A handful of California families will find it hard to celebrate the holidays this year because they lost their fathers and brothers to senseless violence.
On October 19, Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Hopkins of Modoc County responded to a disturbance call and was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was only 31. On October 6, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen was shot dead responding to a burglary. The two deaths are a somber reminder that for our peace officers, their lives are on the line every time they are on patrol.
Each of these losses, hundreds of miles apart in our vast state, was a tragedy. But the same month, something far more sinister played out here, showing that America and our law enforcement have entered a new, more dangerous and shameful era that threatens the foundation of the lawful and civil society we enjoy.
Two Palm Springs police officers, Lesley Zerebny, 27, and Jose “Gil” Vega, 63, we murdered in a planned attack committed by John Hernandez Felix. These deaths did not occur during the commission of another crime, they were the crime. Felix set a trap for the officers and ambushed them, shooting them down in cold blood. It was not a one-off event.
In late November, a San Antonio policeman was ambush murdered as well. And, devastatingly, this summer’s hateful and violent anti-police protests culminated in the sickening assassination of five innocent police officers in Dallas. I only wish that the list was complete, but it’s not.
Driven by the media’s hysterical coverage of any shooting death that fits their political narrative of minority oppression at the hands of police, we’re trending into and upside down world where the protectors are viewed as predators. That’s wrong. It’s the open, politically inspired murder of police that is the real “hate crime” epidemic.
In this overheated environment, it’s little surprise that year-over-year law enforcement firearm-related deaths are up 67-percent in 2016.
This growing hostility towards the police is terrible for the men and women who serve to keep us safe, and it’s changing the way they police, with distressing effect.
The “Ferguson Effect” describes a retreat from effective, proactive policing that has been one driver of a multi-decade crime decline that is in danger of reversing. It’s a term rooted in the Ferguson Police shooting of strong-arm robber Michael Brown, where the infamous and false “hands up, don’t shoot!” became the big lie slogan of rioters, activists, and a complicit, left-wing media and political cabal.
Police around the country, fearful of becoming a media story, or tired of the jeering, snarling mobs that now surround and confront them in the course of their duties, have predictably began interacting more cautiously and less frequently with the public, to dire effect.
In Chicago, for example, police stops were down 90-percent in the first part of 2016, compared to 2015. Shootings in that city have skyrocketed. Heather MacDonald, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, blames the crime spike in Chicago (and other cities – it’s not a Chicago-specific phenomenon) on the abandonment of “broken windows” policing that sees police actively intervening in small, low-level public enforcement crimes. This retreat leads to disorder and emboldens criminals to commit more serious crimes. It’s a troubling shift in nationwide policing.
To make it worse, California is undertaking an unprecedented de-incarceration effort that is putting tens of thousands of criminals back out on the streets before their sentences are complete and making it more difficult to put offenders behind bars.
“Realignment,” 2014’s Proposition 47, and this year’s Proposition 57, all send a strong message to California criminals that the state is not interested in punishing them for their crimes.
It seems simple to understand that if you introduce more criminals into society, the result will be more crime. True to form, California violent crime jumped 11-percent in the first six months of 2015, compared to 2014. Expect crime to spike even higher.
This is the worst possible time for the police to step back because they fear attacks, shaming or other fallout from simply doing their jobs to preserve law and order and keep us safe. The environment that has inflamed and emboldened sick criminals to murder public safety officers must change. It’s a dangerous job where officers make life-and-death decision in a fraction of a second, and they deserve wide latitude from the public and our deepest thanks.
Are there abuses of police power and individual officers who use bad judgment? Of course. And it’s incumbent on us to hold those bad actors accountable. But it’s foolish to attribute sins of the individuals to the whole profession.
FBI Director James Comey said in October that the “narrative that policing is biased and unfair…threatens the future of policing.” Director Comey should not have stopped there. A media-fueled degradation of respect for law enforcement threatens much more than the future of policing, it threatens the safe, civil society that we take too much for granted.
Honor our police.
Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and First Lady Anne Gust Brown joined the California Museum to award the Spirit of California medal to eight Californians inducted into the California Hall of Fame this evening.
This year’s inductees include: acclaimed author Isabel Allende; film icon Harrison Ford; baseball legend Tony Gwynn; distinguished artist and social justice advocate Corita Kent; former U.S. Secretary of Defense and nuclear deterrence expert William J. Perry; groundbreaking journalist and former First Lady of California Maria Shriver; music business pioneer Russ Solomon; and celebrated actor and activist George Takei.
