2 New U.S. Cases of Coronavirus Confirmed In California

Health officials in two California counties have reported over the weekend two new cases of Wuhan coronavirus in the state, bringing the total number of cases in the U.S. to four.

The Orange County Health Care Agency reported Saturday that a man in his 50s tested positive for the infectious disease and is currently being treated in isolation at a local hospital.

Meanwhile, officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported a second new case in California on Sunday. Both counties said the cases had been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to health officials in Orange and Los Angeles counties, both cases involved people traveling from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the infectious disease outbreak. Officials said both patients are receiving care at local hospitals, and that the risk of local transmission remains low. …

Click here to read the full article from NPR

California Asks for Surplus Federal Land to House Homeless

California is asking the Trump administration to provide surplus federal land that could be used to build housing for the homeless, mirroring a new state program.

Gov. Gavin Newsom sent the request in a letter Tuesday to U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson amid an ongoing debate over whether Democratic officials in California are doing enough to ease the state’s homelessness crisis.

The Democratic governor earlier this month directed his administration to identify unused state property by month’s end that local governments or nonprofits can use, so long as it doesn’t delay the development of affordable housing. …

Click here to read the full article from ABC7 News

California Could Lose Congressional Seat After 2020 Census

We’ve known for a while that California’s population growth has slowed to historic lows in recent years as immigration has dwindled and birthrates have plummeted.

That’s true for some states across the country and the country as a whole.

But it’s not true for every state. As my colleague Robert Gebeloff reported, some states, like Texas, grew rapidly over the 2010s.

And that, experts say, could result in California losing a congressional seat for the first time in history. …

Click here to read the full article from the New York Times.

Trump Approves First Solar’s Mega-Farm in California Desert

The Trump administration on Wednesday will announce the authorization of a roughly 3,000-acre solar farm near Palm Springs, California, after developers scaled back its size to help avoid threatened desert tortoises and cultural artifacts.

First Solar Inc.’s 450-megawatt Desert Quartzite project in eastern Riverside County has been praised by some environmentalists for its careful design on lands teeming with protected species and relics.

“It’s a big project, over 2,700 acres. That’s no small chunk of land, and they’re going to squeeze 450 megawatts out of that,” said Casey Hammond, the Interior Department’s acting assistant secretary of land and minerals management. “If you look at how they scaled it down from where they first were — it’s 1,000 acres less — and what they’re going to crank out of there, utility payers should get a good value.”

The project, being developed by Desert Quartzite LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar, is expected to be in operation by 2022. …

Click here to read the full article from Yahoo Finance.

Poll: Bernie Sanders Leading in Close California Presidential Primary

With just over a month and a half until voters go to the polls, Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading a tight three-way race in California’s Democratic presidential primary, a new survey released Monday afternoon found.

The poll, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, found Sanders leading with 27 percent among likely Democratic primary voters, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 24 percent and Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 23 percent.

Sanders jumped 10 percentage points since the last time PPIC surveyed Californians in November, mirroring a similar surge in recent months around the country for the Vermont senator. But his lead remains well within the poll’s margin of error, a sign of how close the race for the White House remains in California. …

Click here to read the full article from the Mercury News.

Sprawling Homeless Camps Vex California

Charles Gibson pushes a shopping cart toward his soggy tent on a tenuous patch of a grassy drainage ditch along a bike trail in Santa Rosa, Calif. He’s one of nearly 200 people living in a sprawling camp here that has sprung up along a popular recreation corridor. It’s a community, Gibson says, that often feels caught between opposing forces who aren’t always listening.

“I mean, they [local officials] want us to be able to govern ourselves, but they are not giving us the tools we need,” Gibson says. “They don’t want you hiding, but they don’t want you in their face, you know?”

Across California and other parts of the country, these growing homeless encampments evoke shantytown “Hoovervilles,” where hundreds of thousands of destitute Americans lived during the Great Depression. The encampments are frustrating residents, raising health and safety fears and fueling a debate over poverty and inequality in one of the nation’s wealthiest states. …

Click here to read the full article from NPR

California Is Losing Young People – Texas Is Getting More of Them

America’s most populous state is losing its young people.

California’s youth population fell by more than 400,000 over the past decade to 8.9 million, largely due to a decline in immigrant inflows and a falling birth rate, according to the latest Census data. The population grew for all the state’s older age-groups, highlighting the demographic challenge of an aging workforce in the coming generations.

The decline in young people is a common trend in the U.S., where 30 states recorded a drop in the under-18 age bracket between 2010 and 2019, according to recently released data.

Chalk up the decline in California primarily to people having fewer babies, said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, a research group. The state’s birth rate is at the lowest in history. Other experts suggest falling foreign immigration and more out-migration to other states also are hurting California. …

Click here to read the full article from Bloomberg

California’s Considers Banning Gas-Powered Mowers and Blowers

The next frontier in California’s battle against pollution: lawn equipment.

State air regulators are laying long-term plans to phase out gasoline-powered devices like leaf blowers and lawn mowers, saying they can produce more noxious emissions than cars.

Plenty of Bay Area cities are already acting: At least eight have banned gas-powered blowers, and more restrict their use during times of day or up to a certain noise level. Novato may soon join the list.

“What I think we need to realize is that we have to do something different for climate change in the world,” said Novato Mayor Pro Tem Pat Eklund, who proposed a ban on gas lawn mowers and leaf blowers in December. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle

California Vaping Bill Would Ban All Flavored Tobacco Sales

Days after concerns over youth vaping led the Trump administration to announce a partial ban on many e-cigarette pods, California lawmakers on Monday introduced a much stronger measure to outlaw store sales of all flavored tobacco products in the state.

The proposal would go far beyond the federal government’s plan, announced Thursday, for a temporary ban on many candy- and fruit-flavored e-cigarette products that could be lifted if companies can convince the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that the pods are safe.

Senate Bill 793 would prohibit flavored products not covered by the federal ban, including menthol-flavored cartridges and refillable, tank-based vaping systems that can be filled with flavored chemicals. It would also outlaw flavors for combustible cigarettes and cigars, as well as for chewing tobacco and hookah pipes. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

Rep. Maxine Waters call with Greta Thunberg was really a ruse by Russian trolls

The call starts innocently enough: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) warmly greets the voices on the line, whom a staffer identifies as Greta Thunberg and her father, Svante. They share a laugh about Waters’s nickname, “Auntie Maxine.” The congresswoman praises her young caller for her climate change activism.

“You have made quite a big, big, big, big thunder on this issue. I am really, really very proud of you and the work that you’re doing,” Waters is heard saying.

The congresswoman and her staff thought they had connected with Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist who was recently named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.” In reality, two 30-something Russians, Vladimir “Vovan” Kuznetsov and Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov, were on the other end of the line. The duo describe themselves as comedians and pranksters, but they are widely suspected of having ties to the Russian government. …

Click here to read the full article from the Washington Post.