WHO’S IN TOWN?
A few weeks ago, we reported in this column on the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, calling on advertisers to boycott Facebook and Instagram until the company agreed to implement stricter measures to control hate speech. Some major companies including Verizon, Eddie Bauer, REI, Eileen Fisher and Ben & Jerry’s joined in. But the boycott didn’t work. Organizers say its failure is proof that Facebook is too powerful, and Common Sense Media CEO Jim Steyer sent a letter to members of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee asking them to take up a discussion of Facebook’s dominance in the market at a hearing on July 29, after the Weekly’s deadline. Steyer’s letter recommends members ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg questions including: “Is it accurate that you have said that advertisers will be back soon? Does this mean they have no real alternative?” The much-anticipated antitrust hearing was scheduled to feature tech executives Zuckerberg as well as Tim Cook (Apple), Sundar Pichai (Google) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon). The Stop Hate For Profit campaign was originally set to run through July, but will be extended.
“They were primarily thought to be dirty ice balls, but it was more like an icy dirt ball.”
-Astronomer Bruce Weaver speaking about the contents of comets. (See story, p. 10.)
GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK
The Monterey County Free Libraries system has already reinveted itself in the pandemic, offering curbside pickup of books. Now they are retooling student support services to gear up for the start of the remote 2020-21 school year. Librarian Hillary Theyer told the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on July 28 that among the services already available to students, librarians are developing more resources. MCFL equipped its three bookmobiles to be mobile hot spots, offering to park where they’re most needed by school districts. They’re also working with teachers to create kits for teaching different subjects and are offering virtual class visits to give live library orientations and lessons. Librarians are also creating Zoom homework rooms, where homework coordinators will help students one-on-one.
The Esselen tribe is getting nearly two square miles of its ancestral lands in Big Sur back with the closing of a real estate deal that has been in the works for more than a year. Ownership of a 1,199-acre undeveloped private property, long known as Adler Ranch, is being transferred to the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, a newly founded nonprofit dedicated to preserving tribal heritage. The sale was funded primarily through a $4.5 million grant from the California Natural Resources Agency. Nonprofit Western Rivers Conservancy helped broker the deal in an effort to protect the Little Sur River, which is a near-pristine spawning stream for endangered steelhead. The Esselen Tribe plans to build a traditional village on the property, which is in view of Pico Blanco peak, or Pixchi, the sacred center of creation in tribal culture.