This week on Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien takes our listening tour to Sacramento for a special show on California. California has the fifth largest economy, is home to Hollywood and Silicon Valley. But the Golden State is also face some serious challenges, including massive wildfires. We travel to the town of Paradise, about ninety miles north of Sacramento, to see how the town is rebuilding six months after it was almost completely destroyed by a wildfire last November.
Plus, former Governor Jerry Brown sits down for a one on one with Soledad O’Brien. Gov. Brown gets honest with Soledad about some of the biggest threats facing California (and the world), the future of high speed rail, and his new life making olive oil at his off the grid ranch in Colusa.
And Californians struggle with some of the highest home prices in the country with a median price that tops half a million dollars. We travel to the Bay Area to find out how people with six figure salaries are struggling to make ends meet.
Just outside of Sacramento is Stockton, California. This river port city is called the Gateway to the Central Valley and for years enjoyed a vibrant economy fueled by its ties to the ag industry. But Stockton has suffered in recent years and had to declare bankruptcy. Now, with funding from private sources, it’s making headlines for a new economic initiative. Stockton is the first city in the country to handout out cash – no strings attached – as part of a universal basic income study.
And finally, no visit to Northern California would be complete without mentioning the iconic giant redwoods. These trees- some of the tallest and largest in the country – can be more than a thousand years old, and now scientists from U.C. Davis are working to map their genetic codes. It’s like “23 and me” but for trees. Researchers hope the information will help them determine which trees are better at resisting droughts and wildfires so they can better protect one of California’s most precious natural treasures.