The Weekly Tally 09.09.21

FREE SPEECH

California’s so-called gig economy is just as diverse as its broader economy. Assembly Bill 5, which passed in 2019, sought to make gig workers (think Uber and Lyft drivers) into employees. There were major implications for newspaper freelancers – including newspaper delivery workers. Various wrinkles of AB 5 have been worked out in the years since, and the latest newsmedia-related update is contained in Assembly Bill 1506, which gives newspaper publishers a three-year exemption before converting newspaper carriers from independent contractors into full-time employees. AB 1506, authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, includes a long list of exceptions to the 2019 law: surgeons, dentists, psychologists, veterinarians and podiatrists, in addition to newspaper carriers. The bill has passed in the Assembly, and awaits a floor vote in the State Senate as of the Weekly’s deadline; all bills have until Friday Sept. 10 to pass (or die) in this legislative session.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“The receptors in your beautiful endocannabinoid system are flooded.” – Jennifer Hewlett, a registered nurse at Synchronicity Holistic, advising a customer/patient on his cannabis intake (see Chill article).

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD

It’s a good week for locals who are tired of seeing decaying Fort Ord buildings stand in the way of new development. On Sept. 2, the Seaside City Council approved an agreement with engineering consulting firm Harris & Associates to develop a plan and prepare bid documents for removing old buildings and remediating hazardous waste in former Former Ord land, now owned by the city, located east of Gen. Jim Moore Boulevard. The plan is to clear the land so it’s environmentally suitable for development. Notably, that land includes eight barrack buildings known as “hammerheads,” which are notoriously expensive to demolish. Those buildings stand in the way of phase two of the city’s already-approved 122-acre Campus Town project, slated to break ground in 2022. Phase two of the project, where the hammerheads are located, could break ground as early as 2023.

GREAT:

All too often, mental health services are hard to find or impossible to afford. Enter nonprofit Community Human Services, which through a new program, is offering free mental health counseling to Monterey County residents who are uninsured or who are eligible for Medi-Cal, lowering the barriers to mental health care. “It is widely recognized that Covid-19 has negatively impacted stability for many people while creating new barriers for those who are already struggling with mental health and substance use issues,” CHS Senior Program Officer Kathleen Hittner-McConahy said in a statement. “As the pandemic continues to impact our community, it is increasingly important that access to mental health and substance use treatment is accessible.” Appointments are in English or Spanish, via telehealth or in-person in Salinas, Seaside or Gonzales. To schedule an appointment, call 757-7915.

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