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Common sense dictates that the Partisan take a couple weeks off around this time of year in order to avoid becoming trapped in a loop of parochial politics, water and who owns it, income disparity along the Highway 68 corridor and the antics of Howard Gustafson, Paul Bruno, Brandon Gesicki and the Salinas City Council. Even a blog must occasionally clear its head.

But that does not let you, the Partisan readers, off the hook. In fact, it creates extra pressure for you to contribute to this enterprise, which is intended to be a collective endeavor. We here at Partisan central tend to measure the success or failure of individual posts by the number of commenters who chose to weigh in, and we readily admit that the community comments are much more interesting and enlightening than anything we have to say.

So what do you say? What’s on your mind? Many of you place little thought nuggets elsewhere, such as on Facebook. Here’s your chance to expound at considerable or even ridiculous length. I’m talking about you, Larry Parrish, Beverly Bean, Roberto Robledo, Karl Pallastrini, Roger Dahl. I’m talking about you, Eric Peterson, Craig Malin, Joy Colangelo, Amy White. Helga Fellay and David Fairhurst, you’re excused from this exercise. You, too, could use a break.

Here’s what the Partisan’s chief cook and bottle washer looks like when he is not poring over the latest grand jury report

To get the party started, a few prompts:

  • Has the initial flurry of anti-Trump activism locally just become quiet or has it died. Can it be revived? Would it do any good?
  • Where is the best pizza in Monterey County?
  • If you live on the Peninsula, what do you think of Salinas? If you are a racist, you’re disqualified from this one.
  • If you live in the Salinas Valley, what do you think of the Peninsula?
  • What can we do to house the homeless?

If you could force local government to fix one thing, what would it be?

OK, by now, you’ve got some ideas of your own. Feel encouraged to share,

Many of you will have ideas of your own. Please feel encouraged to share.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Helga Fellay July 3, 2017, 8:28 am

    Thank you, Royal, for excusing me. I take it as an honor. After all, in keeping with the rest of the MSM, why would any sane person want to discuss the very real dangers of World War III, when it’s so much more fun discussing more important topics like “Where is the best pizza in Monterey County?”

    • Royal Calkins July 3, 2017, 9:41 am

      You’re welcome, Helga.

  • Luke Coletti July 3, 2017, 8:44 am

    Go spend a week or two in a “nice” short-term rental. 😁

  • Mari Lynch July 3, 2017, 1:20 pm

    Hi, Royal. Thank you for your dedicated work, and enjoy your break. Regarding your question, “If you live on the Peninsula, what do you think of Salinas,” here’s my reply. Included are many links to help others become better acquainted with our Monterey County seat.

    I’ve lived on the Monterey Peninsula since 1981, in an unincorporated rural part of the county. With rare exceptions, I seldom spent much time in Salinas until this past decade. Why? I was born on a farm, never lived in a town with a population above 1,700 until I went off to college, and generally avoid cities. I prefer quiet places. As you know, Salinas is Monterey County’s largest city, home to 156,677 of Monterey County’s 431,344 residents (2014 census figures).

    In the past decade, I became such a champion of Salinas that many people assumed I live there. What changed? My volunteer work since 2009 (www.bikemonterey.org website and other https://bit.ly/BikeMRYProjects) tugged me to Salinas and made me aware of what I’d been missing. I still tend to avoid the traffic and busyness of the North Salinas shopping districts, preferring instead to spend time in https://bit.ly/TheAlisal, Oldtown, and South Salinas. I love to https://bit.ly/bikesalinas, and I appreciate its many flat, wide streets, often in low traffic areas. For example, biking to https://bit.ly/TeachTeensWell, I’d make use of the Pajaro bike lanes as part of my route from South Salinas, then bike Alisal Street to Sanborn to Circle Drive.

    As I said in my audio essay https://bit.ly/NovelsToStreets, “For people seeking the full array of cultures and landscapes, Monterey County roads don’t all lead to Peninsula cities and Big Sur.” For people who haven’t spent time in Salinas, there’s probably no better intro than a Ciclovía Salinas date, as I suggested in a guest post for Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau about the launch of Ciclovía Salinas, Monterey County’s first Open Streets: https://www.seemonterey.com/blog/post/guest-blog-ciclova-salinas-monterey-countys-open-streets-october-6-2013/#sm.0001om5p348e2d2cv90279m7y0cqs Tentative date for 2017 is October 15th; contact Ciclovía Salinas—a youth-led initiative—for updates: https://bit.ly/CicloviaSalinas

    For more about Salinas and why I’ve come to appreciate it, type “Salinas” in the search window at http://www.bikemonterey.org. You’ll find dozens of posts, from “Vacation or Staycation: 16 sweet spots in the Monterey County seat” to “Salinas Youth Lead the Way in Monterey County Bike Community Firsts” and much more.

