‘Maximize chaos.’ UC academic workers authorize strike, alleging rights violated during protests

The union representing 48,000 graduate student teaching assistants, researchers and other academic workers across the University of California’s 10 campuses has voted to authorize a strike, alleging that its workers’ rights have been violated at several universities by actions against pro-Palestinian protests, union leaders announced.

The potential walkouts, which are still being planned, were approved by 79% of the 19,780 members of the United Auto Workers Local 4811 who voted. The strike vote comes as campuses throughout the UC system have been roiled by tension and protests over the Israel-Hamas war, including a violent mob attack on a pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA and the arrest of 50 protesters at UC Irvine on Wednesday.

Union leaders said they intend to provide more details Friday morning. The union has rebuked UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Irvine for what it says are unfair crackdowns on pro-Palestinian protesters, including union members. Any walkouts would come at a particularly critical time in the academic year as finals are approaching and grades will be due before commencements.

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Rafael Jaime, the union’s co-president and a PhD candidate in UCLA’s English department, said the goal would be to “maximize chaos and confusion” at universities where the union alleges officials have violated workers’ rights over workplace conditions during student protests against the Israel-Hamas war.

“Our members have been beaten, concussed, pepper sprayed, both by counterprotesters and by police forces. As a union, it is our responsibility to stand beside them,” the union said in a statement. “In order to de-escalate the situation, UC must substantively engage with the concerns raised by the protesters — which focus on UC’s investments in companies and industries profiting off of the suffering in Gaza.”

The vote came after the union filed charges with the state labor board over the arrests of pro-Palestinian graduate student protesters at UCLA and suspensions and other discipline at UC San Diego and UC Irvine. The complaint accuses the universities of retaliating against student workers and unlawfully changing workplace policies to suppress pro-Palestinian speech.

Internal and external investigations are underway at UCLA.

In a letter sent to graduate student workers on Wednesday, the University of California warned students against striking, citing a no-strike clause in the union’s contract.

“The university’s position is that the union’s strike is unlawful . … Participating in the strike does not change, excuse, or modify, an employee’s normal work duties or expectations. And, unlike a protected strike, you could be subject to corrective action for failing to perform your duties,” the unsigned letter from the UC office of the president said.

The letter defended calling police to campuses.

“We have a duty to ensure that all speech can be heard, that our entire community is safe, and that our property and common areas are accessible for all. These duties require the UC to take action when protests endanger the community and violate our shared norms regarding safe behavior and the use of public spaces. Importantly, UC’s actions have not been tied to negotiations with UAW or any employment issues whatsoever,” it said.

The academic workers’ strike would be modeled after last year’s “stand up” strikes against Ford, Stellantis and General Motors and similar to recent strikes at Southern California hotels. The walkouts would not target all campuses at once, Jaime said, but one by one based on how receptive administrations are to pro-Palestinian activists. He said strikes could run for any length of time through the end of June.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Jurupa Valley teacher who said she was fired for Christian beliefs will get $360,000

Jessica Tapia’s suit alleged Jurupa schools required her to recognize students’ transgender identities

The Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside County will pay $360,000 to a former high school gym teacher who alleged she was fired for refusing to follow policies recognizing students’ transgender identities, a conservative law firm announced Tuesday, May 14.

The settlement, disclosed by the Murrieta-based Advocates for Faith & Freedom, ends a lawsuit filed last year in federal court by Jessica Tapia, who accused the district of violating her civil and First Amendment rights when it terminated her in January 2023.

“What happened to me can happen to anybody, and I want the next teacher to know that it is worth it to take a stand for what is right,” Tapia said in the Advocates’ news release.

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“Across the country, we are seeing teachers’ freedom of speech and religious liberty violated through policies that require them to forsake their morals. I want teachers to be confident in the fact that the best thing we can do for students is educate in truth, not deception.”

The settlement “serves as a reminder that religious freedom is protected, no matter your career,” Julianne Fleischer, an Advocates lawyer, said in the release.

