Plus: EPA takes aim at Trump-era attack on California vehicle emissions standards and California is losing a seat in the U.S. House
I'm Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, bringing you some of today's headlines from this great state of ours.
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Did you watch the Academy Awards Sunday night? If not, here's a recap of the show and who wore what. A list of the winners can be found here. For this messenger, the evening's most memorable moment came when Tyler Perry spoke after receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. There was not a dry eye on my face. Read his powerful speech in its entirety here.
California's secretary of state said Monday that organizers of a petition drive to force a recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom have gathered more than 1.6 million valid signatures — about 100,000 more than needed to force a vote on the first-term Democrat.
The deadline for county elections officials to verify the validity of any remaining signatures is Thursday. After that, voters have 30 business days during which they may request a removal of their names from recall petitions.
In a recall election, voters would face two questions: Should Newsom be recalled and who should replace him? The votes on the second question will only be counted if more than half say yes to the first.
Newsom opponents, frustrated with the Democratic governor's liberal policies and approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March submitted more than 2 million petition signatures to qualify the recall election against him.
An election could be held in October or November, depending on how long various steps in the process take.
More information on the signature process, including how to request a removal of yours, can be found here.
For the first time in its 170-year history, California is losing a U.S. House seat, dropping its delegation from 53 to 52 members, according to Census Bureau population data released Monday.
California's population grew by about 2.3 million people since the 2010 Census but has been nearly flat since 2017. While the Golden State remains the most populous by far with nearly 39.58 million people and will continue to have more House seats than any other state, it is growing more slowly than states like Texas and Florida, which have added population and as a result will gain seats.
The number of seats in Congress is fixed at 435, and the Census Bureau uses a population-based formula to decide how many seats each state gets. That means if one state loses, another one gains.
The loss of a House seat also means a possible dip in federal funding for Medi-Cal, the health insurance program for low-income people, as well as less money for highways, schools and a wide array of social services that are based on population.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced that it will seek to undo a Trump-era attack on California's ability to set its own vehicle emissions standards. This announcement comes only days after the federal Department of Transportation took a similar stance.
If both actions move forward as expected, California will once again have a Clean Air Act waiver that allows it to set its own emissions standards that are more strict than those set federally. Before the Trump administration ripped up the waiver, 13 other states and Washington, D.C., had signed onto California's benchmarks, helping shift the entire auto industry toward building cleaner cars.
“I am a firm believer in California’s long-standing statutory authority to lead," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. "The 2019 decision to revoke the state’s waiver to enforce its greenhouse gas pollution standards for cars and trucks was legally dubious and an attack on the public’s health and well-being."
In other environmental news, California water officials say Nestlé doesn't have valid rights to the water it's been bottling. And on Friday, they issued a draft order instructing the food and beverage giant to "cease and desist" taking much of the millions of gallons of water it pipes out of the San Bernardino National Forest to sell as Arrowhead brand bottled water.
Nestlé’s use of water from the forest generated opposition and protests from area residents — as well as a lawsuit by environmental groups — after a 2015 investigation by The Desert Sun revealed that the U.S. Forest Service was allowing the company to pipe water using a permit with a 1988 expiration date and with no review of the environmental impacts during the state's last severe drought. Read the full story here.
It took less than two weeks for Jesse Larios to walk from the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles to Vista Point in San Francisco. The 33-year-old Larios, a data worker at a health care company, walked approximately 40 miles a day with only his phone, a charger, socks, some toiletries and a flashlight.
And he was dressed in a teddy bear costume.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Larios reached his destination in Northern California on Saturday. Along the journey, he regularly updated his fans on Instagram. And when he needed sleep, he took power naps along the side of the road. When he needed nourishment, he ate snacks from gas stations.
He also managed to raise money — nearly $17,000 via GoFundMe and another $2,000 through Venmo or cash donations — all of which he plans to donate to charity.
Larios says he is planning a new adventure with the bear suit and will be providing details soon.
“He’s always been happy seeing UPS drivers, FedEx, the mailman,” said Mateo’s father, Hugo Toscano. "He loves seeing them pass by."
On Wednesday, a UPS delivery driver arrived in uniform with his truck and presented Mateo with his own uniform and a video showing UPS body-shop employees working on a personalized UPS truck just for him, which he will receive on May 6.
Mateo put on his UPS uniform and picked out gifts that he will later deliver to his mother, father and grandmother. He also helped wrap the gifts and load them into a waiting UPS truck for storage.
At the end of the celebration, Mateo said that his wish came true and that he was “really excited.”
In California is a roundup of news from across USA Today network newsrooms. Also contributing: San Francisco Chronicle. We'll be back in your inbox tomorrow with the latest headlines.