    Thank you for your question, and this opportunity to share my affection for Salinas.

  • Dan Turner July 3, 2017, 4:41 pm

    Hey! What am I, chopped liver!?! Not only don’t I get invited, I don’t even get 86’d!

    • gin July 3, 2017, 5:08 pm

      OK, I admit it, I’m a big fan of etymology thus your comment made me wonder about the origin of being 86’d:

    • Royal Calkind July 3, 2017, 6:14 pm

      You’ve never needed an invitation, Dan.

      • Dan Turner July 3, 2017, 6:45 pm

        Well, of course not but, still, I mean, just sayin’…

  • Karl Pallastrini July 3, 2017, 7:30 pm

    After a 30 plus year career in high wealth Public School Districts, it is time for me to write about the inherent inequities that fly in the face of an equal educational opportunity for all of our children in the state of California. Public Education is one of the last tenants of democracy, effective or not… guaranteeing a free education K-12. The quality of that education, unfortunately, is governed by property taxes (Zip Codes), parent education and economic status (Zip Codes), and the impact of Local Control. It won’t be pretty…..

  • david fairhurst July 3, 2017, 8:33 pm

    Have fun, recharge, relax and enjoy. I know you have earned it just for putting up with me alone.
    Hey….I wonder if I should write some letters to the Herald to help me cope with my withdrawal pain from the Partisan…I think I’ll write to them about Nazism and it’s relationship to Toasters (they will publish anything after all)….Sadly the Herald is a lite beer compared to the Partisan’s Imperial Stout.

  • Louis MacFarland July 3, 2017, 9:16 pm

    The Hero with Sam Elliot is playing at the Osio, you might want to catch it during your time off.

    Though not the story of an aging newshound, I think you will enjoy it, there is even a splash of poetry in it.

  • Jane Haines July 4, 2017, 8:12 am

    What we can do to house the homeless is build a community of tiny homes at Ft. Old. (see https://insofast.com/explore/going-small-the-tiny-house-movement/?gclid=Cj0KEQjw-ezKBRCGwqyK0rHzmvkBEiQAu-_-LLSFWjAaPWQHRRkqjG7mYy-dq4AHQXJB93HOUmhsdgsaArpJ8P8HAQ). Post-Katrina gunshot tiny houses, cheaper than the $75,000 FEMA trailers, never caught on because neighbors and elected officials objected, wanting to keep neighborhoods the way they were. Also, tiny homes require parks and plentiful outdoor opportunities to succeed. Ft. Old would be ideal because it has plenty of open space not near other development. See https://insofast.com/explore/going-small-the-tiny-house-movement/

  • Phillip Crawford July 4, 2017, 12:28 pm

    Royal asked: Has the initial flurry of anti-Trump activism locally just become quiet or has it died. My answer is: It was killed.
    In November, December and January, I attended or organized dozens of meetings, events and demonstrations in response to the election of the bigoted billionaire. The demonstrations that took place in those months were certainly the biggest I have seen in the past decade. They were attended by a diverse group of hundreds – and in some cases, thousands – of people, many of whom had never attended a political protest.
    The February 4 rally against Trump’s travel ban was described by one longtime local activist as “probably the most inclusive, congenial, best-received and enjoyable demonstration” she’d ever attended on the peninsula.
    The January 20 People’s Rally for Unity and Equality was endorsed by over 30 local organizations many of which had never collaborated before. No political event I’ve attended in Monterey County garnered that kind of widespread support.
    The endorsers included:

    ACLU of Northern California – Monterey County Chapter
    Black Lives Matter – Seaside
    California Faculty Association – California State University Monterey Bay
    Civil Rights Coalition for Jail Reform – Monterey County
    Communities for Sustainable Monterey County
    Democratic Club of the Monterey Peninsula
    Democratic Women of Monterey County
    Families of Color – Monterey County
    Green Party of Monterey County
    Humanist Association of the Monterey Bay Area
    Indivisible Monterey County
    Monterey Bay Central Labor Council
    Monterey Bay Partisan
    Monterey County Democratic Central Committee
    Monterey County Nonviolent Action Committee
    Monterey County Rape Crisis Center
    Monterey Peace and Justice Center
    Monterey Peninsula Friends Meeting (Quakers)
    National Coalition Building Institute – Monterey County Chapter
    Occupy Monterey Peninsula
    Progressive Democrats of America – Monterey Area Chapter
    Protect Monterey County – Yes on Z
    Rainbow Speakers
    Save Our Peninsula Committee
    Sierra Club Ventana Chapter
    Sustainable Seaside
    Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula – Social Justice Committee
    Unite Here – Local 483
    Unity of Monterey Bay
    Veterans for Peace – Chapter 46
    Wave Street Studios
    Whites for Racial Equity
    Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Monterey County Branch
    Timothy Barrett – Monterey City Council
    Alan Haffa – Monterey City Council
    Senator Bill Monning – Senate Majority Leader

