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Drinking On California’s Beaches

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Summer is finally here. For many of us, that means long, lazy weekends and evenings at our favorite beaches. We can’t get enough sun, sand and surf. The big question is, can you bring a cooler full of beer to your favorite California beach?

The answer varies depending on which beach you’re going to.

If you’re in San Diego, the answer is no. The beaches have a strict, no-alcohol policy. Many state park beaches also prohibit alcohol, though some will allow you to pop a top. The California state beaches where you can drink are:

  • Carmel Beach, Monterey County
  • Descanso Beach Club
  • Doheny State Beach, Orange County
  • Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County
  • Paradise Cove, Malibu, Los Angeles County

If you are going to one of those beaches and plan on bringing your favorite alcoholic beverages along, double-check the beach rules. Some have specific times when alcohol is prohibited.

Even on beaches where alcohol is allowed, you need to use extreme caution and make sure you don’t overindulge. If you get drunk and the police come by, you could be charged with public intoxication or even disturbing the peace.

You also need to be mindful of how much you drink before you go swimming, diving or surfing. Getting into the water after you have been drinking slows your reflexes and dulls your judgment, increasing the likelihood of you getting hurt and drowning. The unspoken rule of thumb is that if you plan to go into the water at all, you should do so before you start drinking.

You should also expect the police to be patrolling the roads that lead to and from the beach, so you’ll want to make sure you’re sober before you slide behind the wheel. Before heading home, make sure that any remaining alcohol is properly stored in your cooler so that you don’t get caught with an open container in the car.

The other thing to keep in mind when you head to the beach is that littering is a crime. In addition to picking up all of your trash, make sure you collect your bottle tops, empty cans and other alcohol-related paraphernalia before you leave.

Have fun and stay safe!

 

Keep Your Car Running Smoothly This Summer

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For many of us, the long days of summer means a chance to take long and scenic road trips. We use the time to drive to beaches, visit out-of-the-way hiking trails and drive to distant relative’s homes for long weekends. We love the sun and warm weather but seldom stop to think about the toll the heat takes on our vehicles.

The good news is that as long as you follow these summer car maintenance tips, your car will be ready and able to accompany you on all of your summertime adventures.

Check Your Battery’s Attachment

Most people only think that they have to worry about their battery during the winter because the cold weather forces the battery to work harder when starting the car. While the battery doesn’t work as hard during the summer months, the combination of heat and constant vibrations can cause it to steadily break down. The best way to preserve your battery during the summer is to make sure it’s securely attached so that it experiences minimal vibrations.

Another thing to look for is corrosion. Summer heat leads to excessive evaporation which can cause the battery connections to corrode. Routinely checking and cleaning the connections helps keep the battery in perfect operating order.

If your battery is three years old, bring your car to a mechanic so they can check the battery and see if it’s time to replace it.

Get Into The Habit Of Checking The Coolant

The warmer it is outside, the harder your car has to work. It’s going to go through more coolant. Each month, take a few minutes to check and top off both the coolant and the oil. Keeping these topped off, spares you the headache of being stranded on the side of the highway and will ultimately extend the life of our car. If either the coolant or oil is low each time you check, bring your car in so your mechanic can check for leaks.

Keep An Eye On The Tire Pressure

Asphalt gets extremely hot in the summer which is hard on your tires. In addition to checking the tire pressure about once a week and keeping them properly inflated, you also need to keep an eye on their condition. At the start and end of summer, you should consider getting them rotated and balanced. The more diligent you are about the health of your tires, the better your vehicle’s fuel economy will be this summer.

 

Tips For Staying Safe While Camping

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Camping is a great way to enjoy both the fantastic summer weather and breathtaking beauty California has to offer. The great thing about camping is that it’s also affordable and usually something you can do at the spur of the moment.

The key to getting the maximum amount of enjoyment out of your camping adventure is making sure you are safety conscious the entire time you’re camping.

Be Knowledgeable About Basic First Aid

It doesn’t matter how careful you are, accidents do happen and anytime there’s an accident, there’s a risk of an injury. Before you embark on a camping adventure, set aside some time to acquaint yourself with basic first aid. Make sure you know how to tie a tourniquet to slow bleed, how to apply a pressure bandage and how to manage a sprain.

While you’re learning how to treat common camping injuries, you should also learn how to identify and manage things like allergic reactions, head injuries, hypothermia and heatstroke.

