Local Briefs

LA County Says Masks Up

On Monday, health officials in Los Angeles County followed suit, recommending that “everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places as a precautionary measure.”

Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said the new recommendation was needed because of upticks in infections, a rise in cases due to the worrisome Delta variant, and persistently high numbers of unvaccinated residents, particularly children, Black and Latino residents and essential workers.

NIH head Dr. Anthony Fauci: We know that the vaccines we have right now do very well against the Delta Variant. The CDC recommendations stand. If you are vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask.” This on 6/30 to Lest Holt on CNBC

Rochelle Walinsky, head of the CDC when asked about the latest LA County requirement, also said that she thought it was excessive.

Controversy has gathered around Ferrer during the pandemic and lockdowns. She has a PhD in Communities and no medical degree, and has gone back and forth several times on recommendations.

Roughly half of Los Angeles County residents are fully vaccinated, and about 60% have had at least one dose. While the number of positive tests is still below 1% in the county, the rate has been inching up, Ferrer added, and there has been a rise in the number of reinfections among residents who were infected before and did not get vaccinated.

State Budget Released

The California State Budget for 2021-22 has been released. It includes such items as free healthcare for illegal aliens over the age of 50.

The $262.6 billion proposal now on its way to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk would restore spending cuts to public schools, colleges and universities, the courts, child support services and state worker salaries — all things that were cut last year when state officials thought they were facing a record budget deficit because of the coronavirus.

Instead, state revenues soared by more than 27%, the biggest year-over-year increase in more than four decades. That includes roughly $100 billion in new money, both from a state surplus and coronavirus aid from the federal government. It’s so much money that the state plans to give rebates of up to $1,100 to more than 15 million households while also pledging to pay for every 4-year-old to go to kindergarten for free and guaranteeing government-funded health coverage for low-income immigrants 50 and older living in the country illegally.

Democrats in charge of the state Legislature would have spent even more money over time, but Gov. Gavin Newsom — who will face a recall election later this year — convinced them to adopt a more cautious approach that relies more on one-time spending instead of multi-year commitments.

That means the state won’t spend $200 million this year to hire more people in local public health departments in the aftermath of the pandemic. Instead, the Newsom administration committed to spend $300 million next year. The Newsom administration said the money wasn’t needed this year, in part, because the federal government is giving California $1.8 billion for public health, with most of that going for vaccines and coronavirus testing.

Still, there was some grumbling among Democrats about missing the chance to bolster local public health departments, many of which were overwhelmed by the pandemic. State Sen. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and Democrat from Sacramento, said he wanted the Newsom administration to do more than simply “spend the whole year doing planning.”

Gov Recall Election Set for September 14

California on Thursday scheduled a Sept. 14 recall election that threatens to drive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, the result of a political uprising driven by widespread angst over coronavirus orders that shuttered schools and businesses.

The election in the nation’s most populous state will be a marquee contest with national implications, watched closely as a barometer of the public mood heading toward the 2022 elections, when a closely divided Congress again will be in play.

The date was set by the state’s lieutenant governor after election officials certified that enough valid petition signatures had been turned in to qualify the election for the ballot.

Many voters have yet to pay attention to the emerging election, while polls have shown Newsom would beat back the effort to remove him. Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in heavily Democratic California since 2006.

Republican candidates have depicted Newsom as an incompetent fop, while Democrats have sought to frame the recall as driven by far-right extremists and supporters of former President Donald Trump

Skaggs Family Sues Angels

An attorney for the family has announced that they are suing the Angels organization for the death of Tyler Skaggs.

On July 1, 2019, Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in Southlake, Texas, where the Angels were visiting for a series against the Texas Rangers. An autopsy concluded that Skaggs had died of asphyxia after aspirating on his own vomit while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol, and his death was ruled an accident.

In October, former Angels employee Eric Kay admitted to providing opiates to Skaggs and was indicted on charges relating to his death. The Angels wore a No. 45 patch on their jerseys for the remainder of the 2019 season to honor Skaggs' memory, while his wife and mother set up the Tyler Skaggs Foundation in his name.

The Skaggs family are longtime Santa Monica residents. Tyler’s mom, Debbie Skaggs coached softball for years at Santa Monica high school, where her son graduated in 2009.

Recall Gascon Campaign Launches Website

The campaign to recall George Gascon has launched a website to collect signatures to recall the controversial former San Francisco DA.

http://www.recallgascon.com says that it has gathered 60,000 signatures in three weeks.

The website claims that “Crime victims are leading the effort to Recall George Gascon.”

“George Gascon’s failure to protect our most vulnerable communities is a complete dereliction of his foremost duty as a District Attorney, and he must be removed from office immediately before he can do any more damage.  What George Gascon is doing is not criminal justice reform; it is the outright destruction of our criminal justice system and the very laws meant to protect us,” says Tania Owen, Co-Chair of the Recall George Gascon campaign. 

Gascon himself advocates for a compassionate approach to criminals, noting that 80% of imprisoned men are themselves the victims of violent crimes.


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