If you’re in a public-facing job that gives you the ability to mess with people’s freedom, do you carefully consider the consequences of your words before you send out a bombastic email? Seems not if you’re the Vallejo Police Officers Association, the union that represents the rank-and-file members of that city’s troubled police department. This week, the VPOA sent an email to San Francisco Chronicle columnist Otis Taylor Jr., who had announced he was leaving to join the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The email reads, “2021 will be a little bit beter not having your biased and uninformed articles printed in the newspaper that only inflame the public… we will warn our Georgia colleagues of your impending arrival.” Taylor’s response, printed in a Dec. 8 story: “I’m a Black man in America who happens to be a reporter. I am going to the South, where racial segregation, racial hierarchy, still thrives. You mean to tell me you’re going to tell police I’m coming? Like, you’re telling a Black man that you’re calling the police on him?” Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams said in a statement he was “deeply disturbed” by the email and has promised an investigation.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“My mother named me Dirrick Williams, not nigger.” - Dirrick Williams testifying in Monterey County Superior Court against Noah and Tricia Boewer, who were charged with assault and hate crimes from an attack in Monterey in 2018 (see story- News section).
GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK
Public health messaging is helping slow the spread of Covid-19, but it has its limits. People might know it’s unsafe, for instance, to go to work if they have been exposed to the virus. But what if you don’t have sick pay? The simplest way to keep people from spreading Covid-19 in the workplace is to offer them an incentive to stay home from work. In Monterey County, there’s a new pilot program for the month of December that will give a one-time $1,000 cash stipend to adults who test positive for Covid-19 and are not eligible for another form of income replacement. The pilot was approved on Dec. 1 by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, with $621,000 allocated for the month-long pilot program, which will be administered by United Way Monterey County. The funds come from the county’s CARES Act allocation. It’s the end of the Salinas Valley’s agricultural season, but not too late to save lives.
As Congress stalls on a new Covid relief package, great news came from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 1 when it comes to local relief: They allocated $878,643 of cannabis revenue to the Monterey County Small Business Relief Program. And on Dec. 9 (after the Weekly’s deadline), the supervisors were set to consider reallocating an additional $800,000 of CARES Act funds to the program, administered by the Workforce Development Board. In their first round of grantmaking, 151 businesses applied (and 135 qualified) for up to $10,000 grants, quickly maxing out a pool of $468,000, the first round of funding. The new funds will enable WDB to give grants to all of the qualifying applicants from round one, then start a round two in January. “This is going to help business stay open, at least through the holidays,” says WDB Executive Director Chris Donnelly. “It’s a real big thing.”