California school district to pay $15.75 million to settle suit over student asthma attack death
A California school district has agreed to pay more than $15 million to the family of a student who died in 2019 after she had an asthma attack on campus, the family’s attorneys announced.
The Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District in Southern California will pay Edith Sepulveda $15.75 million and adopt new safety protocols to settle a lawsuit over the death of her 13-year-old daughter Adilene Carrasco.
According to the lawsuit, Carrasco had a known history of asthma attacks at school. Two such attacks had been documented in an online database and her student profile, which teachers are required to review, indicated she had asthma, according to the lawsuit.
On Oct. 31, 2019, Carrasco’s eighth grade science class at Mesa View Middle School held a “pumpkin chuckin’ contest” activity on the school's field to celebrate Halloween. Students walked approximately 366 yards from the classroom to the field. Part of the walk involved going down a hill on a long ramp, according to the suit. More
How did California yo-yo from a $100 billion surplus to a projected $25 billion shortfall — in just one year?
As the state teeters on the brink of a recession, California is in for a dizzying reversal likely to send us plunging from a record $100 billion surplus to a projected $25 billion shortfall next year, according to sobering new data from the state’s fiscal analyst.
The grim news isn’t as shocking as the numbers — the entire nation is grappling with inflation and soaring interest rates, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has been warning a downturn is coming. But the gloomy predictions — which, if true, would reflect the state’s weakest performance since the Great Recession — could impact everything from efforts to fight homelessness and climate change to the state’s ability to finish key transportation projects to Newsom’s political future.
“The numbers are pretty stark,” said Matt Regan, senior vice president of public policy for the Bay Area Council. “$25 billion is a very, very large sum of money.” More
California's strawberry fields may not be forever. Could robots help?
In a strawberry field surrounded by strawberry fields on the outskirts of Santa Maria, a pair of robots have been picking berries all summer.
Each robot, made by a Colorado company called Tortuga AgTech, trundles between the elevated beds on rugged wheels, then stops in front of a plant. An articulated arm maneuvers its sensor array among the leaves; machine vision software scours the sensor data in search of ripe berries.
Most California strawberry plants sprout constantly over the course of the season—little green berries sitting alongside fat red ones, nestled among the leaves. If an unripe berry is in the way, the robot repositions for a better angle. A snipper-grabber mounted in the middle of the sensors jabs in to cut the berry's stem, then gingerly places it in a waiting plastic clamshell in a compartment at the robot's base. The motion calls to mind a bird hunting, peering and pecking for insects. More
In leaked audio, L.A. council members make racist remarks, mock colleagues
Three Latino members of the Los Angeles City Council and a top county labor official held a conversation last fall that included racist remarks, derisive statements about their colleagues and council President Nury Martinez saying a white councilman handled his young Black son as though he were an “accessory,” according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by The Times.
Martinez, while discussing Councilman Mike Bonin’s child, said, “Parece changuito,” or “He’s like a monkey,” soon afterward. A few minutes after Martinez discussed Bonin’s son, the topic of conversation moved to Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, who was facing growing political opposition.
“F— that guy,” Martinez said, followed by something inaudible. “He’s with the Blacks.” More
Decomposing HUMAN remains can legally be used as compost from 2027 thanks to new California law aimed at tackling climate change
California will begin offering the option of human composting after death thanks to a bill recently signed into law that aims to tackle climate change.
Human composting, also known as natural organic reduction (NOR), would be an option for residents who don't want to be buried or cremated upon their death - starting in 2027.
The process involves placing the body inside a long, reusable steel container along with wood chips and flowers to aerate it - allowing microbes and bacteria to do break down the remains.
Approximately one month later, the remains will fully decompose and be turned into soil. Advocates for the bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday, have said that NOR is a more climate-friendly option. More
Militia helping Oak fire evacuees creates furor in California town of Mariposa
The appearance of camouflage-clad militia members in the small Sierra foothills town of Mariposa, California, as the Oak fire raged nearby has sparked a furor in Mariposa County, with the local sheriff’s department praising the group for its help while some residents accused the militia of exploiting the disaster.
The California State Militia 2nd Regiment — whose website features pictures of men in military fatigues, helmets and assault-style rifles preparing for “the unrest yet to come” — set up a mobile kitchen trailer from Saturday evening through Monday morning in the parking lot of a lumber store in Mariposa, just southwest of the blaze that as of Monday morning had driven nearly 4,000 people from their homes while burning almost 17,000 acres.
There are about 150 members in the militia across California, and about 20 of them, including several Mariposa-area residents and others from nearby counties and one from Bakersfield, showed up to help feed evacuees and offer other services, said militia member Daniel Latner. More
California asks residents not to charge electric vehicles, days after announcing gas car ban
California is telling residents to refrain from charging their electric vehicles through Labor Day due to energy shortages. The state will suffer “Flex Alerts” and an energy shortage until after this weekend due to high temperatures.
As a result, residents will be asked to conserve electricity during afternoons and evenings, which means refraining from charging electric vehicles, among other uses.
On Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Independent System Operator issued a warning that Californians must “hold off on charging their electric vehicles.” More
California to Ban the Sale of New Gasoline Cars
WASHINGTON — California on Thursday is expected to put into effect its sweeping plan to prohibit the sale of new gasoline- powered cars by 2035, a groundbreaking move that could have major effects on the effort to fight climate change and accelerate a global transition toward electric vehicles.
“This is huge,” said Margo Oge, an electric vehicles expert who headed the Environmental Protection Agency’s transportation emissions program under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “California will now be the only government in the world that mandates zero-emission vehicles. It is unique.”
The rule, issued by the California Air Resources Board, will require that 100 percent of all new cars sold in the state by 2035 be free of the fossil fuel emissions chiefly responsible for warming the planet, up from 12 percent today. It sets interim targets requiring that 35 percent of new passenger vehicles sold in the state by 2026 produce zero emissions. That would climb to 68 percent by 2030. More
Nuke or no nuke? California officials ponder nuclear future
LOS ANGELES — The California Legislature has less than three weeks to determine if it will take an extraordinary step and attempt to extend the life of California's last operating nuclear plant, a decision that would be made amid looming questions over the cost and who would pay and earthquake safety risks.
The legislative session shuts down Aug. 31 — when all business is suspended — and only a rare special session called by Gov. Gavin Newsom could provide a longer period to consider the move. The Democratic governor seen as a possible future White House candidate has urged operator Pacific Gas & Electric to pursue a longer run beyond a scheduled closing by 2025, warning that the plant's power is needed to maintain reliable service as the state transitions to solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy. More
California Unveils Water Strategy, Planning for Greater Scarcity
California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a new water strategy on Thursday that plans for a future with 10% less water and shifts the emphasis from conservation to capturing more water that otherwise flows out to sea.
Climate change has contributed to more severe drought but has also set the stage for more intense flooding when rain does fall, as was demonstrated last week in California's Death Valley, one of the hottest, driest parts of the United States.
"The hots are getting a lot hotter, the dries are getting a lot drier and ... the wets are getting wetter," Newsom said in announcing the plan at a desalination plant under construction in Antioch, 45 miles (72 km) inland from San Francisco, that will turn brackish water into drinking water. More
Longtime cop filed fake car insurance claims and swindled thousands, CA officials say
A veteran police officer was arrested in a fraud scheme that resulted in tens of thousands in payouts, officials said. Adam Eatia, a 15-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, was booked , June 24 on various charges including grand theft by false pretenses, insurance fraud and identity theft, SFPD announced Monday, June 27. Information for Eatia’s lawyer was not immediately available, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office told McClatchy News. Eatia began his scheme after he and a fellow police officer bought a 2018 Ford Mustang in spring 2018, according to a release from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. The fellow officer insured the car with Mercury Insurance under his own name. Eatia’s name did not appear on the policy. More
California to become first state to offer food benefits to some immigrants who live in U.S. illegally
SACRAMENTO — California is expected to be the first state to offer food benefits to immigrants residing in the U.S. illegally under a state budget plan revealed this week.
