Newsom focused on vaccination and school reopening, not recall

In an effort to vaccinate those most at-risk for COVID-19, 40% of all doses will now go to Californians who live in the most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke to Eyewitness News Thursday about the state's ongoing vaccination efforts and about not letting the recall drive against him distract from the important work.

"We're the most diverse state and the world's most diverse democracy and we're falling short even with best intentions all the good work we've done and all the announcements in the last couple months," Newsom said. "We're falling short particularly for our Black and brown communities."


Graphic not displaying correctly? Click here to view in a new window.

On Friday, Newsom will sign a $6.6 billion bill that helps districts reopen safely. But if they don't reopen by the end of the month, they won't get the money.

RELATED: Legislature approves plan to encourage return to in-person learning

That also puts pressure on the Los Angeles Unified School District to reopen. The district had previously targeted April 9 for reopening, saying teachers and school staff should be vaccinated first.

United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents LAUSD teachers, has criticized the bill saying it sends funds to affluent areas that are able to reopen because of low infection rates.

"We provided 25,000 direct doses to one school district in California," Newsom said. "And that was LAUSD, to truly commit ourselves to the issue of addressing the anxiety around equity."

"It's a civil-rights issue. It's an equity issue. This is serious stuff. This is really important. Not only to our kids and their future, but our economy and if you care about moms, working moms, then you care about getting kids safely back into school and I certainly do."

Even as the effort to vaccinate Californians and reopen schools moves forward, Newsom is facing a growing recall effort. Drive organizers say they've collected 1.9 million signatures two weeks before the deadline. They need 1.5 million verified signatures of registered voters to trigger a special election.

Newsom was asked whether he was concerned the recall effort could distract from plans to reopen California, get everyone vaccinated and pave the way for our recovery.

"The Golden State stimulus to 6 million Californians getting $600 stimulus checks, not waiting for the federal government. That's where my energy is," Newsom said. "That's where my focus is. All the rest is a distraction from the real work at hand."
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.