OAKLAND, Calif. - The governor laid out his grand plan. The legislature gave him the money. The U.S. and California constitutions give him vast power
In his news conference yesterday afternoon, Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke about the use of a billion dollars the legislature granted him "for any purpose" related to coronavirus response including the purchase or lease of inactive hospitals, hotels and other property.
"In record time, quite literally over the course of 48 hours, we were able to procure two hotels in Oakland and then we are in the process of transitioning those two hotels, 393 units to the county, we are negotiating with 901 others; again can't be more precise to you, than that; tens of thousands of rooms in that portfolio; not just for the homeless but also potential surge capacity to meet the broader needs as realities to this pandemic," said Newsom.
The legislature also allotted another $100 million to disinfect schools and to keep schools funded even through prolonged closures.
"We wanted to make sure that learning is still occurring; distance learning, the online learning," said Newsom.
The Governor also spoke to the issue of making sure the public complies with the need to stop the spread of virus, even at the expense of some personal liberties, including the use of the National Guard.
"We have the ability to do Martial Law and things like that can layer new requirements and authority if we feel the necessity to do that we can do that. The Federal Government has the ability to do a lot of things as well. So, you know, I don't want to get to the point to be an alarmist but we are scaling all of our considerations and planning is no longer taking shape. It's the application now of these plans that is really where we are in this pandemic planning process," said Newsom.
Martial law has been used in the U.S, is disaster scenarions including after the Great Chicago Fire and after the 1906 Great Earthquake.
"I can assure you, we'll meet the moment."
Martial law is very far away but it is a real tool in the government's disaster tool chest.