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Santa Clara County Public Safety Digest

Board Rules Pilot Error on Fatal Watsonville Plane Crash


The National Transportation Safety Board has determined the probable cause of the August 18, 2022 mid-air fatal collision of two airplanes over Watsonville Municipal Airport as pilot error.

Fatal Caltrain Collision With Trespasser Investigated


A person trespassing on Caltrain tracks early Sunday died after being hit by a train. Authorities have not determined what caused the collision or why the person was on the tracks.

Mountain View Unveils Vision Zero Plan


Mountain View is considering a number of recommendations to reduce injuries and eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2030.

Palo Alto City Council Votes on El Camino Real Improvements


The Palo Alto City Council voted 6-1 on a bundle of improvements, including elimination of some parking, to improve safety on El Camino Real.

International SFO United Flight Out Makes Emergency Landing in Denver


A United Airlines flight from SFO to Paris was diverted to Denver when the crew of the Boeing 777-200 reported engine trouble.

Landslide on Mountain Charlie Road Limits Access


Hundreds of residents in the Santa Cruz Mountains are facing limited access in and out of the area due to a creeping landslide affecting Mountain Charley Road.

City of Palo Alto Review Questions Safety of CalTrans El Camino Bike Lanes


A report commissioned by the City of Palo Alto noted serious safety concerns for users of CalTrans designed bike lanes based on the high speed vehicular traffic on El Camino Real.

Two Rare Tornadoes Seen in Central California


A tornado stuck Kings county briefly, and another touched down in Madera county, as favorable conditions came together during a powerful winter storm which swept the region.

Study Finds Almost 50% of San Francisco Drug Users Not Residents


A report of a 12 month study which ended in February indicates almost half of those cited for drug usage were not residents of the city, leading to questions about city approaches to drug addiction.

San Jose Parents Strengthen School Safety


One San Jose high school is stepping up its safety measures following threats to students last year. Parents, teachers and officials hope the improvements will be adopted by other schools in the district.

Appeals Court Temporarily Reinstates Calif. Background Checks for Ammo Purchases


California’s law that requires background checks when purchasing ammunition is back in place.

Some Experts Are Proposing a Category 6 Storm Rating


A handful of super powerful tropical storms in the last decade and the prospect of more to come has a couple of experts proposing a new category of whopper hurricanes: Category 6.

L.A.’s Flood-Control System Survived Epic Storm. But It’s Losing the Battle With Climate Change


Los Angeles County flood control network withstands punishing rains—for now.

The Terrifying Forces That Created a California Monster Storm


The storm fed off of unusually warm waters as it grew. It also reached “bomb cyclone” status as it neared California.

Shasta County Supervisors Vote to Allow Concealed Weapons in Local Government Buildings


The Shasta County Board of Supervisors voted to allow guns in local government buildings, defying California law.

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.

‘Thousand-Year Storm’ Leaves San Diego Reeling From Punishing Rainfall, Floods


Hundreds of San Diego homes and businesses were damaged or ruined in devastating floods after punishing rainfall fell on Jan. 22.

The 1994 Northridge Quake Was a Shock. Here’s Why the Next One Won’t Be


Our understanding and preparedness have come a long way since Southern California’s magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 1994. We’re still learning from that destructive temblor.

Los Gatos Commission Wants to Create a More Inclusive Town


A new Los Gatos commission is taking a look into how the town treats people who live and work there, and how it welcomes visitors.

Real or Fake? Bill Would Force Tech Companies to ‘Watermark’ AI-Generated Content


As the field of generative artificial intelligence explodes in popularity, ushering in a torrent of fake photos and videos, state Sen. Josh Becker is sponsoring a bill that would require AI companies to watermark their content.

LAPD Chief Announces Departure at End of February


Michel Moore, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, announced he will resign. The departure of Moore, who has been in the job since 2018, will spur the appointment of an interim chief and a nationwide search for his replacement, according to Mayor Karen Bass.

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.

Silicon Valley Lawmaker Targets AI Political Misinformation


Assemblymember Gail Pellerin, who represents District 28, plans to introduce a bill in the coming weeks to ban political advertising materials deceptively altered through AI.

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.

San Jose Wants to Curb Spike in Homeless Traffic Deaths


A five-year data analysis conducted by the Vision Zero Task Force, a San Jose traffic safety program, shows a sharp increase in homeless traffic fatalities from 2018 to 2022, with five deaths in 2018 that grew to a total of 51 by 2022.

Kinder, Gentler Prison Guards Key to Newsom San Quentin Reform Plan


California correctional officers train like ‘they are going to war’ to work in state prisons. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to transform San Quentin could require a kinder approach.

WWII-Era Dump Site Found Off LA Coast


Munition boxes, depth charges and smoke floats have been found 3,000 feet underwater off the coast of Los Angeles. More than 100 square miles of ocean might be contaminated.

Snow Shortage Followed by Potential Whiteout in Sierras


Heavy snow is projected in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Previously, warmer storms had been bringing precipitation mainly to higher elevations in the Sierras.

‘Disgraceful’: San Jose Struggles with Records Law Years After Landmark Case


In the six years since San Jose made national headlines for losing a pivotal lawsuit that changed state transparency laws, the city's been sued over public records numerous times and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle.

New Firefighting Device Helps Mountain View Extinguish Electric Vehicle Fires Faster, Using Less Water


Electric vehicle battery fires are known to burn hot, long and occasionally reignite. But they may have met their match with a new tool specifically designed to put out electric vehicle fires faster.

Repairing Sidewalks Can Cost Property Owners Big in California


California state law dictates that property owners are responsible for repairing damaged sidewalks. In Sacramento, this has left some owners facing bills of thousands of dollars or tax assessments from the city.

Driverless Cars Can’t Be Ticketed in SF for Speeding or Running Red Lights


San Francisco police officers have been operating for more than a year with guidance from their chief that California’s vehicle code doesn’t provide authority for them to ticket driverless cars for infractions like speeding or running red lights. Officers are still encouraged to report relevant information about incidents.


A Pyrocumulus cloud generated by the Dixie Fire in July, 2021.
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How local government tries to control the world’s deadliest wild animal—the mosquito.
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Community Services Districts, Explained
Areas that the county overlooks can form their own local governments.
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The New Vocabulary of the Climate Change Era
As climate change causes more extreme and unusual weather, we need a new set of terms to describe the various phenomena
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Battening Down for the Big One
Making it through the earthquake is easy—the hard part comes later.
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The state tries persuading insurance companies to cover homes in fire zones.
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Emergency Teamwork
With CERT training, ordinary civilians can play critical roles in protecting their communities.
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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