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Adios Monterey Bay Partisan. Viva Voices of Monterey Bay



I was surprised when I realized  the Monterey Bay Partisan was born more than three years ago. Time truly does condense as we grow into our crotchety years. It seems more like three months.

Either way, the Partisan is nearing its last fight and its last typo. But, and it is a big but, there is cause for celebration because the Partisan’s impending fadeout is precipitated by the advent of something bigger and better. It’s a new online news source for the region and it is called Voices of Monterey Bay.

In a soft opening, the web site has been operating for a few days now and the full kickoff is coming soon. You’ll want to read about the details at the Voices site but here’s the Readers’ Digest version. It is the brainchild of former Monterey County Weekly Editor Mary Duan, former Monterey Herald reporter Julie Reynolds Martinez and Joe Livernois, who preceded me as editor of the Herald. I’ll be coming on board as a contributing writer, specializing in investigative efforts, and other journalists will be signing on as well.

The people behind Voices of Monterey Bay are thinking big – much bigger than us Partisan types ever did. It’s a non-profit with charitable status, which means your absolutely critical donations will be tax deductible. A morsel of seed money is in hand but look for plenty of opportunities to help create a budget solid enough to support some solid full-time journalism with a focus on identifying and solving problems. Voices has aligned itself with a Southern California nonprofit that nurtures fledgling news operation and it is seeking financial help from various foundations – and from you. To the greatest extent possible, the Voices report will be bilingual.

This is happening for the same reason I started the Partisan back in 2014 – to supplement the shrinking news report from other sources. Don’t get me started about what isn’t covered in the Herald anymore. The Weekly is fast becoming the dominant source of print news locally and, one can hope, it will continue to grow into that role.

I am proud of a few things we did at the Partisan. I’m very proud of the number of community contributions to the report and those many wonderful essays on politics and dachsunds by Larry Parsons. I think we have done a halfway decent job covering politics, environmental issues and the antics of Cal Am. We kicked a few butts that needed kicking. We plan to maintain an archive after we stop adding content in the coming weeks.

The Partisan proprietor, preparing to sign off

None of this would have been possible without the able and patient contributions of our techmeister, Paul Skolnick, a retired TV journalist who worked without compensation or recognition. Back when I was a newsroom manager, I was smart enough to hire folks smarter than me. I accomplished the same thing by coaxing Skolnick and Parsons to come aboard.

We had several pieces that helped readers interpret the mess that is Peninsula water politics, and we published numerous contributed commentaries that cleared up misunderstandings about inclusionary housing, land use, transportation issues and other topics. Regular contributors included Bill Hood, Jim Toy, Jane Haines, George Riley, Joe Livernois, Bill McCrone, Glenn Robinson and Celeste Akkad, all writing about important topics.

Our biggest financial backer has been winemaker Tony Dann, who has already agreed to help get Voices launched. Other significant contributors included Gillian Taylor, Jane Haines, Michael Stamp, Dan and Jeanne Turner, Larry Parrish, Bill Leone, Lou Panetta and others too numerous to name. I also loved all those $10 checks that wound up in my mailbox. Thank you all.

I hope we have occasionally enlightened and entertained. I am exceedingly grateful for your support and I urge you now to transfer it to Voices of Monterey Bay.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Linda Deutsch October 10, 2017, 5:29 pm

    Thank you beyond words. Your voice has been a link to sanity for a great many of us and we will definitely follow “Voices”! Hope you will be involved. Wishing you peace and happiness.

  • Roberta Myers October 10, 2017, 5:29 pm

    Startling news! It sounds encouraging and I am glad not to lose Royal.

  • Susan Meister October 10, 2017, 5:29 pm

    Congratulations, Royal, on this excellent transition and the news that you’ll be continue to be involved in investigative reporting. Your talent and persistence have allowed a unique perspective on news that will remain in the collective memory, as vivid as your archives. It sounds like you’ve found a home, and with it a place in which high journalistic ideals will continue to be shared. No doubt all who have admired The Partisan will follow.

