Migrant Children Could Arrive At San Diego Convention Center By The Weekend

Migrant children who crossed the border alone could arrive in San Diego to temporary beds at the Convention Center by this weekend, city and county officials said Tuesday.

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher said in a press conference outside the Convention Center on Tuesday that the plan was coming together fast. But many details still were unknown, including the number of children who will be sheltered at the venue and the exact date of their arrival.

The announcement comes as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services opens several temporary facilities for unaccompanied migrant children, mostly in Texas, to address the backlog of children stuck in Border Patrol custody for longer than the legal limit. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Diego Union-Tribune

‘Crisis of governance’: Split on S.F. School Board Over Racist Tweets

The San Francisco school board, already embroiled in the debate on when and how to reopen schools, finds itself fractured as it navigates a new controversy amid a series of crises.

The board, often unified in the past, is now split over whether one of their members should resign in the wake of racist tweets about Asian Americans even as they face several lawsuits, a departing superintendent, a recall effort, a massive budget deficit, a dip in kindergarten applications and families angry over the slow reopening of classrooms.

The path forward is not clear.

On Monday, the tweet scandal involving Vice President Alison Collins — who posted the messages in 2016, before she was elected — only grew. Nearly the entire power structure of the city called for her resignation, joined by more than 1,300 people who had signed a petition urging her to step down. …

This article was originally published by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Newsom Recall Bid Has the Left in Bind

As the effort to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom from office intensifies, a critical question is whether another Democrat jumps into the race to replace him.

No candidate has come forward yet, but many political experts believe it is inevitable.

Democrats “won’t have any choice,” said Dan Schnur, who teaches political communication at USC and UC Berkeley. “It’s important to present a unified front, but it’s even more important for them to protect themselves.”

Darry Sragow, a veteran Democratic strategist, said the party must consider the worst-case scenario. …

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

Border-Crossing Tallies On Pace For 20-Year High

As dusk closed in on the Texas border with Mexico, Melania Rivera and her 3-year-old twin boys climbed up the banks of the Rio Grande, at last setting foot in the United States.

Her former partner and their two older children had been in the U.S. since 2019, waiting for their asylum cases to be heard. Rivera, whose home in Honduras was destroyed by a hurricane in November, set out to join them after a relative in Virginia urged her to come quickly, saying border restrictions had relaxed under President Biden.

“He told me there was an opportunity,” said Rivera, 42, who was intercepted south of the city of Mission with seven other migrants by local police working with the Border Patrol.

The belief that the end of the Trump administration has opened the border has spread throughout the region alongside another rumor: Young children are the ticket in. Human smugglers began pushing those ideas soon after Biden won the election in November, accelerating an exodus from Central America that was already underway after devastating back-to-back hurricanes and economic decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The message that now was a propitious time to head north was amplified on social media, television and radio in Central America.

Border crossings recorded by U.S. authorities climbed steadily through the summer and fall as countries lifted coronavirus lockdowns, then rose sharply this year, jumping from 78,442 in January to 100,441 in February — nearly triple the total for February 2020. …

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

S.F. Mayor Calls for School Board Member to Resign Over Racist Tweets Directed at Asian Americans

In an unprecedented move, San Francisco’s top elected officials, including the mayor, state legislators and nearly all supervisors, called Saturday for a school board member to resign over racist tweets she posted in 2016 directed at Asian Americans.

“We are outraged and sickened by the racist, anti-Asian statements tweeted by school board Vice President Alison Collins that recently came to light,” 22 current and former elected officials said in a statement Saturday. “No matter the time, no matter the place, and no matter how long ago the tweets were written, there is no place for an elected leader in San Francisco who is creating and or/created hate statements and speeches.”

Officials, who continued to add their names throughout Saturday, thanked Collins for her service and asked her to resign from her post. Mayor London Breed and school board members Jenny Lam and Faauuga Moliga and the head of the city’s teachers union also called for her to step down. …

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

Senate Confirms Xavier Becerra as HHS Secretary in Near Party-Line Vote

The Senate voted 50-49 along party lines to confirm Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services on Thursday.

Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) was the lone Republican to vote in favor of Becerra’s confirmation. Senator Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) did not vote on Thursday.

Earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee was tied 14-14 along party lines in its vote to advance Becerra’s nomination. Because of the tie, the vote to advance Becerra’s nomination was moved to the entire Senate, which voted on Wednesday to advance the confirmation process. During that vote, Collins was also the only Republican to support Becerra’s nomination.

