The Weekly Tally 07.23.20

FREE SPEECH

At the Los Angeles Times, 19 Black reporters comprising The Black Caucus of the L.A. Times News Guild dispatched a letter to owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, demanding he commit to hiring Black journalists on a level that better reflects the percentage of Black residents in the community. They also asked for an apology for how the Times has maligned the Black community through its coverage over the years, for a correction to pay disparity and a number of other measures aimed at increasing equity and equality for the paper’s Black journalists. On July 21, the newly formed Latino Caucus of the guild followed suit, sending Soon-Shiong a list of demands, asking for an apology and for a correction in pay disparity and other wrongs, including relying on Spanish-speaking journalists as translators without providing them a byline or additional pay for that work. “For much of its history,” the letter states, “the Los Angeles Times has covered the Latino community in dehumanizing ways, painting us as criminals or victims or simply ignoring us.” The time for that to end is now.

OVERHEARD

“It’s important to understand the situation is not getting better.”
-Gary Gray, CEO of Natividad, speaking to the hospital board of trustees on July 10.

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

The U.S. Congress is poised to pass a historic conservation and outdoor recreation bill, authorizing more than $10 billion to support public lands. Known as the Great American Outdoors Act, the bill was approved by a 73-25 vote in the Senate on June 17 and is next heading to the House of Representatives, where a large bipartisan coalition is expected to vote in favor. President Donald Trump has said he would sign the bill. Of the total pot, $900 million would go to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and $9.5 billion would go to fund decades of deferred maintenance of trails and recreation sites, mostly at the National Parks but with $1.43 billion, or 15 percent, going to the U.S. Forest Service. Big Sur, much of which is located in the Monterey Ranger District of USFS’ Los Padres National Forest, would likely benefit from the funding although it’s too early to say exactly how.

GREAT:

Great news for international students who rely on student visas to attend classes in Monterey County: The Trump Administration backed down about a week after announcing plans on July 6 to bounce international students from the U.S. who will attend online classes this fall. Harvard University and MIT immediately filed suit, along with 17 states, including California. The Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey filed a friend-of-the-court brief, along with 180 other colleges and universities. They argued the rules would be disruptive to students and undermine their education. On July 14 it was a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, MIIS’ parent university, U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs, who oversaw the legal proceedings during which lawyers in the case announced they reached an agreement that means the administration will rescind its original order.

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