State Lawmakers Return to Confront Coronavirus and Budget Deficit
The California state Assembly headed back to Sacramento this week following a two month hiatus, which coincided with the coronavirus crisis. Among the daunting challenges they’ll have to tackle is a budgetary shortfall of more than $53 billion, according to an updated projection by the California Department of Finance. The massive fiscal hole reflects declining tax revenues, record unemployment and expenditures the state has made to address the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus. Meanwhile, other long-standing challenges loom, from boosting affordable housing to fighting climate change and helping ailing school districts.
- Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco
- Assemblymember James Gallagher, R-Yuba City
Not ‘Business as Usual’ for Retailers Ready to Reopen
Weeks of sheltering in place have taken a heavy toll on retailers. This week, Gov. Gavin Newsom began loosening restrictions for some of them as the state transitions from phase one to phase two of reopening this Friday. Clothing stores and sporting goods stores, for example, can reopen with social distancing in place for curbside pickup and delivery. Dine-in restaurants, shopping malls and offices must remain closed for now. Counties may still implement stricter rules if they feel their region is not yet prepared to reopen.
- Debra Knick, owner, Sonoma Outfitters
- Tina Ferguson, owner, Face in a Book
When the Venue Is Your Home: A Film Festival Goes Virtual
Next week, the Center for Asian American Media launches CAAMFest, a film festival that for nearly four decades has celebrated Asian American storytelling with screenings and events for Bay Area audiences. But this year, for the first time in its history, the 10-day festival will be held entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Starting next Wednesday, more than 20 free digital programs will launch, from discussions with filmmakers to live performances and watch parties that showcase the diversity and creativity of Asian American artists. With the theme of “heritage at home,” this year’s festival is also a bold experiment that may signal the future of engaging film festival audiences wherever they are.