Category Archives: California News

California is Unsustainable

At first glance, California may seem like one of the most sustainable places in the world. With its abundance of both tech companies and natural resources, it seems impossible that the giant, tourist drawing state could be anywhere near unsustainable. At the very least, its residents seem to have some crazy sustainable values right?
However, despite all of the supposed sustainability, California’s government has made the state a little rocky. Or, a lot rocky.
You see, California has an outdated water system, built in the 60s for a population of around 20 million. With the current population skirting around 40 million, this water system just isn’t working. Too many people many people and too much need for water is causing water shortages. Over five percent of the state’s bridges are structurally unsound, and roads are in severe disrepair.
California’s government doesn’t quite seem to have enough money for these new water and road systems, which is probably because the state’s debt climbed to over one trillion dollars in June 2017. https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/California-s-400-billion-debt-worries-analysts-6812264.php
Of course, California is the highest taxed state in the United States, which makes it just a little ironic that the state is drowning in debt AND can’t seem to find the money for new bridges and water systems. As the state moves farther and farther left, budget cuts are not being made anywhere, and taxes are slowly rising to accommodate new costs such as the 70 billion dollar high speed railroad system that most Californians agree was not the best idea.
Obviously, we can’t completely blame California for its lack of sustainability. With such a huge state and so many people, it would be hard to keep up with the constantly growing population and challenges coming at such a huge state. However, for a state that gets some of the most tourism, has huge amounts of natural resources, and huge tech companies operating out of it, it seems as is California could make a better choice here or there.

California Law Allows Over A Million Undocumented Immigrants To Receive Driver’s Licenses

The California Department of Motor vehicles announced recently that state driver’s licenses have been issued to over 1 million undocumented immigrants.

Luis Alejo, a former assemblyman for the state, authored assembly bill 60 in 2013 that allows undocumented immigrants in California to legally drive as long as they could provide proof of identification and show that they reside in the state. However, the driving privileges afforded the immigrates are not recognized outside of state borders. As of March 31, 1,001,000 undocumented immigrants received driver’s licenses because of this program.

Alejo, who is now a supervisor for Montgomery County, defends his actions by saying that the bill has resulted in California roads becoming safer for all parties involved. Alejo went on to say that the law is working exactly as was the original intention and expresses pride at the fact that over a million individuals and their families have benefitted from assembly bill 60.

Presently, 12 states in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses. There was a time in the United States when undocumented immigrants could receive driver’s licenses in all jurisdictions. Ironically, the first state to in this practice was the state of California in 1993.

Assembly bill 60 became active in 2015 and the California DMV reports that in its first year of existence that 605,000 undocumented individuals received state driver’s licenses. The numbers tapered off after this initial spike and estimate now approximate that about 10,000 licenses a month are being issued to immigrants under the AB 60 program.

Multiple studies have attested to the benefits of the AB 60 program, most notably, hit and run incidents are down significantly since the law’s inception. It has also been noted that the increased number of driver’s with licenses has not had an impact on the number of crashes that have taken place on California roads and highways.

A 2018 report conducted by the California Research Bureau found that no AB 60 license holder has complained of unfair treatment or backlash due to discrimination as a result of a license being obtained under the program.

Nutria Might Be A Problem For California

A nutria has recently been found in Stanislaus County. Nutria are huge rodents that have the potential to destroy natural environments and man-made infrastructures. They usually measure about 2 feet, six inches, and weight about 20 pounds.

Nutria look like beavers and muskrats, so it is easy to mistake them for those animals. However, their white whiskers, webbed feet with one free toe and rounded tail are tell-tale signs of their species.

Nutria are originally from South America. They were brought to California in 1899 because it was thought that their fur was as luxurious as mink. Some nutria escaped from California fur farms and lived in the wild, creating a wild population of nutria. Experts thought that the wild population of nutria was destroyed by 1978, though they now believe that there has been a very small population that has lived under the radar—until now.

Between 1978 and now, there could have been nutria sightings, but people may not have given any mind to what animals they were looking at, or they may have mistaken the nutria for others species.

Ever since 2017, there have been more than 20 sightings in Fresno, Stanislaus and Merced counties. Experts worry that if the population of nutria isn’t dealt with, it could explode. Nutria have the ability to deliver up to 200 young each year.

Nutria are a problem because they destroy environments by burrowing in places like dikes, wetlands, levees and roads. They are capable of carrying out a lot of damage. Each day, nutria consumer about 25% of their body weight in vegetation, and they are capable of easily destroying about ten times that amount.

They have contaminated some water supplies because their presence results in the transmission of diseases and parasites to humans and other creatures.

The nutria problem is not unique to California; they have been known to cause damage in Louisiana and Chesapeake. Because they have no natural predators in the places that they have infested, their numbers go unchecked and fly out of control. They dig and eat up so much aquatic vegetation that they are a serious threat to natural environments, as well as man made environments.

To curb the problem, experts are setting out traps and cam trails. They are also asking the public to report any nutria sightings.

