Happy Friday, everyone! I’m Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs. It’s been a very interesting week, that’s for sure. Before we ease into the weekend, let’s check out some of today’s headlines from this great state of ours.
In California brings you top Golden State stories and commentary from across the USA TODAY Network and beyond. Get it free, straight to your inbox.
Raul Ruiz calls for Trump’s impeachment
Rep. Raul Ruiz is joining an increasing list of Congressional representatives calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump following the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
“Donald Trump has once again proven that he is an immediate threat to our Democracy and the Constitution,” said Ruiz, a Democrat who represents California’s 36th Congressional District, via statement. “As a result, I strongly support his immediate impeachment and removal from office.
“Although his term is near its end,” he continued, “it is clear that every moment he remains in office, America is at risk. He must be removed immediately.”
Ruiz’s statement came Friday as Democrats laid plans for impeaching Trump, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she had spoken to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about preventing an “unhinged” Trump from ordering a nuclear strike in his final days. Pelosi and the Democrats are considering swift impeachment proceedings beginning Monday.
Baseball legend Tommy Lasorda dies at 93
Charismatic Tommy Lasorda, the former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers who had a relationship with the franchise as a player, coach, manager and executive for 71 seasons, has died at the age of 93.
“I’ll never want to take off this uniform,” the baseball icon told USA TODAY Sports in 2014. “I want to keep working for the Dodgers until the day I die. That’s the truth.”
He got his wish.
Lasorda, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, suffered a sudden cardiopulmonary arrest at his home at 10:09 p.m. Thursday. He was transported to the hospital and was pronounced dead at 10:57 p.m.
“In a franchise that has celebrated such great legends of the game, no one who wore the uniform embodied the Dodger spirit as much as Tommy Lasorda,” Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement. “A tireless spokesman for baseball, his dedication to the sport and the team he loved was unmatched. He was a champion who at critical moments seemingly willed his teams to victory. The Dodgers and their fans will miss him terribly. Tommy is quite simply irreplaceable and unforgettable.”
FDA: COVID-19 test used in LA might not be accurate
The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers in Los Angeles this week that a specific coronavirus test might be giving false negative results.
The agency said a test created by Curative, a San Dimas-based diagnostics firm, is intended for use on people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. However, since testing in L.A. is available to everyone, regardless of symptoms, the FDA said asymptomatic people with the virus might have gotten negative results.
The FDA said: “When the test is not performed in accordance with its authorization or as described in the authorized labeling, there is a greater risk that the results of the test many not be accurate.”
Regardless of the “possible” false negatives, there evidently have been enough actual positives to impress Los Angeles’s mayor. Eric Garcetti defended the Curative tests Thursday, saying that by administering them on asymptomatic people, the city has detected the virus in 92,000 people who would have otherwise gone undetected.
“The proof is that we’ve had a third of people, nearly 100,000 people who would have gone undiagnosed, that we were able to catch because of this test — and it has helped us predict those surges in hospitalizations and deaths as a result,” Garcetti said, quoted by abc7.com. “I’m not going to ever apologize because there was, I think, a lot of debate about whether asymptomatic people should be tested or not.”
Curative issued a statement saying the company remains committed to following all federal regulations and ensuring that its tests “meet or exceed our customers’ expectations.”
California budget forecasts $15B windfall
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $227 billion budget plan released Friday would turn a $15 billion windfall from surging tax revenues into economic relief as the state navigates the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing deaths.
This marks a sharp turn from last summer, when lawmakers were forced to make cuts as they struggled to make up a $54.3 billion shortfall in the midst of the pandemic.
But since California’s progressive tax structure relies mostly on wealthy earners, coronavirus has led to a strange contrast in the nation’s most populous state: Many people who earn more than $60,000 per year have been able to keep their jobs because they can work from home. That has led the state to collect $74.4 billion in taxes, or $13.7 billion more than it had anticipated.
Newsom said his budget proposal comes as the state faces “a challenge the likes of which we never expected. Our numbers changed, but our values did not.”
The governor said his plan focused on five urgent needs: Vaccinating people against coronavirus, reopening schools, supporting small businesses, getting money into people’s pockets and preparing for wildfires, for which he includes $1 billion.
In other Newsom-ness, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that during the news conference on his proposed budget, the governor — who has quarantined twice in the past two months due to exposure to coronavirus — said he won’t be getting a vaccine in the near future.
“I am happy to wait my turn,” he said, noting that his turn won’t come for a while, based on age and vulnerability factors developed by the state. He also said if he got his vaccine out of turn, it would not “sit well with people.”
On this day in history: Harvey Milk becomes the first openly gay person elected to public office in California
Milk, a Korean War vet, was a San Francisco businessman who was elected to the city’s Board of Supervisors in 1977. His first act as supervisor was a bill outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation, which Mayor George Moscone signed into law. History.com reports that Milk also helped turn public opinion against a referendum that would have allowed schools to fire teachers for being gay, which ended up being rejected by 75% of voters. On Nov. 27, 1978, Milk and Moscone were assassinated in City Hall by a disgruntled former supervisor.
In California is a roundup of news from across USA Today network newsrooms. Also contributing: abc7.com, history.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.