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By Eric Johnson
Published Apr 01, 2024

Prop 1 includes funding that will build institutions to treat mental illness and addiction—hopefully nothing like what Randle Patrick McMurphy encountered in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' Prop 1 includes funding that will build institutions to treat mental illness and addiction—hopefully nothing like what Randle Patrick McMurphy encountered in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'

Sandhill Cranes, Foster Kids, and Coercive Compassion

This week’s Newsletter takes me back to the very beginnings of my journalism career in California, and then jumps forward to a story I wrote last week. One story offers what might be a surprising perspective on the recently passed Proposition 1, and the other is about an organization working to help young people forced to navigate our complicated court systems through no fault of their own.

The stories are connected because they both deal with the consequences of untreated mental illness and addiction disorders.

But first: I am writing this on Easter Sunday, and as is traditional in my family, I am thinking about resurrection, renewal, and that kind of stuff. In that spirit, here is the second edition of One Good Thing.


Life After Death

Sandhill Cranes are magical creatures. In the marshes where they hunt with their spear-beaks, they stand four to five feet tall. Their wings can span six and a half feet. Their trumpeting calls and mating dances are hypnotic. By the middle of the 20th century they had been slaughtered to near-extinction. But they're back.


The Return of Sandhill Cranes

A magnificent Sandhill Crane in flight.
After being reduced to three or four nesting pairs in all of California in 1944, Sandhill Cranes have come back from the brink and are returning to Lake Tahoe.

Coercive Compassion

My position on Prop 1, and my thoughts about the benign neglect of our homeless neighbors suffering from mental illness or addiction disorders, are informed by a story I edited the week I returned to California, in March of 1997. That article was about the impending closure of a state hospital that treated Californians with developmental disabilities or severe mental illness. At the time, as you will see, many questioned the wisdom of emptying the hospitals and sending patients to live in halfway houses—which, as it turned out, were never adequately funded.

I understand if you are among those who struggle with the idea of coercive care, and I want to share a quote from Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), a supporter of Prop 1 who is also a PhD-packing clinical social worker.

“There is nothing compassionate about leaving suffering human beings on the street untreated or waiting until they have committed a crime and treating them in prison; rather than intervening to get them the help they desperately need.”


Newsom’s Prop 1: Revolution or Return to Reason?

An assembly hall at Agnews Developmental Center in Santa Clara. Agnews was one of five hospitals that served California residents with developmental disabilities and mental illness, all of which were emptied in the misguided move toward “community care."
Prop 1 was designed to help unhoused people get off the streets by forcing them into treatment. That’s one reason it took two weeks of vote-counting to pass.

Helping Young People Whose Parents Are Struggling

The very best thing about doing community journalism is that I get to help some remarkable people tell their inspiring stories. That happened last week when I met Danielle Dace and Matthew Romsa. CASA Sacramento is the only organization in the region that offers help to kids who have been removed from their parents care due to neglact or abuse. Often, the grownups involved are stuggling with addiction, and the families can be reuinted once they've gotten treatment. That has become increasingly difficult, so the need for help is great. 

There are CASAs in most California counties, and you can find them under Families and Children in our Community Groups and Nonprofits database.


A Court Appointed Special Advocate Can Change a Child’s Life

Danielle Dace and Matthew Romsa of CASA Sacramento
A conversation with two committed professionals who help CASA Sacramento match trained volunteers with children in the foster care system.

Recipe of the Week

Our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening publish a recipe from their gardens every Sunday, which we feature here so you can start your week with some yum.

See more recipes in their Taste Spring! cookbook.


This springtime carrot cake has a difference

Carrots and chocolate -- how perfect for Easter or any other spring occasion.
Chocolate glaze especially appropriate for a holiday dessert


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Our overview page for San Joaquin County is updated daily with the latest state and local news, weather alerts, local government announcements and local blog posts and news snippets from community groups and individuals.
Direct your browser to sanjoaquin.californialocal.com to catch up on the latest news in California and San Joaquin County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!


Get to Know a Group

Boys and Girls Clubs of Manteca/Lathrop logo Boys and Girls Clubs of Manteca/Lathrop

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Manteca and Lathrop have been serving the community since 1982, providing services to more than 600 youths each year.

→ Learn more

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From Our Media Allies

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San Jose Inside logo California Extends Student Financial Aid Deadline to May 2

Responding to a federal financial aid glitch, Caliifornia legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom within two weeks gave students an additional month to apply for state aid.

