Is state failing the vulnerable?- CalMatters

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Good morning, California. It’s Thursday, December 16th.

State agencies under fire

A row of tents under a flyover in East Los Angeles on November 17, 2021. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters

If the pandemic has made one thing clear in California, it is that the state often fails to protect its most vulnerable residents.

That was the result from an emotional eight-hour hearing on Wednesday, during which state lawmakers heard testimony about potential reforms to the state law governing how and when family members with severe mental illness can be forced into therapy.

  • Jim Wood, Member of the Democratic Assembly, Santa Rosa: The worst thing we can do is keep investing money in a system that isn’t working without trying to change and improve the system. And that’s kind of…what we’re constantly hearing from our ingredients. this is not working. ”

It was also the takeaway from Monday’s legislative hearing, where Democratic Assembly member Coty Petrie Norris of Laguna Beach said the California Department of Health Care Services was Her hands are stained with blood for failing to adequately organize addiction treatment facilities.

It was the takeaway from a legislative hearing in October on nursing homes, in which Democratic Assemblyman Al Muratuschi of Los Angeles accused the California Department of Public Health of “failing to crack down on bad actors who manipulate the system.”

Taken together, the three hearings suggest that when state lawmakers return to Sacramento in January, one of their main priorities will be to renew care for the elderly, the homeless, the mentally ill, and the addicted — and strengthen oversight of the agencies that provide that care.

One of the priorities that Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration seems to share: Terrified by the number of COVID deaths in nursing homes, the Department of Health Care Services is crafting a proposal that would fund facilities based on their ability to meet quality standards — an idea that the nursing home industry vehemently opposes, California Healthline reports.

For his part, Newsom said Wednesday that he plans to include an additional $100 million in next year’s proposed budget for local governments to clean up garbage and homeless camps. He stressed that the goal is not to keep the homeless out of sight, but rather to link them to behavioral health services, addiction treatment and housing.

Meanwhile, pressure is also mounting on state leaders to investigate the California Medical Board that licenses and disciplines doctors. A Los Angeles Times investigation Wednesday found that since 2013, the board of directors has reinstated the licenses of 10 of 17 physicians who revoked their licenses for sexual assault of patients — a much higher percentage of physicians who lost their licenses for all other reasons.

Message from our sponsor

The end result of the Corona virus: As of Tuesday, California 4,896,401 confirmed cases (+0.1% from the previous day) And 74,794 death cases (+0.1% from the previous day), according to state data. CalMatters is also tracking coronavirus hospitalizations by county.

run the state of california 61,740,985 Vaccine doses, And 69.8% of eligible Californians were fully vaccinated.

Message from our sponsor

1. Why is CA stuck with Valencia Lab?

Governor Gavin Newsom checks a COVID-19 test device at a Valencia laboratory on October 30, 2020. Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Photo/Pool

California’s recent decision to automatically renew a $1.7 billion contract for a COVID-19 testing lab plagued by some critics has left one question: Why? State inspectors not only discovered such significant shortcomings in the Valencia branch laboratory that at one point they risked losing his license, but he also consistently failed to meet the standards stipulated in his contract. And although Newsom’s administration says the lab has helped expand schools’ testing capacity, the state’s two largest areas — Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified — are using other vendors, CalMatters’ Kristen Huang and Anna Ibarra report. Part of the reason is the cost: Each test processed in a Valencia lab costs the state more than three times the amount Los Angeles Unified pays its test supplier, SummerBio. The school district estimates it will pay SummerBio $350 million to test 500,000 students and staff per week over the course of the school year — but California has already paid more than twice that to process just 5.5 million tests in the Valencia lab.

Some Californians have also been confused by the state’s last-minute decision to exempt pollinator sponsors of some businesses in San Francisco, Contra Costa, Alameda and Marin counties from statewide indoor mask requirements that went into effect Wednesday. Additionally, Los Angeles Unified on Tuesday night voted to delay enforcement of the student vaccine mandate from January 10 to fall 2022, citing the chaos that will inevitably result from returning tens of thousands of students to distance learning. .

