KEEP TABS ON THE LATEST CALIFORNIA POLICY AND POLITICS NEWS
Good morning, California. It’s Tuesday, June 30.
Are we going back to square one?
With California’s coronavirus trendlines heading in the wrong direction, “more restrictive” orders could soon be necessary, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.
He rattled off a list of statistics: Over the last two weeks, the state’s rate of positive cases went from 4.4% to 5.5%. Hospitalizations shot up by roughly 43%. Intensive care admissions increased by 37%.
And 19 counties — representing 72% of California’s population — are now on the state’s watch list, up from 15 on Sunday. The new additions are Solano, Merced, Orange and Glenn.
- Newsom: “We don’t like the trendline. … And that’s why, unfortunately, we’re using this … dimmer switch to start to pull back on the stay-at-home order.”
The governor on Sunday ordered seven counties to close bars and recommended another eight do the same, just two days after he ordered hard-hit Imperial County to reinstate its stay-at-home order. Other counties have slowed reopening plans or closed bars of their own accord.
Newsom said Monday the state will step up enforcement of his order directing all Californians to wear masks in public places, adding that he is making $2.5 billion in aid for local governments contingent on certification of their enforcement.
His announcements come just days before the Fourth of July weekend, bound to be full of gatherings that could lead to an uptick in virus transmission. Los Angeles officials plan to close beaches for the holiday.
The state’s current surge can be traced back to Memorial Day gatherings, which were followed by graduation parties, Father’s Day celebrations and massive protests over police brutality, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis.
With a number of counties teetering on the edge — Riverside County’s ICU beds are 99% full, and Los Angeles County could run out of hospital beds in the next two weeks — the state is reactivating two alternative care sites to help handle a surge in patients.
- Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer: “While we did anticipate increases in cases as sectors reopened, we did not expect the increases to be this steep this quickly.”
The coronavirus bottom line: As of 9 p.m. Monday night, California had 216,550 confirmed coronavirus cases and 5,936 deaths from the virus, according to a CalMatters tracker.
Also: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline tracking the state’s daily actions. And we’re tracking the state’s coronavirus hospitalizations by county.
Other stories you should know
1. Newsom signs California’s new pandemic-era budget
Newsom signed a $202 billion state budget Monday, largely cementing a deal he reached with lawmakers last week to close a massive deficit prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. The plan slashes funding to courts and universities, cuts pay for state employees by about 10%, and suspends tax breaks for businesses — but shields schools and safety net programs from many of the cuts Newsom had proposed in May.
- Newsom: “Our state has passed a budget that is balanced, responsible and protects public safety and health, education, and services to Californians facing the greatest hardships.”
The governor’s signature means most — but not all — of the work on a 2020-21 budget is complete. Lawmakers are still crafting the section of the budget that deals with the criminal justice system, after the Assembly declined to take action on it Friday. They may continue to tweak the budget after taxes are due on July 15. And major cuts will be averted if the federal government comes through with aid by Oct. 1.
2. California mayors organize around universal basic income
Universal basic income — money sent to people with no strings attached — could soon be coming to some California cities. On Monday, the mayors of Los Angeles, Oakland, Compton and Stockton announced in Time magazine plans to launch UBI pilot programs as part of a coalition called Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, which includes seven mayors from other states. (The mayor of Long Beach has since expressed interest in joining.) The coalition was founded by Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, who last year launched one of the nation’s first UBI pilot programs that was recently renewed through Jan. 2021.
- Tubbs: “I think the pandemic exposed just how fragile the economic underpinnings of our society are. COVID-19 has put us in the midst of another Great Depression which necessitates bold, New Deal-type investments in our people and our social safety net.”
3. How do California parents feel about sending kids back to school?
As the state grapples with a coronavirus surge, 20% of Los Angeles parents said they aren’t ready to send their kids back to school in the fall, while 36% of staff said they oppose returning to campus, according to survey results released Monday by the state’s largest school district. (The district has yet to decide whether schools will reopen at all.) Surveys conducted in other school districts found 25% of Fresno parents, 27% of Long Beach parents and 13% of Elk Grove parents prefer distance learning to in-person instruction.
- Amy Pharis, a Fresno mother: “[My daughter] wants to go back to school, and I want to go back to work, but I’m still cautious to this day. Whatever Fresno Unified comes up with, I’m hoping and trusting that it’ll be in the best interest for everyone. I’m just really torn. I want her to go back, but part of me thinks it won’t be safe.”
CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: Newsom’s erratic messaging has undermined trust, making it even more difficult to effectively manage the pandemic.
Call for comprehensive data: California needs an educational data system that follows students from preschool through college and prioritizes equity of opportunity, argues Samantha Tran of Children Now.
Can’t rely on voluntary agreements: California officials need to come up with new water quality objectives and protections to help restore San Francisco Bay-Delta fisheries, write Jon Rosenfield of San Francisco Baykeeper and Jeanette Howard of the Nature Conservancy.
Other things worth your time
California prisons have emerged as COVID hotspots, though the state spends more annually on inmate health care than other states spend on entire prison systems. // California Healthline
Bay Area contact tracing shows early signs of success. // San Francisco Chronicle
California landlords are suing to stop the state’s eviction moratorium amid pandemic. // Mercury News
How the pandemic is affecting California’s college towns. // New York Times
San Francisco Mayor London Breed was raised in poverty and surrounded by violence. How will she handle police reform? // San Francisco Chronicle
Sacramento City Unified cuts ties with city police. // Sacramento Bee
Why Kamala Harris is pretending she’s not campaigning to be Joe Biden’s running mate. // The Atlantic
This San Joaquin Valley city is appointing a “Millennial Advisory Committee” to stay on top of changing demographics and values. // Manteca Bulletin
See you tomorrow.
Tips, insight or feedback? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow me on Twitter: @emily_hoeven
Subscribe to CalMatters newsletters here.