The Weekly Tally 10.31.19

WHO’S IN TOWN?

Totally Trauma is coming to town this week – and that’s a good thing. More than 300 healthcare professionals who specialize in trauma care will bone up on how to improve treatment of patients in critical condition. The annual conference is hosted by the Bay Area Trauma Education Consortium, founded in 1986. Attendees may receive continuing education units on topics such as treating pain and addiction in trauma victims, evaluating possible cases of child abuse, organ donation and spinal cord injuries. One guest speaker, retired coroner investigator Claudine Ratcliffe from the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Department, has an inventive title for her talk, “Clue: Claudine the Coroner in the Morgue with a Knife.”

Mon-Tues Nov. 4-5. Monterey Marriott, 350 Calle Principal, Monterey. $375/standard registration; $400/day of conference; $150/guest registration. tecba.org.

FREE SPEECH

Mess with freelance writers, and they’ll write about you—or at least tweet about you. California’s AB 5, authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, redefines who counts as an outside contractor versus an employee. The law, widely described as an effort to broaden protections for workers in the gig economy, specifically Uber and Lyft drivers, includes a long list of exceptions like grant writers, graphic designers and travel agents. Not journalists, however, which means that freelancers who write more than 35 pieces per year become employees. In practice, it will mean outlets shrink the number of stories they publish by any given freelance writer. A coalition of freelancers advocated to Gonzalez to lift the cap to 52 stories per year, but say she declined. (They did negotiate a boost from 25 to 35 as the maximum.) Writer Yashar Ali started something of a Twitter firestorm on Oct. 19 when he tweeted a link to a Hollywood Reporter story about collective freelancer freakout over the new law, and wrote: “California Assemblywoman @LorenaSGonzalez has launched a direct attack on press freedoms with her bill.” 

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GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK

GOOD:

Before 2016, King City had some serious problems with gang violence and young people getting caught in its crosshairs. In response, the small city – population 14,000 – mobilized. A 23-member committee developed and implemented a plan, dubbed the Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence. Three years later, violent crime is down, and they’ve caught the attention of the League of California Cities. On Oct. 16, the League announced King City would receive the 2019 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence, a recognition for cities that make “unique contributions to community residents and businesses, contributions which have resulted in lower costs or more effective delivery of services.” King City’s plan consisted of 24 measures focused on prevention, intervention, enforcement, re-entry and public outreach. Mayor Mike LeBarre presented the award on Oct. 22 at a City Council meeting.

BAD:

Americans like to think anyone can make it through hard work, but the deck is stacked against those at the bottom. The Oakland-based Insight Center for Community Economic Development released a study Oct. 9 showing that to be disproportionately true for Latinos. The study, “Latinx Families in the Golden State: When Working Hard Isn’t Enough” shows 52 percent of Latino families with two or more workers can’t earn enough to pay their bills. When Latinos work in higher-paying jobs they still make less – white workers are paid an average of 27-percent more than Latinos in the same positions. In Monterey County, 62 percent of Latino workers are struggling to make ends meet, three times higher than white workers. The median household income for Latinos here is $54,530, $40,000 less than white households. (Monterey County’s median income overall is $72,400.)

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