Category Archives: West Coast USA News

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.

Southern California Sets Record-Breaking Temperatures

If you reside in Southern California, have you noticed things heating up a bit? The National Weather Service, located in San Diego, recently reported recording the hottest temperatures ever experienced in the desert and mountainous areas of the state, including cities like Big Bear, Palm Springs, and Borrego Springs. Changes in weather patterns are responsible for these above-average temperatures, which the area has experienced since Father’s Day, June 18.

Although each of the areas listed above had varying temperatures, they all share the common thread in that there has never been a hotter temperature for that period. On average, Big Bear recorded temperatures of 67.6 degrees, while Palm Springs averaged a high temperature of 98 degrees. The average high temperature in Borrego Springs was 97. Temperatures in these areas have ran about 20 – 30 degrees hotter than usual. In mid-June, temperatures in some Southern California states climbed to the 120- degree mark, causing heat advisories to be put into effect.

While these above-average temperatures certainly provide adequate time for outdoor adventure and fun, remember that heat can be very dangerous, especially when you’re out in the sun for long periods. Avoid problems by staying in the house during the hottest parts of the day (typically from 2 – 5 p.m. each day) and wear a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher when you are outside. Wearing a hat and sunglasses can also help you minimize the effects of the heat. When temperatures soar, it is your job to go the extra mile for sun and heat protection.

Colorado Marijuana Sales Result in Huge State Profits

Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuana both medically and recreationally, and now, two years later, results around the state indicate the move was very profitable. The Washington Post released data that indicated Colorado banked $700 million in marijuana sales in 2014. Of those funds, the state received $63 million in tax revenue and another $13 million in licenses and fees. The actual amounts collected are perceived to be even higher than these numbers, since figures do not include data from marijuana-related products that are sold.

Now, three years later, the taxes and fees for licenses in the state has increased to $133 million. These funds are all accessible by the state, providing money that would otherwise be obsolete. While each Colorado city and town has their own agenda for the profits, they all put the money to great use, funding local roadwork projects, helping homeless individuals, providing student scholarships, and more. The profits the state receives from legal marijuana sales is only expected to continue climbing.

But, there is still more to consider when tallying the total dollar amount that the marijuana industry has created, and the $133 million figure may still be under-reported. Another aspect of the booming marijuana market is the tourist dollars that it brings in to the state each year. While Colorado has always been a popular tourist destination, in the two years that marijuana has been legal, the number of visitors to the state has skyrocketed, helping local hotels and businesses considerably.

Marijuana Found Along 210 Freeway

A marijuana enthusiast would’ve thought he died and went to heaven, but one Cresenta Valley council member and his cleanup crew knew exactly what to do with the 15-pounds of marijuana discovered during their recent cleanup efforts along the 210 Freeway. After Mike Classens discovered one duffel-bag filled with the herb, he took his find to show another cleanup crew member who had also made his own marijuana discovery. They each found a duffle bag filled with green, leafy substance. The smell gave full indication of what was inside. The men called the L.A.P.D. for assistance.

Mark Slater responded to that call. Slater stated he didn’t know why anyone would dump the two duffel bags along the highway, but promised full efforts to locate the owner of the bags. While he said that locating the owner is unlikely, the L.A.P.D. will treat the case as serious as any other.

Slater also stated the bags found did not contain marijuana buds, but instead trimmings that are cut from the leaves of the plant and from the buds. Most marijuana smokers prefer the buds of the plant.

In January 2017, California joined several other states, including Nevada, in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Thus, marijuana is legal for consumption by anyone in the state, regardless of their red card holding. Since marijuana is now legal in the state, Lt. Slater said he is unsure what type of charges would be filed should the owners of the bags be found. The perp would face a charge of illegal dumping, at a minimum.

