Category Archives: California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Rush to reopen California economy is a mistake

The risk is the kind of second-wave surge that killed thousands in the Bay Area during the 1918 Spanish influenza

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that he will open up book stores, clothing stores, toy stores and florists for curb-side pickup. (By Area News Group File Photo)
By Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, May 5, 2020

This is no time to go back to business as usual.

The intense longing for a return to normalcy in California and other states is understandable. But the rush to reopen businesses is premature and ignores the warnings of health experts and the basic science of the novel coronavirus.

The risk is the kind of second-wave surge that killed thousands in the Bay Area during the 1918 Spanish influenza. Indeed, a draft government report forecasts sharp increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths nationally beginning around May 14.

Yet Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the next stage in reopening California’s economy will take place Friday. The governor said that he will allow book stores, clothing stores, toy stores, florists and other businesses to reopen for curbside pick-up. Associated manufacturers that support those retail stores will also be allowed to resume production. Some counties in more rural areas will be allowed to decide whether to reopen restaurants that have made accommodations for social-distancing dining.

Newsom’s gamble is similar to one Bay Area county health officials made last week in allowing construction projects to resume. It threatens the lives of workers and their families, neighbors and acquaintances. The economy will eventually bounce back. But lost lives can never be recovered.

The governor said the state was ready to move into “Phase 2” of the reopening process because it is on schedule with six different criteria: stability of hospitalizations, personal protective equipment inventory, health care surge capacity, testing capacity, contact tracing capability and public health guidance in place.

But California’s contact tracing capability is almost non-existent. Its testing capacity is at 25,000 tests per day in a state with a population of nearly 40 million people. That is equal to 62.5 tests per 100,000 people. Estimates by Harvard University researchers indicate that the minimum number of tests should be 152 per 100,000 people, meaning California is only doing 41% percent of the minimum.

It is absolutely essential that store owners and manufacturers follow the state’s new orders to ensure employee and customer safety. The failure to do so could result in a surge of hospitalizations, setting California back months in its recovery.

California isn’t the only state risking opening for business too soon. Governors in nearly a dozen states, including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are going well beyond Newsom’s orders.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp opened up movie theaters Monday after allowing hair salons, massage parlors and bowling alleys to resume business last week. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told department stores and retailers that they could start allowing shoppers in their businesses. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee allowed restaurants, retail outlets and gyms to reopen last week. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will allow general offices to open next week, along with retail businesses.

The moves threaten the governors’ credibility and residents’ confidence in their leadership.

In California, the decisions on when to open businesses should be based on science — not hope and a prayer.

COVID-19 – Restaurants may soon apply for funds to provide meals to homebound seniors

[For details see Governor Newsom’s press release on Initiatives to Support Older Californians During COVID-19 Pandemic.  – R.S.]

Plan to feed California seniors during pandemic first of its kind in the nation


KTVU Fox2 News, by Jana Katsuyama, April 25, 2020

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new program Friday that would use state and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding to help restaurants begin cooking and delivering meals to home-bound seniors at risk for COVID-19, but who might not be eligible for home meal deliveries under regular nutrition program guidelines.

The idea is to help seniors and get the struggling restaurant industry back in business and preference would be given to independent restaurants.

“For restaurants to start rehiring people or keep people currently employed and start preparing meals, 3 meals a day 7 days a week and have them delivered to seniors,” said Gov. Newsom.

Home-style meals are take home only at Vic’s Restaurant in Martinez, and Rose Anne Meyers says her family-run business has been struggling.

“Our employees, we have very few at the moment, but the few we do have they need it for their families,” said Meyers.

The state and FEMA funds would pay about $66 a day for three meals.

Restaurant owners like the idea, but say they’d need to read the fine print.

“When you deliver food, there’s additional cost than just the food. You have the delivery, the gas,” said Meyers.

Businesses hungry for details on how to apply, will have to wait though. The state says local jurisdictions will handle the roll-out, with a focus on independent restaurants.

The governor’s announcement caught some counties off guard, however, without guidance from the state on the program details and which restaurants qualify or how they’ll be selected.

“It definitely could help our budget in some of the senior programs that we’ve rolled out. So it all depends on what the Governor has laid out in who qualifies for the program,” said Tim McGallian, Mayor of Concord.

Mayor McGallian already helped launch a meals program for seniors over 60 who don’t qualify for standard nutrition programs. He says the new program could help pick up some of the costs which Concord has been paying.

The public funding however would go to private businesses, whereas the Concord program is keeping the public school districts’ food service workers employed with meal deliveries at a much lower cost using Meals on Wheels.

“On a normal basis, our meals cost about $7 per meal. Right now we have a partnership with Mt. Diablo Unified school district and Concord. Those meals are about 2.50 each,” said Caitlin Sly, Meals on Wheels Diablo Region’s Executive Director.

Sly says there is a huge need and she’s glad the Governor is taking action, but hopes non-profits who have been working to meet demand will get some relief soon too.

“We here at Meals on Wheels Diablo Region have increased our home delivered meals program by over 35% since the onset of this outbreak,” said Sly.

San Francisco’s Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director of the Human Services Department of Disability and Aging Services, says the program could help 40-50,000 seniors in the city who are not eligible for CalFresh or regular home meal programs. Statewide, it could help millions of seniors.

Local officials say keep an eye out for more details in the coming weeks.

They note these are emergency funds tied to the COVID-19 crisis so it likely will only be available while the stay at home orders are in place.

