In summary

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said California is no longer leading the global flght against climate change, a contrast from Newsom’s stance.

“I don’t at all feel that we are leading the world anymore.”

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon delivered that stark assessment of California’s efforts to combat climate change in a Monday phone call from the United Nations conference in Scotland — turning on its head Gov. Gavin Newsom’s view that California is taking “action that is unprecedented in both nature and scale” by phasing out oil production and the sale of gas-powered cars.

The Lakewood Democrat rattled off examples of other cities and countries outperforming California: Paris is “ahead of us” on dealing with extreme heat, the German state of Baden-Württemberg is “certainly ahead of where we are” on transportation, and there are “various governments in India that have more aggressive goals than we have.”

Indeed, Rendon depicted California as a state that is pursuing outdated solutions to the climate crisis. “This is not a matter of ego,” he told me. “This is a matter of these folks having aggressive goals that are consistent with where we know the climate crisis is. When we developed our goals a couple of years ago … they were adequate for where we thought … climate change was. Things are much worse now than we thought they were.”

In a Monday press conference, California’s state Senate delegation also suggested they were learning more than leading in Glasgow. “This is the homework club,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg. “We’re taking notes and working our hearts out.”

And State Sen. Bob Wieckowski of Fremont suggested that California’s landmark climate strategy — which allows companies to buy and sell pollution credits to meet an annual cap on greenhouse gas emissions — could learn a thing or two from a “better program” in Washington state that requires companies “to make actual reductions” in emissions rather than “allowing people to continue to pollute.”

Learn more about legislators mentioned in this story

Anthony Rendon

Anthony Rendon

State Assembly, District 62 (Lakewood)

Anthony Rendon

State Assembly, District 62 (Lakewood)

How he voted 2021-2022
Liberal Conservative
District 62 Demographics

Voter Registration

Dem 57%
GOP 15%
No party 22%
Campaign Contributions

Asm. Anthony Rendon has taken at least $3.1 million from the Labor sector since he was elected to the legislature. That represents 26% of his total campaign contributions.

Bob Wieckowski

Bob Wieckowski

Former State Senate, District 10 (Fremont)

The elephant (not) in the room was Gov. Gavin Newsom — whose last-minute Scotland cancellation and days-long absence from public events has resulted in tens of thousands of tweets speculating about his whereabouts and his wife telling critics in a since-deleted tweet to “stop hating and get a life.”

On Monday, the Newsom administration for the first time released a public schedule for California officials at the climate change conference — though the governor is not yet listed as a virtual participant and more than half the events have already happened.

Newsom’s office also said the governor would participate in a fireside chat this morning at the California Economic Summit in Monterey to discuss “the state’s ongoing recovery from the pandemic and work to build a more equitable, sustainable and resilient economy.”

It’s Newsom’s first official appearance since Oct. 27, when he received a booster shot of the Moderna vaccine. However, a Monday photo spread in Vogue revealed that Newsom and his wife attended a wedding ceremony in San Francisco over the weekend for Ivy Love Getty, the great-granddaughter of oil billionaire J. Paul Getty whose son Gordon was a close friend of Newsom’s father and an early investor in Newsom’s wine and hospitality company.

Newsom spokesperson Daniel Lopez said the governor did not have an adverse reaction to the booster or cancel any events because of it. He also said that Newsom did not cancel his trip to Scotland to attend the wedding, which was officiated by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

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The coronavirus bottom line: As of Sunday, California had 4,707,178 confirmed cases (+0.4% from previous day) and 71,979 deaths (+0.2% from previous day), according to state data. CalMatters is also tracking coronavirus hospitalizations by county.

California has administered 54,199,459 vaccine doses, and 73.5% of eligible Californians are fully vaccinated.

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1. U.S. borders open to vaxxed travelers

Travelers prepare for a flight to Australia from San Francisco International Airport on April 5, 2020. Photo by Kate Munsch, Reuters

The U.S. on Monday flung open its borders to many fully vaccinated international travelers for the first time since March 2020, allowing families separated by various borders to reunite for the first time in 20 months and spurring hopes of accelerated economic recovery in California’s tourism-dependent cities. Officials representing San Ysidro, a section of San Diego that abuts California’s border with Mexico, said Monday the prolonged border closure resulted in nearly 300 local businesses closing and $1.3 billion in lost sales. And San Francisco International Airport lost more passengers during the pandemic than 50 other major airports across the country, a devastating loss for a city where foreign tourists make up 60% of overnight visitor spending. “The return of international tourists is vital to San Francisco’s economic recovery,” Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Still, challenges remain for airports preparing for an influx of travelers. At Sacramento International Airport, for example, worker shortages have prompted five food and drink concessions to permanently close, while others have closed temporarily or are operating under reduced hours, frustrating hungry travelers and overwhelmed employees alike. The national lack of airport food is “going to be an ongoing problem,” business travel expert Joe Brancatelli told the Sacramento Bee.

