The Weekly Tally 08.08.19

WHO’S IN TOWN?

Poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) never visited the Western U.S. – she didn’t travel far from Amherst, Massachusetts and was a recluse later in life – but her poetry sometimes evoked scenes of land and sea that could be the untamed West of the time. The Emily Dickinson International Society, based in Massachusetts, is in town this week for its 2019 International Conference. The theme – To Another Sea: Dickinson, Environment and the West – is taken from a line of the Dickinson poem “If My Bark Sink.” Panelists and speakers from around the world will explore themes from her poetry. From 8:30-10am on Aug. 10, there is a “White Dress/Suit Parade” to the beach, in honor of Dickinson’s penchant for wearing white on those rare occasions she was seen in public.

Thu-Sun Aug. 8-11. Asilomar Conference Grounds, 800 Asilomar Ave., Pacific Grove. $150-$225. emilydickinsoninternationalsociety.org.

FREE SPEECH

On May 10, the San Francisco Police Department made news for raiding journalist Bryan Carmody’s home and seizing notes, cameras, phones and computers as part of a police investigation into who leaked a confidential report on the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi. A coalition – First Amendment CoalitionSociety of Professional Journalists and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press – has been trying to answer a central question in the saga: How did SFPD secure such search warrants against a journalist when such warrants are prohibited? Court decisions on July 18 and Aug. 5 open the warrants to the public, and reveal that judges didn’t know the subject was a journalist. In their application for a search warrant for his phone, police told a judge Carmody’s LinkedIn page “listed him as a ‘Freelance Videographer/Communications Manager,’” omitting the fact they knew he was a journalist. “These warrants should never have been issued in the first place,” FAC Executive Director David Snyder said in a statement.

GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK

GOOD:

It’s not quite the scale of the Green New Deal, but it’s a start – and includes bipartisan support. Three carbon-pricing bills have been introduced in Congress, including the Climate Action Rebate Act, introduced in the Senate by Democrats Diane Feinstein and Chris Coons, and in the House by Rep.Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley. It calls for cutting emissions by 55 percent by 2030, and to zero by 2050. Out of the three climate-pricing bills introduced in the past two weeks, it has the lowest starting fee – $15 per metric ton – and also the steepest increase, $15 annually, until emissions reach 10 percent of 2017 levels. It would generate an estimated $12 billion in revenue to be paid out as a carbon dividend. The other bills were introduced on a bipartisan basis: The Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act would start at $40 per ton; the Stemming Warming and Augmenting Pay Act would start at $30.

BAD:

The future is bleak for Big Sur Charter School, which filed a petition to Monterey Peninsula Unified School District under the name Coastal Community Charter. Bracing for state regulations that would prohibit the school’s current authorizing district, Big Sur Unified, to oversee it because the school is located outside of district boundaries, Big Sur Charter had two options: get authorized by MPUSD or the Monterey County Office of Education. On July 23, they heard from MPUSD; the board voted 6-0 to deny Big Sur Charter’s petition, citing inadequacies in the school’s budget and declining enrollment. The board also noted that the school had not created a solid recruitment plan that would diversify its student body – which is currently not reflective of MPUSD’s own diverse student population. The charter school has one last option, hoping that MCOE will authorize it.

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