Empty shelves of toilet paper and paper towels at Safeway in the Fillmore neighborhood of San Francisco on March 13, 2020. On Thursday Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning events of more than 250 people amid coronavirus concerns. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
Newsom said there are 13 response teams working to get the state’s 108,000 homeless people out of encampments and into temporary housing.
He also announced a new web “portal” to answer questions for those with mild symptoms and guide them to testing if necessary. Starting today, a questionnaire on Project Baseline will prioritize who needs testing and, as a pilot expected to spread statewide, connect them to Bay Area testing sites.
The Grand Princess cruise ship left the Port of Oakland Sunday night to anchor in San Francisco Bay for two weeks with quarantined crew members and international passengers. // The Mercury News
The Bottom Line: As of 10:30 p.m. Sunday, there were 335 Californians who have tested positive for coronavirus and six people who died from the virus in California, according to the state Department of Public Health.
Other stories you should know
1. Swing-seat Republicans caught between a rock and a hard place
For the first time since California introduced its statewide top-two primary in 2012, it appears an incumbent state legislator vying for re-election will not reach the general election. Tyler Diep, a moderate Republican Assemblyman from a swing district in Orange County, is likely to finish third behind a more conservative Republican and a Democrat. CalMatters political reporter Ben Christopher explains that the message to GOP candidates is “stray from the hard party line at [your] peril.” Yet Republicans in swing districts also have to appeal to California’s increasingly Democratic electorate. In two state Senate districts neighboring Diep, more than half of the primary votes went to Democrats, an ominous sign for the incumbent Republicans.
2. Could a vacancy tax help solve California’s housing crisis?
State Sen. Nancy Skinner of Berkeley thinks so. Her recently introduced legislation would tax corporate-owned properties left vacant for more than 90 days and allow local governments to turn them into affordable housing — a proposal sure to anger property-rights defenders. Many questions remain about Skinner’s bill, including the number of corporate-owned vacant properties in California, how much tax revenue it would raise, and how many people could live in the homes. CalMatters’ Jakob Lazarro takes a look at Vancouver’s vacancy tax to see how it could play out in California.
3. Half of California is now in drought
The snowstorm that hit the Sierra Nevadas this weekend wasn’t enough — nearly half of California is in drought, up from 34% a week ago, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Scientists are concerned this predicts a summer with high fire danger and a potential drought crisis. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, the source of one-third of California’s water, was at 38% of its historical average on Wednesday, compared with 92% on Jan. 1.
CalMatters columnist Dan Walters:Jerry Brown wanted to close the achievement gap by giving school districts more money to help high-risk students. But in Los Angeles high schools, it doesn’t seem to have had much effect.