The unique policy fills in safety net gaps, as immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status are not eligible for federal benefits such as food stamps. But the new program benefits only Californians older than 55, dismissing pleas by anti-poverty advocates to cover all ages.
“All Californians, regardless of their age or where they were born, should have access to basic necessities like food and fair, steady wages. Yet needless barriers continue to exclude hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and families from critical, lifesaving services,” said Sarah Dar, a policy director at the California Immigrant Policy Center. More
Newsom and the Legislature want to cut marijuana taxes. Here’s why the industry isn’t happy
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers are poised to eliminate the tax on marijuana growers, in a bid to provide relief to the flagging industry.
However, some in the cannabis industry say that the tax cut doesn’t go far enough, with industry advocates arguing that they were shut out of the process. In a budget trailer bill, which will be voted on by state lawmakers later this summer, the cannabis cultivation tax paid by growers would be set to zero, while the excise tax — which will be shifted from distributors to retailers — will remain at 15% for at least the next three years. After that, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, in consultation with the Department of Finance and the Department of Cannabis Control, will have the power to adjust the excise tax upward to “capture revenues equivalent to the cultivation tax,” according to an Assembly budget document. More
The great white shark mystery: In Southern California, they're being spotted more than ever
CARPINTERIA, Calif. – The Shark Lab team is chasing shadows: dull, dark blurs that skulk in the turbid waters offshore as surfers navigate waves a hundred yards away. The sun and fog wage their perpetual battle for control of Southern California’s coastline.
Heavy swells and a stiff breeze eliminate the prospect of spotting dorsal fins slicing along the water’s surface. A drone is launched and buzzes overhead, looking for targets.
After a minute, the pilot radios to others: “We’ve got a tagged one. Just north of the rock pile.” It is a great white shark. More
Northern California gas station fires manager for setting price at 69 cents
A Rancho Cordova gas station manager says he was fired after accidentally setting the pump price at 69 cents. Customers filled up at the deep discount for three hours Thursday, Sacramento TV station KOVR reported. The loss to the Shell station was estimated at $16,000.
Former manager John Szczecina told KOVR that he reset prices for three grades of gasoline that day. “The last one kind of didn’t go, you know, right,” he said. He said he misplaced a decimal point on what was intended to be $6.99 a gallon for premium. He lost his job on Monday because of the error, he said.
Customer Darryl Surita told the TV station that he filled his tank for $14 during the glitch. “I started looking around … and everybody had a big smile and they kinda were not looking at you in your eyes,” he said. More
Mountain lion attacks woman in California. Dog badly hurt trying to defend her
A woman’s dog was badly wounded Monday while fighting off a mountain lion that attacked its owner, state wildlife officials say.
“I think it’s safe to assume that dog probably saved her life,” Capt. Patrick Foy of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in an exclusive interview Tuesday with The Sacramento Bee.
The attack happened in a remote area of Northern California just after 3 p.m. along Highway 299 in the Big Bar area in Trinity County, a four hour-drive northwest of Sacramento. The woman, whose name was not released, pulled off the side of the highway to go for a walk with her Belgian Malinois. More
'Excruciating': This working-class California county has the most expensive gas in the nation
LEE VINING, Calif. – About five hours north of Los Angeles and five hours east of San Francisco lies California's Mono County, a picturesque region known for its towering, snow-capped mountains and close proximity to Yosemite National Park.
It's also known for gas prices that are so high, AAA headquarters in Florida uses it to comfort other people complaining about their fuel costs.
“I always say, ‘Thank God you don’t live in Mono County,” said AAA spokesman Andy Gross. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the county topped $6.75 this week, the highest county average nationwide, with some stations charging as much as $7.19 in mid May. While people in more populous areas like Los Angeles County are paying an average of $6.06, they have more options to shop around than the 13,000 people who live in Mono County. More
'Substantial' weather pattern shift coming to California in May
The much-dreaded wildfire weather has entered the California forecast.
After a month of below average temperatures marked by a few weak storm systems delivering light rain and snow, the Golden State is expected to see dry, warm, windy weather over the next week, elevating the risk of wildfires sparking and spreading.
"In a substantial shift from recent pattern, it appears that CA will be persistently warmer than average for the rest of May," UCLA climatologist Daniel Swain tweeted Tuesday morning. "In fact, a pretty significant heatwave is possible next week. Meantime, strong winds in NorCal will increase fire weather concerns Thur/Fri." More
California COVID numbers keep rising with new variants, especially in Bay Area
California continues to see a rise in coronavirus transmission, as two highly contagious offshoots of the omicron variant remain on the rise across the U.S.
The latest statewide daily case rate is 16.1 per 100,000 residents, the California Department of Public Health said in a Tuesday update.
The case rate has increased by 25% in the past week and is up 71% compared to two weeks earlier, according to state data. State health officials on Tuesday reported the latest test positivity rate at 4.1%, up from 3.1% one week earlier and 2.7% two weeks earlier for California’s highest rate since Feb. 17. More
The not-so-secret meaning behind In-N-Out’s palm trees
In-N-Out is harboring a not-so-hidden secret about its restaurants, and no, it has nothing to with “animal-style” fries. Everybody already knows about those.
Look closely at the landscaping at most In-N-Out locations, and it’s likely you’ll notice at least a few palm trees planted around the perimeter. But two of those palms might seem slightly crooked, with crisscrossing trunks that form the shape of an “X.”
That “X” is entirely intentional — and it’s a nod to one of the founder’s favorite films.
“The founder of In-N-Out Burger, Harry Snyder, wanted to choose a symbol that would set In-N-Out apart from other restaurants,” explained Kathleen Luppi, In-N-Out’s communications specialist. “He decided on an idea he picked up from the movie ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ from the early 1960s.” More
California Official Sues After Chocolate Penis Package Delivery at Her Home
A local California official filed a lawsuit on Tuesday after receiving an unwelcome chocolate penis from a company called “Dick At Your Door.”
In her complaint filed in Ventura County Court, Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks said she received “‘a chocolate dick,’ an offensive 5-inch chocolate phallus with no redeeming social qualities, whatsoever.”
According to reports, Parks received a cardboard box with the word “Congratulations” printed on the outside. Inside contained the chocolate penis with the words “Eat a Dick” printed on the interior of the box. There was also a note included with the delivery read, “Enjoy your early retirement . . . You deserve it.” More
California Car Owners Could Get Up to an $800 Rebate to Help Offset Gas Prices
Californians who own cars could get up to $800 from the state to help offset record high gas prices under a proposal announced Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Registered owners would get $400 per vehicle, capped at two vehicles. People who own electric vehicles or others that don't use gasoline would qualify. But most businesses with fleets of vehicles would not be eligible.
Newsom says the rebates would cost the state about $9 billion. If approved by the state Legislature, the first payments could begin in July, the governor's office said. More
Thieves are targeting beehives in California
Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of beehives have been stolen across California this year, prompting beekeepers to place tracking devices on hives.
Hive thefts occur around this time of year when almond trees begin to bloom and beekeepers across the country ship billions of honeybees to California farmers in need of the bugs to pollinate the crops, the state’s most valuable export.
Over the past several weeks, more than 1,000 beehives worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been stolen across California, according to The Associated Press, including 384 beehives stolen from a field in Mendocino County. More
Fact or Fiction: California ran out of U-Hauls in 2021?
A story you may have seen claims so many people are leaving California that U-Haul ran out of trucks in our state.
It's apparently true. U-Haul put out a news release in which it said California was the state that saw the biggest loss of one-way U-Haul trucks in 2021.