    The program for the rally included the most diverse, inclusive and representative array of speakers of any event in the past decade.
    Here are videos of the speeches from that rally:

    Supervisor Mary Adams https://youtu.be/rx8GFk1nIcM

    Hector Azpilcueta (Local 483) https://youtu.be/cKf-AjEjj14

    Steven Goings (National Coalition Building Institute) https://youtu.be/eNWDhifBQO8

    Nashwan Hamza (Muslim interfaith activist) https://youtu.be/CF9C8o1tdkQ

    Andy Hsia- Coron (Measure Z) https://youtu.be/I4cvLcY3034

    Regina Mason (NAACP) https://youtu.be/oTFQi_jEjak

    State Senator Bill Monning https://youtu.be/D_G7OfQOsDc

    Supervisor Jane Parker… https://youtu.be/yblK8vWEPfs

    Alisha Ragland (Monterey County Nonviolent Action Committee) https://youtu.be/XZK9lzMwAUY

    Lupe Rodriguez (Planned Parenthood) https://youtu.be/HquXDRTIQ8c

    Michelle Welsh (ACLU) https://youtu.be/8iyNNpW3R8k

    The theme of the event that day was UNITY and the need for the diverse organizations and constituencies in this community to work together to form a united front in response to the misogynist, racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic policies of the incoming administration.

    We have a considerable amount of empirical data from this country and from around the world telling us what is required to bring about significant social change.

    As Noam Chomsky has said, “The only thing that’s going to ever bring about any meaningful change is ongoing, dedicated, popular movements that don’t pay attention to the election cycle.”

    Historian Howard Zinn wrote: “The really critical thing isn’t who’s sitting in the White House, but who is sitting in—in the streets, in the cafeterias, in the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is occupying offices and demonstrating—those are the things that determine what happens.”

    No significant social reform has ever happened in this country without massive militant struggle, sometimes in the face of violent opposition from the privileged few and their agents.

    Erika Chenoweth has researched nonviolent resistance movements around the world and has been able to calculate the number of people required to bring about significant social change. According to Chenoweth, if 3.5% of a population engages in sustained nonviolent resistance, they achieve their goals.

    In Monterey County, that would require regularly mobilizing 15,000 or more people to engage in nonviolent resistance to the Trump regime. That level of mobilization is only possible if we succeed if the diverse groups of people in this community commit to working together. In particular, it is vitally necessary that the English speakers in this community work closely with 40%+ of the population who speak Spanish at home.

    In November, December and January, we were making real progress towards building the broad, diverse, representative and unified informal coalitions necessary to forge an effective and organized resistance to Trump’s vile and reactionary agenda.

    But, by the end of January, the resistance movement had already begun to unravel and collapse. If anything, the progressive activist movement in this community is now more fragmented and ineffective than it was before the November election.

    The demise of this promising movement can be attributed to several factors. But I will focus on the three I think are the most significant.

    1) Ego. Unfortunately, some of the progressive organizations in this community are led by people whose fragile egos lead them to prioritize guarding their turf over coalition building. They would rather be big wheels in small ineffective organizations than share power with others in a large effective coalition.

    2. Founder’s syndrome. The “peace and justice” movement in Monterey County is dominated by a sclerotic Old Guard. The largely self-appointed leadership of this movement is overwhelming white, monolingual (English speaking) and retired, in a county where non-Hispanic whites make up less than one-third of the population and where half the population is under 35. Many members of this ossified Old Guard have known each other for decades are distrustful of newcomers. They have shown themselves to be incapable of addressing internal disputes over strategy and tactics without engaging in character assassination and gossip and incapable of broadening their circle to include younger people and people of color. They tend to make decisions using a vaguely defined and unwieldly process of informal consensus. This process is not only undemocratic and inefficient, but it also allows those people with the most longevity in the organizations and the most free time to control most of the decision, while alienating new people and people whose jobs and lives prevent them from engaging in endless discussions of minutia or in petty intrigues and bickering.

