Another in the category of Things That I Just Can’t Make Up:
“I guess I’m not going to the mall, after all. Good God.”
Friday, October 22, 2010 – Outgoing Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, today proclaimed a state of emergency in Placer County, due to a major fire causing severe damage to the regional shopping mall in the city of Roseville the day before.
Text of Proclamation from the Governor’s office:
A PROCLAMATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY
WHEREAS on October 21, 2010 a major fire caused severe damage to the regional shopping mall in the City of Roseville in Placer County; and
WHEREAS the fire caused extensive damage to the mall and numerous stores, and it is likely that the mall will be closed for an indefinite period of time; with the need of soot cleanup and extensive repair and clean up, and
WHEREAS the fire and potential criminal activity required the evacuation of hundreds of shoppers and employees; and
WHEREAS the fire required fire agencies and other emergency responders from throughout the region to respond; and
WHEREAS the closure of the mall and the stores will likely cause the immediate loss of many jobs in the area and the need for the unemployed to quickly receive financial assistance; and
WHEREAS the fire created a substantial amount of ash and other debris that will need to be quickly removed in order to reestablish the shopping mall and jobs; and
WHEREAS on October 21, 2010, the City of Roseville declared a local emergency and requested that I declare a state of emergency; and
WHEREAS the circumstances of this fire and subsequent damage to a regional shopping center, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single county, city and county, or city and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and
WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to the fire in Placer County.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code, HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist within Placer County.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that all agencies of the state government utilize and employ state personnel, equipment and facilities for the performance of any and all activities consistent with the direction of the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) and the State Emergency Plan, and that Cal EMA provide local government assistance under the authority of the California Disaster Assistance Act.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED in accordance with the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, including the Emergency Services Act and in particular Government Code sections 8567 and 8571 to immediately mitigate the effects of the emergency:
1. That the provisions of Unemployment Insurance Code section 1253 imposing a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance applicants are suspended as to all applicants who are unemployed as a direct result of the fire and damage to the regional shopping center in Placer County, and who apply for unemployment insurance benefits during the time period beginning October 21, 2010 and ending on the close of business on April 21, 2011 and who are otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in California. A ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba will be needed to take care of all the unit damaged because of this fire to make sure they are structurally safe and cleaned out!
1. That the statutes, rules, regulations and requirements are hereby suspended to the extent they apply to the following activities: (a) removal, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous debris resulting from the disaster; (b) necessary restoration; and (c) related activities. Such statutes, rules, regulations and requirements are suspended only to the extent necessary for expediting the removal and cleanup of debris from the disaster, and for implementing any restoration plan. The Secretary for the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary for the California Resources Agency shall use sound discretion in applying this suspension to ensure that the suspension serves the purpose of accelerating cleanup and recovery, while at the same time protecting public health and the environment. This order shall apply to, but is not necessarily limited to, solid waste facility permits, and waste discharge requirements for storage, disposal, and emergency construction activities, along with waste discharge requirements and/or Water Quality Certification for discharges of fill material or pollutants. To the extent it is within their administrative authority and discretion, the boards, departments and offices within the California Environmental Protection Agency and California Resources Agency shall expedite the granting of other authorizations, waivers or permits necessary for the removal, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous debris resulting from the fire, and for other actions necessary for the protection of public health and the environment.
1. State and local agencies shall, as necessary for the protection of public health and the environment and pursuant to requests from local government, enter into contracts and arrange for the procurement of materials, goods, and services necessary to quickly remove dangerous debris, repair damaged resources, and restore and protect the impacted area. Because strict compliance with the provisions of the Government Code and the Public Contract Code applicable to public agency contracts would prevent, hinder, or delay these efforts, applicable provisions of those statutes, including, but not limited to, advertising and competitive bidding requirements, are suspended to the extent necessary to address the effects of the fire.
I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this proclamation.
Smoke from the burning mall was visible for many miles. Here in Northern California we are programmed to stop, sniff, check the wind direction, and turn on the news and check the internet any time we see a smudge of a plume rising on the horizon. Yesterday was no exception, as there it was on the southern horizon, smoke, and I’m at higher elevation. Okay, where’s the grass/forest fire? You mean that’s Roseville itself ? “Hey, I can say I saw Galleria Mall burning from my house” is now in my vocabulary.
Oh, excuse me, I meant Westfield Galleria Mall. . Sorry.
After many changes to the original plan, the expansion was approved to consist of: expansion of Macy’s, JCPenney, and Sears, space for 100 new stores, 2 parking garages, a new 50% bigger dining terrace consisting of 820 seats, relocation of Crate & Barrel, and numerous changes to the Promenade. The originally $150 million dollar plan, will be completed by the end of 2009 at a final cost of $270 million.
