The Weekly Tally 06.20.19

WHO’S IN TOWN?

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an unmanned aerial vehicle better known as a drone! Drones are not at all like Superman, but there are people who see them as pretty super, capable of leaping tall economic, scientific and security issues in a single bound. Two years ago a consortium of public and private interests created an initiative called Monterey Bay Drone, Automation & Robotics Technology, or DART, with the belief that the region is perfectly positioned to be an innovative industry hub. At the DART Symposium, speakers from numerous universities – including the Naval Postgraduate School, CSU Monterey Bay and UC Santa Cruz – join reps from private companies including the agricultural, environmental and security sectors.

8:30am-6pm, Fri June 21. Hyatt Regency Monterey, 1 Old Golf Course Road, Monterey. $100/regular admission; $50/students. montereybaydart.org.

FREE SPEECH

Does our media accurately represent the communities we cover? Newly released data from the Pew Research Center suggests we can do better. Pew’s survey of 34,897 U.S. adults found that only about 21 percent of them have ever spoken with a local journalist. Beyond that, characteristics about those people reveal bias that is likely to come across in the media those journalists are producing: 23 percent of white people have spoken to a journalist, compared to 19 percent of black people and 14 percent of Latinos. Pew also asked respondents about their income level, and found that 26 percent of people who earn $75,000 or more had spoken to a reporter, as opposed to 20 percent of people who earn between $30,000 and $75,000, and just 17 percent who earn less than $30,000. They found no differences regarding gender, party affiliation or geographic region. The takeaways: It’s more likely for whiter, wealthier and older Americans to be interviewed by reporters.

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GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK

GOOD:

What would Fourth of July celebrations be without a fireworks display? Fortunately, we won’t have to find out. The city of Seaside had to cancel its scheduled fireworks event at City Hall and Laguna Grande Park after Monterey residents petitioned the California Coastal Commission to block the plan. But at a special meeting on June 11, City Council secured another venue: Bayonet and Black Horse. The golf courses’ managing director Dick Fitzgeraldwas at the meeting to finalize a deal for Seaside Resort. He must have been pretty happy with the result because he not only offered the greens free of charge, he also got his real estate partners to contribute $10,000 toward the July 4 event. The fun will run from 4:30pm until 10pm and feature (in addition to fireworks) bouncy houses, carnival rides, rock walls, air jumpers, face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides and food vendors.

BAD:

A gauntlet of pending bills could increase regulation around charter schools. One of them, AB1507, could rescind an exemption allowing charter schools to operate facilities outside of their authorizing districts. That hits home for Big Sur Charter School, authorized by Big Sur Unified School District butlocated on Foam Street in Monterey. If the law passes, they’ll be technically under the jurisdiction of Monterey Peninsula Unified School District. Bracing for the worst, administrators sent a new charter petition to MPUSD, under the name Coastal Community Charter (per current law, they’d have to technically set up a “new” school). That petition was heard at a June 11 board meeting. MPUSD has 60 days to take action. If plan A fails, Big Sur Charter School plans on petitioning the Monterey County Office of Education, which just revoked a charter for Millennium Charter High School.

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