California Football Teams Look to 2018

The national football league is a very profitable and powerful professional sports league that has 32 teams across divisions. While these teams are spread out across United States, one state that has a strong representation is California. California is currently home to the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles chargers, San Francisco 49ers, and Oakland Raiders. While the teams in California did not have a great season overall, there is plenty of reason for excitement next year as each of the four teams has a lot of promise.

Of the four teams in California, the Los Angeles Rams easily had the most success last year. The team ended up being one of the big surprises of the year by winning 11 games and a division championship. The team ultimately lost their only playoff game, but showed that they have plenty of talent on both offense and defense. The team will likely be one of the favorites again to win the division title.

The other Los Angeles football team, the Chargers, did not have as much success all year as the Rams. However, they did show a lot of promise year. The Chargers ended up finishing the season with a record of nine wins and seven losses. While this was not good enough for the playoffs, they had a huge come back at the end of the season in which they won seven of their last nine games. This positive momentum should carry forward next year as they bring back the majority of their dominant defense.

The most disappointing team in California this past season for the Oakland Raiders. After looking like a dominant team in 2016, the Raiders took a big step back last season and finished with just six wins and ten losses. However, the team still has a lot of talent and a very good young quarterback and Derek Carr. The team is expected to have a great rebound next year and continue on the right path.

The most exciting team of all to watch could be the San Francisco 49ers. After starting the year with just one win and 10 losses, the team traded for starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Once he started his first game, the team was very difficult to stop. They ended up winning their last five games of the year and the young quarterback looked as good as advertised. The team also just signed him to a contract extension that should keep him in San Francisco for the foreseeable future (https://www.ninersnation.com/2018/2/9/16996740/49ers-cap-space-following-jimmy-garoppolo-contract-extension).

Utah to Sue California Over Coal Power Fees

On Monday, Utah lawmakers gave approval for a $2 million proposal to sue California over their cap and trade Program. Republican Rep. Mike Noel spearheaded the proposal that hopes to reduce fees for coal-fired power in Utah. Only one Democratic lawmaker objected.

California is currently charging an extra $15 per megawatt hour to purchase from Utah’s Intermountain Power Plant, a coal-fired plant in Delta, Utah.

Noel contended that California’s laws are violating the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. He believes California’s fees are hindering an already hurt coal industry that’s key to the economic health of several rural Utah counties. Noel believes that California is trying to push their “values” on Utah.

Of course, California regulators would disagree, asserting they’re not “singling out Utah” but merely trying to reward less pollution regardless of its origin. They assert their green initiative as in no way biased.

Not everyone in Utah wants to see this $2 million proposal to go through, though. Ashley Soltysiak, Utah chapter director for the non-profit conservation organization “The Sierra Club,” condemned the proposal, citing it as a poor use of taxpayer money at the expense of the environment.

For the past few years, we have seen the clash between GOP and Democratic ideals over the use of environmentally-damaging natural resources such as coal. While coal hurts the environment, it also hurts blue collar workers. The industry has seen a 40 percent drop in production since 2015, says Larry Johnson, mine manager of Alton Coal Development, who is in support of the proposal.

The issue of renewable energy in the U.S. is a highly divisive topic. California is taking a strong initiative to influence the rest of the country to follow suit in what they believe is the country’s best interest. Meanwhile, Utah is more concerned with the welfare of those who need the coal industry in order to survive financially. It’s a highly contested moral dilemma on both sides without an easy answer.

Los Angeles Tow Companies Refusing to Haul Away Homeless RVs

As the homeless population in Los Angeles continues to rise, tow companies are starting to refuse to haul away many of the seized RVs. As the increase in unregistered RVs on the Los Angeles continues to rise, so do the calls from people in various neighborhood to have them hauled off. However, many tow companies will not haul off the RVs because doing so is a no-win situation that is often done at a financial loss.

In the past year, there has been a large increase in these RVs littering the L.A. streets, and that in turn has led to an increase in enforcement. However, while there are many towing yards in the city of Angels, there is now only one company who handles all of the enforcement. This is because most of the other towing yards have abruptly quit, citing the difficulties of hauling dilapidated, garbage-infested motor homes to the yards. They sought to recoup some of the costs, but after hitting continual dead ends with City Hall they all threw up their hands and quit.

All of them quit, that is, except for Pepe’s Towing located in Wilmington. Unfortunately, the only reason Pepe’s Towing did not drop their city contract as well was because they specialize in heavy-duty towing assignments. The manager of Pepe’s Towing has noted that their lot is now crammed with dozens of motorhomes that belonged to homeless people, many of whom cannot afford to pick them up.

The manager of the towing yard also mentioned that for some of her employees, the stench from the abandoned motor homes can be borderline unbearable. She has had to step up her attempts to keep a sanitary environment. The towing offices now have to be flea-bombed on a weekly basis simply because of the presence of the motor homes.

However, there is a bright spot looming. At least eight other companies are expected to enter modified contracts with the city. Hopefully that will decrease the burden on Pepe’s Towing.

