Things That Matter

California Is Fighting Off 14 Fires Across The State Claiming Thousands Of Acres And Displacing Thousands Of People

Sunny California is devastatingly ablaze. There are currently 14 fires burning up in California, according to CNN. It’s a travesty to witness the great state burning up with fires up along the coast and around mountains. While wildfires are nothing new to California, it’s never easy to see how much distraction the fires cause, and even worse how they affect the lives of millions of residents, workers, and the firefighters.

We know that California gets an unfair rap from outsiders because people downplay the fact that rich people’s homes are being destroyed, but that wrong assumption is nowhere near reality. The livelihood of minority workers is affected, animals are being left behind, and overworked firefighters are overwhelmed. What’s more unfortunate is that Santa Ana winds aren’t helping, and the fires are not slowing down. Here’s the latest.

A new fire began Halloween night and is called the Maria Fire, which is located in the Ventura County near the Santa Paula and Somis.

Credit: @vcfd_pio / Twitter

Reports indicate that 8,000 acres have been destroyed so far from the Maria Fire. Two structures have been lost in the fire, and another 1,800 more are under threat.

“The winds have died down, and the cold temperatures have reduced the fire’s ability to aggressively run downhill,” Ventura County Fire Capt. Brian McGrath said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Today, we’re going to see what the sun looks like on it and see what the normal onshore breeze is going to do for us.”

The Easy Fire, off of West Easy Street and West Los Angeles Avenue, in Simi Valley in Ventura County, is 80 percent contained.

 Credit: @WhitecliffCirc1 / Twitter

“Also all roads have been reopened with the expectation of Tierra Rejada Rd from HWY 23 to Mandan Pl is open to residents only. Please be careful as first responders are still working in the area,” officials said on Twitter. 

While firefighters were busy working attempting to clear the area, volunteers wanted to make sure they were being taken care of. So restaurant owner, Sadaf Nezhad, went out to feed them.

“Coming into Ventura County, everyone has been so welcoming, I feel apart of the community,” Nezhad told ABC News. “I did some research and called around and I found out the firefighters are camping at Conejo Creek Park, so that’s where we are going to take a big lunch to the firefighters.”

The Riverside County Fire Department said that the 46 Fire, located in  Riverside County, is 50 percent contained. 

Credit: @CBSLA / Twitter

As of now, 300 acres have been affected, and three homes were damaged because of the flames. CBS2 reports that at the height of the fire, 1,200 households and 3,600 residents were under mandatory. That evacuation has been lifted.

“Right now it’s burning in a wooded area, a lot of trees, a lot of heavy fuel,” CAL Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera told CBS2. “The winds themselves have been kind of moderate, kind of sporadic. There are times when the wind is very light, but we do have those gusts that come in, which poses a challenge because that causes the fire to be wind-driven.”

Other fires in California include the Hill Fire, Fullerton Fire, Kincade Fire, Tick Fire, and Tijuana Fire.

Credit: @abc7 / Twitter

Some of the fires have been burning for days or at least a week. Last week the Getty Fire forced thousands to evacuate after that fire shut down traffic on the 405. 

Many California residents are used to the fires, but this latest burst is having them considering leave the state. 

Danielle Bryant, who was affected by the Santa Rosa Fire two years ago said she and her husband were fixing up their house so they could sell it. Now the fires have put their construction behind schedule. 

“Everyone is stretched and stressed because our builder took on too many homes,” Bryant told NPR. “There are so many stories about people folding and leaving.” But Bryant wonders where they would be able to move to.  “What place doesn’t have fire? Iceland? Vast wide open spaces like the Mojave Desert?”

It seems like no area is safe from environmental destruction. 

Click here for information on the latest fires in your area. For details on how you can help volunteer, click here.

READ: As Wildfires Continue To Spread Across California Many Latino Workers Are Caught In The Midst Of Danger

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Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

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Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

Beverly Hills, one of the most well-known destinations in the country and world has long been a thriving and prime area for real-estate. Long before it was colonized by the Spanish, and was largely populated by rich white elites, the Indigenous people of California known as the Tongva, thrived there.

