Published 9: 49 PM EST Jan 2, 2020
A senior mobile home park becomes a quasi-disaster site when the water goes out and stays off for days. And a small Native American tribe may hold the key to how to keep the lights on: just build your own utility. Can they also build a water system?
It’s news for Thursday.
But first, search-and-rescue folks still haven’t found occupants or the car that a dashcam captured as it flew off a cliff on Highway 1 in San Mateo County.
I’m Arlene Martínez and I write In California, a roundup of stories from newsrooms across the USA TODAY Network and beyond. Sign up for M-F delivery here!
A water line break leaves seniors high and dry
Seventy- and eighty-year-old seniors lugging buckets of water from a community pool to their home, dumping gallon jugs of water into their toilets and going days without showering. That’s been the scene over the past several days at a Ventura County senior mobile home park while water is shut off.
The response resembled a disaster site, with the Red Cross, Ventura County Public Health, Ventura County Fire Department, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and city of Thousand Oaks all there to help.
The shut-off was caused by a break in a 3-inch water line under one of the mobile homes, officials said. The water line and mobile home park are privately owned by Sun Communities, a Michigan-based real estate investment trust that specializes in mobile home and RV communities.
“This is something that could have been fixed in an hour. The management should have had an immediate response, and there wasn’t one,” said Claudia Bill-de la Peña, mayor pro tem of Thousand Oaks.
A new start in life; an end to flavored vaping
She lost her husband to cancer and her home to the Thomas Fire in the span of three months. With the help of her two young girls, she is finding times of peace on the new journey.
Following the lead of several California cities, the FDA announces it will ban fruit- and mint-flavored products used in e-cigarettes and vaping products. It does not apply to menthol and tobacco-flavored products.
Black drivers were stopped by police at 2.5 times the per capita rate of whites and searched three times as often, according to a report released Thursday, a first-in-the-nation attempt to track racial profiling by police.
We legislate by ballot here
In March, Californians will have the opportunity to have a say in who becomes the candidate hoping to unseat President Donald Trump. But in that election and in November, we’ll also weigh in on several propositions that made it onto the ballot. Here’s a quick look at a few of them:
If voters approve a $15 billion school construction bond, $9 billion would go toward renovations to public preschools and grade schools throughout the state; $6 billion targets community college construction, and the Cal State and the UC systems.
Police unions want to undo Prop. 57, the 2016 ballot initiative that overhauled the state parole system and allowed inmates convicted of certain crimes to earn early releases.
The bail industry is gunning to get cash bail enshrined in the state constitution. Lawmakers in 2018 voted to phase out cash bail, which is widely considered a major flaw in an unequal justice system.
Labor unions and Democratic Party-affiliated groups want to reform Prop. 13, which since the late 1970s has limited annual property tax increases to 2% per year. The caps would continue to apply to residential properties, but no longer to commercial ones.
What else we’re talking about
Actors Antonio Banderas, Charlize Theron, Joaquin Phoenix and director Jay Roach came out to the Palm Springs International Film Festival awards gala. Follow the Desert Sun’s live coverage here.
Coming atcha from Beverly Hills, the 77th annual Golden Globes! Here’s all you need to know to watch the show, which starts at 5 p.m. Sunday.
- Wait, remind me who got nominated (and snubbed).
Did you feel it? A magnitude-4.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Ventura County early Thursday.
Welcome to 2030, a land where local communities create housing, new ways to travel and generate unparalleled economic activity, imagines Joe Mathews in his Connecting California column. All it took was a new constitution (OPINION).
Forget PG&E. This tribe’s creating its own power
Rolling blackouts. Preventative shutoffs. Deteriorating infrastructure. Those are problems a small Native American tribe in Humboldt County doesn’t have to deal with as much because it built its own utility.
This fall, the Blue Lake Rancheria tribe’s utility served over 10,000 people after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. turned off power to 2 million people. A local paper was published, eight critically ill patients were provided for and a gas station and mini-mart provided some of the only services in the region.
The 100-acre reservation’s microgrid has solar panels, storage batteries and distribution lines. It is a state-of-the-art system that could be an “indicator of what might be in California’s future,” the Washington Post reports.
But there are obstacles, big ones — cost and regulations, namely. Not many 50-member anythings could have afforded a $6.3 million microgrid; the tribe used revenue from its 102-room hotel and casino.
In California is a roundup of news compiled from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: Washington Post, Mercury News, Vox, Associated Press, The Mercury News.