California Legislators Won’t Extend Eviction Ban

California’s eviction protections will almost certainly not be extended once they expire after Sept. 30, the state Assembly Housing chairperson said today.

The legislative session ends Friday, so that’s the last day that lawmakers could push off that deadline. But the political appetite just isn’t there to act, according to David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat who spearheaded the previous efforts to stall the displacement of tenants amid the pandemic.

“I believed our eviction protections for tenants should be extended beyond September 30. The delta variant and the end of many unemployment benefits make that even more urgent,” Chiu told CalMatters. “Unfortunately, some of my colleagues feel differently, and there’s not enough consensus for that.”

The current round of eviction protections were extended on June 25, just days before they were set to expire. At that point, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said he hoped the economy would be in full swing so that another moratorium would not be necessary. Rendon’s office declined to comment on the absence of another extension.

“The Legislature has kind of set a trap for itself because it won’t be in session when that expires,” said Brian Augusta, legislative advocate for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, who has been lobbying for stronger protections throughout the pandemic. “So, that means, what we see is what we get.” …

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How California’s Lack Of Transparency Could Flip The U.S. Senate

Polls show that government corruption, waste and malfeasance are important issues to California voters.

But California is the only state refusing to disclose all state spending. Forty-nine states produced their line-by-line vendor payments after auditors at submitted open-records requests.

It’s a basic issue of accountability. The people, press, and politicians must be able to follow their tax dollars. After all, it’s their money.

In 2020, we sued California Controller Betty Yee, a Democrat, in state court after she argued that her office couldn’t “locate” any of the 50 million payments that the state admitted making last year. Our lawyers are the public-interest law firm in Washington, D.C., Cause of Action Institute. …

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California Would Benefit From Divided Government

Despite what Gov. Gavin Newsom would have you believe, the effort to remove him from office is not just a “Republican Recall.”  Polls show that many Democrats and independents are fed-up with Newsom and considering voting him out as well.

During his first two-and-a-half years as governor, Newsom has utterly failed to address our state’s big problems and, in many cases, his mismanagement has resulted in making things worse.  But that’s not all.  He has abused his power with unprecedented government overreach into our lives and businesses.  All of these factors and more have given voters from across the political spectrum reason to vote him out.

Despite California’s blue bent, there’s evidence of a growing libertarian undercurrent in our state.  One only has to look at the 2020 election to see that Californians are uneasy with too much government interference.  Last November, with record turnout, voters rejected an effort to reinstate affirmative action, sided with business over organized labor and rejected a rent control measure.

That same year, Newsom issued more executive orders than any California governor in modern history.  He used his power to impose overly intrusive restrictions on businesses and schools, while he swilled wine with lobbyists in Napa and his kids remained in-person at their private school.  He imposed the harshest restrictions in the country while arrogantly exempting himself and his family. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Bernardino Sun.

Evacuations Lifted For Thousands In Tahoe As Wildfire Stalls

Tens of thousands of people who fled South Lake Tahoe in the teeth of a wildfire were returning home as crews finally managed to stall the advance of flames scant miles from the resort.

But authorities warned that residents of the scenic forest area on the California-Nevada state line weren’t out of the woods yet, with risks ranging from smoky, foul air to belligerent bears.

Evacuation orders for South Lake Tahoe and other lakeside areas were downgraded to warnings on Sunday afternoon and California Highway Patrol officers began removing roadblocks along State Highway 50 from Nevada to the city limits.

The threat from the Caldor Fire hasn’t entirely vanished but downgrading to a warning meant those who wish could return to their homes in what had been a smoke-choked ghost town instead of a thriving Labor Day getaway location. …

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

California Needs To Ensure Homelessness Spending Is Proper, Timely

If it seems like there’s so much tax money being thrown at the problem of homelessness in California that no one can keep track of it, there’s now an auditor’s report suggesting that this is true.

State auditor Elaine Howle recently reported on programs and agencies that are designated “high risk” because of the possibility, likelihood or history of waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement of public resources. Howle identified the state’s management of federal COVID-19 relief funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Emergency Solutions Grant program, abbreviated as the ESG-CV, as one of the “high-risk” programs.

The auditor’s office found that the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) failed to distribute hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency housing aid for homeless people in a timely way, as required by the federal government. There’s a deadline to spend 20% of the $316 million award by September 30 or the federal government may take up to $63 million back and spend it somewhere else.

