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The Buzz 01.14.21

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FREE SPEECH

It came from the mouth of someone who should have known better. On Jan. 7, veteran Fresno-area radio host Ray Appleton opined that certain news editors “should be hanged… maybe” as he broadcast on station KMJ about the media coverage on the violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol building, where rioters stormed the building while Congress was attempting to certify the results of the presidential election. Shortly after the statements (and after he was widely pilloried by journalists) Appleton offered a weak apology. He now has some time to think about the consequences of his actions, as the Cumulus Media-owned station suspended him without pay. Cumulus also warned all of its hosts against repeating falsehoods surrounding the election, saying in an internal memo the company “will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended” and that if hosts “transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“You’ll never take back our country with weakness.” - President Donald Trump addressing a rally of supporters before they violently overtook the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, attempting to stop certification of the election result (see cover story).

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

El Pájaro Community Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit that provides services to mainly Latino entrepreneurs and small-business owners in the tri-county area, will receive a Small Business Administration grant of at least $140,000 to launch a women’s business center. The money will help the organization expand its services and open satellite offices in San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. El Pájaro CDC is one of the two organizations selected in California, and one of 20 in the country, that will help underserved communities in rural and urban areas with the SBA grants. The goal is to increase the success of women-owned businesses; in 30 years, this is the largest single expansion of such centers in the country. The national network of women’s business centers encompasses 130 venues that offer counseling, training, networking, financial management and marketing, among other services, to women entrepreneurs so they can develop their own businesses.

GREAT:

It’s a great week for public engagement as the city of Monterey launches its new digital platform, Have Your Say Monterey (haveyoursaymonterey.org). The platform allows residents (or those who work or do business in the city or live nearby) to weigh in on topics by taking surveys or submitting comments. It also provides information on hot topics like Covid-19 or gas-powered leaf blowers in a way that’s easier to navigate than traditional government websites. It began on Jan. 7, and in four days over 50 people took a survey on commercial cannabis, the first big issue featured on the platform, Assistant City Manager Nat Rojanasathira told reporters on Jan. 11. The goal is for at least 500 residents to take the survey before the Monterey City Council decides whether to proceed toward a new ordinance that will allow retail cannabis sales. The city paid $19,000 for the first year of service from an Australian company called Bang The Table, which has clients in several countries including the U.S.

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