Knowing how to deal with a camping health crisis is great, but all that knowledge won’t do you any good if you don’t have the right supplies with you. Put together a first aid kit that has everything needed to deal with common camping injuries and make sure you have the kit with you at all times. Never go on a hike or boating adventure without your first aid kit.

Research The Area Where You’ll Be Camping

Once you know where you’re going camping, take some time to familiarize yourself with the camping area. Know what dangers are in the area and learn the steps you can take to protect yourself. Most parks will let you know if there are plants, animals and particular parts of the park you should avoid. If you learn that the park has bears, raccoons and other forms of wildlife that have gotten comfortable with campers, take some time to make sure you have equipment that will protect your camping gear from these animals. You should also memorize the steps you should take if you find yourself in a face-to-face encounter with wildlife.

Pack A Dangerous Plants Book In Your Kit

You should always have a book that helps you identify dangerous plants that are native to the area where you’re camping. This book will not only help you identify which plants you shouldn’t touch but will also provide useful tips about what you should do if you accidentally brush against one. Knowing what types of dangerous plants are native to your campsite helps you determine what salves and lotions you should include in your first aid kit.

Make Sure You’re Equipment Is In Good Repair

Before leaving on your camping trip, look over your equipment and make sure it’s in good repair. Having equipment that is in perfect working order not only makes your camping experience safer but also increases how much you enjoy your adventure.

Check-In With A Loved One

Always let someone know what your camping itinerary is and schedule regular check-ins. While this might seem like an inconvenience, knowing where to start searching for you if you don’t check-in can be a lifesaver if you fall and injure yourself so badly you can’t return to your campsite.

When it comes to camping safety, you can never be too cautious.

 

U.S. Senate Moves To Protect Asian Americans

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There has been a surge in the number of Asian hate crimes during the past few months. Georgia has been hit particularly hard by these crimes, as have other states. California hasn’t been able to escape this particular brand of crime.

Just a few days ago a California resident of Orange County was charged after he allegedly attacked an elderly Asian couple. Reports indicate that the attack was unprovoked. The attacker was charged with two felony counts of battery, as well as two felony counts of elder abuse. It’s likely that the additional charges of felony hate crime enhancement will be added to the list of charges.

In addition to the charges the man faces from his attack on the elderly couple, there’s also a current investigation exploring an accusation that he launched a verbal attack on Sakura Kokumai, an Olympic athlete who represents the U.S. in karate. The verbal attack occurred in the same park as the physical assault.

It’s believed that the surge in Asian hate crimes is because so many people are upset about COVID-19 and have decided to lay the blame on every Asian they encounter, though it’s likely that there’s a deeper reason as well.

Recognizing the seriousness of the wave of hate crimes against Asians, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan denunciation designed to combat Asian hate crimes.

The way the bill is written, it will allow the Justice Department to prioritize hate crimes. The bill should also free up some additional support that many law enforcement agencies need so that they can both protect people from hate crimes and also expedite the process of arresting, charging and convicting perpetrators.

In an attempt to honor the six women who were killed as a direct result of hate crimes in Georgia, the Senate included their names in the bill. The Senate voted, 94-1, to pass the bill.

It’s expected that the House will also consider and likely pass similar legislation during the next month.

It is not yet clear if any attempt will be made at the Federal or State level that would create harsher sentencing for anyone convicted of a hate crime.

 

COVID-19 Laws Are Changing In California… Again!

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It often seems like as soon as you figure out California’s COVID-19 laws, they change. Some of the changes make sense and are either easy to follow or they don’t pertain to you. Others are just complicated.

The Easy-to-Follow New COVID-19 Laws In California

Below are the new COVID-19 laws that are easy to understand and follow.

  1. Hospitals Must Stockpile Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

    One of the most sensible laws that probably won’t change once the worry about COVID-19 fades pertains to hospitals. Starting in April 2021, all hospitals were required to have a three-month supply of PPE equipment on hand for all of their employees. Failing to have the necessary equipment could result in a $25,000 fine.

    This law makes sense. Having a stockpile of PPE equipment on hand means that there’s never a situation where an employee has to choose between protecting themselves and helping others. The PPE equipment should be something that’s already factored into the hospital’s budget so the only real headache they could face is how to store that much equipment. Knowing that the hospitals have enough PPE equipment to get by for a few months will also reduce strain should another pandemic hit California.

  2. A Ban On Price Gouging

    As soon as news of the pandemic broke people started panic buying and some businesses took advantage of this panic by drastically inflating the prices of things, especially essential items like face masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and even staple food items.

