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Border Agents Surveil Americans' Phones Without Warrants: Wyden

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U.S. Senator Ron Wyden says his office was informed this summer that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is building a massive database with content seized from Americans’ cellphones at the border. Without warrants, the agency permits thousands of employees to search the database “for any reason,” the Oregon senator said.

The disclosure came in a letter dated Thursday to CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus, a former Arizona police chief, appointed by President Biden last year. In it, Wyden calls for immediate changes to the agency’s policy, beginning with halting the searches of Americans’ phones absent a judge’s approval. Wyden asks Magnus for “a written plan” describing the steps his agency will take to address the senator’s concerns.

“Innocent Americans should not be tricked into unlocking their phones and laptops,” Wyden said. “CBP should not dump data obtained through thousands of warrantless phone searches into a central database, retain the data for fifteen years, and allow thousands of DHS employees to search through Americans’ personal data whenever they want.”

The letter offers fresh details and context for CBP’s electronic searches, as well as its monitoring of Americans’ activities specifically. The figures it includes paint an unsettling image of the surveillance technologies being rapidly deployed, testing the limits of constitutional safeguards at an agency routinely plagued by data-security problems.

It’s unclear how many Americans and foreign nationals the database’s information encompasses. The agency relies on an exception to the Fourth Amendment, Wyden says, which permits border officials to conduct “basic searches” of a traveler’s phone or laptop without a warrant. These searches can be done without suspicion of wrongdoing, and anyone crossing the border may be targeted.

The issue here is that CBP is now citing that same authority when using tools that can, today, enable agents to scrape a phone dry. And that’s a major leap from a scenario in which a single border agent manually reviews a traveler’s text messages. The contrast is made more stark by the fact that, according to Wyden, CBP believes it has legal authority to store all the data it scrapes, and allow employees to rummage through it for up to 15 years.

The Washington Post first reported the news.

The letter stated that Wyden’s office became aware through briefings that CBP practices included “pressuring travelers to unlock their electronic devices without adequately informing them of their rights,” and “downloading the contents of Americans’ phones into a central database, where this data is saved and searchable for 15 years by thousands of Department of Homeland Security employees, with minimal protections against abuse.”

It continues:

“In a June 20, 2022 briefing to my office, CBP estimated that it forensically examines and then saves data from ‘less than 10,000' phones per year — which typically include text messages, call logs, contact lists, and in some cases photos and other sensitive data — in a central database. CBP confirmed during this briefing that it stores this deeply personal data taken, without a warrant signed by a judge, from Americans’ phones for 15 years and permits approximately 2,700 DHS personnel to search this data at any time, for any reason.”

Wyden, who is a 20-year veteran of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that DHS employees are keeping virtually no records describing the purposes of these searches, an oversight that commonly engenders abuse, and makes auditing the practice impossible. CBP had so far failed to provide any statistics on how many Americans are referenced in the database, or how often government employees use it, Wyden said.

In response to an inquiry, CBP sent Gizmodo a 1,840 word email, bullet-pointed, including what seems to be a collection of revised text pulled from a 4-year-old privacy impact report. (You can read the entire email here.)

CBP’s response opens by describing its broad search authority, which it notes “extends to all persons and goods, including electronic devices, crossing our nation’s borders.” In a section describing its border search policy, CBP says its employees can conduct an “advance search” of a person’s device — using equipment that downloads its contents — with a supervisor’s permission. Reasonable suspicion can be used, but is not a requirement, it says. CBP employees can instead have a “national security concern.”

It’s not immediately clear what a “national security concern” is, or what differentiates it from reasonable suspicion, an already low evidentiary standard, far below what any ordinary police officer or prosecutors would require to search the contents of a phone. (The American Civil Liberties Union was likewise perplexed by the term when DHS started using it in conjunction with cellphone searches, writing it is “not clearly defined in the policy and potentially vague enough to cover a wide array of scenarios.”)

On “concern” alone, CBP can also review content ripped from a device using an Automated Targeting System (ATS), the agency’s email says. Based on the government’s description of how an ATS works, this practice would evaluate the downloaded content, including contact lists, against scores of internet and external databases, such as those used to identify terror suspects or locate individuals with outstanding warrants — without a warrant or reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred.

