In summary

California economy feels sting from coronavirus. Scott Wiener takes another stab at housing bill. Mayors have different ideas than governor for tackling homelessness.

Good morning, California. It’s Tuesday, March 10.

Coronavirus and the economy

California coronavirus trade Eleni Kounalakis Lenny Mendonca
Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis gives Lenny Mendonca, the governor’s chief economic advisor, a fist bump ahead of a meeting on California’s trade efforts in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Judy Lin for CalMatters)

California’s top economic officials are working to remain calm even as coronavirus takes a toll on the world’s fifth-largest economy, CalMatters’ Judy Lin reports.

The Golden State is experiencing a significant drop in tourism, business travel, and trade and goods shipments, as well as a spate of conference and convention cancellations.

Its tourism economy has been disproportionately impacted by the quarantine of millions of people in China. Last year, California saw 1.8 million Chinese visitors; that number is projected to drop by 28% this year.

But enduring short-term economic losses by canceling large events might be preferable to continuing on with them and risking increased virus transmission.

  • Chris Thornberg of Beacon Economics: “You want people to overreact right now to nip this thing in the bud. If this thing does get out of control and starts to affect the third quarter, then we have deep, deep trouble.”

Other coronavirus updates

  • The Grand Princess, the cruise ship held off California’s coast for the past four days, docked in Oakland on Monday morning. Most of the 2,500 passengers will spend another two weeks in quarantine. // Mercury News
  • UC Berkeley will suspend most in-person classes, becoming the second major California university to transition to online learning because of the coronavirus outbreak. // Los Angeles Times
  • Officials throughout the Bay Area are scrambling for a plan if the virus reaches the homeless population. // San Francisco Chronicle

Stories you need to know

1. Sen. Scott Wiener isn’t done tackling California’s housing crisis

Sen. Scott Wiener listens to testimony during a Senate committee hearing. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)

State Sen. Scott Wiener’s new housing bill is significantly less ambitious than his previous proposal — but it could well be more politically viable, CalMatters housing reporter Matt Levin writes.

Senate Bill 902 would still eliminate single-family-only zoning across the state, which is likely to anger many California homeowners. But the proposal doesn’t force cities to allow apartment buildings near public transit, although they can if they want.

Choice is key here. The San Francisco Democrat’s controversial Senate Bill 50, which died for the third time in January, was assailed by both Democrats and Republicans for not respecting local control over housing decisions.

Does Wiener’s new bill have a real shot at success? Read Levin’s report to find out.

2. Thirteen mayors, one governor and two different visions for homelessness

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti holds up a copy of a progress report from the Big City Mayors, a coalition of mayors from California’s 13 largest cities to combat homelessness, at a press conference at the state capitol on March 9, 2020. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the the Big City Mayors coalition on Monday. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)

The mayors of California’s 13 biggest cities met with Gov. Gavin Newsom in Sacramento on Monday and thanked him for his commitment to tackling homelessness, though they’re not all on the same page about what to do.

Just a coincidence? Also on Monday, the Los Angeles Alliance for Human Rights sued the city and county of Los Angeles to force the government to provide beds and services to the homeless population.

  • “This approach is consistent with the recommendation of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Homelessness Task Force,” the group said in a statement.

It will be interesting to see Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s response to the lawsuit, given his support for the proposal he’s being sued to put in place.

CalMatters commentary

Does California have enough registered nurses? No one can seem to agree. As political infighting over nurse-training programs continues, CalMatters columnist Dan Walters argues it’s time for independent fact-finding and policymaking.

What do Peruvian sheepherders, dairy workers, janitors and the state of California have in common? They’ve all been helped by California’s Private Attorney General Act, writes Cynthia Rice of California Rural Legal Assistance.

How can seniors be protected from homelessness? Frank J. Mecca, a member of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Regional Council of Homelessness Advisors, has some ideas.

Other things worth your time

California billionaire Tom Steyer on what he learned from running for president // The New York Times

Californians voted in 2018 to end Daylight Savings Time. So why are we still observing it? // The Mercury News

The California coast was struck by seven underwater earthquakes Sunday night and Monday morning. The largest was a magnitude 5.8 and hit near Petrolia. // Newsweek

Some California restaurants have taken coronavirus testing into their own hands by checking customers’ temperature at the door. “Most say, ‘Sure, it’s for our own good,’” restaurant co-owner Kelly Xiao said. // The Orange County Register

See you tomorrow.

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Emily Hoeven wrote the daily WhatMatters newsletter for three years at CalMatters . Her reporting, essays, and opinion columns have been published in San Francisco Weekly, the Deseret News, the San Francisco...