A group of powerful, ambitious and confident people are hoping to ease California’s housing crisis by building an urban Utopia in the middle of nowhere.
Welcome to the end of January, which seems to have arrived too quicky. A reminder that, as always, you can access the most important news in your community, and learn about local nonprofits doing good work, just below. And BTW: Go Niners!
In this week’s edition of The Newsletter, we take a look at two of the biggest stories of 2023. First, the “California Exodus” that has seen the state’s population shrink in recent years by more than 800,000, which could send a political shockwave through the state and the nation. Then, the secret plan, launched by some A-list Silicon Valley billionaires, to build a city of 400,000 in an agricultural area halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento.
These stories are bound together by one thing—the state’s ongoing housing shortage. As Jon Vankin explains here, the cost of housing has one out of three Californians considering escape from the Golden State, and is the primary reason more than a million left in the past two years. And as the New York Times reports, the stated impetus behind the “California Forever” plan for a new city is the housing shortage that is throttling their limitless ambitions.
Next, our colleague and product guru Chris Neklason reports on our newest Tracker, a one-stop resource that will make it easy to follow the potentially explosive developments in Solano County.
And finally, our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening provide a healthy winter recipe to keep you warm.
• Will More Outdoor Drinking Give CA Economy a Buzz?
State Sen. Scott Wiener wants to allow California cities and counties to designate “entertainment zones” where bars and restaurants could serve alcoholic drinks that people can consume on public streets and sidewalks.
(01/29/2024) → CalMatters
• New Pickleball Equipment Takes a Swing at the Sport’s Noise Problem
The “pop, pop, pop” that’s become synonymous with Pickleball may soon be a racket of the past. That’s the goal promised by a new generation of equipment developed to lessen the overall acoustic burden of the sport.
(01/29/2024) → Daily Democrat
• Tribal Leaders Cite Problems with California’s Feather Alert for Native People Who Go Missing
In the first year of California’s Feather Alert system, authorities denied some requests to issue bulletins on missing people, causing concerns.
(01/28/2024) → Los Angeles Times
• Gavin Newsom Raised Millions for His Mental Health Ballot Measure. His Opponents Have $1,000
The March ballot measure would raise billions for mental health care, but some clinics fear it would strip them of revenue they need for services they provide today.
(01/28/2024) → CalMatters
• ‘Hot Droughts’ Are Becoming More Common in the Arid West, New Study Finds
Take a period of limited rainfall. Add heat. And you have what scientists call a “hot drought”—dry conditions made more intense by the evaporative power of hotter temperatures.
(01/28/2024) → CapPublicRadio
• Disneyland’s New Vision Includes Up to $2.5-billion Investment and Plan to Take Over City Streets
Disneyland’s plan to reimagine the theme park into a more “immersive” experience may require up to $2.5 billion and a plan to privatize some Anaheim streets.
(01/26/2024) → Los Angeles Times
• Collapse of California’s News Industry Is So Severe It’ll Require Taxpayer Support to Rebuild
A combination of tax credits, revenue sharing and coupons could bring stability, writes Steven Waldman, president of Rebuild Local News.
(01/25/2024) → CalMatters
• A Record Number of Californians Are Visiting Emergency Rooms for Dog Bites
Those pandemic puppies are growing up to be a public health concern.
(01/25/2024) → KFF Health News
• Senate Probes the Cost of Assisted Living and Its Burden on American Families
A U.S. Senate committee launched an examination of assisted living, holding its first hearing in two decades on the industry as leaders of both parties expressed concern about the high cost and mixed quality of care facilities.
(01/25/2024) → California Healthline
• Controversial California Bill Would Physically Stop New Cars From Speeding
The proposed bill would require new California cars to have a speed limiter.
(01/25/2024) → SF Gate
• New USGS Map Shows California Is at High Risk for Damaging Earthquakes
An updated earthquake hazard map from USGS shows a high shaking risk in California.
(01/24/2024) → SF Gate
• California Ranks High Worldwide for Rapidly Depleted Groundwater
In a sign of the ongoing threats to its precious groundwater stores, half a dozen regions in California rank among the world’s most rapidly declining aquifers.
(01/24/2024) → CalMatters
• A Guide to License Plates
The numbers and letters on your car can reveal more than you think.
(01/23/2024) → The California Aggie
• 988-Hotline Counselors Air Concerns: More Training Needed to Juggle Calls
In the year and a half since its launch, 988—the country’s easy-to-remember suicide and crisis hotline—has received about 8.1 million calls, texts, and chats. Curiosity is growing about the people taking those calls.
(01/23/2024) → California Healthline
• Key Takeaways From U.S. Senate Debate
The four leading U.S. Senate contenders in California tried to use 90 minutes of free air time to solidify their pitches to voters—and also to set themselves apart from their opponents.
(01/22/2024) → CalMatters
• Will $20 Minimum Wage Crush Fast Food in California?
Fast food lives in a consumer sweet spot: demand, convenience and relative affordability. And this pay hike—equal to minimum wage increases during the past five years—will create grand economic unknowns.
(01/22/2024) → Daily Democrat