TIME cities

Eight Firefighters Were Injured Battling a Los Angeles Blaze

The fire occurred in a storage building full of combustibles but without a sprinkler system

A huge blaze in a “death trap” of a building in Los Angeles led to eight firefighters sustaining injuries, local fire officials have said.

The building, a storage facility, was packed with flammable materials, including vinyl records and furniture, yet it had no sprinkler system, was organized “like a mouse maze,” and had poor ventilation, Reuters reports.

More than 360 firefighters were called in to fight the “extremely hot and stubborn major emergency blaze” on Saturday overnight, the Los Angeles fire department said in a statement. Though much of it was contained within six hours, putting the fire out took just over 14 hours in total.

“Firefighters battled until they were low on air, and had to exit to get new air bottles, then rejoined the fight,” the department says. Firefighters also had to slice through the building’s metal roof to let smoke escape.

Five of the eight injured firefighters, all of whom suffered non-life-threatening injuries, required hospital care but were released, the fire department said.

About one-third of the building was damaged in the blaze, and “loss to the building’s contents, which included many family heirlooms, is inestimable,” the department says.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

[Reuters]

TIME 2014 Election

Democrat vs. Democrat Down To Wire in Silicon Valley House Race

Barack Obama, Mike Honda
President Barack Obama is greeted by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., as the president arrives in Los Altos Hills, Calif., where he will attend a fundraising event Wednesday, July 23, 2014, during his three-day West Coast trip to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. AP

California hopes the non-partisan, open system will lead to a more functional Congress

Don’t look now, but a moderate might get elected to Congress next month from California.

In California’s 17th congressional district, which encompasses much of Silicon Valley, two Democrats are on the ballot on Nov. 4. One is seven-term incumbent Rep. Mike Honda, 73, and the other 38-year-old former Obama Administration official Ro Khanna, who is trying to unseat his fellow Democrat.

Why wasn’t this battle decided in California’s June 3 primary? Honda and Khanna both “won” that primary: they both gained enough votes to advance to the general election and under California’s new rules—this is the second cycle the system has been in place—it doesn’t matter that they are both Democrats. In fact, seven out of California’s 53 congressional districts have two candidates from the same party competing in the General Election.

More than 30 years ago, California led the country in closing its primaries. But that, coupled with redistricting that gerrymandered safe seats, led to increasingly partisan politicians more afraid of a primary challenge than of losing to the other party. In other words: politicians more likely to blow up the government than make deals across the aisle.

So in 2010, Californians voted to take the parties out of redistricting and opened up its primary process in the hopes of electing people who didn’t think compromise is a dirty word, or at least seek to work with their opponents instead of vanquishing them.

Whether this political experiment has worked remains to be seen. But if any place in the country understands disruption and reinvention, it’s Silicon Valley. And the Honda/Khanna race, while troubling fratricide to most of the party, carries undertones of California’s intent: moderation.

Khanna spent a whopping $3 million to come in a distant second in the primary, which Honda won by 20 points. Honda has the endorsement of much of the establishment, including President Obama, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and the California Democratic Party. Khanna enjoys the backing of some deep-pocketed Silicon Valley tycoons, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and a campaign team drawn from Obama’s presidential bids.

Khanna burned through another $1 million post primary and by the end of September had just $218,000 cash on hand compared to Honda’s $965,000. “We were always the underdog going into this thing,” Khanna tells TIME. “But we will have enough money to compete on Election Day. We’ve built a strong campaign on a lot of retail politics.”

Khanna has been attacking Honda as ineffectual and unwilling the reach across the aisle to get things done. During the debate Khanna mocked Honda’s “bipartisanship.” Honda has been attacking Khanna as a Republican in Democratic clothing. “He sent out a mailer labeling me a liberal,” Honda tells TIME. “I am a Democrat. He is?” Honda has also been promoting his seniority and his ability to deliver for the district, including helping to secure a BART train extension to the area. And, yes, he has touted his “bipartisan” credentials working with Republicans on legislation and initiatives.

Polls show the race in a dead heat with just three weeks to go until Election Day. But just the fact that the race is a debate over which candidate would be more functional, pragmatic and less dogmatic is already a victory for state reformers.

TIME Drugs

Go Inside the Harvest of Colorado’s Most Controversial Marijuana Strain

Take a look at how Charlotte's Web transforms from plant to medicine.