In fact, U-Haul says it actually ran out of trucks to rent out here.
The top destination for U-Haul's trucks was Texas followed by Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Arizona. California's population has been steadily declining as more people leave the state while the number of people moving here has dropped. More
California mom takes legal action against school district 'after two teachers secretly manipulated her daughter, 11, into believing she was a transgender boy and gave tips on how to bind her breasts'
A California mother is taking legal action against a school district, claiming that two teachers secretly manipulated her 11-year-old daughter into believing she was a transgender boy.
Jessica Konen filed a legal claim against Spreckels Union School District last Wednesday - with that claim a likely precursor to a lawsuit. She alleges that Buena Vista Middle School teachers Lori Caldeira and Kelly Baraki 'planted a seed' in her daughter's head that she was bisexual, then went on to convince the youngster that she was actually a transgender boy.
Konen also claims that Caldeira and Baraki - who ran the school's 'You Be You' equality club - provided information for her daughter on how to bind her breasts to stop them developing. She says the school kept her in the dark about what was going on until a December 2019 meeting. More
Mountain lion seen in Bay Area neighborhood after killing other lion
An "aggressive" mountain lion was seen walking a residential street in Belmont after killing another lion early Wednesday morning.
According to the Belmont Police Department, the animal was seen on the 2500 block of Hastings Drive between Carlmont High School and Waterdog Lake and Open Space.
"The fight between the lions was heard only by the reporting citizen," Belmont police Lt. Pete Lotti told SFGATE over email. "The deceased lion was later located in the 2500 block of Hastings Dr. by the responding officer, and ultimately collected by the Department of Fish & Wildlife. The location of the remaining mountain lion is unknown at this time." More
Brazen Thieves Raid LA Rail Cargo Containers
LOS ANGELES — Thieves have been raiding cargo containers aboard trains near downtown Los Angeles for months, taking packages belonging to people across the U.S. and leaving the tracks blanketed with discarded boxes.
The packages are from retailers including Amazon, REI, and others, CBSLA reported last week. The sea of debris left behind includes items that the thieves apparently didn’t think were valuable enough to take.
While CBSLA cameras were on the scene, one person was spotted running off with a container used to hold small packages, and a Union Pacific railroad police officer was spotted pursuing two other people who were apparently going through packages. More
San Francisco officials issue warning of unauthorized COVID testing sites
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – It was around 11:30 Friday morning when the San Francisco Department of Public Health tweeted out this warning: Unauthorized COVID-19 test sites are popping up throughout the city.
KRON4 reached out to DPH and found that tweet was prompted by another tweet from two days ago offering free PCR COVID testing at this pop-up tent alongside Dolores Park. That’s not on the list of the city’s authorized testing sites and a site that unauthorized can raise questions about testing methods and results. More
California commission OKs poisoning plan for wildlife refuge
SAN FRANCISCO — The California Coastal Commission has approved a plan to poison invasive mice threatening rare seabirds on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
The agency that regulates California's coastline voted 5-3 Thursday night to approve a plan to drop about 3000 pounds (1,360 kilograms) of poisoned bait from helicopters onto the rocky islands off the San Francisco coast that are home to hundreds of thousands of breeding birds. The move still will require approval from the regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and even then it probably would be at least two years before the program gets underway, officials said.
The Farallon Islands refuge is home to an estimated 300,000 breeding seabirds, including the rare ashy storm-petrel. But officials say the population is threatened by mice that first arrived on the islands aboard ships more than a century ago.More
Southern California Edison faces $550M in penalties for 5 wildfires
SAN FRANCISCO — California regulators approved a settlement Thursday placing more than half a billion dollars in fines and penalties on the utility Southern California Edison for its role in five wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
The penalties relate to the Thomas, Woolsey, Rye, Meyers and Liberty fires. The Thomas fire, which burned in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, is the eighth-largest fire in California history, burning more than 439 square miles, according to state fire officials. Meanwhile, the Woolsey Fire that also tore through Ventura County ranks as the eighth-most destructive fire in state history, destroying more than 1,600 structures. Investigations found utility equipment sparked the fires.
Southern California Edison reached the settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission’s safety and enforcement division; it was then approved by the five-member commission. More
After 573 arrests last Christmas, CHP seeks to stop DUI drivers with ‘maximum enforcement period’
California Highway Patrol officers will be out in full force for the upcoming Christmas weekend as they work to keep DUI drivers off the road and ensure motorists make it to their holiday destinations safely.
CHP’s “maximum enforcement period” will start at 6:01 p.m. Friday and end 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to a Tuesday news release from the agency.
All available officers will be patrolling California roads during that time “for enhancement enforcement,” the release stated. They will also be helping motorists or pedestrians in need of assistance.
“Our goal is the same as yours, to make certain you arrive safely at your destination,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said in the release More
To protest COVID mandates, Oroville declared itself a 'constitutional republic'
For Oroville Vice Mayor Scott Thomson, the father of two young boys, Gov. Gavin Newsom's mandate requiring schoolchildren to be vaccinated against COVID-19 was the final straw.
He believed the government had no right to tell him what to put into his, or his children's, bodies. Many of his constituents agreed when it came to pandemic mandates.
And so, he came up with a grandiose, headline-grabbing nom de guerre for his small Northern California city. Oroville declared itself a constitutional republic. A place where the local leaders pledge to fight mandates they say go too far. More
When is food waste recycling coming to your neighborhood? An update on timeline
SAN DIEGO — The state will soon require Californians to cut down on trash sent to landfills by recycling their food waste.
The new requirements for organic waste laid out by Senate Bill 1383 go into effect next year. Californians will be expected to collect and recycle food scraps, such as egg shells, pieces of vegetable, bread and coffee grounds, while also recycling food-soiled paper, yard waste and nonhazardous wood.
Though the new state law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022, city-serviced residences won’t begin the new program until summertime, with a phased rollout to follow.
That’s because implementing a new food waste recycling program is no small feat, according to Prue. The City of San Diego services about 285,000 residences, some of which already have green bins for yard trimmings. The plan is to deliver 240,000 additional green pails to residents for their organic waste, along with small compost bins to house food scraps in kitchens. More
They fled L.A. for Joshua Tree during the pandemic. Now they face the reality of desert life
YUCCA VALLEY, Calif. — Tyler Gaul strode across the sprawling backyard of his Yucca Valley home and surveyed the rocky hillside a few steps away from the pool and basketball court that sit atop his 2-acre property. When he first moved to the desert from Los Angeles last fall, this jagged landscape granted him a sense of serenity as the crowded city he left behind grappled with a pandemic.
Gaul, who runs his own skin care company, knew it was time to move when he could no longer exercise outside his Echo Park apartment — his respite from stay-at-home orders — because of wildfire smoke polluting the air. Constant and worsening wildfires, paired with a public health crisis, proved to be too much. More
Iconic Target Store on Mission St to Close Amid Shoplifting Tidal Wave
Last week, after Walgreens announced that five additional outlets in San Francisco would be closing on top of the 17 that already have been shuttered since 2019, the company claimed that changes in both the law and prosecutor attitudes had made it impossible to run a profitable business in the city.
Mayor London Breed challenged that narrative. She attributed the closings to demographic shifts and the Chronicle dutifully reported that “the five stores slated to close had fewer than two recorded shoplifting incidents a month on average since 2018” (while acknowledging that few stores bother to report a crime that now routinely goes unpunished). Everyone who has stood in line at a drugstore and watched thieves shove hundreds of dollars of items down their pants knew that Breed was mistaken at best or lying at worst. Shoppers at the Target on Mission St are greeted by armed and uniformed SFPD. More
Rare white dolphin – ‘Casper’ – spotted days before Halloween in Monterey Bay
MONTEREY — In the days leading up to Halloween, a rare all-white dolphin named “Casper” has been frequenting the Monterey Bay. But sighting the perplexing creature isn’t a trick of the eyes, or just a spooky Halloween treat.
