Government shutdown: How Southern California is coping (updated)

Angeles National Forest Government Shutdown - 1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Terri Hammer, left, and husband Mario Barreda of Pasadena enjoy a picnic at Angeles National Forest on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Nine national parks in California affected by the government shutdown starting Tuesday, Oct. 1. Hammer and Barreda are camping at the Millard Campground, and haven't been asked to leave because of the shutdown. They hope that will remain the case.

Military Groceries - 5

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Camp Pendleton commissary remains open on Tuesday, in order to sell off perishable goods. But base officials expect it to close by Wednesday. Operations Chief Brian Stirrat of Oceanside shops at the Commissary on Jan. 24, 2013. He saves money when buying in bulk, or needs a lot of monthly groceries.

Angeles National Forest Government Shutdown

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Angeles National Forest in California is affected by the government shutdown starting Tuesday, Oct. 1. A trail near Millard Campground is gated.

Military Groceries - 4

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Camp Pendleton commissary remains open on Tuesday, in order to sell off perishable goods. But base officials expect it to close by Wednesday. Store worker Lolita Garcia waters vegetables every two hours while the sprinklers are repaired on Jan. 24, 2013. The Commissary does not make any profits, they charge a five percent overhead on each product which covers employees' salaries.

Military Groceries - 2

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Camp Pendleton commissary remains open on Tuesday, in order to sell off perishable goods. But base officials expect it to close by Wednesday. Cpl. Kenneth Keiser pushes his sons Braden, 4, and Jayce, 2, while shopping at the Commissary on Jan. 23, 2013. The family does all their shopping at this store.

Military Groceries - 8

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Camp Pendleton commissary remains open on Tuesday, in order to sell off perishable goods. But base officials expect it to close by Wednesday. Federal government subsidies come from the Department of Defense.

joshua tree

Photo: Bruce Day via National Park Service

The government shutdown forces Joshua Tree National Park to close just as its busy season begins.


Local businesses | Economy | Santa Monica plane crash investigation | NASA & Yosemite | Federal Employees | National Parks | Marine Corps | Other Closures

The partial shutdown of the federal government Tuesday will affect Southern California in ways large and small, affecting offices and facilities overseen by federal government agencies, resulting in furloughs of employees, sending ripples through the economy and touching the lives of ordinary people who want to renew a passport or travel to a National Park.

We'll collect some of the stories here. We'd also like you to share with us how the federal shutdown is affecting you: Comment below, send us an email, tweet us @KPCC or discuss it on our Facebook page.

KPCC's Kitty Felde reported details of how federal agencies planned to respond nationally. Air traffic controllers, customs and border patrol agents, and most food inspectors will keep working with pay. But the effects of the national shutdown are already beginning to be felt locally.

RELATED: What does government shutdown mean for you?

Local businesses

Businesses that have contracts with the federal government could be impacted by the shutdown, said Gary Toebben, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

If the shutdown is prolonged, it’s possible businesses might not get paid as promptly, he added. Although most local businesses aren't impacted yet, the situation will get worse if the government shutdown continues through mid-October when the government could reach its debt-ceiling, he said.

“That’s when the rubber will really meet the road,” Toebben said.

Toebben said he hopes the shutdown will end soon.

“This adds uncertainty to doing business and moving forward,” Toebben said. “Business does not like uncertainty.”

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman said it is working to identify programs and operations that could be affected by the government shutdown and the impact on its employees and suppliers. The company is working to "understand what we need to do to continue meeting our commitments and minimizing disruption," said Randy Belote, vice president of strategic communications, in an emailed statement.

Wendy Lee

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Economy

The financial impact of the government shutdown on Southern California really depends on how long it lasts, said Julie Zissimopoulos, associate professor and associate director of USC’s Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics.

The region would be most impacted by the loss in tourism dollars because of the shutdown of the national parks, Zissimopoulos said. But it would also be hurt by a delay in visas processed.

If the shutdown continues for more than a week, Zissimopoulos said it could have a longer negative effect because furloughed federal employees won’t be spending money.

“It really matters how long it lasts, if it goes on for a substantial period of time,” Zissimopoulos said. “These are real dollars and real people being affected.” 

— Wendy Lee

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Santa Monica plane crash investigation

Four bodies were found inside the burned wreckage of a private jet that crashed into a hangar while landing during the weekend, a coroner's official said Tuesday, but the investigation and release of information were very likely to be slowed by the federal government shutdown.