    One of California’s latest COVID-19 laws prohibits sellers who started selling an item after California went into a state of emergency from buying lots of necessary items (such as little bottles of hand sanitizer) and marketing them at a wildly inflated price. While the law doesn’t prohibit the buying of the items in bulk, it does require that the seller keep the prices at a realistic market value. The law applies to both in-person and online sales.

  3. Employers Must Alert Employees To A Possible COVID-19 Exposure

    Most employers were good about letting their employees know if a customer or co-worker tested positive for COVID-19, but since there is always someone who doesn’t do what they’re supposed to, California now has a COVID-19 law that requires employers to provide a written notice to all of their employees that alerts them to possible COVID-19 exposure. This written notice has to be issued to employees within 24 hours of the employer learning about the potential exposure.

    Employers who fail to provide written notice could face violations and substantial fines.

  4. Less Straightforward COVID-19 Law In California

    While some of the new COVID-19 laws are easy to adhere to, others are a little confusing.

    The California COVID-19 law that has generated the most excitement is the one that states people no longer have to put on a face mask each time they enter a building. But there is a catch.

    Starting June 15, if you’re not yet fully vaccinated or haven’t made it through the 14-day period it takes for the vaccination to go into effect, you’re still supposed to wear a face mask. You’re also supposed to wear a face mask if you’re in a room with a person who isn’t yet fully vaccinated.

    Why is this confusing? Because it really isn’t clear if you can legally ask another person if they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

    According to HIPAA, it’s not technically illegal to inquire if the person you’re sharing room space with is vaccinated, though it’s possible that your question could violate other rules, depending on how you phrase your question. It’s also unclear if the other person is obligated to provide you with an answer. Based on the confusion, it looks like you have two choices when you enter a room that has another person in it. You can opt to play it safe and simply put your face mask on, or you can ask the other person if they would prefer that you wear a mask.

    In the wake of California’s latest COVID-19 face mask law, employers are still required to maintain protocols that allow employees to stay a full 6-feet apart from customers and other employees. Starting on July 31, employers will be required to keep a ready supply of N95 masks on hand for any unvaccinated employees. While employers are required to offer N95 masks to employees, unvaccinated employees who prefer to wear a cloth mask are still permitted to do so.

Strong objections to California’s newest COVID-19 laws have already been raised so don’t be surprised if the laws don’t evolve over the next few months.

 

Keeping Your Kids Safe This Summer

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Summer is finally here which means long days and lots of freedom for your kids.

While you want your kids to have a great time and make lots of good memories this summer, you also want them to stay safe. The good news is that it’s possible to do both.

Preventing Heat Stroke

One of the summertime dangers parents don’t always think about is heatstroke. While heatstroke in kids is rare, it does happen and it can be deadly.

Most cases of heatstroke in kids occur in cars. The inside of a car can heat up quickly during the summer months and if a child is strapped into a car seat, they can quickly develop a case of fatal heatstroke. This usually happens when a guardian has completely forgotten the child is in the car.

The best way to make sure you never accidentally leave your child in the car while you run into the store is by creating a reminder. One grandmother puts her shoes near the car seat. Other parents stick a note on their steering wheel. Some put their purses or cell phones next to their infant. What you do isn’t important as long as it makes it impossible for you to accidentally leave your child in the car alone this summer.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that since you’re only going to be away from the car for a moment or two, that it’s okay to leave your child alone. It’s not. A single delay can be deadly. Even if your child is sleeping, take them with you.

If you don’t want to bring your child into the doctor/bank/grocery store. Have a responsible adult stay in the car with them. Make sure you leave the car running and the air conditioner parked. If possible, park in the shade. Make it clear that the person watching your child is not to leave the vehicle unless they take the child with them.

Playing Outside

While it’s unusual for kids to suffer from heatstroke while playing outside, young bodies appear to have an easier time adapting to elevated temperatures than adult bodies, it can happen. The best way to prevent your child from suffering from heatstroke when they are outside playing is making sure they take frequent drinks of cool water and encouraging them to play in the shade during the warmest parts of the day.

Signs that your child is in danger of developing heat stroke are:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Skin is clammy and cool to the touch
  • Your child’s body temperature has surpassed 104˚ Fahrenheit

If you suspect your child is suffering from heatstroke, the first thing you need to do is get them to sit down somewhere that is cool. Encourage them to drink something cool, preferably a drink that contains electrolytes. Wipe them with a cool damp cloth.

If your child doesn’t start to recover quickly or frequently suffers from bouts of heatstroke, you should seek medical assistance.

