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By Eric Johnson
Published Jun 10, 2024

The Importance of Planning

Before we get to our featured article and all the other good stuff, I need to own up to a mistake that illustrates a point about planning. In the May 28 edition of The Newsletter, I announced the publication of our first book, How California Works: Building Democracy in the Golden State, by the great Jon Vankin. If you missed the big announcement, that’s on me, because I scheduled it for the day after Memorial Day. Not the best timing for a book launch.

In my defense, some last-minute snafus had delayed publication, and I was eager to let you know about the book as soon as that was possible. This is a hopeful book that can be an antidote to the dire news we are confronted with daily—it’s filled with true stories about the ways, at its best, California is leading the world toward a better future

I also forgot to say this last month: Here's how to empower yourself as a citizen AND support local journalism: Find How California Works on Amazon; available in hardcover, softcover and digital (Kindle). 

The General Plan: Your Community’s Map to the Future

I say How California Works is a hopeful book because when you really see how local government functions, you have to be a little bit amazed. Our friend and colleague Chris Neklason has written about how building the database underlying California Local—discovering the elected bodies and volunteer boards that safeguard your tax dollars—hipped him to The Genius of Democracy

This week Chris explains how a  General Plan serves as the “constitution” of every incorporated community in the state—enumerating the long-term vision, priorities, goals, objectives and policies informing community governance—especially with regard to land use decisions. Good stuff to know.

The Central Role of Planning in California Government

Incorporated communities in California must manage local resources and your tax dollars according to a plan.
General Plans, mandated by the state and carried out by local counties, cities, and other municipalities, serve as a locality’s ‘constitution'.

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.

Grilled corn the base for a delicious salad

A cilantro-lime dressing ties together the grilled vegetables in this salad. Add sliced grilled chicken or other protein to make it an entree dish.
New! Late-spring combination works for summer cookouts, too

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Our overview page for San Benito County is updated daily with the latest state and local news, weather alerts, local government announcements and local blog posts and news snippets from community groups and individuals.
Direct your browser to to catch up on the latest news in California and San Benito County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!

Get to Know a Group

Central Coast Community Energy logo Central Coast Community Energy

Central Coast Community Energy is a Community Choice Energy Agency established to source clean and renewable electricity for Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties and parts of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties while retaining local utility providers’ traditional role delivering power and maintaining electric infrastructure as well as billing.

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From Our Media Allies

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Benito Link logo At 90, Ted Thoeny Becomes the Oldest Graduate in Gavilan College History

San Benito County resident finishes a degree he started at Stanford in 1951.

Benito Link logo Condor Update 2024: Central Coast Population Stands at 100

Nine chicks have hatched and two remain to hatch this season.

SanBenitocom logo Hospital Board Moves Toward Private Sale

The San Benito Health Care District board voted unanimously during a June 5 special meeting to walk away from San Benito County’s proposal of a Joint Powers Authority that would have kept Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital under public control.

Benito Link logo BenitoLink ‘News Central’ Open House

The two-hour event is scheduled for June 21 at 5 p.m.

Benito Link logo Hospital Board Picks Michigan-Based Health Group to Take Over Hazel Hawkins

Negotiations with Insight will continue, with a lease option replacing an outright sale.

Gilroy Dispatch logo Gilroy DMV Office Closed for Renovations June 19-Sept. 3

The Gilroy Department of Motor Vehicles office will be temporarily closed for renovations from June 19-Sept. 3, the state DMV said in a press release.

Gilroy Dispatch logo Grants From DAs Office Aim to Help Disadvantaged Youth of Color

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said that $60,000 will be awarded to community organizations and groups to aid local disadvantaged youth of color.

SanBenitocom logo HSD Schools Embrace Mental Health Awareness

Hollister School District sites enthusiastically participated in the recent Mental Health Awareness Week with a variety of activities for students and staff members.

Benito Link logo San Juan Bautista Asks for Input Into Planned Developments Outside City Limits

At their May 28 meeting, the San Juan Bautista Urban Growth Boundary Sphere of Influence Committee reviewed a draft memorandum of understanding with the San Benito Board of Supervisors which would allow the city to have input into proposed developments …

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Recent Local News

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• Big Sur Is Back

Photos spotlight the beauty of the Big Sur community.

(06/06/2024) → Edible Monterey Bay
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Recent Statewide News

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• Sports Complex Unveiled as Part of California Forever

A rendering for a Solano Sports Complex development with facilities for baseball, basketball, football, swimming, tennis, volleyball, pickleball and other sports was released as part of the California Forever project in east Solano County.

(06/07/2024) → SF Gate

• CalMatters Hosts Big Ideas Festival

The two-day CalMatters Ideas Festival wrapped on June 6 with more than a dozen events examining critical policy issues impacting the lives of millions of Californians.

(06/07/2024) → CalMatters

• The California Maternity Wards That Are Staying Open

Over the last decade, nearly 50 maternity wards have closed across California, with more than half shutting down in just the last four years.

(06/06/2024) → CalMatters

• Land Trust Announces Opposition to California Forever

On June 6, the Solano Land Trust announced its opposition to the California Forever project to build a new community housing up to 400,000 people in the county.

(06/06/2024) → The Mercury News

• How Best to Reduce California Homelessness?

A panel at the CalMatters Ideas Festival debates how to reduce homelessness without punishing poverty. There’s worry about a potential $1 billion cut in state funding.

