California’s New Challenging Reality | CalMatters

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Hello, California. It’s Tuesday June 22.

Fire risk + housing crisis

The river fire destroyed nearly 3,000 acres and threatened 1,500 structures in Salinas on August 16, 2020. Photo by David Rodriguez, The Salinas Californian

California has a lot of moratoria to worry about.

Even as Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers rush to extend California’s deportation moratorium before it expires next week, another big deadline looms. In November, the state’s moratorium on insurance companies dropping coverage for Californians living in areas prone to wildfires is expected to end, meaning at least 2.1 million residents could soon end. find themselves without home insurance.

That doesn’t bode well for a state whose fire season starts earlier and lasts longer. On Monday, more than 450 firefighters attacked the Willow Fire in Monterey County. The blaze, which began on Thursday, has forced hundreds of residents to evacuate and continues to threaten historic sites, including one of the country’s oldest Japanese Buddhist Soto Zen monasteries.

Forest fires also spread geographically, engulfing areas long considered fire-proof. Still, developers are increasingly looking to build homes in areas considered to be “fire hazard severity zones” as house prices skyrocket and demand for housing far outstrips. offer, reports the Sacramento Bee. Lawmakers have tried to curb the practice with little success, although former Attorney General Xavier Becerra has joined a lawsuit to stop two developments in Lake and San Diego counties, citing a fire risk.

  • Lake County Supervisor Moke Simon: “Expanding the housing supply is a matter of deep concern, and we also need successful businesses to employ local residents and strengthen our economy. Neither will happen if we take a perspective that areas of the state prone to forest fires should cease development. “

The developers say they are taking important steps to protect homes, including building fire-resistant roofs, soaked windows, and sprinkler systems. Newsom has offered to allocate millions of dollars to bolster homes against fires, though he wants to spend much more money on firewalls – a strategy that had limited success last year, according to an investigation from the San Francisco Chronicle.

And despite the danger of losing their homes – not to mention their insurance – many Californians living in wildfire areas have no intention of leaving.


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The net result of the coronavirus: Monday California had 3,704,005 confirmed cases (+ 0.03% compared to the day before) and 62,693 deaths (+ 0.01% compared to the day before), according to a CalMatters tracker.

California administered 40 531 398 vaccine doses, and 57% of eligible Californians are fully immunized.

More: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline by tracking the state’s daily actions. We are also tracking state-by-county coronavirus hospitalizations and lawsuits against COVID-19 restrictions.


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1. The proposed delayed oil well rules – again

An oil well pumps next to a newly constructed neighborhood in Long Beach on April 24, 2020. Photo by Jim Ruymen, UPI / Alamy Live News

California’s longstanding battle for oil extraction resumed on Monday, when an alliance of more than 750 public health, environmental justice, climate and labor groups sent Newsom a letter urging it to block permits for new oil and gas wells near homes, schools and health facilities. . Newsom had ordered a state agency to draft regulations by December 2020 to protect communities and workers from the adverse health effects of oil extraction, a deadline later pushed back to spring 2021. But the Summer’s first day has passed Sunday, and the California Department of Conservation’s geological energy management division still had not released the draft rules, meaning it missed another deadline.

  • The Last Chance Alliance: “Frontline communities cannot afford to have this rule-making process drag on indefinitely without concrete actions to address the real and immediate threat of neighborhood drilling.”
  • Jacob Roper, a spokesperson for the Department of Conservation, told me: “This is a complex set of rules, the subject of which is outside of CalGEM’s previous regulatory experience. … We look forward to another round of awareness raising to further inform the development of the proposed regulations.

Imposing setbacks between oil wells and community sites remains extremely controversial – a bill to do just that died in a Democratic-majority committee earlier this year.

2. Santa Clara under surveillance

A Santa Clara County Spanish-language notice board encourages residents to wear masks on August 14, 2020. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

Perhaps no other county has enforced COVID-19 restrictions more aggressively than Santa Clara, which upheld its ban on indoor worship even after the US Supreme Court toppled the companies of California and fined companies for violating public health orders 50 times more than all other Bay Area counties combined, and went beyond the state in requiring all companies to verify status vaccination of employees. But some of those rules are disappearing or being called into question: Santa Clara on Monday repealed its rule requiring employers to verify the vaccination status of workers, and the county’s own officials found companies had been wrongly fined thousands of dollars. More than a quarter of the 400 companies cited by the county have appealed their fines, and four of the seven that passed the appeal process had significant victories, with county officials making unfounded claims and imposing penalties. disproportionate fines, a Mercury New investigation found.

3. An overview of child protection services

Image via iStock

How many children born in California do you think would come into contact with child protection services in any given year? A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health offers a conservative approximation: At least 26% of the more than 519,000 children born in California in 1999 were investigated for abuse before the age of 18 years, with 10.5% of cases finally corroborated. Researchers found stark racial disparities: 50% of Native American children and 47% of black children were investigated for alleged abuse, compared with 29% of Latino children, 22% of white children, and 13% of black children. children of Asia / Pacific. Children born to mothers 25 years of age or under or with less than a high school diploma were more likely to have contact with child welfare services, as were children born without established paternity and those whose the birth was covered by public insurance.

  • Emily Putnam-Hornstein, lead author of the study: “When children are in danger, I think child protection is the right answer. I don’t believe for a second that so many children and families need what is ultimately the heavy hand of the child welfare system in their lives.

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CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: Current events in Washington and California prove once again that politicians are changing the rules of politics to their advantage.

Support farmers and breeders: State leaders must help the agricultural sector adapt to increasingly scarce water supplies while also benefiting rural communities and wildlife, say Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and David Shabazian of California Department of Conservation.

The Power of MacKenzie Scott’s Gift: The $ 135 million she donated to four California State University campuses will boost upward mobility for the less fortunate, writes Lillian Kimbell of the California State University board of trustees.

Reader’s reaction: When it comes to dealing with drought in California, all options, including water storage, should be on the table, says Mike Wade of the California Farm Water Coalition.


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Other things are worth your time

This SFSU speaker and Californian secessionist perhaps Newsom’s most fascinating recall foe. // SFGATE

Despite low vaccination rates, the city of California has not used thousands dedicated to relief from COVID-19. // Bakersfield.com

Bay Area has become more segregated over the decades, report said. // Mercury news

Battle over Critical Race Theory reached school districts in San Diego. // San Diego Union-Tribune

How does a college history project in California led to a name change. // EdSource

Challenge to state law requiring women on boards of directors brought back to life. // Chronicle of San Francisco

The Court of Appeal suspends its annulment decision The ban on assault weapons in California. // Los Angeles Times

Mass shootings are on the rise in Oakland, with six to date in 2021. // Mercury News

The Californian prison boom saved this city. Now, plans to close an establishment arouse anger and fear. // Los Angeles Times

Sacramento water tastes “earthy” due to the drought, officials say. // Los Angeles Times

Expensive rock barriers and desalination plants: The last of the California Drought War. // Courthouse news service

Will coastal wind farms hurt California’s fishing industry? “We’re basically screwed. “// Sacramento Bee

Cost of the marine kayaker’s rescue at sea? $ 42,000. Who pays the bill? // Chronicle of San Francisco


See you tomorrow.

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