Most Republicans were staunchly opposed to Becerra, citing his record on abortion and religious freedom. …

Click here to read the full article from the National Review.

Bill to Help Prevent Future Inmate Unemployment Fraud Passes Senate Committee

A bill to help prevent future inmate Employment Development Department (EDD) fraud by cross checking unemployment insurance claims with state and county prison rolls passed in the Senate Public Safety Committee Tuesday.

Senate Bill 39, authored by Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), would specifically require the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), as well as counties, to provide the names and social security numbers of current inmates to the EDD to prevent fraudulent unemployment benefit payments. The bill would also set July 1, 2021 as the date that the Director of the EDD must verify with the CDCR and counties that, before unemployment benefits can be paid, that the claimant is not currently serving a sentence in either state prison or county jail.

Additionally, if the EDD determines that the claimant is currently serving a sentence in a state prison or county jail, then the CDCR or county law enforcement, as well as the Department of Justice, is to alerted to the attempt.Senator Grove wrote SB 39 due to more than 35,000 fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed last year on behalf of inmates, despite it being against state law that inmates are to not receive unemployment benefits. In total, this amounted to around $400 million in fraudulent payments just to inmates alone, and was part of the $11.4 billion to $31 billion total lost by the EDD last year due to fraudulent claims.

“Governor Newsom’s EDD is the most mismanaged department in the country,” stated Senator Grove in a press release on Tuesday. “District Attorneys raised the alarm five years ago, that the department had potential for inmate fraud, but the EDD deliberately ignored their warnings. With the COVID-19 surge in unemployment claims, the doors were open wide for inmates to exploit the department’s lax procedures.”

Grove also noted that SB 39, as well as the similar version in the Assembly, AB 110, would finally meet U.S. Department of Labor recommendations against fraudulent unemployment claims. Despite the Department of Labor first urging states to be vigilant to protect against fraudulent claims in May of 2020, California was one of 15 states that didn’t implement unemployment claim cross checking with prison and jail rolls. Without the cross checking in place, fraud persisted for months.

“The State Auditor has made it clear that EDD was both poorly managed and vulnerable to fraud especially when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Given the Department’s historic failure and continued unwillingness to implement audit recommendations, it is critical that the Legislature hold EDD’s feet to the fire to better serve unemployed Californians,” added Senator Grove. …

Click here to read the full article from the California Globe.

Democrats, Progressives Fight California Governor Recall

Prominent progressives including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are backing a fight against the recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom, in a sign that supporters are stepping up efforts to keep the embattled Democrat in office.

Newsom and his backers opened a campaign committee on Monday and began raising funds to oppose the recall, which was started by a small right-wing group but has become a cause celebre among Republicans nationwide and in the heavily Democratic state.

“I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall – but I will fight it,” Newsom said on Twitter on Monday. “There is too much at stake.”

Newsom, a former lieutenant governor and San Francisco mayor, was elected governor in 2018 with almost 62% of the vote. He would be up for re-election in 2022. …

Click here to read the full article from Reuters.

Transit Workers, Homeless Residents Now Prioritized for COVID Vaccines in California

California is making more essential workers, as well as homeless residents and those living in congregate setting such as prisons, eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

The state has further defined who is considered to be working in the emergency services sector, explicitly allowing utility and social workers to be eligible for the vaccine. Public transit workers, such as bus drivers and those working in airports, are also now eligible.

“They are at high risk for occupational exposure, and maintaining continuity of transportation operations is critical,” California’s Department of Public Health said in its bulletin sent to local health departments Thursday.

Those who live or work in a “high risk congregate residential setting” are also eligible to receive the vaccine. Those settings include prisons, immigrant detention facilities, homeless shelters or behavioral health facilities, CDPH said in the bulletin. …

Click here to read the full article from the Modesto Bee.

Indoor Dining Included in L.A. County’s Upcoming Reopening Guidelines

With L.A. County anticipating reopening additional sectors as soon as Monday, March 15, L.A. Public Health set guidelines that include indoor dining, movie theaters and indoor gyms.

L.A. County will likely qualify to enter the “red tier” of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy sometime this weekend, and being in the tier comes with a slew of reopenings and higher capacity activities.

“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health anticipates qualifying for the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy less restrictive red tier that allows for additional re-openings between Monday, March 15 at 12:01 a.m. and Wednesday, March 17,” L.A. Public Health said in a statement. “The exact date depends on when 2 million doses have been administered to people in the most under-resourced communities across the state.” …

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