  California Local Pin Marker  

Recent Local News

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• Ripon Consolidated Fire District Underfunded

Ripon Consolidated Fire District is seeking a parcel tax increase to fund the hiring of six firefighters.

(04/01/2024) → Manteca Bulletin

• Sanchez Resigns From Commission

Controversial 209 Times website publisher Motecuzoma Sanchez resigned from the Charter Review Advisory Commission a day before a vote to remove him.

(04/01/2024) → Stocktonia

• Interim San Joaquin County Administrator Appointed

Following the termination of the contract of the previous county administrator, Jerome Wilverding, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors appointed Sandra Regalo to fill the role in the interim.

(04/01/2024) → Stocktonia

• Free Drive-Thru Recycling in Lathrop April 20

The City of Lathrop is hosting an Earth Day Recycling Event on Saturday, April 20 at Mossdale Landing Community Park, 700 Towne Centre Drive, from 9AM to noon.

(03/29/2024) → Manteca Bulletin

• Cannabis Stores Remodeling Plans Under Review

Two of three dispensaries issued permits by the Manteca City Council have remodeling plans submitted for review, with the one possibly opening by summer.

(03/28/2024) → Manteca Bulletin

• New State Law Could Increase City Council Monthly Salaries

Senate Bill 329 could more than triple elected council salaries for cities such as Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, and Tracy.

(03/28/2024) → Manteca Bulletin

• San Joaquin County Supervisors Vote to Continue Drop Box Cameras

Despite problems with cameras in the March 5 elections and the opposition of some members of the community, the Board of Supervisors voted to use funds from a state election security grant to continue use of live streaming cameras in future elections.

(03/27/2024) → LodiNews

• Interim County Administrator Appointed

San Joaquin County Supervisors appointed Sandy Regalo as interim county administrator in their Tuesday March 26 meeting to replace outgoing administrator Jerome Wilverding.

(03/27/2024) → LodiNews

• Tuberculosis Cases On the Rise

San Joaquin Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park reports that TB cases are increasing in the state, with a 55% rise in cases in 2022-2023 in the county.

(03/27/2024) → Escalon Times

• Weed Abatement Program Begins May 1

Intended to reduce fire danger as summer approaches, the City of Manteca’s annual Weed Abatement Program begins May 1, enforcing the City’s weed ordinance requiring grass and weeds be under 6 inches in height.

(03/27/2024) → Manteca Bulletin

• Former State Controller Betty Yee Announces Campaign for California Governor

If elected, Yee would be the first woman to become California's governor. She is a San Francisco native born to Chinese immigrant parents. Yee, who currently serves as vice chair of the California Democratic Party, says she wants to tackle affordability, bring transparency to Sacramento and address the climate crisis.

(03/27/2024) → CapPublicRadio

• Local Congressional Staff Working for Constituents

The staff of Representative Josh Harder have intervened on behalf of constituents in 2,627 cases so far during the 118th Congressional session started in 2023.

(03/26/2024) → Manteca Bulletin

• You Might Spot a Mountain Lion in California, but Attacks Like the One That Killed a Man Are Rare

If hikers, bikers, campers, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts haven't encountered a mountain lion while in the California wilderness, they might know somebody who has.

(03/26/2024) → CapPublicRadio

• Manteca Traffic Improvements Planned

Planning is underway to address congestion at South Main between the 120 Bypass and Woodward Avenue with additional lanes and traffic signals.

(03/25/2024) → Manteca Bulletin
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Recent Statewide News

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• Salmon Populations Are Struggling, Bringing Economic Woes for California's Fishing Fleet

Captains of fishing boats on the California coast are bracing for salmon fishing to be severely restricted — or possibly canceled for a second year.

(03/30/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• CA Fast Food Workers Get Higher Wages, but Which Ones?

According to emails obtained by CalMatters Capitol reporter Jeanne Kuang in response to a public records request, a range of employers have been trying to figure out if they must pay $20 ever since the law was signed late last September.

(03/29/2024) → CalMatters

• Your Doctor or Your Insurer? Little-Known Rules May Ease the Choice in Medicare Advantage

Disputes between insurers and providers can lead to entire hospital systems suddenly leaving the plans.

(03/28/2024) → California Healthline

• Homeless Infants and Toddlers Largely Unenrolled in Early Ed Programs

Evictions have exacerbated homelessness nationwide, increasing the rate of homeless infants and toddlers. Most of those children are not enrolled in early education programs.

