6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY January 25-31, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH When Zoom-bombers dropped virtually into local government meetings last fall spewing racial slurs and racist tropes under the guise of public comment, city officials were caught off guard, stymied by how to balance free speech rights and the California Brown Act’s open meeting regulations with stopping hate speech. Some cities are now taking a proactive approach. Brian Pierik, contract city attorney for Carmel and Pacific Grove, shared with the P.G. City Council in a written report that under the Brown Act council meetings are limited public forums where the council may put restrictions on speech that is outside of the agenda or the council’s legislative scope. Individuals who engage in such speech will be warned, and if they continue, muted. Pierik suggested including an agenda statement outlining what will happen if speakers run afoul of the limits. (Carmel already uses the statement on its agendas.) The matter was continued during the Pacific Grove Council’s Jan. 17 meeting to a future date. Good: There is good news for easy public access to statewide and local history. The California Digital Newspaper Collection (viewable at cdnc.ucr.edu), which is run out of UC Riverside and administered by the California State Library, announced Jan. 22 that 2.7 million pages have been added to the collection from dozens of titles. A treasure trove of material has been added from Salinas-based newspapers. The website, where one can literally read each issue on the page—though the text can be tiny and hard to make out sometimes— will now feature all the issues of the Californian from 1929 to 2001, as well as issues from two newspapers that few locals have likely heard of: the Salinas Daily Journal from 1889 to 1899 and the Salinas Index Journal from 1905 to 1942. That’s a lot of rough, but readers can only assume there are many diamonds nestled within. Dig in. GREAT: In times of emergencies, it’s good to have friends, and in the case of Nanao, Japan, which was devastated by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 1, it has good friends on this side of the ocean who want to help. Nanao and Monterey have been sister cities since 1995. When the earthquake hit, members of the Monterey Peninsula-Nanao Friendship Association, an informal hospitality group to welcome visitors from the sister city, reached out to their contacts in Nanao to make sure they were safe. They asked Monterey Mayor Tyller Williamson to send a letter of encouragement, which he did on Jan. 3. Association members also set up the MPFNA Nanao Earthquake Relief Fund at the Community Foundation for Monterey County to raise money to send to relief agencies in Japan (more at monterey.org/sistercitynanao). Monterey City Council gave $25,000 to the fund. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY Increase in health plan spending on prescription drugs in California in 2022 compared to 2021. Health plans paid about $12.1 billion for prescription drugs in 2022, when drugs accounted for 14.2% of total health plan premiums. Source: California Department of Managed Health Care Prescription Drug Cost Transparency Report $1.3 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “It was all local guys. It speaks volumes.” -Midfielder Miguel Guerrero from MBFC2, who was one of about 90 players that tried out on Jan. 20 for Monterey Bay F.C. Team management says a goal is to recruit local talent (see story, mcweekly.com). billion Join the conversation! Participate in a Community Input Session and provide your perspective on MPC’s Mission, Vision & Values • February 2 (Friday): 12pm - 1:30pm Monterey Campus (LF-103) & on Zoom • February 6 (Tuesday): 3pm - 4:30pm Monterey Campus (LF-103) • February 7 (Wednesday): 5:30pm - 7pm Monterey Campus (LF-103) For more information: visit www.mpc.edu/ShapeMPC HAPPY HOUR SUNDAY BREAKFAST 4PM TO 6PM LATE NIGHT 9PM TO 10PM 9:30AM TO 11AM Catch all your favorite teams on 18 HDTV’s LOCATED BEHIND THE PORTOLA HOTEL & SPA | COMPLIMENTARY PARKING (831) 649-2699 | PETERBSBREWPUB.COM VOTED BEST SPORTS BAR BY MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY READERS!