Good morning, California.

“The aim … was to show that the problem isn’t just school shootings. It’s every day. It’s constant.”Palisades Charter High School senior Joe Meyerson, as told to the L.A. Times’ Steve Lopez.

Meyerson led a dozen Pali journalism students who contributed 70 obituaries to a national project documenting nearly 1,200 Americans 18 and younger who were victims of gun violence in a single year.

Money for security at houses of worship

Gov. Gavin Newsom announces $15 million to enhance security at nonprofit facilities.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced he would earmark $15 million in the 2019-20 budget to provide grants to enhance security at nonprofits, including synagogues, mosques, private schools, LGBTQ centers and health care providers.

  • Money could be used to reinforce doors and gates, improve lighting and alarms, and hire security guards who could be armed.
  • The announcement came on Holocaust Remembrance Day, and as a funeral was held for Lori Kaye, the worshiper who was gunned down at Chabad of Poway on Saturday.

Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, an Encino Democrat who co-chairs the Legislative Jewish Caucus, is pushing Assembly Bill 1548 to boost funding for security at synagogues, mosques and other potential targets.

At a news conference, Newsom, flanked by Gabriel and other legislators, said guards to be funded by the grants could be armed.

Newsom: “I think we should provide that flexibility to those mosques, synagogues, to those that understand the threats in a more localized manner. To the extent that is an armed security personnel, that’s trained, I think that is among many of the appropriate uses.”

  • Gabriel’s bill contains no description of training requirements for guards.
  • Separately, legislators are grappling with legislation that would impose greater restrictions on police officers’ use of deadly force.

Money matters: Newsom said he would add the $15 million to his revised budget proposal in May. It’s dust in a $200 billion-plus budget but a big increase from the $500,000 in the current budget, signed last year by his predecessor, Jerry Brown.


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Newsom returns to mental health theme

Gov. Gavin Newsom vows to increase funding on mental health care.

No recent governor has spent more time than Gov. Gavin Newsom talking about the need for improved mental health care. On Monday, Newsom said he is on the verge of announcing his mental health czar.

Newsom also promised Monday that his revised budget, to be released in May, will increase funding for mental health care, with a focus on early intervention.

Newsom: “We believe in treating brain health earlier before we punish later. That is the paradigm on which our plan is built.”

The governor would not attribute the shooting Saturday at Chabad of Poway to mental illness:

“That is not my quick excuse for any time there is an act of violence. I think that is often a lazy response, though it certainly begs the question of what possibility is in the mind or imagination of a young person that would conceive what they’re doing is appropriate.”


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UC physicians fear restrictions

UC San Francisco Medical Center might expand its treatment space.

 UC San Francisco Medical Center has become the focus of a debate over whether public hospitals should expand treatment space by joining forces with Dignity Health, a Catholic-run health care provider that restricts abortion and other services, Kaiser Health News reports.

  • Services Dignity won’t provide: in vitro fertilization, abortion and physician-assisted death. A majority of Dignity’s hospitals prohibit contraception services and gender-confirming care for transgender people.

UCSF and Dignity would remain independent. UC doctors with practicing privileges at Dignity would be free to:

  • Discuss all treatment options with patients and refer them.
  • Perform such procedures at UC’s hospital and outpatient clinics.
  • But UC physicians would have to abide by Dignity’s care restrictions while practicing at Dignity hospitals.

Kaiser: “For opponents of the plan, the issue boils down to a clear-cut principle: How can a public hospital that has been a leader in women’s health care and medical services for the gay and transgender community partner with a private system that not only denies such services but also casts them as immoral?”

The UCSF administration said a formal affiliation is necessary to expand services and increase revenue at a hospital that turns away 800 patients a year. Dignity would benefit from the inflow of patients at hospitals that often operate under capacity.

  • If it’s approved at UCSF, expect similar arrangements at other UC medical centers.

Focusing on eyeglasses

Willie Posey, 79, still wears his old glasses.

About 2 million adult Medi-Cal recipients must make do without eyeglasses or use old ones because lawmakers cut funding to help low-income Californians see a decade ago, CALmatters’ Elizabeth Aguilera writes.

  • History lesson: In the budget crisis of 2009, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democratic-controlled Legislature cut an array of so-called option Medi-Cal benefits, including dental care, acupuncture, podiatry, incontinence supplies and speech therapy. Dental benefits and acupuncture have been restored.

Gov. Gavin Newsom didn’t include money to restore the glasses benefit in his budget proposal in January. But he could relent when he issues the revised budget in May. Several legislators are pushing for a restoration.

  • The California Optometric Association estimates about 2 million Medi-Cal recipients would benefit. The total cost for funding the eyewear benefit is about $26 million.
  • Money matters: Optometrists lost a major ally when Sen. Ed Hernandez, an optometrist who chaired the Senate Health Committee, was termed out last year. However, the California Optometric Association remains a significant Capitol player, having donated $371,000 to state politicians in the 2017-18 election cycle.

California is getting old

A silver tsunami is headed to California.

Seniors are the state’s fastest-growing age group, far outpacing growth in children or working-age adults, and California’s impending silver tsunami will impact every facet of life, CALmatters’ California Dream collaboration with public radio stations shows.

Among the findings, drawn from a variety of sources:

  • The typical California senior has income of about $25,000 per year, $10,000 less than the average working-age Californian.
  • Californians turning 65 now can expect to spend about 20 percent of their remaining years with a major disability.
  • The number of seniors who have difficulty caring for themselves will double to more than 1 million by 2030.
  • Women, who are more likely to live into their 80s and 90s, will spend more years with major physical limitations.

Read the full Graying California series by clicking here. Old age clearly is not for the faint of heart. 

Commentary at CALmatters

California can improve its earthquake readiness.

Fiona Ma, California state treasurer: The earthquake authority is able to retrofit about 2,000 homes a year through its Earthquake Brace + Bolt program. SB 254 would allow the authority to increase the number of retrofits to 25,000 per year, an unprecedented commitment to increasing our residential resilience.

Reader reactions, also known as letters: Dan Walters on public banks here and here, and Senate Bill 50, the housing bill.

Please email or call me with tips, suggestions and insights, [email protected], 916.201.6281. Thanks for reading, please tell a friend and sign up here.

See you tomorrow.