“This year’s inductees represent the latest of an endless series of geniuses and creators,” said Governor Brown. “Tonight, we celebrate achievement, vision and the artistic.”
Inductees and family members of posthumous inductees received the Spirit of California medal from the Governor and First Lady in the official state ceremony this evening at the California Museum in downtown Sacramento. This year marks the 10th annual award ceremony.
In addition to the ceremony, inductees will be commemorated with an exhibition of artifacts highlighting their lives and achievements, which opens to the public at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, December 1 at the California Museum.
This year’s recipients join 96 Californians previously inducted into the California Hall of Fame for making remarkable achievements across a variety of California industries and areas of influence, including science, philanthropy, sports, business, entertainment, literature, technology, activism and politics.
For more information on the California Hall of Fame, please visit http://www.CaliforniaMuseum.org/california-hall-fame.
The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners today announced the start of “National Tax Security Awareness Week.” As part of the Security Summit effort, the IRS, the states and the tax community will share a variety of information throughout next week to educate taxpayers on steps they should take to protect themselves from identity theft and tax scams as well as protect their valuable financial data in advance of the upcoming filing season.
The week, which runs Dec. 5-9, will feature a series of consumer warnings and tips that will be released daily and featured on the Taxes. Security. Together. web page.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax community came together in 2015 to combat tax-related identity theft as a coordinated partnership. But they realized one partner was missing: taxpayers.
The IRS and its partners need the help of all taxpayers to help protect important tax and financial data. The Security Summit also needs the help of tax professionals and businesses to share information and help educate clients and employees about security measures.
“With holiday shopping underway and the 2017 tax season about to begin in January, we are entering a period where many people will be using sensitive financial and tax data on their computers,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “In the months ahead, more than 100 million tax returns will be completed on laptops and desktops by taxpayers and tax professionals, making this the perfect time to take steps to protect your valuable information. As the holiday season approaches, we also encourage everyone to look out for friends and family who may not be tech savvy and may be leaving their computers vulnerable to identity thieves.”
The IRS and its partners will be promoting a range of topics related to computer security and tax scams, reminding taxpayers to:
Thunder Valley Casino Resort is proud to announce that tickets will go on sale for their New Year’s Eve headliner Kool & the Gang tomorrow, September 9 for Thunder Rewards members and Saturday, September 10 for the general public.
Kool & The Gang will be performing two shows in Thunder Valley’s Pano Hall on New Year’s Eve – one at 7:30 p.m. and the other at 10:30 p.m. Kool & The Gang will perform their legendary hits like Too Hot, Get Down On It, their newest hit single Sexy, and to top it off, Celebration. Good times are here to kick off 2017!
“New Year’s Eve is going to be a huge celebration this year at Thunder Valley,” said Dawn Clayton, General Manager of Thunder Valley Casino Resort. “While our New Year’s Eve headliner Kool & The Gang will be a significant draw, Thunder Valley will also offer diverse entertainment options and promotions throughout the casino, so there is sure to be an option for all Thunder Valley guests.”
Tickets for this event go on sale exclusively for Thunder Rewards members at the Thunder Valley Box Office inside the casino at 10AM on Friday, September 9; tickets go on sale to the public at 10AM on Saturday, September 10.
For more information on upcoming New Year’s Eve celebration, visit www.thundervalleyresort.com
The resort features 14 restaurants and bars and is home to a luxury, 17-story hotel with a large banquet and entertainment hall capable of hosting events for up to 850 guests. An expansive outdoor pool offers private cabanas with hi-def TVs, dressers and changing area. Coconut Bar features poolside food and beverage service.
For more information on upcoming promotions, entertainment and ticket sales, or to make a reservation at Thunder Valley’s AAA Four Diamond resort, visit www.thundervalleyresort.com.
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AJRD), successfully supported the launch of WorldView-4, DigitalGlobe’s newest high-accuracy, high-resolution imaging satellite. The mission was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket today. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion on the Atlas V included the RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, six helium pressurization tanks and a dozen Centaur upper-stage Reaction Control System thrusters (RCS). For the WorldView-4 satellite, Aerojet Rocketdyne provides 12 MR-106L 5-lbf hydrazine rocket engines which provide all of the maneuvering and attitude control propulsion for the mission.