    3. Indivisible. More than any other single factor, the Indivisible “movement” is responsible for the unraveling of the once promising local resistance movement. Indivisible was heavily promoted by Rachel Maddow and Robert Reich and, by the end of January, there were at least a dozen Indivisible groups operating in this county. The leaders of Indivisible claimed that it is a non-partisan movement designed to hold our elected officials accountable to a progressive agenda. This claim is a lie, plain and simple. Indivisible walks and talks like an Astroturf organization designed by the Democratic National Committee with the purpose of co-opting the popular resistance to Trump and channeling it into support for the Democratic Party and its agenda.

    Groups associated with the Democratic Party played an important part in the informal coalition that organized many of the demonstrations in the first months after the election. But the movement was envisioned as being much broader than the Democratic Party, and included Greens, socialists, independents, anarchists and probably even a few moderate Republicans.

    Apparently, some of the leading local Democratic Party activists weren’t satisfied with this arrangement, so they set about creating Indivisible groups which they could control and which would promote the DNC agenda, at the expense of building a unified movement. Rather than using Indivisible to build a broad movement, they used the movement to build Indivisible and the Democratic Party. The movement became a recruiting pool for Indivisible and the Democrats. Because of the financial resources available to Indivisible and the enormous amount of free publicity it received from MSNBC and other Democratic leaning organizations, Indivisible was able to suck much of the oxygen out of the room.

    The Indivisible Guide, the handbook of the Indivisible groups, focused entirely on lobbying our representatives in the Senate and the House of Representatives, allegedly to hold them accountable to a progressive agenda. In reality, Indivisible amounted to little more than a cheerleading squad for the Democrats.

    For example, Jimmy Panetta’s first vote as our new Representative in Congress was a vote to condemn the United Nations Security Council for its opposition to Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. Panetta’s vote placed him in opposition to the stated policy of the Obama administration and in line with Trump’s position. It also placed Panetta in opposition to international law and human rights organizations like Amnesty International. There was nothing remotely progressive about Panetta’s vote. When I asked Indivisible members if there were any plans to hold Panetta accountable for this vote, several of them rebuked me harshly. In fact, whenever I asked questions about the effectiveness of Indivisible’s strategy or tactics, I was met with accusations of being hostile and divisive.

    As one of the key local activists in the first few months after the election, I welcomed the involvement of local Democrats. In fact, I invited some of them to join the steering committee of the January 20 People’s Rally for Unity and Equality, despite my substantial political differences with the Democratic Party. I thought that their presence strengthened and broadened the nascent movement. I even went so far as to promote the work of Indivisible, in the name of movement unity, despite my considerable misgivings about the group’s strategy.

    Looking back, I realize that I was naïve. I simply did not anticipate the destructive impact the Democrats and their front group Indivisible would have. I underestimated the ability of Indivisible to derail a growing and dynamic progressive movement. And I underestimated the arrogance, egotism, intellectual dishonesty, ideologically driven moral blindness, and utter lack of principle some of the leading local Democratic Party activists were capable of displaying.

    The impact of Indivisible on local progressive organizing was like a bomb going off. Within three months of the first large Indivisible meeting in Seaside, the informal coalition that had begun forming in November had disappeared. The “movement” now consists of dozens of small groups pursuing their own agendas with little communication or coordination between them. As far as I can tell, most of the Indivisible groups have disappeared or are marginally functional. Hundreds of people who attended demonstrations in November, December and January have stopped participating in local activism. No doubt, many of them grew disillusioned and frustrated with the fractured state of the movement. A historic opportunity to bring people in this community together into an effective, organized and unified nonviolent resistance movement has been squandered.

    Given the relatively small size of this county and the disarray and ineffectiveness of the progressive activist community, the opportunity still exists for a small group of dedicated individuals to restart the movement. If there were even three committed, thick-skinned and politically astute people in this community who had the time and the intellectual acumen and emotional fortitude to do what is necessary, they could begin again the process of establishing an effective local nonviolent resistance movement. But they would need to be aware of the obstacles that will placed in their path by the Old Guard of the peace and justice movement and by the local Democratic Party activists and their front group Indivisible.

    • Doc Jones July 5, 2017, 12:36 pm

      Nicely done, Great info and resources.

    • PT Caffey July 5, 2017, 4:30 pm

      “But the movement was envisioned as being much broader than the Democratic Party, and included Greens, socialists, independents, anarchists and probably even a few moderate Republicans.”

      So, in sum, you’ve demonstrated that:

      1. People have flaws.
      2. Groups within coalitions seek to maximize their own goals.
      3. In-fighting overtakes cooperation in the absence of a common objective.

      Or was there an expressed shared objective? I missed that part.

      • Phillip Crawford July 5, 2017, 8:04 pm

        Was that comment meant to be constructive? Because I missed that part.