In the summer of 2007, the Plateau Deck was completed and Westfield completed roadway improvements at the Galleria Blvd. offramp from southbound State Route 65, installed a roundabout at the Antelope Creek entrance, installed dual left turn lanes into the mall at the Reserve Drive and West Drive entrances from Roseville Parkway, and made many other changes to the Ring Road on the mall property to improve traffic flow around the new parking structures. On November 13, 2008, the $190 million phase 1 of the $270 million expansion opened to 42 new and relocated stores as well as the Cliff Deck. 2009 has seen the opening and relocation of numerous stores and it will continue through to the end of the year, bringing the total number of stores to nearly 250.
Westfield is an Australian company with assets worth $41 billion and 119 malls in 4 countries, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, and the United States. They control the Stratford City redevelopment project next to the 2012 Olympic Park in East London, UK.
The fire made national news and was a trending topic on twitter.
The fire was allegedly set by a 23 year old recently homeless, unemployed, and very likely disturbed person named Alexander Piggee who had a busy day. First he went to a WalMart and set a fire. Then he went to Roseville Mall to a video games store, and set more fires. Because he had a backpack, and a gun, the police department did not let the Fire Department into the mall to fight the fire for hours, because they didn’t know what was in the backback. It is not easy to fight an interior fire from the exterior of a mall with ladder trucks. When the police finally get ahold of the suspect, and frog march him out of the mall, he is minus his backpack. Evacuate the entire mall.
In his booking picture, Piggee has a completely beaming smile on his face, which is not natural for a person who is going to catch hell for causing $6.5 million dollars worth of damage to a swanky suburban mall that’s getting ready for the holiday shopping festivities.
And since I have you reading about fires, another disaster of a fire with an unknown as yet cause took out the River City Food Bank in midtown Sacramento on the same day. This bank nourishes and serves 36,000 people a year.
Officials said the blaze appeared to have started shortly before 2 a.m. behind the food bank at 27th Street between Capitol Avenue and N, and soon flames were shooting 30 feet into the air. More than 100 firefighters responded.
The food bank is adjacent to the offices of Trinity Cathedral, part of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, which owns the burned building.
The bishop’s office suffered “considerable smoke damage” and some water damage, but the stately brick cathedral was unharmed, said Dean Brian Baker.
Customers of the agency began showing up for their rations Thursday morning on foot and by bicycle, and were startled to see the building in ruins. A volunteer steered them to the Central Downtown Food Bank about 10 blocks away.
Sutter Medical Center of Sacramento, the hospital adjacent to the property, has given the food bank a space across the street as a temporary building, donated $30,000, and started an employee food drive. Goodwill is also coordinating with them, as is a local credit union.
River City Food Bank’s facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/RiverC… recently had this story link from yahoo news, as a reminder of how many people now face hunger without support or charity:
Lillie Gonzales does whatever it takes to provide for three ravenous sons who live under her roof. She grows her own vegetables at home on Kauai, runs her own small business and like a record 42 million other Americans, she relies on food stamps.
With more than 1 in 8 Americans now on food stamps, participation in the program has jumped about 70 percent from 26 million in May 2007, while the nation’s unemployment rate rose from 4.3 percent to 9.2 percent through September of this year.
Since 2000, the only states that haven’t enacted the lower food stamp eligibility requirements are Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.
What do the states which have not increased eligibility for food stamps have in common ? First, look at what sort of Senators these states have, or the Senate candidates. Joe Miller and the Tea Party. Blanche Lincoln. Evan Bayh is retiring. Chuck Grassley. Ben “Mutual of Omaha” Nelson. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander. Orrin Hatch. Webb’s been a Blue Dog, and even Missouri has a Blue Dog in Claire McCaskell, and if Robyn Carnahan wins, she won’t be any better. Most of them also are currently graced with a slightly lower unemployment rate than the national average.
But the real unemployment rate is much higher, with it being officially 12.4 % in California, 11.9% in Florida, 13% in Michigan, 14.4% in Nevada, over 10% in Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina.
Some rural counties in California have real unemployment rates of 14%, 16%, to 20% or more. But even in the cities, there is more well off, and more not well off, and less middle.
California bled off another 63,500 jobs, just from August to September 2010.
So, with a close election pending for several statewide races, yes, I could see Gov. Schwarzennegger suddenly feeling very motivated when he gets a phone call from the City of Roseville, which is very new, very filled with upcale, very nice housing, and rather Republican. Compared to many older parts of the Sacramento area, which have been hit horribly by the foreclosure crisis and look very bedraggled, with 4,532 foreclosures in the last quarter, and holding steady at over 4,200 per quarter from last year.
The firm said California alone accounted for 21 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity in the third quarter, with 191,016 properties receiving a foreclosure notice – the nation’s largest total.
That is 191,015 foreclosure notices, for ONE THREE MONTH PERIOD, FOR THE ENTIRE STATE.
Attention Nordstrom’s shoppers – your Mall will be re opened for your shopping convenience as quickly as possible !
Or maybe it was that $46,600 the President and CEO of Westfield Los Angeles, Peter Lowy, gave to Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2006, or the $51,800 dollars Peter Lowy gave to Jerry Brown back in February of this year. And the $6,500 that Gavin Newsom got recently. ( wtf ? lmao )
You know what they say about trends.