 

Crime Rates And The 10 Safest Places To Live In California

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Whether a person is looking to move or just wants to know how safe their neighborhood is, they will probably end up looking at crime rates. Looking at crime rates and statistics allows a person to get a good idea of how safe or dangerous an area may be. Having this information helps a person determine if they want to live in an area or whether or not they want to raise kids there.

Unfortunately, not every city in the world is as safe as every other city. Some places are safe enough for their residents to walk the streets without a care in the world. In other areas, a person could run into trouble just going around the block. Anyone looking to make an informed and safe decision regarding their future should know exactly what they are getting into when living in certain areas.

What Are Crime Statistics?

Crime statistics, or rates as they are also commonly known by, are reports about crime in different areas. The information for these reports can be collected through a variety of different means, some examples being public surveys and/or police records. Public surveys tend to offer slightly more reliable data, since people may report crimes that were never reported to the local police.

The information gathered is then compiled and used to create a detailed report about crimes in the area. Using this information, people can learn which cities and neighborhoods are safer than others.

The Types Of Crime Statistics

When it comes to reporting crime data, there are usually two types:

  • Violent Crimes
    These are crimes that are carried out by one person against another. They involve violence or threats of violence in order to get whatever the perpetrator is after.
  • Property Crimes
    These are crimes that involve the victim losing some form of property. This can include theft and burglary. This category also involves crimes such as vandalism, since that means someone else’s property is illegally damaged.

Crime statistics look at both of these categories and can give a person a good idea of whether they would be more likely to suffer from property damage or face harm themselves. If the data is used properly, a person can take the right precautions to keep themselves safe.

Safest Cities In California

California is a pretty big state and has a lot of diversity in it. Some cities and areas fall on the safe end of the spectrum, while others fall on the very unsafe side. Many places occupy the middle gray area in between those two extremes.

How cities are ranked based on safety can vary from report to report. This is due to the fact that researchers weigh statistics differently. According to Safewise.com, the 10 safest cities in California are as follows and the crime rates are per 1,000 people.

  1. Danville – 0.2 violent crimes, 8.13 property crimes
  2. Murrieta – 0.44 violent crimes, 14.44 property crimes
  3. San Ramon – 0.51 violent crimes, 10.7 property crimes
  4. Irvine – 0.57 violent crimes, 14.01 property crimes
  5. Aliso Viejo – 0.57 violent crimes, 8.12 property crimes
  6. Yorba Linda – 0.6 violent crimes, 10.55 property crimes
  7. Lincoln – 0.61 violent crimes, 11.46 property crimes
  8. Rancho Palos Verdes – 0.63 violent crimes, 9.71 property crimes
  9. Chino Hills – 0.75 violent crimes, 12.82 property crimes
  10. Mission Viejo – 0.77 violent crimes, 10.04 property crimes

According to the research conducted by Safewise, 62% of the safest cities in California are located in Southern California, while Northern California only has 38%.

How Does California Compare?

After looking at local areas, a person may begin to wonder how the state of California compares to the rest of the nation. The national average for violent crimes is 3.4 per 1,000 people, while the property crime rate is 22.7 per 1,000 people.

By comparing these numbers to the numbers from the cities above, a person can determine that the safest cities in California actually have crime rates lower than the national average. This means that, at least in some areas, California is a pretty safe place to live.

Using Crime Rates Effectively

When it comes to looking at crime rates, a person has to make their own decision about what they feel is safe. After they have made that decision, they can use crime rates and other statistics to figure out where they want to live. A city they may have originally considered moving to, may be deemed too dangerous for them. Conversely, a person may learn that the place they’ve chosen to live in is actually a very good place to raise a family.

 

At What Age Can You Leave Your Child Alone

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Every parent has been there. They need to quickly run into town for something such as a gallon of milk, an emergency dental appointment, or to pick up something from work. You don’t want to bring your child with you, but you’re not sure if you’re legally allowed to leave them at home.

California’s Laws About Leaving Children Home Alone

At this moment, the State of California doesn’t have any actual laws that deal with how old your child has to be before you can leave them unattended while you run to the store. The only states that currently have such laws are Maryland, Illinois, and Oregon. However, that doesn’t mean you’re free to leave your two-year-old in the crib while you nip out for a quick breakfast.

California law makers believe that it should be up to the parent to decide at what age their child is responsible enough to care for themselves while home alone. The states that do have laws have set that age from 10-12. Child care experts are quick to point out that it should be determined from one child to another.