        • PT Caffey July 5, 2017, 10:24 pm

          My comment was meant to be 94% constructive. I’m sorry about the other part. But my broader point is sincere. It’s naïve to expect a nonviolent resistance movement–consisting of Democrats, Greens, socialists, independents, anarchists and a few moderate Republicans–to cohere and endure in the absence of a clearly articulated, shared objective. The Civil Rights Movement had this–with its relentless focus, in the courts and on the streets, upon desegregation and voting rights. Yet even that historical movement found itself fracturing after some initial legislative success (under LBJ) and the assassination of Dr. King.

          In the case at hand, did the nominal partners ever reach agreement on a shared objective? From what you say, it’s clear that it wasn’t holding Congressman Panetta accountable regarding Israeli settlements. So what was it? Any useful post mortem should begin, in my view, here, with the controlling idea behind the movement. What would a vision uniting Greens, independents, socialists, anarchists, Democrats and Republicans encompass?

          If you can’t articulate it–and you haven’t–there was never an enduring movement to begin with.

          • Phillip Crawford July 6, 2017, 11:37 am

            Here is the statement that was endorsed by the 30+ organizations.

            “Join us in rejecting Trump’s blatant misogyny, racism, religious bigotry and xenophobia. Help make our community a safe place for immigrants, LGBTQ people, Muslims, people of color, women and anyone else whose human rights and human dignity are threatened by the Trump regime. Stand with us to protect women’s right to full reproductive health care, workers’ right to receive fair wages and to organize unions, and our children’s right to a livable world without catastrophic climate change. We are Black, Latinx, Native, Arab and white, women, trans and men, young and old, queer and straight, documented and undocumented, people with disabilities, in a union and not unionized, and members of every faith and belief. We are one community and we won’t be divided.”

            I wrote the statement, based on my discussions with dozens of activists from different groups in the community. It is, admittedly, somewhat vague. On the seven person steering committee that organized the January 20 rally, there was a repeatedly stated, but somewhat vague, commitment to the idea that the rally was to be the beginning of a process of building an effective local coalition to resist the Trump agenda. The details were to worked out through further discussion.
            But, almost immediately after the January 20 rally, activists affiliated with the Democratic Party, who had played a significant role in the rally, began to focus on promoting Indivisible. About ten days after January 20, these activists organized an Indivisible meeting that attracted about 200 people. Not a single word was spoken about coalition building, or movement building, or working with other groups, or even about the successful rally that had taken place on January 20. In fact, one of these activists told the 200 people at this Indivisible gathering that it wasn’t important that different groups work together. So, this wasn’t a case of a group trying to steer the coalition towards its agenda. It was a case of one of the largest groups in the nascent coalition pulling out of (and effectively sabotaging) the coalition building effort. Given the resources available to the Dems, and the size of their mailing list, this cut the coalition effort off at the knees. The Dems channeled much of the momentum generated by the demonstrations that had taken place over the previous three months into Indivisible, a project designed to promote the Democratic Party.
            On February 4, a large rally was held to protest Trump’s travel ban. That morning, I stopped by the HG of the local Dems. A bunch of people were there making signs for an upcoming Indivisible rally later that week. I asked if I would see everyone at the rally against the travel ban. About half of them didn’t even know it was happening. Apparently, my colleagues in the leadership of the local Democratic Party didn’t think it was important enough to publicize.
            By the end of March, the informal coalition (such as it was) had virtually evaporated.
            On April 8, a demonstration was held to protest Trump’s decision to bomb a Syrian airbase, a dangerous escalation of the conflict in Syria. The date, time and place of the demonstration was suggested by the chair of the local Democratic Party. The time was chosen in order to allow people who were attending an Indivisible meeting earlier that day would be able to attend. Only about two dozen people attended. One or two of the Indivisibles were there. The chair of the local party was not.
            In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised. The movement against the Iraq War dissipated once Obama became president and the Dems stopped protesting the war. This is what Democrats do.
            See: http://ur.umich.edu/1011/Apr11_11/2250-did-obamas-election

  • bill hood July 4, 2017, 2:20 pm

    Royal, I was going to write how the BIg Bang, over time, gradually screwed up local politics on the Peninsula, according to Hawking, Einstein and Al Franken. Not being invited not
    86’d (in the Navy we called in Deep Sixed), I won’t submit the piece. It’s local and very scientific.
    Well, at least it’s gossip.

    • Royal Calkins July 8, 2017, 7:13 am

      Bill. You are always invited

  • Jean July 4, 2017, 7:01 pm


    Re public school financing depending on property taxes generated in the school district, you might want to read the CA Supreme Court’s 1971 opinion in Serrano v Priest. By striking down the then-existing scheme for violating Equal Protection, the court transformed public school financing.