“High-resolution commercial satellite imagery plays a critical role in modern society, from helping to keep nations safe, to supporting disaster response efforts, to powering a wide range of location-enabled applications and services. We are proud to support the launch of WorldView-4 and its sophisticated technology, which millions of commercial users throughout the world will rely upon for years to come,” said Eileen Drake, president and CEO of AerojetRocketdyne.
Aerojet Rocketdyne's role in the launch began after separation of the first stage, when a single RL10C-1 upper-stage engine ignited to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur thrusters and pressurization tanks. The RL10C-1 delivers 22,890 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants during its operation.
The RL10C-1 was developed from the RL10 family of upper-stage engines, which have accumulated one of the most impressive track records of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion. More than 470 RL10 engines have supported launches over the last 50 years, helping to place military, government and commercial satellites into orbit, and powering scientific space-probe missions to every planet in our solar system.
The 12 MR-106 series 6-9 lbf Centaur upper-stage hydrazine thrusters provide roll, pitch and yaw control, as well as settling burns. Aerojet Rocketdyne has flown more than 3,000 MR-106 series 6-9 lbf thrusters with 100 percent mission success. ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provided the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle.
WorldView-4 was built by Lockheed Martin and is owned and operated by DigitalGlobe. The satellite will orbit Earth every 90 minutes, traveling 17,000 miles per hour and capturing as much as 680,000 square kilometers of the Earth’s surface daily – the equivalent of the land area of Texas. The 12 MR-106L engines on the WorldView-4 satellite are located at the corners of the satellite to provide three-axis control, as well as maneuvering of the satellite. Each rocket engine is approximately the size of an average person’s hand and weighs less than 1.5 pounds.
On Dec. 17-18, the Women's West Coast Tournament of Champions (WWCTOC) returns to Hardwood Palace in Rocklin for the second consecutive year. Placer Valley Tourism will be teaming up with Sacramento Area Wrestling Association (SAWA) along with the prestigious Cliff Keen Wrestling who signed on this year as the WWCTOC title sponsor for this premier, all-female high school and college wrestling event.
New this year is the open college division as well as a high school showcase with college scouts on-site. The high school competition for both varsity and junior varsity wrestlers will take place on Saturday, Dec. 17 and currently more than 40 teams are scheduled to compete. There will be 14 weight divisions ranging from 101 to 235 pounds.
The high school showcase will also take place on Saturday, providing these female athletes with an incredible opportunity to be seen by college recruiters. Simon Fraser University, Eastern Oregon University, Menlo College, University of the Cumberlands, Grays Harbor College, Warner Pacific College and Southwestern Oregon Community College have all committed to attending.
On Sunday, Dec. 18 the WWCTOC will make history with the open college division as no other female wrestling tournament in the nation hosts both high school and college competitions at the same event. With the exception of University of the Cumberlands, all the colleges mentioned above will have athletes competing. PVT is thrilled to welcome home Lauren Mason, Woodcreek High School alum, who will be competing for her college Simon Fraser University (SFU) that is located in British Columbia, Canada.
Mike Jones, who serves as the head coach for women's wrestling at SFU is looking forward to bringing several of his top wrestlers to the WWCTOC. "Simon Fraser is currently ranked the number one dual meet team in the country and the overall second team in the nation, "explained Jones. "It should be a great match with Menlo College's top athletes and we are very excited to be entered in a new west coast event!"
"Along with Woodcreek Alum Lauren Mason, we have two other Northern Californians, Dominique Parrish from Scotts Valley and Mallory Velte from Christian Brothers in Sacramento who will be competing," added Jones. "The timing is perfect as these girls will be right near home in time for the holidays."
Cliff Keen is providing exclusive singlets for finalists, champions will receive custom backpacks and top placers will be awarded high quality medals. The WWCTOC promises to make history in style. Come down to Hardwood Palace located at 1091 Tinker Road in Rocklin and see these female athletes take it to the mats!
About Placer Valley Tourism
Placer Valley Tourism (PVT) is made up for the 23 hotels in Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, California. PVT recruits and supports hundreds of annual events with grants, marketing, volunteers and other services as needed. To learn more about how PVT can help bring your event here, visit www.playplacer.com or call 916-773-5400.