The dolphin actually visits the region quite often, according to Nancy Black, a marine biologist with Monterey Bay Whale Watch.
“You can see him any time of year, sometimes he stays for several months with his family and other Risso’s dolphins,” Black said. Monterey Bay Whale Watch staff spotted Casper twice in the last week during their expeditions. More
Coast Guard: 1,200-foot ship dragged California oil pipeline
Investigators believe a 1,200-foot (366-meter) cargo ship dragging anchor in rough seas caught an underwater oil pipeline and pulled it across the seafloor, months before a leak from the line fouled the Southern California coastline with crude.
A team of federal investigators trying to chase down the cause of the spill boarded the Panama-registered MSC DANIT just hours after the massive ship arrived this weekend off the Port of Long Beach, the same area where the leak was discovered in early October. During a prior visit by the ship during a heavy storm in January, investigators believe its anchor dragged for an unknown distance before striking the 16-inch (40-centimeter) steel pipe, Coast Guard Lt. j.g. SondraKay Kneen said Sunday. More
Special ops troops ‘hunkered down’ in California airport hangar after nighttime ninja attack
A sword-wielding man dressed as a ninja attacked several special operations soldiers who were training at a California airport, reportedly forcing them to shelter in a hangar and inflicting wounds that required stitches.
The bizarre assault took place at Inyokern Airport, an airfield in the Mojave Desert about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, sometime after 1 a.m. on Sept. 18, according to what appears to be a military incident report shared on Instagram and Reddit.
Records from the Ridgecrest Police Department seem to confirm some details in the document posted to social media in a photo late Wednesday that said two soldiers had to receive stitches before returning to duty. More
The other Squaw Valley: Will this California town shed its name too?
When the famous Lake Tahoe ski resort formerly called Squaw Valley announced last year that it would change its company name to do away with the harmful epithet, its decision rippled across the global ski industry and generated headlines as far away as Europe.
It also stuck in the mind of Roman Rain Tree, a 39-year-old Native American financial auditor in Fresno whose indigenous family roots tie him to California’s original Squaw Valley, a rural ranching community in Fresno County, 200 miles south of the ski resort.
“They laid the precedent in the state, so I want to use that as a road map,” Rain Tree said.
Rain Tree soon created a petition on Change.org to rename the place and included a photo of himself and his young daughter standing beneath the town sign. In the image, his daughter holds a poster board that reads, “I am not a ‘squaw.’” More
Gavin Newsom orders COVID-19 vaccines for eligible students in California schools
Gov. Gavin Newsom is announcing on Friday that California students will have to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend in-person classes once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizes full approval of the shots for their age groups.
This mandate will be the first in the country, according to Newsom’s press office. The announcement comes just days after Newsom said his administration was considering such a requirement and in communications with more than 1,000 districts over how it would look.
Newsom announced the mandate, which his office expects to take effect in 2022, during a press conference at a San Francisco middle school. More
Lithium fuels hopes for revival on California’s largest lake
CALIPATRIA, Calif. — Near Southern California’s dying Salton Sea, a canopy next to a geothermal power plant covers large containers of salty water left behind after super-hot liquid is drilled from deep underground to run steam turbines. The containers connect to tubes that spit out what looks like dishwater, but it’s lithium, a critical component of rechargeable batteries and the newest hope for economic revival in the depressed region.
Demand for electric vehicles has shifted investments into high gear to extract lithium from geothermal brine, salty water that has been overlooked and pumped back underground since the region’s first geothermal plant opened in 1982. The mineral-rich byproduct may now be more valuable than the steam used to generate electricity. More
A wildfire took my home. Trust me, California needs to stop dreaming about rising from the ashes
By noon of Sept. 5, 2020, the cloud rising into the stratosphere above the Creek Fire looked like the spawn of a nuclear detonation’s mushroom and an enormous angry Boltzmann brain. The experts called it pyrocumulonimbus. To those of us who could see it from our road, it was the burning breath of wildfire, the dragon in the land.
Just two days later, that dragon would take my home in Pine Ridge (Fresno County), most of our forest and most of our community.
When you know a sleeping dragon lives in your neighborhood, you learn its lore and take precautions against its waking. Over the years we lived in Pine Ridge, we learned about how the millions of trees killed by bark beetles during drought serve to feed the beast. We learned about forest management issues involving fire suppression (a la Smokey the Bear) and “too many stems per acre.” We learned about California’s overstretched firefighting resources, drought and climate change (though this last was too often dismissed as a hoax by many of our neighbors). More
Kevin the new Karen thanks to a cartoonish squadron of California recall candidates
Over the past few years, “Karen” has entered the zeitgeist as the embodiment of an entitled, hypocritical white women who demands to speak to your manager. She may think of herself as complaining for the right reasons, but she cynically uses her gender and white privilege to her advantage.
Karens often deserve the rap they get, especially when they do things like call police on a Black man bird-watching in the park. But what about self-entitled, hypocritical white men? You know the type: the living epitome of being born on third base and believing he hit a triple. Don’t they deserve a name?
Thankfully, the California recall has provided us with just that: Kevin.
Kevin knows his solutions are right — even if he has no clue what he’s talking about. He never would make silly mistakes like Gov. Gavin Newsom, such as trying to keep COVID from ripping through schools by requiring masks and vaccines. More
Torrance police find 300 unopened recall ballots, with gun, drugs and mail, in sleeping man's car
TORRANCE, Calif. -- Authorities are investigating why 300 unopened vote-by-mail ballots for the upcoming recall election were found - along with a gun, drugs and stolen mail - in a car parked at a Torrance convenience store.The discovery was made Aug. 16 when Torrance police were called around 10:45 p.m. about a man sleeping in his car at a 7-Eleven parking lot.
"Inside the vehicle, the officers found a loaded handgun, some narcotics, and then they found a bunch of mail and what turned out to be over 300 election ballots in the backseat of the vehicle," said Sgt. Mark Ponegalek with the Torrance Police Department. More
California unions for firefighters, blue collar workers challenge Newsom’s vaccine rules
Two more California state worker unions have filed objections to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order requiring all employees to prove they’re vaccinated or to wear a mask and submit to regular COVID-19 testing.
Cal Fire Local 2881, which represents about 6,000 state firefighters, filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board this week, becoming at least the third state union to file an official objection. The International Union of Operating Engineers, which represents about 11,000 state maintenance workers, also filed a grievance with CalHR July 28. More
Thunderstorms push Northern California wildfires closer to two towns
Thunderstorms pushed flames in Northern California on Saturday closer to two towns not far from where the Dixie Fire last week destroyed much of the small town of Greenville, a gold rush-era community.
The thunderstorms, which began Friday, didn’t produce much rain but whipped up wind and created lightning strikes, forcing crews to focus on using bulldozers to build lines and keep the blaze from reaching Westwood, a town of about 1,700 people. Westwood was placed under evacuation orders Aug. 5. More
California parent groups sue Gavin Newsom over COVID mask mandate for schools
Two parent advocacy organizations announced Thursday afternoon that they are suing California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s top health officials over the statewide mandate that children wear masks to school regardless of their vaccination status.
The lawsuit, filed by Let Them Breathe and Reopen California Schools in San Diego County Superior Court, names Newsom, Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly, Public Health Director Tomás Aragón of the Department of Public Health, and Dr. Naomi Bardach of Safe Schools for All as defendants.
“It’s clear that (the health the department) has chosen to ignore the overwhelming evidence that show children are at a very low risk from being infected with COVID-19, transmitting it to others, or becoming seriously ill from COVID-19,” Reopen California Schools founder Jonathan Zachreson of Roseville said in a statement. More
People Are Stealing Water in California at Record Rates for Illegal Weed Farms
Cannabis needs water to grow, but water is scarce in California right now. The state is experiencing a record-breaking megadrought which has been exacerbated by this summer’s extreme heat. Some weed growers are resorting to stealing water to make sure they have enough to tend to their farms.
