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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti refuses offer to join Biden administration, says his daughter tested positive for coronavirus

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that President-elect Joe Biden offered him a position in his administration but that he turned it down.

Garcetti made the admission during a media briefing on Thursday about the spike in coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County.

“There were things on the table for me but I said to (the Biden administration) very clearly … I need to be here now,” said Garcetti, without divulging what position Biden had offered him.

There had been speculation that he might be picked to head the Department of Transportation, but the Biden transition team announced Tuesday that former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Peter Buttigieg was to be nominated for that position instead.

Others questioned the timing of his announcement given that earlier on Thursday a judge had ordered Garcetti must testify in a lawsuit against the city by a Los Angeles police officer who accused a former mayoral aide of sexual harassment.

Self-quarantine

Garcetti also said that he and his wife were in self-quarantine after their 9-year-old daughter tested positive for the coronavirus.

“On Monday while I was at work, my wife called to let us know that our beloved daughter Maya, who turned nine this weekend, wasn’t feeling very well. And after she came down with a fever, we had her tested for COVID-19, and her results came back positive,” said Garcetti.

He went on to say that his daughter’s symptoms were mild and that he and his wife had tested negative.

Garcetti has ordered renewed lockdowns after coronavirus spiked in a second wave in recent weeks. On Thursday California state health officials announced that intensive care units in Southern California were at full capacity, in spite of the fact that Los Angeles has consistently maintained some of the harshest COVID-19 policies in the country.

Some have questioned whether studies can justify such a draconian lockdown order given the negative consequences that will come from shutting down the economy and isolating so many people.

Here’s the video of the briefing:


LA mayor and wife self-quarantine after daughter tests positive for COVID-19

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Report: California Gov. Gavin Newsom didn’t take pay cut as promised — despite cutting state workers’ salaries by 10%

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom was in hot water Thursday after it was discovered that he had not taken a pay cut as promised, despite asking state workers to take a reduced salary to aid the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, Newsom proposed a 10% pay cut for state workers to help fill the state’s $54 billion budget deficit amid coronavirus shutdowns. In a show of solidarity, he voluntarily pledged to join the state’s 96,000-member workforce in reducing his salary.

But, according to a report Thursday from the Sacramento Bee, that has not happened.

In July, the governor continued drawing his regular monthly salary of $17,479, as shown by pay data recorded by the State Controller’s Office.

A spokesman for the governor’s office called it an “oversight.”

The outlet added that of the state’s eight elected constitutional officers — which includes the treasurer, secretary of state and attorney general — only one, State Controller Betty Yee, took the pay cut last month.

After the Sacramento Bee began asking questions Wednesday, Newsom reportedly sent a letter to Yee asking her to reduce his pay retroactively to the beginning of July, when pay cuts kicked in for the rest of the government workforce.

Amazingly, Yvonne Walker, the president of SEIU Local 1000, the state’s largest union, refrained from criticizing the governor Thursday. She essentially suggested that perhaps he and his office were too busy.

“If there’s one thing we know, it’s that our governor keeps his word,” Walker said in an emailed statement. “We can only imagine that with all the things going on in our state … it wouldn’t be surprising if processing the necessary paperwork has taken a backseat to more pressing matters.”

It is certainly not the first time that Newsom has faced scrutiny for not living under the same standards that his office has implemented since the start of the pandemic.

KOVR-TV reported in July that PlumpJack, a Northern California-based winery and hospitality company founded and part-owned by Newsom, had continued operations months after the governor ordered all essential businesses closed in March.

PlumpJack also raised eyebrows for reportedly receiving a loan worth $150,000 to $350,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program.

TheBlaze reached out to Gov. Newsom’s office for further comment regarding the news but had not received a reply at time of publication.

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Report: California Gov. Gavin Newsom didn’t take pay cut as promised — despite cutting state workers’ salaries by 10%

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom was in hot water Thursday after it was discovered that he had not taken a pay cut as promised, despite asking state workers to take a reduced salary to aid the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, Newsom proposed a 10% pay cut for state workers to help fill the state’s $54 billion budget deficit amid coronavirus shutdowns. In a show of solidarity, he voluntarily pledged to join the state’s 96,000-member workforce in reducing his salary.

