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By Eric Johnson
Published Jan 15, 2024

Hey, Mickey—please pay attention to your driving! Hey, Mickey—please pay attention to your driving! Image credit: Antonio Gravante, Shutterstock

Killer Cars, COVID & Copyright

Happy MLK Day, California. A reminder that this day was dedicated to volunteerism when Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act of 1990, encouraging Americans to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy “with acts of civic work and community service.” If you are in a position to do that and plan to do so, we commend you.

And a reminder that below our featured articles, you will find an easily digestible digest of curated news from trusted sources. 

Are Fatal ‘Accidents’ a Form of Violence?

This week we begin with the first of two articles about unnecessary losses of life. Jon Vankin writes about the increasing phenomenon of “traffic violence,” which is also known as the automobile “accident.” As you will see, thousands of Californians lose their lives each year because we’ve designed our transportation system to optimize for cars instead of people. Meanwhile, pedestrians are being killed by distracted drivers in bigger and bigger cars in devastating numbers.

Death on the Roads: Traffic Fatality Crisis Far From Over

California traffic deaths dropped by 12 percent in the first three months of 2023, but road fatalities remain at crisis levels.
As the COVID pandemic eased, so did the epidemic of death on the road. Somewhat. But the ongoing crisis of traffic fatalities remains at high levels with early numbers form 2023 appearing to top 4,000 in California.

Reading ‘The Wisdom of Plagues’ on COVID

In his new book, a former New York Times science reporter and expert on pandemics writes: “If the lies hadn’t been told ... we really would’ve ended up with only about 600,000 dead instead of 1.1 million dead.” I consider the book’s harrowing truths while suffering from a late case of COVID-19.

COVID Still Sucks

As I post this, the tiny pipe-mark beneath the T on this COVID test card, indicating that I am still infected, feels like it’s lodged in my stinging left eyeball.
A new book, ‘The Wisdom of Plagues,’ makes me feel angry that I contracted the disease in what should be the post-COVID era.

Mickey Mouse Is Free

For generations, US copyright law was determined largely by the value of one iconic piece of intellectual property. The fascinating tale of the Walt Disney Company’s successful campaign to protect the world’s most famous mouse, which has finally come to an end.

Mickey Mouse Enters Public Domain. What That Means for California

The version of Mickey Mouse seen in the 1928 animated short “Steamboat Willie” is now free for public use.
Disney icon Mickey Mouse is now in the public domain, meaning anyone can create their own Mickey Mouse cartoons. Here’s what that means, and how it could affect the California economy.

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California Homebuilding Foundation advances the homebuilding industry by providing scholarships, research, and workforce education programs. The Foundation offers high school students hands-on training that instills work-ready skills.

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From Our Media Allies

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Folsom Times logo Study Confirms Forests are Healthier When Burned or Thinned

A 20-year experiment in the Sierra Nevada confirms that different forest management techniques are effective at reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire in California.

Folsom Times logo Folsom City Zoo Offering 2024 Docent Training

Interested in helping at the Folsom City Zoo? Well, now is your chance to do so.

Sacramento News and Review logo Sacramento Mayoral Hopefuls Make Final Push

Each candidate brings strategies old and new ahead of March 5 vote.

Sacramento News and Review logo Who Is Funding the Sacramento Mayor’s Race?

The Sacramento News & Review breaks down campaign contributions to each candidate.

Folsom Telegraph logo Inside Look Into Not-So-New Folsom Mayor Kozlowski

Mike Kozlowski, who was reelected as the mayor of Folsom in December, shares big plans for his new term.

Folsom Telegraph logo Folsom Approves Contract to Purchase Water Treatment Chemical

The Folsom City Council agreed to spend well over a half-million dollars on chemicals to treat drinking water from Folsom Lake.

West Sacramento News Ledger logo Grant Applications Sought for Shoreline Erosion Control

California State Parks’ Division of Boating and Waterways is now accepting grant applications from government agencies to help slow, stop, or reverse the impact of erosion on California’s shoreline.

West Sacramento News Ledger logo California Highway Patrol Celebrates 96 New Officers

Soon after families and friends were seated, nearly 100 men and women marched into the California Highway Patrol Academy graduation ceremony with serious faces, wearing the traditional CHP uniform.

West Sacramento News Ledger logo Restoration of Six Trips to Yolobus Routes 211 and 212

Yolo Transportation District announced the restoration of six trips to Yolobus Woodland Local Routes 211 and 212, effective Jan. 14.