Water theft is nothing new in California. Back during a major drought in 2014, someone stole 20,000 gallons of water from an elementary school, while others hit up fire stations and tapped into neighborhood hydrants in the middle of the night.
But a recent CalMatters investigation found that across the state, water thievery has soared to record levels. This year, residents have reported water theft to state authorities at twice the rate they had a decade ago. In northern Los Angeles County’s Antelope Valley, demand rose to three and half times normal. More
This bill was meant to protect California workers from COVID. These counties are using it to protect employers instead.
In the thick of the pandemic, California adopted a law to tell workers of dangers their employers often kept secret: Which workplaces had suffered outbreaks of COVID-19, and how severe they were. Yet six months after the law took effect, most employees know scarcely more than before, a Bay Area News Group investigation has found.
Only about one-third of the state’s 58 counties released specific information on workplace outbreaks in response to recent public records requests, and those specifics varied wildly. The state is now collecting detailed data, as required, but posts only numbers by broad industry categories that offer few useful insights on risk. Remarkably, some government agencies insist they are prevented from publicizing workplace outbreaks by the very law — AB 685 — that sought to force them open. More
Gardener experiencing homelessness builds 'Hillside Estate' near freeway
On paper, it sounds like a must-see property: a hillside home in Pacoima with a white-picket fence, views, art displays and meticulous landscaping. It even has a built-in children’s slide.
But the hillside that Colima, Mexico native Jose Fuente developed is actually part of a homeless encampment off the 118 freeway at Glenoaks Boulevard. He has taken great pride in using his skills as a gardener and landscaper to transform this once trash-filled encampment to a picturesque home.
"People love it. I have people climbing up the mountain to go give him gifts, like he’s Baby Jesus, almost," said Nathaniel Padilla, an owner of the time-honored El Canelo Restaurant in Pacoima, which is next to the encampment. More
Getting California unemployment benefits? You’ll soon have to prove you’re looking for work
Getting unemployment benefits in California? Starting July 11, you’ll have to look for work or show you’re rebuilding your business to stay eligible.
Before the COVID pandemic sent unemployment to historic levels last spring, people collecting unemployment had to show they were seeking work. The federal government in March 2020 suspended the need to look for a job in order to collect benefits.
But starting July 11, a beneficiary cannot answer “no” on their weekly certification when asked if they’ve sought work if they want to stay eligible. Most people will have to answer “yes” or could be scheduled for a determination interview and potentially lose the aid for that period. The maximum weekly benefit in California is now $750 a week, with $300 of that a boost from the federal government. More
Hey, California taxpayers: Guess how much the Newsom recall election is going to cost you?
Four-hundred million dollars. That’s one estimate for how much the election to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom could cost taxpayers this fall.
Could the hefty price tag become the focus of voter backlash against the Republican-led effort to oust the Democratic governor just a year before he would otherwise face re-election?
“I’d say that framing it as a waste of money and waste of time probably is going to be pretty effective with swing voters who aren’t sure what they’re going to do about the recall,” said Darry Sragow, a longtime Democratic strategist in the Golden State. More
California is releasing 76K inmates early, including violent felons
With little notice, California on Saturday is increasing early release credits for 76,000 inmates, including violent and repeat felons, as it further trims the population of what once was the nation’s largest state correctional system.
More than 63,000 inmates convicted of violent crimes will be eligible for good behavior credits that shorten their sentences by one-third instead of the one-fifth that had been in place since 2017. That includes nearly 20,000 inmates who are serving life sentences with the possibility of parole.
More than 10,000 inmates convicted of a second serious but nonviolent offense under the state’s “three strikes” law will be eligible for release after serving half their sentences. That’s an increase from the current time-served credit of one-third of their sentence. More
Ralphs, Food 4 Less locations shutting down in Long Beach over 'hero pay'
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Two grocery stores in Long Beach will permanently close Saturday after Kroger said it couldn't afford the city's "hero pay" law.
Kroger announced plans in February to close a Ralphs location on North Los Coyotes Diagonal and a Food 4 Less store on East South Street.
Kroger says the two stores have been underperforming, and that it would be financially impossible to keep both stores open if it had to pay workers the extra $4 an hour over four months. More
Flocks of birds become unwelcome guests in California homes
A Torrance family is warning others after they were left feeling like they were living out a horror movie when hundreds of birds poured into their home last week.
The avian invasion began last Wednesday, April 21, and lasted a few days, according to Kerri, the woman who lives in the home with her husband and child. She asked that KTLA withhold her last name.
Kerri says the family came home from dinner to find the flock swarming around inside after swooping down their chimney, practically taking a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”
“It’s so hard to explain. If you don’t see it with your own eyes, you’d never believe it,” Kerri said. Video she shared shows the pulsating flock circling above the family’s chimney before many begin swooping down inside. Another clip shot later shows them up against a window inside the home, still flapping with determination. More
Flouting COVID rules an open secret in California’s last purple county
MERCED — In the end, Merced County was the last purple-tiered county standing on California’s pandemic map, an ignoble distinction that signaled coronavirus remained widespread and indoor dining and bars were supposed to stay closed.
But that’s not how things rolled here in this San Joaquin Valley county, home to miles of almond orchards and headquarters of Foster Farms, which briefly shut down its poultry processing plant after a COVID-19 outbreak last summer.
Many restaurant owners have been welcoming patrons inside for weeks if not months, bars have been bustling and at a pool hall on Merced’s Main Street early last week, a billiards tournament was in full swing. More
Riverside County man arrested for allegedly harassing women at Zuma Beach with rifle under trench coat
MALIBU — A Riverside County man was in custody Thursday for allegedly harassing women at Zuma Beach in Malibu over the weekend while carrying concealed firearms, authorities said.
Kyle Kiddy, 34, was arrested on Sunday and booked on suspicion of violations including carrying a concealed firearm, and was being held on $60,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies went to the beach after receiving reports of “a suspicious male harassing female patrons of the beach,” a sheriff’s department statement said. More
Two undocumented immigrants denied vaccine, prompting reminder that vaccines are for everyone
At least two recent incidents in which undocumented women in Southern California were denied COVID-19 vaccinations prompted activists and others on Thursday to point out that such denials run counter to public health advice – and drew an apology from Rite-Aid, the pharmacy chain involved in the denials.
“It is unacceptable, absolutely abhorrent, that any for-profit entity, or any other entity, would deny vaccination to any human being simply because they do not have immigration status,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the L.A.-based Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights.
Rite Aid spokesman Chris Savarese on Thursday described the two cases as “isolated incidents and mistakes” among the approximate 1 million vaccines the pharmacy has given out. More
San Francisco paying $16.1 million for people living in tent camps, as city struggles with swelling homeless population
San Francisco is paying $16.1 million to feed and house people in tent villages as the city struggles with a swelling homeless population. But the cost worries some lawmakers.
Six tent sites dubbed “safe sleeping villages” have been set up since the start of the coronavirus pandemic to shelter people who might otherwise sleep on the sidewalks.
The 262 tents currently house more than 300 people, with some vacancies. The villages also provide access to bathrooms, meals and 24-hour security, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.
The funding is only a fraction of the more than $300 million the city spends annually on homeless services, and the average cost per night is less than what the city pays under a program to shelter homeless people in hotels, the Chronicle said. More
Leaving California? A guide to what state is best to move to
What is the best state to call home after deciding to quit California?
First, let’s remember that far more folks talk about leaving California than actually do. For example, a recent poll showed 26% of residents were pondering a move out-of-state. Yet in 2017-2019, Census Bureau stats show just 3% of the population departed.