  • Jane Haines October 10, 2017, 5:30 pm

    This is absolutely wonderful news — a new online news source for the region that is the brainchild of Duan, Reynolds and Livernois — with Calkins contributing. Best news I’ve heard in a long time. Hoorah!

  • Po October 10, 2017, 5:39 pm

    Great news, looking forward to seeing all on the other side.

  • Dick Stott October 10, 2017, 5:55 pm

    Thanks so much for what you’ve done with the Partisan, Royal! It was a big step in the right direction, and the Voices looks like a worthy successor.

  • Anne Canright October 10, 2017, 6:01 pm

    I’ve already signed up! Very happy to hear that your voice, along with a few others’, will continue to lend clarity to goings-on hereabouts. Thank you for all you’ve done these past three years, and I look forward to your new venture.

    • Anna yateman October 10, 2017, 6:53 pm

      How does one sign up for a subscription to the Voice?

      • Joe Livernois October 11, 2017, 8:49 am

        You can go right here: https://voicesofmontereybay.org/signup/
        Signing up gets you a weekly newsletter, which will be topical and fun, as well as occasional invitations and notifications of events Voices is sponsoring. Thanks for your interest.

  • Beverly G Bean October 10, 2017, 6:02 pm

    Thank you Royal for all your efforts..it was worth it! Looking forward to Voices and glad that you will continue to do investigative reporting

  • Celeste Akkad October 10, 2017, 6:16 pm

    Looking forward to reading the Voices of Monterey Bay. Thank you, Royal, for helping to keep us informed these past 3 short years.

  • gin October 10, 2017, 6:19 pm

    Royal, on behalf of Dale, thank you, Dale always viewed you as “one of the good guys!”

  • Helga Fellay October 10, 2017, 6:27 pm

    Thank you, Royal, for the Partisan. I realize that I am only your least favorite step-child, but still, I am grateful for what you have done, giving a voice to those who would otherwise not have a voice, to remind us all that this is what democracy is all about.

  • Joe Livernois October 10, 2017, 6:28 pm

    If you appreciated the hard work Royal put into this blog, we hope you’ll see the value in Voices of Monterey Bay. And — bonus! — Royal promises to bring his talents to Voices.

  • Natalie Gray October 10, 2017, 6:33 pm

    Thank you for your wonderful writing. I look forward to reading Voices.

    Natalie Gray

  • Barbara Baldock October 10, 2017, 6:38 pm

    Congratulations Royal and THANK YOU from both of us. Barbara and Phil

  • Ron Chesshire October 10, 2017, 6:57 pm

    The Partisan has been a good source of info desperately needed in our area. It provided an outlet for many who felt their views may not have been sufficiently aired. Its format allowed for the exchange of views which is extremely limited in conventional print media.

    As we move on to what may be the next level, I will take this time to notify my fellow citizens, “the public”, that “democracy cannot be for sale” in Monterey County. The Board of Supervisors is considering a proposal to limit direct campaign contributions in County elections. This issue has come before the Board a few times in the past but has never reached this point of consideration. The Board will be taking up this item at their Oct. 17th meeting.

    Currently there are no limits for direct contributions in County elections. Money has been increasingly flowing into elections since 2000. Groups and individuals have given candidates anywhere from $5,000 to hundreds of thousands. Many cities and counties in the State have already passed ordinances to limit contributions. We are to the point where a candidate spends as much on a County Supervisor’s race (population 85,000) as candidates are spending on a congressional race (population 700,000) and more. Why? Control.

    I don’t believe it is any secret that there are opposing forces wishing to control the politics of the County. Quite frankly, the outcome of politics is control. Why else would someone go to the the trouble to raise a bunch of money and expose themselves to public scrutiny. They want to impose what they and their supporters believe is right. Unfortunately the forces seeking control in the County are not representative of the majority. The average citizen has been left out as the mega contributors work the political system, hold great influence over the candidates, and try to recruit the average citizen to come on board. There are elitists on both sides, neither really caring about the needs of the People. If they did, do you think things would be a little different? Water? Roads? Health Care? Housing? Jobs? Opportunity? Monterey County may be pretty but it’s no Paradise.