The Stanley brothers of Colorado grow a strain of cannabis called Charlotte’s Web on a farm near Wray, Colo. An oil made from the plant is being used to treat children with epilepsy in Colorado and California and is in high demand throughout the country. Until this year, the Stanleys cultivated and sold Charlotte’s Web as medical marijuana. But because the plant meets the legal definition of hemp, containing less than 0.3 percent THC, the Stanleys are hoping they will be legally allowed to ship Charlotte’s Web oil across state lines.

TIME Crime

Virginia Woman First to Be Charged Under New Revenge Porn Law

She and the victim were allegedly fighting over a boyfriend

A Virginia woman who allegedly posted a naked photograph of her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend has become the first person to be charged under the state’s revenge porn law.

Waynesboro police say Rachel Lynn Craig, 28, admitted she took the image of the 22-year old victim off her ex-boyfriend’s phone and posted it to Facebook. The victim says she took the picture herself and sent it to her boyfriend, and that his ex (the accused) stole the photo and posted it on Facebook. Craig is being charged with one misdemeanor count of “maliciously disseminating a videographic or still image of another person in totally or partially nude state with the intent to coerce, harass or intimidate,” which is what the state of Virginia calls “revenge porn.”

MORE: A New Strategy for Prosecuting Revenge Porn

Virginia passed the new law earlier this year, and it went into effect on July 1. The law stipulates that anybody who disseminates nude or semi-nude content with intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate faces a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Virginia is one of many states to enact revenge porn laws as unauthorized distribution of photos becomes more common. Since 2013, California, New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, have also enacted laws to fight revenge porn.

No court date is set in Craig’s case and she hasn’t commented publicly.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 17

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Bill Gates has some notes for Thomas Piketty: Tackle income inequality by taxing consumption, not capital.

By Bill Gates in Gates Notes

2. Thousands have died as Central African Republic slides toward civil war, but media coverage is scant. Is there an empathy gap?

By Jared Malsin in the Columbia Journalism Review

3. Europe’s apprentice model isn’t a perfect fit for U.S. manufacturing, but it could change the way we train a new generation of blue-collar workers.

By Tamar Jacoby in the New America Foundation Weekly Wonk

4. Ebola may be gruesome but it’s not the biggest threat to Africa.

By Fraser Nelson in the Guardian

5. In dry California, regulators are using an innovative pricing scheme to push conservation.

By Sarah Gardner at Marketplace

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Natural Disasters

20 Million Set to Take Part in ‘Great ShakeOut’ Earthquake Drill

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate speaks during an event on earthquake preparedness Oct. 14, 2014 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate speaks during an event on earthquake preparedness Oct. 14, 2014 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. Alex Wong—Getty Images

At 10:16 a.m on Thursday, millions of people around the world will practice the "drop, cover and hold on" moves

More than 20 million people around the world on Thursday are expected to take part in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, an annual event that promotes earthquake readiness.

At 10:16 a.m. on Oct. 16, participants will practice the government-recommended “drop, cover and hold on” protocol, which involves getting on the ground, taking cover under a table or desk and holding on until the earthquake is over.

With 10.32 million people registered, California has the highest participation of any U.S. state or nation taking part. ShakeOut events are also happening inNew Zealand, Japan, Southern Italy and parts of Canada as well. More than 25 million people in total are participating in a ShakeOut event of some kind during 2014, according to the Great ShakeOut organization.

ShakeOuts started in California, where earthquakes are common, but soon spread to other states, and the drills are usually coordinated with local emergency services.

TIME Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds a California Ban on Foie Gras

Forbidden Foie Gras Goes Underground At California 'Duckeasies'
A worker performs "gavage," or force feeding, on ducks in the preparation of foie gras at Hudson Valley Farms in Ferndale, New York, U.S., on Sunday, July 15, 2012. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Haute diners in California will have to do without

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld California’s ban on foie gras, refusing to hear an appeal against the state’s kibosh on products made by “force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond a normal size,” Reuters reports.

Foie gras, French for “fatty liver,” is made by force-feeding corn to ducks and geese, a process that animal-rights activists have described as cruel and unethical. The birds’ unnaturally enlarged livers are then harvested for high-end dining.

A Los Angeles-based restaurant group, a foie gras producer in New York, and a group of foie gras farmers in Canada had challenged the ban, calling it a violation of federal protections barring states from interfering in interstate commerce, Reuters says.

The ban was passed in 2004 but went into effect in 2012, according to the Los Angeles Times.

[Reuters]

Read next: The Case Against Eating Ethically-Raised Meat

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 13

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Women can’t thrive in a society where anything other than “no” means “maybe.” Consent laws are an important step, but we need a change in culture.

