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By Eric Johnson
Published Feb 05, 2024

The celebrated sci-fi author and futurist Octavia E. Butler said we are changed when we work for positive change. The celebrated sci-fi author and futurist Octavia E. Butler said we are changed when we work for positive change. Image credit: Nikolas Coukouma   CC BY-SA 2.5 DEED

Black History and Black Futurism

In The Newsletter this week we celebrate the start of Black History Month with a guide to California organizions working to help the state deliver on the promises of equal rights and social justice to its African American residents. 

Also: ICYMI, a list of 30 great Black California heroes who helped create the best of California, from the abolitionist millionaire Mary Ellen Pleasant (c. 1814-1904) to the Boyz n the Hood filmmaker John Singleton (1968-2019). And as always: A curated collection of local news you can use, and the Recipe of the Week.


Black Californians Working for Justice

Last week I happened to hear Baratunde Thurston, host of the “How to Citizen” podcast and “America Outdoors” on PBS, pose this question to Ava DuVernay, the director of Origin, as well as the MLK biopic Selma and the documentary 13th

“I want to ask you about your belief and your faith in the human capacity to change,” Thurston said to DuVernay. “Because so many of the stories you're telling … are about revealing some deep intransigence in the human condition—commitments to discrimination, [and] to systems of hierarchy and unfairness.

“As you wrestle with these ideas, where do you stand on our capacity to not just recognize these systems, but to alter them for the better?”

DuVernay took the question in a direction likely informed by its source—whether he’s talking about political activism or tree-climbing, Bararunde generally begins and ends in a deeply personal place.

DuVernay: “Let me say, yeah, I believe, I believe in change. I believe Octavia Butler, the great writer and futurist, talked about ‘all that you touch changes you.’ And, and so that is a daily process, that is an ongoing engagement—holding hands with the world. And to think that that change is not possible, to think that you are not changed by what you encounter, what you say, what you do, what is said and done to you, is I think a pedestrian way to think about life.

So for me, absolutely. Not only is change possible—it’s inevitable, and it’s happening in every moment.”

Here are some individuals and organizations working for positive change in California.


Bending the Arc of History


Here’s a short list of just some of the organizations working to build better futures for African Americans in California.

California Pioneers

Clockwise from upper right: Architect Paul R. Williams, Assemblyman Frederick Madison Roberts, abolitionist Mary Ellen Pleasant, and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley (with President Gerald Ford).
Black History Month provides an opportunity to remember the achievements of African Americans who fought for equality in the Golden State.

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.

As an extra bonus, we're also including a link to their new cookbook of seasonal recipes! 


Slab apple tart a no-sugar treat

Thinly sliced apples top this slab tart, which makes a lovely dessert for a dinner or potluck.
Recipe: Make bourbon apple butter for extra flavorful filling

‘Taste Winter!’ cookbook shows how to make the most of your cool-season harvest

Fresh-off-the-tree oranges mean winter to those of us lucky enough to live in California. Find several citrus-based recipes in the "Taste Winter! cookbook.
Enjoy winter fruit and vegetables with these home-grown recipes


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Max's Helping Paws Foundation logo Max's Helping Paws Foundation

Pets aren’t just furry, four-legged friends, but members of the family. Max’s Helping Paws Foundation believes in keeping pets and their owners together, which is why it assists guardians of sick or injured animals with medical costs.

→ Learn more

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From Our Media Allies

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Monterey County Weekly logo Final Round of the Pro-Am Postponed

PGA Tour officials have postponed round four of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Play will resume Monday, if possible.

Monterey County Weekly logo Cal Am’s Local Director of Operations Tenders His Resignation

Chris Cook, Cal Am’s director of operations for the company’s Monterey system, tendered his resignation but has not yet left the company.

Salinas Valley Tribune logo Miss Salinas Valley Fair Seeks Applicants for 2024 Title

Applications are being accepted for the title of Miss Salinas Valley Fair, which is open to any junior or senior high school girl in the counties of Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz, and northern San Luis Obispo.

Monterey County Weekly logo First Theatre in Monterey Will Open for Tours

The First Theatre in downtown Monterey hosted California’s first-ever paid theatrical production in 1848, but wasn’t regularly used for that purpose until 1937.

Monterey County Weekly logo Chinese Delegation Visits Salinas to Build Collaboration and Modernize Agriculture

“To the best of my knowledge, it’s the first time that China and the Salinas Valley have ever collaborated in any sort of agricultural exchange,” Salinas City Councilmember Steve McShane says.

