Following his State of the State speech last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s staff released a list of 286 state properties that he will allow local government agencies to use for free to shelter the growing number of people struggling to find housing in the state.
Newsom selected the properties, many of which belong to CalTrans, the state agency in charge of constructing and maintaining much of the state’s transportation infrastructure, last month when he signed Executive Order N-23-20.
Four of CalTrans’ properties in Sausalito are among those on the list, according to a map released by the state.
Also included are the Sonoma Developmental Center, a shuttered, state-run mental hospital located on 1,670 acres of land near Glen Ellen. The Napa State Hospital, another state-run facility with a 138-acre campus, is also listed as a possibility.
In his address, Newsom reportedly said it is “a disgrace, that the richest state in the richest nation … is falling so far behind to properly house, heal and humanely treat so many of its own people.”
Too Few Tree Workers, PG&E Claims
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), California’s largest utility, faced another hurdle in its efforts to exit bankruptcy status and win over lawmakers and residents.
District Judge William Alsup, who is presiding over the company’s bankruptcy proceedings, chastised the utility for failing to meet state vegetation management rules.
Alsup reportedly said that the utility’s efforts to meet the regulations are “not even close to perfect,” according to Utility Dive, an industry publication.
In response to Alsup asking whether the utility should hire tree trimmers directly, rather than through a contractor, PG&E representatives reportedly said that there are not enough qualified workers in the region to do the work.
According to Utility Dive, PG&E hired an additional 4,700 contracted workers in 2019. But, utility officials said in a filing, “additional qualified tree workers do not currently exist in California.”
In October, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that PG&E had completed just 31 percent of vegetation-management work it was required to complete in 2019.
Missing Palo Alto Couple Rescued
A Marin County high school student located a Palo Alto couple who had been missing for over a week after renting a vacation cottage in Inverness.
The couple, Ian Irwin, 72, and Carol Kiparsky, 77, went missing on Feb. 14 after they left their vacation cottage in Inverness for a short hike that went badly wrong.
Quincy Webster, an 18-year-old high school senior and volunteer with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team, discovered the couple lying in some underbrush off of the path, weak and bloody, on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Webster was one of about 30 trained high school students who participated in the multi-day search and rescue effort. Overall, over 100 volunteers helped in the effort, according to the Independent Journal.