Local Votes Left To Count. Santa Cruz Plans To Reopen Schools. Curtain Closes At Osio Theater.

Nov 6, 2020

Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup for 11/6/20. Here you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few select national stories from NPR.

First the good news -- this election had the highest voter turnout in 120 years. The LA Times reports 66.9 percent of eligible voters in the United States cast a ballot. The last time that happened was before the Wright brothers’ first successful airplane flight at Kitty Hawk. And it happened despite a pandemic that recently broke the U.S. record for new daily cases and 171,000 new applications for unemployment on Thursday. In a divided nation, the fact that Americans are engaged enough to participate in our democracy in the largest number in a century, should give us all hope after an anxious and confusing week.

Throughline, a weekly podcast that goes “back in time to understand the present,” helps us grasp the history of the Electoral College system. 

As we anxiously wait for final results, newspapers around the country have gone to print with the race still hanging in the balance. NPR shared a collection of front pages on Wednesday.

People from around the world have been closely watching the U.S. election. The French widely support Joe Biden. But as NPR Paris Correspondent Eleanor Beardsley reported, Europe’s relationship with America may fundamentally change regardless of who becomes president. Here’s what world leaders said mid-week about the election. 

A sign directs in-person voters to a polling place in Monterey.
Credit Michelle Loxton

An estimated 41,600 ballots still need to be counted in Monterey County as of Wednesday morning, according to the elections office. That includes about 32,000 vote-by-mail ballots and 9,600 provisional ballots. In Santa Cruz County, they are all caught up, according to the county registrar. They plan to do provisional ballots next week. In San Benito County, an estimated 5,500 vote-by-mail ballots and about 200 provisional ballots still need to be processed for tally as of Thursday afternoon, according to the elections office. (All of these numbers don’t include vote-by-mail ballots that are postmarked on Nov. 3 and can be received up until November 20.) 

Poll workers have been working hard counting ballots and helped in-person voters on Election Day. KAZU’s Michelle Loxton reported on what pandemic election preparedness for November 3 looked like. 

KAZU News brought you live special election coverage Tuesday evening from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. You can continue to stay up-to-date on the results for local candidate races, measures and state propositions online. You can also follow NPR’s election coverage.   

Young voters made their voices heard this election. KAZU’s Erika Mahoney interviewed four local young voters, some of them first-time voters, about why they voted and what it meant to them. You can listen to their responses here

A Monterey County Youth Summit will take place November 13. The theme is Race to Equity.
Credit California State University Monterey Bay

A Monterey County Youth Summit will take place next Friday, November 13 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The theme is Race to Equity and will focus on issues of race in Monterey County and around the nation. Ise Lyfe, an artist, justice advocate and professor from Oakland, is the featured speaker. Middle school, high school and college students are encouraged to join the webinar and “non-youths” can participate too. Register for the event here. Cal State University Monterey Bay is sponsoring the summit. KAZU is licensed to CSUMB.  

Did you know the Panetta Institute for Public Policy trains young people to gain firsthand experience for congressional internships? The goal of the program is to give students an inside look at public service and help pave a pathway for political careers. AT&T California recently contributed $200,000 toward the Congressional Internship Program. The contribution will allow the Panetta Institute to work with a growing number of diverse students. The 23 CSU presidents and three private universities in Northern California nominate students for the program. Following a two-week course at the Panetta Institute, interns head to Washington, D.C. Each is assigned to an office of the California congressional delegation.

At the beginning of the week, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education hosted a Town Hall to share their plans for expansion of in-person instruction. It comes after the county moved into the orange tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which loosens and tightens restrictions on certain activities depending on community spread of COVID-19. Schools in the county plan to gradually move towards a hybrid learning system, which includes in-person and distance learning, by January 2021. But certain safety precautions have to be in place at each school before this can happen. This includes surveillance testing, contact tracing and addressing teachers and parents concerns. There’s also a chance that in-person instruction could be suspended or reduced, by districts or public health, if there’s an outbreak. 

San Benito County remains in the more restrictive “red” or “substantial” tier. Monterey County remains in the most restrictive “purple” or “widespread” tier. 

COVID-19 Updates as of Friday morning:

The U.S. set a new record for daily COVID-19 cases; 121,888 new confirmed cases were recorded Thursday by Johns Hopkins University. The Midwest, Great Plains, Mountain West and Northeast are all dealing with rising numbers. As the colder months creep closer, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the country is poorly positioned. And we’re not alone. Across the Atlantic Ocean, second rounds of lock-downs are happening in England, Germany, Poland, and parts of Italy.

Influenza or flu season has officially begun locally and public health officials are continuing to encourage the public to go get a flu shot, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. In Monterey County they’ve already vaccinated around 2,000 people at their various free clinics. The county has another event today (Friday, November 6) at the Salinas Regional Soccer Complex. In Santa Cruz County you can make use of their ‘Vaccine Finder”

Like so many holidays in 2020, Día de los Muertos looked a lot different this year. Carrie Kahn and Mandalit del Barco, NPR correspondents who have both been speakers at KAZU member events, covered Día de los Muertos in a pandemic. Khan reported from Mexico City and del Barco reported from East Los Angeles. Both take us on journeys that illustrate the toll of loss. 

Osio Cinema and Cafe Lumiere are closing amid the recession. The Osio was the only theatre in the area that showed independent films. Visitors felt like they were stepping back in time when you showed up for a film. You could order pie and wine from Cafe Lumiere to take into the theater and the spice options for popcorn ranged from classic salt to turmeric. The Osio showed films like Kedi, about the cats who roam Istanbul, and The Assistant, about the reality of working for an entertainment executive. On Instagram, fans poured out their support for these two places. 

This Friday morning, Monterey County hosted its 2020 Veteran of Year Awards Ceremony. The event was virtual and streamed via Zoom. According to the county’s Military and Veterans Affairs, this event means a lot to the nearly 18,000 military households who reside in Monterey County. For some, particularly the Vietnam vets, this is an opportunity to be recognized for their service -- something some say they didn’t really receive when they returned from war many years ago. 13 veterans will be honored this year. Veterans Day takes place Wednesday, November 11

The National Weather Service has been warning for the last few days that a cold front is arriving in the region today. It’s expected to bring wind, showers and much cooler weather through the weekend. Wind and high surf advisories were also announced. Be alert for waves up to 24 feet. 

Until next week,

The KAZU Team