Gavin Newsom’s secret committee

So Newsom has a secret committee to make recommendations about dealing wth the coronavirus crisis. The Los Angeles Times reports:

The Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery is a 108-member group that counts former California governors, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger and former Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen among its members.

So we have wealthy elites teaming up to make decisions that will affect everyone. No gym owners, struggling bar owners or anyone who is not incredibly wealthy.

Is Gavin Newsom serving his own political future or the people?

To a certain extent, the government is mismanaged, and Newsom can not be blamed for that.

However, he has clearly made some bad decisions, including a botched mask order, ordering beaches closed and then rescinding the order and others. His daily address appears to be as much political grandstanding as it is informative. According to the governor, everything is driven by “data,” but it is not clear that the fiduciary needs of small business, who have relatively few customers and a much smaller risk of infection (especially if reasonable safeguards were put into place) have been considered.

We need to do better because this pandemic has no expiration date. It is wildly unlikely that, even should a 100% effective vaccine be developed, every vulnerable person in the US can be vaccinated.

One of the most hypocritical decisions (aside from the horrific decision not to deal with the prison system) has been Newsom’s move to reopen certain localities, even though these failed to meet the standards Newsom himself had set!

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The governor’s plan also included something the state described as a variance process that would allow counties to reopen more quickly if they met a series of benchmarks to show they were capable of containing the spread of the coronavirus.

Among the criteria to be met was a requirement that counties ensure at least 15 staff members per 100,000 residents were trained and available to conduct contact tracing, which 17 counties said they had not yet met and detailed plans to increase staffing over the coming weeks or months.

Another requirement noted that counties must have the capacity to test a daily minimum of 1.5 residents for every 1,000. Though more than two dozen counties had not reached the daily testing threshold when they submitted their forms to reopen, they still met the state’s standard because they explained how they could scale up within their healthcare system.

Weeks later, as cases climbed, the governor defended his reopening decisions and adopted the same argument made by many critics of his original order: The consequences of the COVID-19 shutdown for the economy and mental health were too great to ignore.

“We have to recognize you can’t be in a permanent state where people are locked away — for months and months and months and months on end — to see lives and livelihoods completely destroyed, without considering the health impact of those decisions as well,” Newsom said on June 15.

When pressured again in late June, Newsom conceded that some counties were struggling to contact trace and noted that the state needed to do more on testing.

“We certainly have a responsibility to increase, not only the total number of tests, but who we test, and how we test,” he said.

The governor has not specifically addressed why he created a testing and contact tracing benchmark and then seemed to disregard it before allowing the state to reopen.

Meanwhile Newsom’s ex-wife — a tRump supporter and Faux News host — has tested positive for corona virus.

One really wonders what bedtime conversations that dynamic duo had and what each thought in hooking up with each other. Certainly, Kimberly Guifoyle Newsom, a former lingerie model, has done very well for herself.

Gavin craves the presidency, and she has scored the president’s son. What are the actual ideological similarities between the two former soulmates?

Only the two of them know.

The Mercury News also chose to weigh in authoritatively.

Newsom said on April 14 that he would use six indicators to measure when the state lockdown would end. The first, he said, was the ability to monitor and protect communities through testing, contact tracing, and isolating and supporting people who tested positive or were exposed. But a month later he abandoned that prudent approach, declaring he would loosen his lockdown orders even though the state couldn’t meet the testing and contact-tracing criteria.

Now coronavirus cases are surging throughout the state and nation. California last week experienced its deadliest seven-day period of the pandemic, averaging 84 fatalities per day. The number of cases in California has nearly tripled in one month, from a seven-day average of 2,795 to 7,909.

California COVID-19 hospitalizations and patients in the ICU have reached record levels. And the portion of those taking the test who show positive results has soared to 7.6%, up from 4.4% a month ago. Which all suggests the situation will continue to deteriorate.

At least Newsom has stopped talking about “herd immunity.”

A sample Newsom roadmap (which he chose to ignore). Be sure to check out the links in the Los Angeles Times article.

Gavin Newsom needs to think things through!

In an Op Ed, contradictorily titled “Gavin Newsom has been the leader California needs,” The Los Angeles Times sets outs some valid critiques of the highhandedness of the Newsom establishment.

For example, Newsom announced the closure of all beaches. Was it really necessary to close all beaches? Every single beach? Or should he have left it to county officials to regulate this.

The next day, the governor claimed he never intended to close all the beaches, and was in fact only targeting Orange County. And the memo police agencies said they’d received from his office? It “never got to me,” he said. That explanation did no favors for Newsom’s credibility. It was also perplexing. What’s wrong with having a change of heart after receiving new information and input from the public? That’s what we want our elected officials to do.

Wow, we heard him announce this meals-for-seniors program? He just made that up off the top of his head?

Inattention to process was also a factor in a number of other pandemic-related initiatives the governor touted before all the details were in place. One example was the governor’s announcement on April 24 of a plan for idled restaurants to provide three free meals a day to home-bound seniors, a win for both businesses and at-risk residents. The program would be administrated by local officials, he said, which surprised many local officials who had no idea such a program was in the works, according to a report by CalMatters. Thousands of people quickly signed up for the service, but have yet to receive meals.