Curious California: Man Goes After Girl For Selling Lemonade

The old Summer-time American cliche about kids setting up a lemonade stand has typically brought about feelings of pride and good cheer, as it is a way for kids to garner some business experience while also having a good time. That cliche was strangely inverted yesterday on July 18th in a sunny little suburb in Discover Bay, California when a young girl (whose name has not been released) and member of the LaRouche family was setting up her own lemonade stand after being told by her parents that she could set up for one hour. As she was arranging her wares (ice cold lemonade and some cookies) a man, highly agitated, pulled up to her stand, he asked the young woman (who looks about eight years old from the photographs that have been released) if she had a business license?

Rather obviously, she did not and replied to the man, telling him just that. The mysterious stranger was apparently so upset by this fact that he told the little girl that he was calling the police on her and then made a show of pulling out his phone. Apparently he pretended as if he were actually talking to some police officers (whether the man actually called the police or was merely pretending is unknown as of yet). The young LaRouche girl, obviously confused and terrified ran home to her parents, shaking her head and in tears.

The father of the young woman, a Mr. Richard La Rouche, was furious at the eloper but told his daughter that people will sometimes just try and bring others down for no good reason. He called the police himself to straighten the affair out, according to his own statement, his daughter had just enough cookies and lemonade left for the officers before they left.

California to Host Summit Despite Withdrawl From Paris Agreement

California Governor, Jerry Brown, surprised many of us around the world as he publicly announced to the world that California would host its own international summit regarding global climate change despite President Trump’s decision to not get involved just days before.

[It wouldn’t accept the embed code so the video link is: https://youtu.be/8ny8NY7Lp5Y]

In the video Brown released regarding his announcement, he made it clear that even with Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Agreement, Trump doesn’t speak for the rest of Americans. “We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this Climate Action Summit we’re going to get it done,” Brown said.

Governor Jerry Brown along with governors from Washington and New York have come together to form a coalition named the US Climate Alliance which aims to unite American states to aggressively fight climate change. He has been named a special adviser to the UN’s next global climate meeting this November and has shown a deep commitment to the issue as he continues to travel around the world to discuss environmental policies with different leaders. The US Climate Alliance isn’t the only coalition he has formed to fight climate change, the governor has also formed a global group called Under2 Coalition which has the main focus of keeping temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.

People have speculated the governor’s actions as he attends global meetings and forms nationwide and global coalitions, that he is working beyond his duties as a governor and serving instead as a world diplomat. However, his actions aren’t receiving much negativity since he is going against President Trump’s decision for a cause as terrifying and impactful as climate change. Trump has yet to respond to Governor Jerry Brown’s diplomacy, but it’s evident Brown isn’t going to give up. Earlier this week he was quoted as saying, “Despite rejection in Washington, California is all in. We are fully committed to the Under2 Coalition and the Paris Agreement.” The international summit hosted by California is set to take place in September 2018.

Californian GOP Members Break Party Lines For Climate Change

It is no secret that the Republican party has a extremely low view of Climate Change and an even lower opinion of those who wish to use the topic as a directional model for policy making. Therefore it came as a extraordinary surprise to many that a recent California law, whose exclusive purpose was to push measures to combat climate change, received its primary bulk of support from Republicans.

This move comes on the heels of a nearly universal, nation wide effort by the Republican Party to pull back or down a wide array of climate change initiatives. The leader of the Californian GOP, Chad Mayes, has publicly spoken up about the curious move, assuredly preempting shock by the Democrats and unease by some of his own party constitutes in other states. Mr. Mayes said in a recent interview that his state was not like the rest of the United States of America, that the GOP in California was different as well and that the popular opinion in the party was that climate change simply had to be addressed.

Chad Mayes occupies a peculiar territory within the Republican Party and is one of the primary conservative reformers who has, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, steered clear of the policies of the current administration. Mr. Mayes track record has shown that his focuses lie primarily, with poverty reduction and climate change, initiatives in the political sphere which are both usually seen as Democratic priorities. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took to social media to show his approval of Mayes and his new party direction, writing on his Facebook that he hoped that Mr. Mayes’ new direction would be seen as a beacon of change that would get other Republicans to come on board and help. Mr. Schwarzenegger also noted that there was nothing mutually exclusive about wanting the economy to grow while at the same time wanting to be highly concerned about the environment.

California Teen Finds A Forever Home

Carson Peterson, 18, from Fresno, California, had a wish come true that not many foster children ever get the chance to experience. He had been a ward of the State since the age of three, following the loss of his biological mother. Around the age of eight, while in the custody of his biological father, poverty forced the pair to become homeless. At 11 years old, he went back into foster care.

Throughout most of his early teen years, Carson admits he was involved with bad influences, and frequently traveled down ‘the wrong path’. That was until he met a special Christian couple, Tex and Renee Peterson, which completely turned his life around. With a lot of love, quality time spent together, and the spirit of never giving up, the couple took him into their home and treated him as if he were their own. They introduced him to others as ‘our son’, and always made him feel wanted, appreciated and loved.

Recent discussions between the Clovis East High School Senior and the Petersons revolved around Carson’s desire for the couple to officially adopt him, and bring an end to his 15-year journey dreaming of a permanent family. In June 2017, Carson got exactly that – a forever home with the couple who says they always felt he belonged with them. The couple admitted that the legal process did nothing to change their feelings for the young man, because their love and devotion to him had been there from the start.