Advanced searches—which involve using forensic tools to download rather than manually review cellphone content—began as a pilot program in 2007, under a project called Document and Media Exploitation. Since that test-run, the program has expanded from four to 133 points of entry, according to a 2021 report. Information from this growing “advanced search” database is routinely shared with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), state and local law enforcement agencies, and the FBI, as the Washington Post reported.

The number of device searched in the past 10 months alone has so far exceeded the total for the entire previous fiscal year, according to CBP’s own disclosures. From October to July, the agency searched no fewer than 38,567 devices, either through “basic” or “advanced” means. The figures indicate that CBP has been steadily scaling up the searches, alongside government audits uncovering flaws in its practices.

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ICE, too, has been investing heavily in cutting-edge surveillance, spending roughly $2.8 billion on tracking technology since 2008. Financial disclosures in April revealed the agency had recently spent upwards of $7.2 million on a contract with an absurdly named facial-recognition vendor: Trust Stamp.

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20 days ago
Los Angeles, CA
19 days ago
Orange County, California
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San Clemente City Council Tries to Remove Abortion Ban Proposal Following Backlash

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San Clemente’s mayor is calling city council members in for a special meeting tomorrow morning to discuss killing a controversial abortion ban resolution before their regular Tuesday night meeting. 

The resolution in question would make the city a “Sanctuary For Life,” if approved, blocking the zoning or permitting of any facility that would provide an abortion in the city.

“We believe that life is God-ordained and God is the author and finisher of every life. No matter if at the beginning or at the end,” the resolution states. “As a city council, we will protect and sustain life at every stage. As we ask God to bless America, we first have to honor and respect God.” 

To view a copy of the proposed resolution, click here

The meeting starts at 11:00 Saturday morning, and can be viewed live on the city’s YouTube page

The resolution was introduced by City Councilman Steve Knoblock at the council’s July 16 meeting, and while Mayor Gene James initially supported a discussion on it, he backed out after reading it, and is now calling for a special meeting to cancel discussion on it altogether. 

Under state law, special meetings can be called 24 hours in advance to discuss time sensitive issues. 

“California is still an abortion on demand state, and there’s not much the city of San Clemente can do in regards to that,” James said in a Monday phone interview. “The one thing I don’t want to do is create a resolution that’s going to be divisive or appear to be hateful. Although I’m pro-life I have serious reservations about this particular resolution.” 

Knoblock released the document publicly at the July 16 meeting, but after a Voice of OC story earlier this week, it began raising concerns from residents throughout Orange County 

[Read: San Clemente City Council to Consider Banning Abortions Within City Limits]

James did not respond to requests for comment from reporters Friday morning. 

Rather than discuss the item at the council’s August 16 meeting as was originally planned, James is calling a meeting to remove the item entirely before that. 

In a phone call Friday afternoon, San Clemente City Attorney Scott Smith said the council technically won’t be voting on the ban, just whether or not they should discuss the proposal in the future.

And he said residents would be able to speak on the issue at Saturday’s meeting. 

“If you’re speaking about whether it should be taken up, it’s hard not to speak to the merits,” Smith said. “The public should have the chance to talk about the item.” 

Under San Clemente city policy, Knoblock only needs one other member to support his resolution for the discussion to go ahead at the August 16 meeting. 

His four colleagues have publicly come out against his proposal since the July meeting.

Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a Groundtruth initiative. Contact him at or on Twitter @NBiesiada.


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60 days ago
Orange County, California
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More Orange County Cities Resist Calls to Switch to District Elections

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Under the threats of costly lawsuits, elected officials in Orange County have increasingly found themselves forced to switch to district voting after various groups claimed current election systems disenfranchise minority voters.

But this year, city council members in some of the county’s smaller cities like Cypress and Brea have pushed back against those claims, refusing to change their election system.

“We’ve got several other cities that have decided to stand up and fight and maybe we need to consider standing up and fighting,” Brea Mayor Cecilia Hupp said at the April 5 council meeting.

The resistance from some city council members is setting the stage for legal battles between cities and a lawyer who has found success fighting these types of cases in court across the state – Malibu-based attorney Kevin Shenkman. 

Shenkman has made a name for himself representing voting rights groups and forcing cities across California to switch their election systems under the state’s Voting Rights Act.

He argues at-large elections disenfranchises voters of color and keeps people of color out of office.