But, according to a report Thursday from the Sacramento Bee, that has not happened.

In July, the governor continued drawing his regular monthly salary of $17,479, as shown by pay data recorded by the State Controller’s Office.

A spokesman for the governor’s office called it an “oversight.”

The outlet added that of the state’s eight elected constitutional officers — which includes the treasurer, secretary of state and attorney general — only one, State Controller Betty Yee, took the pay cut last month.

After the Sacramento Bee began asking questions Wednesday, Newsom reportedly sent a letter to Yee asking her to reduce his pay retroactively to the beginning of July, when pay cuts kicked in for the rest of the government workforce.

Amazingly, Yvonne Walker, the president of SEIU Local 1000, the state’s largest union, refrained from criticizing the governor Thursday. She essentially suggested that perhaps he and his office were too busy.

“If there’s one thing we know, it’s that our governor keeps his word,” Walker said in an emailed statement. “We can only imagine that with all the things going on in our state … it wouldn’t be surprising if processing the necessary paperwork has taken a backseat to more pressing matters.”

It is certainly not the first time that Newsom has faced scrutiny for not living under the same standards that his office has implemented since the start of the pandemic.

KOVR-TV reported in July that PlumpJack, a Northern California-based winery and hospitality company founded and part-owned by Newsom, had continued operations months after the governor ordered all essential businesses closed in March.

PlumpJack also raised eyebrows for reportedly receiving a loan worth $150,000 to $350,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program.

TheBlaze reached out to Gov. Newsom’s office for further comment regarding the news but had not received a reply at time of publication.

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‘Not the America I’ve known’: Pastor John MacArthur doubles down on COVID-19 defiance in California

Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, is defying state orders that his church remain shuttered during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and the move is sparking intense discussion and debate.

The preacher spoke about his decision in a recent episode of the “Edifi With Billy Hallowell” podcast, explaining that Grace Community Church initially complied with California’s restrictions before changing course in recent weeks.

“I’ve been here 50 years; the church is 63 years old, and this church has never had any kind of mandate from the government to close,” MacArthur said. “So, when they came up with this mandate it seemed to be so rare and so unusual that we were listening.”

Upon hearing dire predictions about the death toll, MacArthur said it was “enough to make anybody with common sense” pause and take steps to ensure no one was endangered. The church initially moved to a livestream model and closed down in-person services — but within a few weeks, MacArthur said parishioners started showing up again.

Listen to MacArthur explain why his church is defying orders:

“They were beginning to realize that it wasn’t what they said it was going to be,” he said of the COVID-19 impact, estimating that about .02% of California’s population had died. “There were 8,500 deaths [in California] — half of them were people over 80 with obvious comorbidity issues.”

MacArthur continued, “It just seemed to me that 99.98 is pretty good odds to come to church, and people were crying out to open the church because of the fears — and then of course the church is the center of life for people who love the Lord, and they were cut off from their friends.”

And thousands of people have flooded back to the pews since Grace Community Church reopened, with around 3,000 attending the first weekend and an estimated 6,000 the second. And despite threats of government crackdowns over defiance, MacArthur said he has no plans to change course.

“Grace Church is going to meet … and we’re going to continue to meet and we’re going to always meet because Jesus Christ is the head of the church. Jesus is Lord,” he said. “And government has a certain purview given by God, but it doesn’t cross over into the realm of the kingdom of God, so we’re going to meet.”

MacArthur noted that the church has hired attorneys and that leaders will do everything they can within the court system to defend themselves and to continue meeting.

(Read also: Despite Darkness of This Pandemic, Coronavirus Could Ignite Revival)

“I don’t know what that’s going to look like. … this is not the America that I’ve known for many, many decades,” he said. “It’s just a bizarre reality that we haven’t navigated in the past. I’m not a prophet, so I can’t predict what’s going to happen, but I can say this: Grace Community is going to meet.”