A key county plan to help with Lake Tahoe environmental restoration and guide land-use regulations in the county’s portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin was unanimously approved today by the Placer County Board of Supervisors. The board, meeting in Kings Beach in its last 2016 meeting, OK’d the Tahoe Basin Area Plan following a recommendation from the county planning commission last month. (For more information on that action, click here: Area Plan)
The board also approved the 118-unit Tahoe City Lodge project, which will be the first development using the regulatory provisions outlined in the area plan.
The Tahoe Basin Area Plan has been in development for nearly five years. The process has included numerous public meetings that enabled broad public input that helped the plan. The final draft area plan, which encompasses 72 square miles of the Lake Tahoe Basin in Placer County, was publicly released last month. The plan seeks to improve the fragile ecosystem of Lake Tahoe by encouraging environmentally-beneficial redevelopment in existing town centers, away from outlying and environmentally-sensitive areas.
"Not everyone got everything they wanted,” said District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, “but what we did get, and I think this is critically important, is something that is consistent with the TRPA regional plan, something that is an improvement over our existing plan, that is better for the lake, better for the economy, and better for the environment and our social fabric."
The county and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency have spent the last several years coordinating the preparation of the plan to ensure it conforms to the TRPA Regional Plan, which encompasses the entire Tahoe Basin. The plan contains specific policies that concentrate development and enhance mobility in the town centers and ensure transit is a viable alternative to automobile travel.
Many Tahoe-area residents, business organizations and environmental groups expressed support for the plan and the Tahoe City Lodge project. The League to Save Lake Tahoe expressed their support for both the area plan and the lodge, and made a point of the fact that this is the first time in more than 10 years that they have supported a redevelopment project.
"We spent the last three years working closely with the community and stakeholders to develop our vision, and we believe it's one that truly reflects the community's vision," said Samir Tuma, Tahoe City Lodge project applicant.
The plan includes key elements designed to create walkable communities, increase alternative transportation options, restore the environment and help achieve sustainability of existing communities. The plan also outlines ways to clean up blight, restore environmentally sensitive lands, enhance recreation opportunities and improve transportation options.
Another element of the area plan that received significant attention is its secondary dwelling allowance. The plan currently allows for secondary dwellings, as long as there is a deed restriction ensuring it is set aside for affordable housing. District 4 Supervisor Kirk Uhler expressed concern about the affordable housing limitations, suggesting that the return on investment for property owners would possibly keep that well-intentioned concept from actually improving the affordable housing crisis in the Tahoe Basin.
“I think it would be great if we could look for more creative ideas that are less limiting with regards to the affordable housing deed restriction,” said Uhler. “What if instead of focusing so much on rental rates, we simply require that the units have to be used for long-term rentals. And then, we can get creative with incentives for those who are willing to put an affordable housing deed restriction on the building.” Uhler suggested the board consider offering financial assistance via developer-paid affordable housing fees to draw down the costs and make it more likely to result in additional affordable housing. Staff plans to consider that possibility and bring it back to the board for further consideration along with a series of other affordable housing options in January.
In another action, the board approved the purchase of 15 tourist accommodation units, each of which are the equivalent of an overnight lodging unit in the Lake Tahoe Basin. TAUs are needed for redevelopment in the basin and are a commodity that the county can purchase and make available to lodging projects.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Governing Board is scheduled to take up the plan at its Jan. 25 and 26, 2017 meeting. Placer County and the TRPA are jointly proposing to adopt the area plan.
The area plan is available for review online at Tahoe Basin Area Plan.
Placer County’s new Bookmobile will be open to book lovers, knowledge seekers and the curious at the Meadow Vista Municipal Advisory Council meeting Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m.
Mary George, director of Placer County Library Services, is scheduled to present an overview of the new Bookmobile and library services in Meadow Vista to MAC members followed by a tour for the members and attendees.
The evening event will give those familiar with the recently-retired Bookmobile an opportunity to experience the new Bookmobile’s high-tech updates and amenities.
The Bookmobile branch manager will also be on hand to deliver excellent service; offering library card sign-up, demonstrating how to download e-books, showcasing all the new features and answering the public’s questions.
The Bookmobile program was established in 1970 to provide library services to rural areas of the county and residents who could not easily reach brick and mortar libraries, such as those living in convalescent homes. Since then, the Bookmobile program has traveled over 300,000 miles, loaning books, magazines, paperbacks and books on CD, and filling requests for specific titles for library users of all ages.
