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In California: Who’s bankrolling Newsom recall? And thousands get wrong vaccine dosage


I’m Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, bringing you the latest 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.

While organizers of the campaign to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom say the effort has been funded by a group of grassroots supporters who have had it with pandemic restrictions and the governor’s unfortunate decision to defy his own shelter-in-place orders by attending a dinner party, it seems the main donors are, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, “conservative fundraising arms, big tech venture capitalists, real estate investors, and a number of retirees.”

Recall organizers say they’ve raised almost $4 million — and more than half of that amount has come from about 24 contributors, each of whom have donated between $90,000 and $500,000.

Dan Newman, who serves as a consultant for Newsom’s planned 2022 re-election campaign, said the recall is the result of national Republicans looking for an issue after losing the White House. But leaders of the recall effort say the attempt to blame national Republican groups is misguided.

“This movement is born and raised in California,” said Anne Dunsmore, campaign manager for Rescue California Recall Gavin Newsom, adding that out-of-state donors are likely former Golden State residents who fled the state to escape Newsom and his policies.

 “These are the Baby Boomer donors,” she said. “They do not want to leave here. It’s putting their dreams of retirement in jeopardy.”

Newsom, 53, who was elected in 2018 after serving as lieutenant governor and mayor of San Francisco, has faced six such attempts, with the previous five failing to make the ballot due to lack of valid signatures. Organizers have until March 17 to get nearly 1.5 million validated signatures to make the recall vote a reality. 

Medical staff: Thousands received wrong vaccine dosage at Oakland Coliseum

In what might be labeled an “epic fail,” thousands of vaccine seekers who visited the mass vaccination site at the Oakland Coliseum on Monday were given incorrect dosages, according to Fox 2 KTVU.

Two EMTs, who asked to remain anonymous, contacted the station to report that the approximately 4,300 people who received their vaccines before 2 p.m. were given too little of the Pfizer doses. Once the problem had been identified, the situation was corrected.

Officials say the Coliseum situation was the result of syringes that trapped portions of the vaccine inside. While the optimal amount to receive is 0.3 mL,  those who received shots before 2 p.m. Monday could have received as little as 0.2 mL.

Authorities at the California Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, both of which oversee the Coliseum vaccination site, said they were unaware of the problem until Tuesday when KTVU alerted them.

While state officials say people who receive smaller doses won’t be less protected, another infectious disease expert said it’s too early to know for certain.

Report on Stockton’s universal basic income experiment shows people spent money to better themselves

When it was first presented, people thought it was a joke. But the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), a two-year guaranteed income program, actually helped families in Stockton achieve financial stability, a new report says.

For two years, 125 randomly selected residents of the Northern California city received monthly stipends of $500. The cash was “completely unconditional, with no strings attached and no work requirements,” according to the SEED website.

The stipends were disbursed via prepaid debit cards, so SEED researchers were able to track merchant category codes and determine how participants spent their money. The majority of funds were spent on basic needs like food (37%), home goods (22%), utilities (11%) and auto costs (10%). Less than 1% was spent on alcohol or tobacco. 

In addition to helping people gain financial footing, researchers discovered the program had a “spill-over effect. For example, when stipends were first granted, 29% of participants were full-time employees. A year later, 40% of participants had full-time jobs — suggesting the additional $500 they received helped remove barriers that prevented them from applying and interviewing for jobs. The economic “vaccine” also led to lower rates of depression and anxiety among the group, the group said.

The results, presented during a digital news conference, range from February 2019 — when stipends were first given — to February 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Lady Gaga: trendsetter or victim of a horrible trend?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that thefts of French bulldogs are on the rise. It’s been well publicized that pop star Lady Gaga had two of hers stolen last week. But she’s not alone.

A family in San Jose had their French bulldog stolen from their front yard Sunday, according to ABC7. And on Monday, a San Lorenzo woman was reunited with hers after it was located in Mexico, where a man — reportedly unaware it was stolen — said he had purchased it for $1,000.

Experts are urging people interested in obtaining a French bulldog to do their research and make sure they’re dealing with someone reputable who isn’t selling stolen animals. And once you’ve got your pup, be sure to tag and microchip it. And keep it close.

“Frenchies are ‘in’ right now,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, president of the animal shelter San Francisco SPCA. “If I had a Frenchie, I wouldn’t let it out of my sight right now.”

Bite-sized news bits

Bumpy roads, falling highways and endangered fish, oh my!

In California is a roundup of news from across USA Today network newsrooms. Also contributing: ABC7, ABC10, Fox 2 KTVU, San Francisco Chronicle, We’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow with the latest headlines.

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 [email protected].

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