The Weekly Taly 06.10.21

FREE SPEECH

A moment of looking back with a little navel-gazing pride during awards season: Monterey County Weekly staff took home first place recognition from the California News Publishers Association for our wildfire coverage of three fires – the RiverDolan and Carmel fires – that started in three days in the summer of 2020. “A strong overall report that best served readers when they most needed fire reporting,” the judges wrote. In the category of coverage of business news, Mary Duan won third place for her Feb. 20, 2020 cover story on the cannabis industry facing a financial reckoning as hot markets started cooling. For coverage of local government, Duan and Pam Marino received the third-place nod for a series of stories about revelations of a Pacific Grove police officer who expressed racist and right-wing extremist views, and who ultimately removed from the PGPD. “Great legwork here diving into this officer’s horrible viewpoints,” the judges wrote. “The end result is he’s no longer allowed to carry a gun and badge in your community. Well done.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I made a poor decision that I truly regret and will never make again.” – County Supervisor Luis Alejo in a written statement responding to being cited for driving under the influence on May 28, with a reported blood alcohol level of 0.16, twice the legal limit

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

The cities of Salinas, Monterey and Seaside are raising the rainbow LGBTQ+ flag at their city halls. The three city councils, as well as the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, each passed a resolution acknowledging June as Pride Month. “This is a moment to celebrate,” Monterey City Councilmember Tyller Williamson says of raising the flag there for the first time. “This is about respect, about community,” The flag went up on three county buildings on June 8, and will wave for the remainder of the month of June. Members of the local LGBTQ+ community attended Salinas’ flag-raising ceremony on June 4. Jacob Agamao, a 38-year-old advocate for LGBTQ rights in Salinas, says it feels great to see the flag outside of City Hall, a sign of normalizing queer visibility. “I’m not sure whose idea it was but I know it wasn’t anybody that I know,“ Agamao says. “That means we are making progress.”

GREAT:

Watsonville nonprofit El Pájaro Community Development Corporation already helps entrepreneurs in the region, and now they are establishing a brick-and-mortar presence in Monterey County. The El Pájaro Regional Women’s Business Center is set to open three new satellite offices this year, with locations in Salinas, South Monterey County and San Benito County. To operate the new hubs, El Pajaro CDC will receive $150,000 per year for five years from the U.S. Small Business Administration to distribute to small business owners; Executive Director Carmen Herrera-Mansir says they could double that amount if they obtain a state grant. U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta sent a letter to the SBA in support of funding the center: “The El Pájaro Regional Women’s Business Center will provide greater opportunities to female entrepreneurs in our communities.”

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