Weber Shares Thoughts on Framework for Reparations Eligibility


Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌ ‌|‌ ‌California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber shared her thoughts on who should be compensated for the injustices of slavery during the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans’ sixth meeting.

To open the first discussion of 2022, Weber testified virtually in front of the nine-member panel. She said eligibility should be based on “the impact of slavery” on enslaved Black people and their descendants as opposed to “those who were never slaves.”

“Reparations is designed to repair and heal the damages done to Africans for 400 years and (suffered) through Jim Crow (laws),” Weber said. “Recent immigrants do not share our common oppression at the same level. Reparations are for those of descendants of slavery. Their ties are permanently severed from their homeland and their ability to return to Africa is almost impossible. We are truly Americans.”

Weber (D-San Diego) authored Assembly Bill (AB) 3120which established the task force while serving in the Assembly before her appointment to be the state’s first African American Secretary of State in January 2021. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the state’s historic reparations bill into law in September 2020.

The great-granddaughter, granddaughter, and daughter of Black sharecroppers, Weber’s 20-minute testimony set the stage for the reparations meeting held on Jan. 27 and Jan. 28.

The sixth of 10-planned meetings, the agenda covered topics, including public health, mental health, technology, and physical health.

In order to gain a better perspective on the issue of eligibility, Weber suggested that task force members listen to recordings made in the 1930s of former slaves. The slave narratives were recorded as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Writer’s Project. 

“When slavery ended, when slavery was no longer legal, they (the formerly enslaved) literally had nothing, nothing but the scalps on their backs,” Weber said. “They did not own any property, any equipment, they owned no land, they had no sense of direction, no place to sleep, or no place to stay. They had nothing.”

Weber explained that the call for reparations is based on the fact that Black people provided free labor for over two centuries. When they were freed in 1865, an estimated 3.9 million formerly enslaved people had no shelter, workforce skills, education, or financial means to function in society.

A small portion of the enslaved that were working in the cotton and tobacco fields and in the “Big House” of the enslavers had options, but it kept them tied to slavery in one form or another.

“As a result (of freedom), most of them only had the skills of farming, which became the foundation for the sharecropping system,” Weber said. “A few Africans who lived in the ‘Big House’ knew how to serve, iron clothes, and wait on individuals. They sat in the house and listened to those plans of sharecropping and knew it was another wave of slavery … a different kind of slavery. Those who had skills left. They went north (for better opportunities).”

Task Force member Lisa Holder, a Los Angeles civil rights trial attorney, said Weber basically set the “framework” in terms of settling the eligibility issue. She pointed out that slavery was factually a “Western hemispheric economy” where Black people were also traded in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean islands.

“Don’t get me wrong, the impact of slavery was universal around the world,” Weber responded. “But many of those places have intact much more cultural relevance than we have. I’m dealing with what the United States’ responsibility is. If we decided to solve all the problems around the world, we’d probably get 50 cents each and that would be the end of it.”

Weber continued, “I think those in other countries should also be dealing with the countries that they come from (where) they put their labor in. We looked at the fact that we worked for free (in the U.S.) for over 100 years and built this nation. I am not in favor of opening this up to all folks. It gets too complicated.”

Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) asked Weber for her perspective on a comment Andrew Young, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. protégée, former Congressman, mayor of Atlanta and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, made to him.  Young said some White people were enslaved and may be entitled to reparations, too.

“There were various levels of servitude that existed in this country but none as pervasive or upheld by law as it was for Africans in this country,” Weber said. “We were visible. If there was a White person who remained in slavery they’ve must have wanted to stay because they could have run away. I appreciate Andrew Young and his desire to be compassionate to the world but oftentimes our compassion has not served us well.”

AB 3121 charges the task force with studying the institution of slavery and its lingering effects on African Americans who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States.

In addition, the task force will suggest appropriate compensation, rehabilitation, and restitution for African Americans.

