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Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 7/27/20, AM

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Lawmaker Calls For CA Lockdown / Bill To Protect CA Lands Under Consideration / Statewide Protests For Racial Justice And Police Reform / Name Adjustments Considered For Tahoe Spots

Lawmaker Calls For CA Lockdown

The coronavirus crisis is reaching new highs in California — last week the state reported a record 157 deaths. In the midst of this surge, one state lawmaker thinks it’s time to lock down again.

State Senator Steve Glazer believes California reopened the economy too soon. Cases have exploded since May, and he argues the mitigation efforts since then — like a statewide mask mandate — have not been effective:

“It's clear that we have lost control of the coronavirus fight. You don't have to look very far to see it in the numbers.”

The Bay Area Democrat is calling for a second round of stay-at-home orders in regions — not just counties —where more than two percent of COVID-19 tests come back positive. It’s unclear exactly which areas would be affected by that criteria, but it’s a high bar: Nearly two dozen counties are reporting test positivity rates above 8 percent — which is the current target.

Bill To Protect CA Lands Under Consideration

People of color are leading the charge to protect 30% of California’s public land and oceans by 2030.

Juan Altamirano works for Audubon California but wasn’t always involved in protecting birds. He says:

“As somebody who grew up in Anaheim near Disneyland, I didn't have access to open spaces.”

He wants to guarantee people of color can experience the outdoors. That’s why he supports a potential law that would protect at least 30% of California's public land and waters by 2030. The bill is part of an international movement.

Democratic Assembly member Ash Kalra authored the bill and says only about 22 percent of state land is protected.

“Many people live here because it's so beautiful in the environment. Let's actually put some weight behind that and say, ‘Look, we need to do more to protect our open spaces.'”

California getting involved would be a big deal because the state is considered a hotspot for biodiversity with over 11,000 species. But more than 40 groups sent a letter to the legislature opposing the bill arguing the bill needs more specifics. Some are also concerned it would limit fishing and hunting.

Statewide Protests For Racial Justice And Police Reform

An estimated 700 people marched in protest in Oakland on Saturday in support of racial justice and police reform. But the rally turned violent when a small group of individuals wearing helmets and goggles and carrying large signs that doubled as shields set fire to the Alameda County Superior Courthouse, spray-painted graffiti on a police station, pointed lasers, and threw fireworks at officers. The fire at the courthouse by Lake Merritt was quickly brought under control. Police said they made several arrests but didn't provide details. Protests were also reported in Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Name Adjustments Considered For Tahoe Spots

A ski resort near Tahoe is considering changing its name because it is insensitive towards Native American people. But the potential name change is just part of the issue for the region.

The idea is to alter the name of the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Resort because squaw is a derogatory term for Native American women. Washoe people take offense to the use of squaw, says Herman Fillmore — culture/language resources director for the tribe:

“It doesn't come from here and Washoe County, nor does it come from the Western United States.”

The legend is that the land the resort sits on was named Squaw Valley by white settlers because when they passed through it there were no men present. The resort is well known around the world because it hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. The town where the resort is was changed to Olympic Valley.
 
Ron Cohen is the president of the resort. He says leadership is contemplating a name change but admits there is no timeline for it.

“It's a multimillion dollar effort. It's not a reason not to do it, but it’s important to understand it’s not something that can be done overnight.”