It was no surprise the Biden-Harris presidential ticket won California. They secured about two-thirds of the votes counted so far. Now, city mayors and local government officials hope Biden can help turn the state's economy around, curb unemployment, and slow down the spread of COVID-19.
The L.A. Times' Ben Oreskes has written about this and joined us with more.
Oreskes and other reporters spoke to more with over a dozen elected officials, administrators school districts, and found out an immediate need for more stimulus.
"This is something that the federal government and congress have been discussing. They passed the CARES Act earlier in the spring, but that money has run dry. From there, the state got about $15 billion, and that filtered down into communities. But without more money and more support, cities, counties, community college districts, and everything in that nature, they're in trouble. They have less tax revenue and are facing huge budget deficits. For example, the estimate for the city of L.A. is between $4 and $600 million. We spoke with one city councilman, who said cops and firefighters would be laid-off without more help from the federal government. Therefore, the more pressing need is for more money very soon to help pay the most basic bills," said Oreskes.
"For many of the individuals we talked to —I can think of Libby Schaaf in Oakland as one—there has been this rhetoric and sentiment that has come from the White House. It's this 'war on cities,' if you will. These democratic strongholds are full of crime, homelessness, and it's been a political talking point from President Trump. I think for a lot of these elected officials there's a relief that that kind of rhetoric will sort of fade and that there could be a more constructive conversation about things that cities need," added Oreskes.
As coronavirus cases continue to rise in California, elected officials want action to help combat COVID-19.
"It's about this need for a cohesive structure that gives them more money like testing and businesses that won't be opening any time soon. We talked to a member of congress where Disneyland is in their district. They talked about how they need more help opening up places like that—which are the lifeline of this area of Orange County. But, that comes with more help on testing, more funding for PPE of all kinds, and just broadly a more serious ear in the White House, that we haven't seen up to this point," said Oreskes.
Overall, State and city officials are realistic when it comes to their wish list for the Biden Administration.
"We heard about this blue wave that was coming, and it didn't materialize. A supermajority in the senate would've made for a very different moment right now. But, I think a lot of their expectations have tampered. Simultaneously, though, infrastructure has been this subject that we always thought would be some bipartisan appeal. That's never materialized, but I think for many people, there's a hope that it could bring some change with improvements to things like rail. But at the same time, I think there's such an urgent need not to be laying off people in government, which is a reality we should expect in LA, but just avoiding that from happening, I think for many people would be a success," added Oreskes.