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Northern California

Santa Ana homeless (Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty)

14,000 Used Needles at OC River Homeless Camps

Orange County found 13,950 used hypodermic needles left by evicted homeless people along the Santa Ana River, confirming public health concerns that led to the camps’ removal.

State of Jefferson (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

NYT: ‘State of Jefferson’ Still Mulls Independence — from California

The New York Times has published an extensive look at California’s “far north,” the group of conservative counties in the high Sierra country whose residents often feel alienated from state government, and where a movement to form a new “State of Jefferson” remains strong.

San Luis Reservoir (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)

San Luis Reservoir 100% Full; No Prop 1 Money to Raise Dam

The water storage at San Luis Reservoir (shown above in March 2016, mid-drought) jumped from just 10 percent of capacity in August to 100 percent last month. But none of the $7.5 billion from the Proposition 1 Water Bond passed by voters in 2014 has been spent to increase water storage by raising the height of the dam.

Blue State Blues (Breitbart)

Blue State Blues: Why Do Democrats Keep Undermining Latino Leaders?

There is something decidedly odd about the California State Legislature’s decision to hire former Attorney General Eric Holder, now back at the prestigious Covington & Burling law firm, to fight the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

California flooding (Justin Sullivan / Getty)

Storms Add 350 Billion Gallons of Water to CA Reservoirs

California’s crippling five-year drought has come to a temporary halt in the northern part of the state, as roughly 350 billion gallons of water came pouring into the region’s biggest reservoirs over the past few days, boosting storage to levels not seen in years.

Derick Ion Almena (KGO-TV via Associated Press)

Oakland Fire Leader: I’m the ‘Thriller Love Child of Manson, Pol Pot and Hitler’

Just five months before the deadly Oakland blaze where at least 36 people perished Friday night, Derick Ion Almena, 46, the man who is considered the brains behind the “Ghost Ship” artists’ colony claimed to be “the thriller love child of Manson, Pol Pot and Hitler,” and said, “I can proverbally [sic] get away with murder.”

Oakland fire (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

FB Post by Leader of Oakland Fire Trap Warehouse Draws Criticism

The man who heads the “Ghost Ship” artists collective, where the deadly Oakland fire broke out late Friday night, is facing a backlash over an insensitive Facebook post in which he lamented over losing “everything [he] worked so hard for,” as 24 people have been confirmed dead and at least two dozen more are still missing.

Oakland fire chief (Josh Edelson / Associated Press)

Unstable Staircase Was Sole Way out of Deadly Oakland Fire

The “Ghost Ship” warehouse, where the deadly Oakland fire broke out during a party around 11:30 p.m. on Friday evening, reportedly only had one second-floor exit, down an unstable staircase made of pallets.

Brown at High-Speed Rail Groundbreaking (AP)

Bullet Train Might Not Start in SoCal, After All

California state officials may betray the promise they made to Southern Californians that the projected $68 billion bullet train’s first completed section would run from Burbank to the Central Valley.

AP Photo/David Goldman

BART #BlackLivesMatter Protesters Carry Torch Into Weekend

#BlackLivesMatter protesters caused major traffic jams for commuters in Boston on Thursday by attaching themselves to 1200-lb. barrels on a major freeway and earning themselves the title “#Douchebarrels” on social media. In San Francisco, #BARTFriday protesters who blocked commuters from getting to work the following morning earned themselves the same title while causing a cacophony of irritating noises, using spoons, that immobilized the working masses for a while.

Massive protest shuts down parts of the Mall of America on a busy shopping day

BART #blacklivesmatter Protests: Facebook Briefly Removes Page

Facebook briefly shut down a page dedicated to informing activists planning a Friday protest for charges to be dropped against the arrest of 14 activists who chained themselves to trains and shut down the West Oakland BART station last November. The page was restored a few hours later.