    Yes, the average person in Monterey County is no more than a conscript in a war between opposing forces, changing sides from time to time, hoping to gain some ground to improve their own situation. The battles have gotten more interesting over time as these forces which traditionally stayed in their own little part of the county have expanded outward. A Supervisor who once had to deal with the concerns of their district is now running for their life hoping to stave off opposition from a well financed candidate hell bent on carrying out the agenda of their out of district supporters. Yes, even some of our good Partisanians have openly proposed financing and taking over the politics of another supervisorial area to “save” Monterey County.

    Democracy cannot be for sale. The establishment of fair limits with disclosure and enforcement is needed, it is past time. I’m sure the the Supervisors have already heard plenty from those who supply them the “Mother’ Milk of Politics”. Neither side wants to cut the flow because that would limit their ability to influence the game. The game is for the people not the few. It is your time to have your say. The Board of Supervisors will be hearing this item on Oct. 17th and give Supervisor Adams a big thank you and cheer of support for doing the right thing and bringing this forward for consideration.

    • Ron Chesshire October 10, 2017, 7:13 pm

      Royal, thank you for all your work and establishing the platform from which the Voices has sprung. Don’t get too investigative, you’ll find you can’t turn too much of anywhere in our little corner of the world without stepping in a big pile. Onward!

  • Virginia Hennessey October 10, 2017, 7:01 pm

    Royal you continue to be an inspiration. So happy to hear you all are carrying on the good fight. What a team! I look forward to great things and continued enlightenment. And I hope Parsons will join the chorus.

  • Karl Pallastrini October 10, 2017, 7:02 pm

    Royal, as good as this sounds, it will never be the same. It won’t be the Partisan, where contributors educated me on too many issues to remember. Your even and experienced hand has played a major impact on the lives of many of us in Monterey County, desperately looking for a source of truth and candor. I can see why the evolution has taken place. The Partisan was on you. Voices spreads the responsibility around, with major straight-forward contributors in the lead. Best to you Royal!

  • Doug Kasunich October 10, 2017, 7:13 pm

    Thanks Royal! Now I will have an organized group of super-heroes to follow. Let the truth set us free.

  • Jan Shriner October 10, 2017, 7:19 pm

    Thank you royal for all the thought provoking.

  • Alex October 10, 2017, 7:33 pm

    You’ve done great work here, Royal. Many thought provoking insights. Glad to hear ‘Voices’ is coming on line and that is quite the crew! Thanks-Alex

  • Melodie Chrislock October 10, 2017, 7:37 pm

    Thank you smooch Royal for your brave journalistic stand on so many issues. I’ll miss the Partisan.
    But I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from you.

  • Joe Rosato October 10, 2017, 7:42 pm

    Royal: You have done an outstanding job, and I know that success will continue. You have always been a fine reporter/writer/editor and I see no reason why those skills won’t continue.

  • Janet Collins October 10, 2017, 7:52 pm

    Thank you Royal for the Partisan…It is, or was, the best and I look forward to the “Voices of Monterey” and the promised investigative reporting…But the Partisan has been the only venue for people to actually get a handle on so many issues of any importance and for that we can all give you our deepest thanks, Royal…And you will still be able to add that voice to this new endeavor, so let it fly !!

  • Amy Anderson October 10, 2017, 7:57 pm

    What wonderful news Royal! I was worried about the “good bye” tone of the first few comments I saw, but am more than delighted about the birth of a new news outlet replete with such talent, including yours! Way too little of that these days. Congratulations and thanks for three years of the Partisan, lifesaving H2O for those of us living in this desert of a good local daily. Looking forward to meeting up again in Voices!

  • Margie McCurry October 10, 2017, 9:16 pm

    Oh boy… here come the big guns!! and I LOVE it! Royal has kept the campfire lit… Mary always knows how to stir up a fire….and Joe basks in the flames. Now I get to know Julie. Thanks, all of you, for keeping alive the kind of journalism I grew up with….

  • Lou Panetta October 10, 2017, 9:20 pm

    Congrats Royal. I read every word that ever came from the Partisan … disagreed with some … but respected them all. I wish all of you every success and joy.

