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.
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
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.
• 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
• 2024 Primary Election: San Benito County Board of Supervisors District 2
Two candidates are running for the District 2 seat: San Juan Bautista Councilmember John Freeman and incumbent Kollin Kosmicki.
(01/13/2024) → Benito Link
• San Juan Bautista Library Inherits Theater and Literature Collection
Milt Commons, long-time stage manager for El Teatro Campesino, willed his book collection to the San Juan Bautista City Library, where some volumes will form a new theater studies section.
(01/12/2024) → Benito Link
• 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
• 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