Senior Master Sergeant Matt Drudge, left, and Capt. Jason Sanchez, both of the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard, look over the Alternative Care Facility set up with cots and medical supply kits at the Fresno Convention Center, Exhibit Hall, Thursday April 9, 2020. The facility was set up in 5 and 1/2 hours by 9 members of the 144th, and 30 of the 146th Air Lift Wing of the Air National Guard from Ventura. Photo by John Walker, The Fresno Bee
One big sign that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak in California is over — at least for now: Nearly all of the alternate care sites set up to handle a projected surge in coronavirus patients have closed or will close in the next few months, the state announced Wednesday.
Many are closing without having treated a high volume of patients, which means the shelter-in-place strategy worked. But it also means quite a lot of taxpayer money was spent on hospital beds that remained mostly empty.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 19: “Let’s not regret. Let’s not dream of regretting, go back and say, ‘Well, you know what, we coulda, woulda, shoulda.’ Not when the data all points to where I think most of us know we’re going.”
1.Newsom’s revised budget cutsover $1 billionfor early childhood programs
Despite his nickname of “Governor Dad,” Newsom’s revised budget proposal contains more than $1 billion in cuts and takeaways for early childhood programs, CalMatters’ Elizabeth Aguilera reports. The budget no longer features Newsom’s ambitious plan to create 20,000 new preschool seats and offer more child care subsidies to low-income working families. And a proposed 10% reduction in the daily rate California would pay providers for subsidized preschool and child care programs has raised concerns that some providers might lower enrollments or shutter altogether.
Steven Barnett of the National Institute for Early Education Research: “It’s the long-term consequences that don’t seem to get taken into account, that children will start school less well-prepared, that our achievement gaps will widen.”
2.Remember all that talk about building more housing? It’s back … and scaled back
California lawmakers vowed that 2020 would be the year the state got serious about building more housing. They took a step toward that goal on Wednesday, when Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins unveiled a series of proposals to make it easier for developers to build housing, including:
Eliminating single-family-only zoning statewide
Allowing developers to build higher and tighter if they reserve more units for low-income housing
Allowing homebuilders to bypass environmental reviews for certain projects, including converting retail spaces (remember those?) to housing
But Atkins admitted that the pandemic had forced her to scale back some housing ambitions, especially funding lower-income housing.
Atkins: “Things have altered, and we had to pivot a bit because the world looks very different today.”
3. Want more data about coronavirus in California? Look no further
CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: California has seen strong population growth for the past 170 years, but new data indicate that we may be reaching our population peak and could begin seeing a drop — and potentially lose a seat in Congress.