  • bill leone October 10, 2017, 9:31 pm

    Royal, in my opinion, The Partisan did make a difference in local politics. It was a Job Well Done.
    I will support VOM as I have supported The Partisan the last three years.

  • Dan Turner October 10, 2017, 9:32 pm

    Nice shirt, dude!
    Also, will it still be possible for us amateurs to get something “printed’ in The Voice?

  • Nancy Selfridge October 10, 2017, 9:36 pm

    Thank you Royal! I am looking forward to great chapters with your new adventure!

  • barbara simpson October 10, 2017, 10:00 pm

    I have so enjoyed all your good work —that print papers are dying goes without saying, not just in your area but all over. I look forward to the new site and wish all involved —much success!


  • L. Parrish October 10, 2017, 10:18 pm

    Hard to top the great list of Thank Yous above, but let’s give it a shot. Royal, your stalwart efforts over the last three years to almost single-handedly maintain the notion of serious journalism and investigative reporting has essentially kept those practices alive and well in our area, and beyond. Elements that are sorely lacking in the media world these days. For that, you deserve an unlimited amount of praise and gratitude. Really, you should be given some kind of an award and I would certainly conjure up one if I knew where to start.
    So, congratulations for those efforts and thanks so much for doing what you do best. And congratulations for getting on board with Joe, Mary, and Julie. Hopefully you’ll be afforded the journalistic freedom we’ve become accustomed to over the last number of years. And don’t forget this – where Royal goes, so goes my wallet, meager though it may be.
    Looking forward to the new ‘Voice’, and your continued excellent offerings. Thanks again.

    • david fairhurst October 10, 2017, 10:36 pm

      Larry I nominate you to give the speech at Royal’s appreciation banquet! I’ll happily chip in for one.

  • david fairhurst October 10, 2017, 10:33 pm

    Say it ain’t so Royal.
    Thanks for putting up with me and my rants. A lot of it was just wanting to share that some people had different views than one mindedness “left wing lemming lock step”. Yep, thanks for letting me be a “swizzle stick” of opinion. I just wanted to share that there are other valid opinions/beliefs too (and all the Republican Trump Conservative intolerant non co-existing insulting hate bothered me, so I wanted to share some of it back, mostly as “whats good for the goose is good for the gander”, throw rocks at me, I’ll throw them back at you). I wanted to “gladfly” and cause questions.
    Royal, your a good man, an honest man with a good heart, have a strong work ethic and write stuff worth reading. I appreciate that even if you disagreed, you let me (and others) voice out. I hope this new ‘outlet’ will be as unbiased as you were, believe in the open forums as you created and will relish and understand the importance in excepting alternative views.
    As this adventure of your ends, I wish you all the best on your next foray of social informance. The “Partisan” was a much needed and enjoyed source of information and opinions. I too think you made a positive difference in making this a better place to live in. And at least it is nice for me to leave finally getting to agree with Dan Turner as I plagiarize his notation of, “nice shirt dude”.

  • Lewis Griswold October 10, 2017, 10:34 pm

    Great job, Royal! I’ve enjoyed reading from afar about Monterey area issues. Good luck on what’s next.

  • Don Slinkard October 10, 2017, 10:49 pm

    There was no tomorrow in Fort Wayne, but, happy to say, there will be in Monterey. Nice going,
    Royal, for what you have accomplished and for your part in the new endeavor. I always knew
    you had it. It is called talent. I’m blown away by the outpouring of tributes above, all of it
    in one evening! Best to you and Brenda.

  • D S Jett October 10, 2017, 11:07 pm

    Thank you and look forward to subscribing to Voices.

  • Dennis Mar October 10, 2017, 11:48 pm

    Has it only been three years? It seems longer. Totaling all the articles and the comments, it feels as if I’ve read through “War and Peace” — and both just as worthwhile reading. Best wishes to Royal and his sidekick Larry.