“If the school district’s actions were legal, no teacher of faith would be qualified to serve as a public school teacher. Jessica’s story is one of faithful courage. She fought back to ensure her school district was held accountable and that no other teacher has to succumb to this type of discrimination.”

The Jurupa school board approved the settlement Monday, May 13, according to a statement issued by district spokesperson Jacqueline Paul.

“The district has not admitted any fault or wrongdoing as part of this settlement,” the statement read.

“The decision to settle this case was made in conjunction with the district’s self-insurance administrators and in the best interest of the students, such that the district would be able to dedicate all of its resources and efforts to its student population regardless of their protected class.”

According to her lawsuit, Tapia attended Jurupa Valley High School and had been a district employee in various capacities since 2014 before becoming the high school’s only female physical education teacher in 2021.

Tapia, a Christian who believes God created two sexes — male and female — was placed on paid administrative leave in 2022 after “some issues had been brought to the District’s attention regarding her personal social media posts,” the lawsuit states.

Click here to read the full article in the Press Enterprise

Is California’s unemployment rate really 9.5%?

The state’s ‘official’ joblessness rate was 4.8% in the past year.

Is California’s unemployment problem double what’s commonly discussed?

Ponder a quarterly employment report from the BLS that contains for Californians another bit of discomforting data: a jobless measurement using a broad interpretation of folks with paycheck problems.

This benchmark includes the officially jobless, the discouraged worker and those who are underemployed. It includes people working part-time who want full-time employment. It also tracks folks with no jobs who aren’t counted as unemployed because that haven’t recently looked for work.

What some people consider the “real” unemployment rate shows 9.5% of Californians were in this distressed employment status in the year ended in the first quarter. That’s almost double the “official” jobless rate, and it’s the state’s worst reading since 2022’s second quarter.

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It’s also highest in the nation, ahead of Nevada at 8.9%, Alaska at 8.6%, Washington at 8.6%, and New Jersey at 8.3%. Vermont was lowest at 3.8%, followed by South Dakota at 3.9%, and North Dakota. California rival Texas was 11th-highest at 7.5% while Florida was No. 30 at 6.1%.

Even the traditional jobless measurement scores California as the nation’s second-highest state for unemployment at 4.8%. Only Alaska at 4.9% was worse.

After California came New Jersey at 4.8% and Washington, D.C. and Nevada at 4.7%. Texas was No. 12 at 3.9%. Florida was No. 40 at 2.9%. Vermont was lowest at 1.8%, then North Dakota and South Dakota at 2.2%.

No matter the math, California joblessness is not just about big losses of late in the tech industry. High interest rates have throttled real estate-related industries. A relatively strong US dollar hurts manufacturing. And economic uncertainty limits white-collar, business-service staffing.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

John Eastman, ex-Chapman Law dean and Trump attorney, will feel love at CAGOP convention

Column: He also stands to make a bundle this weekend as his ‘Legal Defense Fund’ tries to reach $1.5 million

A veritable love fest awaits John Eastman at the CAGOP convention in Burlingame this weekend.

Many righteous California Republicans are circling the wagons around Eastman — Chapman Law’s former dean and Donald Trump’s former lawyer — as he battles his disbarment over the 2020 election and accuses critics of “lawfare.”

Fans can indulge in a photo opportunity with Eastman on Friday, May 17 ($100 for an individual or couple, plus $25 for each extra body in the picture).

They can savor his words when he speaks at the Make California Great Again and Judeo-Christian Caucus events on Saturday, May 18, then headlines the Tea Party California Caucus Convention Dinner that night ($125 Early Bird special).

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Delegates can also vote on a “RESOLUTION REGARDING JOHN EASTMAN AND THE CENSORING OF REPUBLICAN LAWYERS IN CALIFORNIA,” a move that’s a bit out-of-the-box.