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Recent Local News

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• Legislature’s Analyst Gives Mixed Review of Newsom Budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recipe for digging the state out of a multibillion-dollar budget hole has “strengths and weaknesses” while his revenue projections are “plausible, but optimistic,” the nonpartisan analyst’s office said.

(01/13/2024) → CalMatters

• What Causes Innocent-Looking Snow Slopes to Collapse? A Physicist and Skier Explains

An avalanche swept up skiers at Lake Tahoe’s largest ski resort on Jan. 10 as a 150-foot-wide sheet of snow slid down a mountain slope.

(01/12/2024) → CapPublicRadio

• Citrus Heights Mayor Votes Against New Light Rail Station

The Sacramento Regional Transit Board of Directors voted 11-1 for a new light rail station, with opposition coming from Citrus Heights Mayor Bret Daniels who sits on the board.

(01/11/2024) → Citrus Heights Sentinel

• Food Truck Plaza Proposed for Long-Vacant Citrus Heights Lot

An overgrown parcel of land on the corner of Auburn Boulevard and Twin Oaks Avenue could become a new food truck plaza.

(01/11/2024) → Citrus Heights Sentinel

• SacAnime Transforms Downtown Sacramento Into a Fantasy Land

The metamorphosis started slowly on Jan. 5 as dozens of fans roamed the streets in cosplay fan shirts, props and more. By dawn on Jan. 7, the rising sun made everyone’s costumes pop even brighter.

(01/11/2024) → The Sacramento Observer

• Advocates Want More Green Spaces in Black Neighborhoods

Some say the state is not developing and maintaining community recreational facilities equally. They point out that green spaces in neighborhoods where Black Californians live remain underfunded.

(01/10/2024) → The Sacramento Observer

• Advocates Urge Biden to Expand Berryessa Monument

Last year, environmental groups and tribes rallied behind a proposed expansion of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Expansion was tried through congressional legislation, but it stalled.

(01/09/2024) → CapPublicRadio
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Recent Statewide News

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• SCOTUS to Hear Case with Major Implications for Homeless

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case related to whether cities and towns can ban camping on public property. The high court could overturn Martin v. Boise, a 2018 federal court decision that keeps western cities and counties from blocking public camping when sufficient shelter space is unavailable.

(01/12/2024) → Sacramento Bee

• Fourth Graders Might Lose Free Access to California State Parks

California’s projected budget deficit of close to $38 billion likely means some cuts are coming. Among them, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed ending the California State Park Adventure Pass, which offers free access to some state parks for fourth graders.

(01/12/2024) → SFGate

• Iconic California Restaurant Closes Without Warning

Pea Soup Andersen’s, a Buellton, Calif., restaurant just shy of its 100th birthday, closed suddenly. The restaurant's other location, near Interstate 5 in Santa Nella, remains open.

(01/10/2024) → SFGate

• $10M-Plus Lawsuit Follows Multiple Deaths at Sacramento Jail

Sacramento attorney Mark Merin has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a man who died in May after being held at the county jail. Other inmates have died in recent years, and the jail is under a federal consent decree to improve its health care.

(01/09/2024) → Sacramento Bee

• Hate Crimes Rising in Los Angeles

Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism found that hate crimes rose 12.9% between 2022 and 2023. The spike follows a particularly stark increase in crimes against Jewish people.

(01/09/2024) → LAist

• Newsom Sets March 19 Special Election to Fill McCarthy’s Seat

Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for a March 19 primary to elect a replacement for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who resigned from Congress in December. If a candidate doesn’t win outright, a runoff will be held on May 21.

(01/08/2024) → Sacramento Bee

• State Trying to Use Generative AI to Reduce Traffic

Caltrans has set a Jan. 25 deadline for tech companies to show how generative artificial intelligence might reduce traffic congestion in the state. This follows an executive order that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in September related to this type of AI.

(01/08/2024) → LA Times

• New Year Brings Protections for Deep-Sea Corals and Ocean Fishing Opportunities

New rules took effect Jan. 1 permanently protecting the most fragile deep sea corals off Southern California. Simultaneously, more than 4,500 square miles of ocean waters are now reopened to fishing after more than 20 years of closures.

