Around The Capitol

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  • SacTown Talks (Gibran Maciel): State Senator Bill Dodd (2020-04-03)
  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): State Senator Bill Dodd and CA Dept. of Health Director (Emeritus), Dr. Karen Smith, MD, discuss the medical, statistical and personal impact of life in California during a pandemic, and how following the advice of health care professionals during this time, can save lives. (2020-04-01)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): "KabaTalks" with brothers Brian and John Kabatech, who come from opposite political directions (2020-03-31)
  • Gimme Shelter (Matt Levin and Liam Dillon): Coronavirus and the housing crisis (2020-03-30)
  • Look West Podcast (Assembly Democratic Caucus: Life under quarantine in California (2020-03-30)
  • SacTown Talks (Gibran Maciel): Lobbyist John Lovell (2020-03-30) [Youtube]
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Carmela Coyle, president of the California Hospital Association to talk about the challenges that hospitals face as they deal with this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, “an order of potential magnitude that we just haven’t seen before.”

The Nooner for Saturday, April 4, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Legislature
  • COVID-19
  • Governor on homeless and COVID-19

Two quotes from Bill Maher:

"I want to go out, but Gavin Newsom says I'm grounded."

"Some people are home looking at porn. I'm looking at the 405 with no cars on it."

I needed that to start my Saturday morning before looking at the gnus and it continues to play in the background here at Nooner Global HQ. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti was the first guest on a show that not unexpectedly was a completely different format like the late night shows throughout the week. Bernie Sanders followed Garcetti on the show. And, if you are looking forward to being on the road again, Maher also has Willie Nelson from his Texas ranch.

You need not have HBO to watch Real Time, as segments are regularly posted on a YouTube channel, and last night's are up.

Speaking of that, I always have to remember that my "smart TV" (which is more than ten years old) has YouTube as likely does yours. When I'm exhausted from the news, I love to let the Mark Wiens and 5 Mexican Guys shows flow as I work so that I can pretend I'm walking the streets of Mexico City and eating street food. On that note, my friend in CDMX says that it's a ghost town y muy triste. The ubiquitous and delicious street vendors have been replaced with jobless people on the street. (When I was there in February, there were fewer visible than in downtown Sac.) Officially, there are fewer cases and deaths than most countries, but there are likely plentiful undiagnosed cases, say, like the US a couple of weeks ago.

I hope that you are hanging in there in your bubble. I'm still trying to decide what scarf I should wear to farmers market tomorrow to abide by the CDC's recommendation, since I won't be sitting behind the Resolute Desk meeting with kings and queens. I have two from my professional days and visits to DC -- a Ralph Lauren one and a Burberry one. Hmmm...while much longer and a more difficult to manage, I'm thinking Ralph Lauren as it's black and not the gaudy pattern. Although the Swiffer dry mop pads are about a perfect fit, I'm not sure exactly what they are made of. The good thing is that it's supposed to rain tomorrow, so social spacing should be no problem as I scramble for rations to make it through the week.

Yes, in my email this morning about the governor's press conference, "Lakers get their butts kicked by the Lakers 92-131 in Game 7 from 2008" was a joke. I remember that series. I am an ardent Kings fan and the stealing of the 2002 Western Conference Finals was still biting in 2008 and I remember the Lakers beating themselves in 2008. Of course, Shaq is now a minority owner of the Kings, the team of the cow-bell ringing back-country hicks. All in good humor.

LEGISLATURE: You likely have heard that, as the hamsters were running their little wheels to get the Nooner Nightcap out last night, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins announced that the scheduled return to the legislative session has been delayed from April 13 to May 4.

From discussions I've had with several people inside and outside "the building," which is how the community refer to the State Capitol, Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon have had regular discussions about how to proceed. As I wrote about yesterday (and in the nightcap), the Senate passed SR 86 (Atkins) on March 16 to allow the chamber to conduct remote floor sessions and committee hearings during a state of emergency if necessary, which was approved unanimously. The Assembly did not take a similar action.

I'm told that the Assembly questions both the legality and practicality of conducting business remotely, both issues I wrote about in both issues yesterday. Obviously, setting aside the legal issues created by Prop. 54, the practicality of providing audiovisual recordings of a floor sessions and committee hearings of the much larger Assembly is far more difficult than the Senate.

Nobody knows for certain if the Legislature will stick with the May 4 date. As I wrote the other day, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington model, which The White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx has repeatedly referenced, currently projects April 26 as the peak of hospital bed, ICU, and ventilator use in California. That model is scheduled to be updated later today and the state-by-state projections may be less reliable than the national number. Governor Newsom said yesterday that his medical advisors have estimated May, with "no exact date."

We all hope the the early and significant actions that have brought praise to Governor Newsom and many local officials makes the apex earlier and lower. We hope legislators are able to convene in Sacramento on May 4, including the at least 26 who would be considered by the CDC as high-risk for the virus. Of course, with thirteen such members in each house, the Legislature could convene even without all members, although if there are controversial votes that require a two-thirds vote, that could be a problem.

COVID-19: Note: because I sent out the nightcap yesterday, today's increases really need to be added with the numbers from last night, which I am providing.

Total California cases: 12,556 confirmed (+2.5% from 4:30pm yesterday, which was +23.2% from Thursday); total California fatalities: 280 confirmed (+2.5% from 4:30pm yesterday, which was +26.2% since Thursday)

- Newsom press conferences: In addition to the online viewing options I wrote to you about this morning, public radio stations KQED, CapRadio, NPR, KPCC, KPBS, and KCRW are part of a new collaborative network that are anchoring, airing and distributing the Governor’s press conferences including on weekends.

