A little good news got delivered by Gov. Gavin Newsom to California journalism companies on Sept. 27 as he signed Assembly Bill 1506 into law, giving the industry an additional three years to transition newspaper carriers’ employment status from independent contractors to employees. This bill continues a two-year history of carve-outs, exceptions and ballot box changes for various industries to the landmark 2019 law AB 5, the state’s gig worker bill. Focused primarily on Uber and Lyft drivers, exemptions for AB 5 have now been granted to hairdressers, real estate agents, physicians, fishermen, golf caddies, musicians, interpreters, etc. and now, to newspaper carriers. According to California News Publishers Association President and CEO Charles F. Champion II, “More than 90 percent of the state’s independently owned newspapers are small businesses. Community newspapers are the antidotes to misinformation and the watchdogs on government and big business. I believe that everyone understands now that news carriers aren’t just delivering papers. They are delivering democracy.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I will change into an artist.” - Painter Judy Gittelsohn on her afternoon projects, after teaching in her Watsonville studio, Art For Well Beings (see Face to Face article).
GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK
Seaside Raiders head football coach Daniel “Bunn” Washington has been coaching local youth football for about two dozen years, ever since his own sons were putting on pads. But unlike most fathers who coach youth sports, when his kids moved on to high school, he never stopped coaching their former team – the Raiders. And on Oct. 3, between the second and third of the Raiders’ homecoming games at Seaside High – each team in the league fields four teams of different ages – Coach Washington was called out to the center of the field, where Seaside Mayor Ian Oglesby said some words honoring Washington’s contributions to local youth, and Acting Police Chief Nick Borges gave Washington a commemorative coin. “It came as a surprise,” Washington says. “That ended up being our homecoming celebration, and it ended up being a really nice event.”
Great news for public transit comes on Oct. 11 when Monterey-Salinas Transit celebrates the completion of its new operations and maintenance facility in King City. It’s been under construction for 13 months, but the need for space to store and repair buses goes back years; up to 40 buses will operate out of this hub. “It will allow us to better serve the fast-growing South County communities and residents who are dependent on public transit in a way that allows us to be more efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says MST CEO Carl Sedoryk. The $13.5 million project is the first in the country to be completed using the rural project initiative low-interest loan program that is part of Build America Bureau’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, saving MST roughly $5 million in interest. Service is expected to begin out of the new building in December.