Not so long ago, my colleagues in the New York Times’ grocery department reached out to key staff to see how they got through the pandemic. They heard about every connection in the nation’s food supply.
One answer came from Eric Hodge, a commercial fisherman in Ventura. In the third week of March he came back from a cod trip and learned that the wholesaler who bought 65 percent of his fish is no longer biting.
“Within 48 hours I realized that two-thirds of my market had just collapsed,” he told reporter Mahira Rivers. I won’t spoil the rest of his story.
But he and his children are a far cry from the only Californians grappling with tough financial decisions, even with the $ 900 billion stimulus package passed in December. Since February before the pandemic, unemployment has more than doubled to 9.3 percent.
On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed his own $ 4.5 billion stimulus package as part of budget negotiations. The largest line item is $ 1.5 billion to accelerate the state’s clean car transition by funding more charging points and discounts for clean car buyers.
However, Mr. Newsom will also urge lawmakers to fund a pandemic relief program to provide grants of up to $ 25,000 to businesses, including museums, galleries, and other cultural businesses, as well as tax credits for businesses moving or expanding in California help. He also suggests fee waivers for bars, restaurants, barbershops, manicurists and other hard-hit businesses.
Hero Pay vs. redundancies
In Los Angeles, the county regulator relocated Tuesday to consider a 5-hour “hero payment” for supermarket and retail drug store employees. The City of Los Angeles and Long Beach are considering similar measures. The head of the California Grocers’ Association described the move as “unprecedented” and “irresponsible”.
In a more well-known type of workplace development, the Albertsons supermarket company, which also includes Vons and Pavilions, confirmed it would lay off its in-house supermarket delivery drivers and outsource their work to gig delivery company DoorDash. The national agreement follows the passing of an election in November that exempted gig employers from California’s sweeping new labor law.
Cheating Against Frozen Advantages
Californians have flooded social media with complaints verifying unemployment were suspended. The problem: technology and regulatory flaws that led to breathtaking fraud in the unemployment insurance pandemic.
Mr. Newsom last month appointed a new director of the State Department of Employment Development, which deals with unemployment. But “there is a new EDD fiasco every month,” Senator Scott Wiener told The San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, adding that in the past few days he has received at least 50 complaints from constituents whose accounts have been frozen despite legitimate claims .
But the Los Angeles Times also reported a new outrage on Tuesday: Not only were bogus coronavirus aid claims allegedly paid to death row inmates, one-year-old toddlers, a rapper and someone posing as Senator Dianne Feinstein, but they also went to California $ 42 million in claims against fraudsters in and outside of the state.
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Here’s what you should know today:
What was at stake for California in the Georgia Senate election? Face Time for Kamala Harris, Affirmation for Xavier Becerra, and more. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
Arnold Schwarzenegger warned other Republicans in Congress that they will “live in shame” if they do not “step down from the partisan battlefield and accept the election results” today when the votes of the electoral college are counted. Mr. Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, added that Georgian Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger was “a real hero”. [The Economist]
The 2021 Grammy Awards have been postponed Tuesday over concerns about Covid-19 in Los Angeles, where a limited no-audience show was scheduled for January 31st. The organizers said they wanted a new date in March. [Rolling Stone]
A US $ 500,000 donation from Prov 3: 9, LLC to support Governor Newsom’s recall came from an Orange County donor named John Kruger, who objects to California’s pandemic restrictions on indoor personal worship, the group’s accountant said Tuesday. [Politico]
The San Francisco Art Institute is Considering the sale of a 1931 Diego Rivera mural worth $ 50 million to cover its debt and operating costs after years of declining enrollments, expensive expansion, and now pandemic costs. Faculty members and students are appalled. [The New York Times]
Renie Bardeau, longtime Disneyland photographer His work included some of the park’s most iconic images – and an estimated 100,000 Mickey Mouse photos – who died on Monday from the effects of Covid-19. He was 86 years old. [The Orange County Register]
George Whitmore, who made the first ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, died of complications from Covid-19 on New Years Day in Fresno. He was 89 years old. [The Fresno Bee]
Tanya Roberts, who starred in “That ’70s Show” and before that, Roger Moore died as a Bond girl on Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after her publicist prematurely announced her death and then corrected the mistake. She was 65 years old. [The New York Times]
And finally …
Four months ago, a chick emerged from a clam into the hands of a California Condor Recovery Program worker at the Los Angeles Zoo. Wet, pink and bald, # LA1720 shouldn’t have been alive.
The chick was upside down in its egg and could not have picked out. Had it been in the wild, it would have been stillborn. But since 1982 when the species was so endangered that Only 22 California condors remained on the planet. Preserving the condors was part of the zoo’s mission.
Now # LA1720 is a three foot, 15 pound toddler who feeds on vomited dead rats and rabbits daily. Mike Maxcy, the zoo’s bird curator, says he’s too young to fully fledge, but old enough to “jump around and flap his wings and pretend he’s flying”.
In about a year, Mr. Maxcy said, after a few months in a Prerelease pen for it to learn its pecking order, its keepers will pass it on to California Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Kern County, where it is now one of more than 500 California Condors in the wild.
Before that, however, Mr. Maxcy and his staff believed that # LA1720 should have a name that is catchier than the serial number of his egg. That is why the zoo has started a campaign that takes the name of the condor chick into account. The proceeds will go to the Condor Restoration Program. The nominees selected by the condor keepers are “Cali”, “Wallace”, “Timoloqin” or “Yurok”. Participants have until 11:59 p.m. Vote here Thursday.
California Today goes live at 6:30 am Pacific time on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: [email protected]. Have you been forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and Read every issue online here.
California Today is published by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.