5/19/20

Today I met with Fred and Shelly to visit and let Penny run. It breaks up the time alone and Penny enjoys the extra attention. As always, we observed social distancing. The weather was nice until the end when it got windy and started getting chilly.

Today San Luis Obispo County reported just one new case of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to 247. Health officials stated, three people are hospitalized, including two patients who are in the ICU, another 30 people are recovering at home and 213 people have recovered. San Luis Obispo County has had one death attributed to COVID-19. County Health report that 2,480 coronavirus tests have been conducted at the public health lab, and another 4,879 tests have been conducted at private labs.

The City of San Luis Obispo is considering closing off Bubblegum Alley if proper social distancing is not followed. City Manager Derek Johnson says the city is monitoring activity there and keeping the popular attraction open for now. He says there are “elegant design solutions” that could be placed at the alley if concerns with social distancing arise. The question arose Tuesday morning when local radio show host Adam Montiel shared pictures on Instagram of workers putting up wooden slats and a door at the ends of the alley, located along Higuera Street downtown. Bubblegum Alley was open as of late Tuesday morning.

San Luis Obispo County officials are expecting a general fund budget shortfall of between $32 million and $56 million next fiscal year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fiscal year begins July 1, 2020. County officials say the anticipated shortfall, which is about five to ten percent of the county’s general fund budget, is primarily the result of a large drop in consumer spending. They expect the pandemic to continue to impact the county’s budget for at least the next three fiscal years. The county has instituted a hiring freeze and is also looking at discretionary spending. The public is invited to provide input on the county’s budget at the County Budget Hearing scheduled for June 8-10.

Due to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s policies, undocumented immigrants in California are now allowed to apply for the state’s coronavirus relief program that will pay $500 per person and up to $1,000 per household, according to reports Monday. The Los Angeles Times reported that Sacramento has freed up $75 million for the fund, which could help about 150,000 who may be facing severe hardships during the pandemic. An earlier report in the paper said the Center for American Liberty is suing the state, claiming that the money is “not a slush fund for the governor to spend as he sees fit.” It hopes to block the package. Opponents of the measure insist that any taxpayer funds should be directed to U.S. citizens who are also struggling amid the pandemic. The LA Daily News reported that the state is home to about 2 million undocumented immigrants who are not eligible to receive any kind of federal stimulus. The report said the fund could hit $125 million, which would include $50 million from donations. The money is expected to run out quickly. The state website opened on Monday and there was so much traffic that the site crashed, the Fresno Bee reported. “The website is currently up and running, and we are continuing to increase its capacity,” Scott Murray, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Social Services, told the Bee. Kim Ouillette, attorney, and fellow with Legal Aid at Work, told the paper that the state should “step in and do something more significant” because the funds will only cover a percentage of the immigrants in the state illegally. Applications will be accepted until June 30 or until funds run dry. Newsom announced in April that he would spend $75 million of taxpayer money to create a Disaster Relief Fund for immigrants living in the country illegally. He was criticized by some Republicans in the state. Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove said at the time that Newsom should spend the money instead on food banks, equipment for students to continue their education online and local governments struggling with revenue losses. “Instead of meeting these urgent needs, Governor Newsom has chosen to irresponsibly pursue a left-wing path and unilaterally secured $125 million for undocumented immigrants,” said Grove, who represents Bakersfield. Illegal immigrants in California have jammed up phone lines in the state to claim $500 funds provided by the state’s relief program. State officials say approximately 150,000 illegal immigrants qualify for California’s $75 million economic relief program on a first-come, first-serve basis. The program was conducted via telephone to promote social distancing amid the coronavirus. Government phone lines were bombarded by illegal immigrants hoping they could obtain payments of $500 per person or $1,000 per household. “The phone lines were completely saturated,” said Adolfo Luna, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, according to a report by the New York Times. Other private groups are reportedly pledging an additional $50 million to provide economic relief for an additional 100,000 immigrants. California citizens and illegal immigrant residents were allowed to begin applying for the relief program on April 28. “The state’s Disaster Relief Fund will be dispersed through a community-based model of regional nonprofits with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities,” said a press release from California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office. “California is the most diverse state in the nation. Our diversity makes us stronger and more resilient. Every Californian, including our undocumented neighbors and friends, should know that California is here to support them during this crisis. We are all in this together,” said Newsom about the program, which was announced on April 15. “Regardless of your status, documented or undocumented, there are people in need.” California has been home to several hotbeds of the virus, including the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County. State and local officials have sparred over settling on a timeline of when the state should reopen in an effort to prevent a spike in cases from opening too early. California has seen nearly 81,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 3,300 associated deaths. The state has slowly started easing restrictions, letting retailers open for curbside pickup with a maximum of 10 employees allowed on-site. Manufacturers and warehouses may have no more than 50 workers on-site, and small stores can have no more than five employees on-site, according to the Los Angles Times.

The United Nations is using coronavirus aid to pressure Ecuador to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions, pro-life leaders in the country said this month. The Catholic News Agency reports the country’s Ministry of Foreign Relations and Human Mobility recently asked for $46.4 million in aid from the UN Humanitarian Response Plan COVID-19. Within that funding package, however, is a goal to “maintain continuity of maternal, neonatal and children’s health and other sexual and reproductive health services during the pandemic,” including abortions, according to the report. “[Our] fear is that our highest authority in Ecuador will even consider accepting this economic shakedown of $46 million in exchange for the lives of thousands of unborn children,” Martha Villafuerte of the pro-life Guayaquil Family Network told ACI Prensa. The Guayaquil Family Network and other pro-life organizations recently began a petition urging President Lenin Moreno to reject the abortion agenda within the aid, according to the report. “It goes against the Constitution, specifically article 45, which guarantees the right to life from conception, a right that was ratified last September 17 at the plenary session of the National Assembly,” Villafuerte said.

Penny is guarding her new toy that Shelly got her today.

A black dog on a leash

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The weather and the recent rain combined to make the area where Shelly, Fred, and I met to be very picturesque.

A yellow flower in a field with a mountain in the background

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©Copywrite MPFitch

Published by mpfitch

I am a retired disabled veteran and am actively involved with a Baptist Church on the Central Coast of CA. I am a photographer who likes to shoot portraits and scenic photographs.

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