“It’s important that every neighborhood, every community has representation in their local government. When they don’t, bad things happen. People start losing faith in government and certain communities and neighborhoods get shit on,” he said in a Thursday phone interview.

Shenkman’s reputation has gotten to the point where a letter from him sent to city officials warning their current election system disenfranchises minorities is usually enough to get cities to make the switch from at-large elections to by district elections.

In at-large elections, residents citywide can vote for as many candidates as there are council openings. So if two seats on the council are up for grabs, residents can vote for two candidates.

In by-district elections, residents can only vote for one candidate to represent the district they live in. Candidates have to live in the district they seek to represent.

Officials in Brea and Cypress, as well as some residents, have argued against by-district elections because they say it strips them of their ability to vote for candidates running for each seat up for grabs in an election.

In Irvine, one of the bigger cities in the county, officials have also faced similar allegations of violating the state voting rights act and have been threatened with a lawsuit. Last week, they also opted not to change their system.

In cases where California courts have ruled on election lawsuits, judges routinely ruled at-large voting systems violate the state’s voting rights act.

Shenkman said chances of winning for the cities that do go to court are very slim.

“Just look at the results of every other CVRA case ever filed,” he said. “I bet every one of them that got sued wishes they had just made the change.”

Many cities have opted to comply with his demands rather than go to court.

Irvine Opts Not to Switch to District Elections

Irvine City Council meeting on June 22, 2021. Credit: JULIE LEOPO, Voice of OC

At their public meeting last week, Irvine City Council members narrowly rejected switching to district elections.

While Shenkman also sent a letter to Irvine last year telling them to switch to district elections or be sued, he said he hasn’t filed a lawsuit yet, and the city council appears split on whether or not they’ll make the leap. 

Shenkman argues the shift is needed to avoid racially polarized voting in the city, the city council has argued that the city’s too integrated for that to do anything, pointing to the fact that three of the five serving council members are people of color. 

[Read: Irvine Voters Might Get Choice To Expand City Council, Switch to District Elections]

However, some have argued it would work well for Irvine because of the city’s layout in “villages,” professionally planned neighborhoods that dominate the city’s housing development. 

Councilman Larry Agran tried to introduce a measure at the council’s meeting last Tuesday to both implement district voting and increase the council’s size from five to seven members, arguing it would increase representation for neighborhoods across the city. 

“District elections are not just about matters of race, they’re about matters of better representation,” Agran said. “We’re the largest city in the state of California without district elections … we will definitely have district elections, whether it’s by court order or a vote of the people.” 

Ultimately, the council voted 2-3 on moving forward with district elections, with Councilmembers Mike Carroll, Anthony Kuo and Tammy Kim against it, while Agran and Mayor Farrah Khan voted in favor. 

Agran then tried to vote on just placing a ballot initiative to increase the council’s size from 5 to 7 without district elections, but that failed to pick up support from any of his colleagues. 

Kim asked to make a subcommittee of two council members to study the issue and potentially put it on the ballot in 2024, but no one else signed on. 

Cypress Sued Twice

Cypress City Council members decided to push back on Shenkman after he threatened legal action against them.

So Shenkman, on behalf of his clients – Cypress residents Katie Shapiro and Malini Nagpal as well as the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project – made good on his threat and filed the lawsuit last month.

[Read: Cypress Sued For Violating Voting Rights Act After Refusing District Elections]

On Friday afternoon, city council members held a special meeting where they voted 4-1 to create an ad hoc subcommittee made up of Mayor Paulo Morales and Councilwoman Anne Hertz-Mallari to advise Gallante and City Manager Peter Grant on the lawsuit.

They also authorized Grant to retain special legal counsel over the case.

Councilwoman Frances Marquez was the dissenting vote Friday and said she has concerns about being left out of the discussion.

“I wanted the city to do the right thing and go to district elections and I don’t think it’s a good idea to have an ad hoc committee. I think all of us should know what is happening,” she said. “I think it’s really important that you have people with diverse opinions on the committee.”

Marquez was the only council member who voted against rejecting Shenkman’s letter and has publicly accused her colleagues of not wanting to switch elections because they’re worried they’d be put in the same districts.

Her colleagues censured her in June for allegedly violating the state’s public records act, a couple of city policies and codes, as well as for disclosing closed session information.

Cypress Civic Center on April 17, 2022. Credit: AYDA TUNCAY, Voice of OC

Shenkman said the council members have a fiduciary duty to their city.

