WHO’S IN TOWN?
he U.S. Army’s fleet of tactical wheeled vehicles – in civilian terms, trucks – was estimated at $70 billion in 2010, according to a long-range planning report released that year. What were once simple trucks decades ago are now complex vehicles, from light-duty trucks to heavy duty Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs – you can find one in Del Rey Oaks). The Army hoped to figure out how make its vehicles more affordable – trucks could cost up to $900,000. This week, the National Defense Industrial Association is in town for its annual Tactical Wheeled Vehicles Conference, where all branches of the military, government officials and industry representatives converge.
Sun-Tue Feb. 3-5. Portola Hotel and Spa, 2 Portola Plaza, Monterey. $715-$1,450. nda.org/events.
It’s been a particularly brutal week for layoffs in an industry already plagued by shrinking newsrooms. BuzzFeed News cut 43 of 300 editorial staffers. That includes gutting the national news, national security and health desks. (Companywide, BuzzFeed laid off about 220 employees, or 15 percent of the staff.) Meanwhile, another web news behemoth, Verizon Media – which owns HuffPost and Yahoo, among other outlets – laid off 750 employees, or 7 percent of its staff, including HuffPost’s opinion and health sections. According to a report on HuffPost.com, Editor in Chief Lydia Polgreen laid blame on Google and Facebook: “These giant platforms, they broke our industry. This is an existential challenge for every single publisher.” The print world also took a hit with a round of layoffs by Gannett – the parent company of The Californian – in dozens of newsrooms across the country. Among the casualties is Arizona Republiccartoonist Steve Benson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for cartooning and was a finalist four other times.
GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK
Not long ago, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District totaled up campus infrastructure and renovation needs and the estimates were grim. Almost $600 million were needed for everything from new HVAC systems and power outlets to ditching portables and renovating cafeterias. Luckily for MPUSD, voters approved Measure P in 2010 ($110 million) and Measure I in 2018 ($213 million). And now the district is making good on its promise to update outdated facilities. Progress continued on Jan. 15, when the MPUSD board voted unanimously to accept a $2.35 million bid from DRP Builders, Inc. to modernize Seaside High School’s media center and library. This has been a long-awaited project as schools adopt the New Tech Network, a curriculum and teaching style based on collaborative project-based learning and one-to-one technology.
It’s a bad week for those who’ve long been accustomed to walking into county parks and getting a free ride: Effective since Jan. 10, walk-ins to five county parks – Toro, Manzanita, Jacks Peak, Royal Oaks and San Lorenzo – have to pay $2 per person and $2 per dog. (It’s the same price for drivers and each passenger of vehicles.) The change comes after the Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Dec. 11, 2018, to update the fee schedule for parks to “more closely reflect, while still not exceeding, the actual and reasonable costs of services and benefits provided to the public.” Monterey County spokesperson Maia Carroll says that as a result of the change, “a lot of people are now are inquiring about the one-park passes we’re offering,” adding some people at Toro Park walk daily. An annual pass to all parks except Lake Nacimiento is $100, and one-park passes are $60.