Independent journalist Joe Payne interviews Jacob Town, co-owner of The Spoon Trade, about the challenges of running a restaurant post-COVID.
By Joe Payne On the day that advocates and community members called for protections for Santa Maria Valley farmworkers hit hard by COVID-19 infection rates, Leo Begario Chavez-Alvarado passed away. A guest worker who worked in Santa Maria for Alco Harvesting, Chavez-Alvarado was tested for coronavirus after he died July 7. The test came backContinue reading “Farmworker infected with coronavirus dies in Santa Maria guest-worker housing”
By Joe Payne The two most direct governing bodies to the Central Coast’s current coronavirus hotspot, Santa Maria, received a dire warning from a community advocate for the local farmworker and indigenous immigrant population regarding the COVID-19 infection rate: “We are literally a ticking time bomb.” Hazel Davalos, the organizing director for CAUSE (Central CoastContinue reading “Advocates call for regulation as Santa Maria farmworkers suffer most from coronavirus infection”
By Joe Payne As the coronavirus infection rate in Santa Maria continues to rise, several local gyms are lax on state-mandated face covering requirements for members. When called and asked if visitors needed facemasks, staff at four prominent gyms along Broadway confirmed that customers could remove their masks once beginning workouts and were only requiredContinue reading “Santa Maria gyms fail to enforce facemasks as coronavirus infections spike”
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., infecting millions, why do so many Americans resist the most simple remedy to the transmission of the virus—facemasks? For my latest video, I take a look at some of motivations and influences for those who still resist this simple measure despite all the evidence of howContinue reading “Why aren’t Americans wearing facemasks to prevent spread of coronavirus?”
By Joe Payne As a student of history, I have liked to think I have some shred of understanding of the pain and plight that people of color face, where it comes from and why, especially concerning black and indigenous Americans. But no matter how much I think I know, learning more continually illuminates myContinue reading “Juneteenth: Facing the realities of slavery in America”
By Joe Payne The Santa Maria city budget is under scrutiny, but for divergent reasons. Two local groups plan to rally outside City Hall on Tuesday, June 16, just before a budget hearing to call for changes they want to see. The Santa Maria City Council proposed cutting services and staffing after a massive drainContinue reading “Rallies planned at Santa Maria City Hall for City Council budget hearing on June 16”
Some issues are so complex that they require more than a 10-minute YouTube video. For my first “Deep Dive” episode of Political Payne, I take a look at the ongoing protests against police brutality in the United States and how they’ve been colored by a disturbing authoritarian overreach by law enforcement and the federal government.Continue reading “Deep Dive: Protests, police, racism, and authoritarianism in America”
Less than 24 hours after an unnamed gunman ambushed a SLO County Sheriff’s Office deputy and Paso Robles Police Department officers in the early morning of June 10, SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson led a press conference about the incident, mentioning nationwide protests against police brutality as a possible motive, despite an admitted lack of hard evidence.
At Get R Gun in Santa Maria, there’s barely a single firearm left in the display case that earlier this week was filled with handguns. Ever since Sunday, May 31, the day a large Black Lives Matter protest downtown was followed hours later in the evening by a scene of unrest, some violence, destruction ofContinue reading “Santa Maria gun stores cleaned out of inventory since Sunday unrest”