GOP Hopefuls Target Newsom In First Debate

Four Republicans hoping to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom if he falls in the Sept. 14 recall election took turns blaming the governor for the state’s problems during a debate peppered with vows to end pandemic-related mask mandates, enact massive tax cuts and abolish state and local sanctuary policies that offer protections for immigrants without legal status.

The four Republican candidates onstage — former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley of Rocklin and former Northern California Rep. Doug Ose — offered a bleak portrait of a state guided by the liberal policies of Newsom and California’s Democratic leadership: rising violent crime, businesses fleeing the state and homeless encampments lining city streets.

Both Cox and Ose said they favored changing California law to force treatment on homeless people who are experiencing mental illness or addicted to drugs. Kiley said as governor he would ensure law enforcement officials in California cooperated with federal immigration agencies to crack down on people entering the country illegally.

Though all four candidates were united in their opposition to mask and vaccination mandates, arguing that decisions should be left to individuals, their approaches varied. …

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

S.F. Exploring Requiring Vaccination Proof For Entry To Indoor Restaurants, Gyms

San Francisco is weighing a mandate that could be similar to one New York City announced on Tuesday requiring people there to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter indoor restaurants, gyms and concerts.

“We’re exploring that,” San Francisco Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said Tuesday at a news event highlighting in-home vaccination options. The city is looking into whether there is need to go beyond its encouragement of businesses that have voluntarily instituted their own requirements that customers show proof of vaccination.

“Right now we’re seeing that a number of bars and restaurants and other entities are doing that, and we’re very supportive of that and encouraging people to take advantage of that policy,” Colfax said. …

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

Regulators Impose Unprecedented Water Restrictions On California Farms

Amid intensifying drought, state water regulators voted Tuesday to enact a drastic emergency order that will bar thousands of Californians — primarily farmers — from using stream and river water.

California’s complex water rights system is designed to allocate water use during times of shortage and such curtailments, while rare, are not unheard of. But the scope of Tuesday’s order — which will apply to thousands of senior water rights across a wide swath of the state — is unprecedented, officials said.

While the move has been protested by some farmers, irrigation districts and others, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross called the decision “a necessary step,” saying the fact that senior water rights holders were included “speaks to the severity of the hydrology and what climate change has presented this year.”

“It is a painful moment. We know the impacts are real,” Ross said during Tuesday’s meeting. …

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

California’s 2020 Fire Siege: Wildfires By The Numbers

The most telltale number is 4.2 million.

That’s the stop-in-your-tracks figure — the total acreage burned — from last year’s fire siege, the worst year in California’s long history of wildfires.

2020 was a fire year of unforgettable and awful superlatives. In the new world of mega-fires, a series of wildfires exploded late in August with a barrage of lightning and fires that blazed for four months. 

The 4.2 million acres burned last year is equivalent to the entire area of Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties combined.

The state’s first giga-fire — the August Complex — alone consumed one million acres in the northern Coast Range. 

Before the season was over, 31 people, including 3 firefighters, lost their lives.

George Morris III, an assistant regional chief for Cal Fire, dwells on all these numbers. In the middle of last year’s desperate firefight, he was assigned to compile an historical account in part so the agency could learn lessons from the record-breaking season.

Morris wrote a 122-page report that is a compendium of relentless statistics and gripping narratives.

“The number for me is that astonishing 4.2 million acres,” said Morris, who comes from a family of firefighters and who is responsible for six of the state’s 21 fire units. “That is on a scale that has not been experienced in California in at least 100 years. 

“To me, this is the 1910 watershed moment of this century. The Big Burn is what started the wildland fire suppression systems of that century. This one will likely inform the next century.”

The infamous Big Burn was an out-of-control conflagration in the summer of 1910, coalescing thousands of fires that burned 3 million acres in parts of Idaho, Montana, Washington and British Columbia. The fire burned over two days and nights, killed 86 people and ended only with rainfall and snow.

An hour and a half long flight over last summer’s August Complex fire, viewing mile after mile of burned forests, gave Morris a perspective of just how substantial the 2020 fires were. “It was all burning the entire time. Millions of acres,” Morris said. “It’s still hard to believe.”

A hard copy of his Fire Siege report has been placed in every Cal Fire station in the state. …

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East Bay City To Look At Allowing Undocumented Residents To Vote In Local Elections

The city of Richmond is moving ahead to explore whether it can allow undocumented residents to vote in local elections, such as school board contests.