By statute, the task force will issue its first report to the California legislature by June 1 of this year, which will be available to the public.

The Numbers Are In: Bass Smokes Her Mayoral Rivals in Fundraising


The numbers are in, making it official that Congresswoman Karen Bass has far surpassed her rivals in the 2022 L.A. Mayoral race with the most money raised. Bass’ campaign took in upwards of $1.982 million since the veteran legislator entered the race in late September, according to campaign filings submitted to the Los Angeles Ethics Commission.

That’s over $700,000 more than her nearest competitor, L.A. City Councilmember Kevin de Leon, who raised $1.226 million.

L.A. City Councilmember Joe Buscaino—who entered the race nearly a year ago— came in third, reporting $1.182 million in campaign donations. 

City Attorney Mike Feuer—who has been in the race the longest having announced his mayoral bid in March of 2020— has raised $968,000.

Rounding out the field of candidates is Jessica Lall, president and chief executive of the downtown L.A.-based Central City Association with $404,000, Tech entrepreneur Ramit Varma ($182,356) and former Metro board member Mel Hall ($141,000)

Donors to Bass’ campaign include former Disney chair Jeffrey Katzenberg, Felicity Huffman, Tiffany Haddish, Donald Glover, Jennifer Garner and Mark Ridley-Thomas, while her list of endorsements boasts Senator Cory Booker, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Labor and Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta, Los Angeles County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Holly Mitchell, State Senators Steven Bradford and Sydney Kamlager, and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“Karen Bass is the leader that this city is calling for and the support she is receiving from every part of this city is proof,” said Jamarah Hayner, campaign manager for Karen Bass for Mayor. “They are rallying behind the decisive leadership Karen Bass has always demonstrated. That’s why we’re seeing this momentum and it’s only going to grow.”

As the February 12 filing deadline for people seeking to run for mayor approaches, many are wondering if billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso will enter the race as rumored. The primary is scheduled for June 7 with the general election set for November 8.

Stacey Abrams’ Gubernatorial Run Provides a Jolt for the 2022 Midterms

Stacy M. Brown/NNPA Newswire 

In an announcement that has provided a jolt to the 2022 midterm elections, Stacey Abrams said she’s running for governor of the Peach State.

The race, which could mean a second dual between Abrams and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, promises to catapult Democrats into the position of favorites.

A Democrat and noted voting rights advocate, Abrams lost to Kemp by just over one percentage point in their controversial 2018 battle.

Her activism helped Democrats claim the majority in the U.S. Senate when Georgia Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the January 2021 runoff election.

“I’m running because opportunity in our state shouldn’t be determined by zip code, background, or access to power,” Abrams declared.

“That’s the job of the governor – to fight for one Georgia, our Georgia,” Abrams exclaimed. “And now, it is time to get the job done.”

Abrams’s work since her 2018 loss to Kemp has received praise across the political spectrum. In 2019, she launched Fair Count and Fair Fight Action to encourage voter participation in elections and educate voters about elections and their voting rights.

The PAC brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in other voter education programs and communications.

“Voter suppression, particularly of voters of color and young voters, is a scourge our country faces in states across the nation,” Abrams noted on her website.

She said Georgia’s 2018 elections “shone a bright light on the issue with elections that were rife with mismanagement, irregularities, unbelievably long lines and more, exposing both recent and also decades-long actions and inactions by the state to thwart the right to vote.”

“Fair Fight Action was founded to organize collective efforts to expose, mitigate, and reverse voter suppression. We engage in voter mobilization and education activities and advocate for progressive issues,” Abrams continued.

Fair Fight PAC has initiated programs to support voter protection programs at state parties around the country and is engaging in partnerships to support and elect pro-voting rights progressive leaders.

After serving for eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Democratic Leader, in 2018, Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, winning more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history.

She broke the glass ceiling as the first Black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States and as the first Black woman and first Georgian to deliver a Response to the State of the Union.

