Newsom tells protesters that change is coming. Schools look for guidance, money to help with reopening. Protests shut down COVID-19 testing sites.
Good morning, California. It’s Tuesday, June 2.
Gov to protesters: “You’ve lost patience, so have I.”
As protests over the death of George Floyd continued to grip California Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom put a lot of political capital on the line, promising to fulfill “our unique responsibility to the black community” and hinting at ambitious proposals and policies to come.
The big question: How does Newsom, a fan of setting “big hairy audacious goals,” plan to follow through?
- Newsom on Monday: “I recognize foundationally and fundamentally that so often people in my position are inadequate to the moment. So often we try to meet the moment with rhetoric. We feign resolve. … I could put together a group of advisers, put together a task force, I could promise and promote a few pieces of legislation. But program-passing is not problem-solving. You’ve got to change hearts, minds. You’ve got to change culture, not just laws.”
Throughout the speech, the governor reiterated his “responsibility to prove, … not just to assert, that we’re capable of being more and doing better.”
- Newsom: “The black community is not responsible for what’s happening in this country right now. We are. We are. … And so for those of you that are out there protesting, I want you to know that you matter. And I want you to know I care. We care. I don’t want to just demonstrate that rhetorically. I want you to know that I have a unique responsibility to prove that to you. You’ve lost patience, so have I. You are right to feel wronged. You’re right to feel the way you are feeling.”
At the same time, Newsom denounced those who are “exploiting the moment” with looting, arson, vandalism and violence, adding that many are part of “well-defined” extremist groups coming from outside the community.
Also Monday, more California cities instituted curfews — some starting as early as 1 p.m., others at 7 or 8 p.m. — with the National Guard deployed to help overwhelmed police in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Monica.
Newsom said he won’t send the National Guard into cities without local support because “that’s a recipe for more problems.”
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump threatened Monday to send the U.S. military to states that don’t “deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets … and the violence has been quelled.”
The coronavirus bottom line: As of 9 p.m. Monday night, California had 110,583 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,043 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. Schools desperate for guidance, money as fall semester approaches
As California schools frantically plan for the fall semester, they’re desperate for more state guidelines and money to help them reopen safely, CalMatters’ Ricardo Cano reports. Just a few of the issues they’re grappling with: balancing in-person and online instruction to meet physical-distancing requirements amid 10% cuts to their main funding source. Developing game plans if a teacher or student tests positive for coronavirus. Procuring enough hand sanitizer, gloves and masks. Bridging a digital divide in which more than 600,000 students lack access to a computer. They’d also like the state to set standards for distance learning, which is likely to be a part of most students’ schooling for the near future.
- Another risk schools may face: potential outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and other infectious diseases, with child vaccinations down 40% in California compared with last April, CalMatters’ Rebecca Sohn reports. California’s newest vaccine law, which aims to detect fraudulent medical exemptions, doesn’t take effect until January 2021.
2. Some drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites close amid statewide protests
Dozens of California’s public drive-through COVID-19 testing sites have shut down amid statewide protests, even as experts say protests will likely exacerbate the virus’s spread. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday that all COVID-19 testing sites within the city would close until further notice. Eight sites in Long Beach also were closed until further notice.
Three state-funded testing sites, which conduct about 130 tests daily, are also closed, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Check this interactive map to see where COVID-19 testing might be available in your region.
3. Corporate tax cuts cost CA billions, report finds
California’s state budget would have seen $11.2 billion more in revenue in 2017 had corporations paid the same share of their income in taxes as they did in 1981, according to a recent report from the California Budget & Policy Center. The report, released soon after Newsom unveiled a slimmed-down budget proposal to account for a $54 billion deficit, also found that the state spends significantly more on corporate tax breaks than it does on tax credits for low-income Californians.
- The report: “By reducing spending on corporate tax breaks, the state would have more resources available to support families with low incomes who are struggling to afford the costs of living in California, COVID-19 crisis or not.”
But “we have to take a step back a little bit and say, first of all, do we need additional revenue in California at all?” Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, told me. He added that California already has high tax rates for income, sales, corporations and gas.
- Coupal: “Most of California’s fiscal woes relate to overspending, mismanagement, waste, fraud and abuse.”
CalMatters virtual events
Thursday at 10 a.m.: CalMatters and the Milken Institute host “The Future of Work: The Education-to-Employment Pipeline,” a discussion on how community colleges will help create a 21st-century workforce in a post-COVID landscape. Speakers include Eloy Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, state Sen. Connie Levya, a Chino Democrat, and Lance Hastings, president of the California Manufacturing and Technology Association. Register here.
CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: Four decades of government finance decisions created a conflict between the state and five Bay Area counties that Newsom’s budget proposes to settle.
Why affirmative action is necessary: The Legislature should pass ACA 5 to restore affirmative action in higher education, invest in small businesses and eliminate discrimination in government hiring, writes Sally Chen of Chinese for Affirmative Action.
We want a voice: Washington, D.C.-based groups oppose a bill that would give the local community a say in the development of a massive hydro-electric storage facility near Joshua Tree National Park, writes Steve Hernandez, mayor of Coachella.
Certified nurse-midwives deserve the right to practice autonomously: They are constrained by an outdated California law requiring physician supervision to practice, argues Dr. Biftu Mengesha of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
The best way to build affordable rentals: Make them less expensive to build by amending the Davis Bacon Act, which requires prevailing wages, similar to union wages, on federally subsidized housing projects, writes Mark Trabing, a Watsonville resident.
Other things worth your time
Were police too aggressive or not aggressive enough amid protests, looting? // Los Angeles Times
A photo essay of protests across the Bay Area. // San Francisco Chronicle
Newsom’s $1 billion mask deal with BYD could fall through as company misses safety review deadline. // San Francisco Chronicle
Meet seven college students risking their health to keep California’s economy running. // CalMatters College Journalism Network
One-third of California home renters have little or no confidence they can make June rent payments, new Census survey shows. // Sacramento Bee
Under lockdown, Los Angeles experiences record car thefts. // Crosstown LA
Newsom suspends teaching testing requirements for candidates impacted by coronavirus closures. // EdSource
Columnist George Skelton: Newsom should gamble on sports betting to help California’s budget woes. // Los Angeles Times
See you tomorrow.
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