But for those who are seriously considering a move — or those who like to compare state economies — I loaded my trusty spreadsheet with cost-of-living and employment data — not to mention a key political stat — creating a guide to good targets for antsy-to-exit Californians. More
California now has the worst COVID-19 spread in US
California is now reporting the highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases per capita in the country.
Last week, the state reported the nation's fourth highest number of daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over a seven day period, but California jumped to first place when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its case per capita tracker Saturday.
According to the CDC update from Saturday, California has reported an average of 100.5 daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, which places it comfortably ahead of second-place Tennessee, which saw an average of 89.6 daily cases per 100,000 residents over the same time period. More
Why so many people are getting swept to sea along California's coast
A magazine editor visiting from Salt Lake City was walking along a Humboldt Bay jetty with her son.
A school principal was on vacation, taking family photos by the sea in Mendocino Big River Headlands State Park.
A father and his two young children were spending a Sunday at Blind Beach in Sonoma Coast State Park.
Each of these people was swept from dry ground into the frigid, turbulent sea. Each faced the shock of the cold, the pounding of incoming, indifferent waves. More
Cigar-shaped UFOs return to US as mysterious objects appear over California
Bizarre footage shows what looks like two separate "cigar-shaped" UFOs hovering above southern California, US.
The beams of lights in the sky were caught on camera from high ground looking towards an urban area in Orange County.
Captured on the night of December 23 and published on Youtube by LUFOs on Christmas Eve, subscribers have shared their thoughts on the images. More
California now has the worst COVID-19 spread in US
California is now reporting the highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases per capita in the country.
Last week, the state reported the nation's fourth highest number of daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over a seven day period, but California jumped to first place when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its case per capita tracker Saturday. More
California City Changes Course on License Plate Data Sharing
Chula Vista, Calif., has stopped — for now, at least — allowing federal Border Patrol and immigration agents to look at data that police collect from electronic license plate readers.
"I want to make it clear to the public that that data sharing has stopped," Mayor Mary Salas said at a City Council meeting Tuesday.
The South County city has temporarily blocked federal agencies with an immigration enforcement component from looking at the data until the City Council learns more about the data-sharing program. That report to the council is likely to happen in January. More
Video shows Fairfax resident confronting man posting swastika stickers around town
FAIRFAX, Calif. (KGO) -- In Fairfax, Marin County, it becomes clear from all the BLM signs that this community wears progressive politics on its proverbial sleeves. But the town's social justice self-image is being shaken by a hateful incident caught on camera Tuesday.
An out-of-town visitor wandered through town putting up stickers of swastikas Tuesday until a local, 21 year-old Noah Mohan, confronted him. A video of the encounter has spread on social media.
"Let me see your stickers? Why you putting that up in my f---ing town, bro?" he asks in the video. "Putting up Nazi stickers in Fairfax? Let me see your face, bro. You keep putting them up and I will keep ripping them off." More
Audit: EDD puts millions of jobless workers at risk of ID theft
The state Employment Development Department put millions of workers in jeopardy of identity theft because the labor agency mailed letters to people containing their full Social Security numbers, the state auditor reported Thursday.
The disclosure served up a fresh embarrassment for the embattled agency that has failed to promptly and accurately pay unemployment claims at a time of historic job losses amid coronavirus-linked business shutdowns.
“EDD has sent at least 38 million pieces of mail containing claimants’ full Social Security numbers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the state auditor said as part of a scathing report regarding the EDD’s performance. The results of that could be catastrophic, auditor Elaine Howle warned in a report to the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom. More
California's ban of gas-powered cars by 2035 looks great for Tesla, but could distract the young automaker from its best chance to grow
When California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that the state would ban new sales of internal-combustion engines after 2035, the obvious and immediate reaction was, "This has to be great news for Tesla!"
And it is great news for America's dominant electric-vehicle manufacturer, which currently makes almost all its cars in the Golden State.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Tesla was on track to sell nearly 50,000 vehicles in California through the second quarter. A combination of heavily taxed gasoline and perks for zero-emission vehicles has given Left Coasters ample reason to go electric. More
California opposes district’s bid to control Del Mar bluffs, erect chain-link fence
The California Coastal Commission has asked the North County Transit District to withdraw its request for sole control over projects to stabilize the railroad tracks on the coastal bluffs in Del Mar in San Diego County.
The transit district filed a petition in August with the federal Surface Transportation Board asking it to relieve the Coastal Commission and the city of Del Mar of jurisdiction over the bluff projects, including plans to install a chain-link fence that would stop pedestrians from crossing the tracks to get to the beach. More
Joe Biden Endorses California Law Doing Harm To Freelancers, Which Democrats Hope To Impose Nationwide
With the passage of California’s controversial Assembly Bill 5 in 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) and Golden State legislators enacted the first state law in the U.S. to regulate freelance workers as full-time employees, with the result being lost income and fewer job opportunities for California-based freelancers and independent contractors.
In a late night tweet on May 26, former Vice President Joe Biden stated his support for Assembly Bill 5 and his opposition to the proposed ballot measure backed by Uber and Lyft that would partially repeal it.
This is not the only new California law Biden recently endorsed. In addition to supporting AB 5, the former Vice President has also come out in favor of the measure on the November ballot that would raise taxes by an estimated $12 billion annually, doing so by eliminating Proposition 13’s property tax cap for commercial properties. More
Hollywood sign-style Trump letters appear on side of California freeway for second time
A massive Trump sign popped up on the hills along the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass on Tuesday morning.
The sign supporting President Trump faced northbound lanes near Getty Center Drive. The white lettering appears to be around 10 feet tall and mimics the style of the landmark Hollywood sign.
It was first reported at 6:41 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol’s incident log, which referred to it as a “traffic hazard.”
The sign had been placed in an area with dry brush, and the reporting party was apparently concerned it could spark a blaze, the log stated. More
California investigators seize PG&E equipment in search for cause of deadly wildfire
California fire investigators have seized Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) equipment as part of a probe into the cause of a deadly wildfire in northern California, according to The Associated Press.
PG&E said the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection seized electrical equipment in connection with the Zogg Fire, which began in late September. The fire, which began amid high winds, led to the deaths of at least four people and has burned more than 88 square miles, according to the AP. The fire was nearly entirely contained as of Friday.
A 12,000-volt PG&E circuit services the area where the fire began. PG&E said in a filing that its automated equipment “reported alarms and other activity between approximately 2:40 p.m. and 3:06 p.m.” More
Hollywood's Apocalypse NOW: Rich and famous are fleeing in droves
Gold's Gym has become synonymous with the Hollywood Dream.
Set just a few hundred yards from the ocean in sun-kissed Venice Beach, Los Angeles, Gold's was the backdrop for Pumping Iron, the 1977 documentary which followed a young, unknown Austrian bodybuilder called Arnold Schwarzenegger as he prepared for the Mr Universe contest.
The film turned him into an overnight sensation. He would go on to become a global superstar, marry a member of the Kennedy clan, and become Governor of California. More
'Gender Reveal' Ignited 8,600-Acre El Dorado Blaze
YUCAIPA, CA —Evacuation orders for a massive Inland Empire fire that officials said ignited at a "gender reveal" in Yucaipa were extended to a portion of Cherry Valley in Riverside County Monday.
The El Dorado Fire burning in the Yucaipa area grew to 8,600 acres Monday amid a record-setting heat wave.
On Yucaipa Ridge's south slope, it continued to burn throughout the night making a significant push downslope from Wilshire Peak to below Pine Bench Rd., impacting structures. More
California's Oldest State Park, Home To Majestic Coast Redwoods, Is 'Gone'
California’s oldest state park and home to some of the most celebrated ancient coast redwood trees appears to be no more, at least the "historic core" and well-known facilities in the park.