“It’s a very humbling experience to know that if I win this election, I would have achieved something that Black women as far back as Barbara Jordan and Shirley Chisholm has fought about, not necessarily the same job, but transforming how we think about leadership in America and physically claiming that mantle of leadership and holding it signals that anything is possible, and we can re-define what leadership looks like and who we can lift up,” Abrams said in a 2018 interview with the Black Press of America.

Kendrick Johnson Documentary Re-Ignites Calls for Justice

Tina Samepay

Kendrick Johnson’s mother and family recently joined actress Jennifer Lewis and Director Jason Pollock at the Los Angeles premiere of Finding Kendrick Johnson. The screening was held at the Leammle Theatre in North Hollywood during the documentary’s seven night L.A run. 

Lewis, who is co-producer and narrator of the film, held a small rally outside the theatre before the screening. The 64-year-old actress has called the documentary ‘some of the most important work she has done in Hollywood.’ 

She says she was moved to help tell Johnson’s story due to the fact his organs were removed, and his family received little answers into his cause of death. 

“Do you know how hard it is, to come this far in this country and then have to watch them just, kill our kids?” Lewis said outside the Leammle Theatre. 

“We are going to get justice for the Johnson family.”

In March, Valdosta Sheriff Ashley Paulk reopened Johnson’s case–a silver-lining for his family who have been fighting over 8 years to receive justice and answers.

Lewis’ powerful voice guides us through the nearly 4-year private investigation into the mysterious death of 17-year-old Johnson. Johnson was found rolled inside a mat in Valdosta High School’s gym Jan 2017, the day after he was reported missing by his parents. His death was ruled accidental by school and police officials. 

Kendrick’s parents hired their own forensic pathologist, whose findings contradicted the original autopsy report that Johnson died due to accidental positional asphyxiation. 

The independent autopsy report determined instead that Johnson died by blunt force trauma.

“I care about them killing our children so I will be in the streets. I will be doing whatever I can do for the Johnson family. Are we clear?” Lewis said during the rally. 

Jaqueline Johnson, Kendrick Johnson’s mother, says she stands on the grounds that her son was murdered, and no one can change her mind. 

“No matter how hard they try, you know your child. I raised him for the 17 good years that God gave him to me, so I am going to stand up for that child because I am his voice now,” Jaqueline Johnson shared.

Johnson’s mother is particularly focused on elements of the documentary that really grasp what she refers to as a cover-up in her son’s death. This includes unredacted police files and video frames, which were cut out of school surveillance videos in the gym where Johnson was found. 

These videos and frame notes show Johnson walking almost side-by-side with a Valdosta High School student, who initially claimed to be in class or away from campus that day on a sports trip. 

The Johnson’s have continued to name this student as a top suspect in their son’s death, because he was involved in a fight with Johnson prior to him being found inside the school’s gym. 

These frames and files were kept hidden from homicide detective Mitch Credle, who investigated Johnson’s case for the U.S. Attorney’s office. The documentary shows Credle at a loss for words when presented with the information. 

“You’re one of the lead investigators on the case. so that lets you know right there, that if they want to cover something up, they can hide it from their own people,” Mrs. Johnson said.

Pollock says although they have received considerable media coverage, there are still Georgia outlets that continue to suppress evidence, due to their refusal to cover new details in Johnson’s case.

“Our film shows Johnson’s case was completely misreported. This is evidence that anyone could have found. Not only did they not look into it, now that the information is out–they are ignoring it,” Pollock shared.

The documentary is distributed by Gravitas Ventures and names Girls Trip Malcolm D. Lee along with Hill Harper, Elizabeth Hurwitz and Dia Sokol among producers. Finding Kendrick Johnson is also available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

“Run Karen Run”: The Campaign to Make Congresswoman Karen Bass L.A.’s Next Mayor

As the California recall race reaches fever pitch in the countdown to September 14, there is yet another political campaign that is gathering steam as what began as a behind-the-scenes move to enlist Congresswoman Karen Bass in the 2022 mayoral race has gained momentum both in L.A. political circles and the media.

