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Newsom asks Californians to voluntarily reduce water usage amid drought

“The realities of climate change are nowhere more apparent than in the increasingly frequent & severe drought challenges we face in the West.”



Governor Newsom discusses drought emergency response at Lopez Reservoir in San Luis Obispo County, (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor of Calif.)

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY – Amid intensifying drought and record-breaking temperatures across the Western United States, Governor Gavin Newsom today added nine counties to the regional drought state of emergency and called on Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15 percent with simple measures to protect water reserves if drought conditions continue and to help maintain critical flows for fish and wildlife wherever possible.

The governor expanded his regional drought state of emergency to apply to 50 California counties, roughly 42% of the state population.

“The realities of climate change are nowhere more apparent than in the increasingly frequent and severe drought challenges we face in the West and their devastating impacts on our communities, businesses and ecosystems,” said Newsom. “The entire state is in a drought today, and to meet this urgent challenge we must all pull together and do our part to reduce water use as California continues to build a more climate resilient water system to safeguard the future of our state. We’re proud of the tremendous strides made to use water more efficiently and reduce water waste, but we can all find opportunities this summer to keep more water in reserve as this drought could stretch into next year and beyond.”

Newsom signed an Executive Order Thursday, calling on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15 percent compared to 2020 levels through simple actions such as reducing landscape irrigation, running dishwashers and washing machines only when full, finding and fixing leaks, installing water-efficient showerheads and taking shorter showers. These voluntary efforts complement specific local conservation mandates already in place in some communities experiencing acute water shortage conditions this summer.

State officials estimate an additional 15 percent voluntary reduction by urban water users from 2020 levels could save as much as 850,000 acre-feet of water over the next year for future use, or enough to supply more than 1.7 million households for a year.

The State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Water Resources will monitor progress on voluntary conservation, reservoir storage, soil moisture and other metrics in the coming months to determine whether additional drought response actions are needed.

To help Californians take simple action to reduce water use by 15 percent, state agencies are partnering with local water suppliers to promote conservation tips through the Save Our Water campaign. The campaign and website were critical resources for Californians during the 2012-2016 drought and remain a trusted information source on using water wisely.

During the 2012-2016 drought, Californians responded to the call to conserve, with many taking permanent actions that continue to yield benefits. Statewide per capita residential water use declined 21 percent between the years 2013 and 2016 and today, the urban sector is using approximately 16 percent less on average statewide than in 2013. Building California’s drought and climate resilience, local water suppliers and communities are also bolstering their drought planning and making forward-looking investments in water recycling, stormwater capture and reuse, groundwater storage and other strategies. Agricultural water users have made significant investments in irrigation efficiencies since the last drought. Despite those efforts, many agricultural producers are experiencing severe reductions in water supplies this year and are fallowing land in response.

At Lopez Lake in San Luis Obispo County today, Governor Newsom also signed a proclamation expanding the regional drought state of emergency to include nine additional counties where drought effects are increasingly severe or where state emergency response may be needed: Inyo, Marin, Mono, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. This will enable state agencies to more quickly and effectively support drought response through actions such as expediting purchasing and contracting to complete projects that shore up water supplies.

While drought conditions exist across the state, the counties covered by the proclamations are experiencing severe impacts and are likely to benefit from these emergency actions. Following the initial emergency proclamation issued in April for the hardest-hit counties, and its expansion in May, today’s executive action brings a total of 50 of the state’s 58 counties under the drought state of emergency. The Governor has also directed state agencies to take further actions to preserve critical water supplies, address drought impacts and protect people, natural resources and economic activity.

In May Newsom proposed $5.1 billion in water resiliency investments over four years to bolster the state’s emergency drought response, build regional capacity to endure drought and safeguard water supplies for communities, the economy and the environment. The Administration is working with the Legislature to finalize budget investments that will address drinking water challenges in small and disadvantaged communities, support Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation and multi-benefit land repurposing and fund projects that improve ecosystem health for native fish and other wildlife, among other priorities.

