The Weekly Tally 11.28.19


Washington, D.C. has lately seen career diplomats and foreign policy experts roar back against President Donald Trump’s brazen political maneuvering in Ukraine. A year ago, another career foreign policy expert, Brett McGurk, in charge of running the U.S. campaign against ISIS, stood up to Trump. Despite McGurk warning on Dec. 11, 2018 that it would be a mistake to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, Trump declared on Dec. 19 that ISIS had been defeated and troops were coming home. McGurk resigned three days later, prompting Trump to call him a “grandstander.” McGurk is in town this week, as a lecturer from Stanford University, for a timely conversation sponsored by the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute.

6pm Tue Dec. 3. MIIS, Irvine Auditorium, 499 Pierce St., Monterey. Free; reservations recommended.


Local news coverage in the United States is in crisis. Across many communities, there are simply no reporters left to attend school board or city council meetings, no one to inform residents about changing policy or raise the alarm about corruption. This is the conclusion of a new report from PEN America, a nonprofit that promotes literacy and free expression. “Without reliable information on how tax dollars are spent, how federal policy affects local communities, and whether local elected officials are meeting constituent needs, how can citizens make informed choices about who should govern?” the report asks. The advent of the internet caused advertising revenue to plummet; digital ads bring in a fraction of what print can. What makes finding a solution that much more difficult is that most Americans don’t realize there’s a crisis. A recentPew survey found that 71 percent of Americans think their local outlets are profitable and stable. The truth is that 200 counties across the country have no newspaper at all.

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Ongoing research in K-12 education has long correlated mental health and wellness with academic success, and Salinas Union High School District has not ignored that data. After years of planning, the eighth – to 12th-grade school district with more than 15,600 students has opened two wellness centers. They celebrated with a grand opening on Nov. 21. The centers are located at Everett Alvarez High School andHarden Middle School. The centers are a place where students can seek advice and resources for all of their socio-emotional needs. “In the end, what we want is for students to feel safe, to feel comfortable in their environment, to be able to learn and really to reach their aspirations,” Assistant Superintendent Blanca Baltazar-Sabbah said in a statement. The district plans on building more wellness centers on seven more campuses, for a total of nine.


First, the good news: After more than a year of dysfunction, the U.S. Coast Guard has repaired a foghorn on the Breakwater pier in Monterey. The fixes for Light 6 were so complex they required assistance from the Coast Guard’s Command, Control and Communications Engineering Center in Virginia. On to the bad news: Since it revved back up, it’s been blaring pretty much nonstop, prompting about six neighbor complaints per day to the Monterey Harbormaster’s office, and multiple visits from a Coast Guard technical team to verify whether it’s working properly – and it is, which is bad news for sleepless neighbors. “It is sensitive on purpose,” says Aids to Navigation Officer Mickey Price. “It’s working as intended.” The device emits a laser strobe to detect fog within a mile, and if it finds something – Price notes it could be a flock of birds or smoke – it turns on for 45-75 minutes.

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