Leading the charge are several women’s democratic clubs that have launched online campaigns to draft the Congresswoman into the race, including the California Black Women’s Democratic Club which posted: “We believe the residents of Los Angeles would like to have a progressive option in the field of candidates. We also know that Bass is a solution-focused candidate who has a track record of solving complex problems. Like many of us, she got her start in community organizing, problem-solving as the founder of the Community Coalition.”

They were the same black women who rallied around Bass when she was eyed as a possible replacement for the senate seat vacated by Kamala Harris in a “keep the seat” campaign that included black leaders and women’s groups across the state and nation, but ultimately ended when— in a move characterized as a snub against black women—Governor Gavin Newsom instead chose California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

Yet another campaign dubbed “Run Karen Run” by veteran political strategist Kerman Maddox of Dakota Communications and others is asking business and community members to sign letters encouraging the Congresswoman to return home and run while also gaging support on behalf of the 67-year old legislator who was said to be seriously considering a mayoral bid.

“The arc of her journey has been really impressive and I’m excited about the groundswell of support she is receiving, which is unusual for someone who is just rumored to be a candidate,” Maddox said.

“The possible entrance of Bass, who has been one of the few politicians I can say didn’t do a Jekyll and Hyde after being sworn into office, has been the most welcomed news since President Biden announced he’s sending Mayor Eric Garcetti to India”, Democratic political strategist Jasmyne Cannick wrote in a recent op-ed for the California Black Media. “Who we elected is who we got with Bass — a compassionate, thoughtful and bold leader on important issues”.

City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas is also among the many urging Congresswoman Karen Bass to run having made the decision that he would not seek the post.

“I take the position that if Karen Bass were to launch a campaign, she would be formidable, because of her experience at the federal level; because of her experience at the state level; because of her experience as a health care professional [former nurse]; and because of gender. Those factors are really going to be important,” Ridley-Thomas said of the field of likely candidates include City Attorney Mike Feuer, Councilmember Joe Buscaino and Kevin de Leon, City Council President Nury Martinez and billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso.

“She has not yet made that determination, but she would be a force with which to reckon and the current field knows and appreciates that very point.”

A recent poll bears witness to just how formidable a force Bass would be. Conducted by FM3 Research from July 29-August 5, the survey of 803 people put Bass in the lead with 22% of the respondents indicating that they would vote for her. 

The poll also indicated that Bass had the advantage of being the best known among the candidates and led with Black Angelenos and people on the Westside and South Los Angeles.

Fact is, Bass’ name had surfaced relative to the mayoral race even before Ridley-Thomas bowed out the race. Back in April, a spokesman remarked that though people had asked her to consider running, “she was not considering running for mayor at this time”.

Bass, who had been mum on the issue, was recently quoted in an interview with KPCC/LAist, that she was “overwhelmed and humbled by people pushing me to do this, and I will say that I am seriously considering it.” 

She is expected to announce her intentions later this month and if the answer is affirmative, will have nine months to fundraise and put together an effective campaign.

No one questions the qualifications of the L.A. native whose national profile rose with her chairmanship of the Congressional Black Caucus, her consideration as a vice presidential candidate by Joe Biden and her current leadership in the legislative reckoning over race and police violence. 

Observed Maddox, “Karen Bass is a uniquely talented elected official who has the ability to work with and connect with supporters and critics to get things done because everybody respects her and people really like her and in electoral politics likeability is priceless.

“As she was being vetted to be on the ticket as Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential running mate,” Maddox continued, “people talked about her integrity, her legislative accomplishments, her leadership skills and her career trajectory but the thing I heard more than anything throughout that process was her ability to bring people together because people trusted her and genuinely liked her.”

The six-term lawmaker, who founded the social justice non-profit, the Community Coalition—has since 2011—represented California’s 37th Congressional district, which stretches from Inglewood to Century City and includes Leimert Park, Culver City, Mid-City, West Adams, Mar Vista, Westwood, Ladera Heights and University Park.

