THE BUZZ: The West Coast is getting ready to reopen — and offering an object lesson in federalism.
Gov. Gavin Newsom trumpeted a joint regional framework Monday for lifting the lockdown, joining with his Oregon and Washington counterparts to transform weeks of deliberation into a public declaration that, if we’re not yet out of the woods, you can glimpse the treeline ahead. Newsom has stressed vigilance over triumphalism, but his daily briefings have increasingly showcased signs of progress like the promisingly “modest” increases in hospital numbers he cited yesterday as signs “things seem to be stabilizing.”
We got little detail about a timeline or methodology for cracking the doors of shuttered businesses, allowing students to return to school or other benchmarks of normalcy. The joint statement instead sets out general principles like the need for “a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening.” Newsom said we’ll likely see an incremental thaw tied to data and to health officials’ guidance. Here’s what we know so far.
But even the vague shape of a West Coast strategy reinforced a theme of the government’s coronavirus response: the politicians atop the national food chain are not the key decision-makers in a public health crisis. Newsom and his West Coast brethren are acting in concert in part because their early decisions to act more aggressively than other parts of the country or the feds made a dent and allowed Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to proclaim they are “ahead of the curve”. Noting our first-in-the-nation stay-at-home-order, Newsom said, “I’m very proud of the state of California for leading.”
President Donald Trump believes otherwise, claiming erroneously Monday in tweets and an astonishing White House performance that he — not governors — wields ultimate authority over when to lift restrictions. Over and over, Trump said that supreme authority rests with him. States “can’t do anything without the approval of the president of the United States,” holdout governors “will agree to it” — not that he’s asked them about his authority there, because “I don’t have to” — and those who resist reopening are imperiling reelection.
But reality had already overtaken the president’s assertion: Hours before Newsom touted the West Coast coalition, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was also talking about a regional bloc, not taking his cues from the White House. Newsom continued to hew to his diplomatic strategy, declining to contradict Trump and predicting more federal collaboration. But the takeaway was clear: States are taking the lead regardless of what the president tweets.
BUENOS DIAS, good Tuesday morning. Newsom repeatedly promised that we’d get more details today about what the gradual lockdown lift will look like in California; we’ll bring you all the updates.
JOIN US! Carla and Jeremy will brief Playbook readers on Gov. Newsom’s progress fighting coronavirus, the Legislature’s role and all the other pressing California politics news on Wednesday, April 15 at 9 a.m. — sign up for the California Playbook video briefing here.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s got to be. It’s total, and the governors know that.” Trump expounds on his view of executive power at the White House.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Sen. @KamalaHarris with love for a fellow San Francisco pol: “Mayor @LondonBreed took extraordinary political heat for her swift action to combat coronavirus in San Francisco. Her leadership saved lives.”
WHERE’S GAVIN? His daily #NewsomAtNoon briefing, to be livestreamed on @CAGovernor Twitter feed, will update Covid-19 news in California.
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— “Coyotes, bobcats and bears: Wildlife is reclaiming Yosemite National Park,” by the LA Times’ Susanne Rust: “A young bobcat ambled by the nearly abandoned administrative buildings, while ravens prattled and danced in the empty parking lots, and coyotes trotted along the valley’s empty roads and walkways.”
SMOKE-FREE — “San Francisco mayor threatens to arrest 4/20 revelers during coronavirus,” by POLITICO’s Victoria Colliver.
— “More test positive for COVID-19 at shelter as total cases pass 950 in SF,” by the SF Examiner’s Joshua Sabatini.
—”Custody assistant on life support, 11 inmates test positive at L.A. County jails,” by the LATimes’ Alene Tchekmedyian.
— “Officials say 55 LAPD employees, 17 LAFD employees have now tested positive for the coronavirus,” by the LA Daily News’ Sean Emery.
With the help of The COVID Tracking Project — a volunteer-run accounting of every coronavirus test conducted in America — POLITICO is monitoring how many Americans have been tested in all 50 states. Our live tracker will continue to update with the latest numbers across the country as they come in.
INCLUDING GIG WORKERS — “Warren, Khanna roll out ‘bill of rights’ for essential workers amid pandemic,” by POLITICO’s Cristiano Lima: “The proposal calls for expanding paid sick leave to 14 days, and paid family and medical leave to 12 weeks. Other provisions would boost health and safety protections, and ensure frontline workers receive “premium pay” above their usual compensation.”
PELOSI PUSHBACK — “‘Almost sinful’: Pelosi skewers Trump over threats to reopen country too soon,” by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle.
— “Members of Congress learn to work from home during coronavirus crisis,” by the LA Times’ Jennifer Haberkorn: “Up until about four weeks ago, Rep. Lou Correa wouldn’t have hesitated to hug a tearful constituent as the woman described a problem she wanted his office to investigate.”
STUTZMAN ON VEEP RACE IN WAPO — “Biden should name his VP now. And it should be Amy Klobuchar,” by Rob Stutzman in WaPo: “Klobuchar would lend Biden a partner with a quick sense of humor and the killer instinct in debates.”
— “Democrats scramble to close YouTube deficit amid quarantine campaign,” by POLITICO’s Alex Thompson: “The 2020 presidential campaign’s transition to a mostly digital experience, with the nation on lockdown, has spotlighted a long-term progressive deficit on YouTube that some concerned Democrats compare to the right’s command of talk radio.”