Why should a Chinese electric car company be making masks for California? California does not have ONE factory that could make these masks? The cost is off the charts, and we all know that Chinese manufacturers have a problem with quality control. A very large problem with quality control, if one remembers the melamine in powdered milk scandal (as well as many others).

Why does Newsom believe it is OK to keep the legislature uninformed about this substantail deal?

Both Democratic and Republican legislators have complained that the governor fails to keep them in the loop or provide details about spending. They were particularly concerned about a ballyhooed $990-million deal with the Chinese electric car company BYD to buy millions of medical-grade masks, and it took weeks for the governor’s office to share the contract’s specifics. The state constitution grants the governor wide executive power to respond to emergency situations, but it doesn’t relieve him of accountability.

So he just made up that plan to re-open schools as early as July? That was pure fantasy on his part?

And why, without any consultation, would you ship ventilators to another state?

And local elected officials often find out about policies that would affect them at the same time as the public, such as when Newsom said last month that schools might open as soon as July. It was a surprise to some local superintendents, who were still working on how and when they might safely reopen their schools. And when Newsom noted in early April that he was going to send 500 ventilators to other states, it caught Santa Clara and Riverside county officials off guard. They were still madly scrambling to secure ventilators for their hospitals; in fact, Riverside had been denied a request for state-provided ventilators.

California sued over aid to undocumented migrants

The Los Angeles Times reports that:

The nonprofit Center for American Liberty filed an emergency petition with the California Supreme Court requesting a stay on the governor’s action, arguing state and federal laws bar unemployment benefits to those without legal status and that providing the money to nonprofit groups represents an improper gift of taxpayer funds.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Whittier City Councilwoman Jessica Martinez and Ricardo Benitez, an immigrant from El Salvador who is now a U.S. citizen. Both plaintiffs are Republican candidates for the state Assembly. Benitez is running to represent the 39th Assembly District in the San Fernando Valley and Martinez is vying to represent the 57th Assembly District in the southern San Gabriel Valley.

“This is taxpayer money that may only be appropriated by the legislative branch. This is not a slush fund for the governor to spend as he sees fit,” Harmeet K. Dhillon, a San Francisco attorney and chief executive officer for the Center for American Liberty, said in a written statement Thursday. “At a time when law-abiding Californians are crushed by unemployment, housing issues, business closures and massive limitations on our normal lives, Governor Newsom is doing an end-run around the legal guardrails in place.”

The thing that is wrong with this aid is that it is insufficient. The fact is that, if these people are living in distress, we all live in distress.

If they get ill, our beloved “legal citizens and immigrants” will get ill as well.

People live here without legal status because of deficiencies in the immigration system.

Not because of choice.

These far right organizations — who have no sense of empathy, compassion, understanding care, let alone common sense — completely ignore the fact that the corporate capitalist system depends upon these people, who pay taxes, and we need to extend human decency to them and to maintain them during this crisis.

Because we need them!

Did Gavin Newsom make a bad deal for masks with a Chinese company?

Evidently, according to the LA Times, he is refusing to let elected officials learn the details of the deal:

But almost immediately, lawmakers wondered why the Newsom administration wouldn’t allow them to review the contract before asking for the first payment to BYD.

“We would never approve a budget this way,” Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said in an interview on April 9, two days after the deal was announced. “The whole reason we don’t do a budget one request at a time is we want to know the big picture.”

Has Gavin Newsom sold out on opposition to fracking?

Has Gavin Newsom made a bad deal for a Chinese company for masks?

That is the question a new commentary in Food and Water Watch asks.

They maintain:

Later that year, Governor Newsom issued a new directive that reworked the moratorium to include a loophole — an external, “independent” approval process for new fracking. This process required third-party review of fracking permits by Lawrence Livermore National Lab. We realized at that moment that Newsom’s commitment to oppose fracking was wavering.

Recently, Newsom directed the Department of Finance to audit the fracking permit process to determine if it needs to be strengthened. Until this audit is complete, we presume the backlog of 282 fracking permits will continue to be approved. We also predict the audit will result in nothing more than another rubber stamp for fracking in California.

Gavin Newsom is being mealy mouthed about PG&E and California fires!

Tim Redmond sums up Newsom’s duplicity here.

He quotes Newsom and then opines:

“We will hold them to account,” he says. “We will restructure” the company when it gets out of bankruptcy.

“And then … what?

“How is that “restructuring” going to work if PG&E remains a privately owned utility that sets up its own corporate structure? How are we going to “hold to account” a company when it’s already in total collapse – and Newsom has no plan to address that except to ask Warren Buffett to buy it?

“This is madness.”

Dan Walters on Gavn Newsom & PG&E

Normally, Gavin Newsom would be conciliatory towards PG&E, but Dan Walters writes

“Newsom and other Capitol politicians are acutely aware that PG&E, et al, are not popular these days and that if they appear to let them and their executives off the hook for wildfire damages, there could be a political backlash.

“Under current law, dubbed “inverse condemnation,” utilities are strictly liable for losses from wildfires their equipment causes. Utilities say that’s an unfair burden because they cannot control nature and are powerless, as it were, to prevent fires when hot weather and high winds cause even well-maintained electric cables to fall.

“The Newsom plan would presume the utilities to be innocent if they have met the higher safety standards to be imposed and otherwise acted prudently, thus allowing damage claims to be shifted from stockholders to ratepayers.”

In other words, ordinary people are going to suffer!