Fires and fireworks

Jul 5, 2018

While many people celebrated the 4th with fireworks legal and illegal, firefighters faced the 86,000-acre County Fire.


From the Bee's BENGY EGEL: "The County Fire torching grasslands east of Lake Berryessa reached 86,000 acres but was 27 percent contained as of Wednesday evening, up 12 percent from the day before."


"Mandatory evacuations have been lifted by the Yolo County Sheriff's Office for areas east of the Yolo/Napa County line to Highway 16 and south of County Road 53 to Highway 128, according to a Cal Fire news release."


"Firefighters made inroads thanks to cool, relatively wind-free conditions Wednesday morning, Cal Fire spokesman Jordan Motta said. They used driptorches and flame-shooting pistols to burn tinder-like dry grass before it could be engulfed by the larger flame."


READ MORE related to the fire, fireworksCounty Fire grows to 86,000 acres as crews carve containment lines -- ERIN STONE, Chronicle; Fire crews make progress, stop County fire from advancing south -- MARTIN ESPINOSA, Press-Democrat; Wildfire in Yolo County grows to 86,000 acres with containment at 27% -- SARAH PARVINI, LAT. Big Bay Boom goes off without a hitch -- PHILLIP MOLNAR, Union-Tribune


Patriotic California? Well, sort of


From CHUCK McFADDEN in Capitol Weekly: "A financial advisory firm called WalletHub recently issued a study listing the states according to how patriotic they are.

Care to guess where California wound up? With July 4 loomimg, we thought we’d take a look."


"We’re 44th out of the 50 states. The rankings are based on point totals for “Military Engagement” and “Civic Engagement” made up of 13 indicators. They include a number of such things as each state’s share of enlisted military population, the share of adults who voted in the 2016 presidential election and AmeriCorps volunteers per capita. "


"States were awarded point totals based on the study’s findings in each category, and the total determines each state’s ranking."


Year-round daylight saving time? More dark mornings is just one downside


GEORGE SKELTON opines in the LAT: "We’d be better off on the Fourth of July if daylight saving time were eliminated. It would get darker earlier, and we wouldn’t have to wait so long for the fireworks shows."


"But the sun would rise the next day at a ridiculously early 4:47 a.m. in Los Angeles. Forget that."


"So in summer, daylight saving time is better for sleeping in the morning and for playing in the evening, except on July Fourth."


"But if we kept daylight saving all year, kids would be walking to school in the dark in winter. On Dec. 21, the sun wouldn’t rise until 7:55 a.m. in L.A. That’s uncivilized and dangerous."


The state budget: Gov. Brown's half-truths


CALmatters' DAN WALTERS: "Jerry Brown signed the 16th and final state budget of his two-part gubernatorial career last week, and bragged a bit."


“When I took office back in 2011 with the state facing a $27 billion deficit, I pledged to work with the Legislature to fix California’s financial mess,” Brown said in a statement as he signed the $201 billion 2018-19 budget. “Today, the final budget I sign delivers on that pledge and prepares us for the future.”


"Those last two assertions are, unfortunately, just half-truths."


Meanwhile, down in southern California a motorcyclist is training to replicate three of Evel Knievel's most famous stunts.


From DAVID DOWNEY in the Press-Enterprise: "When daredevil Travis Pastrana was deciding which Evel Knievel stunt to recreate this summer, he kept returning to three legendary motorcycle jumps."


"Pastrana — who practiced in the Inland Empire — said they were all so cool he couldn’t bring himself to eliminate any. So he decided to do all three — the same night."


"That night will be Sunday, July 8, when the 34-year-old Maryland man who has won numerous X Games medals and performed death-defying stunts of his own, is set to attempt two jumps in the parking lot of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas."


In San Diego, a major piece of Mayor Faulconer’s housing plan Is on hold


From LISA HALVERSTADT in the Voice of San Diego: "Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to encourage developers to build more homes for middle-class residents – a centerpiece of his proposed housing reforms – is now on hold and will likely see substantial changes before it re-emerges. It had been set to go to the City Council last week."


"The postponement followed concerns from unions and affordable housing advocates that the proposal wouldn’t serve the middle-class San Diegans it’s intended to benefit and that it could hamper efforts to build homes reserved for low-income residents."


"Labor leaders not included in earlier talks about the policy are being brought to the negotiating table – which they see as an opportunity to advocate for other policy changes."


READ MORE about housing: Valley housing prices skyrocket to record highs -- OLGA GRIGORYANTS in the LA Daily News; Sacramento approved 5,500 housing units. Less than 100 were for low-income residents -- TONY BIZJAK AND RYAN LILLIS, Sacramento Bee.


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appears ready to sign California’s education plan


DAVID WASHBURN reports in EdVoice: "Next week, the State Board of Education will likely approve yet another set of revisions to California’s plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act — and this time state officials are “very optimistic” that the plan will finally get U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s signature."


"The optimism stems from a June 29 letter from Jason Botel, one of DeVos’s top lieutenants, stating that the most recent draft of the plan “appears to meet all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements,” and “I intend to recommend that Secretary DeVos approve the plan.”


"If she does, it would end a nearly year-long ordeal during which California twice saw its plan rejected by the U.S. Dept. of Education. The state is currently one of only five whose plans have yet to be approved by DeVos."


Renewable energy push in sunny Arizona draws political fight


From the AP's MELISSA DANIELS: "Arizona's largest utility is fiercely opposing a push to mandate increased use of renewable energy in the sun-drenched state, setting up a political fight over a measure funded by a California billionaire."


"Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona aims to ask voters whether they want the state Constitution to require half of Arizona's electricity come from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2030. The group plans to file more than 225,000 signatures Thursday get the question on the November ballot."


"Billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer is financing the initiative through his NextGen Climate Action group, which supported similar efforts in Nevada and Michigan. But only the Arizona measure spawned a political battle, with the Republican-controlled Legislature passing a rule to help insulate utilities and the parent company of the state's largest electricity provider bankrolling opposition messaging."