We’ve known this was coming for a while, but it was still jarring to see it unveiled on Friday: Despite the pandemic that’s devastated the American economy, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a record-breaking budget that plans to spend $227 billion.
The reason California has more, not less money, is because even though the economy made the poor even poorer, it made the rich a lot richer – which is good for the state’s finances.
That news came on the heels of the deadly domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol, which police did nothing to prepare for or to stop. Images of officers opening gates and deferentially asking insurrectionists to please stay within the velvet ropes drove home the degree to which police respond in wildly different ways to protests, depending on what the protestors look like and what message they support.
Taken together, the riot and the budget made very clear that you’re likely to have a wildly different experience in this country depending on where you live, what you look like and what you believe.
Though the Capitol riot certainly drove this fact home with sickening force, we also had plenty of evidence this was already the case, even right here in San Diego.
I recently wrote about all the data from 2020 that underscored just how differently Black San Diegans are treated by police: “Police were more likely to ticket Black San Diegans for seditious language – an unconstitutional law that the City Council has since wiped from the books. Police were more likely to cite Black people for riding the trolley without a ticket, and search them during a vehicle stop (even though Black people were less likely to have contraband). Officers were more likely to cite Black residents for violating stay-at-home orders and arrest them for protesting these very dynamics.”
New statewide data shows more of the same.
We know that when it comes to the coronavirus, certain regions and neighborhoods are far likelier to be hard-hit.
These are all big, gnarly issues that no doubt will require complex, drawn-out efforts in order to make change. But since the New Year is typically a time for those types of commitments, everyone with any shred of a platform or capacity to force institutional change should go ahead and pledge to try and tackle these deep inequalities. The poorest, sickest and most vulnerable to violence need something to change now more than ever.
What VOSD Learned This Week
This is an absolutely bananas story about San Diegans who discovered their biological fathers were actually the fertility doctors treating their mothers. And in other medical news, Will Huntsberry laid out just how dire the COVID-19 situation currently is for hospitals around the county.
We know that during the pandemic, domestic violence is happening more than ever. But the San Diego city attorney’s office has decided to continue to keep its center serving domestic violence victims closed to in-person services, and is prosecuting fewer and fewer cases under City Attorney Mara Elliott’s tenure.
Cities’ precarious finances will continue to be a major storyline in 2021. Lemon Grove is still teetering on the brink of insolvency and debating what to do next. The city of San Diego, meanwhile, must now grapple with how to make employees hired after 2012 whole following a court’s invalidation of Prop. B, a pension reform measure.
What I’m Reading
- The attack on the Capitol wasn’t just an attack on our democracy, it was specifically an attack on our multiracial democracy – which is much younger and more fragile than the system we started with. (The Atlantic)
- Here’s just how unprepared and unwilling Capitol Police were to police the Capitol. (Time)
- The riot laid bare the extent to which police treat White and Black protestors differently. (Politico)
- A lesson for anyone who responds to events like this week’s with, “This isn’t who we are!” It really, truly is. (Harper’s Bazaar)
- This piece isn’t directly related to what happened at the Capitol, but it certainly helps explain how QAnon and others infiltrated and influenced so many people across the country. (Mother Jones)
Line of the Week
“‘This is not America,’ a woman said to a small group, her voice shaking. ‘They’re shooting at us. They’re supposed to shoot BLM, but they’re shooting the patriots.’” – This is basically the textbook definition of saying the quiet part out loud.