Kevin Faulconer, however, wasn’t so lucky: He lost his bid to be described as “retired San Diego Mayor” on the recall ballot, and will instead be referred to as “businessman/educator.” Real estate YouTuber Kevin Paffrath was also blocked from including his nickname “Meet Kevin.”
While Newsom’s challengers spent Wednesday in court battling over ballot designations, the governor was making his own appeal to the court of public opinion. In a likely attempt to soothe voters spooked by a 31% spike in homicides, potentially shorter prison sentences for 76,000 inmates, and viral videos of store robberies, Newsom signed into law a bill to continue classifying organized retail theft as a crime and keep task forces in place. He also appeared to chastise progressive district attorneys, such as George Gascón in Los Angeles and Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, by encouraging prosecutors to “take seriously those re-offenses” and “be a little bit more proactive on enforcement and prosecution of those crimes.”
The press conference came a day after high-profile victim advocates — including Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was murdered in 1996 — gathered in Sacramento to denounce Newsom’s criminal justice policies.
Joanna Rodriguez, spokesperson for Recall Gavin Newsom Action: “Californians deserve a governor who cares about their safety and the economic impacts of increasing crime all the time — not just when facing the threat of recall.”
The coronavirus bottom line: As of Tuesday, California had 3,772,470confirmed cases(+0.1% from previous day) and 63,664 deaths(+0.02% from previous day), according to a CalMatters tracker.
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Other stories you should know
1.Conservatorships in the spotlight
Thanks to Britney Spears, a topic once debated only in niche circles — California’s complex conservatorship laws — has suddenly become dinner table conversation. Thousands of people are now opining on whether California makes it too easy or too difficult for representatives to assume decision-making power for people deemed so cognitively impaired they can’t make choices for themselves. The back-and-forth is also playing out in the state Legislature: Lawmakers recently tabled a bill that would make it easier to conserve people with serious mental illness, while a proposal inspired by the Spears case that would require increased transparency and stricter accountability continues to advance, CalMatters’ Jocelyn Wiener reports.
Thirteen years after California voters approved $10 billion to build a bullet train stretching from San Francisco to Los Angeles, it’s unclear whether the first section of track — a 119-mile stretch connecting the tiny towns of Madera and Shafter — will ever be finished. That’s because Newsom and state lawmakers can’t decide whether to fund it: While Newsom proposed pouring $4.2 billion into finishing the first segment, some top Democratic legislators are wondering if more money should go toward improving public transportation in highly-populated areas like Los Angeles, CalMatters’ Marissa Garcia reports. The Newsom administration, meanwhile, says high-speed rail offers good-paying jobs in the economically struggling Central Valley — though the project has only created about 20% of the jobs union leaders and politicians say it has.
Consumer advocates, while applauding the idea of underground power lines, said PG&E should not burden ratepayers with the cost of developing such a system.
Mark Toney of the Utility Reform Network: “We’d be living in a world where only the wealthy could afford electricity. PG&E needs a plan to reduce the most risk possible at the least cost possible to ratepayers.”