Since California is No. 1 in every category of homelessness except ending it, that’s more than a little bit troubling. …

Click here to read the full article from the OC Register.

Democratic Lawmakers Drop Idea For California Statewide Vaccine Mandate

Democratic lawmakers have dropped a controversial proposal to mandate vaccines in the state, a move that would have been challenging to pass in the final weeks of the legislative session and was already providing fodder for the upcoming recall election.

Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) said she will not pursue the proposal this year after drafts of her bill language were leaked last week, saying she needed more time to craft “the strongest bill possible.” However, dropping the proposal before the Legislature adjourns next week effectively leaves the decision to the governor, who could impose a vaccine mandate on his own to help protect the state from a fall and winter surge.

The draft language called for Californians to show proof that they are vaccinated to enter many indoor businesses and required both public and private sector workers to be fully vaccinated or regularly tested. …

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

U.S. Judge Rejects Lawsuit Seeking To Halt Recall Vote

A federal judge in Los Angeles on Friday refused to block the Sept. 14 recall election, which opponents had challenged on the grounds it violated constitutional guarantees of one person, one vote.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald, an Obama appointee, said there was “nothing unconstitutional about placing in one ballot a vote for or against the recall of the governor and then a vote for a replacement candidate.”

The lawsuit, filed by civil rights lawyer Stephen Yagman on behalf of a recall opponent, sought a court order blocking the election or requiring the ballot of replacement candidates to include Gov. Gavin Newsom. Under California’s recall rules, Newsom is not permitted to run as a replacement candidate, and he could be replaced by a candidate who received far fewer votes. …

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

Recall Backers Blame Crime On Newsom

An image of crime tape flashes across the screen. A woman says, “we don’t feel safe anymore,” adding that “crime is surging” in California. The solution, the ad paid for by a Republican group argues, is to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Republicans looking to replace Newsom in next month’s election say the governor is “soft on crime” and to blame for the state’s increase in violent crime, pointing to a rise in homicides as a reason voters should approve the recall.

But researchers who study crime rates say the surge is much more complicated than the attack ads suggest, and that the causes for it probably extend well beyond the policies of one governor or even one state.

“Most cities across the United States saw increases,” said Aaron Chalfin, a professor of criminology at the University of Pennsylvania.

In California, homicides rose 31% from 2019 to 2020, with firearms used in three-quarters of those deaths, according to the state’s Homicide Report published by the Department of Justice. That report notes that the COVID-19 pandemic had unknown impacts on crime data that warrant further analysis. Chalfin said the United States experienced a 25% overall increase in homicides last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest one-year jump since reliable tracking began in 1960. …

Click here to read the full article from Melody Gutierrez

Supreme Court Halts Biden Eviction Moratorium

The Supreme Court on Thursday halted the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium, holding that it was “virtually certain” that the landlords who claimed the centers for Disease Control exceeded its legal authority would win.

The victory of the property owners was expected. The CDC’s argument that it could unilaterally impose a nationwide moritorium in any place with high levels of covid infections was almost completely ungrounded in law.

In the lower courts, a federal district judge in Washington, DC, rejected a bid from a group of landlords to block the Biden administration’s renewed eviction moratorium. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, a Trump appointee, had ruled against the Centers for Disease Control’s earlier ban on evictions, but her ruling was overturned by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. In Friday’s ruling, she said she was bound by the Appeals Court decision.

Judge Friedrich wrote that absent the D.C. Circuit’s judgment, she would have also overturned the renewed moratorium. …

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Man Found With 300 California Recall Ballots in Car

California authorities are investigating why a man found passed out in a car had more than 300 unopened mail-in ballots for the gubernatorial recall election.

The man was arrested Aug. 16 after being found in a store parking lot in Torrance, police said.

Investigators with the Torrance police special investigations division, the U.S. Postal Service and Los Angeles County district attorney’s public integrity unit were trying to determine how the ballots ended up in the suspect’s vehicle and what his intent was in having them, police said in a Facebook statement Monday.

Sgt. Mark Ponegalek told KABC-TV that the ballots were unopened and had not been tampered with.

The man was a felon who had drugs, a loaded firearm, thousands of pieces of mail, a scale and multiple California driver licenses and credit cards in other people’s name, police said. …

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