It’s also worth noting that there’s a big difference between leaving a ten-year-old home alone while you make a quick dash to the store and leaving them alone while you go on an overnight trip with friends.

Other factors that should be taken into consideration include:

  • How safe a neighborhood you live in.
  • Whether there’s anyone in the area that will keep half an eye on your child and property while you’re out of town.
  • If the child has enough safe activities to keep them busy and out of trouble.

Alternatives To Leaving Your Child Home Alone

If you are in a position do to work or another commitment where you can’t routinely be with your child when they get home from school, most child care experts suggest looking for an after-school activity that they can participate in rather than leaving them to fend for themselves. Good choices include art classes, school sports, and organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club. Another option is working out a deal with one of your child’s friends parents in which they watch your child for a few hours each week in exchange for you taking over other responsibilities.

Keep in mind that if your child gets into trouble because you have left them home alone, the law could consider you both criminally and civilly responsible for their actions.

 

What Are Hate Crimes?

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When you look at one of the sites that cover news in a major California city, you’ll likely see at least one leading story that is connected to a hate crime. Most of the articles talk about someone who was injured because of a hate crime, has been arrested in relation to a hate crime or it’s about a local anti-hate crime protest.

What separates hate crimes from other types of crimes is that hate crimes actively aren’t about a personal connection. The driving reason behind hate crimes is that one person (or a group of people) represents a group that the perpetrator feels threatens them. Hate crimes can involve race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

The Department of Justice is quick to point out that in the case of hate crimes, the word hate is a bit misleading. Normally, hate is used to describe an intense and negative emotion, but in this situation, it is used to describe bias.

Hate crimes are a huge problem. While only one person might be an actual victim, the end result is that a single hate crime creates a ripple effect so that it impacts friends, family and even a community’s reputation.

California lawmakers are so worried about hate crimes in the state, that they’ve created a single, separate law to deal with the issue. California hate crimes are addressed in Penal Code Sections 422.55, 422.6, 422.7 and 422.75 PC.

In California, you can be charged with a misdemeanor hate crime or a felony hate crime.

If convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime in California, you can be sentenced to a full year in a county jail and required to pay a maximum fine of $5,000, plus restitution. Some judges will settle for sentencing you to probation instead of actual jail time. You can also be required to complete up to 400 hours of community service.

If you’re convicted of a felony hate crime, Penal Code 422.75 PC section D states that “a person who is punished pursuant to this section also shall receive an additional term of one year in the state prison for each prior felony conviction on charges brought and tried separately in which it was found by the trier of fact or admitted by the defendant that the crime was a hate crime. This additional term shall only apply where a sentence enhancement is not imposed pursuant to Section 667 or 667.5.”

In many cases, additional charges, such as aggravated assault, are also filed.

 

What Does A Grand Jury Do?

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Most of us know that grand juries and trial juries aren’t the same thing, but many of us don’t know exactly what the difference between the two is.

The California legal system is set up in such a way that the grand jury is supposed to act as a kind of watchdog that oversees both the police and local/state government. While members of the grand jury don’t get involved with elections, they are responsible for determining if indictments should be issued. All of the work done by California’s grand jury is completely confidential. The only proof of the decisions the grand jury makes is in the published reports that detail police investigations of cases that were handed to the grand jury.

One of the issues California’s grand juries deal with is looking at how the local government utilized specific portions of public funds. Areas the grand jury is interested in include how well maintained the local jails are. It’s not uncommon for a grand jury to look at an area of concern that involves public funding and provide advice about how the money can be better utilized.

Most of the work California’s grand juries deal with involves criminal investigations. The bulk of the cases include looking at cases the DA has put together and determining if there’s enough evidence to take the case to trial.

What the grand jury doesn’t do is decide if the defendant is guilty or innocent. The purpose of the grand jury is to decide if a trial is justified.

The grand jury is made up of a variety of citizens. In most counties, once a person is named to the local grand jury, they serve on it for a full twelve months.

The law stipulates that anyone who sits on a California grand jury has to be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. You also must have a history of living in the county you serve for at least twelve months. When considering your eligibility, jury selection officials look at how fluent you are with the English language and if you have ever been convicted of a felony. Another thing court officials look at is if you have any physical or mental disabilities that would make it difficult for you to meet your duties as a member of a grand jury.

While you’re a member of a grand jury for twelve months, the exact amount of time you must dedicate to serving on the jury in terms of hours varies based on the types of crimes the county deals with during your service period.

 

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