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Monterey County Weekly: New apps take high school bullying and threats to a new level.

April 21, 2016

57180899519c1.imageIt’s a teenager’s worst nightmare: naked selfies sent to another teen in an act of foolish confidence end up online, where they are openly displayed for their classmates’ intrigue and ridicule.

This happened to a few students at Monterey High School over the winter. Classmates say the betrayal of having pictures posted they thought would be kept private by the recipient kept some kids from school for a few days.

When they finally returned, their humiliation was palpable.

Posting nude photos of underage people is a crime (even if the one doing the posting is also underage), and while the Monterey Police Department has investigated the incidents, there are few leads that could result in an arrest.

Read more at Monterey County Weekly…


Monterey County Weekly: Millennials can swing elections this year, but will they vote?

March 19, 2016

CSUMB senior Elizabeth Hensley discusses her thoughts on current politics.

This year millennials will match the Baby Boomers, those between 52 and 70 years old, as the generation with the largest pool of eligible voters. By 2020 they’re projected to be the largest by a margin of 6 percent. They have also replaced Generation X, 36 – to 51-year-olds, as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce.

It’s a generation born into high healthcare costs, skyrocketing student debt and a more fragmented job market that pushes precarious, gig-based work as opposed to the steady jobs known to previous generations.

But it remains to be seen if this generation will throw its weight around and help shape the results of this year’s presidential, state and local elections.

Read more at Monterey County Weekly…

Monterey County Weekly: Cartels target Big Sur for big drug shipments

February 21, 2016

56b2978e2a190.imageOn June 8, 2015, several men left port in Punta Banda, a peninsula just south of Ensenada in Baja California, and motored out to sea in a 30-foot skiff called a panga.

Pangas don’t attract much attention in Baja, as they are common for local fishermen to use.

Only Juan Antonio Rojo, Jose Burgueno Sanchez, Victor Sandoval, Jesus Isrealas Carrion Corrales and likely a few others weren’t in search of fish. They were looking to land something much more lucrative: a $2 million-plus payout for a successful shipment of marijuana.

Their destination: Big Sur. With extensive wilderness and minimal law enforcement, the region lends itself to clandestine activity. The pangas’ low profile and two high-horsepower engines make them hard to spot and speedy in case of pursuit.

Few people who make land in Big Sur with a cache of drugs ever get apprehended. Not so for this group.

Read more at Monterey County Weekly…

National Fisherman: The boom and bust of Pacific sardines

January 31, 2016

IMG_3040I wrote this last fall for National Fisherman’s North Pacific Focus on my failed experience chasing the few remaining schools of Pacific sardines.

Last April I received a text from an old captain telling me his boat was in Reedsport, Ore., and that they needed a replacement deckhand for sardines. The Pacific Coast was dry with a looming closure of the fishery for the 2015- 16 season imminent. They were fishing the last of the 2014-15 quota, after most boats from California to Washington preferred to stay tied up rather than test their luck in the empty seas. A local crabber claimed there were schools of sardines as far as the eye could see out- side Winchester Bay, so a market was set up and a few lucky seiners came in.

The few boats shing had already landed nearly a million pounds each. With an ex-vessel price in excess of $350 a metric ton, they were raking in money. Tax Day was fast approaching and the IRS demanded money I didn’t have, so I packed up my things and hightailed it to Oregon, even though I felt like a cowboy chasing after the least heard of buffalo on the Great Plains.

Under current regulation, the Pacific sardine fishery must be shut down when the biomass falls below the cutoff threshold of 150,000 metric tons. NOAA biologists found there to be less than 100,000 metric tons in 2015. On April 12, the Pacific Fishery Management Council said there would be no directed sardine fishery from July 1, 2015, to June 31, 2016.

Read more…

Monterey County Weekly: Testing out the naked yoga experience

January 23, 2016

569ff8b0ac844.imageOm Oasis yoga teacher Sterling Taylor and I make small talk about our past lives in Oakland as we pull off our underwear to begin our 60-minute session of yoga-in-the-buff. We move to the mats, kneel in the Vajrasana pose and begin to focus on our breathing.

I’m calm but I still can’t shake the wariness of contorting my bare body in ways that will expose parts of me I haven’t seen.

On principle, I try to blast any hang-ups I have about being naked in the presence of others. From prior experience I know once you get over the curiosity of viewing parts typically hidden, they just become parts. Breasts, buttocks, penises and vaginas are just as normal as noses, cheeks, eyes and chins when sexualized thoughts are absent.

“For me this is about experiencing non-sexual male intimacy,” Taylor says to me in the thankfully warm studio. “That said, if you – or if I – get an erection, it’s really no big deal, those things can happen.”

Read more at Monterey County Weekly…

The Vermont Cynic: 2004 Interview with Bernie Sanders

January 11, 2016

bernie_2In 2004-05, I was lucky enough to have been the Editor-in-Chief of the Vermont Cynic, the student newspaper at the University of Vermont. In that time I interviewed many politicians looking to court the college vote. Bernie Sanders was memorable in that he told me—straight up—he didn’t care for my questions about socialism, third-party candidates and the popular Vermont Progressive Party. His main—ultimately failing—goal was to make sure George W. Bush didn’t see a second term in the White House.

Vermont Cynic: How important is this year’s election, and why should college students to be active participants?

Bernie Sanders: This election is the most important election in American history, or at least modern American history. It is especially important for young people and my campaign is trying to get as many people involved in the political process as is possible.

Read more…

Monterey County Weekly: Housing the homeless requires political will and a lot of cash, but are local efforts more than smoke and mirrors?

December 21, 2015

David Lopez woke up wet and shivering on the ground behind a row of hedges in downtown Monterey. To say he woke up might be saying too much. The chilly night didn’t give him much rest. As the first pedestrians of the day started walking by his sleeping quarters, he pulled himself up, brushed off as much mud as he could and made his way down to the waterfront hoping he could find company with one of his few friends.

Lopez is a sturdily built man who once lived a violent life on the streets of Salinas, but at 66, life outside is wearing on him. He says he feels tired. He looks exhausted. He wonders if a trip to the ER or a night or two in jail might make him feel better. But what he really wants is a backpack, or better yet, a blanket. His was stolen a few days earlier, making life in the darkening days of late November harder than normal.

He walks toward Cannery Row where his friend Douglas slept on the beach. Douglas finds himself on the streets for a different reason: Substance abuse and likely mental illness stripped him of his tenuous hold on a working-class existence. Lopez, on the other hand, says he was released from prison in 2012 after spending 35 years behind bars, a senior citizen with no family to stay with, and no marketable skills.

Read more at Monterey County Weekly…