In summary

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers to kneel at Capitol. Education officials release school-reopening guidelines. Budget fight over cuts for doctors.

Good morning, California. It’s Tuesday, June 9.

Diverse movement spreads across state

Protesters at a Salinas rally held by the League of United Latin American Citizens for George Floyd on June 1. Photo by Kate Cimini, The Salinas Californian

For the 10th straight day, protests over police brutality against the black community swept California, their unprecedented diversity and scope pushing officials toward reforms that may have otherwise taken years.

More could be announced today, when state lawmakers speak out against racism and kneel in front of the Capitol for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time that a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday banned the state police training agency from teaching the controversial carotid hold. The state Department of Justice is investigating the Vallejo Police Department’s use-of-force policies after years of complaints. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is redirecting money from the city’s police budget into services for communities of color, which San Francisco also plans to do. And some California politicians pledged to reject campaign donations from police unions.

The racially diverse demonstrations have cropped up not only in big cities but also in small towns, affluent suburbs and rural parts of the state. They’ve spurred people who were never before politically active to get involved. And in many cases, they’ve been organized and led by teenagers.

  • Betty Mousavi, a 15-year-old Los Altos resident: “This moment is going to be taught to our kids in 20 years. It’s going to be our Rodney King story. If your kids come up and ask you what did you do during this time and you say nothing, it really shows how you were in your youth.”


The coronavirus bottom line: As of 9 p.m. Monday night, California had 131,319 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,528 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. School reopening guidelines signal drastic changes

Image via iStock

California on Monday released 62 pages of recommendations for schools’ fall reopening, which some education officials have called “absolutely not feasible” due to proposed funding cuts, staff shortages and the general difficulty of requiring children to wear face masks, constantly wash their hands and stay apart from each other, CalMatters’ Ricardo Cano reports. The state guidelines — which school districts aren’t required to follow — suggest implementing staggered sitting on school buses, temperature checks before entering classrooms, portable handwashing stations and constant disinfection. Students would likely have hybrid schedules consisting of both in-person and distance learning and eat lunch at desks spaced 6 feet apart.

  • Pamela Kahn, president of the California School Nurses Organization: “Can you imagine 2,000 kids coming in the morning having to stand there while someone takes their temperature and gives them a questionnaire?”

2. Will program addressing state physician shortage be slashed?

Marc Bernardo, a dentist in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, says not having to worry about repaying off his student debt allows him to serve the area's most vulnerable patients. Photo courtesy of Marc Bernardo
Marc Bernardo, a dentist in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, says not having to worry about repaying his student debt allows him to serve the area’s most vulnerable patients. Photo courtesy of Marc Bernardo

The survival of a state program that aims to address a physician shortage in underserved communities hangs on this week’s budget negotiations between Newsom and the Legislature, CalMatters’ Ana Ibarra reports. The program pays off student debt for doctors and dentists who maintain a certain caseload of patients on Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for the poor — allowing many of these doctors to serve patients they otherwise couldn’t afford to. It would be slashed under Newsom’s proposal unless federal aid comes through, whereas the Legislature’s plan keeps it intact.

  • Assemblyman Jim Wood, a Healdsburg Democrat: “We’re just getting to the point where we were rebuilding this provider network to provide services to people. And now we’re literally going to pull the rug out from under that, and we are going to decimate our provider network.”

3. Californians’ views on single-payer health care amid pandemic

Speaking of health care, 55% of Californians think a single-payer system like Medicare for All would improve the country’s response to disasters and pandemics like COVID-19, according to a recent poll from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. The poll, which was conducted between April 16-20 and surveyed 8,785 registered voters, showed varying levels of support based on party, region, race and age, among other factors.

Some key results, broken down by:

  • Political party: 16% of Republicans think a single-payer system would improve the country’s disaster response, compared with 76% of Democrats.
  • Age: 65% of Californians between 18-25 and 63% between 26-35 support a single-payer system, compared with 50% between 56-65 and 45% over 66.
  • Race: 63% of Asians, blacks and Latinos think a single-payer system would improve the country’s disaster response, compared with 50% of whites and 42% of Native Americans.
  • Region: 62% of voters in the Bay Area and Los Angeles support a single-payer system, compared with roughly 46% to 54% in other regions of the state.
  • Financial situation: 61% of Californians who say COVID-19 poses a major threat to their financial situation support a single-payer system, compared with 44% of those who say it doesn’t.

CalMatters commentary

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a conflict between Newsom and legislators over how to deal with a $54 billion deficit.

Time to end state of emergency: Coronavirus is 10 times less fatal than we first thought. The vast majority who catch it will have mild or no symptoms. Children are largely spared, argue Dr. Rajiv Bhatia of Stanford University and Dr. Jeffrey Klausner of UCLA.

Protect most vulnerable: Budgeting for California has become a solemn exercise. What’s before us today is a statement of our collective values and priorities, argues Assemblyman Jim Frazier, a Fairfield Democrat.

State and federal relief needed: Without it, cities will be forced to cut police officers, firefighters and other essential local government workers and the core services they deliver, writes Carolyn Coleman, executive director of the League of California Cities.

Essential businesses face threat: The Legislature needs to protect them from predatory lawsuits amid the pandemic, argues Kyla Christoffersen Powell, president and CEO of the Civil Justice Association of California.

Midwives always deliver babies in England: It’s preposterous that nurses and midwives can’t practice in California without a doctor’s supervision, writes Valerie Garrison, a resident of Chobham, Surrey, England.

Other things worth your time

Masks from Newsom’s $1 billion deal approved by feds, clearing shipments to begin. // Sacramento Bee

After mass arrests of protesters, Los Angeles law enforcement officials say they won’t seek criminal charges or fines. // Los Angeles Times

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom: Why the pay gap for working moms is a race issue, too. // Time

California has one week to pass a budget. Congress doesn’t plan to help in time — if at all. // Sacramento Bee

California was set to spend more than $1 billion on wildfires — before coronavirus. // NPR

Yosemite set to reopen Thursday — but you’ll need a reservation. // San Francisco Chronicle

Stem cell initiative poised to qualify for California’s November ballot. // Capitol Weekly


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...