“The CAGOP and the Resolutions Committee, as a rule, do not present these to the delegates before the Convention,” said an email to delegates. “As you may know, Attorney John Eastman has been named as a co-defendant with Donald Trump and 17 others in the Georgia RICO case charging a conspiracy to unlawfully overturn the 2020 presidential elections. In addition, a judge in a disciplinary trial before the California State Bar Court issued a ruling that John Eastman should be disbarred.

“What was John Eastman’s ‘crime’ — He provided legal advice and support to his client Donald Trump concerning the 2020 election. So we have a lawyer (a solid CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER who has practiced U.S. Constitutional law for a long career) being criminally charged for giving his advice to a client.

“So the left is now going after Eastman, and any other Conservative lawyer involved. They are ruining their careers, and their lives, attempting to destroy them, so that will intimidate any Conservative lawyers from ever representing Conservatives in these legal fights again. This is extremely dangerous to us all. None of us will ever have protected legal representation ever again. And this in fact is their aim.”

Also on the convention schedule are Lara Trump, Republican National Committee co-chair, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who killed, rather than trained, a problem-prone puppy. There will be sessions on election integrity, poll watching, ballot harvesting and curing, protecting Proposition 13 and local school board elections.

Whereas

The Eastman resolution, which has the requisite number of “WHEREAS”-es and then some, cites Eastman’s doctorate in government from the Claremont Graduate School and his law degree from the University of Chicago, his clerkships with conservative superstars Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, his several runs for elected office and his lawsuits over abortion and immigration, as well as his efforts to find a legal path to Trump victory in 2020.

It doesn’t mention that Luttig has denounced the legal analysis Eastman gave Trump.

Or that Eastman lost those bids for elected office.

Or that many lawsuits filed over conservative agenda items tanked.

“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Republican Party urges (1) the State Bar of California Appeals Court to overturn the California State Bar Court Judge’s ruling against Mr. Eastman and (2) for the California State Bar to not interfere in any manner in the future with Mr. Eastman or other California lawyers ethical representation of Conservatives, Republicans or other Californians in various political, election law, religious freedom, right to life, liberty, immigration or similar matters throughout the State,” the text reads.

This resolution “is exactly right and on target” and should be adopted, the email urged delegates.

Of course, not all Republicans are Eastman fans. Framing an “attack” on Eastman as an attack on all Republican attorneys seems like a rather broad stroke. And the insistence on personal responsibility for one’s actions — long a hallmark of conservatism, as we understand it — seems to be missing here. Instead, there’s righteous victimhood.

Countering Eastman

“The only responsibility and power of the Vice President under the Constitution is to faithfully count the electoral college votes as they have been cast,” tweeted Luttig, the aforementioned revered conservative legal scholar, on Jan. 5, 2021 (because he was unsure how else to publicly counter Eastman’s advice to Trump).

“The Constitution does not empower the Vice President to alter in any way the votes that have been cast, either by rejecting certain of them or otherwise. How the Vice President discharges this constitutional obligation is not a question of his loyalty to the President …. Neither the President nor the Vice President has any higher loyalty than to the Constitution.”

Later, before the Jan. 6 committee, Luttig’s words were slow but stunning. “Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy,” he said, noting that they tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election and fearing they might succeed in 2024.

Republicans closer to home are quite critical of Eastman’s conduct in the 2020 election as well. Laguna Niguel attorney James V. Lacy has said that Trump would be better off if he had never met John Eastman.

“This Republican beef is really about the State Bar leaning heavily left on policy matters, like supporting legislation we oppose, or unfairly giving conservative candidates for judicial positions lower ratings than their liberal opponents,” Lacy said in an email. “There is real evidence in this regard, and I agree with that complaint.

