The Weekly Tally 09.23.21

FREE SPEECH

Disinformation and misinformation have been rampant since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately these catastrophic cousins have not undermined Monterey County’s ability to reach an 80-percent vaccination rate, which led to a downward trend in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. But that’s not true in other parts of the country under assault by the delta variant. The spread of false information, on purpose or otherwise, prompted the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to issue an advisory on July 15, calling false information an “urgent threat” putting lives at risk. County Supervisor Luis Alejo cited Murthy’s advisory in a ceremonial resolution he brought to the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 14, declaring “Covid-19 Health Misinformation a Public Health Crisis” in the county. The supervisors approved the resolution unanimously. It requests county staff implement strategies suggested by Murthy to combat false information and report back to the board within 90 days of implementation. It also suggests calling out misinformation in a timely fashion, among other remedies.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I’m learning that everybody is nice. I think about that a lot.” -Bagpiper Greg Freeman, who performs regularly as a hobby at Carmel Beach, on his interactions with listeners and passersby (Face to Face story).

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

Good news for transparency in recycling: It’s already illegal to put the triangular chasing arrows symbol on nonrecyclable products but according to SB 343, it will be illegal to advertise a material as recyclable if it is not able to be recycled by waste management facilities serving at least 60 percent of the state’s population. Manufacturers will have until 18 months after CalRecycle publishes a report Jan. 1, 2024 that examines which materials qualify. In Monterey County, plastics 1 (single-use water bottles), 2 (laundry detergent bottles) and 5 (yogurt containers) are recyclable. Although they are marked with the arrow symbol, plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7 are disposed of in the landfillSB 343 recognizes that recycling only works if there is a market for the used material. Some reports estimate that plastics 1 and 2 will be the only plastics that meet the bill’s criteria. SB 343 now awaits the governor’s signature.

GREAT:

There’s no better place for a high school cross country course than at a public park, and on Sept. 1, the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District board voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the nonprofit Big Sur Marathon Foundation to add Palo Corona Regional Park to the local cross country course portfolio. The proposed alignment would offer both 1K and 2K loops on the eastern side of the park, and the Big Sur Marathon Foundation will be responsible for constructing the course when racing meets are planned. Notably, the park district won’t be making any kind of profit from the agreement, which MPRPD board member Kelly Sorenson applauds. “Some partners you look to for revenue, some partners you look to for mission,” he says. “The Big Sur Marathon has gone through quite a bit of hardship because of Covid, and this was a way we could help them out.”

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