Newsom’s deep-cutting budget axes programs for poor people amid $54 billion shortfall; Plus, a spotlight on Alameda County Community Food Bank

0:08 – Mondays with Mitch — Mitch Jeserich of Letters and Politics joins Cat Brooks and Brian Edwards-Tiekert to talk abut the Senate’s reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, known now as the USA Freedom Act, to expand the widespread surveillance across the U.S. and allow the FBI to access browsing history without first obtaining a warrant. We also talk about the House passage of the HEROES Act, another congressional stimulus during Covid-19 that contains money for states, and its uncertain future in the U.S. Senate.

0:34 Suzan Bateson, executive director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank, discusses food insecurity in the East Bay. Food banks have seen a surge in need during the coronavirus crisis — and the Alameda County Community Food Bank has increased its food purchases by almost three times the amount they spent last year. We’re spotlighting the food bank during our spring fund drive — listeners can give a portion of their donation to KPFA to the food bank by donating here.

1:08 – CA Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled his May budget revision, with deep cuts to most areas of state spending, making up for an anticipated $54 billion shortfall as a result of Covid-19. The cuts are set to take place if the federal government does not provide funding to California. Political reporter Laurel Rosenhall (@lrosenhall) of CalMatters joins us. Her latest piece is “Newsom moves to slash school, health spending — but asks feds for a rescue.”

1:20 – Michael Herald of the Western Center for Law and Poverty explains the effect of Newsom’s proposed budget cuts — many which go deeper than the cuts after the 2008 recession — on poor people. Programs implemented in the last two years and designed to keep poor people out of debt are on the chopping block.

1:34 – Amber-Rose Howard of CURB, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, calls for eliminating California’s “three strikes” policy and explains what Newsom’s budget means for prison spending and incarcerated people. Prisoners are dying of Covid-19 behind bars in California. Newsom is now proposing closing two state prisons — but Howard says Newsom has fallen short of Jerry Brown’s record on commutations and that more action is needed from the governor.

“Prison is no place for a pandemic” illustration by Micah Bazant.