In California: Newsom holds vax prize drawing, to-go cocktails to stay — for now

In California: Newsom holds vax prize drawing, to-go cocktails to stay — for now

June 5, 2021

Happy Friday! I’m Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, bringing you some of the latest headlines from this great state of ours.

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California spins the wheel in vax prize drawing

Gov. Gavin Newsom draws a winner who will win $50,000. The lottery took place Friday, June 4, 2021. (Photo: screen grab)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom played game show host Friday in a drawing for 15 winners of $50,000 prizes for getting coronavirus vaccinations. The drawing was part of the recently announced $116.5 million Vax for the Win incentive program to encourage more Californians to get inoculated. More than 51% of Californians ages 12 and up were fully vaccinated as of Thursday, and about 70% of residents had received at least one dose.

“Each one of these balls represents a real $50,000 check,” Newsom said, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. The first winner was a resident of Mendocino County.

Populous areas accounted for most of the winners — three each came from Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Clara and two from San Francisco counties. Alameda, Orange, Mendocino and San Luis Obispo counties had one each. None came from the Inland Empire (Dang it! That’s where I live) or the Central Valley.

State Sen. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and vaccine advocate, and Claudio Alvarado, a pediatric emergency nurse at UC Davis Medical Center, helped Newsom draw the first $50,000 winners. A machine spun numbered balls and individually dropped out the winning entries. The names of the winners were not made public; names will not be released without the individual’s consent.

A second lottery for $50,000 winners will take place June 11, and on June 15 another drawing will be held to award $1.5 million apiece to 10 vaccinated people.

Head on over to USA TODAY to see a video of the drawing.

I’ll drink to that: California allows takeaway cocktails through 2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom waits to speak at a news conference about relief for restaurants as San Francisco Mayor London Breed looks on outside Tommy's Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco, on Thursday, June 3, 2021. The governor offered his support for the extension and expansion of outdoor dining and takeout cocktails. (Photo: Eric Risberg, AP)

Here’s a pandemic change some Californians are sure to toast: The to-go cocktail.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that the state will continue allowing restaurants to sell takeout alcohol through the end of the year.

“I think this is a good thing for our economic recovery,” Newsom said during a news conference in San Francisco. “It’s also a good thing for our public health because what occurs is more people will still be outside.”

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control relaxed regulations in March 2020 to let restaurants sell alcohol to go, right around the time Newsom imposed the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order.

Lawmakers could permanently extend the allowance of to-go cocktails through a bill by state Sen. Bill Dodd, a Napa Democrat. He said his proposal would boost income for struggling restaurants and give customers greater choice.

The chairwoman of the California Republican Party, however, said Newsom’s announcement, which she called a photo op, came too late for restaurants forced to close and workers who lost wages.

“California’s restaurant industry suffered more than most under Gavin Newsom’s overbearing shutdowns,” Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement.

Looking forward to getting out of the house? The Los Angeles Times has a report on California attractions that will reopen this weekend and soon after.

Attractions include the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A., the Exploratorium on San Francisco’s Embarcadero and the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

Read the full article here.

Criminal record relief bill passes 30-7 in California Senate, headed to Assembly

Prison Cell bars

The criminal record relief bill proposed earlier this year passed Wednesday afternoon with a 30-7 vote in the state Senate. The bill will now move to the Assembly for review.

“In California, we have recognized that arrest records for misdemeanors create unnecessary barriers to housing, employment and much more, often disproportionately in communities of color,” said state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton. She voted in favor of the bill’s passing.

The bill – SB731 – could extend “record relief already provided to additional past crimes, because preventing people from having a place to live and work sends them back into the cycle of recidivism,” Eggman stated. “This bill provides an opportunity to get out of that cycle.”

State Sen. María Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, is the lead author of the proposed legislation. “We are really trying to help people who are trying to get back on their feet, who are really attempting to do better in their lives,” she told the Stockton Record in April.

If officially signed into law, the bill would help “those people who have done the hard work and are doing the right thing,” San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar told The Record in April.

Man who filmed ‘pool Karens’ video shocked by clip’s impact

A woman is filmed reacting to pool-goers reacting to her allegedly objecting to two female patrons kissing. (Photo: Instagram)

Another day, another viral video. In the latest, two women unleashed profanity-laden tirades at a group of people who castigated them for allegedly insisting a Black female couple stop kissing at a Sacramento hotel pool.

The video — posted Monday on Instagram with the heading: “Pool Karens asked a female couple to stop kissing in front of kids” — shows several women leaving a poolside cabana as pool-goers chant “shame, shame, shame” (a reference to a scene from the TV series “Game of Thrones”). Two of the women respond, one with her middle finger and an expletive, the other by asking the chanters: “Do you guys have any children?” When someone responds with a no, she said: “Good, because you’d be a f—ing terrible dad.” The kids could see and hear the whole exchange.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Art Kaligos, the Portland, Ore., man who shot the video, said he’s heard from publications and online news sites from across the country and even England.

“I didn’t expect to get as big a reaction, Kaligos said. “I was surprised and thought the life cycle would be about a day, but the video seems to be gaining more and more attention as more people see it.

“This is about accountability and changing social norms,” he said. “The more we see these sorts of reactions, the more we can say this is not acceptable behavior. They’re the ones who made it go viral with what they were saying, their reaction.”

California unemployment claims continue to rise

New weekly unemployment claims, a proxy for layoffs, are an indicator of the health of a state's economy. (Photo: JLGutierrez, Getty Images)

Initial claims for regular unemployment benefits in California increased last week compared with the week prior, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

New claims, a proxy for layoffs, rose to 74,625 in the week ending May 29, up from 71,055 the week before, the Labor department said.

There were 228,634 new claims in California at the same time last year.

Meanwhile, U.S. unemployment claims have continued their downward slide. Claims for regular benefits dropped to 385,000 last week, down 20,000 claims from 405,000 the week prior on a seasonally adjusted basis.

In California is a roundup of news from across USA Today network newsrooms. Also contributing: Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle. We’ll be back in your inbox Monday with the latest headlines.

As the philanthropy and special sections editor at The Desert Sun, Winston Gieseke writes about nonprofits, fundraising and people who give back in the Coachella Valley. Reach him at [email protected]

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