Salinas Valley Tribune logo Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez Installed as Chair of Rural County Representatives of California

“RCRC serves a critical role for rural counties in California, promoting a greater understanding of the unique challenges our communities face,” Chris Lopez said.

  California Local Pin Marker  

Recent Local News

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• Cavalletta Opens This Week in Aptos

The custom wood-fired oven will be blasting out pizzas with the char, bubbles and caramelization only 800 degrees can bring.  The Emiliomiti pasta extruder will be squeezing out strozzapreti, rigatoni and bucatini.

(02/05/2024) → Edible Monterey Bay

• Parents’ Lawsuit Forces California to Spend $2 Billion on Learning Loss. Here’s What Will Change

Learning loss during the pandemic hit California’s low-income students hardest. An agreement requires the state to focus spending there.

(02/02/2024) → CalMatters

• California Recall Reform Moves Forward, But Other Bills Don’t

A sweeping change to California elections took a step forward. The proposed constitutional amendment aims to allow the lieutenant governor to be installed if a governor is recalled.

(02/01/2024) → CalMatters

• Marina Names Former Kansas City Deputy Chief as New Police Chief

The new Marina Police Department Chief of Police is a law enforcement veteran with more than 30 years in service.l Randy Hopkins started work this week and will be sworn in next week.

(02/01/2024) → Monterey Herald

• CSU Student Assistants Prepare to Unionize

About 20,000 student assistants at all 23 California State University campuses are coming together for a vote that would create the largest undergraduate student worker union in U.S. history.

(01/31/2024) → The Lutrinae

• TAMC Plan to Bring Caltrain Operations to Salinas Chugging Along

The Transportation Agency for Monterey County continues to lay the path for its vision of extending Caltrain rail service, past its current endpoint in Gilroy, to a new point in Salinas.

(01/31/2024) → Monterey Herald

• Imperiled Monarch Butterflies Cling to Survival in California

Monarch butterflies have a long way to go before reaching stable population numbers.

(01/30/2024) → SF Gate

• Sacramento Joins San Francisco as California’s Slowest Cities to Recover From the Pandemic

San Francisco is coping with a “doom loop” of declining employment and business activity in its downtown core, but a new study suggests Sacramento may be in worse shape.

(01/30/2024) → CalMatters

• Working Together to Create a Sustainable Campus

California State University, Monterey Bay has big plans in the coming years: complete campus sustainability by 2030.

(01/29/2024) → The Lutrinae
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Recent Statewide News

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• Mike McGuire Wants to ‘Lift Up Every Person’ as New California Senate Leader

Sen. Mike McGuire of Healdsburg takes over as Democratic leader in the state Senate from Sen. Toni Atkins. He terms out in 2026, so has limited time to push his agenda.

(02/05/2024) → CalMatters

• Is Housing Health Care? State Medicaid Programs Increasingly Say ‘Yes’

States are plowing billions of dollars into a high-stakes health care experiment that’s exploding around the country: using scarce public health insurance money to provide housing for the poorest and sickest Americans.

(02/05/2024) → California Healthline

• The Terrifying Forces That Created a California Monster Storm

The storm fed off of unusually warm waters as it grew. It also reached “bomb cyclone” status as it neared California.

(02/05/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• Darrell Steinberg: Return of State Workers Helps, But Sacramento’s Transformation is Well Underway

Downtown Sacramento faces many challenges, but the growing number of small businesses, hotels, homes and other major developments signal its transformation, says the city’s mayor.

(02/05/2024) → CalMatters

• Despite Disbanding in 1995, Grateful Dead Make Billboard History

The Grateful Dead have broken the record for the most Top 40 albums to chart on the Billboard 200.

(02/05/2024) → Daily Democrat

• Some Experts Are Proposing a Category 6 Storm Rating

A handful of super powerful tropical storms in the last decade and the prospect of more to come has a couple of experts proposing a new category of whopper hurricanes: Category 6.

(02/05/2024) → Daily Democrat

• California Universities Are Required to Offer Students Abortion Pills. A Lot Just Don’t Mention It

One year after California became the first state to require its public universities to provide the abortion pill to students, basic information on where or how students can obtain the medication is lacking.

(02/04/2024) → CapPublicRadio

• New ‘Toothless’ Walrus Discovered Along California Coast

An extinct species of walrus was unearthed in Santa Cruz County, evoking a time when California was teeming with odd creatures that feel closer to fantasy than reality, researchers said.