Critics have taken issue with the fact that the church is in violation of government orders and is allowing crowds of people to congregate at a time when social distancing orders are being heralded for helping stop the spread of coronavirus. Still, debate persists surrounding how far these orders should go.

Debate and discussion aside, MacArthur believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) simply doesn’t have the authority to deem churches “nonessential” entities.

“The governor said the church is not essential. Some things were essential — liquor stores were essential, abortion clinics were essential, grocery stores were essential but the church was not essential,” MacArthur said. “Based on the Constitution, the governor doesn’t have the authority to say what is essential … the governor has no constitutional authority to say the church is not.”

In the end, MacArthur believes “intentional discrimination” is unfolding “against biblical Christianity and the church.” And he said there’s no end insight to the restrictions ushered in by COVID-19.

Listen to MacArthur’s entire interview for more.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

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California close to passing New York as state with highest number of coronavirus cases

California will soon overtake New York as the state with the highest number of the coronavirus cases if current growth rates of infections continue.

On Tuesday, coronavirus cases in California reached 400,000 according to a Reuters tabulation of pandemic cases, making it the second state after New York to reach the unfortunate milestone.

While New York has reached 412,800 cases, the state has managed to bring down the rate of growth of new cases to 700 a day. California is experiencing a surge and marks more than 8,300 a day on average. In a few days, the number of cases in California should exceed those of New York.

California surges

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has reinstituted strict social distancing guidelines for the state after a surge of new coronavirus cases.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Gil Garcetti conceded that the populous city reopened too quickly and added that new lockdown orders for nonessential businesses are likely to follow.

“I do agree those things happened too quickly,” Garcetti said, blaming county and state officials.

Garcetti indicated that despite a surge in cases, hospitals were below capacity and the city had enough ventilators. Coronavirus deaths in California are nearing 8,000.

New York recovers

While the coronavirus is spiking in California, New York continues to recover after being the epicenter of the pandemic for months and reporting devastating coronavirus statistics.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo celebrated the drop in new cases in the state by publicizing a poster last week to commemorate his own leadership in the response to the pandemic.

“What we did was historic because we did tame the beast,” Cuomo declared July 13 at a coronavirus briefing. “And they will be talking about what we did for decades to come.”

However, some like CNN’s Jake Tapper have scolded Cuomo for taking a triumphant “victory tour” while ignoring the massive personal and economic cost of the failures of his administration early in the pandemic.

“NY state has lost more than 32,000 lives to COVID-19. So while it’s great that the numbers have gone down, it’s perplexing to see crowing, Cuomo going on Fallon, etc. No other state has lost as many lives, not even close,” Tapper tweeted.

Others noted that experts believed the epidemic in New York was so bad that the state helped spread the virus to the rest of the United States.

Here’s more about the surge of coronavirus in California:


California Heading for Shutdown…Again | NewsConference | NBCLA

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California to release 8,000 inmates in attempt to combat COVID-19 spike in prisons

California plans to release as many as 8,000 prisoners this summer in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. On Friday, the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced it would release thousands of inmates to create more space in prisons. The new plans are in addition to the approximately 10,000 California inmates who were released since mid-March.

The corrections department is reviewing potential early releasees who have fewer than 180 days left on their prison sentences. In order to be freed, inmates must not be incarcerated for domestic violence or violent crimes. Anyone who is a sex offender is not eligible for early release.

Approximately 4,800 inmates could be eligible for early release by the end of July, and as many as 8,000 prisoners could be freed by the end of August. There are over 110,000 inmates in California’s prison system.

Inmates who are freed will need to be tested for coronavirus within seven days of release, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“These actions are taken to provide for the health and safety of the incarcerated population and staff,” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Ralph Diaz said. “We aim to implement these decompression measures in a way that aligns both public health and public safety.”

The plan comes on the heels of reports that more than a third of the inmates at San Quentin State Prison tested positive for coronavirus. There are also about 20 inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 at the San Quentin State Prison and have gone on a hunger strike in recent weeks. They are protesting “dismal” living conditions during quarantine, sources inside the prison told NBC Bay Area.

