Levine: “This can’t be a backwater job at a time when this is the one position that has the ability to affect the most Californians.”
Lara: “Climate change-fueled wildfires continue to devastate homeowners and communities. My moratorium orders help provide short-term relief as we address the root causes of these ever-intensifying natural disasters.”
To put the destruction stemming from California’s fires into perspective: From July 1 to Sept. 10, the state spent $849.1 million fighting major fires, H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance, told me. And last week, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services asked Congress to appropriate at least $7.7 billion for California’s wildfire response and recovery efforts, as well as tax relief for those affected by the blazes.
Meanwhile, Monday’s hot, dry winds pushed the KNP Complex Fire in Sequoia National Park closer to the Giant Forest, but the beloved forest — home to General Sherman, the largest tree on the planet — remained relatively unscathed. However, the Windy Fire in Sequoia National Forest began to attack other ancient groves containing trees over 1,500 years old.
The coronavirus bottom line: As of Sunday, California had 4,422,085 confirmed cases (+0.1% from previous day) and 67,612 deaths (+0.01% from previous day), according to state data. CalMatters is also tracking coronavirus hospitalizations by county.
Californians who want to know how much progress the state unemployment department has made on crucial reforms will now likely have to wait until Oct. 13 — after state lawmakers postponed for the third time a key hearing tentatively scheduled for today, I’ve exclusively learned. Staffers told me the holdup was primarily due to finding a room in which to hold the hearing, a process complicated by COVID safety protocols that require physical distancing and a lack of available large meeting spaces amid construction at the Capitol.
The news contradicts a statement from Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, a Los Angeles Democrat and chairperson of one of the committees holding the Employment Development Department hearing: “My colleagues and I will return to Sacramento in September to ensure that it is done,” she told me in late August, after the hearing had already been delayed twice.
Coronavirus case rates are declining among California’s children more slowly than in the adult population, though kids’ hospitalization rates are far lower, according to a Mercury News analysis. Wednesday, Oakland Unified is scheduled to vote on a vaccine mandate for staff and eligible students.
3.Port logjam imperils supply chain
Yes, it’s only September, but you may want to start doing your holiday shopping now. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which handle about 40% of U.S. imports, have so much backlogged cargo that they’re expanding employee work hours in an attempt to build a 24/7 supply chain, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Every day last week, the two ports set a new record for the number of ships waiting to unload electronics, toys, clothes, furniture and other goods. What’s causing the massive logjam? COVID safety protocols, a surge in people shopping online and a persistent worker shortage, especially of truckers to transport the items away from the ports, experts say. The situation has gotten so dire that companies such as Target have chartered private container ships to make sure people get their orders on time.