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tv   NBC Bay Area News Tonight  NBC  May 11, 2022 7:00pm-7:30pm PDT

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i'm raj mathai, next, inflation reaching a record high here in the bay area. we have a new look of how hard it's hitting our bottom line. also, something that's never happened in california before, workers at two starbucks unionizing. could more stores follow suit? after two years of living and dealing with covid, why can't we better prevent the spread? we're talking to one of our covid experts from stanford. good evening. this is nbc bay area tuesday tonight, i'm raj mathai. we'll get to those stories in a moment. we want to start with the breaking news in orange county. we've been covered this now for a couple hours. a fire burning several homes down in laguna niguel.
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it's intense. at least a dozen homes are actively burning. that number unfortunately could rise. this is an up scale community. you can see the size of the homes and the $3 million and $4 million range. another angel from high above. our nbc chopper from our sister station knbc, this is a live look. you can see this entire community there right along the pacific ocean. there are evacuations in many areas including an after school program at laguna beach high school. other areas are under evacuation warning. this fire has been burning for more than four hours now. take a look at the map. laguna niguel off the 405 along the ocean. in a few minutes, we'll be joined by vicki vargas on the scene down below where the houses are burning. she'll join us in a few minutes. before we get to vikki, a
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reminder of the vta shooting is coming down. one year ago a vta worker killed nine of his co-workers at that vta rail yard in san jose. it was the deadliest shooting in bay area history. today, crews started demolishing building b where six of the nine victim the were killed by a co-worker before he shot himself. the supervisor and vta board member cindy chavez explained many employees are still distraught coming to that building just too painful. >> many employees wanted that whole facility to look and feel differently. they wanted to come back to something fresh. building b is a building that we lost six lives in that building and this is really in response to a majority of our employees saying it's time and they wanted to see that building gone. >> vta plans to replace the building with the new facility. chavez says the hope is to put up a monument to the survivors at that site or another
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location. well, it hasn't been this bad in decades, we're paying for more just about everything. inflation hitting a 21-year high in april. consumer prices jumping 5%. here is a look, though, where it's hitting our wallet the most. 5% is deceiving. gas is up 44%. meat prices up 19%. electricity like your pg&e bill up 18%, and dairy products up 12%. so how is this translating into our daily lives? today we took a look at the impact on our small businesses, one of our experts told us to think of it like a tornado, sweeping up higher prices in the path. >> prices increase and then, you know, your supply chain has issues. your materials are increasing in pricing so then companies who develop and manufacture et cetera, their prices increase and they pass along the prices to the consumers but the consumers are spending more so there is a high demand and we
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start swirling like this. >> and we are feeling it. there is hope on the horizon. there are signs inflation is starting to slow down just a bit nationwide. so what about that caramel coffee or flat white? is a first for california. workers at two local starbucks stars in santa cruz specifically became the first baristas in the state to unionize. they are near the boardwalk and downtown santa cruz. a third location plans to join them next month. the movement began in november when a starbucks in buffalo, new york, won the right to unionize. 18-year-old shift supervisor joseph thompson helped lead the charge. >> it's only going to help organize other stores but specifically, this is a student led movement. most of the workers of our store are students and young people, upset and we need change. >> starbucks issuing this statement, quote, from the beginning we've been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners without a union between us and that
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conviction has not changed. so why is this happening and could more businesses like starbucks unionize? let's bring in our business and tech reporter scott budman. why this big push to unionize now? >> raj, we see the statements from the young workers and the company itself, miles apart. starbucks is a company and we can name others that make a lot of money and the people on the front lines dealing with covid concerns, they're dealing with transportation concerns obviously wage and benefits concerns, they don't feel that they're being dealt a fair hand and so we really have two sides that are at logger heads and you know, this takes you back to the '30s and '40s and '50s were getting into american business and they're starting to come back. >> we heard the young man talking. is it just about the money, $12 an hour, they want $15 an hour? what's the big debate here? >> it's not just about money. you know, there are so many starbucks around, it's easy to talk to starbucks employees what they want.