  • Karl Pallastrini July 4, 2017, 7:59 pm

    Jean, I am totally familiar with Serrano vs. Priest, and its subsequent iterations of Serrano 1 and 2. In 1983, The California Supreme Court ruled that Serrano 2 had been sufficiently met. The passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 also constrained the Serrano decision in terms of effectiveness. The 1983 decision ended the compliance requirements, and districts were then allowed to return to what is referred to as Local Control. Surprised that you would think I have little or no knowledge of the history of the decision. It was generally considered that power equalization (re-distribution of funds generated by property taxes), over a period of 12 years, did not make a significant impact on test results from low performing and low tax base districts in the state. Districts were then essentially allowed to keep the revenues generated by the local tax base, creating two kinds of funding mechanisms. Most districts in the state are classified as ADA districts. Those districts collect an allocation from the state based on Average Daily Attendance. In other words…each student enrolling in the district brings an dollar amount from the state. That’s one of the reason why attendance is critical to those districts. The other kind of district is called Basic Aid, which now has a new name, but does not receive ADA from the State. Those districts are funded almost entirely from the tax base, with the exception of some categorical funding provided for ethnicity programs etc. My point is…Serrano has long since passed. The idea behind power equalization was good. Every student in every district in California was guaranteed a dollar amount to provide education, regardless of where they lived. Could be Beverly Hills…or Priest Valley. The reality, as I see it, is that the system is not really a public one. An argument can be made that high wealth districts spend more on taxes, and therefore should be able to direct spending in those districts as they see fit. Makes sense. But…what about the kids who come from low income and low property value districts? That includes most of the big cities in California that are not located on the coast, not in Silicon Valley, do not have a Oil Well in their back yard etc. etc. Public education is far from equitable, with the private sector, one way or another, still calling the shots.

    • Jane Haines July 5, 2017, 6:23 am

      Karl, what do you think should be done to correct this? If you reply “an initiative,” do you think it would pass? Are you aware of any serious efforts to correct this serious situation?

  • Karl Pallastrini July 5, 2017, 8:00 am

    Good question Jane. There have been several attempts over the years to eliminate Basic Aid districts, which is a misnomer as they are hardly “Basic” in funding. There is a lobby in Sacramento led by a group called SF squared, which is a coalition of Basic Aid districts dedicated to ensuring their existence. The question pops up about eliminating them, when the state budget is in dire straights. Thats as far as it goes. Many of our state legislators live in Basic Aid school districts…and many who don’t opt for private school, and some for Charter Schools which are able to establish their own Board within the parameters of the host district. Less than 10% of the Districts in California are Basic Aid. Throwing them into the general funding pool would probably not generate enough revenue to be worthwhile…not to mention the opposition. The disparity in spending per pupil in our public schools is appalling. The range is anywhere from $5500 per student to $20,000 per student, depending of course, on where you live. It really is about Zip Codes. District test scores can also be traced to Zip Codes. It is pretty easy to find the high performing Districts…with the exception of Charter Schools where parents are fleeing the system and gaining much more control of the school operation. Many of the Basic Aid Districts look and perform very much like Private Schools. Parents are willing to pay for a quality K-12 education, public or private. It is the children born to those who can’t afford options that concerns me.

    • Jane Haines July 5, 2017, 4:41 pm

      Separate (zip codes), but very unequal educational opportunities. Thanks very much for raising this issue.

    • Luke Coletti July 8, 2017, 4:49 pm

      “The secret to stellar grades and thriving students is teachers.” But California school districts cannot field enough great teachers with so much of their budgets being directed to retired teachers.


  • Beverly Bean July 5, 2017, 5:26 pm

    One of the more gratifying efforts I was involved with was the successful removal of the fumigant methyl iodide, not just from California but from the U.S. market. Unfortunately that may mean that it will be promoted abroad, most likely in the developing world. But change does have to start somewhere, so why not here?
    On Wednesday, July 12, Safe Ag Safe Schools will join organizations from across the state to tell the Department of Pesticide Regulation to ban chlorpyrifos.
    Safe Ag Safe Schools or SASS (formerly The Safe Strawberry Monterey Bay Working Group) is a coalition of 30-plus organizations and individuals working together to reduce pesticide exposure threats to the Monterey Bay region’s residents. The group was originally convened in response to a proposal to approve the carcinogenic fumigant pesticide methyl iodide on agricultural fields in California.
    As Safe Strawberry Monterey, the group successfully pushed the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution calling on the state to ban methyl iodide; this local campaign was an important part of the statewide movement that successfully forced methyl iodide’s withdrawal from the market in 2012. Currently, SASS is focused on increasing grassroots pressure on government decision makers to phase out hazardous drift-prone pesticides over the long term, and taking action to reduce hazardous pesticide use near schools and residential communities in the shorter term.
    So why do we want California to ban chlorpyrifos? It’s neurotoxic, it poisons farmworkers and harms children’s brains, and it was banned for residential use almost two decades ago! It’s about time chlorpyrifos is removed from agricultural use. In fact, that was what the US EPA was planning – that is, until Trump got elected. With Scott Pruitt’s reversal of the proposed federal chlorpyrifos ban, it is California’s responsibility to protect its citizens and ban it once and for all.
    I invite you to get on the bus! It’s free for anyone who wants to join in a press conference and march through Caesar Chavez Plaza, followed by small group legislative visits. Bus departs Salinas at 7 am at the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, 931 E Market St, Salinas 93905. We will be back in Salinas by 8:15pm.