Governor Newsom’s plan to re-open California

Repost of Governor’s press release, gov.ca.gov April 14, 2020


Governor Newsom Outlines Six Critical Indicators the State will Consider Before Modifying the Stay-at-Home Order and Other COVID-19 Interventions

Published: 
Governor’s six key indicators (VIEW HERE).

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today unveiled six key indicators that will guide California’s thinking for when and how to modify the stay-at-home and other orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor noted that the progress in flattening the curve, increased preparedness of our health care delivery system and the effects of other COVID-19 interventions have yielded positive results. However, these actions have also impacted the economy, poverty and overall health care in California. Any consideration of modifying the stay-at-home order must be done using a gradual, science-based and data-driven framework.

“While Californians have stepped up in a big way to flatten the curve and buy us time to prepare to fight the virus, at some point in the future we will need to modify our stay-at-home order,” said Governor Newsom. “As we contemplate reopening parts of our state, we must be guided by science and data, and we must understand that things will look different than before.”

Until we build immunity, our actions will be aligned to achieve the following:

  • Ensure our ability to care for the sick within our hospitals;
  • Prevent infection in people who are at high risk for severe disease;
  • Build the capacity to protect the health and well-being of the public; and
  • Reduce social, emotional and economic disruptions

California’s six indicators for modifying the stay-at-home order are:

  • The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;
  • The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;
  • The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges;
  • The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;
  • The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and
  • The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

The Governor said there is not a precise timeline for modifying the stay-at-home order, but that these six indicators will serve as the framework for making that decision.

He also noted that things will look different as California makes modifications. For example, restaurants will have fewer tables and classrooms will be reconfigured.

For more information on California’s response, visit covid19.ca.gov.

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Trump wants to trash California emission standards – Newsom and Becerra stand strong

[Editor: First hear our California officials on the Youtube video of today’s press conference.  The LA Times story follows.  – RS]


Newsom, Becerra lash out at Trump plan on California emissions standards

Traffic in downtown Los Angeles seen from the 110 Freeway.
Traffic in downtown Los Angeles seen from the 110 Freeway.  (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Times, by Phil Willon, Anna M. Phillips, Sep. 18, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday criticized the Trump administration’s plan to rescind California’s nearly half-century-old authority to impose tough car emissions standards, vowing to take legal action to block the move.

“California will prevail because we’re leaders in this space,” Newsom said.

Newsom’s comments came during a morning news conference with state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols, and California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Jared Blumenfeld.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce plans Thursday morning to overturn a special federal waiver that permits California to set its own strict pollution controls to improve air quality, the foundation of the state’s aggressive efforts to combat climate change.

The EPA originally planned to announce that it would do away with the waiver at an event on Wednesday, while President Trump was visiting Los Angeles. But the announcement was delayed, handing the president an opportunity to deliver the news himself.

In a series of tweets early Wednesday, Trump said that revoking California’s authority to impose emissions standards will help make cars safer and more affordable, an assertion that Newsom has consistently refuted.

“This will lead to more production because of this pricing and safety advantage, and also due to the fact that older, highly polluting cars, will be replaced by new, extremely environmentally friendly cars,” Trump tweeted. “There will be very little difference in emissions between the California Standard and the new U.S. Standard, but the cars will be far safer and much less expensive. Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business.”

In fact, automakers have repeatedly warned the administration that forcing a legal battle with California over car pollution standards could significantly damage their bottom line. If the nation’s auto industry is split in two — with some states following California’s standards and others following weaker federal rules — car makers could find themselves caught in a regulatory nightmare, required to comply with both.

Experts have also raised serious doubts about the administration’s argument that the new policy will make new cars safer. In a study published last year in the journal Science, researchers wrote that the administration’s analysis of its own policy proposal “has fundamental flaws and inconsistencies, is at odds with basic economic theory and empirical studies, [and] is misleading.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s news conference, Newsom responded to the president’s claims on Twitter, calling them “simply inaccurate.”

“Your standards will cost consumers $400 billion,” Newsom said in a tweet. “Result in 320 billion more gallons of oil burned and spewed into our air. And hurt car companies’ ability to compete in a global market. It’s bad for our air. Bad for our health. Bad for our economy.”

The Trump administration’s action threatens to derail California’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade to a level 40% below those recorded in 1990: The primary driver behind that effort is the state’s goal to help ensure more than 1 million zero-emission vehicles and plug-in hybrids are on the road by 2025.

“Our message to those who claim to support states’ rights: Don’t trample on ours,” Becerra said Wednesday.

California’s clash with the Republican president, who is in California to fundraise for his 2020 reelection campaign, comes just over a month after state officials worked to circumvent the Trump administration’s efforts to relax tailpipe pollution regulations by reaching a deal with four major automakers, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW, to gradually strengthen fuel-efficiency standards. Other automakers have expressed interest in joining the pact.

In a tweet, Trump called California’s agreement with automakers “crazy” and the U.S. Department of Justice has launched an antitrust investigation into whether it violated federal competition law.

The voluntary deal between the California Air Resources Board and automakers covers about a third of the new cars and SUVs sold in the U.S. Under the agreement, the four automakers agreed to produce cars that must reach a minimum of about 50 mpg by 2026.

Since Trump’s election in 2016, California’s state officials have filed more than 50 lawsuits over the administration‘s actions on a variety of issues, including more than two dozen challenges to policies proposed by the EPA, the U.S. Department of the Interior and other federal agencies responsible for setting energy and fuel-efficiency standards. In August, California joined a coalition of 21 other states suing to block the Trump administration’s attempt to gut restrictions on coal-burning power plants.