(06/06/2024) → CalMatters

• The Future for California Workers Is Apprenticeships

A panel of labor experts at the CalMatters Ideas Festival say California workers should have more access to more apprenticeships that pay more. Barriers still exist, especially for women and low-income Californians.

(06/06/2024) → CalMatters

• New Reservoir Project Advances

The $4.5 billion Sites Reservoir project is advancing after a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by environmental groups.

(06/05/2024) → The Mercury News

• A Look at Police dispatches to Schools

EdSource reports that police are dispatched thousands of times per school day across California.

(06/05/2024) → EdSource

• California Seeks a More Resilient Water Supply as Familiar Sides Battle for Access

A new study, conducted by researchers at three University of California campuses, projects that a combination of factors will reduce California’s water supply by up to 9 million acre-feet a year.

(06/05/2024) → CalMatters

• California Made It Easier to Vote, but Some With Disabilities Still Face Barriers

California is hailed as a national leader for voting access. But visually impaired voters and their advocates say they still face unnecessary barriers, despite bills and lawsuits. Some election officials raise security concerns.

(06/04/2024) → CalMatters

• California Homelessness Funding Is on the Chopping Block. Will It Make the Final Budget?

It’s the billion-dollar question. That’s how much cities and other local governments have been receiving from the state each year to deal with California's ever-increasing population of homeless people.

(06/04/2024) → CalMatters

• Why CA Families Are Getting a Tax Surprise for Health Care

For families seeking affordable health insurance, the state’s health insurance marketplace, Covered California, can provide major relief. But if they’re not careful, they can get hit by an unexpected federal tax bill.

(06/04/2024) → CalMatters
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Government Announcements

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Image of United States seal. United States   (06/07/2024)

Green Life Farms Issues Voluntary Recall of Baby Arugula Because of Possible Health Risk

Lake Worth, FL (June 7, 2024) - Green Life Farms is voluntarily recalling one lot of its 4-ounce containers of Baby Arugula because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Symptoms of Salmonella may include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Illness usually occurs within 12 t
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/07/2024)

FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Frozen Ready-To-Eat Bao Curry Chicken Products Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergens

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for product labeled as bao Thai-style curry chicken...
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/04/2024)

New Seasons Market Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Almonds in Strawberry Rhubarb Bakewell Tart

June 4, 2024, New Seasons Market of Portland, Oregon is recalling Strawberry Rhubarb Bakewell Tart, because it contains undeclared almond. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almond run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/04/2024)

South American Meat Inc. Recalls Frozen Raw Beef Products Imported Without Benefit of Import Reinspection

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2024 - South American Meat Inc., also known as 5Gogi LLC, an importer located in Commerce, Calif., is recalling approximately 20,111 pounds of various eligible frozen raw...
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/03/2024)

UBC Food Distributors Recalls Baraka Brand Ground Black Pepper Spice Because of Possible Health Risk Announcement

UBC Food Distributors in Dearborn Michigan is recalling the Ground Black Pepper under the Baraka brand name in 7oz plastic containers 7oz * 10 With UPC code 8 22514 26626 6 because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infect
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/03/2024)

Dairy Manufacturers Inc. Is Notifying Consumers About a Safety Concern With Crecelac Infant 0-12 Infant Formula (Lot # 24 039 1 CHE 352-1) That is Part of an Ongoing Recall - Expansion of Previous Recall

Dairy Manufacturers Inc., of Prosper, TX - 6/3/24, is notifying consumers about a safety issue associated with a product that is an extension of an ongoing voluntary recall (
Image of United States seal. United States   (05/30/2024)

Fresh Start Produce Sales Initiates Recall of Whole Cucumbers Because of Possible Health Risk

Fresh Start Produce Sales Inc. of Delray, Florida, is recalling whole cucumbers shipped to certain states from May 17th through May 21st, 2024, due to the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elder
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (05/29/2024)

Dawn Addis CA Assembly 30:
Addis Shares Update on Reopening of Big Sur

Addis Shares Update on Reopening of Big Sur sanchema Wed, 05/29/2024 - 15:52 Tuesday, May 14, 2024 BIG SUR Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) issued the following statement on the planned reopening of Highway 1 near Big Sur: "It's wonderful that Big Sur is opening. We have been working closely with Caltrans, Senator Laird, Governor Newsom, and local agencies to …
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (05/29/2024)

Dawn Addis CA Assembly 30:
Addis Issues Statement on the May Revise

Addis Issues Statement on the May Revise sanchema Wed, 05/29/2024 - 15:02 Friday, May 10, 2024 SACRAMENTO Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) issued the following statement in response to Governor Gavin Newsom's revised budget proposal for the 2024-25 fiscal year: "Despite the challenges highlighted in the Governor's revised budget, I am fully committed to working with my colleagues to mitigate …
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (05/29/2024)

Dawn Addis CA Assembly 30:
Addis Honors Kate Daniels on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Addis Honors Kate Daniels on Holocaust Remembrance Day sanchema Wed, 05/29/2024 - 14:56 Friday, May 3, 2024 SACRAMENTO As part of the California Legislature commemoration ceremony of Holocaust Remembrance Day or Yom HaShoah this week, Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) recognized Monterey County District 5 Supervisor-Elect Kate Daniels, granddaughter of Holocaust survivor Renate Ricci Abelmann. "Like so many in this …