The Weekly Tally 01.06.02

FREE SPEECH

After realizing the critical need for fast and accessible communications to the public during the pandemic, Monterey County is finally getting a communications director-level position. The first-ever person to hold this role will be Nick Pasculli, starting the job on Feb. 14. He leaves behind a career in marketing, and is in the process of selling TMD Creative (aka The Marketing Department), a business that he founded in 1999 and where he is currently president/CEO. Why leave a private sector gig for the public sector? “I want to do something that’s more of a vocation,” Pasculli says. One of TMD’s recent clients was Monterey County, which contracted with the firm for $10,000/month for messaging related to Covid-19 safety measures. “There is no greater calling than helping other people,” Pasculli says of his time working as a county contractor. In another private-to-public sector PIO move, Catherine Stedman is leaving California American Water after more than 16 years at the utility company, for a role as director of communications and outreach at Central Coast Community Energy, starting Jan. 17.

Editor's note: This Free Speech column has been updated to reflect the following clarification. While Nick Pasculli will be the first-ever communications director for the county, he will not be its first public information officer (PIO). That role, currently held by several people, may be reorganized under this new director position. 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“You don’t like it, you don’t hate it. You just respect it.” – Recently retired Monterey County Regional Fire District chief Michael Urquides speaking about his relationship to fire (read Face to Face article)

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

It was a festive year-end for residents of the SHARE Center in Salinas, where the emphasis is not simply on getting people into housing but on making it a dignified and positive experience, especially for children, who comprise about one-third of SHARE’s 99 current residents. “Building joy for families experiencing homelessness is so far off the radar for a lot of people,” says Nora Daly, development director for Bay Area Community Services, which operates the center. Joy for children comes in the form of a new play structure, which will be installed by volunteers some time in January. It was purchased along with Christmas gifts for every resident (of every age) thanks to $5,000 in donations. Another dimension of joy is for the center’s pet residents – that would be 15 dogs, two cats and one snake – who are getting extra attention thanks to a partnership with the BirchBark Foundation.

GREAT:

Great news was delivered by 7,421 donors who donated to Monterey County Gives! in 2021, generating a record $9.56 million for 170 local nonprofit organizations. The total fundraising amount shattered the previous record, $7.8 million raised in 2020 – an especially remarkable show of philanthropy in tenuous economic times. “I’m surprised – not at the generosity, but that it so exceeded last year, which so exceeded the previous record,” says Dan Baldwin, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, one of the partners (along with Monterey Peninsula Foundation and Monterey County Weekly) that run MCGives! “This is just a remarkable indicator of local philanthropic spirit,” Baldwin adds. The organization that raised the most was the Food Bank for Monterey County, with $375,481 from 747 donors.

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