Actions by the Administration to address drought to date include:

  • Since the 2019 enactment of legislation to help provide safe and affordable drinking water to communities that lack it, the Water Board so far has provided interim drinking water solutions to 496 communities, provided planning assistance to another 164 communities and provided long-term solutions to 110 small water systems to make them more climate resilient.
  • State agencies in recent weeks have provided emergency support to several small communities and domestic well users with inadequate water supply problems.
  • In close coordination with a wide range of stakeholders, state agencies assessed the drought vulnerability of water suppliers and ranked the most vulnerable systems in need of support. The effort also gathered recommendations from stakeholders on ways to improve drought contingency planning.
  • Building on that assessment of drought vulnerability, the State Water Resources Control Board this year completed the state’s first drinking water needs assessment in which it identified small water systems and domestic wells that are failing or at risk of failing to meet the state’s drinking water standards.
  • State review of voluntary water transfers between water right holders has been made more efficient to facilitate the movement of water to places where it is needed most.
  • The Department of Water Resources (DWR) updated its Household Water Supply Shortage Reporting website, which tracks voluntarily reported supply issues by counties.
  • DWR installed a temporary emergency rock barrier across a channel in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta this summer to help slow the movement of saltwater and prevent contamination of water supplies for Delta agriculture and millions of Californians.
  • State regulators have modified reservoir operations and water quality regulations to conserve water supplies in key reservoirs.
  • With stakeholder input, the Administration in 2020 finalized a Water Resilience Portfolio, with more than 100 separate actions to be taken by state agencies to help California’s diverse regions endure drought, flood and changing precipitation patterns.

For more tips on saving water, visit

Learn more about current conditions, the state’s response and informational resources available to the public at the state’s new drought preparedness website.

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Black Trans woman shot in Oakland, 50th violent death of this year

Black and Latinx transgender women make up the majority of the victims- “The people who kill them feel that they’re not worthy”



Nikai David (Photo courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign)

OAKLAND – Police units responding to reports of a shooting on Castro Street in West Oakland early this past Saturday morning Dec. 4, 2021, found Nikai David, a 33-year-old Black transgender woman, suffering from gunshot wound to the head. She died at the scene.

Her death is at least the 50th violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021 according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The shooting marks Oakland’s 129th homicide so far this year. At this time, the Oakland Police investigators said there is no evidence of a hate crime. Anyone with information about David’s case is asked to call the Oakland Police Department’s Homicide Section at 510-238-3821 or the department’s tip line at 510-238-7950.

Speaking with local Oakland media outlet, KTVU Fox 2, Joe Hawkins, co-founder and CEO of Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, said transgender homicides are on the rise. “In general, people are ready to attack transgender people, just because they’re transgender,” he said.

Reflecting on the disturbing trend of violent crime this year against Trans people, Hawkins said Black and Latinx transgender women make up the majority of the victims. He said discrimination in housing and employment are factors putting their lives at risk.

“The people who kill them feel that they’re not worthy. Who’s gonna care,” said Hawkins, “Black transgender people deserve and need the support that they have not been given.”

Nikai David, a model and aspiring social media influencer who dreamed of opening her own clothing boutique was well-known at the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center and they are planning to honor her life. For more information on the memorial, follow their Facebook page. Ashlee Banks, a friend of David, remembered her as being “really sweet. She was a happy, fun person.” Banks said she was “really devastated” to find out about David’s death.

“Every time we step out the door, we are at risk, of never returning home again. Sometimes we don’t even have to leave the house; there is no safe space for transgender people in America. We live in a different world that most couldn’t comprehend. 
I’m devastated by this news; this young lady deserves to model like she wanted to. She deserves all the good life has to offer. But here we are again, grieving another young Black trans woman murdered,” Ebony Harper, the Executive Director of Sacramento-based California TRANscends told the Blade Tuesday.

“To go through all the crap that we have to endure in this society and then be murdered hits me right in the heart. We are strange fruit. The 2012 murder of Brandy Martell is replaying in my mind and how they were debating if it was a hate crime. Here we are almost ten years later, and they are still discussing whether it was a damn hate crime? We won’t stop until our babies can walk, talk, and have relationships divinely trans.  Justice for Nikai David and praying for the hearts of her family and friends,” Harper added.

“Learning about Nikai David’s death is disheartening and alarming. In the year that we’ve marked as the deadliest year on record for our community, we continue to see a frightening rate of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people. We must all continue to demand that the violence cease. David was a young person with so much life ahead of her. For her future to have been violently taken away from her serves as a reminder that we remain with so much work ahead of us to ensure a safe and loving world for all,” Tori Cooper, HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative said in a statement.

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California expands broadband infrastructure & internet access across state

The initial project locations based on unserved/underserved areas that don’t reliably have download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second



California Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor of California)

SACRAMENTO – Advancing California’s commitment to bridge the digital divide, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state has identified 18 projects to begin work on an open-access middle-mile network that will provide missing infrastructure paths to bring broadband to all communities.

