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San Benito County Public Safety Digest

Protesters Expected Outside of Biden LA Fundraiser


A large gathering of protesters sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people is expected outside a fundraiser Dec. 8 in Westwood for President Biden. Police have warned that any violence won’t be tolerated.

Right-Wing Takeover of SoCal School Board Stirs Angst


Students and teachers alike are decrying the actions of the Temecula Valley Unified School District board, which became conservative in majority following the recent elections of three members. The board’s actions include banning critical race theory and mandating parental notification if their child is transgender.

Stolen Blue Shield of California Data Could Hit Dark Web


Hackers stole data this week from Blue Shield of California. Historically, this type of data has sometimes wound up for sale on what’s known as the dark web, the part of the internet not typically included in search engine results.

Sewage Spill Closes Southern California Beach


Two miles of public beach were closed in Laguna Beach following a spill of 94,500 gallons of sewage. Orange County is testing water to determine when the beach will be safe to reopen.

More Migrants Getting Hurt Climbing Border Wall in California


Seven times as many patients have been admitted to the trauma unit at UC San Diego Health since the Trump administration raised the height of the border wall to 30 feet in California. The hospital also notes that 23 people have died in falls from the wall since 2019.

Backlash Politics: How Conservatives Have Success Rolling Back California Progressivism


Lacking power at the state level, conservatives are leaning into local governance to protest California’s progressive politics. The fight in Huntington Beach could be a harbinger of what’s to come.

Families Struggle to Pay Power Bills, but California Regulators May Hike Prices


Millions of people across the state struggle to pay electric bills as California regulators decide on proposed rate increases. PG&E wants a rate hike to bolster the safety and reliability of its services.

Why It’s Taken So Long for the Golden Gate Bridge to Get a Protective Barrier


Workers are in the final stages of a long, $217 million project: Install a protective barrier at the Golden Gate Bridge. Roughly 2,000 people have died by suicide jumping from the bridge since it opened in 1937.

WW2-Era Southern California Blimp Hangar Destroyed by Fire


Tustin Air Base was destroyed Nov. 7 in a raging fire that could last for days. Authorities said letting the 1942 hangar collapse was the only way to contain the fire.

Hollister Fire Chief Bob Martin Del Campo Retires


The Hollister City Council celebrated Martin Del Campo’s 21 years of service.

California May Ban Additives in Some Candies—But Not Skittles


The European Union has banned certain additives that are used in American candies and baked goods. California is on the cusp of prohibiting their sale by 2027.

California Tops FEMA’s New List of Areas Vulnerable to Weather Disasters


The Federal Emergency Management Agency has identified nearly 500 “zones” that are ill-prepared to tolerate flooding, earthquakes, heat waves, wildfires, landslides and other natural hazards. California topped all states with 51 total zones, followed by 35 in Texas and 32 in Florida.

Cal Fire Issues Urgent Warning Regarding Incursions of Unmanned Aircraft Systems


Incidents involving use of the systems, commonly known as drones, in firefighting airspace have led to the temporary suspension of critical aerial firefighting operations a half-dozen times so far this year.

Community Vision San Benito County: Public Safety


Residents and agency professionals discussed solutions to local challenges in mental health, homelessness, substance abuse and youth decision-making with the BenitoLink team.

Fire Breaks Out in Hollister


The Hollister Fire Department responded to a structure fire on the 400th block of Fifth Street on Sept. 6. The building houses several government departments such as the clerks and election offices.

He Lied to Win a California Rehab Contract. Now He’s Convicted of Exploiting Parolees in His Care


Attila Colar went to prison for lying to the government. After California gave him another contract as a provider in a rehabilitation program, a federal jury convicted him of fraud for using the personal information of Bay Area parolees and others to collect government COVID funds.

Hotter Climate Means a Never-Ending Fire Season for the National Guard


After California lost over 4 million acres to fire in 2020, the state funded Task Force Rattlesnake, with National Guardsmen to assist Cal Fire.

