Plus: The heartwrenching story of a surfer’s dying at Rincon Point. And an enormous storm comes south, bringing snow
In California brings you prime Golden State tales and commentary from throughout the USA TODAY Network and past. Get it free, straight to your inbox. I’m Julie Makinen, California editor for the USA Today Network, bringing you Thursday’s headlines.
But first, take me again to Space Mountain. In some excellent news for Californians, and perhaps for Newsom, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek announced Tuesday the company plans to reopen the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim by late April, and 1000’s of furloughed employees will probably be recalled to be skilled on new security requirements.
- Newsom admits ‘errors’ throughout pandemic however says, ‘let’s enable ourselves to dream of brighter days forward’
- Oil drillers win OK for 40,500 new wells, but major farmer vows to sue
- It was this Ojai couple’s 5-year anniversary. A surf trip at Rincon Point turned tragic.
- In like a lion…
- Julie Makinen is California editor for the USA Today Network. Follow her on Twitter at @Julie_Makinen
Newsom admits ‘errors’ throughout pandemic however says, ‘let’s enable ourselves to dream of brighter days forward’
California governors usually give their “State of the State” speeches in January. But this January, a exhausting lockdown was in place as about 40,000 Californians have been getting sick with COVID-19 every day. Businesses closed. Hospitals crammed. Evictions loomed. And California was among the many slowest states within the nation to deploy vaccines that ought to assist finish the devastating pandemic.
As CalMatters’ Laurel Rosenhall put it, it was little surprise that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom delayed delivering a “State of the State” speech, through which governors usually tout their accomplishments of the previous yr and announce an agenda for the yr forward.
Newsom lastly gave that speech Tuesday night time — an indication he believes the worst of the pandemic has handed, and that he’s turning his consideration towards the political marketing campaign to maintain his job as a petition drive to drive a recall election seems to be prefer it would possibly prevail.
Newsom delivered the address from Dodger Stadium, timed to coincide with night information broadcasts that can present him surrounded by 56,000 empty seats that signify roughly the entire folks in California who’ve died of COVID-19. He instructed Californians that the coronavirus pandemic “will end soon.” But when it does, the Democrat mentioned, “we’re not going back to normal.”
“Normal was never good enough. Normal accepts inequity,” Newsom mentioned.
He touted the state’s relatively low death rate compared to other states. He noted the state was the first to launch mass-vaccination sites, and said California ranks ahead of Russia, Germany, Israel and France on vaccine distribution (apparently by total number of shots given). “I do know our progress hasn’t at all times felt quick sufficient,” he said. “We’ve made errors. I’ve made errors. But we personal them. We be taught from them. And we by no means cease making an attempt. … That’s the California spirit.”
In a veiled nod to the looming recall, Newsom added: “We’re not going to alter course due to just a few naysayers and doomsdayers.”
“To the California critics on the market selling partisan political energy grabs with outdated prejudices ….. we are saying this: We won’t be distracted from getting photographs in arms and our economic system booming once more. This is a battle for California’s future.” Listen to the speech at C-SPAN.
Speaking of the pandemic, which state — Florida or California — handled it better? (Nobody seems to think Texas is in the mix….) As Newsom stares down a possible recall, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is garnering praise in some conservative circles. The L.A. Times is out with an interesting comparison between the two states. The paper notes that for much of the last year, it seemed that California’s response under Newsom had led to a dramatically lower COVID-19 death rate. Florida had a cumulative rate as much as 84% higher than California’s last fall. But the winter surge slammed California, and that gap narrowed to 11%.
Still, the paper said, “California higher managed the virus. If California had Florida’s dying fee, roughly 6,000 extra Californians can be lifeless from COVID-19, and tens of 1000’s of further sufferers probably would have landed in already overburdened hospitals. And if Florida had California’s dying fee, roughly 3,000 fewer Floridians can be lifeless from COVID-19.”
