Santa Maria gyms fail to enforce facemasks as coronavirus infections spike

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”

Why aren’t Americans wearing facemasks to prevent spread of coronavirus?

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?”

Juneteenth: Facing the realities of slavery in America

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”

Rallies planned at Santa Maria City Hall for City Council budget hearing on June 16

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”

Deep Dive: Protests, police, racism, and authoritarianism in America

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”

UPDATED: SLO Sheriff responds to ambush shooter, posits protests as possible motive

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.

Santa Maria gun stores cleaned out of inventory since Sunday unrest

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”

Santa Maria NAACP and police prepare for peaceful Thursday vigil as community groups targeted for Sunday’s unrest

BY JOE PAYNE On the day George Floyd was senselessly murdered in Minneapolis, Minn., the Central Coast’s branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held multiple vigils, but not for Floyd. They were meeting to raise awareness of police brutality over the killings of Amaud Arbery, who was shot downContinue reading “Santa Maria NAACP and police prepare for peaceful Thursday vigil as community groups targeted for Sunday’s unrest”

A Sense of Proportion in Santa Maria’s Response to Sunday’s Protest and Unrest

It’s about 24 hours since glass was smashed at the Santa Maria Town Center and a dozen thrill seekers tore through the building, smashing liquor bottles and windows, with a couple even getting away with merchandise looted from at least one store. I’m typing this from home where I have been since before the 9Continue reading “A Sense of Proportion in Santa Maria’s Response to Sunday’s Protest and Unrest”

Live coverage: Black Lives Matter protest in Santa Maria, California, May 31, 2020

The Black Lives Matter protest in Santa Maria, California today went marching by my home, so I did what any self-respecting journalist would do and ran outside! My phone had enough battery for about 30 minutes of live streaming, which includes the march along Broadway back to the Santa Maria City Hall where protestors satContinue reading “Live coverage: Black Lives Matter protest in Santa Maria, California, May 31, 2020”