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April 13
1935 - Gladys Carter convicted of manslaughter in fatal shooting of Frances Walker, of the Placerita Walkers [story]
Gladys Carter


Camp Fire/Paradise, California,

File photo of Camp Fire in Paradise, California. Photo credit: Photo credit: InciWeb.

By Nicholas Iovino

CHICO, Calif. (CN) – Staring at pictures of the faces of 84 people killed in a deadly fire sparked by his company’s equipment, Pacific Gas and Electric’s chief executive on Tuesday pleaded guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter and one count of recklessly starting the most destructive wildfire in California history.

“PG&E will never forget the Camp Fire and all that it took from the region. We remain deeply, deeply sorry for this event and the tragic consequences,” PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said in Butte County criminal court Tuesday morning.

Standing before Butte County Superior Court Judge Michael R. Deems, Johnson acknowledged that his company’s equipment sparked the deadliest fire in state history, destroying the towns of Paradise and Concow and burning about half of Magalia, an unincorporated community in Butte County.

The fire started on Nov. 8, 2018 when a worn C-hook snapped off PG&E’s transmission tower #27/222 on the Caribou Palermo line in Butte County, causing a 115-kilovolt power line to arc against the tower, sending sparks flying onto the grass brush below. The fire burned more than 153,000 acres and destroyed about 18,800 buildings.

Prosecutors say the fire resulted from PG&E’s failure to properly inspect and maintain its century-old equipment.

Johnson said the company has worked “side by side” with Butte County residents and public officials to help the Paradise region rebuild and recover. He said the company is also working to get fire victims paid quickly with $25.5 billion in settlements as part of its bankruptcy plan, which is expected to be approved by the end of June.

“I wish there was some way to take back what happened or to take away the impact, the pain these people have suffered, but that can’t be done,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the company will never forget the lessons learned from the deadly Camp Fire, which is driving “comprehensive changes” at PG&E. He touted improvements to the company’s inspection protocols, efforts to harden its energy system by insulating power lines or burying them underground, and its adoption of advanced technology to better predict high-wind events that can lead to fires.

“We are intently focused on reducing the risk of wildfire in our communities,” Johnson said.

The CEO, who will retire at the end of June after 14 months on the job, said the utility can never replace what the fire destroyed. He said he hopes the company can honor those who were lost and help the community move forward by accepting responsibility, compensating victims, supporting rebuilding efforts and making “lasting changes” to how the company operates.

“Your honor, I make this plea with great sadness and regret and with eyes wide open to what happened and to what must never happen again,” Johnson said.

After Johnson’s 3-minute speech, Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey said he appreciated that Johnson did not put his head down or mumble “guilty” as he answered to 84 counts of manslaughter. Johnson looked directly at photos of each victim and clearly stated “guilty, your honor” after the judge read each victim’s name.

“He looked directly at each of the photos and the people applaud him for that,” Ramsey said.

Camp Fire victims and family members of people who died in the fire are expected to testify on Wednesday and Thursday before PG&E is sentenced.

As part of its plea deal, the company agreed to pay the maximum $3.5 million fine, reimburse the Butte County DA’s Office $500,000 for the costs of its investigation, and pay up to $15 million over five years to restore the Miocene Canal.

Because corporations cannot be sent to prison and no individual PG&E executives were prosecuted, Judge Deems’ ability to impose additional penalties is somewhat limited. However, he could get creative like retired U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderon, who ordered PG&E to advertise a prior felony conviction on television and in major newspapers in 2017.

PG&E is still under federal criminal probation for felony convictions related to the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people, injured 58 and destroyed 38 homes.

The California Public Utilities Commission fined PG&E a record $2 billion for its role in starting the 2018 Camp Fire and other destructive fires in Northern California in 2017, but the commission permanently suspended a $200 million portion of the fine due to concerns it might reduce compensation available to pay fire victims.

