Klamath snow woes | Greenville’s pop-up library | Lawmakers target homeless encampments
The latest North State and California news on our airwaves for Monday, April 11.
April snow survey at Klamath National Forest shows snowpack is far lower than average
Early April is typically when snowpack is at its maximum depth, and it’s also when one of the most crucial snowpack surveys takes place in locations throughout California. The survey measures the snowpack, as well as the amount of water contained in the snow, or snow water equivalent.
At the Klamath National Forest, this year’s April survey found that snowpack is at 16% of the historic average and the snow water equivalent is at 18% of the historic average. Both levels are down drastically from previous years. Kimberly DeVall, public affairs officer for the Klamath National Forest, said the low levels could have a significant impact on nearby communities.
"Communities also depend on the water that is released during the snowmelt in the springtime to help restore some of their water systems," she said.
DeVall added Klamath National Forest hasn't had an average year for snowpack since 2019.
— Alec Stutson, NSPR
Greenville’s temporary pop-up library helps the community stay connected
The county library in Greenville was one of the many buildings destroyed in last summer’s Dixie Fire. But a temporary pop-up branch has now been up and running in the town for more than a month.
Plumas County Librarian Lindsay Fuchs said she hopes the site will further unite the community and assist with recovery.
“The goal of the library is to help and how that help looks and what that help is varies based on the person and what they need,” Fuchs said. “But the library is to help you, to help the community, to build the community.”
Fuchs said residents can get direct services for books, audiobooks, DVDs and computer access at the branch, which is located at Greenville Elementary in room two.
Hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
— Sarah Bohannon, NSPR
Lawmakers target homeless encampments on public property
Homeless encampments have long been a concern along the American River Parkway in Sacramento. Now, some Sacramento area state lawmakers say it’s time to ban them altogether.
Assembly member Kevin McCarty says people should be able to visit the parkway without fearing for their safety. He cited the recent arrest of a homeless man who had lived along the parkway and was charged with the rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman.
“Look, not all homeless are murderers and criminals down here,” McCarty said. “But some are. And some of the homeless people get violated by some of these campsites as well.”
McCarty is backing a bill that he says will speed up the removal of encampments and eventually ban them along the natural corridor.
A federal court ruling requires local governments to offer people shelter before they remove campsites from public property. The city of Chico, for example, is required to set up a shelter site after being sued over its removal of homeless encampments during the coronavirus pandemic.
Faye Wilson Kennedy of the Sacramento Poor People’s Campaign said the bill would further criminalize homelessness.
"We don't have enough shelter space," Kennedy said. "We don't have enough what we would call income-based housing. So, it's not solving the problem."
Sacramento voters in November will decide on a ballot measure that would require the city to approve thousands more shelter spaces.
— CapRadio Staff
California laws to diversify corporate boards face legal challenges
California has taken the lead in getting companies headquartered in the state to diversify their leadership. Two state laws to bring this about are facing legal challenges.
Senate Bill 826 — signed into law in 2018 — was the first of its kind. It required publicly traded companies to appoint a certain number of women to their boards. The percentage has doubled to about 30% since the measure went into effect. But it’s been challenged in state court. Hannah Beth-Jackson, a former state senator and the bill’s author, said she’s awaiting a ruling on its constitutionality.
“It's our hope that we will see the marketplace itself continue the pressure, but I do believe it is always helped by the notion and the transparency that our legislation requires,” Beth-Jackson said.
Meanwhile, Assembly Bill 979 was nullified this month following a lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch. It mandated that corporate boards appoint people from underrepresented groups: by taking into consideration sexual orientation, gender identity, race and/or ethnicity.
Despite these legal hurdles, Nasdaq is now requiring companies to diversify their boards or explain why they haven’t. Goldman Sachs recently announced it expects companies in its portfolio to have diverse boards.
— CapRadio Staff
Interview: Padilla lauds Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s credentials, ‘humanity’
History was made in the U.S. Senate Thursday when Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman Supreme Court justice. The vote in Congress’ upper chamber was 53 in favor: all 50 Democrats plus three Republicans. Forty-seven voted no.
California Sen. Alex Padilla got to vote for Jackson twice: first out of the Judiciary Committee, on which he serves, then when the full Senate voted. Padilla said there can be no question she is qualified for the job.
“Credentials and qualifications — second to none,” he said. “But a graciousness, a humanity and a heart that is absolutely needed in our judiciary and especially in the highest court in the land.”
Padilla has said, as the first Latino to represent California in the Senate, he can relate to Jackson being a “first,” too.
Listen to an interview with Padilla in today's Headlines.
— CapRadio Staff
Stories from NPR partner stations are edited by NSPR Staff for digital presentation and credited as requested.
In other news
- Water, weed and racism: why Asians feel targeted in this rural California county: “Law enforcement in a rural northern California county [Siskiyou] that’s seen a major conflict over water rights stopped Asian drivers at vastly disproportionate rates compared to the county’s white population last year, in what civil rights groups have characterized as a pattern of ‘intentional discrimination’ in the region.” — The Guardian
- Local tribe uses legal brief to argue for more just and equitable water stewardship: “The brief has been submitted as part of an appeal in a case that addresses California’s entrenched water rights system, which prioritizes those who claimed water first, sometimes at the expense of those who need it most. The Winnemem Wintu Tribe argue the current system harms not only California waterways but also tribes, who’ve been historically excluded from claiming water rights.” — Shasta Scout
- Butte County Supervisors to talk water: “Water will be a key topic Tuesday as multiple items related to local water and the drought have been slotted for the Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting.” — Chico Enterprise-Record
- School choice funding program not on November ballot: “School choice will not be on the ballot in November. The man who led an initiative campaign to provide $14,000 per student for parents and guardians to select the private or religious school of their choice acknowledged that the drive fell substantially short of the signatures needed to put the measure before voters.” — Redding Record Searchlight
- Health officials hold virtual forum, answer questions: “One of the first questions focused on why the virus was being considered a pandemic and why has the response to it changed. Public Health Director Dana Loomis said, 'One of the ways we know we are in a pandemic is because we can count deaths' and presented a slide which showed an increase in deaths with the advent of COVID." — Plumas News
- What to do if you test positive for COVID at this point in the pandemic: “COVID-19 has been around long enough that we are not even counting the waves anymore, but the virus and the tools we have to fight it keep evolving.” — NPR
- New Jellys Ferry Bridge opens up one lane to traffic: As the new Jellys Ferry Bridge inches closer to completion, one way controlled traffic across the bridge has been opened to the public.” — Red Bluff Daily News
In case you missed it
- E-bike popularity bolstered amid pandemic, rising gas prices — NSPR (Headlines, April 8)
- North State skywatchers can view four planets this month — NSPR (Headlines, April 8)
- Court case resumes for Shasta County woman accused of starting 2018 Delta Fire — Redding Record Searchlight
- LaMalfa votes to support Ukraine allies — Lassen County Times
- One injured in four car crash on Highway 99 — Chico Enterprise-Record
- Corning outbuildings destroyed in fire — Red Bluff Daily News
- Mother arrested after infant, toddler found dead — The Appeal-Democrat
- Plans to curb California insulin costs abound. Will anything get done this year? — CalMatters