“But there is no evidence at all that the Bar’s discipline system is also biased politically, and that is the big flaw in the Resolution. So the Resolution effort misses the point of Eastman being accountable for his own misconduct and shrouds and minimizes it, almost condones it, on a false premise. Eastman got a fair trial, and the Judge who disbarred him wrote a detailed 128-page decision supporting it after months of reviewing evidence and testimony.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

GOP congressmember decries mail-in ballot ‘flaws’ after 104 Southern California votes aren’t counted

Rep. Ken Calvert wants postal service to explain why primary ballots arrived late

“Flaws in the mail-in ballot system” led to at least 104 ballots from California’s March 5 primary going uncounted though they were postmarked on or before Election Day, a Southern California congressmember said.

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, sent a letter this week to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seeking answers as to why the ballots sent to voters from Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties arrived too late, as first reported by the Southern California News Group.

“The fact that these voters were denied their ability to exercise their constitutional duty due to flaws in the mail-in ballot system is shocking,” Calvert, who represents parts of Riverside County, said in a news release.

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“In American elections, it’s not hyperbole to say every vote matters — it’s a fundamental component of our democracy. There’s no question that the increased role of mail-in ballots has put the (U.S. Postal Service) in a more critical position in our election process. Americans must have confidence that the USPS is up to the task of supporting our democracy.”

Duke Gonzales, a postal service spokesperson, relayed a statement from postal service headquarters acknowledging receipt of Calvert’s May 6 letter.

“We will respond directly to the congressman,” the statement said.

Under California law, mail-in ballots are sent to every registered voter. Legally, ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by a county registrar of voters up to seven days after an election must be counted.

According to Riverside County, 31 mail-in ballots postmarked on time arrived eight days after the election or later. They included “a few military ballots,” Registrar of Voters Art Tinoco told Riverside County supervisors in April.

In Orange County, 70 postmarked-on-time ballots arrived too late to be counted, with 61 arriving March 13, three arriving March 14 and six arriving March 15, according to that county’s registrar.

In San Bernardino County, three ballots arrived between March 13 and March 15 that were postmarked on Election Day.

Click here to read the full article in the Press Enterprise

S.F. jeweler shutting down Union Square store after being in the city for 172 years

Shreve & Co., the historic San Francisco jeweler that has been in the city for 172 years, is shutting down its Union Square store and consolidating operations at its two Palo Alto locations.

In a statement released Monday, Shreve managing partner Lane Schiffman thanked customers “for allowing us to be a part of your life’s most precious moments.”

“As we prepare to turn the page to an exciting new chapter, we want to take a moment to reflect on the journey we’ve shared with you here in San Francisco,” Shiffman said in the statement. “Shreve & Co. has been a proud member of this vibrant community since 1852, and it has been our honor to be a part of your most cherished moments.”

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Shreve & Co. opened on 110 Montgomery St. in 1852 and moved to 200 Post St. — which still has the Shreve & Co. name etched above its front entrance — in March 1906, a month before the earthquake and fire. For 109 years the company operated there before being forced to move in 2015 when it was outbid on the 200 Post St. space by New York jeweler Harry Winston. 

At the time the displacement of Shreve & Co. was held up as an example of local family-owned businesses being priced out of Union Square by national luxury brands. 

“One thing you can count on in San Francisco is the rent going up,” Schiffman said at the time. “The most important thing to know is that Shreve is a fantastically healthy fine jeweler with basically no debt. We are very strong and will transition to new space and be better than ever.”

While Shreve & Co. was forced out of 200 Post, the jeweler didn’t have to move far, leasing 11,800 square feet across two floors of 150 Post St.

Now nearly a decade later Union Square has been decimated by store closures — including North Face, Zara, Express,  H&M, Crate & Barrel, Uniqlo, the Gap — even as there are increasing signs of a comeback.

Ali McEvoy, a retail broker with Maven Commercial, said the Shreve & Co. decision to leave was abrupt — until a few months ago the company was in active negotiations to remain in Union Square. 

While stores are still closing, she said the momentum in Union Square has shifted, with an increasing number of brands looking to take advantage of lower rents. She pointed to three Post Street spaces that are currently undergoing tenant improvement build outs for luxury watch companies — Rolex, Breitling and Patek Philippe — while high-end women’s clothing brands St. John and Max Mara are also relocating to Post Street.

