I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t exactly Earth-shattering news, but nearly every time we cover a story involving California Governor Gavin Newsom it deals with him doing something either stupid, foolish, outrageous or some combination of the three. So when the occasion rises to note him doing the right thing, I think we owe it to him to point it out in the interest of fairness. California is generally considered Ground Zero for the #RESIST movement and there’s no lack of people bashing the President out there. And yet, in the wake of two powerful earthquakes, the Governor went out in public and appealed to the citizens of his state, pointing out that President Trump is dedicated to helping the state recover, putting partisan differences aside in the face of a natural disaster. (Associated Press)
Gov. Gavin Newsom says President Donald Trump has called him and expressed commitment to helping California recover from two earthquakes that hit the state in as many days.
Speaking to reporters after touring the damage zone, Newsom said Saturday that he and Trump talked about the struggles California has been through, including two devastating wildfires that happened just six months ago.
The Democratic governor said “there’s no question we don’t agree on everything, but one area where there’s no politics, where we work extremely well together, is our response to emergencies.”
“He’s committed in the long haul, the long run, to help support the rebuilding efforts,” Newsom said of Trump.
I thought that was pretty nice of the Governor to include during his press conference. And it was also good to know that Trump was ready to pick up the phone and talk to someone who is just about as far removed from him politically as possible and make sure that federal aid was available for recovery and clean-up efforts. I’m sure that everyone will drop back into campaign mode soon enough and the thinly veiled (or not veiled at all) insults will be flying again, but for the moment the business of the people appears to be getting done.
The AP is reporting one other bit of news I found interesting as the earthquake recovery work gets underway. I was previously unaware of this, but Los Angeles residents have access to a free phone app called ShakeAlertLA. It triggers an alert on your phone whenever a quake of magnitude 5.0 or higher is detected. There are plans in place to lower the threshold to 4.5, but officials say that plan was already in the works before the recent big quakes hit.
Two points about this. First, you might be wondering what good an app like that actually is. I mean, if there’s a big quake taking place, you probably know it without your phone lighting up, right? But not always. It turns out that it can take several minutes for the shaking from a quake many miles away to reach you. That couple of minutes might be just enough for you to get outside before the ceiling starts coming down. Of course, if you happen to be right on the fault line where the quake happens, there’s not much to be done, but for a lot of people, it could be a literal lifesaver.
At least in theory. Here’s the other part of this story. When the 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude quakes hit, the app didn’t issue an alarm for either of them. It also failed to mark either one under the list of “Recent Earthquakes” available on the app. But as it turns out, the app was working as intended. It only alerts people about quakes of a certain magnitude in Los Angeles County. The shaking felt in LA from the largest quake was only equivalent to a magnitude 3 event, so the alarm didn’t go off.
Seems like they might want to give that design a second look. The usefulness of it, as I mentioned above, seems to be lessened considerably if the alarm doesn’t go off until the shaking is already throwing you out of your chair.