The Weekly Tally 09.19.19

WHO’S IN TOWN?

Women make up nearly 50 percent of all hospitality workers in Monterey County – that’s around 12,500 women at all levels, from housekeeping to management, who keep the $2.8 billion tourism industry in motion. This week the Monterey County Hospitality Association is focusing on helping women advance and excel as leaders through its 4th Annual Spotlight on Women Leadership.Donna Lindseth, the banquet manager from the Inn at Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz, will share how she achieved her leadership role, as will Teri Owens, general manager of the Embassy Suites in Seaside. Awards will be bestowed on those who serve as role models, advocates and supporters of excellence in hospitality. Kathleen Lee, district director for Congressman Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley, is the emcee.

9-11am Wed, Sept. 25. Embassy Suites Monterey Bay, 1441 Canyon Del Rey Blvd., Seaside. $25/members; $40/nonmembers. Reservations required. mcha.net.

FREE SPEECH

Pacific Grove has a reputation for being change-adverse. Maybe it’s the “America’s Last Hometown” moniker or annual Good Old Days festival that creates an air of rejecting progress. Now a beloved tradition among longtime Pagrovians, the Feast of Lanterns, created in 1905, is changing. The board of directors is seeking to revamp the “Legend of the Blue Willow” pageant that’s been closing each year’s Feast since the 1950s. The tale of a Chinese emperor who forbids his daughter to marry her true love has been criticized as cultural appropriation and racist. President Kaye Coleman announced the coming change in July at the end of this year’s Feast, pledging to make the process transparent, and now the board is delivering on that promise. All board meetings are open to the public and a survey seeking feedback is now posted on the nonprofit’s website, feast-of-lanterns.org. Coleman is planning a public meeting in early November. The board is accepting alternate pageant story ideas through Nov. 15.

GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK

GOOD:

On June 26, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District banned K-12 suspensions due to “willful defiance,” a vague catchall term. MPUSD’s board had anticipated state legislation that would enact a similar ban in public schools: On Sept. 9, Gov. Gavin Newsomsigned SB 419 into law, after iterations during former Gov. Jerry Brown’s tenure failed. The law, authored by State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, was built on the troubling correlations found between “willful defiance” as the basis for suspension and its disproportionate effect on the Latino and black students. To put this into proportion, in 2016-2017: Statewide, black students made up just 5.6 percent of the population but 15.6 percent of suspensions due to willful defiance. Salinas Union High School District also beat the state to the punch, and banned suspensions for willful defiance back in 2015. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2020.

BAD:

A compromise is when both sides give up something to reach an agreement, but in Carmel it apparently means taking away from one side. That sums up the latest in the decade-long battle over wood-burning beach fires on Carmel Beach. The Carmel City Councilvoted in June for propane-only fires during a pilot program that ends next year, then reversed in August over possible challenges from the California Coastal Commission. On Sept. 10, propane-only advocates declared propane fires were the “true compromise.” Advocates of wood-burning fires asked the council to retain at least some of the 12 fire rings allowed in the pilot program. In the end, a council majority approved five rings only, from May 15 to Sept. 15. Councilmember Carrie Theis unsuccessfully made a motion to allow eight rings through Oct. 31. She and Councilmember Jeff Baron voted “no” on the final five-fire motion.

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