If elected, Bass would make history as the first woman to serve as L.A. mayor. It wouldn’t be the first time Bass has made history. In 2008, she was elected to serve as the 67th Speaker of the California State Assembly, becoming the first African American woman in United States history to serve as a Speaker of a state legislative body.

Election watchers will be looking to see if the early buzz and name identification pay off at the polls. To avoid a November runoff, Bass would have to get more than 50% of the vote. The primary election is set for June 7, 2021.

Commentary: $215 M Cal Recall Election is Baseless, Trump-Backed Power Grab

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Just as it seemed we as a country were coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves faced with another challenge as the Delta variant of the virus spreads more rapidly throughout our communities. On top of the pandemic, we are also heading into another fire season while many of our neighbors remain unhoused. We know that low-income Californians, people of color and women who take care of their families while also providing essential care for others are feeling a disproportionate share of these burdens.

It is during this time that Republicans have chosen to once again return to the Donald Trump playbook of political games by attempting to recall Governor Gavin Newsom and overturn his election without any merit or standing.

This recall effort -_ in addition to being completely baseless and a blatantly political power grab — is completely inappropriate during this period where we need to allow our elected leaders to handle very significant challenges. This recall election of the governorship alone will cost Californians $215 million in taxpayer money, money that could have been spent battling wildfires, developing housing, or combatting a pandemic that continues to threaten our health and public safety.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I know how much Californians — and African American Californians in particular — have to lose from this Republican ploy. We know that recall supporters from the Trump camp understand they cannot win in a normal election, they are yet again using underhanded tactics to undermine our democratic elections. As we fight against voter suppression in Congress and in states like Georgia, we must realize that the recall election is the California version of that same Republican agenda.

Governor Newsom won his position in 2018 and has since set an example to the nation for what strong leadership can do in the face of crisis. Since the very beginning of this pandemic, we remember California was and continues to be looked upon as a gold standard for testing, vaccination, and virus protocols.

Governor Newsom has proven his ability to lead California through the pandemic, and his resume ensures he is more than up to the task of controlling the Delta Variant.

Now, the Trump-backed recall is setting its sights on dismantling all the work we as a state have done to keep this virus under control, and for no more than a political ploy to steal a governorship from the voters who put Governor Newsom in office. The good news is that we have faced these challenges before, we know the good work we are capable of doing.

Although it will take time and a continued effort from our leaders to get through these crises, we will return to a sense of normalcy once again with strong leadership and good decision making as Governor Newsom and his team have already shown capable of executing. Ignoring these problems and instead being forced to deal with a completely unsuitable recall for Californians by Trump-backed groups is a recipe for disaster.

The ploy to recall the governor is one of several democratically elected positions that Trump-backed groups have targeted to recall. From progressive district attorneys to city council members and from California delegates to local school board members, these recall groups insist upon wasting taxpayer dollars, costing Californians hundreds of millions of dollars, just to win political games.

These recalls are a waste of our money and are completely detrimental to overcoming the challenges we have at hand. Simply put, the recall effort of Governor Newsom and every Trump-backed recall effort will hurt Californians–not just our recovery from Covid but reproductive freedom, education funding, civil rights and other longtime conservative targets.

We have come a long way since the beginning of the pandemic, the early helplessness we all felt is finally transitioning to hopefulness. We cannot afford to forfeit all that we have worked for over petty political stunts. It is time to fight these recall efforts and ensure our leaders can focus on the issues that matter for the health, safety, and welfare of every Californian.

Women and people of color stand firmly behind Governor Newsom. We know that the health of our families, our neighborhoods and our rights depend on defeating the recall. We invite all readers to join us on September 14 — or as soon as you get your mail-in ballot — in voting NO on the recall.

Rep. Barbara Lee represents California’s 13th Congressional District including portions of Alameda and San Francisco counties in the United States House of Representatives.