  • Joanna Greenshields October 10, 2017, 11:57 pm

    Royal, thank you for helping me keep my sanity over the last couple of years. Reading your articles and the comments section, have kept my faith in humanity alive. The Partisan was always informative, thought provoking and occasionally hilarious! I will sign up for VOM but The Monterey Bay Partisan will leave a void that will be hard to fill.

  • William Rothschild October 11, 2017, 6:56 am

    Thank you Royal for all of the great journalism over the years – both with the Partisan and with the Herald. I look forward to your contributions with Voices. We miss you down here at the Sports Center.

  • Chuck Cech October 11, 2017, 7:59 am

    Very sorry to see the Partisan leave. It has been the voice of investigative journalism.

  • ENRIQUE MENDEZ FLORES October 11, 2017, 8:12 am

    Me fue muy educativo leer las opiniones de los lectores de interesantes artculos. Espero las redacciones en espanol de Las Voces de Monterey eduquen a la poblacion cuyo primer idioma es el espanol. Seguire con atencion las redacciones.

  • Kris Brown October 11, 2017, 8:16 am

    Onward and upward, Royal! We hit the jackpot when you came here to work for the Herald.

  • Steve Hillyard October 11, 2017, 8:19 am

    Thank you for your very significant, positive contribution to our understanding of the most important community issues. Your entertaining prose and reasoned insight made reading the Partisan delightful, informative and thought provoking.

  • Kristina Baer October 11, 2017, 9:56 am

    Thanks, Royal, for providing a forum where we can always find a steady dose of thoughtful, well-seasoned analysis, opinion from Day 1. As we continue to resist and persist, it’s good to know we’ll have Voices to spur us on.

  • Carol Ryan October 11, 2017, 10:28 am

    So glad we will continue to have thoughtful, identified people who will provide us with real information, not swayed by the “If it bleeds, it leads” mentality of today’s print and television media.

  • Natalia Molina October 11, 2017, 12:15 pm

    Wow! I am thrilled to hear of this and look forward to being a subscriber. Congratulations.

  • Joyce & Dave Raye October 11, 2017, 2:37 pm

    Thank you so much Royal, for all you’ve done to keep us informed, and for your great humor too. We were unhappy when you left the Herald, and we will sorely miss your Partisan. But we are glad
    that we will continue to hear from you via the “Voices.” You were a super editor of the Herald, and
    you have exceeded that at the helm of the Partisan. We need more concerned, intelligent people like you in this county. Thank you so much for your hard work and great writing!
    Regards, from your neighbors- Joyce & Dave Raye (next to Genovese house…now Jeff Jarvis family. They are a wonderful family and a great addition to Harper Canyon. You may have met them and their BIG DOG Daisy-yellow Lab). Best Wishes, Joyce & Dave

  • Diane Cotton October 11, 2017, 2:44 pm

    Thank you for the past 3 years, Royal. You have done an exceptional job and I am hoping VOICES will be as rewarding to read as the Partisan has been. In gratitude and anticipation…

  • Vicki Pearse October 11, 2017, 4:48 pm

    I’ve loved the Partisan and am looking forward now to Voices! Anything I can do to help, just ask.

  • Nancy Peden October 11, 2017, 4:49 pm

    Bless you Royal: you are a class act that did something wonderous with this “blog.” And now with Claudia an other voices! I am cheering from here in New Mexico…predicting this will be leading edge. Thanks for the earlier transformation and I am looking forward to the future together. Beautiful! Now if my Spanish weren’t so pequeno!

  • Dennis Taylor October 11, 2017, 5:44 pm

    Enormously excited about this. Please please please cover Salinas. The Californian is doing no worthwhile local coverage. Even reading it online is to much effort for the return.

  • James Toy October 11, 2017, 6:03 pm

    Wow, this is a very interesting development. I look forward to seeing how it works out.

  • M Hill October 11, 2017, 7:36 pm

    Sorry to hear the news. Thank you and all the others who contributed on a variety of topics and issues.
    The best to you and your family.