"We are devastated to report that Big Basin State Park, as we have known it, loved it, and cherished it for generations, is gone," Sempervirens Fund, an organization dedicated to redwoods protection, wrote in a post to their website Thursday afternoon.
The CZU Lightning Complex, a combination of several fires burning over the last several days in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, has "damaged the park’s headquarters, historic core and campgrounds," according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation. More
Whistleblower sues LAPD claiming it’s run by a ‘SWAT mafia’ that promotes a ‘culture of violence’
A whistleblower has sued the LAPD claiming it’s run by a ‘SWAT mafia’ promoting a ‘culture of violence’ that saw officers shoot an unarmed homeless man 40 times and taser another man causing him to plummet to his death off a roof.
Former SWAT Sgt. Tim Colomey, who served in the unit for 11 years, filed a civil lawsuit claiming the so-called ‘SWAT mafia’ of veteran officers turns a ‘blind eye’ and even ‘glamorizes’ the use of deadly force by agents.
Colomey also claims agents who try to deescalate conflicts instead of using lethal force face a backlash and are labeled ‘cowards’ by the group of veterans. More
California Legislators Propose 0.4% Wealth Tax, Plus 16.8% Income Tax Rate
Most people these days are still reeling from the pandemic. The IRS and state governments are feeling the revenue pain too. One California bill with several cosponsors would increase the state’s already stratospheric top 13.3% income tax rate to 16.8%.
Not shocked yet? The newest tax some golden state legislators want to collect is a .4% wealth tax. The “leader” in state taxes already, this would be first-in-the nation wealth tax targeting the very wealthy. This isn’t on income they earn, mind you, but on their wealth itself. A summary of the bill says, “AB 2088 establishes a first-in-the-nation net worth tax, setting a 0.4% tax rate on all net worth above $30 million.” California Assembly member Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, proposed the legislation. The tax would be applied to the net worth of about 30,400 Californians, “raising approximately $7.5 billion annually,” the summary claims. “The tax takes into account all assets and liabilities held by an individual, globally, capturing the immense levels of accumulated wealth held by the top 0.1% of Californians.” More
California Indian tribe gets back Big Sur ancestral lands
BIG SUR, Calif. — A Native American tribe has reclaimed a small part of ancestral lands on California’s scenic Big Sur coast that were lost to Spanish colonial settlement nearly 250 years ago.
The Esselen Tribe of Monterey County closed escrow on 1,199 acres (485 hectares) about 5 miles (8 kilometers) inland from the ocean that was part of a $4.5 million deal involving the state and the Western Rivers Conservancy, The Mercury News reported Monday.
It marks the first restoration of any lands to the tribe, which lost 90% of its approximately 1,000 members to disease and other causes by the early 1800s.
“It is beyond words for us, the highest honor,” said Tom Little Bear Nason, chairman of the tribe. “The land is the most important thing to us. It is our homeland, the creation story of our lives. We are so elated and grateful.” More
Los Angeles Mayor Says City May Shut Off Water, Power At Houses Hosting Large Parties
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Wednesday that he is authorizing the city to shut off water and power service to properties hosting large house parties, which he said had "essentially become nightclubs in the hills."
In a briefing, Garcetti expressed concerns about reports of large parties and gatherings that violate public health orders, often taking place at homes that are vacant or being used as short-term rentals.
Starting Friday night, he said, houses, businesses and other venues hosting "un-permitted large gatherings" will face tougher consequences.
"If the LAPD responds and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at a property, and we see these properties reoffending time and time again, they will provide notice and initiate the process to request that DWP shut off service within the next 48 hours," Garcetti said. More
California's Only Known Gray Wolf Pack Has Eight New Pups
California's only known gray wolf pack has eight new pups.
Eight youngsters were tallied in the Lassen Pack in northeastern California, according to an April-through-June report from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Genetic testing of their excrement shows at least four are male and two are female, according to the agency.
The father is a black-furred male that began traveling with the pack last year. He isn't related to any other known California wolves, and his origin isn't clear, the agency said. The pack in Lassen County now has at least 14 animals. More
Orange County Democrats Demand Airport Remove John Wayne's Name
Orange County Democratic Party officials are demanding the name of iconic actor John Wayne be removed from the airport due to his "racist and bigoted statements," according to a resolution.
The resolution, which was approved Friday, states: "There have been numerous calls to remove John Wayne's namesake from Orange County's airport because of Wayne's white supremacist, anti-LGBT and anti-Indigenous views, which were shared in part in a 1971 interview, where Wayne is quoted saying, "I believe in white supremacy" and "I don't feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago, these people were slaves." More
Laney College professor put on leave after demanding student named 'Phuc Bui' 'anglicize' her name
Matthew Hubbard, a mathematics professor at Oakland's Laney College, has been placed on administrative leave after emailing a Vietnamese student and instructing her to "anglicize" her name against her wishes.
A series of emails between the professor and student shared on social media reveals that Hubbard reached out to a student named Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen, and wrote, "Could you Anglicize your name. Phuc Bui sounds like an insult in English." More
Two of California’s national parks are reopening. Here’s what you can and can’t do
Two of California’s national parks are starting to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic shut them down.
Joshua Tree National Park announced that it began reopening access to some parts of the park Sunday, according to a National Park Service news release.
All park entrances, road and parking lots are open, and visitors can use trails, family campsites and some bathroom facilities, the park said. More
Ammunition background checks in California uncover ‘ghost’ guns, heroin and more
A ‘ghost’ gun assault rifle in Pioneer.
More than 15,000 rounds of ammunition in Auburn.
Six large-capacity magazines and a gram of methamphetamine in Bakersfield.
These are among the items special agents in California found in the last month during a dozen operations to confiscate firearms and ammunition possessed by owners who failed background checks.
The agents seized a total 51 firearms, including assault weapons and ‘ghost’ guns – weapons unable to be traced because they have no serial number – 28,518 rounds of ammunition and more than 120 magazines, according to a Tuesday announcement from the California Department of Justice. Drugs found included 116 grams of methamphetamine and four grams of heroin. More
California doctors say they've seen more deaths from suicide than coronavirus since lockdowns
Doctors in Northern California say they have seen more deaths from suicide than they’ve seen from the coronavirus during the pandemic.
“The numbers are unprecedented,” Dr. Michael deBoisblanc of John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, told ABC 7 News about the increase of deaths by suicide, adding that he’s seen a “year’s worth of suicides” in the last four weeks alone.
DeBoisblanc said he believes it’s time for California officials to end the stay-at-home order and let people back out into their communities.
"Personally, I think it's time," he said. "I think, originally, this was put in place to flatten the curve and to make sure hospitals have the resources to take care of COVID patients. We have the current resources to do that, and our other community health is suffering." More
California to give cash payments to immigrants hurt by virus
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California will be the first state to give cash to immigrants living in the country illegally who are hurt by the coronavirus, offering $500 apiece to 150,000 adults who were left out of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package approved by Congress.
Many Americans began receiving $1,200 checks from the federal government this week, and others who are unemployed are getting an additional $600 a week from the government that has ordered them to stay home and disrupted what had been a roaring economy.
But people living in the country illegally are not eligible for any of that money, and advocates have been pushing for states to fill in the gap. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would spend $75 million of taxpayer money to create a Disaster Relief Fund for immigrants living in the country illegally. More
San Jose: Fire at auto yard consumes 30 Porta Potties
SAN JOSE – More than two dozen Porta Potties and an assortment of vehicles went up in flames at a South San Jose wrecking yard late Tuesday night, authorities said.
The two-alarm fire was reported at about 9:25 p.m. at A-1 Auto Dismantlers at 200 Hillsdale Ave., said San Jose fire Capt. Peter Caponio.