Why Demonizing The Unvaccinated Won’t Work

Sunita Sohrabji/EMS
      Low-income minorities in the U.S., many of whom remain unvaccinated because of hurdles in access and information, are unfairly being blamed for the new rise in Covid infections, said Dr. Tiffani Johnson, a pediatrician with UC Davis Children’s Health Center, at an Ethnic Media Services news briefing July 30.
      “There are so many barriers that exist to accessing healthcare and those same barriers exist to accessing the vaccine,” said Johnson, one of four speakers at the news conference, which addressed efficacy rates of current vaccines against the Delta variant, the dominant strain in the U.S.
      “We’ve had some politicians explicitly say it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks as this pandemic worsens. But It’s really a lot more nuanced than just pointing the fingers at the unvaccinated as we continue to see spikes in COVID,” she said.
      The Kaiser Family Foundation reported July 21 that more than 68 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the two dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
      But as of July 19, less than half of Black and Hispanic people have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose in the vast majority of states reporting data.
      The vaccination rate for Black people is less than 50 percent in 38 of 42 reporting states, including 14 states where less than a third of Black people have received one or more doses. Similarly, less than half of Hispanic people have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose in 34 of 40 reporting states, including 10 states where less than a third have received at least one dose, according to the KFF.
      A study released by Israel’s Ministry of Health in July concluded that the two-dose Pfizer vaccine was just 39 percent effective in controlling the spread of the Delta variant, though it was 80 to 90 percent effective in fighting against severe illness and hospitalizations. A study from Scotland released in June noted that the Delta variant doubles the rate of hospitalization in unvaccinated people.
      Johnson acknowledged several barriers preventing low income minority populations from getting the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine. A history of redlining — banks refusing loans to certain communities because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk — has led to segregation of minorities living in healthcare deserts, she said.
      Those who lack stable internet connections may have trouble securing a vaccine, said Johnson, adding that transportation is also a huge barrier. “When you have a vaccine clinic that maybe five miles away, if you don’t have a car, five miles is a long way to try to get on foot.”
Hourly wage workers make up a large percentage of vulnerable communities: If they don’t show up to work, they don’t get paid.
      “So even taking one or two hours off of work to be able to get your vaccine, if you can only find one available during those hours when you’re working, that’s one or two hours that you’re not getting paid,” said Johnson. She noted that people have also expressed concern to her about the side effects associated with the vaccines: chills, fevers, body aches, and general weakness, among other symptoms.
      Dealing with mild side effects also may require taking time off work, said Johnson. “So, either they don’t want to get it or they’re trying to wait for a time where they can block two or three days off.”
      Communities of color also have a general mistrust of a healthcare system in which they feel unheard and unseen, said Johnson. “We’ve been cheating on these communities for years and abusing them for years and now we’re like: ‘Hey baby, I’m sorry, I love you,’ and we expect them to trust us. But we need to earn that trust and build that trust. And it’s not going to happen overnight,” stated Johnson.
      The pediatrician said she was not in favor of a vaccination mandate, nor is she in favor of vaccine passports, which are now being required to enter many public places, and job sites.
      “I don’t think that we should create a two-tiered system where certain groups in certain communities don’t have access to benefits and society. I think that we need to work on educating the community and empowering the community.”
      “Given all of the barriers that I outlined to getting those vaccines, until we fully address all of those barriers, I don’t think it’s fair to create a two-tiered system,” stated Johnson.

Millions of Californians Set to Receive $600 Stimulus Checks

Providing immediate relief to Californians hit hardest by the pandemic is one of the hallmarks of the Governors’ California Comeback Plan which will roll out $600 stimulus checks to millions of Californians this fall.

It is estimated that two out of every three Californians will receive the stimulus checks in what is the biggest economic recovery package in the state’s history. The Plan creates the biggest state tax rebate in American history, expanding direct payments to middle class families for a total of $12 billion in stimulus payments that will go directly to middle class Californians and families.