Investigators were to gather all evidence that could not be preserved from the active accident scene and then stop their work, NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said shortly before the shutdown went into effect.

There would be no news conferences or other public communications, Nantel said, as the federal agency focuses solely on identifying major safety issues.

AP

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Happy birthday, NASA and Yosemite

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration celebrates its 55th birthday on Tuesday, the day it was forced to close its doors because of the government shutdown, Discovery News reported.

On the same day, Yosemite National Park observed its 123rd birthday — and was also closed, the Los Angeles Times reported. The occasion was also noted by Google with a new doodle on its home page.

— Patrick Lee

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Federal Employees in California

According to non-seasonal adjusted numbers from the California Employment Development Department:

  • An average of 246,217 people were employed by the federal government in California over the last 12 months.
  • In the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metropolitan Division, the federal government employed an average of 47,342 people over the last 12 months, or about a fifth of the federal workers in the state.
  • In the Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine Metropolitan Division, the federal government employed an average of 11,083 people over the last 12 months.
  • In San Bernardino County, the federal government employed 13,600 as of December 2012, the most recent numbers available. 
  • In Riverside County, the federal government employed 6,800 as of December 2012, the most recent numbers available. 

The EDD said it has enough unemployment insurance administrative funds to continue operating for at least a month.

"A prolonged shutdown would prove problematic," said department spokesman Dan Stephens in an e-mail.

— Christopher Keller and Wendy Lee

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National Parks

For Joshua Tree National Park near Twentynine Palms, the timing couldn't be worse. 

"This is the beginning of our busy season," park spokeswoman Lorna Shuman told KPCC.  "Our busy season is a little bit reversed from most national parks."  

Shuman said during a normal October, the park's visitor centers welcome as many as 7,000 people per day.  But if visitors show up during the shutdown, they won't get in. 

"All of the entrances will be barricaded and gated," Shuman said. "Visitors using overnight lodging or campgrounds will be given 48 hours notice to vacate the campgrounds and find other places."  

Shuman said those campgrounds are usually close to fully booked in advance this time of year, especially on weekends, but if the shutdown continues, Shuman estimates more than 120 campers or camping groups will have to change their weekend plans.   

Of the 107 people who work at Joshua Tree National Park, 92 are now on furlough,  and Shuman said she'll be one of them after Tuesday. The rest are working without pay on essential services like law enforcement, fire prevention, water treatment and keeping native plants in a nursery alive. 

The shutdown also caused the closure of Yellowstone National Park — and forced Orinda, Calif., tourist Olga Tapia to change her plans to stay at a hotel in the park. 

"We made our reservations a long time ago and by Saturday night we knew it could really happen," Tapia said.  "We monitored the Internet and decided to drive there early.  We got into the park for one day." 

"There were some tourists from France, and I was thinking, what a shame: some people came a really long way," Tapia said. "We were waiting for the Old Faithful geyser to blow and it was sort of sputtering, and someone said ‘it’s taking a long time because of the shutdown.’  Everyone laughed.  But most people feel sad.  I wanted to cry."

— Brian Watt

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Marine Corps

Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base will remain open, but officials there are preparing for the furlough of more than 1,000 civilian employees. 

"They’re trying to prioritize so that people who are responsible for protecting lives and property aren't affected," said base spokesman Lt. Ryan Finnegan. 

Camp Pendleton employs about 4,000 civilians, but it is the base of some 40,000 active-duty marines and 30,000 of their family members, Finnegan said.  Active duty military personnel will continue to be paid during the shutdown, under legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Obama late Monday.    

Camp Pendleton is also home to a naval hospital, where thousands of retired veterans receive care.  Finnegan says no furloughs have been scheduled for the hospital.  

Finnegan said the base commissary remains open, in order to sell off perishable goods. Base officials expect it to close by Wednesday.

Location # to be furloughed
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton 1,163
Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton 34
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar 328
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego 360
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma 176
Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow 238
Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command 29 Palms 1,282
Total 3,581

— Brian Watt

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Other Closures

  • Portions of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley— The Air Force One Museum and Reagan Library outdoor grounds remain open, but the rest of the library and museum are closed.
  • Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda — all National Archives locations are closed, though the Richard Nixon Foundation remains open.
  • Offices of Rep. Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) in Orange County and Washington, D.C. — Sanchez notes in an emailed statement: “House Republicans have irresponsibly driven our government to the edge and released the brake, thereby effectively shutting down the federal government...and all constituent services provided by my offices are currently suspended."

— KPCC staff

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This story has been updated.

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