The new Bookmobile, which hit the road last October, is a Wi-Fi hotspot, offering the community access to the internet with on-board mobile devices patrons can use. It is also powered by a clean diesel engine, helping reduce its carbon footprint.
The Bookmobile has a new regular weekly stop in Meadow Vista, located in front of the Community Center at 1109 Meadow Vista Road.
The Meadow Vista MAC meeting will be held on Dec. 7, at 6 p.m., at Placer Hills School cafeteria, 16801 Placer Hills Road, in Meadow Vista.
For more information on Bookmobile stop locations and hours, visit placer.ca.gov/bookmobile.
The Live Nativity, admission free, returns this year after an enthusiastic response from the public in 2015. Like last year, visitors pass shepherds in the fields, see the Three Kings arriving from afar, and enter Bethlehem, where the marketplace bustles around them complete with census takers and Roman guards. Mary, Joseph, and the Baby enter, all accompanied by music and narration. Six babies will make their acting debut as the newborn Christ during the four-day run from Thursday, December 8, through Sunday, December 11. The show has four presentations per night: 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, and 8:00, at 2100 California Circle in Rancho Cordova.
“’The baby is real!’ is a common reaction we’ve had,” said Heather McCauley, who is in charge of casting and direction, as well as numerous other logistical matters. “(Visitors) felt like they were going back in time and being a part of the first Christmas.” McCauley, who lives in El Dorado Hills, is a music and drama teacher.
Manned by an all-volunteer cast and crew, one set of 100 actors perform on Thursday and Saturday, and another, different set of 100 on Friday and Sunday. There are also numerous behind-the-scenes workers taking care of costumes, lighting, sound, and such things as parking, check-in, and ushering, for a total of around 300 volunteers per night.
McCauley said that it is amazing to see so many people come forward and give so much of their time to make this event happen. “It is such a special gift that we’re giving to the community, that people love, all different religions, and it’s something that people are looking for at this time of the year.”
Last year the count of visitors attending the presentations reached 7,400, several thousand more than expected. Because of that, this year’s organizers have added a reservation process, more seating, and have made other arrangements for the convenience of the patrons.
The Live Nativity is presented by the Folsom Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Stake president, Daniel Harrison, presides over congregations of the Church in the Folsom/El Dorado Hills area. “The goal is to try to help people feel that they are actually in Bethlehem and that they have a meaningful Christmas experience remembering the birth of Christ, which is the reason why we celebrate,” Harrison said.
This year reservations are recommended, but no one will be turned away. For reservations, directions, photos, and more information about the performance, see www.LiveNativity.org. The presentations are located at 2100 California Circle, off of Folsom Boulevard near Folsom Auto Mall, turning south onto Birkmont Drive, then left on California Circle.
Local residents looking for holiday donation and volunteer opportunities can visit United Way California Capital Region’s online Volunteer Center at www.yourlocalunitedway.org to find more than a dozen needs in one place. Holiday volunteers and donors are encouraged to post photos of their work on social media using #happy2help.
“The Sacramento region is filled with generous people wanting to give back during the holidays, so we’ve gathered numerous opportunities in our online Volunteer Center to make it easy to choose the project you’re most passionate about,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region.
Anyone can sign up to volunteer or donate, and most nonprofits across the region are eligible to add their volunteer opportunities, and can do so through the website. For questions, contact email@example.com.
United Way launched its online Volunteer Center in 2014 to provide an organized, community-wide portal that connects the Sacramento region’s volunteer and donor base with United Way’s 160 local nonprofit partners and other local organizations. The center is designed to connect individual donors and volunteers, as well as corporate or group volunteers, with opportunities of all sizes and commitments throughout the year. Community members can log onto the website and create a profile that lists their interests, become fans of participating nonprofits, join volunteer groups, donate unused materials and household items to nonprofits in need, learn about upcoming special events and fundraisers, and advocate for causes. The center was partly launched in response to United Way’s 450 corporate partners looking for a coordinated way to engage employees in corporate social responsibility through volunteer work, donation opportunities and events.
United Way’s Volunteer Center is part of United Way’s Square One Project, which recognizes the importance of volunteers in making sure nonprofits and schools are equipped to provide a full support system for kids. The Square One Project is a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way now believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.