Those earning between $30,000 and $75,000 a year qualify for the one-time checks. Qualified families with kids will receive an additional $500 regardless of their immigration status.

“Harnessing the largest surplus in state history, we’re making transformative investments across the board that will help bring all our communities roaring back from the pandemic – and pay dividends for generations to come,” said Governor Newsom. “Through this comprehensive plan, the state is taking on the inequities laid bare by the pandemic, expanding our support for Californians facing the greatest hardships, increasing opportunity for every child, confronting homelessness head-on and doubling down on our work to build resilience against the climate change impacts that threaten California’s future. I thank Pro Tem Atkins, Speaker Rendon and both houses of the Legislature for their incredible partnership in meeting the unprecedented challenge and opportunity of this moment.”

The payments are tentatively scheduled to be issued in September. Residents earning less than $30,000 who already received one-time $600 stimulus checks earlier this year are not eligible for a second $600 check. 

Winners and Winners: Big Takeaways From New Rent Law Benefitting Landlords and Tenants

Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 832, which updates California’s eviction moratorium rules and extends it.

“California is coming roaring back from the pandemic, but the economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to disproportionately impact so many low-income Californians, tenants and small landlords alike,” Newsom said last week after reaching a deal on the moratorium with lawmakers.

The governor said the agreement he reached with the Legislature also gives the state more time to provide the over $5 billion in federal rent relief funds for eligible tenants and landlords.

According to a spokesperson with the Business Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH), over 85,907 Californians have submitted rent relief applications to the state-run program and 37,189 of them are already being processed as of June 22.

15.79% of those applicants are identified as Black or African American.

According to the BCSH, $660 million in rental assistance has been requested and the state has paid a total of $61.6 million in back rent so far through the program.

“Our housing situation in California was a crisis before COVID, and the pandemic has only made it worse — this extension is key to making sure that more people don’t lose the safety net helping them keep their home. While our state may be emerging from the pandemic, in many ways, the lingering financial impact still weighs heavily on California families,” Senate President pro Tem Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) stated. “People are trying to find jobs and make ends meet and one of the greatest needs is to extend the eviction moratorium—which includes maximizing the federal funds available to help the most tenants and landlords possible—so that they can count on a roof over their heads while their finances rebound.”

AB 832 also prioritizes cities and counties with “unmet needs.”

Kendra Lewis, executive director of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, said the law will benefit families impacted by the pandemic that are still struggling.

“The pandemic showed us all how unequal housing is and how many renters are vulnerable,” Lewis said. “We need to do a better job at outreach and education because if you’re in a vulnerable community, or any situation regardless of your race or whatever, and the government has a program where it’s going to help you pay your rent, there’s going to be some apprehension.”

Lewis praised the eviction moratorium extension, claiming that many families will benefit from it.

“Imagine being in a vulnerable community, worried about losing your job or you’re a frontline worker with kids at home. The last thing you need is to be evicted,” Lewis said.

How Tenants Will Benefit From AB 832

· Allows a tenant to receive full amount due if the landlord doesn’t participate in the program so that they are not carrying it as consumer debt.

· Permanently masks COVID rental debt civil cases, thus protecting tenants from having these cases impact their consumer credit.

· Extends current eviction moratorium.

How Landlords Will Benefit From AB 832

· Increases rental assistance payments to give 100% of rent owed for eligible landlords and tenants.

· Allows a longer timeframe for rental assistance funds, so more unpaid rent can be covered.

· Authorizes rental assistance payments to be provided to landlords in situations where the tenant has moved out and now lives in a new place, but still owes rent payments to their prior landlord.

· Requires a tenant to fill out the necessary paperwork for the rental assistance program within 15 business days of receiving notice of their landlord filling out its portion when a three-day eviction notice has been served.

· These eviction protections do not apply to new tenancies beginning on or after October 1, 2021

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