San Francisco Wants Stop Sign on Driverless Cars


San Francisco isn’t going to take last week’s robotaxi decision by the California Public Utilities Commission lying down. Joined by the city's transit authority board, fire department and board of supervisors, San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu filed motions on Wednesday to halt the unrestricted expansion of autonomous vehicles for commercial use.

Hollister to Consider Ladd Lane, Southside Project Following Input


The Hollister City Council is scheduled to review next steps on Ladd Lane and Southside Road. The project originally called for installing traffic calming measures to deter speeding. Since the city began work, members of the community have spoken against the measures.

Hollister Council Approves Wastewater Services to Gavilan, 2 Developments


Amid vociferous public opposition, the Hollister City Council approved wastewater services to the Fairview Corners subdivision, Gavilan College and Cielo Vista in partnership with the Sunnyslope Water District.

Record Numbers Die in California Jails. Will Lawmakers Finally Crack Down?


Locally elected sheriffs manage California jails and are responsible for the safety of the inmates they hold. Record deaths in San Diego’s jail are shaping a plan for new statewide oversight.

California Prisons Visitor Strip Search Policy Targets Inmate Families


Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to make prisons a friendlier place for inmate families. An updated strip-search policy has some worried that families will face intrusive encounters during their visits.

Sexual Harassment Data From Cal State is ‘Unreliable.’ No One Knows How Many Employees Have Been Accused


Two recent reports on sexual harassment complaints filed against Cal State employees conclude inconsistent data collection makes it difficult to determine a reliable number.

New Biden Rules Put Asylum Seekers at California Border at Heightened Risk


The Biden administration’s app rule makes it harder for migrants to assert a right to asylum, advocates say. Lawsuits are sparking debate about immigration control, safety.

Civil Grand Jury Questions Fire Department Leadership


The 2022-23 San Benito County Civil Grand Jury has raised issues with the Hollister Fire Department regarding leadership, staff shortages and equipment maintenance.

Why California Is Having Its Best Wildfire Season in 25 years


Huge winter rains and snow are continuing to reduce fire risk, experts say.

Goat Herders Prevent California Wildfires. Most Haven’t Seen Their Families in Years


Luis Yauri Oyola hopes one day to buy a tractor to start a business in Peru; he estimates that he is six years away from that goal, for which he will have spent more than a decade of his life living thousands of miles away from his family. He is on call 24/7 and doesn’t leave the job site except for necessities.

Drones, Satellites and AI: How California Fights its Unpredictable Wildfires With Big Data


As nights warm and droughts intensify, past models predicting fire behavior have become unreliable. So California is working with analysts and tapping into new technology to figure out how to attack wildfires. Gleaned from military satellites, drones and infrared mapping, the information is spat out in real time and triaged by a fire behavior analyst.

Hollister Police and Fire Departments Busy Over July 4th Holiday


Hollister police and members of the Hollister Fire Department issued 48 illegal fireworks-related citations and responded to 23 fires between June 30 and July 4.

Hate Crimes are on the Rise in California. The State Hopes a Hotline Will Help


The number of reported hate crimes increased 22 percent in California in 2021. Following a model from Los Angeles County, state leaders launched a statewide hotline and resources.

California’s Firefighter Union Poised to Get Guaranteed Raises, Forever


After several years of devastating wildfires, California lawmakers want to give hefty raises to Cal Fire firefighters. The deal could tie the governor’s hands in contracts.

First-of-Its-Kind Fund Provides Support to Reduce Wildfire Risks


The State of California will provide new protections for prescribed fire and cultural burning practitioners. The $20 million allocated for the Prescribed Fire Liability Claims Fund Pilot will cover losses in the rare instance that a prescribed or cultural burn escapes control.


A Pyrocumulus cloud generated by the Dixie Fire in July, 2021.
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The New Vocabulary of the Climate Change Era
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The state tries persuading insurance companies to cover homes in fire zones.
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View of the flooded San Lorenzo River Park Benchlands in Santa Cruz, California on New Year's Eve 2022.
Communicating During Disaster and Crisis
Recent lessons learned over days of local disaster.
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