In California: Rain, snow in forecast; state election results trickle in

Maria Sestito, USA TODAY
·7 min read

While we don't know who our next U.S. president will be, we do know that it might rain and even snow in California this week. And, if that doesn't make it feel like fall, maybe Thursday Night Football will. Oh, wait, nevermind — some of those games have been canceled. Plus: Three state propositions where the vote is close, San Franciscans pass a new CEO tax, and insurers can't drop policies in wildfire areas just yet.

Hi, I'm Maria Sestito, senior issues reporter for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, where it will not be snowing.

In California brings you top Golden State stories and commentary from across the USA TODAY Network and beyond. Get it free, straight to your inbox.

Propositions 14, 15, and 19 are the tightest

Record numbers of California voters cast their votes via mail-in ballots during the 2020 election.
Record numbers of California voters cast their votes via mail-in ballots during the 2020 election.

Though we knew most of the results on state measures on Wednesday, three were still undecided, including Proposition 14, 15, and 19. Here is where those measures stood as of Thursday at 5 p.m.:

Proposition 14:

Stem-cell research looks to have won the day in a tight race. Proposition 14 had 51% yes votes as of Thursday. The measure would authorize a $5.5 billion bond sale to fund the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which was created by a similar $3 billion bond measure in 2014 but is now nearly broke.

With dozens of stem cell research trials underway, supporters say the money is desperately needed. Opponents said that in a pandemic-induced economic crisis, California simply can’t afford it.

Proposition 15:

The measure would reassess commercial and industrial properties every three years, but no votes on Proposition 15 stood at 51.8% as of Thursday at 5 p.m. — opponents were up by about 430,000 votes among the 12 million ballots counted so far. Opponents called it a massive tax increase that would cripple businesses in a pandemic-wracked economy.

Proposition 19:

California voters appeared to give narrow approval to Proposition 19, which would give Californians 55 or older a big property tax break when buying a new home. To fund that new tax break, the measure would curtail a separate tax break Californians may receive on homes inherited from parents and grandparents.

Prop. 19 was passing Thursday with 51.4% of the vote.

Making election history

A woman takes a photo in front of an I Voted sign at a San Francisco Department of Elections voting center in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, ahead of Election Day.
A woman takes a photo in front of an I Voted sign at a San Francisco Department of Elections voting center in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, ahead of Election Day.

San Francisco voters approved a first-in-the-nation CEO tax that aims to close the wealth gap, according to The Mercury News. Under Measure L, wealthy companies whose chief executive is paid 100 times more than their median worker will pay a higher gross receipts tax.

It was approved by 65.18% of voters Tuesday night, making San Francisco the first U.S. city to move to tax businesses based on how “overpaid” their top executives are. Measure L is expected to generate between $60 million and $140 million a year in general funds starting in 2022, according to an estimate by the city.

“It was the right time and the right city, with a very big turnout,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council.

Other historic election results in the state include:

  • San Diego’s Sara Jacobs will be the youngest California representative in Congress, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Jacobs, 31, a Democrat, will be filling Rep. Susan Davis' seat. Davis, who has served 10 terms, announced in September 2019 that she would not be seeking reelection.

  • Alex Lee, 25, was elected to the California Assembly on Tuesday, becoming the youngest state legislator to assume office in more than 80 years, according to the Los Angeles Times. Lee, a Democrat, lives with his mom and, when he is sworn in, will be the first California legislator to have come out as bisexual.

  • For the first time in more than 150 years, L.A. County elected an all-female Board of Supervisors, reports the L.A. Times. According to the newspaper, The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is considered the most powerful local governmental body in the country and oversees the county’s $35 billion budget

Rain and snow on the way

Some snow, and mostly rain, expected this weekend at the ski resort town of Big Bear Lake.
Some snow, and mostly rain, expected this weekend at the ski resort town of Big Bear Lake.

Scattered showers are expected in the Bay Area while snow may come to the Sierra this weekend, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

In Southern California, rain, mountain snow and gusty winds were predicted for many areas as a low pressure system moves down from the Pacific Northwest into California on Friday, followed by a second system during the weekend, according to KTLA.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is alerting road travelers in San Bernardino and Riverside counties that rain and snow may fall this weekend.

Some desert towns and mountain slopes can expect winds of 50 to 60 mph Friday. Caltrans is also predicting cooler temperatures in the high desert and frost in the valleys over the weekend and Monday.

Significant snowfall was also forecast for Southern California mountains. Snow levels will be about 5,000 feet in the mountain areas of San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Higher elevations will see three to five inches of snow.

Despite the change in weather, forecasters warn that wildfire risk is likely to persist for another month and possibly much longer. The state’s hills and valleys remain dry and the prospect of dangerous, seasonal winds generally lingers into December, according to The Chronicle.

State to insurers: You can't flee from wildfire areas

Eileen R. Tabios' guest house after burning in the Glass Fire.
Eileen R. Tabios' guest house after burning in the Glass Fire.

The state insurance commissioner issued an order Thursday forbidding insurance companies from canceling or declining to renew property insurance policies for one year in communities hit by wildfires, according to the New York Times and the Sacramento Bee.

The announcement affects nearly 2.1 million policyholders who were affected by recent wildfires in addition to 364,000 policyholders covered by last year’s moratorium.

“Losing your insurance should be the last thing on someone’s mind after surviving a devastating fire,” Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said in a statement. “My action gives millions of Californians breathing room and hits the pause button on insurance non-renewals while we take additional steps to expand our competitive market.”

The moratorium applies to properties in zip codes located either within or adjacent to recent wildfire disasters, according to Lara’s office. Property owners can visit the Department of Insurance website to find out if their zip code qualifies for the moratorium.

COVID-19 cases affect NHL, Pac-12 season

It may seem like virtually all of their key players are sidelined, but San Francisco has time to heal given it plays once in 24 days following this week's Thursday night date with Green Bay.
It may seem like virtually all of their key players are sidelined, but San Francisco has time to heal given it plays once in 24 days following this week's Thursday night date with Green Bay.

The pandemic's impact on the NHL is being felt today as key players on the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers are out due to either positive tests or contact tracing. The Eagles, Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and other teams have also been affected, several of them shuttering their facilities Thursday over cases of the virus.

College football has also taken a hit over the virus, making the opening weekend of the Pac-12 season smaller. The conference announced Thursday that Saturday's scheduled game between California and Washington has been canceled.

The Pac-12 said Cal had requested the move because the team could not meet the minimum requirement of scholarship players for the game due to the number of positive COVID-19 cases among its players. The game will be not be rescheduled and will be declared a no contest.

"The health and well-being of our student-athletes is always at the forefront of our decision making," California Athletic Director Jim Knowlton said in a statement. "We have been diligent in the development and execution of our return-to-play plan, and our goal all along has been to provide a safe environment and to mitigate risk as much as possible."

In California is a roundup of news from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: San Francisco Chronicle, The Mercury News, KTLA, the Sacramento Bee, New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rain, snow on the way to state; ballot prop results