(02/01/2024) → SF Gate

• Back From COP28, California Climate Leaders Talk Health Impacts of Warming

As Californians increasingly feel the health effects of climate change, state leaders are adopting sweeping policies they hope will fend off the worst impacts.

(01/31/2024) → California Healthline

• ‘Just the Beginning’: California Reparations Backers Applaud Bills, Even Without Big Cash Payouts

Lawmakers introduced a package of bills designed to tackle some forms of reparations. The measures may face budget constraints and opposition.

(01/31/2024) → CalMatters

• Saving Salmon: Newsom Unveils Blueprint for Ending Decades-Long Decline

Chinook and other salmon runs are collapsing. Conservation groups call it too little, too late. Plan includes dam removals and restoring river flows.

(01/30/2024) → CalMatters

• Advice From Former Superintendents on Retaining Those Still on the Job

Five former California superintendents shared potential solutions for reducing the increasing turnover rate in their profession.

(01/30/2024) → EdSource

• Will More Outdoor Drinking Give CA Economy a Buzz?

State Sen. Scott Wiener wants to allow California cities and counties to designate “entertainment zones” where bars and restaurants could serve alcoholic drinks that people can consume on public streets and sidewalks.

(01/29/2024) → CalMatters

• New Pickleball Equipment Takes a Swing at the Sport’s Noise Problem

The “pop, pop, pop” that’s become synonymous with Pickleball may soon be a racket of the past. That’s the goal promised by a new generation of equipment developed to lessen the overall acoustic burden of the sport.

(01/29/2024) → Daily Democrat
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Government Announcements

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Image of City of Monterey seal. City of Monterey   (02/05/2024)

Read the Winter 2024 Edition of City Focus

Image of City of Pacific Grove seal. City of Pacific Grove   (02/05/2024)

Warming & Charging Station

Image of United States seal. United States   (02/03/2024)

Hormel Foods Recalls Ready-To-Eat Spiced Deli Ham Products Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergen

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2024 - Hormel Foods, an Austin, Minn. establishment, is recalling approximately 945 pounds of ready-to-eat spiced deli ham products due to misbranding and undeclared allergen, the U.S...
Image of United States seal. United States   (02/02/2024)

Summer Fresh Salads Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Sesame in Wegmans Harissa Hummus Topped with Harissa

Summer Fresh Salads Inc. of Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada is recalling its Wegmans Harissa Hummus Topped With Harissa because they may contain undeclared sesame. People who have allergies to sesame run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. The recal
Image of City of Marina seal. City of Marina   (02/02/2024)

GOOD SAMARITAN LAWS SAVE LIVES!

Marina Police respond to multiple calls involving controlled substances leading to overdoses.
Image of United States seal. United States   (02/02/2024)

Macgregors Meat and Seafood Ltd Recalls Frozen Ready-To-Eat Pork Products Imported Without Benefit of Import Reinspection

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2024 - Macgregors Meat and Seafood Ltd, a Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada establishment, is recalling approximately 2,745 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat pork products that were not presented for...
Image of City of Monterey seal. City of Monterey   (02/02/2024)

Rental Assistance Program Seeks Resident Input -  Take the Survey and Attend a Community Drop-In Session

Image of State of California seal. State of California   (02/01/2024)

Robert Rivas CA Assembly 29:
Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas Appoints San Benito County Leader Bob Tiffany To California Transportation Commission

Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas Appoints San Benito County Leader Bob Tiffany To California Transportation Commission hagamasc Thu, 02/01/2024 - 14:41 Title Press Secretary Email Cynthia.Moreno@asm.ca.gov Phone 916-319-2029 Thursday, February 1, 2024 SACRAMENTO, CA Today, California State Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas of Hollister appointed Bob Tiffany, a fourth-generation San Benito County resident and former elected official and independent small business owner, …
Image of United States seal. United States   (02/01/2024)

Hearty Acquisitions Llc Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Soy in Tomato Basil with Rice Exp 3/22/2024

Hearty Acquisitions Inc. of Brooklyn, NY, is recalling its pints of "Tomato Basil with Rice EXP 3/22/2024" 16 Oz containers because they contain Butternut Squash Bisque resulting in soy being undeclared on the label. People who have allergies to soy run the risk of serious or life-threatening allerg
Image of City of Marina seal. City of Marina   (02/01/2024)

Mobile Home Rent Stabilization - 2024 Annual Rent Increase Notice

Effective May 1, 2024, the rents of mobile home park spaces subject to these regulations may be increased by 2.5% over the allowable rent on May 1, 2023.