  • Melodie Chrislock July 6, 2017, 3:53 pm

    It’s Official…We Have the Most Expensive Water in the Country!

    This week Food & Water Watch announced their 2017 update of the Top Ten Most Expensive Water Providers in the Country. The Monterey Peninsula now ranks #1. Cal Am has given us the most expensive water in the United States! The annual cost to Peninsula consumers for 60,000 gallons is $1202. Also worth noting, Cal Am’s parent company, American Water, is responsible for 6 of the top ten most expensive systems in the country. Have a look at the new chart here: http://www.publicwaternow.org/water_cost_rate_issues

    With Cal Am’s recent changes in rate structure and additional charges of $40 million dollars for water we didn’t use, PWN suspected that we might have the most expensive water in the country. Now it’s been confirmed.

    Water bills for many Cal Am customers have recently doubled or tripled and to make matters worse, the cost for new water projects like Cal Am’s proposed desal plant, the Pure Water Monterey (recycled water) project, or the pipeline currently under construction, are NOT yet included on our water bills. Plus Cal Am is asking the CPUC for another 22.7% rate increase over the next three years. There’s no end in sight! We can do better than this with publicly owned water.

    To put the cost of our water in perspective, in 2015 Food & Water Watch did a study of 500 public and private water systems across the county, ranking them by the annual cost of water to the consumer. In the original study, the Monterey Peninsula was ranked #9 in the top ten with an annual cost to the consumer of $716 for 60,000 gallons. Since then the average Cal Am customer on the Peninsula had seen a 68% increase in their water cost and that percentage is much higher if you typically use water in tiers 3, 4 or 5.

    It’s time to take our water back…… Public Water Now!

  • Karl Pallastrini July 6, 2017, 6:58 pm

    I remain perplexed how a Private Water Company can be “protected” by a Public Agency? Excellent treatise Melanie. What other Private Company is able to re-capture revenue due to an act of God…which in this case would be the Wet Winter of 2016-2017? Cal Am appears to think that the infrastructure cannot be maintained by anyone other the them. It is about the infrastructure…not the water which has been taken illegally from the Carmel River for years. As I have said before…I am willing to pay more to see them gone. I will take my chances with the future.

    • david fairhurst July 8, 2017, 11:26 am

      As stated before, I am in a quandary myself. However it sure makes it easy to go with a “community” take over of Cal-Am after the supposed “in the public interest” PUC (what do you expect from a “progressive” State) let Cal-AM raise my bill 25 to 30% by charging me today for water I did not use in 2015. Can I go back in time and charge people for services that I did not provide nor sell them too?

  • Phillip Crawford July 8, 2017, 10:09 am

    It has been suggested that my recent posting was far too long and that few people would have the motivation to read it in its entirety. So, here is an edited version.
    1. In the first few months after the November election, promising efforts were taken to build a broadbased, diverse, organized and unified local movement to resist the reactionary agenda of the incoming Trump administration and its allies in Congress.
    2. That nascent resistance movement has collapsed.
    3. The principal cause for that collapse was the Indivisible movement, an astroturf organization of the Democratic Party.
    Is there any part of this that is inaccurate?

    • PT Caffey July 10, 2017, 10:24 pm

      Fine, but “astroturf” implies concealment, and everybody knows Indivisible grew out of the work of Democratic staffers. It wasn’t hidden. In any case, if the “nascent resistance movement” doesn’t bolster the influence of the opposition party now in government, what good is it? As we approach the 2018 House elections, the Democratic Party remains the best available vehicle for resisting the Trump agenda. But Democratic candidates must be allowed greater ideological leeway in order to broaden their appeal and win more districts nationwide. First and foremost, they need to get elected. How we accomplish that is the central mission. This will require some measure of non-ideological pragmatism and prioritization of shared goals among those in opposition to Trump’s agenda. In the end, we are Americans, dedicated to our founding principles and to their fulfillment for all.