“It is not appropriate to spend millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to gain some perceived political advantage for themselves,” he said.

“Be grownups. Do the right thing for your city.”

Morales did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit comes months after a majority of council members voted behind closed doors in March to reject a similar letter Shenkman sent them accusing the city of violating the state’s Voting Rights Act by allegedly disenfranchising Asian American voters.

Cypress City Attorney Fred Galante – in a response letter to Shenkman – has argued that no areas in the city have a high concentration of minorities under the state’s voting rights act.

“​​It would be impossible to show that districts would enhance the ability of any protected class to elect candidates of its choice or influence election outcomes. To the contrary, splitting up the votes of those protected classes would have the effect of preventing them from voting as a larger class to elect a candidate of their choice,” Galante wrote.

The March decision landed Cypress officials in more than one lawsuit.

Californians Aware (CalAware), a prominent First Amendment and transparency group, filed a lawsuit against the city in May over the closed door vote – accusing city officials of violating the Brown Act, the state’s government open meeting law.

[Read: Cypress Officials Face Lawsuit For Allegedly Violating State’s Open Meeting Law]

Could Brea Be Sued Next?

Shenkman told Voice of OC he has warned Brea officials that they will be sued next, but didn’t say when the lawsuit would be filed against the city.

Brea City Council members received a letter from Shenkman in 2019 accusing them of violating the state’s voting rights act by disenfranchising Asian and Latino voters and demanding the city switch to district election.

Under threat of a lawsuit, the city ended up entering an agreement with Shenkman to consider a switch following the 2020 U.S. Census results to avoid the costs of having to go through the process twice because of the changes in census data.

But council members ended up stopping their switch to district elections less than two weeks before the deadline to submit their new voting map to Orange County Registrar of Voters earlier this year.

[Read: Will Brea’s Century-Old Election System Be Nixed? Residents Fight Switch to District Voting]

Photo of Brea city civic and cultural center, on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Credit: DEVON JAMES, VOICE OF OC

They backed out of district elections amidst resident pushback on the transition and after being sued by two residents over the switch – something not seen before in an OC city considering a switch to districts.

The lawsuit against Brea was filed by two former city council candidates, Richard Rios and Michael Kim, who argued the switch to district elections would cause the exact problems that the state’s Voting Rights Act was intended to solve.

Shenkman had used both Kim and Rios’ failed campaigns in his letter as examples of disenfranchisement by the at-large election system in Brea.

One Brea resident, Dwight Manley, cut the city a check for $100,000 during a council meeting to help pay for legal fees if the city declines to transition to district elections and gets sued.

[Read: Could Two of OC’s Smaller Cities Buck California’s Trend Toward District Elections?]

Mayor Cecilia Hupp refused to comment for this story when reached by phone on Thursday and deferred to City Manager Bill Gallardo.

Gallardo also declined to comment.

How Will Districts Work in One of OC’s Smallest City?

La Palma officials received a letter from Shenkman in March alleging that the city was disenfranchising Latinos and demanding that the city transition from at-large elections into district elections.

About a month after they received the letter, La Palma City Council members unanimously decided at a special meeting to comply with Shenkman’s demands.

Now La Palma – a city with an area of 1.8 square miles and significantly smaller than the size of districts in Anaheim – plans to move to district elections by 2024.

At their meeting on Tuesday, city council members will hold their fourth public hearing on mapping out the districts.

La Palma Civic Center. Credit: JESSICA RUIZ, Voice of OC

Anaheim was forced to switch to district elections after settling a lawsuit in 2014 from the American Civil Liberties Union that alleged at-large voting was disenfranchising Latino voters

The legal battle cost Anaheim taxpayers more than $1 million. 

“Anaheim was the largest city at the time who didn’t have district elections,” said Mike Moodian, local politics expert and Chapman University professor, in an interview earlier this year. “There was an outcry from residents who felt they didn’t have representation on the city council.” 

Before Anaheim switched to district elections, its city council members were all white and none lived in a Latino neighborhood.

Other cities in Orange County faced with similar legal threats and lawsuits have also made the switch like Garden Grove, San Juan Capistrano, Fullerton, Orange and Santa Ana.

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.


Start each day informed with our free email newsletter. Be alerted when news breaks with our free text messages.

