In summary

Newsom’s approval hits record high amid response to coronavirus pandemic. George Floyd protests spread to richer, whiter communities.

Good morning, California. It’s Thursday, June 4.

Newsom approval up; Trump’s stable

Gov. Newsom during a news conference in Sacramento on May 14. Photo by Rich Pedroncelli, AP Photo/Pool

Nearly three months after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state to shelter in place, his approval rating has skyrocketed to a record 65%, even as many Californians say they believe the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.

The findings, from a statewide Public Policy Institute of California survey released late Wednesday, come as health experts warn California to brace for a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks, even though the first is far from over.

Sixty-nine percent of black Californians said the worst is yet to come, compared with 53% of Asians and Latinos and 41% of whites — likely a reflection of the fact that the pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on African Americans. (The survey was completed May 26, one day after the death of George Floyd.)

  • Mark Baldassare, CEO of PPIC: “Californians’ perceptions and experiences with the COVID-19 crisis demonstrate the deep fault lines based on income and race and ethnicity in California today.”

Amid the pandemic, President Donald Trump’s approval ratings have remained at a low but stable 35% in deep-blue California, with positive marks from 83% of Republicans and 41% of independents.

Support for Trump in California’s November election also seems stable. The poll shows him trailing Joe Biden by 24 points; he lost the state to Hillary Clinton by 30 points in 2016.

  • Newsom in a recent interview with California Sunday Magazine: “Our president’s voice, particularly in more conservative parts of this state, is profound. And so, having the (Republican leadership in the state Legislature) know that they can reach out to me … working with the White House — I think all of these matter in California, where 25 counties went for Trump. Twenty-five.”

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The coronavirus bottom line: As of 9 p.m. Wednesday night, California had 115,310 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,127 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. Protests spread to suburbs and richer white communities

A protester kneels in front of police in Walnut Creek on June 1. Photo by Jose Carlos Fajardo, Bay Area News Group

Protests over the death of George Floyd are springing up in California suburbs and wealthy, predominantly white communities — a stark contrast to the 1992 unrest in working-class South Los Angeles following four police officers’ acquittal in the beating of Rodney King, the Los Angeles Times reports. This time, South LA has been largely left untouched and the protests have been largely peaceful, spreading to upscale areas in Beverly Hills, Long Beach, Santa Monica, Hollywood and the Fairfax District, as well as the Bay Area cities of Walnut Creek and Emeryville.

  • Melina Abdullah, a Black Lives Matter leader: “We want to go to places of white affluence so that the pain and outrage that we feel can be put right in their faces.”
  • On Wednesday, LA officials said they plan to cut the city’s police budget by up to $150 million and reinvest that money in communities of color.

2. Changes could be in the works for California police officer training

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the state community college system, wants to review police officers’ training. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

California police officers could see big changes in their training curriculum if Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California’s 115 community colleges, gets his way, CalMatters’ Mikhail Zinshteyn reports. And the changes could have a profound impact: Around 80% of the state’s police officers receive some training at a community college, according to the system. Oakley called Wednesday for a systemwide curriculum review to ensure it reflects the experiences of people of color and challenges racial bias.

  • Oakley: “The death of George Floyd prompted us, me, many of us, to answer the question, ‘What can we do?'” Improving police officer instruction “is certainly one place where we can do something.”

3. New COVID-related disease affecting kids poses challenges for schools, day care

Illustration by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters; elements via iStock

A growing number of children and teens in California and other states are being hospitalized for a rare but serious coronavirus-related disease called multisystem inflammatory syndrome, raising questions as to how and when kids can safely return to school and day care, CalMatters’ Elizabeth Aguilera reports. The syndrome is marked by inflammation throughout the body that can cause coronary aneurysm and toxic shock. Cases have been confirmed in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. None have been fatal. However, the syndrome has caused deaths in New York and Louisiana.

  • Marla Maxfield, a Long Beach resident whose son spent six days in the hospital due to the syndrome: “I’m just very lucky and very blessed that we got there early. It’s like having a newborn again when you have one eye open all the time to make sure they are alive. That’s how I’m going to be now, checking on him throughout the night to make sure he’s OK.”

4. Legislature consolidates power before budget negotiations with Newsom

The Assembly and Senate threw their weight behind a joint budget proposal Wednesday, shoring up their political power as they head into the final stretch of negotiations with Newsom. They expect to reach an agreement with the governor early next week.

Key pieces of Newsom’s May budget proposal that lawmakers rejected: 

  • Slashing $14 billion from schools, health care and safety net programs unless the federal government sends funds by July 1. The Legislature’s proposal assumes federal funding will arrive — and if it doesn’t, limits cuts to $7 billion by drawing on reserves.
  • Maintaining executive power to spend billions of dollars on the coronavirus pandemic. Their plan would involve lawmakers in those spending decisions, at least through Aug. 31.
  • Cutting aid for undocumented immigrants. Lawmakers want to expand Medi-Cal to provide government-funded health care for undocumented seniors and extend a tax credit to undocumented residents with a child under 6. 

Also on Wednesday, a powerful Assembly committee passed a proposed constitutional amendment to reestablish affirmative action in state colleges, universities and agencies and a bill that would create a reparations task force. Both bills now go before the entire Assembly for a vote.

CalMatters virtual events

Today 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 Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, state Sen. Connie Levya, a Chino Democrat, Lance Hastings, president of the California Manufacturing and Technology Association, and Omar Rashad, editor of The Union, the student newspaper at El Camino College. Register here.

CalMatters commentary

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: A newly drafted measure would undercut a constitutional amendment California voters passed four years ago to increase legislative transparency. The measure’s authors should be ashamed of themselves.

Legislature needs to act: The best strategy for the November election is to give counties flexibility and avoid making last-minute changes, write Kammi Foote, the Inyo County Registrar of Voters, and Kim Alexander, president and founder of the California Voter Foundation.

Dreamers have been political pawns for too long: Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, DACA was just one step toward providing a more permanent solution. It’s beyond time to take the next step, argues Joseph Castro, president of CSU Fresno.

Cap-and-trade not broken: Imposing program changes due to one carbon auction will adversely affect energy affordability and increase consumer costs, writes Frank Harris of the California Municipal Utilities Association.

Ninth Circuit Court should hear case: As pediatricians, we hope the children will prevail in their suit against the federal government for its role in causing the climate crisis, argue Dr. Lisa Patel of Stanford University and Dr. Hannah Perrin of UC San Francisco.

Other things worth your time

Newsom orders new in-person voting rules for November election. // Los Angeles Times

When will Newsom release concrete plans to address racism? // Associated Press

San Jose mayor turned down Newsom’s offer to deploy the National Guard there. // Mercury News

Inland Empire protests fueled by past police violence. // Los Angeles Times

Those promised N95 masks still aren’t in California. Newsom weighs his options. // Sacramento Bee

USC will reopen in fall with a mix of in-person and online classes. // Los Angeles Times

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