“One of our crews was initially brought out here for a smoke investigation, and they found 100-foot flames in the auto yard, where there’s probably 30 or so Porta Potties and a bunch of dismantled cars,” Caponio said. More
California emergency manager admits sunbathing on empty beach: 'I own this'
A California emergency management official basked in the sun during a family beach trip despite the state’s shelter-in-place order, he admitted this week.
Chris Godley, the director of Emergency Management and leader of Sonoma County’s Emergency Operation Center, took a Saturday trip with his family to an unnamed, seemingly empty beach in Sonoma County.
Photos of the family trip were posted to Facebook. “Road tripping up the coast. Beautiful drive and nice views. Family beach time together. Grateful for fresh air and the ocean,” the post read. More
Large group busted for meat market theft after leaving 'trail of meat' behind
VISALIA, Calif. – A large group of adults and minors were arrested after allegedly stealing meat from a meat market in Visalia, California.
Around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, Visalia police officers responded to a burglary at the Jalisco Meat Market. When officers arrived, they detained one adult and a boy under the age of 18, leaving the business.
Officers followed a trail of meat to a nearby apartment, where they found more people that were involved. Detectives executed a search warrant at the home and found six adults and five minors connected to the burglary. More
Feds Unearth Drug-Smuggling Tunnel From Tijuana To Otay Mesa
OTAY MESA, CA — Federal authorities announced Tuesday that agents uncovered a drug smuggling tunnel that extends more than 2,000 feet from a warehouse in Tijuana to a warehouse in the Otay Mesa neighborhood.
Federal agents on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force made the discovery on March 19 and also seized roughly 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and more than two pounds of fentanyl, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
"The large seizure of mixed drugs represents the first time in San Diego's history where five different types of drugs were found inside a tunnel," the DEA reported. More
Paddleboarder arrested at Malibu Pier for flouting state stay at home order
A paddleboarder was arrested in Malibu Thursday after ignoring lifeguards' orders to get out of the ocean amid social distancing rules, authorities said.
The lifeguards flagged down deputies for assistance, but the man ultimately chose to stay in the water alongside the Malibu Pier for about 30 to 40 minutes, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said in a Facebook post.
Deputies summoned their patrol boat from Marina Del Rey, and the man swam to shore once it arrived, officials said. He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of disobeying a lifeguard and violating Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay at home order, a misdemeanor. More
Stormy Daniels Attorney Michael Avenatti Released From Prison, Will Move To California
Michael Avenatti, the former Stormy Daniels attorney, would-be presidential candidate, CNN pundit and convicted felon, , has been temporarily released from prison.
A federal judge in California said today that the pandemic concerns required that Avenatti should be released from a federal detention center in New York for 90 days.
He will be in quarantine for 14 days before moving to Los Angeles. Avenatti won his release when attorneys argued a recent bout with pneumonia left him vulnerable to the coronavirus. More
Over 15,000 huge seafloor holes have mysteriously appeared off California coast – and no one knows why
THOUSANDS of strange round holes scooped out of the ocean floor have been uncovered along the coast of California. Some measure nearly 600 feet across, but scientists are unsure how they formed.
As many as 15,000 holes have been found during an underwater survey by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).
Experts were originally studying mysterious large "pockmarks" across the seafloor off the coast of California's Big Sur region. These strange depressions are unexplained, and average 574 across and 16 feet deep. More
Coronavirus shutdown in California: What are the rules
The executive order issued Thursday night by California Gov. Gavin Newsom orders all California residents to stay home, except as needed for certain essential activities.
There was no end date on the order. Restrictions will be in place “until further notice,” it said.
Besides the staffing of the businesses allowed to remain open, the order specifies activities needed “to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.” More
Gov. Newsom issues sweeping guidance in California as number of coronavirus cases nears 200
Disneyland will close its doors for the rest of the month, an extraordinary decision mirrored throughout California by companies big and small after Gov. Gavin Newsom's call for any nonessential gatherings of 250 people or more to be canceled to help stop the rapid spread of the new coronavirus.
Newsom issued an executive order late Wednesday recommending the closures extend through March, and about 12 hours later at a news conference he said it was likely they would stretch into April. Newsom said he was not ordering the closures but expected compliance.
A short time later Walt Disney Co. announced Disneyland and Disney California Adventure would close starting Saturday because it was in the best interest of guests and employees. More
Car flies off seaside cliff in California — and then vanishes, dashcam video shows
Authorities in Northern California released dash camera footage that apparently captures the moment an SUV drove off a seaside cliff before vanishing this week.
A witness reported that the car had driven off the road and plunged over the cliff Monday morning, near Gray Whale State Cove Beach along Highway 1 between Pacifica and Montara, according to Cal Fire officials in San Mateo County.
“Tire tracks were found,” Cal Fire officials said on Twitter on Monday, sharing photos showing search crews combing Pacific Ocean waters for traces of the vehicle reported missing. “Car parts found in water, unclear if the parts connected to this incident.” More
How did the California Dream become hot, dry dystopia?
Ferocious wildfires. Triple-digit wind gusts. A hundred-thousand residents forced from their homes. Two million without power. Just another October Sunday in Northern California?
Faced with a warming climate and an aging infrastructure, Californians are conceding that this may be the “new normal.”
But the chaos was compounded on Sunday when residents lost even the most basic public services. In a global hotspot of innovation and technology, we cooked on propane stoves in Silicon Valley, shut down interstates in the North Bay, and panicked when cell-phones dropped with loved ones in danger. More
Naturally, 2019 Closes with Thousands of 10-Inch Pulsing “Penis Fish” Stranded on a California Beach
You could be forgiven for being offended by the above photo: thousands of 10-inch wiggly pink sausages strewn about Drakes Beach. The same phenomenon has been reported over the years at Pajaro Dunes, Moss Landing, Bodega Bay, and Princeton Harbor. I’ve heard my share of imaginative theories from beachcombers, such as flotsam of a wrecked bratwurst freighter. In truth, these are living denizens of our beaches rudely, yet also mercifully, mostly called “fat innkeeper worms.”
What in the name of Secretariat is a fat innkeeper worm? The fat innkeeper worm (Urechis caupo) is a type of spoonworm (Echiuroidea), an order of non-segmented marine worms identified by a spatula-shaped proboscis used for feeding and sometimes grasping or swimming. The fat innkeeper’s family (Urechidae) contains only four species worldwide, collectively known as either innkeeper worms or, well, penis fish. This is why we prefer scientific names. U. caupo is the sole representative in North America, found only from Southern Oregon to Baja, with the bulk of sightings between Bodega Bay and Monterey. So, whether or not you feel privileged by its presence, U. caupo is an almost uniquely California experience, perhaps having the best claim for State Worm. More
Dozens of California deputies lied about booking evidence they collected, 2nd audit shows
Orange County’s district attorney, blindsided this week by results of an internal audit that showed widespread mishandling of evidence by deputies, is demanding answers from the county’s sheriff after learning a separate audit showed dozens of other deputies lied about booking the evidence they collected, The Sacramento Bee has learned.
The result, Orange County DA Todd Spitzer said, his office’s lawyers may have filed and prosecuted dozens of criminal charges based on deputies’ reports that falsely stated evidence had been booked in the California county of 3.2 million residents. More
Laguna Beach uses 1,000 goats to help prevent wildfires
The city of Laguna Beach, California has employed a unique method to help prevent wildfires in the area: 1,000 goats.
ABC News reports that the city is using more than 1,000 goats to chew through dry weeds and grass. Laguna Beach's Fire Marshall, James Brown, calls the vegetation "fuel" for wildfires.
Laguna Beach has used goats since 1992 and Brown said the program was "extremely effective." This is the largest group of goats the city has had in the history of the program; goats and herders from Peru have cleared 80% of this year's 250-acre goal. More