In summary

Newsom unveils action plan to address police brutality. Most of California’s economy on verge of reopening. Small business face tough times.

Good morning, California. It’s Monday, June 8.

Police training, affirmative action and reparations on the agenda

Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his revised 2020-2021 state budget during a news conference in Sacramento on May 14, 2020. Photo by AP Rich Pedroncelli, AP Photo/Pool
Gov. Newsom during a news conference in Sacramento on May 14. Photo by AP Rich Pedroncelli, AP Photo/Pool

Gov. Gavin Newsom has unveiled the beginnings of a game plan to address police brutality against the black community, providing the first glimpse into the ambitious policies he hinted at a week ago today.

The governor on Friday directed California’s police training agency to stop teaching the carotid hold, a controversial move that renders a person unconscious by constricting veins in their neck. (This wasn’t the same technique a Minneapolis police officer used to kill George Floyd.) However, Newsom doesn’t have the power to prohibit local police departments from using the hold, though some have banned it of their own accord.

  • Newsom: “At the end of the day, a carotid hold that literally is designed to stop people’s blood from flowing into their brain, that has no place any longer in 21st-century practices and policing.”

Newsom also announced Friday a police reform task force to help him develop statewide guidelines for police use-of-force during protests, though he suggested last week it will take more than a task force to bring about lasting change.

Lastly, Newsom backed some legislation, including a bill to make carotid holds illegal; a bill to reinstate affirmative action in state colleges, universities and agencies; and a bill to establish a reparations committee.

The governor last week emphasized that “program-passing is not problem-solving” and “you’ve got to change culture, not just laws.” He said something similar in 2019, after signing a landmark law to limit police use of lethal force: “It’s going to take time to change cultures, hearts, minds.”

  • Newsom on Friday: “We passed that bill in August, but it hasn’t stopped the violence. It hasn’t stopped the mistrust.”


The coronavirus bottom line: As of 9 p.m. Sunday night, California had 122,901 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,368 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. Most of CA’s economy could reopen by end of week, state says

California unveiled a path for counties to allow the reopening of gyms, campgrounds, bars, day camps, schools and more as early as June 12. Photo via iStock
California cleared a path for counties to reopen gyms as early as June 12. Photo via iStock

A huge chunk of California’s economy could reopen by the end of the week, according to guidelines the state released Friday for businesses including bars, gyms, hotels, summer camps, bowling alleys, swimming pools, campgrounds, zoos, museums, tribal casinos and professional sporting events without audiences, CalMatters’ Ben Christopher reports. The state also released long-awaited guidance for reopening schools. (Still conspicuously absent: guidelines for reopening nail salons.)

However, it’s ultimately up to local health authorities to decide when they want to reopen “phase 3” businesses. So far, 51 of 58 counties have applied to reopen more quickly, excluding six Bay Area counties and Imperial County. However, some Bay Area counties issued relaxed guidance on Friday. Alameda County, for example, is now permitting “social bubbles,” or gatherings of no more than 12 people from different households.

2. Small businesses struggle with fallout from protests, pandemic

Kyrah Ayers, left, and his wife, Lilliannia Ayers, stand in front of her shop Queen Hippie Gypsy in downtown Oakland. The shop, which opened two years ago, was one of several on their block to be vandalized earlier this week during protests against the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
Kyrah Ayers and his wife, Lilly Ayers, in front of her shop, Queen Hippie Gypsy in downtown Oakland. The shop was vandalized during protests. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

Many California small businesses have been hit by a double whammy: first the pandemic-caused shutdown, then theft, vandalism and arson due to widespread civic unrest. Amid months of losses topped off with property damage and stolen merchandise, it will be a challenge for many of them to get back on their feet, CalMatters’ Ben Christopher and Rebecca Sohn report. A few hours after Zahalea Show-Anderson finished preparing to reopen her dojo in Long Beach, she watched it go up in flames on TV. Now she’s not sure when she will be able to reopen, if at all.

  • Lilly Ayers, owner of Queen Hippie Gypsy in downtown Oakland: “I am a part of this, too. I am hurt. George Floyd did not deserve to go. Yes, black lives matter. But my black business matters, too.”

3. Will CA’s last juvenile fire camp be slashed due to budget cuts?

Antonio Wellington was a ward at Pine Grove Fire Camp from 2015-17 and still serves as a mentor for current inmates. “It’s everything to me,” Wellington said of his experience at the camp. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
Antoinio Wellington, a Pine Grove Fire Camp ward from 2015-17, serves as a mentor for current inmates. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

California’s last juvenile fire camp, where young inmates learn to fight wildfires to reduce their sentences and learn job skills, could close due to Newsom’s proposed budget cuts — raising concerns that juvenile offenders could lose their chance at rehabilitation, CalMatters’ Elizabeth Castillo reports. If the camp closes, the inmates would be handed off to county probation departments — and some could end up in adult jails. Supporters of the fire camp say it provides inmates with valuable skills, firefighting job opportunities and a sense of purpose, while critics argue it puts inmates’ lives at risk while paying them $1 an hour. Many past participants say the camp changed their lives.

  • Antoinio Wellington, a former fire camp ward who is now a wildland firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service: “I think it’s a terrible idea to close the camp down. All it’s going to do is create more incarcerated youth versus more productive members of society.”

CalMatters commentary

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: California can either view the pandemic, recession and civic unrest as opportunities to fix what needs to be fixed, or face the decline that afflicted the Roman Empire and Detroit.

Why Republicans oppose vote-by-mail: As Democrats push for all-mail elections, Republicans are screaming fraud because their party has atrophied, writes Tony Quinn, a consultant involved in CA politics for 50 years.

On Super Tuesday, low Latino, youth turnout: In November, Californians will vote on candidates and issues selected by a voting electorate that doesn’t fully represent them, argues Mindy Romero, director of USC’s California Civic Engagement Engagement Project.

Battery storage systems for those in need: We’re adding millions to a program to support vulnerable residents most likely to be impacted by wildfire and power shut-offs, write Clifford Rechtschaffen and Edward Randolph of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Other things worth your time

Some California progressive politicians turn away campaign cash from police unions. // CalMatters

California wanted to stockpile 10,000 ventilators. Most have yet to arrive. // Sacramento Bee

Most California hospitals have avoided a surge in COVID-19 patients. Some near the border with Mexico have been overwhelmed. // California Healthline

“Mutually repugnant”: Newsom and lawmakers pursue budget compromise. // CalMatters

How a Trump order banning some Chinese graduate students could hurt California universities. // Los Angeles Times

How San Francisco sidestepped a state law on developing toxic sites. // San Francisco Chronicle

Full funds for PG&E fire victims may not be ready for six years, lawyer says. // San Francisco Chronicle


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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...