Friday was a big day in the Golden State, with gyms, bars and movie theaters reopening, but could waves of new cases follow? As the Magic 8-Ball might say: “Signs point to yes.” Plus: As the movement to reform police gains traction, some see a powerful interest group as being a significant “stumbling block.”

It’s Arlene with news to get you into the weekend.

But first, I’m excited to share this 1970s recipe for California’s state dip, guacamole. It comes from the Episcopal Churchwomens Cookbook and includes mayo, sugar, green food coloring and MSG. Enjoy. 

In California brings you top stories and commentary from across the USA TODAY Network and beyond. Get it free, straight to your inbox.  

As counties reopen, cases spike

About two-thirds of counties that moved into advanced Stage 2 reopening now have a higher rate of new daily COVID-19 cases than they did the week they told the state they were ready to reopen, according to a Desert Sun analysis of state Department of Public Health data.

That’s as gyms, bars, movie theaters and other establishments got the OK to reopen in 90% of counties statewide.

The Desert Sun used public health data for every California county that has been approved for quicker Stage 2 reopening — 52 of 58 counties — to compare trends in cases and hospitalizations over time.

The single highest daily report of new cases in California came on May 30, 12 days after the state released relaxed Stage 2 benchmarks.

Riverside County, with a population just under 2.5 million, saw an average of 122 new cases per day over the most recent week of available statistics, a 55% increase compared to the week the state approved it for partial reopening in May.

Los Angeles County, home to half of California’s confirmed cases, only experienced a 12% increase in its daily case rate in the most recent week compared to when it filed its Stage 2 attestation form. Still, this means 134 more residents are testing positive in that county every day as compared to late May.

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See how your state’s trackingas it moves into its “new normal.” 

You’ll find the most cases in these communities

Coronavirus cases are overwhelmingly concentrated in low-income communities where people lived packed together, a CalMatters neighborhood-level analysis of 10 counties found

  • The hardest-hit neighborhoods, like these in Monterey County, had three times the rate of overcrowding and twice the rate of poverty as the neighborhoods that have largely escaped the virus.

RV Life, campsites reopen, a solar fight and more on masks

It’s a good time to be in the RV business. Travel + social distance rolled into one.

In good news for wanderlusters everywhere, 1,667 campsites opened up throughout California, including in Ventura County. Many places quickly sold out. 

Now you’re wondering how much risk there is in common travel activities. Well, you’re in luck We asked an expert

The solar industry is ready to battle against a proposal that has the potential to dramatically reduce the frequency of solar systems in California and the rest of the U.S.

100% face mask use and lockdowns appear nearly 100% effective in squashing coronavirus resurgences, a new study shows

Trump defines ‘sex,’ Disney won’t support Tucker Carlson and L.A. homelessness jumps

The Trump administration finalizes a rule that overturns Obama-era protections for transgender people against sex discrimination in health care. Under the new rules, sex is determined by a person’s birth gender.

Disney Company-owned T-Mobile and ABC will stop advertising on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show after he asked why he should be “required to be upset” about George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and called it the “Black Lives Matter riots.”

The homeless population in Los Angeles Countyrose to 66,433 people — up 13% — compared to a year ago. That’s the equivalent of a city the size of Redondo Beach, LA Times housing reporter Liam Dillon notes. The numbers, captured in January, don’t reflect the coronavirus effect.

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Want to help bridge the economic divide? Support Black businesses

The wave of demonstrations against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death has been coupled with a broader conversation about racial injustice and structural inequalities in the United States.

And in a country with a persistent wage gap based on race — the net worth of a white household is about 10 times greater than a black household — supporting black-owned businesses has emerged as a form of activism in this current moment of reckoning.

The movement has gone beyond local businesses to powerful consumer operations. The Fifteen Percent Pledge is a new petition that urges major retailers like Target, Sephora and Whole Foods to pledge 15% of their shelf space to black-owned businesses, to mirror the 15% of the U.S. population who are black.

Earlier this week, the state Assembly approved a proposal that would ask voters whether to overturn a ban on affirmative action, meant to help remedy discriminatory education, employment, housing and banking policies that caused segregated neighborhoods and prevented communities of color from amassing wealth. 

Police unions called ‘major stumbling block’ when it comes to reform

For police reform to really take place, it’s going to take change within the powerful police unions that run the agency, often with great impunity.

Law enforcement insiders and criminology experts say it will take a pitched battle to effect change after Floyd’s death May 25 in Minneapolis police custody.

“Police unions are the major stumbling block against law enforcement reform,’’ said Kalfani Ture, a former police officer in Georgia who now teaches criminal justice at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. “The police union, in fact, institutionalizes the culture of maybe being a bad cop because it (represents) the status quo.’’

Police unions not only negotiate pay, benefits and working conditions, they’ve also been effective at purging officers’ personnel records, allowing those engaged in misconduct to hop from one agency to another, and have established a culture of silence and retribution that represses reports of wrongdoing, those who study them say.

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The intensified scrutiny on police unions and the power they wield is long overdue, said Justin Hansford, a law professor and director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Hansford said the unions gained clout during the war of drugs of the 1980s and ’90s, when the political establishment on both sides of the aisle wanted to be seen as tough on crime and earned such recognition with their support.

Also contributing to that status, Hansford said, was the news media’s propensity to rely on law enforcement as the voice of authority for information related to alleged crimes.

See theinitial news release for Floyd’s death

They’re also prolific donors. Public-sector unions play a “major role” in elections, Mark Bucher, chief executive officer of California Policy Center, has said. “Their influence simply can’t be overstated.”

If a major business or organization donated to and then pushed for their agenda, it would raise eyebrows. But not when it’s a firefighting or police union behind the backing, Bucher said.

I’ll leave you this week with a piece on “Be Water,” ESPN’s latest 30 For 30 documentary on San Francisco-born Bruce Lee. GQ spoke to director Bao Nguyen about “uncovering Bruce Lee’s untold past, his unlikely legacy as a protest figure, and the next step for the Asian-American filmmaking movement.”

Until Monday.

In California is a roundup of news from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: SF Gate, Los Angeles Times, GQ.

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