generate resources.

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From Our Media Allies

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Salinas Valley Tribune logo More Than $100K in Grants Awarded to Monterey County Nonprofits

Arts Council for Monterey County has given $109,000 to 22 local arts organizations and nonprofit organizations with art programs, thanks to funding from Monterey County.

King City Rustler logo Mee Memorial Doctor Named Chief Medical Officer

Noah Hawthorne will serve as chief medical officer of Mee Memorial Healthcare System, overseeing medical staff, physician recruitment and provision of care.

Monterey County Weekly logo Friends of Laguna Seca Contract Remains in Limbo

Last summer, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors was eager to usher in a new era of management for Laguna Seca Recreation Area, voting 5-0 on to approve a concession agreement with Friends of Laguna Seca.

Monterey County Weekly logo State and Cities Fight to Save Units After Developer Defaults

The state of California and five cities are working to save hundreds of Homekey apartments from foreclosure, due to a developer alleged to have taken on improper third-party loans on seven properties.

Salinas Valley Tribune logo State Recognizes Gonzales Health Clinic for Focus on Pediatric Care

California Public Health Department issued a Certificate of Achievement to Taylor Farms Family Health and Wellness Center for successfully vaccinating more than 76% of infant and toddler patients.

Monterey County Weekly logo Chamber Music Monterey Bay Has a New Artistic Program Director

Luke Fleming, founding artistic director of the Manhattan Chamber Players, is joining Chamber Music Monterey Bay as the artistic program director.

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Recent Local News

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• Legislature’s Analyst Gives Mixed Review of Newsom Budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recipe for digging the state out of a multibillion-dollar budget hole has “strengths and weaknesses” while his revenue projections are “plausible, but optimistic,” the nonpartisan analyst’s office said.

(01/13/2024) → CalMatters

• Lessons of Resilience and Hope at McHenry Vineyard

Like the redwoods that survived the devastating CZU fire of 2020, the McHenry family is resilient. That fateful August conflagration ruined a promising crop at Beauregard Vineyards.

(01/10/2024) → Edible Monterey Bay

• 12 Monterey Bay Spots to Anticipate in 2024

It’s nice to have a little something to look forward to. Or in this case, a dozen somethings, starting with three special cases.

(01/09/2024) → Edible Monterey Bay
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Recent Statewide News

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• SCOTUS to Hear Case with Major Implications for Homeless

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case related to whether cities and towns can ban camping on public property. The high court could overturn Martin v. Boise, a 2018 federal court decision that keeps western cities and counties from blocking public camping when sufficient shelter space is unavailable.

(01/12/2024) → Sacramento Bee

• Fourth Graders Might Lose Free Access to California State Parks

California’s projected budget deficit of close to $38 billion likely means some cuts are coming. Among them, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed ending the California State Park Adventure Pass, which offers free access to some state parks for fourth graders.

(01/12/2024) → SFGate

• Iconic California Restaurant Closes Without Warning

Pea Soup Andersen’s, a Buellton, Calif., restaurant just shy of its 100th birthday, closed suddenly. The restaurant's other location, near Interstate 5 in Santa Nella, remains open.

(01/10/2024) → SFGate

• $10M-Plus Lawsuit Follows Multiple Deaths at Sacramento Jail

Sacramento attorney Mark Merin has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a man who died in May after being held at the county jail. Other inmates have died in recent years, and the jail is under a federal consent decree to improve its health care.

(01/09/2024) → Sacramento Bee

• Hate Crimes Rising in Los Angeles

Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism found that hate crimes rose 12.9% between 2022 and 2023. The spike follows a particularly stark increase in crimes against Jewish people.

(01/09/2024) → LAist

• Newsom Sets March 19 Special Election to Fill McCarthy’s Seat

Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for a March 19 primary to elect a replacement for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who resigned from Congress in December. If a candidate doesn’t win outright, a runoff will be held on May 21.

(01/08/2024) → Sacramento Bee

• State Trying to Use Generative AI to Reduce Traffic

Caltrans has set a Jan. 25 deadline for tech companies to show how generative artificial intelligence might reduce traffic congestion in the state. This follows an executive order that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in September related to this type of AI.

