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California Black Media Political Playback: News You Might Have Missed

Tanu Henry and Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media  

Legislative Black Caucus Chair “Extremely Disappointed” by Gov. Newsom’s Veto of Child Gender Identity Bill 

Assemblymember Lori D. Wilson (D-Suisun City) says she’s extremely disappointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to veto Assembly Bill (AB) 957, legislation that would have required judges in custody cases to consider a parents’ affirmation of their child’s gender identity in their application of the law.   

Wilson, who is the chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus and who has a transgender child said, “I know the Governor’s record. He has been a champion for LGBTQ+ rights even before it was popular to do so.”   

“However, on this point, the Governor and I disagree on the best way to protect transgender kids,” Wilson continued.  “I’ve been disheartened over the last few years as I’ve watched the growing hate and heard the vitriol towards the trans community. My intent with this bill was to give them a voice, particularly in the family court system, where a non-affirming parent could have a detrimental effect on the mental health and wellbeing of a child. Whether the roadblock comes from the opposition or even a supporter, it only hardens my resolve. I’m far from done, this fight is personal! Not just for my family, but to all the trans kids that deserve a brighter and safer future.”  

The Governor announced his decision in a press release his office sent out Friday that listed bills he has so far signed and others he has vetoed.  

Oct. 14 is the deadline for Newsom to sign bills lawmakers introduced during the 2023 legislative session.   

Explaining his decision to veto AB 957 in a message, Newsom said people elected officials could point to the legislation as precedent to “diminish the rights of vulnerable communities.”   

I am returning Assembly Bill 957 without my signature,” Newsom wrote.  I appreciate the passion and values that led the author to introduce this bill. I share a deep commitment to advancing the rights of transgender Californians, an effort that has guided my decisions through many decades in public office.”  

That said,” the Governor continued in his message, “I urge caution when the Executive and Legislative branches of state government attempt to dictate – in prescriptive terms that single out one characteristic – legal standards for the Judicial branch to apply.”   

State Controller Malia Cohen to Chair State Task Force on Charter School Audits  

California State Controller Malia Cohen announced last week that she will chair a “statewide multi-agency task force charged with developing audit criteria and best practices for identifying and preventing fraud in charter schools.  

San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert Longstreth formed the task force after the state charged 11 defendants – including a school superintendent — for defrauding taxpayers of nearly $400 million by enrolling fictitious students in A3 Education, an online charter school, to collect state funds to educate each student  

Cohen says the leading defendants in the case Sean McManus and Jason Schrock have agreed to turn over all the assets of A3 Education and its subsidiaries to the state – and $215 million which will be put back in the “state’s coffers.”  

“As the State’s chief fiscal officer and the office responsible for developing audit guidelines to be followed by auditors when auditing school district, I could not in good conscience allow this matter to proceed through the judicial system without offering my office’s assistance in drafting guidelines to detect and prevent a recurrence of this untenable situation,” said Cohen. “To do otherwise would be to neglect the confidence placed in my office to safeguard taxpayers’ dollars.”  

S.F. Mayor London Breed: Reparations “Best Handled at Federal Level”  

Last week, San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed issued a statement that reparations – particularly cash payments — for past injustices suffered by Black Americans who are descendants of enslaved people are best handled at the federal level.  

Breed issued the statement after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ endorsement on Sept. 19 of a reparations plan submitted in June by an advisory board of Black leaders in the city 

The 400-page plan lists 115 recommendations, including individual payments of up to $5 million per eligible Black resident. It also calls for investments in Black-owned businesses, education, housing and attracting more Black residents to the city.   

In her statement, Breed committed to undertake certain city initiatives to address inequity like a guaranteed income program and implementing a plan to allocate $60 million every year for investment in the Black community.   

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara Announces Plan to Strengthen Industry   

California has the largest home insurance market in the country, but, this year, large private companies like Allstate and State Farm have been making plans to pull out of it, citing too many regulations and the frequency of natural disasters like wildfires and extreme winter storms in the state. Seven major companies have either decided to no longer sell insurance in California or they have announced plans to place restrictions on where they provide coverage in the state.   

Last week, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara unveiled a state plan, the California’s Sustainable Insurance Strategy, to improve insurance options for Californians while strengthening and modernizing the market as the state continues to face intensifying climate threats.  

“We are at a major crossroads on insurance after multiple years of wildfires and storms intensified by the threat of climate change. I am taking immediate action to implement lasting changes that will make Californians safer through a stronger, sustainable insurance market,” said Lara. “The current system is not working for all Californians, and we must change course. I will continue to partner with all those who want to work toward real solutions.” 

On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order calling for immediate actions to sustain and stabilize the market and expand insurance options for Californians.   

It is critical that California’s insurance market works to protect homes and businesses in every corner of our state,” said Newsom. “A balanced approach that will help maintain fair prices and protections for Californians is essential. 

The California Mortgage Bankers Association said homebuyers, who are mandated to buy insurance when they sign up for mortgages, deserve better options. 

“The agreement that Commissioner Lara has reached to expand insurance availability across our state means more Californians can be able to achieve the dream of homeownership knowing they will have better access to the insurance they need,” he said.  

California’s Congressional Delegation Urges President Biden to Grant Gov. Newsom’s Request for Major Disaster Aid  

In a letter dated Sept. 19, California’s delegation to the United States Congress — including the state’s two Democratic Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20) – urged President Biden to “expeditiously” approve Gov. Newsom’s request for a major disaster declaration after Tropical Storm Hilary. 

“The heavy precipitation caused dangerous debris flows that threatened lives, businesses, and critical public infrastructure such as roads and waterways,” wrote the lawmakers. “In response to these dangerous conditions, the State of California marshaled all available resources to respond to this storm. However, the severity and intensity of this storm require additional federal coordination and resources to effectively support the ongoing recovery efforts.” 

According to the lawmakers, residents of the following counties are in dire need of public assistance: Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Siskiyou, and Ventura.  

They also asked the feds for emergency and disaster loans that will benefit affected Californians from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   

Former L.A. County Prosecutor Christopher Darden Announces Run for LA County Superior Court Judge 

Last week, Christopher Darden, an attorney, bestselling author, law professor and former L.A. County prosecutor announced his candidacy for L.A County Superior Court judge.  

The elections will be held next March.  

Darden, 67, a Richmond native, gained national prominence when he served as a co-prosecutor in the 1994 O.J. Simpson murder trial. 

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