California’s state prison system currently reports 5,841 coronavirus cases among prisoners, which includes a spike of over 860 cases in the last two weeks. There are 52.4 coronavirus cases per 1,000 prisoners in California, compared to 6.9 per 1,000 for the rest of the state. There have been seven COVID-19 deaths in California’s prisons. There have also been 1,222 prison system employees who have tested positive for the virus.

Starting in late May, there were 194 inmates from California Institution for Men in Chino transferred to other California prisons, including San Quentin. The plan, which was supposed to relocate 700 inmates in total, was halted in June after it was learned that 16 of the prisoners transferred tested positive for COVID-19.

During a press conference on Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said those prisoners “should not have been transferred” to the San Quentin State Prison.

“It has been incredibly frustrating,” Newsom said. “That decision created the chain of events that we are now addressing and dealing with. I’m not here to sugarcoat that, I’m not here to scapegoat that. All of us our now accountable to address this issue and doing so in a forthright manner.”

In the past two weeks, California has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. On July 2, California had 9,439 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily COVID-19 case total since the pandemic began. The state has had over 6,000 new cases every day since.

The Golden State also reached a new high for daily COVID-19 deaths twice this week — 150 on June 8 and 137 the following day. On Friday, California’s number of coronavirus hospitalizations set a new high, spiking 40% in two weeks with 6,171 patients. The number of people in ICUs increased by 28% in the past two weeks.

California has reported a total of over 312,000 cases and nearly 7,000 COVID-19 deaths.

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California bans singing in church

California has banned singing in places of worship in the latest COVID-19 pandemic-related restriction. California’s Department of Health issued an order Wednesday that temporarily prohibits worshipers from singing and chanting in a church, synagogue, or mosque.

“Even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations,” the order states.

“In particular, activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing,” the order adds. “Places of worship must therefore discontinue singing and chanting activities and limit indoor attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.”

“Discontinue singing (in rehearsals, services, etc.), chanting, and other practices and performances where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets,” the order reads.

The order suggests that places of worship encourage congregation members to participate in singing activities that are held over the internet instead of in-person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that shouting or singing can easily spread coronavirus. The CDC found that a 2.5-hour choir practice in Washington attended by 61 persons evolved into a superspreader event because of people singing. The CDC notes that 32 people at the March 17 choir practice caught coronavirus, and there were 20 probable secondary COVID-19 cases. Three people were hospitalized.

The order also instructs places of worship to stop offering self-service food and beverages and to not hold potluck dinners or any family-style eating events.

California has seen a 20% spike in COVID-19 cases over the past week. On Thursday, the Golden State set a new daily coronavirus case record with 9,352 confirmed COVID-19 cases. California has nearly 250,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, trailing only New York, which has over 420,000 cases.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom reversed course with the state’s reopening plan this week when he shut down bars, wineries, museums, movie theaters, and inside restaurant dining in 19 counties for three weeks.

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Breaking: Gov. Gavin Newsom just issued a mandatory mask order for all Californians

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered that all Californians wear a mask in public areas and high-risk places to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

He issued the order Thursday and explained that officials didn’t want to undercut the progress they had made to stop the coronavirus.

“Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered — putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease,” Newsom said in the statement.

“California’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations,” he added. “That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing.”

State Public Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell said masks were essential to maintaining the process of reopening the economy.

“As Californians venture into our communities more, wearing face coverings is another important way we can help protect one another,” Angell said.

Newsom was the first governor nationwide to order a lockdown in his state on March 19. Other states followed soon after.

“The fact is, the experience we’re having on the ground throughout the state of California, the experience that’s manifesting all across the United States and, for that matter, around the rest of the world, requires us to adjust our thinking and to adjust our activities,” he said at the time.

Here’s a local news report about the order:


Gavin Newsom issues mask requirement for Californians in high-risk settings amid COVID-19 | ABC7

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