2. New data highlights ‘get out of California’

A moving truck full of boxes. Image via iStock

Is there really such a thing as a California exit? The takeaway from Wednesday’s report from the nonpartisan California Policy Lab: It’s complicated. The report found that while Golden State is losing more than twice as many people to internal migration than it was before the pandemic, the decline is largely due to fewer residents moving out of the state, not more Californians moving out. The report does not take into account international migration — which for more than a decade has helped California’s population grow, albeit at a slower pace than the rest of the country.

Among the main findings of the report:

  • 38% less than people from other states Entered California in September 2021 than it was in March 2020.
  • 12% more Californians left the state During that period – but this rise is in line with pre-pandemic trends.
  • All areas of California experienced a sharp decline In people who entered from outside the state, but the effect was particularly pronounced in the Bay Area, which saw a 45% decrease. (There was also a 21% increase in Bay Area residents moving to another state.)
  • by net moves, Most popular destinations For Californians who have left the state are Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington. Tennessee, Montana and Idaho saw the largest increases in arrivals to California, according to a San Francisco Chronicle analysis.

“If these trends continue, the implications for California will be significant, from federal funding allocations and tax revenue to the number of seats we have in Congress,” said report co-author Natalie Holmes. “Population fluctuations could have even more dramatic effects on local jurisdictions.”

3. Oil Spill & Drought Updates

Crew members search for oil clusters along the sand at Huntington Beach on October 5, 2021. Photo by Pablo Unzueta for CalMatters

Wednesday brought with it a slew of California environmental news:

  • A grand jury in the United States hit Amplify Energy Corp. and two of its subsidiaries are charged with misdemeanour for a series of negligent acts that led to the massive oil spill in October off the coast of Huntington Beach. Among the allegations against the companies: They failed to respond to eight leak alerts that should have prompted them to shut down the pipeline more than 13 hours earlier.
  • California joined Arizona and Nevada in signing an agreement to take less water from the Colorado River in the coming years—another indication of the severe drought sweeping the western United States, and the Golden State will also contribute $20 million to water efficiency projects.
  • California is also close to building its first major reservoir in decades — although critics say the $4 billion project will endanger endangered salmon and damage the traditions of some indigenous tribes.
  • The second storm of the week is starting to drop rain and snow across California — but, in a sobering reminder of how drier the state is, none of the water levels in its reservoirs rose more than 1%, and all were lower than both for one year. Past and historical averages.

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: The California Public Utilities Commission will likely align itself with major utilities by reducing payments to owners of rooftop solar systems. (Note: Dan’s column will be paused until January 3.)

Revolutionizing the California Education System: The state defines student success too narrowly and should move toward a competency-based approach to learning, argues Roman Stearns of expanding student success.

California suffers from electricity shortages as it is: How will the country operate the electric car charging stations it needs for all new multi-family buildings with parking? asks Chucker Twining of Broker Twining Properties.

Other things worth your time

How did you miss four universities in California on $47 million in aid for the coronavirus. // CalMatters

CSU prepares to drop SAT As a condition of college admission. // Los Angeles Times

California must address the imbalance experienced by too many qualified students And there aren’t enough UC and CSU slots, the report says. // EdSource

Retailers say the thefts are at crisis level. The numbers say otherwise. // Los Angeles Times

San Diego may start allowing cannabis dispensaries Close to parks, churches, libraries and playgrounds. // San Diego Union-Tribune

San Francisco became the first city to request sick leave For babysitters, cleaners and gardeners. // San Francisco Chronicle

The proposed tax on real estate sales in Los Angeles is more than $5 million To finance the housing of the homeless. // Los Angeles Times

Auckland restaurants add new surcharges to feed the homeless. // San Francisco Chronicle

Controversy grows over bike lanes in San Diego Amid a huge increase in costs. // San Diego Union-Tribune

City employees are asking for money for a Garcetti-supported charity. Ethics experts have concerns. // Los Angeles Times

Eric Garcetti skips past scandal On a winding path bound for New Delhi. // POLITICO

cDue to fears of violence, SEIU International gets into the controversy in the California State Workers’ Union. // Sacramento B

Classify every member of Congress on their financial disputes and transparency. // interested in business

California was in the process of passing a net zero bill. Then there was a discussion about carbon sequestration getting in the way. // Grist

Planting Joshua Tree Seedlings In a burning desert. // Los Angeles Times

Crazy mushroom rush: When a popular pastime exploded, it soured Salt Point State Park. // svgat

see you tomorrow.

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