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Monitoring the Monitor – AVs, Cannabis, Wildfires, Creeks, League Day, & Facebook

Keeping tabs on some of the Monitor‘s recent articles…

Developments in the world of autonomous vehicles continue to accelerate since Cecily O’Connor’s October/November 2017 Monitor cover story on the subject. The primary focus of that article, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s GoMentum Station, will host the 2018 Redefining Mobility Summit on March 29, where the latest advances in this rapidly moving field will be discussed. Similar upcoming opportunities to learn about AVs and related technologies are being offered by the Environmental Forum of Marin (The Future of Transportation on March 14) and the Urban Innovation Fund (Autonomous Mobility & the Future of Cities on April 25).


For her December 2017/January 2018 Monitor article on marijuana legalization’s expected impact on trespass grows, Aleta George spoke to California Growers Association Executive Director Hezekiah Allen, who concluded, “We can either regulate the supply, or it can hide in our wildernesses. That’s up to the policymakers.” Since then, Allen’s organization has reported that few cannabis cultivators are participating in the state’s licensing program, imperiling the tax revenue stream necessary to take action against trespass grows. A recent article from the news collaborative The Cannifornian outlines the situation, and contains a link to the CGA report.


The Bay Area Air Quality Management District figured prominently in Leslie Stewart’s December 2017/January 2018 Monitor cover story about the efforts of authorities to communicate with the public about air quality during October’s Northern California wildfires. Earlier this month at San Francisco’s Bay Area Metro Center, Air District officials discussed the wildfires at length for an installment of the Metro Talks speaker series. Shirlee Zane, Lisa Fasano, Judith Cutino, Eric Stevenson, and Wayne Kino touched on how public messages were conveyed during the calamity, and explained how lessons learned from that episode might be applied during future regional disasters.


Last fall, Robin Meadows interviewed Jeff Miller, executive director of the Alameda Creek Alliance, for her October/November 2017 Monitor article on restoring migratory fish in the Bay Area. Miller has been working with several government agencies to remove barriers that prevent steelhead trout from spawning in the Alameda Creek watershed, but now his organization finds itself taking a less collaborative approach. The nonprofit recently filed lawsuits against Caltrans to safeguard the watershed from harm posed by forthcoming roadway and bridge projects along the Niles Canyon Corridor.


On February 3, the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area hosted its 2018 Bay Area League Day forum, this year addressing the topic of regional governance. Expert speakers representing government, business, and the nonprofit sector addressed the benefits and drawbacks of regional thinking in the Bay Area. The February/March 2018 edition of the Monitor, which includes a special insert section developed in conjunction with the event, was distributed to attendees. Comprehensive documentation of the event — including handouts, photos, and video — are available at the League’s website.


Finally, the intentional dormancy of the Monitor Facebook page that we announced last month continues indefinitely as we continue to deliberate over how best to cultivate our publication’s online presence. In the meantime, WIRED magazine published an illuminating cover story about the social media company’s pivot away from publishers. The thorough article details Facebook’s tumultuous relationship with journalism over the past couple years, and how its leadership has grappled with the revelations that their product influenced the 2016 presidential election. This article represents a valuable read in consideration of how we receive information, now and into the future.



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