      • Phillip Crawford July 16, 2017, 3:04 pm

        I can’t speak to what “everybody knows.” I can speak to what Indivisible activists in my community have said, which is that Indivisible is a non-partisan project meant to hold our elected officials accountable to a progressive agenda. This is obvious hogwash. The leading Indivisible activists in my community are all well-known leading figures in the local Democratic Party and the Indivisible members have been intolerant (or openly hostile) to anyone who doesn’t toe the Democratic Party line. The Indivisible website makes no mention of a connection to the Democratic Party, talking instead about “a progressive grassroots network to defeat the Trump agenda” founded by two former congressional staffers whose party affiliation is not stated. More hogwash.
        A colleague in a Midwest city has described an experience like mine in Monterey. A group of Democratic Party activists started a “nonpartisan” Indivisible chapter that pushes the Democratic Party line and a budding informal coalition of Democrats, Greens, socialists, anarchists and independents collapsed. My very anecdotal evidence suggests that the only communities in which the “resistance” to Trump is still strong are those in which Indivisible has little influence.
        My question is: Why the deception? If you want to promote the Democratic Party, why create a new organization and pretend that it’s non-partisan?
        Aside from its blatant deception and sectarianism, Indivisible suffers from some of the same maladies that afflict much of the rest of the local “progressive” movement: dogmatism, leaders whose fragile egos discourage the development of new leadership, an apparent allergy to in any kind of self-examination or self-criticism, a hostility toward dissenting views, an aversion to critical thinking, an inability to discuss even minor tactical differences without engaging in personal attacks, and a failure to engage successfully with people outside of a white, upper-middle class demographic.
        I doubt that I will change your mind about this, but I doubt very much that the Democratic Party remains the best available vehicle for resisting the Trump agenda. And putting all our chips on the 2018 elections seems like a very imprudent strategy. Given the gerrymandering that’s gone on, the likelihood that the Democrats will take back the House in 2018 seems exceedingly remote.
        Furthermore, trying to elect a few center-right Democrats to replace a few far-right Republicans doesn’t seem like much of a plan.
        Martin Luther King, Jr., arguably the most effective activist in American history, never ran for office, never endorsed a political candidate, and never endorsed a political party. As I noted in my previous comments, no significant social reform has ever happened in this country without massive militant struggle. Our goal should be to move a progressive movement that can place pressure on elected officials regardless of their party. To be truly effective, this movement would have to number in the millions and would need to operate independently of the electoral cycle and of either of the two plutocratic parties. It would need to avail itself of the entire spectrum of tactics available to nonviolent resistance movement, including, when appropriate, massive civil disobedience. Indivisible’s limited set of tactics (three people, four actions) and sectarian political viewpoint is at cross-purposes with the development of the nonviolent resistance movement which I believe we need.

        • Phillip Crawford July 16, 2017, 3:28 pm

          Pardon the typos. Our goal should be to form a progressive movement that can place pressure on elected officials regardless of their party.

  • Karl Pallastrini July 10, 2017, 8:15 am

    Luke, there is no question that success in the classroom (stellar grades and thriving students) is attributed to inspired teachers. And…there is no question that STRS (State Teachers Retirement System), and the much larger one PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) has become a burden to the California State Budget. It is important to remember that Teachers and the School District have paid into (STRS) over the entire period of their employment. Full retirement for teachers occurs at 61 years old. Fire and police….much younger….with much higher salaries when employed.

  • Midvalley abalone July 10, 2017, 6:13 pm

    Parallel damage, Michigan and California

    Manslaughter charges against Flint public health and environmental regulators for probable cause in the poisoning deaths and illnesses of Michigan residents from lead-contaminated water gives Californians a model to follow for pesticide-caused harm. The Cal-EPA/DPR agencies have known about peer-reviewed evidence of serious, often incurable harm due to exposure to chlorpyrifos for years. Field workers, their children, schools and residents within a mile of treated fields are at highest risk; the damage to lungs, brains and the cancers that destroy children’s lives are all well documented since 1998.

    So knowing the harms but choosing to do nothing to mitigate or stop them constitutes probable cause, right? Governor Brown is being pressured to order a ban on this particular pesticide while the State Attorney General prepares the criminal investigation against those regulators who knew the on-going dangers of exposure and did nothing to reduce or end them.

    Carole Erickson

  • Phillip Crawford July 15, 2017, 4:25 pm

    I find it interesting that only one other person has commented in response to Royal’s inquiry about the apparent demise of the local anti-Trump resistance movement. Is the movement so comatose that no one else can even muster the energy to respond?