Interview: Owning a restaurant in the age of COVID, with Jacob Town

Independent journalist Joe Payne interviews Jacob Town, co-owner of The Spoon Trade, about the challenges of running a restaurant post-COVID.

Farmworker infected with coronavirus dies in Santa Maria guest-worker housing

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”

Advocates call for regulation as Santa Maria farmworkers suffer most from coronavirus infection

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”

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?”

Has Donald Trump and his administration made the coronavirus crisis worse?

I decided to jump head first into a very complicated topic for my latest video: Has the president made the coronavirus crisis worse in the United States? It’s hard to argue otherwise considering the late response, disjointed measures, and straight-up denialism that Trump and his appointees have employed. A crisis demands leadership, but it alsoContinue reading “Has Donald Trump and his administration made the coronavirus crisis worse?”

How Nancy Pelosi has failed to lead during the coronavirus crisis

In an effort to live up to my name as a Political Payne, and after sharing a good amount of my critique of the Republican Party and the right wing in American politics, it’s time to share my views on the Democratic Party and its response to the coronavirus crisis, and thusly annoy those onContinue reading “How Nancy Pelosi has failed to lead during the coronavirus crisis”

Who’s to blame for the mess we’re in?

Hello readers, both returning and those seeing my page for the first time! The Santa Maria Times shared an opinion piece by me today that is in rebuttal to a column by local conservative radio show host Andy Caldwell, which criticized California’s coronavirus response and Gov. Gavin Newsom. Here is my rebuttal, hope you enjoyContinue reading “Who’s to blame for the mess we’re in?”

COVID-19 conspiracy theories are just like any other

We knew it was bound to happen. Today’s conspiracy theorists are always prepared to have a reactionary response to negative news, but the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis has spawned some novel nonsense. As I highlight in this video, conspiracy theories are nothing new, and in some cases, the latest are created by the same cast ofContinue reading “COVID-19 conspiracy theories are just like any other”

Don’t be a #COVIDIOT

I must have recorded and re-recorded my first YouTube installment of Political Payne at least a dozen times. All respect to most YouTubers who make it look so easy, but I’ll admit, I struggled to find the right balance of news and opinion, the right tone to take, and the length and number of issuesContinue reading “Don’t be a #COVIDIOT”