West Coast Braces for Thousands of Eclipse Viewers in August

A total eclipse of the sun is coming in August, and America’s West Coast is directly in its path. Communities from coastal villages to tiny towns tucked away in mountain canyons are bracing for an influx of visitors in amounts they’ve never experienced before. Concerns exist that many eclipse travelers simply don’t understand how remote some areas of the American West really are and that essentials such as gasoline, groceries, and water may be in short supply. Estimates predict that the Central Oregon Coast may receive as many as 250,000 visitors — in an area with a population of less than 30,000 residents, this stands to have a serious impact on coastal communities. There is one highway that spans the length of the Oregon coast with several small feeder roads that reach Interstate 5 on the other side of the Coast Range. Neither Highway 101 nor the roads going over the Coast Range are equipped to handle the huge amount of traffic.

 

Because the last total eclipse of the sun last occurred in North America in 1972, the opportunity to view one is considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Local homeowners are making money renting out room and even camping spots. Community and business leaders all over the West Coast have been having strategy meetings for months to prepare for the onslaught of visitors, but many still feel as if they are unprepared due to the sheer numbers of people who will be descending on them.

 

Eclipse enthusiasts won’t have to wait another 45 years for the chance to see an eclipse on North American soil. There’s another one on the way in 2023 giving West Coast communities and businesses six years to brace for the next giant influx of eclipse chasers.

 

Seattle Passes New Worker’s Rights Law

The Seattle city council and mayor have once again passed worker’s rights laws designed to give hourly employees more dependability when it comes to their schedules. The council hopes this move will benefit those workers making them feel more empowered. You may remember that last year, Seattle became the second city in the United States to mandate a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Under the new law, according to the AP,workers who are employed by food industry and retail establishments that have 500 employees globally and to full-service restaurants with 500 employees and 40 establishments. Under the new law, employees would have to be given their schedules a minimum of 14 days in advance, be given more than 10 hours off between shifts and be paid extra if they come in at short notice. Additionally, companies cannot hire new employees until all their current employees have a full schedule. Additionally, employees who show up for work and are not needed or employees who are called and told not to come to work will have to be compensated. Employees would also receive an estimate of their total hours needed from their employer.

Starting in July, Walmart already had taken steps to allow employees more control over their schedules. These employees can enter a computer system and tell Walmart when they want to work and for how long.

A person has to wonder about this new law. Many franchisers are actually small businessmen who own very few establishments so this law would not apply to them. Additionally, it does not cover other industries that may require employees to work long hours such as those in health care. Many business owners say this new law will force them to leave Seattle. While one has to applaud the city council for trying to look out for employees, driving these employers out of Seattle does not seem like a good business principle. For the most part, these are jobs taken by the city’s youngest workers or its poorest so residents need to prepare for an impact in the social service sector as these people may no longer be able to find jobs.

 

 

 

How to Get an MBA – Family Style

What parent isn’t happy to help their son or daughter through an M.B.A. degree, and proud when they gradate. Judy O’Connor, a retired schoolteacher is one such mom. Her son, Marty, was transformed from college athlete to quadriplegic when he fell down some stairs in 2012 while working at a Southern California packaging plant. So when she wheeled him onto the stage on Saturday, May 20, 2017, to receive his degree from the Dean of Chapman University, she had more reason than normal to be proud of her offspring.

 

What happened on that stage was completely unexpected; the dean refused to let her fade into the background to let her have her son have his moment. No, she, too, was to receive a degree, an honorary M.B.A. “I was totally blown away,” Ms. O’Connor said later. So was the crowd, as they rose to their feet.

 

Marty and his mother had earned their respective degrees side by side. She accompanied him to every one of his classes at the private school in Orange, California. She took notes for him, typed them up and created study guides. “We had a lot of late-night hours together,” she said.

 

Ms. O’Connor had no idea the honorary degree was in the pipeline. Marty had met with university president Daniele Struppa in February. He had no problem persuading her to consider awarding an honorary degree to his mother. She had nothing but admiration for the dedicated parent and had no trouble bringing the dean and provost on board with the plan, along with the faculty senate.

 

Despite the fact that his mother helped him with his cell phone, he managed to keep it a secret right up until the moment her degree was announced. When a spokeswoman for the university asked his permission to publicize his story, he agreed, but sternly swore her to secrecy as far as his mother was concerned.