2. Schubert launches true crime podcast

Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and Sheriff Scott Jones announced the arrest of a suspect in the Golden State Killer case in Sacramento on April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, right, announced the arrest of a suspect in the Golden State Killer case on April 25, 2018. Photo by Fred Greaves, Reuters

Newsom’s decisive defeat of the recall led many experts to predict a snoozer of a 2022 gubernatorial election that will see him easily cruise to victory. But, with mounting concern over California’s rising crime rates, the race for state attorney general could be more of a nail-biter — and candidates are already ratcheting up their campaigns. On Monday, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert launched a podcast called “Inside the Crime Files,” a project that apparently aims to satisfy people’s zest for true-crime content while also promoting Schubert’s career as a prosecutor. “I put away the Golden State Killer and Second Story Rapist,” Schubert proclaimed on Twitter. “Now, I’m taking you inside crime files.” A serial rapist case solved by Schubert’s office was also the subject of an October episode of Bloodline Detectives titled “Sacrilege in Sacramento.”

Not to be outdone, Attorney General Rob Bonta — whom Newsom nominated for the position in March — has been publishing a slew of press releases highlighting his office’s efforts to crack down on hate crime and push local governments to comply with state housing law. For example, on Monday he urged a federal court to block a proposed New Jersey hospital merger that he said could prevent access to affordable and accessible health care; asked the federal government to protect renters from eviction during the pandemic; and offered a glimpse of the state’s lawsuit against an online for-profit college that allegedly engaged in false advertising and unlawful business practices. Joining Bonta, a Democrat, and Schubert, an independent, as candidates in the 2022 attorney general’s race are Republicans Nathan Hochman and Eric Early.

3. Inside CA’s pandemic tech response

A close-up photograph of the CA Notify website on an iPhone.
CA Notify is a free service provided by the state for digital contract tracing. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters

California leaders often tout the Golden State as the tech capital of the world — but when the pandemic hit, how quickly was it able to roll out websites and apps, and how effectively did they work? CalMatters’ Grace Gedye takes a look at how four key programs performed:

  • MyTurn, the state’s vaccine appointment site.
  • CA Notify, a digital contact tracing tool.
  •, the state’s coronavirus website.
  • Digital vaccine records.

“The state of California and, frankly, every other public health department in the country started this pandemic with having been underfunded for decades, which translated to inadequate trained personnel, inadequate facilities, and, very importantly, inadequate digital tools,” Dr. John Swartzberg, a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, told Grace.

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CalMatters commentary

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: By shunning the jab, unvaccinated Californians are risking not only their own lives but others’.

How California can help unclog its ports: The state must take immediate and bold action to embrace the maritime industry and commit to ongoing, critical investments in the global supply chain, argues Danny Wan, executive director of the Port of Oakland.

Closing the justice gap: We strongly support California’s proposal to license a new group of professionals to help people navigate everyday legal problems, write Utah Supreme Court Justice Constandinos “Deno” Himonas and Arizona Supreme Court Vice Chief Justice Ann Scott Timmer.

Other things worth your time

Kamala Harris heads to Paris to mend fences with an old ally. // Los Angeles Times

How California Senator Alex Padilla is spending his time. // Sacramento Bee

A California judge takes his mental health struggles public. // California Healthline

Thousands protest COVID-19 vaccination mandates for restaurants and other businesses. // Los Angeles Times

San Jose vaccine mandate: Only six employees face unpaid leave. // Mercury News

OC Board of Education opposes nationwide federal probe of threats against school officials. // Voice of OC

As Ds and Fs soar, schools ditch typical grading systems. // Los Angeles Times

‘This is the new reality’: Popular Santa Rosa creperie closes due to lack of staff. // Sonoma Magazine

The cool San Francisco office no longer matters for hiring. So what does? // San Francisco Chronicle

Number of tents in Sacramento homeless camps has doubled. // Sacramento Bee

Murder charges await California fentanyl dealers whose merchandise kills. // Mercury News

Catalytic converter thefts rampant in Bay Area. // SFGATE

Couple gives birth to wrong baby in ‘nightmare’ California IVF mix-up. // Los Angeles Times

Data shows Fresno Fire has a backlog of nearly 5,000 inspections. // Fresno Bee

U.S. Forest Service struggles to complete prescribed burns in California. // Los Angeles Times

What it’s like to fight a megafire. // New Yorker

Meet the ‘village’ of volunteers who helped make the Los Angeles Marathon’s return possible. // Daily News

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...