(01/08/2024) → YubaNet
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Government Announcements

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Image of City of Elk Grove seal. City of Elk Grove   (01/13/2024)

Online Application Period Opens for City Grant Programs

The online application period for three City grant programs supporting local nonprofit organizations is now open for funding allocated in next fiscal year (FY 2024-25). Access the applications. Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Community Service Grants (CSG) offer funding for community service programs. The CDBG program funds public service activities, housing programs, and public facility improvements that benefit low-income …
Image of City of Sacramento seal. City of Sacramento   (01/12/2024)

City extends weather-respite operations to Jan. 16

Due to the continuing cold temperatures, the City is once again extending weather-respite operations at its Outreach and Engagement Center (3615 Auburn Blvd.). The OEC now will provide weather respite through 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16. Walk-ups will be accepted, with the OEC able to accommodate up to 50 guests as part of its weather-respite activation. [...] The post City …
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (01/12/2024)

Kevin McCarty CA Assembly 06:
Assemblymember Kevin McCarty’s bill requiring a minimum age for kids to play youth tackle football heads to the Assembly Floor

Assemblymember Kevin McCartys bill requiring a minimum age for kids to play youth tackle football heads to the Assembly Floor braithsi Fri, 01/12/2024 - 10:19 Friday, January 12, 2024 SACRAMENTO Assemblymember Kevin McCartys bill requiring a child to be at least 12 years old to play tackle football passed the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, and Tourism Committee. AB …
Image of City of Galt seal. City of Galt   (01/12/2024)

Connect With Galt Newsletter

The latest edition of Connect with Galt is now available! Read the latest City news at This week’s newsletter includes the following information: 17th Annual Winter Bird Festival Honoring Fallen Officer...
Image of United States seal. United States   (01/11/2024)

World Green Nutrition, Inc. is Recalling ELV Alipotec Brand Mexican Tejocote Root Supplement Pieces (Raiz De Tejocote Mexicano Suplemento En Trozos), Net. Wt, 0.3 0Z (7g), Due to the Presence of Yellow Oleander in this Product

WORLD GREEN NUTRITION, INC. is recalling ELV ALIPOTEC brand MEXICAN TEJOCOTE ROOT SUPPLEMENT PIECES (RAIZ DE TEJOCOTE MEXICANO SUPLEMENTO EN TROZOS), NET. WT, 0.3 0Z (7g), due to the presence of yellow oleander in this product. The consumption of yellow oleander can cause adverse effects on neurolog
Image of City of Sacramento seal. City of Sacramento   (01/11/2024)

What happens when construction affects connectivity? The City needs your feedback

When should a construction zone require detours? And how should these detours be designed to have as little impact as possible on people walking or biking? Join Department of Public Works staff for a webinar at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, to learn more and provide input on the City’s work zone and event detour [...] The post What happens …
Image of City of Sacramento seal. City of Sacramento   (01/11/2024)

Video: Take a tour of the City’s new shelter-and-service campus for people experiencing homelessness

The City of Sacramento’s new shelter-and-service campus for people experiencing homelessness this week began accepting its first clients. The campus, at 3900 Roseville Road, features 60 sleeping cabins and 40 trailers and can shelter up to 240 people. The site also contains permanent, plumbed restrooms and showers for clients to use. The first guests to move [...] The post Video: …
Image of City of Sacramento seal. City of Sacramento   (01/11/2024)

Some Sacramento streets will be closed for MLK Day events on Jan. 15. Here’s where

Thousands of people are expected to participate in two Sacramento events honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 15. For the safety of participants and residents, the Sacramento Police Department will facilitate rolling street closures throughout the events. Officers will close streets as late as possible and reopen as early as [...] The post Some Sacramento …
Image of City of Sacramento seal. City of Sacramento   (01/11/2024)

City Council confirms its Vice Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and committee positions

Two of the youngest members of the Sacramento City Council have been appointed by Mayor Darrell Steinberg and unanimously confirmed by the City Council for leadership posts. The Council on Jan. 9 approved Councilmember Caity Maple (District 5) as Vice Mayor and Councilmember Karina Talamantes (District 3) as Mayor Pro Tempore for 2024. Vice Mayor [...] The post City Council …
Image of City of Elk Grove seal. City of Elk Grove   (01/11/2024)

City of Elk Grove Project Update: Oak Rose Apartments Project

#removeSpace a { padding: 0 !important; } The City has reached a settlement in principle with the applicant for the Oak Rose Apartments Project which would relocate the project to an alternative site in the City outside of the Old Town Special Planning Area. The settlement is not final. Staff is asking the City Council to postpone action tonight on …