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The Buzz 11.25.21

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FREE SPEECH

There’s been a lot of public pressure on police agencies to use body cameras, but body camera footage is not automatically viewable by the public. California Assembly Bill 748 has required since 2019 that agencies release video within 45 days of a “critical incident” – involving a death, injury or discharge of an officer’s weapon. But what about footage related to everyday stuff that’s not deemed a critical incident? It’s optional. The Salinas Police Department used to release such footage upon request. But as of at least Sept. 16, SPD is no longer doing so. That’s the date on which SPD responded to a California Public Records Act request filed by the local LULAC chapter seeking body cam footage. “We maintain that body worn camera footage is not a public record unless it is related to a ‘critical incident,’” SPD Public Records Coordinator Bianca Navarro-Raya wrote. “There are agencies that elect to release such footage. The Salinas Police Department was until recently one of those agencies.” The department no longer is, the letter continues, because Chief Roberto Filice deems the staff time required to review and redact the footage is too resource-intensive.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“It creates a sense of childlike freedom.” - Holly La Masters on the joy of boogie boarding, particularly in a moms group she started (see Outside story).

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

Although winning the support of the public is key, winning the admiration of your peers has a certain sweetness to it. Ask local wastewater utility, Monterey One Water, which on Nov. 21 received recognition as a 2021 Water Resources Utility of the Future Today for its achievements in water reuse. M1W’s Pure Water Monterey water recycling project has been providing the Monterey Peninsula with drinkable, recycled wastewater since 2019 and an expansion is underway that will mean more than half of the area’s drinking water will be recycled wastewater by 2025. M1W was one of the 13 utilities across the country to earn the 2021 recognition for its work in water reuse and only one of two in California. M1W is now a two-time winner of the Utility of the Future Today, last earning the recognition in 2016 for its work in community engagement and watershed stewardship.

GREAT:

Great news for the Alisal Union School District community comes this week with the announcement the district plans to implement La Cultura Cura philosophy, which provides socio-emotional support using traditions, cultural values and practices. A team of 50 Alisal Union staff will receive training from the nonprofit National Compadres Network. Its founder, Jerry Tello, has worked in Salinas bringing people together and guiding them to heal from traumatic events. The trained AUSD staff will then share this philosophy with students, their families and the rest of the staff. Carissa Purnell, director of Alisal Family Resource Centers, will be in charge of implementing the program. “The last year has truly shown the need for culturally relevant support for our students and their families. It is important we do this not just for them, but for our entire AUSD community,” Purnell said in a statement.

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