  • bill hood October 12, 2017, 7:07 am

    Royal – I have mixed feelings – one, I am sad to see the best piece of journalism seen on the Monterey Peninsula since Virginia Hennessy and second, I am happy that you are going forward with an even greater enterprise. Thank you for publishing so many of my commentaries over the years, in the Herald and the Partisan. I wish you nothing but the very best going forward. Seeing the quality of persons who will be working with you, it is a slam dunk.

  • Doc Jones October 12, 2017, 9:19 am

    Well Done and a hardy “Hi Oh Silver” to you. I look forward to Voices. Thanks.

  • Janet Collins October 12, 2017, 10:28 am

    I have a small post script to add when I read Dennis’s remarks about covering Salinas because that’s where I hail from and when I was priveleged to serve on Council, poor Joe Livernois, as a reporter for the Californian, had to sit through our boring meetings night after night…Bless him…So, I just bet he will more than take somewhat of an interest in the Valley’s shinanigans, and believe me, there’s a lot of scruffy stuff to unearth over this side of the mountain…If Voices isn’t too indebted to the advertizing of the county or Cal Am as is the Herald or the Weekly, they should be able to print whatever they want to print, and can back up legally, they want..God speed and good reading as you have provided in the past Royal…

  • Ron Weitzman and Morley Brown October 12, 2017, 1:01 pm

    When The Herald shattered its mirror on the community, Royal, with uncommon skill and perseverance, picked up the pieces and put them together to form this Monterey Bay Partisan. Under his direction, it has functioned like a symphonic band, each piece consisting of lyrics (the blog) followed by the chiming in of instruments (commentators) in consonant and dissonant accompaniment. Daily, as we opened our email, we could look forward to this wonderful production which, for most of us, was cost-free. Alas, all good things must come to an end, as we learn now is the fate of this very precious one. Yet, as is our good fortune now, ends often turn out to be beginnings of something different but in essence also the same. So, now we look forward to VOMB, the new Voice of Monterey Bay with Royal, not as an engineer this time, but as a conductor. Thank you, Royal, for both before and after. –Morley and Ron

  • Julie Reynolds Martinez October 12, 2017, 10:29 pm

    Hey Royal, thanks for the great run and the shout out. Looking forward to raising a little more hell together.

  • Susan Morse October 13, 2017, 5:11 pm

    Thank you, Royal,
    You have been an inspiration. Ever since you published my Letter to the Editor in the Herald on Chickens, I have been a fan. Thank you for encouraging my writing, for the Partisan, and for making sure the seeds you have planted grow and flourish. I look forward to hearing from you and your cadre of thoughtful community voices in the Monterey Bay area.

  • Tim Smith October 15, 2017, 6:12 pm

    Yes. Thanks for being here when needed.


  • Jane Haines October 16, 2017, 7:19 am

    I just received the first edition of Voices of Monterey Bay (Oct. 16). It’s not what I’d describe as “online news.” Rather, it’s comprised of well-written, relevant articles about issues of local importance, sort of a Monterey Bay New Yorker. So far I’ve read a moving article about Warren Church’s choice of when and how to die and an article about the ‘vulture capitalist’ who ruined newspapers in distress, including the Monterey Herald. So it’s not the Partisan. Nonetheless, I welcome VOMB enthusiastically.

    • Joe Livernois October 19, 2017, 4:11 pm

      Thanks, Jane! It’s sweet to be compared to the New Yorker, though I’m afraid we have an awful long way to go to meet its lofty standard.

  • Alan Estrada October 17, 2017, 11:24 am

    (!)Adios y Hola!
    Crown Royal, et al, distilled the spirit of Democracy par excellence [to be continued].
    From the MC Herald to the MB Partisan and now to Voices of MB, a mighty pixelated toast goes out to You! Bravo and encore!

  • Mari Lynch October 31, 2017, 11:31 pm

    Thank you for all your time and devotion to Monterey County, Royal. And congratulations to Joe, Julia, and Mary on launching Voices of Monterey Bay—and enlisting your good work from the start. Your 10/31/17 “Trail Mix” is highlighted in a bikemonterey.org post: http://marilynch.com/blog/sharing-monterey-county-parks-and-other-public-lands-administration-care-and-use.html