The Weekly Tally 12.31.20

FREE SPEECH

It’s been a wild year in a lot of ways, including for journalists in the United States. Based on data compiled by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker – a project led by Freedom of the Press Foundation and Committee to Protect Journalists – there have been at least 117 verified cases of a journalist being arrested or detained on the job in 2020, based on year-end reporting. This figure represents a massive increase of 1,200 percent over 2019 figures. Most of the arrests happened in the course of journalists covering historic Black Lives Matter protests across the country. “This report shows an unprecedented press freedom crisis engulfing the United States,” Freedom of the Press Foundation Executive Director Trevor Timm said in a statement. “Journalists should not have to worry about being arrested for doing their job, yet across the country police have disregarded their rights on a staggering scale.” No journalists in the U.S. are jailed, but CPJ reports that as of Dec. 1, 274 journalists across the globe are in jail in connection with their work. That marks a record high since tracking began.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“It’s disappointing, concerning and sad.” - Retiring County Supervisor Jane Parker reflecting on her losing vote to advance more transparency about pesticide use (see Face to Face story).

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

One of the best spots on the West Coast to watch migratory birds and birds of the open sea is on Point Pinos in Pacific Grove. The Monterey Audubon Society has been funding counts of key migratory species there since 2014, bringing in top birders and surveyors to compile scientific data. With sea-level rise prompting P.G. city officials to plan for eventual pedestrian access only to the point, the Audubon Society asked the city in 2018 to allow them to build a permanent observation platform next to the city’s stormwater recycling plant – something that can coexist with that future pedestrian-access-only plan. Members received good news on Dec. 9, when the P.G. City Council gave the go-ahead to draw up a land lease and permits for the Point Pinos Bird Observatory. Audubon society will pay for construction and assume all costs and liability.

GREAT:

Amid a worsening housing crisis in, the need for short-term shelter is urgent. A partnership between two nonprofits, Gathering for Women and Community Human Services, came together with part of the solution: a shelter for women and families on the Monterey Peninsula. Now, after six months of constructionCasa de Noche Buena is set to open in January. (An exact date is TBD, pending final building inspections.) The 10-bedroom shelter can accommodate 28-36 people depending on family size, but due to Covid-19 will start out with 15-18 residents who will stay for three months (and up to six, as needed). “There’s such a desperate need for shelter,” CHS Executive Director Robin McCrae says. “This is a big milestone for our community.” The rooms will be fully furnished, and there’s a laundry room, kitchen and multi-purpose room, and residents will be connected to supportive services.

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