California State Senator Bob Hertzberg created a newsletter for San Fernando Valley residents called “Virus and the Valley.” The goal of the publication is to inform people about resources, how to donate, and how to get involved. Sen. Hertzberg said the newsletter “really cuts to the heart strings of the San Fernando Valley and what we’re about.”
“So not only economic issues and the public safety issues, but Valley life and trying to put it in a very readable form.”
Sen. Hertzberg said on average, 30,000 people open the newsletter every day. To find content for the newsletter, Sen. Hertzberg’s staff reaches out to community groups to find out what they’re working on and how San Fernando Valley residents can help.
“We're offering an opportunity for people in the community, if you’ve got 50 masks or pairs of glasses or whatever, ways to donate and to participate,” he said. “This is mass mobilization. This gives people the better angels of their nature.”
Sen. Hertzberg said he’s working with BizFed to collect donations and supplies. No donation is too small. He said this process is easier than trying to donate medical supplies through the California Office of Emergency Services, where you must fill out an extensive form.
“It gives people the human element. I think the big story for us is really engaging the community because you're sitting at home, you're seeing these stories on television, you’re seeing these things,” he said. “People think, ‘What can I do to help? I can't afford to buy a million masks.' But 50 is OK. We’ll take them.”
Sen. Hertzberg says it’s “fantastic” that people can participate in the effort to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and gowns are two things L.A. County is still lacking.
“I’m not going to mention the names, but there was a very big store that had hanging garment bags, and we got the material for the garment bags. We’ve got some people in downtown Los Angeles that will convert them into gowns, and it has the brand of the logo of the very important, big people, and we just said, ‘Go for it.’”
Sen. Hertzberg said the Anheuser-Busch factory has started making hand sanitizer to help. The long term effects of the pandemic are still unknown, but Sen. Hertzberg said it will greatly impact California financially.
Normally, taxes are due April 15, the Governor releases a budget on May 15 based on the state’s tax revenue, and then the budget gets approved by June 15. Gov. Gavin Newsom will still release a state budget by May 15, but the process looks different this year since Tax Day was extended to July 15.
“It’s very difficult, so we'll pass a bare-bones budget by the 15th of June as we are required to do, and we’ll come back in with supplementals as we know about the revenue numbers,” he said. “But there is no question that when you look at the unemployment numbers, the magnitude of the hurt across the system, across people's lives, it’s going to be nothing less than the extraordinary, and so it's going to require us to do some very significant planning and cutting and dealing with.”
Let Inside the Issues know your thoughts and watch Monday through Friday at 8 and 11 p.m. on Spectrum News 1.