- Price gouging: Governor Newsom yesterday signed an executive order broadening the enforcement authority and extending to September 4, 2020 the state's ban on price gouging during an emergency. The law provides that for specific goods

- Telehealth: Also signed last night was an executive order to expand telehealth in the state to allow providers and patients to conduct routine "visits," without providing a risk of exposure to COVID-19. The order aligns with a federal Health and Human Services waiver, and it primarily comes down to ensuring providers aren't held liable for privacy laws.

- California Health Corps: In yesterday's press conference, Governor Newsom said that the Chan-Zuckerberg Foundation (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife physician Priscilla Chan) have committed $25 million to assist with the transportation and housing costs for those entering the California Health Corps, a program to re-active retired health care workers and nursing and medical students nearing graduation and accepted into the program. The response to serve have been overwhelming, reports Newsom, and the applications are being reviewed. These are compensated positions.

- The kind of news we want to hear: Chula Vista councilman and California Coastal Commission chair Steve Padilla yesterday had a series of tweets to say that he's off the ventilator, out of the ICU, preparing to go home, and ready to go back to work.

GOVERNOR ON HOMELESS AND COVID-19: Yesterday's daily presser by Governor Newsom was focused on the state's actions to safely shelter COVID-19+ homeless individuals and those that are at high risk per the CDC standards--age 65 and over or with specific underlying health conditions. The press conference with Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg was held outside a Sacramento motel in which 11 individuals had just been housed, Newsom said.

"Project Room Key" plans to accommodate 15,000 high-risk homeless residents in leased or purchased hotels/motels and trailers provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The plan is divided in two phases, each with 7,500 planned beds. The reason for the paced roll-out is so that the local service structures can be established and are not overwhelmed.

Thus far as part of Phase 1, 869 individuals have been placed in housing. Even within each phase, Newsom noted, they must be paced to not overwhelm the support structure.

The state has in its possession 6,687 hotel/motel rooms, primarily through short-term leases with an option to extend and/or purchase them. These were secured using a portion of the $1 billion approved unanimously in SB 89 on March 16 before the Legislature recessed.

Newsom also reported that the state has also received, 1,305 trailers from FEMA, with 584 already distributed throughout the state. Newsom showed frustration in his presser about the reluctance of local government officials in some parts of the state unwilling to identify sites for such trailers. While the state is coordinating the program, it relies on operating agreements with local governments for social services and public safety. "We don't want to send [the trailers] out if they are not utilized with local support," said Newsom. "The county is using the car while the state is building the car."

Newsom noted that $800 million in grants have been distributed to support unhoused Californians, including $650 million from the 2019-2020 state budget and $150 million from the Legislature's SB 89 action.

A particular priority is moving COVID-19+, those exposed to COVID-19, and those at high risk to be moved from shelters to this separate housing. This reduces the possibility of contagion within the facilities, which are seen to be at a risk akin to senior living homes. Obviously, it's not a solution to the broader crisis of homelessness in the state noted Mayor Steinberg, but is a first major step and one that is faster than anticipated. Steinberg, the former Senate President Pro Tem, co-chairs Governor Newsom's homeless task force with Los Angeles County supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. The most recent estimate found approximately 151,000 homeless in California. To the extent the identified high-risk individuals are moved to shelters to the emergency housing, additional space will be created in shelters at capacity and more people can be moved off the street.

Additionally, Newsom said, the program can provide relief to the state's healthcare-delivery system by allowing placement of high-priority and COVID-19+ but not seriously ill unhoused residentes into the temporary housing referred to by health care providers rather than either an unnecessary hospital admission, to a shelter or the street where they would provide risk to others.

Probably the most surprising part of Project Room Key announced yesterday was that FEMA has agreed to reimburse 75% of the costs of the program. Other funding is coming from the funds appropriated by the Legislature in SB 89 and a variety of public and private sources. Additionally, as part of the federal CARES Act (package of economic stimulus and response funding for COVID-19), $118.5 million in direct homeless grants, said Newsom.

Beyond providing a room and a key, there will be an intake process to assess individual needs, laundry service, and security as needed. While most of the housing being secured is likely temporary, part of the planned support services is to find a transition to permanent housing for those placed.

Another point of great news announced yesterday is that renowned chef José Andrés, through the nonprofit he started World Central Kitchen (WCK), is arranging three meals a day for the residents placed in these rooms/trailers. As the organization has done around the world and most recently provided meals to the passengers of the Grand Princess that was stalled off the coast of San Francisco before finally allowed to port and disembark in Oakland, World Central Kitchen will partner with local restaurants as providers of the meals.

While primarily centered on the East Coast, Andrés has restaurants in Los Angeles -- Bazaar, Somni, and Tres. The list of projects of WCK at some of the world's biggest disasters is awe-inspiring.

As someone who has been writing on this topic since the first cases came to California, it's nice to write on a positive item today. Good work to everyone involved from Newsom and his team, Andrés, and the public and private leaders stepping up to support this effort. It's just sad that it took a global health crisis for us to move mountains.

BALLOT UPDATE: With the deadline to count ballots extended to 4/24, there are 67,748 ballots remaining among eight counties.

  • Ballots counted: 9,642,007
  • Ballots counted are up +12.8% from 8,548,301 in 2016
  • Turnout in 2016: 8,548,301 of 19,023,417 registered 15 days out (44.94%)
  • Turnout so far in 2020: 9,642,007 of 20,660,465 registered 15 days out (46.68%)  

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...


Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Bryan DeBlonk, Simon Oh, Rob Stutzman, Congresswoman Norma Torres, Shawnee Walters!



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