And since you’ve made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Voice of OC is Orange County's nonprofit newsroom. We rely on donations from people like you to sustain our news agency. Please make a contribution today:

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63 days ago
Orange County, California
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‘Local control’ really just means ‘get off my lawn’


SACRAMENTO – A bipartisan coalition of Not In My Back Yarders (NIMBYs) remains aghast at two of the most significant and praiseworthy new laws that California has approved in years. They are gathering signatures to qualify a statewide initiative that would overturn Senate Bills 9 and 10, which jump-start housing construction throughout the state.

SB 9 allows property owners to build two units in neighborhoods now zoned for single-family homes. It also allows lot splits that potentially allow four units where one house now exists. Few owners will take advantage of the rules, but it will mean – clutch your pearls time – some homeowners will have stylish new duplexes on their blocks.

SB 10 streamlines approval of 10-unit properties, such as small condominium projects near transit lines or on underutilized infill lots. Currently, local governments restrict duplexes and make it extremely difficult for developers to create condo developments thanks to the usual litany of state and local environmental and anti-growth regulations.

Opponents’ hypocrisy is rich. These “get off my lawn” conservatives claim to be upholding the principle of local control by arguing that local government officials rather than bureaucrats in far-off Sacramento get to make development decisions. It sounds good in theory given the Jeffersonian concept that the government closest to the people governs best.

The better quotation, actually used by Henry David Thoreau but often misattributed to Thomas Jefferson, is, “That government is best which governs the least.” The goal – for those of us who value freedom – isn’t to allow the right government functionary to control us, but to have less government control overall.

Local officials are easier to kick out of office than officials in Sacramento or Washington, D.C., but the locals can be extremely abusive. They know where we live, after all. I’ve reported extensively on California’s defunct redevelopment agencies, and local tyrants would routinely abuse eminent domain under the guise of local control.

“Under SB 9, cities are required to approve these lot splits ‘ministerially,’ without any reviews, hearings, conditions, fees or environmental impact reports,” complains my Southern California News Group colleague, Susan Shelley. Oh please.

Conservatives have for decades complained about the subjective nature of bureaucratic and public reviews, the evils of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and excessive fees. Now there’s a law that fixes that, albeit in a limited manner, and they are grabbing their pitchforks.

SB 9 and 10 do not put Sacramento bureaucrats in charge of the locals. Instead, they deregulate certain development decisions, by requiring officials to approve a project “by right” provided it meets all the normal regulations. It eliminates subjectivity and defangs CEQA. Yet this greatly upsets them.

Conservatives are savvy enough to know the distinction between state laws that roll back government power and ones that exert government power. (That’s why they often support pre-emption laws.) SB 9 and 10 do the former. This “local control” mantra is a way to sound principled when their transparent guiding principle is simply: Not in my neighborhood, you don’t.

Local control is the principle when given the choice between, say, a regulatory edict from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and or one from the South Coast Air Quality Management District or a homeless program from Sacramento rather than City Hall. Conservatives’ guiding principle should always be less government control, not more.

If conservatives seriously believe local control is the trump card, then they should lobby for the repeal of Proposition 13, which is a state-imposed restriction on local governments’ authority to raise property taxes. I find Prop. 13 to be one of the best laws ever passed in this state. They should also oppose Republican efforts at the federal level to limit the ability of blue states to regulate the heck out of us.

Zoning laws are a creation of government regulation. Note how in older neighborhoods one finds a mish mash of single-family homes, churches, apartments and local stores. These often are among the most enticing neighborhoods, as anyone would attest who spends time in Old Town Orange or Pasadena.

There’s nothing wrong with tract-house communities, but they didn’t evolve naturally. Following World War II, the government decided to segregate single-family homes in one area, apartments in another and shopping centers elsewhere. These new laws won’t obliterate that historically unusual design, but they will loosen it up – not by edict, but by giving property owners more freedom.

As funny as it is to see conservatives upset at restrictions on CEQA and an expansion of property rights, it’s even funnier to hear NIMBY liberals whine about the new laws. Even liberal cities are finding all sorts of half-baked reasons to impede these laws’ implementation. They are for more affordable housing and diversity, but not around them.

