THE BUZZ — NEWSOM MANDATE: Pandemic schooling is once again the fulcrum of California politics.
Protracted school closures tied to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shutdown orders were a central impetus for the recall, fomenting widespread frustration that led millions of voters to sign recall petitions. Republican recall candidates made schools central to their arguments against Newsom, to the point that former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer launched his run in front of a shuttered San Francisco school. More recently, the prospect of kids returning to classrooms right around the time of a September recall vote seemed to buoy Newsom’s political prospects.
But the Delta surge has shifted the landscape, with the school year’s start coinciding with infected kids flooding into hospitals. So Newsom on Wednesday announced that all California teachers will need to be vaccinated or get tested regularly, conforming the whole state to rules that large urban school districts have already adopted. Newsom touted that as both a way to ensure kids will be back in school and to maintain California’s best-in-the-nation safeguards. POLITICO’s Mackenzie Mays has the details.
Republican recall candidates immediately pounced. Assemblymember Kevin Kiley inveighed against Newsom “using teachers and nurses as political pawns” and said the recall would restore “basic decency.” Faulconer rebutted with “mandates are not the solution.” Businessman John Cox called it “further government intrusion into people’s personal lives” from a “power hungry politician.” GOP frontrunner Larry Elder: “Gov. Elder will reverse this order.”
That conservative resistance sets up exactly the type of contrast Newsom’s campaign wants. The governor has leaned more assertively of late into Covid countermeasures like mandating state workers get vaccinated, painting California as a national leader, and he has hammered Elder and others for saying they would roll things back. Newsom preempted Wednesday’s pushback by tweeting that “on September 14th the Republican party is trying to drive CA off the same cliff as Florida and Texas.”
The governor has invoked similar rhetoric regularly while pushing Democrats to vote. So too has Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who recounted hearing about Florida’s deteriorating coronavirus situation, even as Gov. Ron DeSantis banned school mask mandates, and offered a warning: “I know this is not a political press conference,” Schaaf said, “but I cannot miss an opportunity to say if Californians don’t participate in the special election coming up, this could be our fate as well.” (This all comes as the White House is considering ways to neutralize DeSantis’ order and as U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona backs a school vaccine mandate._
Plenty of conservatives exulted on Wednesday that Newsom had ensured his own ouster. Team Newsom and allies are confident in the opposite, believing a vaccine-embracing Democratic electorate will be energized to maintain California’s course rather than hand the keys to a conservative who would swerve in another direction. They’re getting some support from national Democratic figures and widespread media coverage for their latest move. We’ll see who’s right.
BUENOS DÍAS, good Thursday morning.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We are proud of it. We have this 30-year history of continuous representation, and it’s not just that seat. All of us have gone on to another office, breaking barriers in the process. … It has ripple effects.” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria tells POLITICO’s Ally Mutnick about how redistricting has boosted LGBTQ power.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Republican recall consultant Dave Gilliard @gilliardda, on why Newsom may regret enlisting a progressive icon: “We are consulting our attorneys about whether Rescue California needs to report the Elizabeth Warren ads as an in-kind contribution to the YES on Recall campaign. #RescueCalifornia”
WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing official announced.
— “Citizenship requirement will be waived for many L.A. County government jobs,” by LA Times’ Andrea Castillo and Jaclyn Cosgrove: “On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion allowing the county, with a few exceptions, to hire noncitizens to lead county agencies — excluding the chief probation officer — and for any other county jobs where state or federal law doesn’t mandate citizenship.”
— “Santa Barbara surfer dad ‘enlightened by QAnon’ to kill his kids, feds say,” by the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Wendy Fry: “A Santa Barbara father suspected of killing his two children in Mexico told the FBI he was a QAnon adherent and had to kill them because they had been infected with serpent DNA and he was saving the world from monsters, according to a criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court Wednesday.”
A REAL HOWLER — “San Francisco is looking for the woman who’s been feeding raw meat to coyotes in Bernal Hill,” by SF Chronicle’s Sam Whiting: “A sequence of images show the woman sitting in the grass with a tinfoil tray of meat, apparently preparing to hand feed three coyotes who are standing off to the side, 8 feet away.”
ICYMI — “College professor held in wildland arson spree near California’s massive Dixie Fire,” by the Sac Bee’s Sam Stanton.
RECALL FAIL — “First effort to oust S.F. D.A. Boudin fails to collect enough signatures to force recall,” by the SF Chronicle’s Megan Cassidy: “But a second, more well-heeled recall campaign still looms large over the progressive prosecutor, and claims to have gathered nearly the required signatures months before they’re due in October.”
— Poll: Majorities support vaccine, mask mandates — but not Republicans, by POLITICO’s Marc Caputo: According to the poll, more than 8 in 10 Democrats and at least half of independent voters want to require vaccinations for all Americans … But those requirements are supported by roughly 35 percent of Republicans, who form the largest group of unvaccinated Americans.
INVALID ELECTION? — “There Is a Problem With California’s Recall. It’s Unconstitutional,” Berkeley law professors Erwin Chemerinsky and Aaron S. Edlin opine in the NYTimes.