Click here to read the full article in SF Chronicle

California exodus left a gaping population hole. Can the Golden State bounce back?

Despite a recent uptick in population, California still has a long way to go to make up for the exodus that began in 2019 and accelerated during the pandemic.

Though the state population grew 0.17% in 2023 — the first year of growth since the COVID-19 pandemic — California is still 1.2% smaller than it was in 2019, according to a Times data analysis.

If the state continues to grow at the same pace, it would take almost eight more years for California’s population to reach its pre-pandemic high-water mark.

But experts said it’s still hard to know how quickly the state can rebound.

California’s population declined largely because of a drop in international migration linked to pandemic travel restrictions, deaths from COVID-19 and a large number of people leaving for states with more affordable housing.

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Some factors that led to the exodus are easing. Companies have been calling employees back to the office, making remote work situations more difficult. Major cities such as San Francisco saw some of the biggest increases in population last year, but they were also the hardest hit by the exodus.

Yet high housing prices remain a huge barrier and show no signs of easing.

A new poll underscores the challenges. The survey, conducted by the Los Angeles Business Council Institute in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, found nearly three-quarters of renters and those younger than 35 have given consideration to moving out of L.A. About 37% of homeowners and 26% of those 65 or older have also considered moving, the poll found.

“The state has experienced a chronic housing shortage for decades,” said Sarah Karlinsky, research director for the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley.

The housing squeeze has put people “in substandard housing conditions,” and “a little bit of a breather in the housing market might allow someone who is doubling, tripling, quadrupling up to find a place of their own,” she said.

So many are “teetering on the edge or have fallen into homelessness,” Karlinsky said, and for them the state will need more subsidized affordable housing.

When the state adds to its housing stock, she said, it shouldn’t just be adding high-rises, but also “more affordable multifamily housing options” that might be smaller and cheaper.

Cities may begin to boost their population as businesses end work-from-home policies, but Karlinsky cautioned that “if everybody is driving back into their jobs, then that is going to be incredibly unpleasant.”

On a numeric basis, Los Angeles County has the most ground to make up: It still has about 340,000 fewer people than it did in 2019.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Should California be able to require sobriety in homeless housing?

Desperate for a way to help the tens of thousands of people living in tents, cars and RVs on California’s streets, lawmakers are attempting to upend a key tenet of the state’s homelessness policy.

Touring the Santa newly remodeled Barbara Rescue Mission

Two new bills would allow state funding to support sober housing — a significant departure from current law, which requires providers to accept people regardless of their drug and alcohol use. 

“If people want to get off of drugs and away from drugs, we should give them that option,” said Assemblymember Matt Haney, a Democrat from San Francisco who wrote Assembly Bill 2479. “They shouldn’t be forced to live next to people who are using drugs.”

There are at least 12,000 sober living beds in the state, but more than twice that many Californians who would qualify for those services, according to data from the California Research Bureau quoted in the Assembly Health Committee’s analysis of the second bill, AB 2893.

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As state law prohibits spending housing funding on sobriety-focused programs, many are funded by private donations. 

The lawmakers behind the two bills say they aren’t trying to alter the key idea that everyone deserves immediate housing, even people struggling with addictions. Instead, they’re attempting to give more choices to people who want to be sober. But some experts worry that, because California has a shortage of homeless housing, people who relapse in sober housing or who don’t want to stay sober would have nowhere to go but back to the street. 

The bills come as California’s homelessness population is skyrocketing, having increased from about 118,000 in 2016 to more than 181,000 last year. Some critics blame and want to overturn the state’s inclusive housing policy. At the same time, as public fears about crime soar, voters in some liberal cities are putting limits on who can receive public assistance.