By Amanda Taub in Vox

2. Jokes aside, the palace intrigue behind Kim Jong Un’s mysterious absence could contain valuable intelligence.

By Gordon G. Chang in the Daily Beast

3. As we fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, global donor organizations should build a recovery plan for the aftermath.

By the editorial board of the Christian Science Monitor

4. That self-parking feature on your new car might help military vehicles avoid enemy fire.

By Jack Stewart at the BBC

5. The next wave of satellite imaging will redefine public space.

By the editors of New Scientist

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME politics

How Indigenous Peoples Day Came to Be

Berkeley, Calif., adopted the holiday 22 years before Seattle and Minneapolis did in 2014

Updated 10:47 a.m. EST

Earlier this month, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an alternative to Columbus Day, following in the footsteps of Minneapolis, which made the same decision in April of this year. But both cities were late to the game compared to Berkeley, Calif., which in 1992 became the first city in the country to formally recognize a new holiday challenging the idea that Christopher Columbus “discovered” America with his 1492 voyage.

Back in 1992, then-Mayor of Berkeley Loni Hancock told TIME Magazine that Columbus Day celebrations have been “Eurocentric and [have] ignored the brutal realities of the colonization of indigenous peoples.”

Now a California State Senator, Hancock says she’s pleased so many other cities are catching on to Indigenous Peoples Day. (Different cities have made different choices about where to put the apostrophe after peoples, or whether to have one at all, but the idea is the same.) “Berkeley was just a little bit in front,” she says, noting that Berkeley was also the first city to ban Styrofoam carry-out containers and install curb cuts to assist the disabled. “As often happens, things happen in Berkeley first and then other places pick them up.”

Talk of an alternative to Columbus Day dates back to the 1970s, but the idea came to Berkeley after the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, in 1990. That led to another conference among Northern Californian Native American groups, Hancock says; some attendees, along with other locals interested in Native American history, brought their concerns to the Berkeley City Council. The council appointed a task force to investigate the ideas and Columbus’ historical legacy, and in 1992 they unanimously approved the task force’s recommendation for an Indigenous Peoples Day. (Other alternatives exist in the U.S., such as Native American Day—South Dakota has recognized that holiday since 1990.)

“[Columbus] was one of the first Europeans to get to the American continent, but there was a lot of history that came after that in terms of the wiping out of native people,” Hancock says. “It just didn’t seem appropriate. It seemed like a reemphasizing of history and recognizing that to be very ethnocentric really diminishes us all.”

In addition to being an official holiday, Indigenous Peoples Day in Berkeley is celebrated with an Indian market and pow-wow that attracts Native Americans from all over the state as well as the country. “Any holiday like that says, ‘This is an important factor in our history,’ whether it’s Martin Luther King’s birthday or President’s Day,” Hancock says. “I think that it impacts the way the young people of Berkeley look at the world.”

While cities like Seattle now observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day in addition to Columbus Day, the city of Berkeley replaced Columbus Day altogether. Hancock says there was vocal opposition to change but notes that most of it came from outside of the Berkeley community. As was also the case in Seattle, some members of the Italian-American community argued that Columbus Day was an important celebration of Italian pride and heritage, and that changing the celebration was disrespectful.

“We just had to keep reiterating that that was not the purpose — the purpose was to really affirm the incredible legacy of the indigenous people who were in the North American continent long before Columbus,” Hancock says. “But I’d also suggest that most of the Italian-Americans really came to this country looking for safety and economic opportunity, and I’m sure we could find some of the Italian-Americans who stood up for that and helped make that happen. Maybe we should look into that. The Berkeley City Council, as you know, will consider many things!”

Read next: Bummed About Having to Work on Columbus Day? Read This

TIME Crime

Sinister Clowns Frighten Residents in Central California Towns

Police have arrested one suspect for chasing children

Residents of Bakersfield, Calif., are on edge following reports that creepy clowns brandishing weapons are taking to the street late at night.

Reports of menacing clowns have also been on the rise in the nearby city of Wasco over the past week, where unknown individuals have been donning colorful garb and masks or face paint in order to scare locals.

Rumors have also spread that some of the bozos have been armed with guns and machetes. On Saturday night, police responded to a call that one clown was allegedly carrying a firearm; however, authorities were unable to track down the individual, reports Reuters.

“We’ve had multiple of these clown sightings all over town,” said Bakersfield police lieutenant Jason Matson, according to a report in the local press. “He was gone by the time we arrived.”

On Thursday evening, police arrested a 14-year-old male for harassing children; he was later booked at the Kern County Juvenile Hall and charged with annoying a minor. At least one child “was clearly scared as a result of being chased by the clown,” said local officials.

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