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021
L.A. County Follows FDA, CDC Recommendation Pausing Use of J&J Vaccine
Out of an abundance of caution, Los Angeles County is following the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports that six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed unusual types of blood clots 6 to 13 days after receiving the vaccine.
Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021
Santa Clarita Celebrates The Cube Grand Opening
After a roller coaster of a year, the Santa Clarita Valley’s skating community once again took to the ice to celebrate the grand opening of The Cube, the city of Santa Clarita’s newly rebranded ice rink.
Monday, Apr 12, 2021
April 15: L.A. County to Modify Health Officer Order to Align with State
Los Angeles County Public Health officials will modify the Health Officer Order on Thursday, April 15, to align with changes to the state Blueprint for a Safer Economy regarding indoor live events and performances, private events such as conferences, receptions and meetings, and private informal gatherings.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Out of an abundance of caution, Los Angeles County is following the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports that six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed unusual types of blood clots 6 to 13 days after receiving the vaccine.
L.A. County Follows FDA, CDC Recommendation Pausing Use of J&J Vaccine
After a roller coaster of a year, the Santa Clarita Valley’s skating community once again took to the ice to celebrate the grand opening of The Cube, the city of Santa Clarita’s newly rebranded ice rink.
Santa Clarita Celebrates The Cube Grand Opening
1935 - Gladys Carter convicted of manslaughter in fatal shooting of Frances Walker, of the Placerita Walkers [story]
Gladys Carter
Los Angeles County Public Health officials will modify the Health Officer Order on Thursday, April 15, to align with changes to the state Blueprint for a Safer Economy regarding indoor live events and performances, private events such as conferences, receptions and meetings, and private informal gatherings.
April 15: L.A. County to Modify Health Officer Order to Align with State
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Monday confirmed 3 new deaths and 411 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as cases in the Santa Clarita Valley now total 27,482 since the pandemic began.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: L.A. County Death Rate Higher for Men Than Women; SCV Cases Total 27,482
Show producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher, and Steven Soderbergh on Monday announced the all-star cast of presenters at the 93rd Oscars, which will air live on ABC on Sunday, April 25, at 5 p.m. PDT.
Academy Reveals All-Star Cast of Presenters for 93rd Oscars Telecast
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office has reported 10 productions filming in the Santa Clarita Valley aka "Hollywood North" the week of Monday, April 12-18, 2021
Now Filming in SCV: ‘Star Trek Picard,’ ‘Good Trouble,” 8 More Productions
College of the Canyons and Palmdale Oasis Park Recreation Center will begin operating as Los Angeles County-operated COVID-19 vaccination sites in the northern part of the county starting Monday, April 19.
L.A. County to Open Vaccination Sites at COC, in Palmdale; Magic Mountain Site to Close
As of Monday, Los Angeles County residents may apply for financial help to cover funeral expenses through FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program.
FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program Open to L.A. County Residents
In a 5-4 ruling late Friday night, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California can’t restrict home-based religious gatherings such as prayer meetings and Bible groups.
U.S. Supreme Court Blocks California Restriction on In-Home Religious Gatherings
A consulting firm hired by the city to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a city public health department in Santa Clarita did “not find a compelling case to change the basic structure of public health regulation” in Santa Clarita, according to a 17-page report published Friday as part of the Santa Clarita City Council’s Tuesday meeting agenda.
Report: No Compelling Case for Santa Clarita City Public Health Department
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital will present to the Santa Clarita City Council Tuesday a hospital expansion plan to increase facilities by 200,000 square feet.
City Council to Weigh Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Expansion Plan
The Santa Clarita Valley's COVID-19 vaccination rate has increased by about 5%, as 37% of residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to data through April 4 published by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
SCV COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Increases to 37%
1738 - Fr. Francisco Garcés born in Spain; came through SCV in 1776, found Tataviam fighting with Coastal Chumash, observed Santa Clara River flowing by night and dry by day despite the season being spring [story]
Garces statue
1987 - Ramona Chapel and Red Schoolhouse relocated to Heritage Junction [story]
Red Schoolhouse
1835 - Outlaw and Rocks/Park/High School namesake Tiburcio Vasquez born in Monterey, Calif. [story]
Tiburcio Vasquez
Nearly 100 people gathered in front of the highly anticipated Laemmle 7 in Newhall to officially open the theater to the Santa Clarita Valley community.
Laemmle Officially Opens in Old Town Newhall
The city of Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission recently met to receive an update from city staff about the status of the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall.
Parks Commissioners Asked to Advise on Pioneer Oil Refinery’s Future
A judge’s ruling this week dealt a setback to the Tejon Ranch Co.’s proposed 19,000-unit Centennial development project in the upper northwest corner of Los Angeles County.
Judge Halts Centennial Development Project in Tejon Ranch
The California Community College Athletic Trainers Association has named longtime athletic trainer, and current College of the Canyons associate athletic director, Chad Peters its 2021 Athletic Trainer of the Year.
Chad Peters Named CCCATA 2021 Athletic Trainer of the Year
Los Angeles County Public Health on Friday confirmed 48 new deaths and 752 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 27,432 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 27,432 Total SCV Cases; County Nears 5 Million Administered Doses
The Santa Clarita City Council Legislative Committee briefly met Thursday morning to recommend that the City Council oppose four pieces of state legislation that would expand the state’s land-use authority.
Council Committee Recommends Opposition to State Land-Use Bills
In an effort to provide kids across the Santa Clarita Valley with a safe place to play and learn over spring break while parents are working, the Boys & Girls Club of SCV holds an annual camp.
Boys & Girls Club Holds Spring Break Camp
In recognition of public safety dispatchers' services, the California Highway Patrol joins other law enforcement agencies to recognize National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week on April 11-17, 2021.
CHP to Honor Public Safety Dispatchers During National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
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