In CA: More housing for essential workers; a quest for police records heads to court



Gov. Gavin Newsom sends a housing lifeline to workers on the front lines; millions of others wonder how they’ll make August rent. And media agencies sue San Jose for refusing to turn over police records. Plus: Is your mail late? That could be intentional. 

It’s Arlene Martínez with news to take you into the weekend. 

But first, as Comet Neowise heads out of view for a few thousand more years, don’t miss a pair of meteor showers – the Delta Aquariids and the Alpha Capricornids – which should be visible starting Monday.

In California brings you the state’s best stories and commentary, across the USA TODAY Network and beyond. Sign up now for straight-to-your-inbox delivery!

State offers housing for essential workers as crisis looms for millions of renters

The state will increase housing options for agricultural workers who must isolate or quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday. 

Farmworkers are an especially vulnerable group when it comes to contracting the virus — it’s hard to distance and many of the low-wage earners lived in crowded places. Most counties don’t track cases by industry, but data from Monterey County show that people who work in agriculture accounted for about 25% of the county’s total cases as of Friday.

The initiative will be modeled after the state’s Project Roomkey, which is providing shelter for people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, and is geared largely for Central California and the San Joaquin Valley.

Newsom did not provide further specifics about where the additional housing would be located, how much housing would be available or when the program would begin.

Newsom also announced the release of theCOVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening, which aims to provide employers with clear guidance on best practices for workplace safety during the pandemic.

A Tulare motel, part of Project Roomkey, will become permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness across that county.

When there’s no money for rent

For millions of people, housing is increasingly a top concern. Days from the end of enhanced unemployment benefits and a federal eviction moratorium, 24 million Americans say they have little to no chance of being able to pay next month’s rent, a U.S. Census Bureau survey shows.

A disproportionate share of those in danger come from Black and Hispanic households, two groups who have borne the brunt of negative health and economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Judicial Council of California on Friday prepared to rescind temporary rules halting eviction and foreclosure proceedings, effective Aug 14. Meanwhile, Newsom and the legislature continued talks to extend measures to protect renters.

Nearly 12 million renters across the country could be served with eviction notices over the next four months, according to an analysis by a Chicago-based consulting firm.

And no relief is near as organizations move to cancel events for next year. The 2021 Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, typically held in February, is off.

Robots help with social distancing, teachers at school, wild DNA tests, being a tsundoku

Unused park space comes to life with Zumba, yoga, tai chi and more at a city in Ventura County, with socially distanced markers courtesy of a robot named Joey

Students won’t be starting the year off in the classroom at this Simi Valley school district, but teachers will be there.

What happens when that DNA/ancestry test reveals unexpected results? Just know you’re not alone.

If you buy lots and lots of books but read few of them, you may just be a tsundoku.

Suit: San Jose won’t turn over public records involving officer shootings, misconduct

On Jan. 1, 2019, new legislation went into effect to help undo some of the nation’s most stringent regulations keeping law enforcement records confidential. SB 1421 for the first time in decades gave the public access to records involving officer-involved shootings and other major use of force incidents, as well as confirmed cases of sexual assault and lying while on duty

The California Reporting Project, a statewide colation of 40 newsrooms (including ones with the USA TODAY Network), immediately began requesting those records from every law enforcement department across the state. 

More than 18 months later, the San Jose Police Department has refused to turn over most of those records, prompting the Bay Area News Group to sue. “Excuses galore were behind the delays but the bottom line’s SJPD wasn’t even close to complying with the #Publicrecords Act #SB1421 #SB776,” tweeted Thomas Peele, a reporter with the group and one of the project leads. 

Frank Pine, the Bay Area News Group’s executive editor, said the city of San Jose left the news organization no choice but to file this lawsuit. Negotiations have been slow and city officials won’t give a timeline for when the records may be released, he added.

“The law, however, is clear, and the taxpayers of San Jose deserve better. They deserve a government that is accountable, responsive, and responsible.”

Calls for prison reform grow; a mother appeals conviction in child’s death; tracking a killer

The ferocity of the coronavirus outbreak at San Quentin State Prison has intensified calls from public health and legal experts, criminal justice activists, and some elected officials to do something that many advocates have demanded for years: speed the process of dismantling America’s mass incarceration complex.

A mother accused of torturing and killing her toddler is appealing the convictions; her attorney argues her constitutional rights were violated

Authorities believe a men’s rights lawyer shot and killed a fellow attorney in San Bernardino County in the days before he attacked a federal judge’s family in New Jersey and committed suicide, officials announced Friday.

Roy Den Hollander, 72, allegedly killed Marc Angelucci outside his home on July 11. The two were involved in separate lawsuits seeking to force the U.S. government to require all young women to join men in registering for a possible military draft.

Intentional delays at the USPS

I told you earlier this week aboutUSPS delays in rural parts of the state. Turns out, the delays could grow more widespread as new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump ally and top GOP donor, plans to slow mail delivery.

An internal memo obtained by Fortune used the examples of Bethlehem Steel, GM, and Packard Electric as examples of companies that refused to change and become profitable, ignoring the fact that those were private corporations and not America’s favorite government agency

I’ll leave you this week with a story about fear and love. Love (like exercise) produces oxytocin, which it turns out is a powerful anecdote to fear. It’s easy to feel fear as the pandemic’s toll seems to only intensify, but it can be hard to find love. 

Read about four things you can do to help relieve fear/increase love including my favorite, love your enemies.

See you Monday.

In California brings you top news and analysis from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: The Atlantic, New York Times, BBC News, Associated Press 

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