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KSBR News Briefs on Thursday, Oct.19 2017
This morning at 10:19, millions of people will participate in the annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drill. Those participating will be asked to drop to the ground, take cover under a table or desk and hold on to it as if a major earthquake were happening for at least 60 seconds.
Over 53 million people have registered to participate in the drill.
More information is available on-line at www.shakeout.org
GOP ramps up effort to repeal California gas tax increase
A Republican effort to repeal our state’s upcoming gas tax increase is getting a financial boost from GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox and the support of several members of Congress.
Cox says he'll pour a "significant" amount of money into the effort to gather the more than 500,000 signatures needed to put the repeal effort on the ballot. He’s declining to say how much.
California Republican U.S. Reps. Mimi Walters and Doug LaMalfa are backing the effort.
The gas tax will go up 12 cents per gallon in November. The initiative would repeal it and require all future gas and car tax increases to go before voters.
A coalition of business groups say the tax increase is badly needed to help repair our state’s deteriorating roads and bridges.
Study: Lower-income kids give more time to TV, digital media
A new survey indicates children in lower-income families spend more time watching TV and using electronic devices than kids in more affluent homes.
The report by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media on the viewing habits of more than 1,400 children nationwide age 8 and under found that less-affluent youngsters spend nearly three-and-a-half hours daily watching TV and using varied devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and video game players.
By comparison, kids in higher-income homes spend just under two hours on such activities. The offspring of better-educated parents also spend less time with media (1 hour, 37 minutes) compared with children of those with less education (2 hours, 50 minutes).
The survey found that Latino parents expressed the most concern about what their children are exposed to in media, including sex, violence and racial and gender stereotypes. African-American parents voiced somewhat less concern, with white parents expressing the least worry among ethnic groups.
But a majority of parents overall said their children's use of digital media helps boost learning and creativity.
San Juan Capistrano
The San Juan Capistrano City Council has moved in the direction of encouraging property owners with one-tenth of an acre to three acres of undeveloped property, to grow their own produce.
Mayor Kerry Ferguson says the Council has approved the first reading of a proposed amended ordinance to provide an incentive for property owners to have urban farming on their properties. When the ordinance is finalized, eligible residents will be able to get a permit with the city and enjoy the financial benefits of having their home taxed as agriculture instead of residential. And they’ll be able to sell their produce.
The Dana Point City Council was receptive Mayor Debra Lewis’ idea to have a proposed ordinance requiring the use of story poles citywide for development projects.
She says the ordinance would require new developments and or additions to existing ones to have stakes in the ground to show size and height as part of the approval process. It would enable residents and neighbors to see the actual impact of potential developments instead of just viewing the plans.
She says the Planning Commission will review the proposed ordinance and send its comments back to the Council before a final vote.
Lewis says story poles are already required for developments in the Town Center.
SeaWorld cuts 350 jobs, mostly in Orlando and San Diego
SeaWorld is cutting 350 positions as the company's parks deal with declining attendance.
Spokeswoman Aimee Jeansonne Becka says the cuts will include a mix of layoffs and not refilling open positions across the company. The cuts will primarily affect its Orlando corporate headquarters, as well as the parks in Orlando and San Diego.
Jeansonne Becka says most of the cuts will affect administrative positions that don't deal directly with the public. She says SeaWorld is still committed to animal rescue and rehabilitation.
Park attendance has suffered since the 2013 documentary "Blackfish" suggested that SeaWorld's treatment of animals may have led to the deaths of trainers. It announced last year that it would no longer breed killer whales and stop using them in shows.