Hundreds of years later, in the 1830s, when the area was colonized, Maria Rita Valdez Villa, the granddaughter of Spanish colonists Luis and Maria Quintero and the great-granddaughter of an African slave was granted the original 4,500-acre of Beverly Hills, then known as El Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas.

Yes, as it turns out the foremother of Beverly Hills was a Black Latina!

During her ownership, Maria Rita oversaw cattle ranching and farming.

According to LA Magazine, Rita “was well known for holding a yearly celebratory rodeo under a famous eucalyptus tree at what is now Pico and Robertson boulevards.”

Sadly, after working the land for so much time, three Indigenous Californian outlaws attacked the ranch in 1852. The attack led to a shootout amongst “a grove of walnut trees at what is now Benedict Canyon and Chevy Chase drives” and eventually in 1854 Maria Rita decided to sell the area to investors Henry Hancock and Benjamin D. Wilson for $4,000.

Perhaps there’s a chance for justice for Maria Rita in the end.

Recently, Los Angeles County officials revealed that they were contemplating returning a beachfront property that was seized from a Black family nearly a century ago.

According to the Guardian, Manhattan Beach used “eminent domain” in 1924 to force Willa and Charles Bruce, the city’s first Black landowners, of the land where they lived. “The Bruces also ran a resort for Black families during a time when beaches in the strand were segregated,” explained the Guardian in a recent report. “Part of the land was developed into a city park. It is now owned by Los Angeles county and houses lifeguard headquarters and a training center.”

Manhattan Beach county Supervisor Janice Hahn announced that she was looking into ways to restore justice for Bruce family. Options include delivering the land back to the family, paying for losses, or potentially leasing the property from them

“I wanted the county of Los Angeles to be a part of righting this terrible wrong,” Hahn explained in a recent interview with KABC-TV.

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Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

Things That Matter

Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

Americans are still waiting for the $1,400 check from the federal government to make good on the $2,000 promise In the meantime, some Californians will get extra help from the state government. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $9.6 billion stimulus package for state residents and undocumented people.

Low-income Californians will be eligible for a $600 stimulus check from the state government.

Gov. Newsom and California lawmakers have agreed on a $9.6 billion relief package for the Golden State. The relief package is offering much needed relief to businesses, individuals, and students. The relief will come to Californians in different ways.

According to a statement, the package is making good on the promise to help low-income Californians, increase small business aid, and waive license renewal fees for businesses impacted by the pandemic. In addition, the package “provides tax relief for businesses, commits additional resources for critical child care services and funds emergency financial aid for community college students.”

The relief package is aimed at helping those who are hardest hit by the pandemic.

“As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “From child care, relief for small business owners, direct cash support to individuals, financial aid for community college students and more, these actions are critical for millions of Californians who embody the resilience of the California spirit.”

The package will quadruple the assistance to restaurants and small businesses in California. Small businesses and restaurants will be eligible for $25,000 in grants from a $2 billion fund.

Undocumented Californians will also receive a boost from the state government.

Low-income Californians will receive a one-time payment of $600 while undocumented people will be given a $600 boost. The money will be sent to tax-paying undocumented people in California.

According to the California Budget & Policy Center, undocumented people in California pay $3 billion a year in local and state taxes. Despite paying taxes, the undocumented community has not been ineligible for relief payments from the federal government. These payments will give needed relief to a community overlooked throughout the pandemic.

“We’re nearly a year into this pandemic, and millions of Californians continue to feel the impact on their wallets and bottom lines. Businesses are struggling. People are having a hard time making ends meet. This agreement builds on Governor Newsom’s proposal and in many ways, enhances it so that we can provide the kind of immediate emergency relief that families and small businesses desperately need right now,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins said in a statement. “People are hungry and hurting, and businesses our communities have loved for decades are at risk of closing their doors. We are at a critical moment, and I’m proud we were able to come together to get Californians some needed relief.”

Learn more about the relief package by clicking here.

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