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Intro: Supporters of single-payer, government-funded healthcare in California say they’ll continue fighting after Assembly Bill 1400 was pulled Monday for lack of votes. The bill would have allowed people to ditch their private insurance, something opponents say amounts to a government takeover and would require big tax increases. But Assemblymember Ash Kalra, the main author of the bill, says the high costs in the existing, private-insurance system put coverage out of reach for many low-income families.

 :16  “Currently, California families and businesses spend over $220 billion a year out of their pocket for healthcare. And so, even the taxation mechanisms that were introduced, the reality is that costs would go down for the average Californian family and business.”

Tag:  The bill looked to create a “Medicare-for-all” type system to guarantee affordable healthcare for all Californians and give the state leverage to negotiate lower rates from providers. To pay for it – the bill would have raised taxes on high-earning businesses and large employers, add a payroll tax on those making around 50-thousand and progressive income taxes on people making more than 149-thousand 500 dollars a year.

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Second Cut: Neonatal I-C-U Nurse Catherine Kennedy, a president of the California Nurses Association, says Americans of all income levels deserve comprehensive health care.

 :09  “We don’t give up. I mean, this is really about healthcare being a human right. It‘s a groundswell, and we are going to make this happen.”

Tag:  Advocacy groups say they will keep building support for a single-payer system, and try again once a new Legislature is seated after the November election.

You may hear some warning sirens in Lake County as the Sheriff’s Office is doing a full length test. The test next Monday will be heard in Middletown, Anderson Springs, Cobb, Loch Lomond, and Kelseyville Riviera (formerly known as the Clear Lake Riviera). It’ll go three minutes. If there were a real emergency, the warning siren is a way the community will know there’s danger from something like a wildfire, earthquake, or other hazard. They test them the first Monday of every month at 11:00 am. Every year in February they run a full three-minute activation.  

A plan to acquire the old PG&E power plant in Mendocino County to keep flows of Eel River water flowing into Lake Mendocino and the Russian River may be in trouble. Sonoma, Humboldt and Mendocino counties have reportedly decided not to pursue taking over the old Potter Valley hydroelectric plant because they can’t get a federal license application done in time for the April 14th deadline. PG&E announced it would surrender its license before the pandemic and after its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Users downstream have said they need the plant to stay online to be sure the Eel River water gets diverted.

COVID recovery funds from the federal government being used in Lakeport will cover a loss of revenue. That’s the word from the Lakeport City Council at their meeting yesterday after looking over a list of projects eligible for COVID-related money. Lake Co News reports the Assistant City Manager Nick Walker presented some projects and asked for councilmembers to come up with a spending plan, then tell staff what to do with the $1.2 million. The City Manager Kevin Ingram also said city staff might look at a list of projects and what they would cost, then bring that back to the council.

The name of a woman who died in a single car crash on Highway 20, has been released. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reported 23 year old Lily Ann Richey was killed in the crash last Sunday after her vehicle was found in a creek bed off the highway east of Walker Ridge. They say they believe she veered to the right, hit an embankment, crossed to the other side of the highway and traveled down the embankment into a creek bed.

Local art lovers attended the latest Willits City Council meeting in big numbers. The meeting on zoom featured the council all choosing to adopt the resolution to authorize the installation of a pinwheel sculpture in Highway 20 Park. The sculpture is being created by artist Cjay Roughgarden and is being donated to the city by Jane Camp. The City Manager told the council its installation would be about $3,000. City staff will help get the sculpture put up which will take two to three days.

During a Zoom protest of wildfire survivors and advocates they discussed how Pacific Gas & Electric got their safety certificate renewed for the year. Some on the meeting said that was a “license to burn” for the utility company who they say will now allow the utility to use money from a multi-billion dollar state wildfire fund to pay the victims of fires. PG&E is being granted this year’s certificate which lasts a year. But a press release with the announcement from the Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety says it doesn’t necessarily mean the utility took all necessary steps to stop its equipment from causing fires, nor does the certificate shield the company from litigation or liability.

A group who has wanted to get an initiative on the November ballot for new dams in the state, and desalination plants and other large water projects says they’re ending their work on the project. The campaign said they couldn’t get enough petition signatures or funding for the issue which they say could have helped solve the state’s chronic and continued water scarcity. The campaign also noted even though there was more than 70% support from voters for increased state spending on water infrastructure, the campaign couldn’t get the necessary finances to back their effort of gathering 1 million signatures.

Another $50,000 has been set aside by the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council for a Fire Safety Micro-Grant Program. The Council says the grants will go directly to organizations who continue to work on improving wildfire preparedness and resilience around the county. They will be distributed through Neighborhood Fire Safe Councils they’re affiliated with, along with fire districts or fire departments in Mendocino County. The grant applications are being considered for smaller projects in the $2,000 to $6,000 range. Only one application is allowed per organization. The deadline to apply is March 1st.

 More information can be found on the MCFSC website at https://firesafemendocino. org/micro-grant-program, or you may contact MCFSC directly with questions or to receive the Guidelines and Application Form: emily@firesafemendocino.org or 707-486-9838.

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