San Francisco voters this year passed an initiative mandating drug screenings for welfare recipients. In San Diego County, Vista Mayor John Franklin recently introduced a measure pledging not to support “any program that enables continued drug use” and criticizing housing first for precluding sober housing.

“I think we are seeing a cultural shift,” said Christopher Calton, a research fellow who studies housing and homelessness for libertarian think-tank the Independent Institute. “People are starting to say these permissive policies aren’t working.”

California’s ‘housing first’ homelessness policy

At issue is the state’s adherence to “housing first,” a framework where homeless residents are offered housing immediately and with minimal caveats or requirements, regardless of sobriety. The housing should be “low-barrier,” meaning residents are not required to participate in recovery or other programs. After someone is housed, providers are then supposed to offer voluntary substance use and mental health treatment, job training, or other services. The idea is that if people don’t have to focus all their energy on simply surviving on the streets, they’re better equipped to work on their other issues.

Housing first became law of the land in California in 2016 when the state required all state-funded programs to adopt the model. 

The federal government also uses that framework. But in 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said requiring sobriety is not necessarily anti-housing first. California did not follow suit.

Some Republicans and conservative-leaning groups now are pushing to overturn California’s housing first framework, saying it hasn’t successfully reduced homelessness. Assemblymember Josh Hoover, from Folsom, is trying to completely repeal housing first with AB 2417. That bill has yet to be heard by a committee, and likely won’t advance this year.

But with more than 180,000 Californians lacking a home, even Democrats want to see changes. The bills by Haney and Assemblymember Chris Ward of San Diego would allow up to 25% of state funds in each county to go toward sober housing. 

Neither Democrat wants to upend housing first. Instead, they want sober housing facilities to operate under a housing first framework. Haney’s bill would require counties to make sure sober facilities kept people housed at rates similar to facilities without sobriety requirements.

Both bills specify that tenants should not be kicked out of their sober housing just because they relapse, and instead they should get support to help them recover. If a resident is no longer interested in being sober, the program should help them move into another housing program. 

Having a sober living option for people who want it would be a good thing — but it would have to be their choice, said Sharon Rapport, director of California state policy for The Corporation for Supportive Housing. But homeless housing is so scarce in California, that it’s unlikely participants would be given a true choice, she said. And, these bills would divert already limited state money away from low-barrier housing.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Here are the winners and losers in California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May Revise budget

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May Revise budget proposal offered few winners, and plenty of losers, Friday, as he unveiled an austere vision for state finances. Newsom called for slashing more than $32 billion in one-time and ongoing spending, with reductions, cost shifts and delayed spending across a wide variety of state departments and programs.

Photo courtesy Franco Folini, flickr

The governor however presented a defiant stance at his press conference Friday, telling reporters that “we’re holding the line on unprecedented investments.” State lawmakers and Newsom will hash out the details over the next few weeks. The Legislature is required to pass a balanced spending plan by June 15 and the governor must sign it before the new fiscal year begins on July 1. Here is a look at who won and who lost under Newsom’s revised budget proposal:

LOSERS State workers: While state workers dodged furloughs in this year’s tough budget, they didn’t emerge entirely unscathed. Newsom announced that he wants a 7.95% cut to state operations beginning this next budget year. That’s in addition to the 10,000 vacant state worker positions that he wants to see eliminated. “So we want a leaner government…streamlined government. We want to do what all of you are doing in your personal lives, all the businesses out there doing in their professional lives as well, and we think we can do that and still achieve outstanding outcomes,” Newsom said. Public health: Despite being just a year removed from one pandemic, and amid growing concerns of a possible future one, Newsom has proposed slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from state and local public health spending.

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The governor wants to see $52.5 million reduced from last year’s budget, and a further $300 million in ongoing spending reductions. Asked about his proposal to cut public health spending amid pandemic concerns, Newsom offered a matter-of-fact response. “We have a shortfall. We have to be sober about the reality of what our priorities are,” he said.