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they're paid a accident minimum wage but want more people there. they want better benefits and, you know, this happens a lot in the tech industry where they say hey, we just want to share a little bit more of the pie that's coming into those who are making all the money and getting all the benefits. >> okay. i don't want to be blunt here. i will be. does this change our experience, our customer experience or is this simply behind the counter? >> look at it this way, if workers are happy and feel they are being treated and not looking forward to over time where they have to struggle to get paid, they're going to be happier and work better and more effectively and yes, you as a consumer are going to get a better cup of coffee. >> pretty interesting. thank you, scott. >> you bet. let's move on, we're talking about covid. our rising covid numbers. more of the bay area health experts are calling for people to rethink their plans and consider masking up again especially if you're 60 years or older, immune compromised or unvaxed. today the health officer for marin county said cases tripled
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since april. here is the silver lining, they haven't seen a rise in hospitalizations. they are recommending the following for those at risk of getting a severe case of covid. avoid non-essential indoor gatherings, wear a mask if you do go to an indoor gathering and get up to date on vaccines and boosters. joining us is a covid expert from stanford, nice to have you back on the program. why do you think our counties moved away from mandates and toward recommendations? >> hey, raj, thanks for having me. you know, i think the move away from mandates is particularly because they're unpopular. politically their unpopular. people are tired of them. as i can say with the most recent mandates for the transportation industry, that was really mixed by a judge, not by public health experts. cdc wanted to keep that in place longer because these areas are
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highest risk and people have to use public transit to get to work and hospital appointments and the grocery store. there is a central transport here and so, you know, i think if we reinstate masks, we should do it soon for indoor crowded areas that are mandatory for people to use like transit. >> doctor, do you suggest personally from your point of view to recommend masking up again and do recommendations work? >> you know, it's a tough question. it's easy to answer to say yes, i do recommend it particularly for crowded indoor settings because we are seeing a lot of transmission. there is more transmission than we know because people are either not getting tested or testing at home so we're not detecting it as well. waste water surveillance has shown an uptick for awhile. cases are going up quickly. do recommendations work? i talk to patients clinically, i make that recommendation but a lot of people are making their own risk calculations every time. whether they choose to go to an
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event or not or get vaccinated or mask, as health experts we have to keep pushing consistent messaging saying get vaccinated, get boosted and wear a high filtration mask like n 95 mask. that is where spread happens sgh you tweeted this week people are bad at preventing the spread of covid after two years of going through this. how did we get in this vicious cycle? >> well, i wouldn't put this an individuals. this is not to say that individuals are bad or good at this. i work in a public health state response for the state of massachusetts before i moved back to california. this really comes down to what we do as a commuity and public health leadership and what businesses do to improve ventilation and schools do and communities do. individuals have to play their part, too. but we need to get congress to move on the funding that is going to help with prevention, particularly ventilation upgrades, particularly provision of high filtration masks for the public. there is a lot of things that need to happen still.
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>> final question real quick, the latest surge, maybe one or two more months, how do you see it? >> you know, it's really tough to predict. it partly has to do with what we do and how transmissible this variant is, how immunity is waning, how many people are getting boosted right now. we have a big gap to fill there. i think it could very well take us into the summer, maybe it slows down then but many of us are worried about what happens come fall and come winter when immunity wanes more and we don't know what the next variant looks like. the white house predicts 100 million infections. we know, we need to stay very vigilant here, we're not out of the woods. >> we appreciate you. you're very clear and concise information. thanks for your time. >> thank you. let's get back to our breaking news now. the fire in orange county destroying homes. this is in laguna niguel. the homes on a bluff overlooking the ocean. a live look from the nbc chopper. a lot of smoke.
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you see the flames on the hillside. smoke could be seen as far away as l.a. mandatory evacuation orders. let's bring in vikki. describe what you're seeing around you. i see the smoke and fire trucks behind you. >> reporter: yeah, and i said earlier in our local broadcast that it really feels like a horrific horror film because we've been here for hours and the fire has not stopped, the embers literally going from one side of the street to others, firefighters putting water of the homes that are burning, trying to do what they can to salvage the ones that haven't gone up in flames. laguna niguel is about half way between san diego and l.a. there is a tanker coming over right now and i asked firefighters, okay, wouldn't it be easier to dump a bunch of water on this? they said no, it would possibly take out firefighters. that is not how they fight these
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fires. it came from a canyon hillside behind the homes and literally went into home. they've been trying to, i hate to say it, act like whack a mole. whenever the fire goes down, they have enough water on it, they point the hose at another house. that's really the extent of the fire structure protection at this point. coronado point was built in the '90s because of the views and beautiful connection to the nature that exists behind it. when this started, the fire department didn't believe they would be in a lot of danger. they thought they put enough aerial support on it and the winds and i'm going to guess embers quickly went a lot further than anybody expected. that's why we're here now. this one street probably has, i'm going to say eight, maybe ten homes that have been destroyed but very sporadic as they try to keep the homes that haven't gone, putting water on them. next to them homes are going and across from the cracks you hear signifies the intensity of the
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heat getting through the stucco and some cases that used to be on these homes. 200 acres, 14 to 15 homes damaged or destroyed in this area. back to you. >> very good information, vikki. i don't want to keep you too long. i want you to get to safety. any indication from the firefighters is this a couple more hours or through the night? any indication? >> reporter: if i had a crystal ball, i'd buy the lottery ticket. i can tell you for certain, when the sun goes down in half an hour or so from now, they won't have to deal with the winds as they're having to deal with them now, the mixture of hot and cold air coming together as the sun sets. so once it goes down, they might be able to get a much better handle on this because they won't be fighting the fire and the wind as well. i think that's as far as i can do with a prediction for you. >> okay. your photographer there showing us the fire fight actively right there on the street you're on.
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it looks intense. vikki, get to safety so you can breathe easier. vikki vargas covering this fire in laguna niguel. we'll continue to keep our eye on the fire. we're not conserving enough water. speaking of this, how much we need to cut back and what happens if you don't cut back? there are fines coming our way. you're watching nbc bay area news tonight.
