The Weekly Tally 06.16.22

FREE SPEECH

Like many public institutions, Hartnell College uses a Facebook account to inform and engage students and the broader community. On June 7, the Hartnell College Facebook page was flooded with a livestreamed video and comments stemming from the arrest in Santa Cruz of one of its employees, Valentin Rodriguez, 62, a diesel technology instructor. Rodriguez allegedly went to the Santa Cruz Wharf expecting to meet up with a teenage girl, instead he was met by YouTuber CC Unit and Santa Cruz Police. Rodriguez was arrested and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on one felony count of arranging to meet with a minor with the intent to engage in sexual conduct. Rather than deleting individual comments, Hartnell responded by unpublishing its Facebook page because it “received a wave of spam comments on existing posts that interfered with their purpose of sharing information and inviting audience interaction with content,” according to a statement released by the college. “We plan to restore that soon and regret the inconvenience for our audience.” The page was restored early on Monday, June 13. 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Damn right we have to take care of these people!” – Tom Griffin, coordinator of the 2022 Monterey County Homeless Veterans Stand Down, speaking about providing essential services (read News stroy).

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

In a boost to school lunch, Salinas City Elementary School District will upgrade its kitchens and provide workforce training thanks to a $321,740 grant from the California Department of Education. In addition, the district will get at least $5,000 (an amount based on enrollment) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supply Chain Assistance Funds to buy unprocessed or mildly processed ingredients. Beyond Green, a consultant on nutrition services with a focus on health and sustainability, is advising SCESD in some improvements. Beyond Green reviewed kitchens, interviewed kitchen personnel, and surveyed nearly 300 students in different grades. Beyond Green is now working on two proposals: One for upgrading all existing kitchens, another for building a centralized kitchen location that will focus on baking, preparation and distribution to other locations.

GREAT:

The bad news is that wildfire risk is only getting worse due to the climate crisis. But the great news is that there are meaningful efforts underway in Monterey County to increase wildfire resilience. That includes a $3.26 million grant from Cal Fire to the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County, which will use the funds for a 403-acre project in Carmel Valley to strengthen fuelbreaks, assess new emergency egress areas and remove vegetation that could become fire fuel in the neighborhoods of Carmel Views, Del Mesa, Rancho Tierra Grande, Pacific Meadows and Hitchcock Canyon. The grant will be formally announced at a wildfire safety fair on Saturday, June 18 (10am-4pm) at Carmel Valley Community Park, hosted by the Robles Firewise Group. This residential community is one of about a dozen local groups to earn this recognition for reducing wildfire risk.

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