 

Five years ago, when it sank in that he was not going to recover physically, Marty was determined to find an intellectual challenge. His mother was equally determined to help him meet that challenge. The perseverance of the pair of them was rewarded.

 

Activists, Menstrual Equity, are Pushing for a Disclose in the Ingredients that go into Tampon Manufacturing

Most day-to-day products such as frozen dinners, processed milk, and candy bars are required to display a list of ingredients used to manufacture or process them. However, this is not the same case with menstrual pads and tampons. Rather, most tampon makers provide an optional ingredient list claiming that their products “are likely” to have polyester, cotton, or rayon, or a combination of all. On the other hand, a good number of sanitary pads manufacturers list no ingredients on their packages. However, firms may provide such info on their websites highlighting that the pads are made of polyolefin and an absorbent wood cellulose.

 

Currently, a group of health activists that is dedicated to “menstrual equity” has emerged. The group is calling for an imposition of new rules that will force firms to disclose all materials and chemicals that are used in the manufacture of feminine care products. Laura Strausfeld, a co-founder of a law and policy program on menstrual equity issues known as Period Equity, termed the new rules as “the additional tampon tax.” The above was when she was referring to the lack of transparency, which prevents women from gaining information about an intimate product that can potentially have health consequences.

 

Some years ago, the menstruation subject was rarely discussed; girls referred to their periods using code language, and tampons were kept out of sight. However, in the recent past, activists are trying to make monthly period a normal subject. They have pushed for tax-free sanitary products, and are calling for feminine products to be distributed for free to homeless shelters and schools.

 

Representative Carolyn Maloney has tabled a bill that requires the National Health Institute to conduct research and determine if the chemicals used in the production of feminine products are a health threat. The bill, which Ms. Maloney has introduced for the tenth time, has never gone past the committee due to divisive political climate and complicated legislative agenda.

 

The proponents are, however, convinced that the rallies and proposed legislation will help leverage public support. This will in turn pressure tampon and pad manufacturers to disclose all the ingredients; consequently ensuring that the products pose no threat to a woman’s life.

 

Seattle is Nation’s Fastest Growing Big City

Continuing a recent trend, Seattle has claimed the title of the nation’s fastest growing big-city based on newly-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, according to The Seattle Times. Seattle grew by over 21,000 individuals in the previous year, or approximately 3.1%, and is now home to over 700,000 residents. (Over the previous year, Seattle had ranked as the fourth fastest growing city; it only passed 600,000 residents in 2009.) For long-time residents, the draw of the Pacific Northwest’s unofficial capital is undeniable: a mild (if rainy) climate, a laid-back lifestyle, a booming high-tech economy, and abundant natural beauty in the form of easily accessible mountains, beaches, and both fresh water and open ocean. The artistic community that has long thrived in the area has attracted national and international acclaim, further solidifying Seattle’s image of cool.

 

Of course, such rapid rate growth also creates inherent challenges. By adding the average of 57 new residents daily, the difficulty of managing Seattle’s infrastructure and development has become more acute. Part of the issue is physical: the natural beauty that Seattlites and visitors alike have long celebrated makes for an especially challenging management issue due to the physical limitations imposed by Puget Sound and the surrounding area. But also at risk is the long-standing cultural and social fabric that has, ironically, served as an attraction to so many newcomers. Also concerning is the cost of living increases, particularly housing, in the tight Seattle property market.

 

But unquestionably, Seattle’s long-standing status as a proudly counterculture icon is creating considerable buzz and attention for many positive reasons. Close links with the many multinational companies that call the area home – including Microsoft, Starbucks, and Amazon – and a vibrant regional economy have served as powerful job generators, and newcomers have been able to somewhat offset the high cost of housing with high paying positions at some of those and other more Pacific Northwest-oriented companies. A robust research and development sector across numerous industries has also contributed to this growth with knowledge economy-based jobs. Like the city’s iconic Space Needle seems to indicate, for Seattle’s population, the sky is the limit.