Thursday, October 28, 1999
The house and car of CSU Monterey Bay President Peter Smith and his wife, Sally, were vandalized early Saturday morning. According to a campuswide e-mail written by Smith, a group of young men made the attack around 3am Saturday, slashing his wife's tires, keying her car, and pelting the house with eggs and paint-balls.
"They had been sneaking around our house in the middle of the night," Smith wrote. "There was a knife. Did they want to hurt our animals? Us?"
Smith says that he chased one of the men but was unable to overtake him before he jumped into a car and sped away. CSUMB spokesperson Holly White says Smith was able to make a partial identification on the getaway car, and police are now searching for the vehicle.
In his e-mail message, Smith attributes the attack to a controversy that's been plaguing him for several months. Minority groups, particularly Latinos, have accused the president of failing to foster ethnic diversity among faculty and staff. According to his e-mail, Smith believes certain groups may be trying to run him off campus. He compared the anonymous assault to tactics used by anti-abortion extremists and Ku Klux Klan members.
"Since last spring," wrote Smith, "there has been a continuing attack directed at Sally and me by a few members of this campus community. The point has been to make life so unpleasant for us that we will leave the university. That will not succeed."
With the explosive growth of the Information Superhighway, TV, movies, and other media, today's kids are exposed to more violent images than ever--and some viewers can be overwhelmed.
These concerns led to the creation of the Monterey Bay Media Literacy Initiative in 1997. Part of a nationwide campaign to make programming less violent, the group promotes media awareness among parents, children, and teachers.
Today in Salinas, the Media Literacy Alliance meets to discuss the dozen community projects launched two years ago to inform the public about its work, teach kids how to consume media responsibly, and gather support and ideas for the future.
"We're not promoting censorship," says coordinator Brenda Shinault. "Kids get more information from visual images than textbooks now, so we focus on that media. This is a long-term effort, like the anti-tobacco campaign."
One of the alliance's most successful projects is "Near Peer," which teams CSUMB students with elementary schoolkids to teach them how TV and films affect their behavior.
"Kids have grown up in this media culture, so college students know what it's like," explains Shinault. Being closer in age to the CSUMB students than their parents, younger kids may be more apt to listen to new ideas about violence in the media.
Other programs piloted by the Media Literacy Alliance focus on the media's impact on society in general. The primary goal, says Shinault, is to "help people access life-affirming information," while trying to influence the media industry to produce more positive shows, video games, and movies.
Today's meeting is from 4-6pm at the Salinas Adult School, 20 Sherwood Place. For more information call 753-4918.
Free the Fees
The city of Santa Cruz has declared itself nuclear-free. Come March, a group hopes to pass an initiative that will make Surftown, USA, a hate-free city as well.
But perhaps no movement will be more appreciated by the masses than a campaign to make Santa Cruz ATM-fee free. An ordinance to ban the pesky charges is being mulled by city officials.
Santa Cruz isn't the only city looking to go fee free. In a growing movement throughout the state, a number of cities and counties are vying to outlaw those annoying little--and sometimes not so little--surcharges that banks charge to use their automatic teller machines.
On Oct. 12, Santa Monica became the country's first city to take the ATM bullies by the horns and ban the fees. Measure F, a voter initiative on San Francisco's Nov. 2 ballot, would ban surcharges there. Similar movements are on the rise in Berkeley and Santa Clara County.
What's the beef? Financial institutions charge the fees to ATM users who are not their customers, therefore putting small banks and credit unions--and their customers--at a disadvantage.
If you live or work in North Monterey, here's your chance let it all hang out. Monterey city mothers and fathers are hosting a "community connection" public forum tonight to address issues of special concern to Monterey's North Fremont neighborhood.
Revitalizing the North Fremont area and developing community-based policing and problem-solving programs are among the City Council's top priorities. Mayor Dan Albert and councilmembers will be on hand tonight to talk about these issues, as well as hear citizens' concerns on any North Fremont matter.
The meeting will be at the Casanova Oak Knoll Community Center, 735 Ramona Ave., from 7-9pm. Refreshments will be served, and babysitting for 3- to 12-year-olds will be provided. (Call 646-3760 to reserve a spot for your child.) Interested folks who can't attend can e-mail suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax them to 646-3793, or leave a voice-mail at 646-3799.
Good Corporate Citizen
Say what you will about the Pebble Beach Company, but everyone's favorite corporate whipping-boy has been officially commended for its environmental good deeds.
For the second year in a row, the company has received a waste-reduction award from the California Integrated Waste Management Board. Last year, Pebble Beach generated more than 2,500 tons of compost (from grass clippings and "forest waste") and recycled 326 tons of glass, cardboard, and paper.
Among 566 California businesses recognized for their waste-reduction efforts, only 10--including Pebble Beach--received top honors. Hats off!
If you're a high school student with at least a "B" grade-point average, or a college student with a "B-plus" average or better, you may qualify for a $1,000 college scholarship from the Educational Communications Scholarship Foundation. Recipients will be chosen based on academic performance and involvement in extracurricular activities, with consideration for financial need.
To apply, write Educational Communications Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 5012, Lake Forest, Ill., 60045-5012; fax your request to (847) 295-3972; or send an e-mail email@example.com. Completed applications must be received by Dec. 16.