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welcome back to nbc bay area news tonight. this is likely the beginning of people sounding the alarm to conserving water. two things likely to happen. we'll be asked again to cut water use and fined if we don't. the state says that each of us right now are using an average of 77 gallons of water a day and that's too much. those figures come from the month of march. statewide water actually rose by 19% water use. we were supposed to be cutting our water use by 15%. so what happens now? we looked at some of the largest bay area water districts. east bay customers are asked to cut back 10%. you can water three time as week if you use too much water, about 1600 gallons a day or more, you'll be fined. starting in july, all customers will be charged an 8% drought surcharge. the average household would see about a 3 increase with that 8% surcharge. in the south bay, valley water is trying to cut water use by 15%.
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they want customers to water lawns twice a week. later this month, the board will vote on hiring water police, a team that makes sure people are following the rules. if you break the rules, you could face fines of $500. the big question, when will this drought end? this past week, some good news. 11 feet of fresh snow in the sierra. so how much will this help? in april, our snow pact was only 38% of normal. since then, we've had several rounds of snow in the sierra. joining us tonight, our snow pact expert dr. andrew schwartz. nice to view you. a lot of late season snow in the past few weeks, is it helping? >> it is helping. every snow flake, every drop of water that we can get is going to help. unfortunately, at this point, it doesn't look like it's going to bring our reservoirs up to average. here in california, we're only about 39% of average for the reservoir storage.
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while it is helping, it's not going to bring us up to average for the year or really pull us out of the drought. >> andrew, you deal with this stuff every day. most people only tune in when there are fines or straight rules in place. are local water agencies specifically here in the bay area acting fast enough? are they responding fast enough? >> that's kind of a hard question and one that realistically is quite subjective. but in all reality, acting fast enough is -- i guess realistically, yes, they're acting fast enough. i think the restrictions could be a little stronger given where we are at this point in time, we really need to conserve as much water as possible simply because every drop conserved now will go a long way come summertime into the fall. >> for our viewers, two things we can do now to cut back on water? >> shorten the amount of time in the shower and don't water your
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lawn so much. those are the big two. >> very good. last question, we're seeing this fire right now down in orange county. in terms of our upcoming fire season, what's your perspective? what are you seeing? >> well, realistically, we're seeing melt out of the snow pact at about the same time that we saw it last year give or take a week. and that means that we're probably looking at a similar fire season to what we saw last year unfortunately with those catastrophic fires that happened like the dixie. so at this point in time, it's not looking great. >> appreciate your time and perspective tonight. have a good evening. >> you, too, thank you so much. let's take you outside. a live look at sfo. jeff will join us next and we'll update the fires. stay with us.
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welcome back to nbc bay area news tonight. back to the breaking news, the fire in orange county you can see the flames there just destroying these homes. this is in laguna niguel, the homes on a bluff overlooking the ocean. this is a live look from the nbc chopper in l.a. the flames, the smoke at least a dozen homes on fire. mandatory evacuation orders are in place. even on the ground level, our reporter vikki vargas said it almost like a whack a mole in terms of what homes are burning and when. a news conference is scheduled five or ten minutes from now. we're expecting an update from
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firefighters to see if this is contained at any point or continuing to spread. we bring in jeff ranieri here. we've been following this for several hours in terms of the wind direction. i know you have the map data. >> this started as a spot fire we're learning from our sister station knbc and actually hopped the road and went up into this canyon. laguna beach here, laguna niguel here. the way the wind is blowing it's pushing it into laguna niguel and evacuations in place. we're seeing winds out of the west at nine and gusts 15 to 35 right there within the fire. now tomorrow, 15 to 35 mile per hour gusts and a warmer day at 78. this certainly is a very frightening and devastating situation out there across southern california. again, at least 15 homes burned and 200 acres at last check. the weather at home, i want to show you a system to the north. no rain for us but will bring in
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cloud cover as we head through tomorrow morning. temperatures startling off in the 40s. then as we head through the day, numbers staying the same with high clouds filtering across. that would be the biggest change for us. i got it at 69 in martinez, 68 in san jose right up to santa rosa we are at 70. as we roll through this upcoming weekend, numbers will warm up. 86 on saturday. 80 on sunday. good news no wind expected for this upcoming weekend. we'll drop it off here through next monday and tuesday. raj, that fire in southern california, talk about rapid spread. we're looking at numbers in the 60s when this started and took off. it grew fast up the hill. fires always tend to go a lot faster up the hill about four to 16 times faster than it would on flat land. so a lot of folks really didn't have too much time to prepare or to get out. so we'll hope for the best down there tonight but it does seem like things are starting to get a little bit better in the
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vicinity of the fire. >> we hope so. our reporter vikki vargas said the hope was the wind would die down. thank you. coming up tonight, chicago med at 8:00, chicago fire at 9:00 and chicago p.d. at 10:00 and of course, the 11:00 newscast. here is what we're working on for the 11:00 news. inflation numbers and of course, that fire. we'll have updates from the ground level in terms of the damage and what is being done in terms of that fire fight down in laguna niguel. what we know now, at least a dozen homes destroyed or damaged but it looks like this fire is spreading a long this area. that will do it for now. for everyone here at nbc bay area, we thank you for tuning in. see you back here at 11:00.
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