Oil drillers win OK for 40,500 new wells, but major farmer vows to sue
Over the objections of farmers and environmentalists, Kern County supervisors have given upfront, blanket environmental approval for 40,500 new oil and gas wells in the county by way of a single, supplemental environmental affect report and a associated ordinance, The Desert Sun’s Janet Wilson stories.
The vote allows oil producers to streamline normally lengthy reviews necessary to gauge the impact of each new project on a laundry list of issues including air quality, drinking water and wildlife. The unique measures, developed with the state’s leading oil lobbyists and backed by organized labor, augment similar approvals that were thrown out by a state appeals court last March.
After listening to more than 250 comments, many phoned in by opponents outside of Kern County, the supervisors, who ultimately gave the plan the go-ahead in a 5-0 vote, dismissed objections as “ridiculous” and “patronizing” in some cases. The panel said they were proud of what they called the nation’s toughest oil and gas regulations. “Bottom line, this county runs on oil, and we’re one of the best at what we do right here,” mentioned board Chairman Phillip Peters.
The measures will likely be challenged again by environmentalists and by members of the valley’s powerful agriculture industry. “This flippant dismissal of farmland impacts is tough to grasp … and we are going to discover ourselves proper again right here once more,” said Keith Gardiner, whose family has owned King and Gardiner Farms in Bakersfield for 120 years. He successfully sued to block earlier speedy environmental approvals for thousands of more wells.
It was this Ojai couple’s 5-year anniversary. A surf trip at Rincon Point turned tragic.
Gretchen Wenner at the Ventura County star has a heartwrenching story in regards to the dying of Gerald “Gerry” Gilhool, 51, in a surfing accident this past weekend. It’s so good, it’s for subscribers only — but the paper has a sale on right now, so go for the sub.
The knock on the door Saturday afternoon — one that brought a final parting — came from two surfers.
“Are you Gerry’s spouse?” one surfer asked when Alexandra “Ali” Johnes, 44, came to the entrance of her Ojai home.
There had been a serious accident in the water at Rincon Point. Ali’s partner, Gerald “Gerry” Gilhool, 51, had been taken by ambulance to a hospital in Ventura. It looked pretty bad, she was told.
What the surfer didn’t know was that the answer to his initial question came wrapped in a complicated and tender twist of fate.
The day — March 6, 2021 — was once planned as the couple’s wedding date, before the coronavirus intruded. It marked five years, exactly, since Gerry had pulled off an astonishing feat of courtship.
In like a lion…
California has had a fairly dry winter. But this week is bringing some much-needed moisture. A storm that hit Northern California and the Bay Area on Tuesday is shifting into Southern California, bringing rain and the potential for hail to much of the Los Angeles area and snow to the mountains on Wednesday.
The L.A. Times said Angelenos can expect steady rain early Wednesday till noon, and snow is expected above 3,500 feet as early as Tuesday night, according to Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. The cold front is expected to dump one-half to 1 inch of rain across L.A. County, while a half-inch more could fall on the foothills. Kittell said there’s also a good chance of thunder and lightning.
Out within the Inland Empire, as much as two ft of snow was expected in places like Idyllwild.
SF Gate put a cheerful spin on the soggy days, urging readers not to miss “your last chance to soak up the Bay Area’s rain hiking season.”
“Rain brings the forest into focus,” said writer Christine Sarkis. “Drops tumble by dense fog, sharpening the scent of redwood and bay. The timber appear to exhale, an oxygen-rich breeze that carries the regular drumbeat of rain and the symphonic splendor of birds. Under this blanket of fog and rain, inexperienced will get an s, now not a single notion however a monochromatic rainbow, dozens of greens—neon, lime, chartreuse, emerald—every placing its personal spin on the recipe of daylight and photosynthesis. Glossy and moist, it’s simpler to soak up the feel of the forest, the shine of some leaves and fuzzy effectivity of others, the way in which bark appears to swell just a bit, like terry fabric.”
If that’s not enough to inspire you to put on your galoshes and hit the trail, I don’t know what is.
In California is a roundup of news from across USA Today network newsrooms. Also contributing: Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press, CalMatters, C-SPAN and City News Service.