The Weekly Tally 12.29.16

FREE SPEECH

For the first time, the California Supreme Court is deliberating on whether cell phone dialogues including texts qualify as public records under theCalifornia Public Records Act – a vital tool for journalists and citizens aiming to see government communications. San Jose environmental activist Ted Smith sued the city of San Jose when officials declined to turn over texts in response to a PRA request, and a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled in his favor. The city appealed and won, and Smith appealed to the Supreme Court. Attorneys made arguments at the Supreme Court Dec. 7, including Karl Olson, representing the California Newspaper Publishers Association, to which the Weekly belongs. “There’s no question that if you send an email on cityofsanjose.org that it’s subject to disclosure,” Olson says. “The city’s trying to draw this bright line. We just think that’s wrong.” A decision comes by March 7.

WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?

A reader asks about a recent speed limit change from 35 to 45mph on a section of General Jim Moore Boulevard between Coe Avenue and Hilby Avenue in Seaside. Phone calls to the Transportation Authority for Monterey County and the City of Seaside Public Works reveal speed limit changes in the area typically arise from surveys. The average speed of cars that pass through the area is calculated, then the speed limit is adjusted to reflect that.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I’m not trying to be ‘avant garde.’ I’m just trying to make the music which I like. ”
See story, “Brave New World”

GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK

GOOD:

It’s a great week for… bingo lovers. (Try to say it without smiling: “BINGO!”) With The Monterey Bay Race Place off-track horse betting venue closing, a big building at Monterey County Fair and Event Center has a new occupant. Bingo is the new game in play, with Pacific Bingo opening in early February. Meanwhile, the Race Place reopened in the smaller, classier and brassier Turf Club across the lawns Dec. 26. That means it was open in time for the annual opening day at Santa Anita Park, one of The Race Place’s biggest events of the season.

BAD:

It’s a bad week for patients in Marina and the surrounding area who depend on the Monterey Bay Urgent Care on 2nd Avenue. That office is closing Jan. 1 to consolidate services, according to Cherie Howard, director of Monterey Bay Urgent Care Medical Center, Inc. They will be adding a physician to staff at their other clinic, located at 245 Washington St. at the foot of Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey to reduce wait times. Calling itself “the urgent care clinic for the Monterey Peninsula,” the company was founded in 1998 by a group of local physicians with the goal of providing cost-effective urgent care and occupational health services.

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