Let’s at least dispense with the idea that the opposition to SB 9 and 10 involves any principle beyond this one: Not In My Back Yard.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute and a member of the Southern California News Group editorial board. Write to him at

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80 days ago
Orange County, California
82 days ago
Los Angeles, CA
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Orange County Grand Jury Questions Sending Firetrucks to Medical Calls

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Fire departments throughout Orange County are facing questions from the OC Grand Jury on why they routinely send out fire trucks when there aren’t any fires since a majority of 911 calls are for medical emergencies.

In a report titled “WHERE’S THE FIRE? Stop Sending Fire Trucks to Medical Calls,” released last month, grand jurors pointed out that while fire trucks are sent out on nearly all emergency calls, almost 80% of 911 calls in Orange County are for medical assistance, not fires. 

It’s a statistic that Placentia city officials realized years ago, which was the basis of them forming their own fire department with a completely different response model than fire agencies throughout OC.

To read the OC Grand Jury report, click here

Most of the report revolved around the OC Fire Authority’s handling of emergency medical services, since it services the majority of Orange County cities. 

According to the grand jury report, last year, nearly 75% of the agency’s emergency calls were for medical alerts, while 1.7% were fire calls. 

The remaining calls were labeled “other,” including problems such as “persons in distress, smoke, odor problems, hazardous conditions,” and others. 

The agency dispatches a team of at least six personnel across a fire truck and an ambulance “regardless of the classification of the medical emergency,” a decision the grand jury criticized. 

“Because over 75 percent of all fire dispatch calls are for medical emergencies, dispatching … response with a truck or engine to every medical call does not make sense and results in a consistent over-deployment of equipment and personnel,” grand jurors wrote.  

Fire authority spokesman Matt Olson said that while they’d received the report and “appreciate the work that went into it,” the agency declined to comment until it had a chance to conduct a “thorough review of the report and its recommendations.” 

Since a majority of fire department calls are for medical emergencies, Placentia became the first city in the county to break away from the Orange County Fire Authority and create its own fire department in 2019. 

Spearheaded by City Manager Damien Arrula, Placentia’s response model takes the advanced-life-saving paramedic off the firetrucks and puts them on ambulances since an overwhelming majority of their calls are for medical emergencies.

[Read: Placentia Fire Department to Take Reins From OC Fire Authority After Year-Long Battle]

Placentia City Council members and city officials faced considerable pushback from various firefighter unions and the fire authority during their switch, which is expected to save the city millions of dollars by the end of the decade, according to city projections.

[Read: Placentia Alleges OC Fire Authority Misconduct After City Leaves Agency]

The high volume of medical deployments come as the OCFA has struggled with “firefighter fatigue,” reporting that “the volume of vacant shifts is substantially exceeding the overtime our firefighters wish to work.” 

The grand jury pointed out that not sending out those fire trucks to every stop could help reduce the strain on the understaffed department, “leading to a reduction in work time and stress for on-duty firefighters.” 

Meanwhile, the report praises the work of the Placentia Fire Department.

They also implemented a new response system that functions differently than any other in Orange County: when a 911 call comes in, the police department dispatcher determines if police, fire, or an ambulance are needed and just dispatches the required units. 

The report referenced preliminary data released by Placentia pointing out how just sending out ambulances has cut four minutes off the response time for first responders and cut costs for the city. 

“Placentia should receive credit for attempting (and in many ways delivering) a new and better approach to EMS,” the jurors stated. 

In a statement, Placentia Fire Chief Jason Dobine said their system has helped speed up response times and increased coordination between the police and fire departments. 

“Sending the appropriate resources for the appropriate call type should be the goal of any public safety agency,” Dobine wrote. “I am proud of the trajectory that we are on, and I look forward to continued growth as an organization.” 

In their conclusion, the grand jurors recommended that within the next two years every fire agency in Orange County should implement a system that sends a single unit to “incidents triaged as non-life-threatening,” and that the OCFA should use more paramedic vehicles instead of a second fire truck at their fire houses. 

This isn’t the first time the grand jury has made recommendations like these to the OCFA. 

Over a decade ago, an Orange County Grand Jury pointed out the same problem with nearly identical statistics, showcasing how fire trucks were being used where there wasn’t any fire. 

“Of the 180,000 incidents reported in Orange County in 2010 by the various fire departments, approximately 134,000 (76%) were for medical emergencies and 44,000 (24%) were for fires and ‘other,’” the jurors wrote in 2012. 

