Rep. Lieu Calls On Breyer To Leave Supreme Court

Fearful of Republicans regaining control of the Senate next year, progressive Democrats are ramping up their calls for Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer to step down from the bench to ensure that President Biden’s replacement could be confirmed while the party remained in control.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Tuesday joined those calls, saying it would be “best for our country” if the most senior justice appointed by a Democratic president stepped down by next year, before Republicans have a chance to regain the Senate majority and use that power to block a Biden nominee, as they did President Obama’s in 2016.

“I do believe that he should retire prior to the midterms,” Lieu said on CNN. “Justice Breyer has been an amazing Supreme Court justice. This is a very personal decision for him.”

Similar calls have been made by other progressives Democrats, including Reps. Mondaire Jones and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of New York. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

California Reopens – Ending Most COVID-19 Rules

California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic.

At the stroke of midnight, California lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions and ushered in what has been billed as the state’s “Grand Reopening.”

Starting Tuesday, there were no more state rules on social distancing, and no more limits on capacity at restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gyms, stadiums or anywhere else.

And masks — one of the most symbolic and fraught symbols of the pandemic — will no longer be mandated for vaccinated people in most settings, though businesses and counties can still require them. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press

Regulators Withdraw Controversial California Work Mask Rules

California’s workplace regulators have withdrawn a controversial pending mask regulation while they consider a rule that more closely aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s promise that the state will fully reopen from the pandemic on Tuesday.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board’s revised rule, adopted last week after it was initially rejected, would have allowed workers to forego masks only if every employee in a room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. That contrasts with the state’s broader plan to do away with virtually all masking and social distancing requirements for vaccinated people in concert with the latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The board’s decision late Wednesday to withdraw that worksite rule before it goes into effect allows the board to consider changes at its June 17 meeting and potentially have them go into effect by month’s end. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press.

Northern California Leads In Key Vaccine Rates

San Francisco is nearing herd immunity, some experts believe, a milestone in California’s efforts to gain control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Francisco has one of California’s highest rates of vaccination, with 72% of residents having received at least one dose. Only one other county in California — Marin, just north of San Francisco — has a higher rate of vaccination, with 75% of residents there at least partially vaccinated.

Both San Francisco and Marin County’s rates are significantly higher than the statewide vaccination rate of 56%.

Herd immunity, also known as community immunity, occurs when a significant percentage of the overall population is immune either through vaccination or from surviving a previous infection. People without immunity to a disease are indirectly protected by herd immunity. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

Bay Area Dropping COVID Rules

The Bay Area will be wide open along with the rest of California when the state lifts almost all pandemic restrictions next week. Even San Francisco, which has had among the strictest public health responses in the country, plans to align with the state, city officials said Tuesday night.

Health officials in all nine Bay Area counties have said that with very few exceptions, they plan to go along with the rest of the state in lifting mask mandates, capacity rules and pretty much every other order meant to force social distancing and prevent spread of the coronavirus in public settings.

San Francisco public health officials had hinted that they might keep in place some local mandates, but in a meeting with local business leaders Tuesday night, they said those exceptions would apply only to certain indoor settings such as homeless shelters and nursing homes, or so-called mega events with more than 5,000 people gathered indoors or 10,000 outside. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

AG Candidate Nathan Hochman Hits $500K Fundraising Benchmark

Former US Assistant Attorney General and candidate for California Attorney General, Nathan Hochman, has announced an early fundraising haul of half a million dollars in his campaign to unseat Newsom appointee Rob Bonta in 2022.

“I am humbled by the generous support we have received from concerned citizens across California,” remarked Hochman. “In the few weeks since announcing this campaign, it has been crystal clear to me that Californians are ready for change in Sacramento and want new leaders who put public safety first.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hochman graduated from Brown University and earned his law degree from Stanford Law School. After finishing law school, Hochman clerked for a US District Court Judge in Los Angeles before becoming an Assistant US Attorney for the Central District of California.

In 2008, Hochman was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the US Senate as US Assistant Attorney General overseeing the Department of Justice’s Tax Division.

Hochman served as a member and president of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission from 2011 to 2016 and serves on numerous boards, including those governing the Cedar Sinai Medical Center and American Jewish University.

Hochman launched his campaign for Attorney General at the end of April and has since raised over $500,000.

Assault Weapons Ruling Prompts Outrage

Families of mass shooting victims, gun control advocates and California officials condemned a federal judge’s decision to overturn California’s 30-year-old ban on assault weapons, largely because of the manner in which he justified his ruling.

In declaring the ban unconstitutional late Friday, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez compared the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to a Swiss Army knife, calling it “good for both home and battle.”

Benitez, who was nominated by former President George W. Bush and serves in the Southern District of California, issued a permanent injunction against the law’s enforcement but stayed it for 30 days to give the state a chance to appeal.

California is one of seven states, plus Washington, D.C., that ban assault weapons, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

In his 94-page ruling, Benitez wrote that it was unlawful for California to prohibit its citizens from possessing weapons permitted in most other states and allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Advocates for the right to bear arms hailed the ruling. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

Federal Judge Overturns California’s Decades-Old Ban On Assault Weapons

A federal judge in California overturned the state’s decades-old ban on assault weapons Friday, ruling that it violates the Second Amendment — a decision that was promptly blasted by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Newsom called the ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego a “direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period.”

Benitez ruled that California’s definition of illegal military-style rifles robbed Californians of their constitutional right to obtain the type of weapons allowed in other states. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Key Reagan Strategist Has Had It With Republicans Under Trump

Recently, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library launched a lecture series titled “Time for Choosing,” a name consciously echoing the famous 1964 speech that launched Reagan’s political career and put him on a path to the White House.

The concept — marquee names, history-rich backdrop — is a throwback to a time when politics involved ideas and philosophies and wasn’t just about riling “the base” or “owning” the opposition. The program also gives Republicans a chance to paint their visions while wrapping themselves in the mantle of one of the GOP’s most beloved and sainted figures.

But the title is something of a misnomer. Many Republicans have already chosen: It’s Donald Trump’s party and will remain so until and unless someone pries it from his fisted fingers.

Of those invited, the first to appear, former House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, is one of the few who have dared to openly suggest Republicans ditch the retread who not only cost them the White House but control of the House and Senate — a losing trifecta unmatched in a single term by any president since 1932. Ryan’s reward was a nasty-gram from Mar-a-Lago.

Stuart Spencer has already seen enough. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

Report Says Bay Area Homelessness Could Be Solved With $11.8 Billion

With the pandemic ending and governments signaling they might devote more money toward homelessness, a leading research organization is boldly putting a dollar amount on what it thinks it would take to whisk every unhoused person in the Bay Area off the streets: $11.8 billion.

The Bay Area Council came to its estimate in a report released Thursday by calculating it would take $9.3 billion to create enough shelter and housing to put roofs over all 35,118 people now estimated to be homeless in the region’s nine counties — then $2.5 billion a year to maintain those roofs with services and staffing.

It’s the first comprehensively researched figure of its kind for the Bay Area, and the people who wrote it at the business-oriented council maintain it’s not just pie in the sky. The California Legislature is considering spending $20 billion on homeless programs statewide in the next budget, Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing $12 billion, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed this week proposed adding more than $1 billion in new funding over the next two years. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle.