'Like a Nuke Had Gone Off': The First Night of the Northern California Fires
An image of Atlas Peak in Napa County on fire, captured by a California Highway Patrol helicopter. CHP helicopters rescued 42 people from Atlas Peak on the evening of Oct. 8, 2017, the first night of the deadly fires, and the morning of Oct. 9. (Courtesy of California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Division)
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A trade war may be coming, a meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un is coming, and there's a military parade set for Veterans Day.
I first heard about the deadly fires burning through Northern California last October on Monday morning, Oct. 9. By that time, they’d been burning for hours.
KQED reporters Marisa Lagos, Sukey Lewis and Lisa Pickoff-White have spent the last five months going over thousands of 911 and dispatch calls along with interviewing dozens of survivors and emergency personnel. They found large systemic problems with the state’s emergency response procedures:
Early electrical fires took resources from the later, bigger fires, and PG&E's decision not to shut down power lines slowed response.
I hate driving an hour each way to get from my home on the Peninsula to work at KQED and back each day. And I know that my commute can barely be considered bad in the Bay Area.
Take Dana Hemenway. She's a San Francisco-based artist who drives about 380 miles a week between her four jobs -- three adjunct teaching gigs at SF State, CSU East Bay and UC Santa Cruz, plus working as a visual artist out of a studio in San Francisco.
Those jobs -- and all that driving -- allow Hemenway to pay the bills, but it doesn't leave much time or money for anything else.
“This lifestyle that I’m doing right now is only sustainable for so long,” she says. “I could not have a kid in this budget. I could not have any long-term financial security in this budget. Giving to retirement is fairly limited in my situation. And those kinds of bigger life things you’d want to attain seem next to impossible in this current situation.”
We've all heard about how sea level is rising due to climate change. But did you know that the ground -- that supposedly stable stuff we rely on to stay in one place -- is also sinking?
Yup. According to a new study, this problem, known as subsidence, is especially bad in Foster City, Union City, San Rafael and the land around SFO. Combine this with sea level rise, and things aren't looking good.
AS KQED Science reporter Molly Peterson succinctly put it: San Francisco Bay is a bathtub. Sea level rise means the bathwater is rising. Subsidence means the tub is sinking too.
Even though California has been represented by two women in the U.S. Senate since 1992, the state has never elected a woman as governor or lieutenant governor.
That could change this year. Two women, Delaine Eastin and Amanda Renteria, are running for governor, and Eleni Kounalakis is running for lieutenant governor.
I had never heard of Kounalakis before I read KQED politics reporter Katie Orr's profile of her this week, and she has an impressive resume. She was ambassador to Hungary under President Barack Obama, and she was a fundraiser and foreign policy adviser on Hilary Clinton's 2016 campaign.
She sees herself as part of the groundswell of women who are stepping up to run for office after the election of Donald Trump and the Me Too movement.
"I think that people are really pushing back on the idea that they are going to stand by and allow qualified, viable women candidates to be discounted and minimized and just waved away," she said.