As part of the historic $6 billion broadband investment advanced in partnership with legislative leaders earlier this year, the initial project locations are based on known unserved and underserved areas across the state. The projects will connect to the core of the global internet and interconnect to last-mile infrastructure, which is the final leg that provides internet service to a customer.

“California is committed to taking on the challenges laid bare by the pandemic, including the digital divide holding back too many communities across the state,” said Newsom. “These projects are the first step to delivering on our historic investment that will ensure all Californians have access to high-quality broadband internet, while also creating new jobs to support our nation-leading economic recovery.”

The initial 18 projects represent a range of geographic locations and technical approaches. Projects are being initiated in the following tribal communities, counties and cities: Alpine County; Amador County; Calaveras County; Central Coast; Coachella Valley; Colusa Area; Inyo County; Kern County; Kern/San Luis Obispo Area; Lake County Area; Los Angeles and South Los Angeles; Oakland; Orange County; Plumas Area; Riverside/San Diego Area; San Bernardino County; Siskiyou Area; and West Fresno.

Evaluation of project areas included consideration of public comments, prioritization of unserved or underserved areas of the state, and inclusion of tribal communities, cities and counties. An unserved or underserved area has households that do not reliably have download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload of at least 3 Mbps.

“Core to our success will be the deep partnerships we’ve built with a diverse set of community organizations and last mile providers. Through many years of engagement with metropolitan planning organizations, CPUC-supported broadband consortia, Tribal organizations, community-based broadband advocacy groups, and organizations like the Rural County Representatives of California, the NAACP, and the California Emerging Technology Fund, we are now ready to take this historic step towards broadband equity for California,” said Louis Fox, Founder and Chair of GoldenStateNet, the state’s third-party administrator.

State partners implementing the middle-mile initiative include the California Department of Technology, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Caltrans. GoldenStateNet was selected as the Third-Party Administrator (TPA) to manage the development, acquisition, construction, maintenance and operation of the statewide open-access middle-mile broadband network. As the TPA, GoldenStateNet will partner with key stakeholder groups across the state to investigate the best technical, financial and operational models to meet the needs of the project sites.  

A map and additional information on the initial projects can be found here.

“A reliable broadband connection makes the difference between having access to full-service health care, education and employment or sometimes going without,” said State Chief Information Officer Amy Tong. “Through a historic partnership between our Governor, the Legislature, state agencies and a third-party administrator, we are taking immediate action to improve connectivity for Californians in the northern, central and southern parts of the state.”

“These initial routes have been identified to accelerate projects in areas of the state that are unserved because of the lack of open middle mile infrastructure to serve them. We are accelerating the selection of a diverse set of routes — those that are ready to build and those that are not ready to build.  This allows the state to partner with locals on these diverse projects and learn by doing, as we concurrently work to finalize all the needed routes in the State. There are many more communities like those in Phase I that will be included in the final map,” said Martha Guzman Aceves, Commissioner at the CPUC.

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Names of Trans dead projected onto Netflix HQ

2021 was the deadliest year of violence against LGBTQ+ people since records began- greatest harm to Black Trans women, migrants & sex workers



Activists projects names of trans dead on Netflix HQ (Photo by Alan Marling)

LOS GATOS – On the Trans Day of Remembrance, the names of trans people who died this year were projected onto Netflix’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

The words of light were visible from Winchester Boulevard, over the archway entrance to the headquarters. Earlier this year, Netflix was criticized for spreading transphobia as well as for firing a trans, Black, pregnant employee for organizing a walkout. 

Local trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith said of the projection, “The CEO of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, spoke earlier this year in defense of Dave Chappelle’s comedy special, ‘The Closer,’ stating that, ‘We have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.’ It is a fitting rebuttal, therefore, that the names of those who were murdered in the name of anti-transgender violence end up projected on the walls of Netflix’s offices. Perhaps this will serve as a reminder that there are, indeed, real world consequences to consider when you platform transphobia disguised as comedic expression.”

2021 was the deadliest year of violence against gender-diverse people since records began, with the greatest harm done to Black trans women, migrants, and sex workers. The recorded number of 375 deaths is likely also severely underreported, according to Transrespect Versus Transphobia Worldwide. 

“I cancelled my Netflix account,” said local projection activist Alan Marling, “but I’ll be happy to renew it once the company meets the demands of the walkout.”

The demands include investment in trans and non-binary voices, acknowledging the harm done, and hiring of a trans executive.

The full list can be found here.

Video by Alan Marling

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