NEWSOM POWERS — “California’s top court lets stand ruling that upheld Gov. Newsom’s emergency powers,” by LATimes’ Maura Dolan: “Two state Republican lawmakers had challenged Newsom’s power, arguing he had no right to issue an executive order requiring vote-by-mail ballots to be sent to the state’s more than 22 million registered voters before the Nov. 3, 2020, election.”
— “CEC approves new building code, teeing up potential all-electric future,” by POLITICO’s Colby Bermel: The agency’s new energy code requires new schools, hotels, retail buildings and high-rise apartments to install solar power and battery storage. It also requires new residences to be “electric ready,” or equipped with the circuitry to convert its heating and cooking systems to electricity. New homes also must either use electricity for their water heater or their home heating and cooling system, depending on their region’s climate.
NEWEST HOMEOWNERS — “Millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers in California. How do they do it?” by the Sac Bee’s Hannah Wiley: “Millennials who successfully purchased a house often have at least one of several factors in common, including more cash on hand, wealthier parents, a partner to invest with or limited student debt. Others are fighting for homeownership against the odds.”
— “California doing much better with Delta variant than Florida, Texas. Here’s why,” by LA Times’ Rong-Gong Lin and Luke Money: “Experts say California’s better-than-average vaccination rates and newly implemented mandatory mask policies in parts of the state have helped prevent a more grim situation.”
BUT THERE’S THIS — “Thousands of vacancies for L.A. teachers, counselors, nurses remain days before school starts,” by LA Times’ Howard Blume: “Days before the academic year starts, a well-funded hiring spree for Los Angeles schools is falling short of its goal to provide unprecedented and critical mental health and academic support as a shortage of teachers and other professionals collides with pandemic recovery goals.”
— “LA moves toward vaccine requirement for indoor restaurants, stores, gyms, bars,” by LATimes’ Emily Alpert Reyes and Luke Money: “The City Council voted to direct city attorneys to draft the law, though much of the plan remains to be worked out, including precisely where it would apply and how the new rules would be enforced.”
— “L.A. sets goal of 25,000 new housing units for homeless people,” by LA Times’ Benjamin Oreskes.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE CHIEF — “How Daisy Gonzales went from foster care to the top of the nation’s largest system of higher education,” by EdSource’s Ashley A. Smith.
— “The Bay Area battle over COVID-19 evictions has arrived,” by SF Chronicle’s Lauren Hepler: “When the national eviction protections lapsed last week, renters and their advocates got a chaotic preview of what they fear might be coming on a much larger scale. Some 92,000 households are still at risk of eviction in San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, data company UrbanFootprint found in a July report.”
WORKERS’ MARKET — “Yoga classes, therapy and 401(k)s: California businesses beefing up benefits to attract workers,” by CalMatters’ Grace Gedye: “California businesses are responding to a labor shortage with social media pleas, hiring incentives, bonuses and new benefits. So far, workers, particularly in the service industry, are seeing wages rise.”
GETTING HOTTER — “California just recorded its hottest July ever. Charts show it’s part of a trend,” by the SF Chronicle’s Kellie Hwang.
— “Millions of Californians will soon have their unemployment benefits slashed. How will jobless people cope?” by the SF Chronicle’s Carolyn Said: “When Congress passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in March, it set a Labor Day sunset for a range of federal benefits to help jobless people weather the pandemic. Lawmakers assumed the economy would have recovered by September — but now the rise of the delta variant could inhibit job growth.”
— “Stanford among first universities requiring weekly COVID testing even for vaccinated students,” by the SF Chronicle’s Aidin Vaziri and Nanette Asimov.
CONFIRMED: The Senate has officially authorized former Rep. Gil Cisneros to join the Biden administration as undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness.
— “Bipartisan bill targets Apple and Google’s ability to profit from app stores,” by CNBC’s Lauren Feiner: “Under the bill, companies like Apple and Google would not be allowed to condition distribution of an app on their app stores on whether the developers use their in-app payment system.”
— “How Facebook Failed to Stem Racist Abuse of England’s Soccer Players,” by NYTimes’ Ryan Mac and Tariq Panja: “For more than two years, soccer officials pushed the social network to limit the invective. As a new season begins, the hate continues.”
ANOTHER COVID SUSPENSION — Rand Paul cut off from YouTube for a week following criticism of face masks, by POLITICO’s Nick Niedzwiadek.
— “How did the choice of ‘Jeopardy!’ host become so controversial? Here’s what went wrong,” by LA Times’ Matt Brennan and Robert Lloyd.
— “San Francisco Public Works boss steps down for top post at BART,” by Mission Local’s Joe Eskenazi.
— “How Garlic Noodles Became One of the Bay Area’s Most Iconic Foods,” by KQED’s Luke Tsai.
— “Paradise CA residents in RVs may get reprieve from eviction,” by SacBees
— “L.A.’s sidewalk vendors have been hitting an obstacle: Legalizing their carts,” by the LA Times’ Emily Alpert Reyes.
— “State appeals court allows A’s to fast-track environmental review process of Howard Terminal ballpark plan,” by the SF Chronicle’s Sarah Ravani.
— “Berkeley Rep delays start of 2021-22 season due to COVID concerns,” by the East Bay Times’ Jim Harrington.
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