That report also recommended that local agencies consider changing up their model. 

“The city fire departments and the Orange County Fire Authority should engage independent private consultants to re-evaluate their models for providing response for both fire and medical emergencies,” the jurors recommended. “Suggested alternative models should include forming a unified Emergency Response Department that includes fire and medical response, separating the fire response from the medical response, privatizing the emergency medical response, etc.” 

Local agencies and fire departments have between up to 90 days to respond to the grand jury report on whether or not they agree with the recommendations or if they will implement them. 

Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at or on Twitter @NBiesiada.

Voice of OC is Orange County's nonprofit newsroom. We rely on donations from people like you to sustain our news agency. Please make a contribution today:

Read the whole story
110 days ago
Orange County, California
108 days ago
I hope they end that practice. It's extremely wasteful and unnecessary to send firefighters with fire trucks to respond to medical emergencies that are handled by ambulance crews anyway.
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The community effort that delivered Dapr v1.0


Today we've announced the release of Dapr v1.0. The Distributed Application Runtime (Dapr) is now available as a production ready solution that helps developers build resilient, portable event-driven distributed applications on the cloud and edge.

It has been an incredible journey bringing Dapr from its initial release in October 2019 to production readiness and it could not have been made possible without a passionate, open community of developers from around the world. This is the benefit of open sourcethe hundreds of contributors to Dapr prove that many hands make for light work. Having many developers use Dapr, building applications in different languages and in a wide spectrum of scenarios ensures that Dapr is used and tested thoroughly. This was an important part of delivering Dapr v1.0 and will remain important as Dapr moves forward.

Since the initial announcement of Dapr, we've seen a rapid, steady growth of developers contributing to the project in all areas, and today we have 700 individual contributors to the project. This includes developers from cloud vendors such as Alibaba Cloud, large companies such as HashiCorp, as well as enterprises such as ZEISS who is building business critical systems with Dapr in production. Additionally, smaller startups such as Roadwork have made contributions while using Dapr to gain portability for their cloud native solution and accelerate its development for more agility.

A great example of this kind of contribution is the recent addition of the Dapr PHP SDK. This SDK was contributed by a developer from Automattic who is both passionate about PHP and excited about the possibilities Dapr holds. Contributions go beyond code and come in the form of docs, samples, issues, and guidance to Dapr users like the one provided by New Relic on how Dapr observability can be used with their monitoring tools.

The number of unique contributors across all Dapr repos from October 2019 to today.
The number of unique contributors across all Dapr repos from October 2019 to today.
Number of contributors per Dapr repo. Note that these are unique all-time contributors per repo, and many contributors make contributions to multiple repos.
Number of contributors per Dapr repo. Note that these are unique all-time contributors per repo, and many contributors make contributions to multiple repos.

As illustrated above, contributors have been making an impact in all corners of the Dapr project. Noticeably, the areas that have seen contributions from the greatest number of community members are the core areas of Daprthe Dapr runtime, which includes the code of the Dapr sidecar, the docs, and the components-contrib, the repository holding the code for components.

Having many contributors build new components is especially valuable, as components offer Dapr users the ability to leverage the Dapr API and interface with a wide range of technologies and systems. Having a large number of components available means helping even more developers simplify and accelerate the process of writing distributed applications. More components also means more flexibility in where these applications can be deployed, making code even more portable in multi-cloud or hybrid scenarios.

Today Dapr offers over 70 different components for state management (such as Redis, MySQL, Azure Cosmos DB, and many more), Pub/Sub messaging (such as RabbitMQ, AWS SNS/SQS, Kafka and more), secret stores (such as Kubernetes secret store, Azure Key Vault, HahiCorp Vault, and more) and both input and output bindings to integrate with services such as SendGrid, Azure Events Hub, and more.

Building an inclusive, open community has always been a high priority for the Dapr project. Last September, we shared the open governance model Dapr follows. We are committed to keeping Dapr vendor-neutral and welcoming to all developers and community members. To this end, we have begun evaluating open-source software foundations for Dapr's home in the future.

We invite you to try Dapr yourself and join the community. We believe that Dapr can help you build distributed applications more easily and we are always looking for more developers to provide feedback, open issues, and help us define the future of Dapr.

Learn more about Dapr

Join the Dapr community

The post The community effort that delivered Dapr v1.0 appeared first on Open Source Blog.

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