News

Thursday, June 18, 2020

SACRAMENTO — California will take the unprecedented step of mailing a ballot to every active registered voter this fall after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Thursday intended to protect the November election against potential disruption by the coronavirus pandemic.

AB860 will also require county officials to count any ballot that is received within 17 days of the election, as long as it’s postmarked by election day. That’s two weeks longer than under current law, which sets a cutoff of the Friday after the election.

Newsom, who signed the bill without comment, tried to enact a similar mandate through executive order last month. His order requiring counties to send a mail ballot to every voter faces a legal challenge.

The changes do not remove the option to cast a ballot in person and would be in effect only for the 2020 general election.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The San Diego County Office of Education, along with the California Department of Education, announced a free suicide prevention training program Wednesday available online to middle and high school staff and students throughout the state.

“The COVID-19 pandemic not only disrupted the academic lives of our students and families, but it may have contributed to emotional and mental health challenges that some of our students struggle with,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “It is important that students know that they have someone to turn to within their school community when they are feeling overwhelmed. Providing this specialized training to school staff and peers can not only be utilized to support students in crisis during the critical time we are in now, but any time a student is feeling despondent, stressful, and alone.”

Thursday, June 4, 2020

As California inches closer to the November election, new survey results suggest that nearly three-quarters of likely voters support a move to mail-in ballots opposed by President Donald Trump and Republican leaders.

The Public Policy Institute of California’s latest survey, which polled 1,706 adults statewide in late May, shows an “overwhelming majority” support such a policy.

Voters’ views differ by political party, however.

Results show 94 percent of registered Democrats surveyed think the move is a “good idea.” Among Republicans, 58 percent say it’s a “bad idea,” while 37 percent support it.

“I think that the numbers reflect the political polarization that exists on so many issues involving elections and public policy in California,” said Mark Baldassare, who oversees the survey and heads the institute. “My takeaway is that you’re seeing overwhelming support for the concept,” he said.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Making it safe to vote during a pandemic shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But Republicans, including and especially the president, are turning it into one.

This week, the state and national Republican Party organizations filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order mandating that every registered voter receive a vote-by-mail ballot as a hedge against the likelihood that the coronavirus will still be circulating in November (though in-person vote centers will still be available). No one should have to risk the fate of the many Wisconsin residents who had to cast ballots in the April primary in person. Fifty-two people who participated were later found to have contracted COVID-19.

Monday, May 25, 2020

On Monday, the U.S. Census Bureau will reopen several Bay Area field offices it shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic, which also put a stop to most census outreach and forced a months-long delay for the 2020 count.

Starting on Memorial Day, field offices covering most of Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties will reopen to allow census staff to drop off a questionnaire at any home that doesn’t have a traditional mailing address — that’s mostly in rural areas and places that rely on P.O. boxes.

“We leave it somewhere visible on the property, it’s usually in a weatherproof bag,” said Joshua Green, a media specialist with the bureau. “We want people to get that physical packet so they know they can still be counted.”

Friday, May 15, 2020

Local lawmakers awed at the depth of the severe spending cuts proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in the revised California budget racked by COVID-19, while echoing calls for federal support to help the state weather the economic storm.

Assemblymen Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, and Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, along with state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, acknowledged the painful decisions ahead of the July budget deadline.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Mullin, regarding the immediate reversal of fortune in a state which recently expected a $6 billion surplus. Newsom’s most revised budget proposed a $54 billion deficit.

Berman shared a similarly bleak perspective.

“We are facing a situation that none of us could have imagined in our worst dreams just three months ago,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hill framed the hard choices ahead for lawmakers.

Monday, April 13, 2020

San Mateo County’s elected leaders, including those from local, state and federal offices are standing with the API Caucus in San Mateo County against racism and xenophobia. 

Those pledging to support actions against hate crime and assaults on Asians include U.S. representatives Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, state Sen. Jerry Hill and assemblymen Kevin Mullin, Marc Berman and Phil Ting. According to U.S. Census 2018 and 2019 estimates, some 30% of San Mateo County’s 766,570 residents are of Asian heritage, compared with 15.3% for all of California, according to a press release. 

The Stop-AAPI-Hate center has gathered more than 1,000 reports of anti-Asian discrimination in just over a week’s time. Created by San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies program, Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, the center continues to receive about 100 reports a day, according to the release.