The governor’s proposal drew condemnation from those in the public health sector. “Local public health officials are astounded that just one year after the COVID-19 public health emergency ended, the administration has proposed repeating the same mistakes that left public health departments under-prepared and under-resourced and communities of color so vulnerable,” said Michelle Gibbons, Executive Director of the County Health Executives Association of California in a statement. “The biggest lesson of COVID-19 is that waiting until a crisis to invest in public health is a costly and deadly mistake that we can’t afford to repeat.” Cities that rely on homelessness grants: California has given out billions of dollars in flexible spending grants in recent years for local governments to put toward reducing homelessness.

Mayors of large cities have praised the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention program, or HHAP, and the flexibility it provides to spend money on as needed in their own communities, whether it’s standing up new shelters or placing people in interim housing. City leaders have asked Newsom and lawmakers to dedicate permanent funds to the program. Instead, Newsom’s spending plan would cut $260 million from the next round of funding, which was slated to be $1 billion. It does not include funding for HHAP beyond that. “That may not sit well with some, but we’re not seeing the results I want to see,” Newsom said. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, who chairs the Big City Mayors coalition, said “California’s homelessness problem will only get worse” if the program is cut. “If the state wants to reverse the trend of more people falling into homelessness, cutting off funding for programs that are keeping tens of thousands of people indoors and off the streets isn’t the way to do it,” Gloria said.

Click here to read the full article in the Sacramento Bee

Newsom’s Budget Revisal Proposes 10,000 Vacant State Jobs Being Cut, Cuts To 260 State Programs

California still has a massive deficit whether you look at Newsom’s lowball numbers or the state projections

During his May revised 2024-2025 state budget proposal announcement on Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed cutting around 10,000 vacant state jobs, as well as spending to 260 state programs.

Back in January, Governor Newsom released his first 2024-2025 state budget proposal. In it, Newsom had the budget set at $291.5 billion with a$37.9 billion deficit attached after previous spending reductions were added in.

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The $27.6 billion detailed in his proposal, plus $17.3 billion in proactive cuts recently agreed upon between the administration and the state Legislature, amount to a total of $44.9 billion total deficit. To help pay for it he had delayed spending, more borrowing, and tapping into the rainy day fund to make it all work. But no where there was any mention of job losses or big time cuts spread across hundreds of agencies.

But reality quickly kicked in, during the months that followed. The Legislative Analyst’s Office tacked the real state deficit initially at $58 billion. It soon climbed up to $68 billion, and by late February it was $73 billion. Only a few years before, the state had a $31 billion surplus. But numerous factors, including a weakening economy, a massive loss of the state population, businesses moving out of state, delayed tax changes, and other post-COVID changes sent California on a downward spiral.

Newsom’s office and other state leaders attempted to challenge the LAO’s findings, but the non-partisan analyst’s office numbers held. The LAO figure served as the true figure on how much the state was behind and just how drastically the state needed to change. This led to Newsom’s revised budget announcement on Friday. With Newsom’s announced deficit now higher than his estimate in January, and the LAO not yet saying how much higher the actual deficit is now based on Newsom’s slightly reduced $288.1 billion budget, massive cuts were in mind.

Newsom proposes to cut 10,000 vacant state jobs

Perhaps none were so sweeping as Newsom proposing to cut around 10,000 vacant state jobs and cutting spending to 260 state programs. Newsom didn’t linger on these major changes however, moving on to other key areas like climate change and crime, noting that “Even when revenues were booming, we were preparing for possible downturns by investing in reserves and paying down debts – that’s put us in a position to close budget gaps while protecting core services that Californians depend on. Without raising taxes on Californians, we’re delivering a balanced budget over two years that continues the progress we’ve fought so hard to achieve, from getting folks off the streets to addressing the climate crisis to keeping our communities safe.”

However, employment experts said that should the Legislature agree to the cuts, the 10,000 vacant jobs being cut would not be as dramatic as the Governor and his advisors made it seem.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

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