WHO’S IN TOWN?
While most of us are sleeping, creatures in the Pacific Ocean are engaged in the largest commute in the world. They number in the billions and include copepods, krill and fish, on their way from the depths to the surface in search of food. The technical term for this nightly trek is diurnal vertical migration, considered the largest migration on Earth, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. In town – or rather, offshore – are MBARI researchers on a small fleet, using robots and other tools, for a Controlled, Agile and Novel Observing Network experiment. Nightly they sample the migration using sound, video and DNA. They hope to get a picture of how organisms are adapting to changing ocean conditions.
May 29-June 7. 23 miles offshore from Moss Landing. mbari.org.
For 18 years, the Panetta Institute for Public Policy has hired Hart Research Associates to conduct an annual survey among college students on government and democracy. Among the 2019 findings, released last week: Only 22 percent of students had “quite a bit of confidence” in the media, the same amount as for the presidency; 6 percent had a “great deal of confidence” in the media, less than 9 percent in the presidency. To get news about politics and civic affairs, 46 percent of respondents rely on social media. “When the Panetta Institute survey first began tracking media consumption among college students, television was king, as 51 percent reported that it was the source they turned to for information about politics and civic affairs. Today, that proportion has dropped to 34 percent,” according to the report. And yet, 49 percent have tried to reduce the amount of time they spend using social media, and 69 percent “believe that time spent on social media is time wasted, rather than time well spent.”
GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK
Outdoor pot growers in Big Sur, Cachagua and Carmel Valley lobbied the Monterey County Planning Commision and their efforts paid off. On May 29, the commission voted 6-1 to recommend approving an expanded outdoor cannabis cultivation program. From 50 grow sites in the original plan, the revised pilot program could see 100 sites enrolled. County staff made the pilot more inclusive by making changes like removing a 10-acre minimum lot size and allowing lots of any size to participate as long as the canopy of cannabis grown is limited to 2.5 percent of lot area. Zoning restrictions and the requirement that grow areas be set back from offsite structures were also relaxed. The ordinances authorizing the pilot would explicitly state its purpose is to serve “those who historically cultivated cannabis” in Monterey County. The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the proposal in June.
It’s been a good week for the 280-megawatt California Flats Solar plant in southeastern Monterey County on Jack Ranch. It was completed in May, which supplies power to the grid on behalf of Apple. But bad news came down for workers who built the plant in a federal court decision issued May 28: They are not entitled to compensation for the time they spent onsite commuting to the job site. Crew members had to enter the property through a security gate where congestion sometimes caused 20-minute lines. Then workers had to travel 45-55 minutes down a 12-mile road. A speed limit ranging from 5-20 mph was imposed on the road in order to comply with state protections for two endangered species: the San Joaquin kit fox and California tiger salamander. Biologists were hired by the developer, First Solar, to monitor the driving behaviors of the commuting construction workers.