(03/28/2024) → EdSource

• California’s Disabled Students Left Behind During Emergencies: ‘They Just Weren’t Ready for Someone Like Me’

After bringing his story all the way to the University of California Board of Regents, a disabled UC Berkeley student has prompted the UC to ensure emergency evacuation chairs are in every multi-storied building in the 10-university system.

(03/27/2024) → CalMatters

• RFK Jr. Picks VP, but Still Isn’t on California Ballot

Presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chose Oakland to announce his vice presidential pick on Tuesday, so it wasn’t too much of a shocker that his pick was Nicole Shanahan, a Bay Area tech attorney and philanthropist.

(03/27/2024) → CalMatters

• Feds Propose Killing Nearly 500,000 'Invasive' Owls to Save Calif. Native Owls

The goal is to eliminate habitat competition between "invasive" owls and native owls.

(03/27/2024) → SF Gate

• Reps. Gaetz and Greene Lawsuit Against Cities Where Political Rally Was Canceled Can Move Forward

A judge ruled GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene can move forward with their lawsuit against two California cities where rallies were canceled.

(03/25/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• At Stake in Mifepristone Case: Abortion, FDA’s Authority, and Return to 1873 Obscenity Law

Lawyers from the conservative Christian group that won the case to overturn Roe v. Wade are returning to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in pursuit of an urgent priority: shutting down access to abortion pills for women across the country.

(03/25/2024) → KFF Health News
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Government Announcements

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Image of United States seal. United States   (03/21/2024)

FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Ineligible Frozen Siluriformes Products Imported from the People's Republic of China

WASHINGTON, March. 21, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for imported frozen Siluriformes products that were illegally...
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/16/2024)

Wenders LLC Recalls Trader Joes Nuts - 50% Less Sodium Roasted & Salted Whole Cashews Because of Possible Health Risk

Wenders LLC of Dublin, CA is recalling specific production lots of Trader Joes Nuts - 50% Less Sodium Roasted & Salted Whole Cashews - (SKU Number - 37884) Lot# T12139, T12140, T12141, and T12142 because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (03/14/2024)

Carlos Villapudua CA Assembly 13:
Assemblymember Villapudua Introduces Hundreds Unit On Assembly Floor

Thursday, March 14, 2024
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/13/2024)

Kick Ash Products Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Almonds in Product

Kick Ash Products of Ellison Bay, WI is recalling Door County Love Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola with Lot #061241, because it may contain undeclared ALMONDS. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almonds run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/13/2024)

Taylor Farms Pacific Recalls Kroger Brand Ready-To-Eat Apple Walnut With Chicken Salad Bowl Products Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergen

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2024 - Taylor Farms Pacific, a Tracy, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 19,976 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) apple walnut with chicken salad bowl products due to misbranding...
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/11/2024)

John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Coconut and Milk in Great Value Honey Roasted Cashews 8.25 Oz

John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc (JBSS) announced today it is voluntarily recalling a limited amount of 8.25 oz Great Value Honey Roasted Cashews, because it may contain undeclared coconut and milk. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to coconut or milk run the risk of serious or life-thre
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/10/2024)

Jen's Breakfast Burritos, LLC, Recalls Ready to Eat Breakfast Burrito Products Due to Possible Listeria Contamination

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2024 - Jen's Breakfast Burritos, LLC, an Auburn, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 144 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast burrito products that may be adulterated with Listeria...
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/07/2024)

Wesco, Inc. Issues Voluntary Recall and Allergy Alert on Undeclared Peanut in Wesco Mint No Bake Cookie Bites

Wesco, Inc. of Muskegon, MI is recalling 750 units of Wesco Mint No Bake Cookie Bites, because it may contain undeclared peanut. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. The affected Wesc
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/07/2024)

Salm Partners, LLC, Recalls Johnsonville Polish Kielbasa Turkey Sausage Products Due to Possible Foreign Matter Contamination

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2024 - Salm Partners, LLC, a Denmark, Wis., establishment, is recalling approximately 35,430 pounds of Johnsonville turkey kielbasa sausage that may be contaminated with foreign materials, specifically...
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/06/2024)

Stonewall Kitchen Issues Allergy Alert for Wheat in Limited Quantity of Gluten Free Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Mix

Stonewall Kitchen of York, Maine is voluntarily recalling a limited amount of their Gluten Free Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Mix because it may contain an undeclared allergen, wheat. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to wheat (which contains gluten) may risk serious allergic reaction if t