On Tuesday, the Richmond City Council voted unanimously to direct the city attorney to conduct a sweeping review of the city’s charter along with legal research to determine whether it can allow noncitizens to participate in local elections. Councilman Nathaniel Bates was absent.

Councilmembers Claudia Jimenez and Eduardo Martinez and Vice Mayor Demnlus Johnson III introduced the proposal earlier this month, saying undocumented immigrants “are denied public voice via voting rights” despite the “significant contributions” they make to the community and the economy. …

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

Recall Effort Picks Up Steam As Vote Nears

With Californians just weeks away from receiving their ballots for the Sept. 14 recall election, two recent polls indicate a more competitive contest than past polls have up to this point.

On Tuesday, the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies released its latest survey of registered and likely voters.

On the one hand, polling of registered voters placed support for the recall at 36%, the same level of support as the IGS poll found in April and January.

On the other hand, among likely voters, the IGS poll found that 47% of Californians would vote for the recall versus the 50% who would vote against it. …

Click here to read the full article from the OC Register

Serious COVID-19 Cases On The Rise In L.A.

Los Angeles County health officials reported 2,089 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, with hospitalizations rising as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread.

There are 716 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 452 on July 16, officials said. The county also reported four new deaths, bringing the total to 24,628 fatalities since the pandemic began early last year.

On Saturday, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned that the Delta variant was “one of the most aggressive and infectious respiratory diseases known and currently makes up over 80% of sequenced cases in L.A. County.”

Although cases remain at a lower point than they have been during any of the previous surges, the rate of increase between July 3 and 16 was 135%. …

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

Newly-Released Casebooks Provide Insights on California Government

After several years of work, my two casebooks on California government have been published this summer. The first casebook, “Cases and Materials on Direct Democracy in California,” was published by Kendall-Hunt Publishing Company. The second casebook, “The California Legislature and Its Legislative Process: Cases and Materials,” was published by Carolina Academic Press.

Both of these casebooks are the first of their kind, exploring in-depth California’s three forms of direct democracy, as well as the California Legislature’s powers and authority, as well as the state legislative process. They are intended to provide readers with a thorough understanding of direct democracy as it is used in this state, as well as the California Legislature and the process of enacting laws.

These casebooks are intended for college and law students, as well as practitioners. They have similar formats in that they both review the relevant state constitutional and statutory provisions and key appellate court decisions that interpret and explain many of the constitutional and Government Code provisions. There are also explanatory materials throughout the casebooks for many of the areas covered, as well as commentaries reflecting current legal issues. For the benefit of readers, and course instructors who use the casebook, many of these explanations, and all of the court decisions, are followed by notes and questions to provide further insights and prompt additional thought and discussion about the cases and materials covered.

In addition to the explanatory materials, numerous appellate court cases are included throughout the casebook. The cases included were chosen because they will help explain the relevant areas of law, and the cases are written clearly with analysis of the facts and law to demonstrate to students how the courts reached their decisions.

The Direct Democracy in California casebook is published by Kendall Hunt Publishing Company and can be purchased by following this link:

The California Legislature and Its Legislative Process casebook is published by Carolina Academic Press and can be purchased by following this link:

SF Bars Now Requiring Proof of Vaccination

COVID-19 numbers in the Bay Area have been trending up and bars in San Francisco are reacting accordingly.

If you’re planning to visit the city this weekend, you might want to carry your vaccination card as many bars are now requiring to see proof of immunization.

Aside from your ID card, bars such as 7 Stills Brewery and Distillery started asking for proof of vaccination only if dining inside their establishment.

“Proof of vaccination either means you have your actual card or photo of your card. But that’s only inside,” said manager Texas Enkil. “Outside you can dine or drink in our beer garden, no proof of vaccination required.” …

Click here to read the full article from NBC Bay Area

Poll: More Than Half of California Voters Say Gov. Newsom is Responding Poorly to Homelessness

An estimated 161,000 people are experiencing homelessness in California, more than in any other, and the crisis continues to grow. Advocates say they can’t house people quickly enough with a shortage of housing units and high rents.

An exclusive Inside California Politics / Emerson College poll asked respondents to rate Newsom’s response to homelessness in the state.

The poll of more than 1,000 registered voters, which has a margin of error of +/-2.9%, revealed more than half of respondents rated Newsom’s response to homelessness as poor. A total of 25% voted fair, 16% for good, and 7% of respondents said his response was excellent. …

Click here to read the full article from KTLA5