— “Tears, anger and determination: six Bernie supporters in California on what’s next,” by The Guardian’s Sam Levin.
— “Republicans betting on a political upset in California,” by the National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar: “The swing-district race, to fill the vacancy created by scandal-plagued Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s resignation, is looking surprisingly favorable for Republicans.”
MAIL MELEE — “Democrats fear for November after Wisconsin voting spectacle,” by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Christopher Cadelago: “‘We need a federal and state-by-state strategy, and it starts with calling voter suppression for what it is,’ said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, president of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State.”
— “Reddit makes political ads more transparent ahead of 2020 election,” by POLITICO’s Cristiano Lima.
PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES — “Atkins to Senate: Carry fewer bills this year,” by POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White: “A directive from [Toni] Atkins’ office instructed committee chairs to ‘put on pause’ pre-existing, non-coronavirus bills introduced in early 2020, before the virus overwhelmed the political agenda. … Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), in keeping with his practice of deferring to members, is letting committee chairs decide how to manage legislative loads. Some of those legislative gatekeepers have issued criteria for which bills staff should pursue or shelve.” (Pro link)
—”Kaiser offers help to workers on front lines of COVID-19 outbreak,” by the OC Register’s Kevin Smith: “Kaiser Permanente and workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic have forged an agreement that will help employees with childcare assistance, temporary shelter and extra leave if they are tested or diagnosed with COVID-19.”
BIG PURCHASE, BIG QUESTIONS — “Amid pandemic, Newsom faces scrutiny over $1B face-mask deal,” by CalMatters’ Dan Morain and Laurel Rosenhall.
— “How Do We Exit The Shutdown? Hire An Army Of Public Health Workers,” by California Healthline’s Anna Maria Barry-Jester: “For all the light the new virus has shone on vulnerabilities of the U.S. hospital system — shortfalls in hospital capacity, ventilators and protective gear — what many officials see are the cracks in the foundations of public health.”
PRISON PROBLEMS — “Like a Petri dish for the virus: Tens of thousands of California inmates are at risk,” by CalMatters’ Nigel Duara: “When the wheels of justice grind to a halt, the carceral system continues to pump in new inmates as police make new arrests. During the pandemic, with courts closed across the country, the place they all land — and the place most will stay — is the county jail.”
— “Coronavirus hunger strike at immigration lockup? ICE says no, but California detainees say otherwise,” by the SF Chronicle’s Bob Egelko.
COAST TO COAST — “The East Coast, Always in the Spotlight, Owes a Debt to the West,” by NYT’s Adam Nagourney and Jonathan Martin: “The ongoing effort of three West Coast states to come to the aid of more hard-hit parts of the nation has emerged as the most powerful indication to date that the early intervention of West Coast governors and mayors might have mitigated, at least for now, the medical catastrophe that has befallen New York and parts of the Midwest and South.”
— “Caltrans is speeding up highway projects while coronavirus keeps Californians off the road,” by the Sac Bee’s Wes Venteicher: “Contractors said they are working during the day instead of at night, extending work hours and closing longer stretches of road at a time under temporary agreements with the state Department of Transportation and local agencies.”
MORE AB 5 PUSHBACK — “Keep on Truckin’: Suspend AB 5,” by state Sen. John Moorlach in the California Globe.
— “Democrats Say Labor Department Stiffing Workers On Unemployment Benefits,” by HuffPost’s Arthur Delaney: “Independent contractors and gig workers such as Uber drivers are supposed to be eligible for benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, but the U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance to states that could make it tricky for a rideshare driver to qualify. “
— “Looking for a Job? Big Tech Is Still Hiring,” by WSJ’s Chip Cutter and Patrick Thomas: “The current moment may give well-capitalized tech companies a chance to poach skilled workers who until recently were gravitating to smaller upstarts, veteran technology recruiters say.”
— “Netflix surges to 52-week high as investors flock to stay-at-home stocks,” by CNBC’s Jessica Bursztynsky.
— “Coronavirus causes drop in cargo at Port of Oakland, Long Beach, LA,” by the SF Chronicle’s Roland Li.
— “‘The Atlantic’ article about San Francisco is a fable. Here’s what’s really happening,” opines Mission Local’s Joe Eskenazi.
— “Police shut down SF nightclub operating during coronavirus crisis,” by the SF Chronicle’s Michael Cabanatuan.
— “19-year-old bank robber sips White Claw while waiting for cash, California cops say,” by the Sac Bee’s Don Sweeney.
— “Beloved Bayview great-grandmother: the life and death of SF’s 4th coronavirus victim,” by the SF Chronicle’s Lizzie Johnson.
— “The Baseball 100: No. 1, Willie Mays,” by The Athletic’s Joe Posnanski.
— “Remember the hot-pink ‘emoji house’? It sold for $1.55 million in Manhattan Beach,” by the LA Times’ Hannah Fry.
Shari Redstone is 66 … The Information’s Ashley Gold … former Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.), who’s running again, is 43 … Andrew Roosa … Cushing Donelan … Sasha Issenberg is 4-0 … Former Rep. Laura Richardson is 58 … Google’s Al Verney
Correction: An earlier version of Playbook misidentified Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
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