Good morning, and welcome to Essential California newsletter. Are Tuesday March 7.
Nearly two weeks after historic winter storms hit Southern California, some mountain residents remain stranded and waiting for help.
More than 100 inches of snow has fallen in the San Bernardino Mountains alone in recent days, blocking roads in and out of communities and hampering efforts to deliver essential supplies and medical assistance.
The blizzards are over, but now there’s a growing whirlwind of frustration as residents continue to wait for help – some for more than 10 days – as they run out of food and medicine.
My colleagues Nathan Solis, Summer Lin, and Robert J. Lopez have reported on the “snow siege,” writing:
The slow pace of road clearance has become a source of growing anger in mountain communities. To make matters worse, residents have experienced gas leaks, fires and roof collapses due to the snow, and authorities have struggled to provide assistance.
Governor Gavin Newsom last week declared a state of emergency for San Bernardino and several other counties hard hit by severe winter weather.
Several state and local agencies have crews that help clear roads and reach residents in need, in some cases using hand shovels, as well as machines such as graders, front loaders, dump trucks, snow plows and snow blowers. According to Newsom’s office, the California National Guard is also in the mountains providing assistance.
Volunteers also step up to help, like Crestline resident Max Strawn. He told Times reporters this weekend that he waded through waist-deep snow to run errands for the disabled and elderly residents in the area.
“These are just the ones we know about,” he said. “I know there are people we miss.”
Attempts by a nonprofit organization to deliver supplies by helicopter were halted on Friday by provincial officials, citing safety concerns.
So what’s behind the delays?
San Bernardino County officials have said they were not prepared for the back-to-back winter storms that dropped up to 12 feet of snow in mountain towns. Blizzard warnings, which hadn’t been issued in nearly 35 years, went out within 36 hours of the storms hitting the mountains, which officials said didn’t give them enough time to get their hands on the equipment they needed.
The usual snow plows could not cope with the historic snowfall. In the past week, Running Springs received 12 feet, Big Bear Lake 11 feet and Lake Arrowhead just over 9 feet, the National Weather Service reported.
on Monday afternoon, regional Caltrans officials announced that certain routes would be reopened to residents only.
“Currently, if you are a non-resident, please visit the mountains when conditions have improved,” officials wrote on Facebook. “We are asking for your cooperation in giving local communities time to clean up, recover and make progress in their areas before your visit.”
And now, this is what is happening in california:
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Donors are doing their best to fund the defense of suspended LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas against charges of bribery and corruption. So far, they’ve raised nearly $1.5 million, which will allow Ridley-Thomas to hire elite lawyers who have won courtroom victories for Google, Kaiser Permanente, and other major corporations. Los Angeles Times
Who will take over Nury Martinez’s former LA City Council seat? Seven people are running in the April 4 special election to represent San Fernando Valley neighborhoods. We have a guide for the race. Los Angeles Times
Check out “The Times” podcast for essential news and more
These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you’re looking for a more balanced news diet, “The Times” podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse group of reporters from the award-winning LA Times newsroom, delivers the hottest stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from.
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
A law that took effect this year gave California farm workers the right to vote for unions by mail. But that law is expected to be changed this year, which could undermine the progress of union lawyers. Cal Matters
The Golden State’s secretive water rights system comes under scrutiny from a growing number of water experts, legislators, environmental groups and tribes, calling for reform. “The whole system of water rights is based on racism and violence,” said a former water authority official. Los Angeles Times
Rodney “Blair” Stewart is the first black city councilman to serve in the Orange County town of Brea. That’s a landmark for the former “sundown town” with a history of racial covenants. Los Angeles Times
CRIME, COURT AND POLICE
San Diego is hosting some high-profile legal battles over California’s gun laws. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez prepares to rule — or rule again — four pending Second Amendment challengesincluding cases that could affect California ban assault weapons, and restrictions on the purchase of ammunition and high capacity magazines. San Diego Union Tribune
As data points to an increase in hate crimes in California, a new state bill seeks to create a special unit to fight the issue. Assembly Act 1079 would establish a Hate Crimes Intervention Unit within the state’s public health department. The Sacramento Bee
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
California will cut ties with Walgreens, Governor Gavin Newsom Monda announcedy, following the company’s decision to stop selling abortion drugs in 20 Republican-controlled states. At the moment it is not clear what the severing of ties will look like. Newsom aides said the government has just begun reviewing business relationships between Walgreens and the state, including MediCal and Covered California contracts. Los Angeles Times
An area of scenic oceanfront Rancho Palos Verde creeps ever closer to the Pacific Ocean. For decades, the swampy land of Portuguese Bend has been slidingthreaten homes, roads and other infrastructure. Now city officials have a $25 million plan to keep the soil in place. Los Angeles Times
CEQA has been in the news after a group of homeowners used the law (short for the California Environmental Quality Act) to delay a plan to build more housing for UC Berkeley students. Gov. Newsom said the law has been weaponized by “NIMBYs” to block much-needed housing and pledged to help change it. Here’s a look at what the law does and why it matters. The Mercury News
Disneyland has changed the tune and removed the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” from a twice-a-day parade at the theme park. The song is featured in the company’s 1946 film “Song of the South,” which uses racist tropes and romanticizes the post-Civil War South. Characters and stories from the film also form the basis for the park’s Splash Mountain ride, though that attraction is about to undergo a redesign. Los Angeles Times
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Today California landmark comes from Kristine Waldenburg from Vallejo: The Beach Boys Memorialplaced where the family home of the Wilson brothers once stood in Hawthorne.
Visited Kristine on a trip to SoCal in January. She writes:
(I) couldn’t go home without this pilgrimage… The Beach Boys personified Southern California in the 1960’s and beyond, bringing the sun and surf to the rest of the world. A soundtrack for my in-between and teenage years.
What are the essential California landmarks? Fill out this form to send us your photos of a special place in California – natural or man-made. Tell us why it is interesting and why it is a symbol of life in the Golden State. Make sure to only include photos taken directly by you. Your submission may be included in a future edition of the newsletter.
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