(01/08/2024) → LA Times

• New Year Brings Protections for Deep-Sea Corals and Ocean Fishing Opportunities

New rules took effect Jan. 1 permanently protecting the most fragile deep sea corals off Southern California. Simultaneously, more than 4,500 square miles of ocean waters are now reopened to fishing after more than 20 years of closures.

(01/08/2024) → YubaNet
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Government Announcements

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Image of City of Seaside seal. City of Seaside   (01/12/2024)

MLK Day Celebration - Monday, January 15th at 11am at Oldemeyer Center

? Join the Monterey County Black Caucus and City of Seaside for a powerful MLK Day Celebration on Monday, January 15th at 11:00 AM
Image of United States seal. United States   (01/11/2024)

World Green Nutrition, Inc. is Recalling ELV Alipotec Brand Mexican Tejocote Root Supplement Pieces (Raiz De Tejocote Mexicano Suplemento En Trozos), Net. Wt, 0.3 0Z (7g), Due to the Presence of Yellow Oleander in this Product

WORLD GREEN NUTRITION, INC. is recalling ELV ALIPOTEC brand MEXICAN TEJOCOTE ROOT SUPPLEMENT PIECES (RAIZ DE TEJOCOTE MEXICANO SUPLEMENTO EN TROZOS), NET. WT, 0.3 0Z (7g), due to the presence of yellow oleander in this product. The consumption of yellow oleander can cause adverse effects on neurolog
Image of City of Monterey seal. City of Monterey   (01/11/2024)

How to Donate to the MPNFA Nanao Earthquake Relief Fund

Image of United States seal. United States   (01/10/2024)

U.S. Trading Company of Hayward, CA is Recalling Dragonfly Jelly Bars Because it Contains Konjac Powder and May Present a Choking Hazard

U.S. Trading Company of Hayward, CA is recalling Dragonfly jelly bars because it contains konjac powder and may present a choking hazard. Konjac and its consequent texture and consistency could pose a choking hazard to small children as well as adults with functional and/or anatomic abnormalities.
Image of United States seal. United States   (01/10/2024)

Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. Recalls Aged Cotija Mexican Grating Cheese (8oz) Because of Possible Health Risk

Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. of Modesto, CA is recalling a total of 344 cases of Aged Coja Mexican Gratng Cheese (8oz), UPC 72724200043 batch number 4DW-23318 because it has the potenal to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and somemes fatal infecons
Image of United States seal. United States   (01/10/2024)

Update: Quaker Issues Revised Recall Notice with Additional Products Due to Possible Health Risk

The Quaker Oats Company today announced an expansion of the December 15, 2023, recall to include additional cereals, bars and snacks listed below because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children,
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (01/10/2024)

John Laird CA Senate 17:
Statement by State Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) on Governor’s January Budget Proposal

SACRAMENTO State Senator John Laird, chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education released the following statement today regarding Gov. Gavin Newsoms recent January Budget proposal for 2024-2025.
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (01/10/2024)

Robert Rivas CA Assembly 29:
Speaker Rivas, Budget Chair Gabriel Issue Statement on Governor Newsom’s January Budget Proposal

Speaker Rivas, Budget Chair Gabriel Issue Statement on Governor Newsoms January Budget Proposal hagamasc Wed, 01/10/2024 - 11:54 Title Press Secretary Email Phone 916-319-2029 Wednesday, January 10, 2024 SACRAMENTO, CA Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) issued the following statement regarding Governor Newsoms 2024-25 State Budget Proposal: Californias revenue situation is uncertain and can change quickly, so we must be …
Image of City of Marina seal. City of Marina   (01/10/2024)

Marina Wellness Week

Free wellness workshops, demos, speakers and exercise classes!
Image of United States seal. United States   (01/10/2024)

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Outrageous Oat Cookies for Undeclared Wheat

Wegmans has initiated a voluntary recall of Outrageous Oat Cookies purchased from its in-store bakeries starting on January 3, 2024, because they may contain undeclared wheat.