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Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 8/3/20, PM

SF Mayor Proposes Big Budget / Two More San Quentin Deaths Add Up To 21 / Southern California Wildfire Growing Under Hot Conditions

SF Mayor Proposes Big Budget

Mayor London Breed of San Francisco put forth a budget proposal, Friday. Her budget pencils out at 13.7 billion dollars — that’s 1.4 billion more than the previous year. The mayor plans to spend that money on pandemic-related costs, mental health care, and homelessness. 

Mayor Breed is counting on voters to approve a business tax reform measure on the November 3 ballot in order to raise more revenue. And to help make ends meet, Breed’sbudget is asking city workers to defer scheduled raises for the next two years.

Labor leaders have resisted the plan, however. They argue that workers already deferred portions of their wage increases earlier this year, and were struggling even before the virus hit in March. But the mayor says if unions don’t agree to the delays, the city will be forced to lay off workers and cut city services.

Another notable part of Breed’s proposal is to redirect $120 million in law enforcement funding. The Human Rights commission of San Francisco has made recommendations with input from the city’s Black residents. The money would fund more housing, mental health, employment and education for Black citizens. 

The proposed budget now goes to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration. The final budget must be signed no later than October 1.

Two More San Quentin Deaths Add Up To 21

Two more inmates at San Quentin State Prison died from what appear to be complications of the coronavirus, according to corrections officials.

The incarcerated men died Sunday at outside hospitals. Orlando G. Romero was 48-years-old and living on death row since 1996. Another was part of the general population, but no further details were provided.

The prisoners were the latest of 21 at San Quentin, including nine condemned inmates, to die of complications related to COVID-19. The prison is the hardest-hit in California and has reported 2,181 inmates, about two-thirds of the population, have contracted the virus. The prison also has the highest number of infected staff with 258 employees testing positive for the virus.

Southern California Wildfire Growing Under Hot Conditions

Thousands of people remain under evacuation orders, today, after a wildfire in mountains east of Los Angeles exploded in size and forced crews to battle flames in triple-digit heat. The fire in Riverside County has consumed more than 31 square miles of dry brush and timber. It is 5% contained. One home and two outbuildings have been destroyed. No injuries are reported. A huge smoke plume was visible for miles around and contributed to poor air quality. The National Weather Service says “dangerously hot conditions” are expected to continue. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Ben joined KALW in 2004. As Executive News Editor and then News Director, he helped the news department win numerous regional and national awards for long- and short-form journalism. He also helped teach hundreds of audio producers, many of whom work with him at KALW, today.