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 Thursday, April 9, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    • Unemployment
    • Ventilators
    • Breakdown by race
    • Rural California
    • Sports
    • Why there won't likely be a quick reopen
  • Vote-by-mail
  • CA25 (Santa Clarita-Palmdale)
  • Westminster
  • Ballot update
  • Cakeday and classifieds

Thank you for your patience as I rework the subscription/support options for The Nooner and amidst 10s of thousands of lines of code. For the many Nooner Newbies, this is a one-person operation from coding to content. I'm not complaining as love all aspects, but the "to do" list is persistently long.

I have the spreadsheet done to import to strike through the primary candidates who didn't make the general but there's been a hiccup importing it. Hopefully I discover what is throwing the error this afternoon.

Anyway, here are a few stories and your daily reminder to eat lunch. We'll see how the rest of the day goes whether a Nooner Nightcap is needed.


  • California hospitalizations confirmed/suspected: 2,714/3,078 (CDPH)
  • California ICU admissions confirmed/suspected: 1,154/522 (CDPH
  • California fatalities: 503 confirmed (+13.5% from yesterday, previous day's change was 11.75%) (SFChron)

  • I've stopped including "cases" in this space as testing has become more widespread. Reporting on the daily percentage change now doesn't seem relevant as opposed to the above health indicators.

UNEMPLOYMENT: Undoubtedly, you've heard the news this morning the Department of Labor reported that last week had the second-highest number of initial unemployment claims ever, falling only modestly behind last week's all-time high.

For California, the advance number is 925,450, making a two-week total of 1,983,775. That's 10.58% of California's employed workforce over the last two weeks. Importantly, that doesn't include those ineligible for unemployment insurance, including those without satisfactory immigration status (who are counted in the employed workforce number). With the National Restaurant Association estimating that 60% of those who lost jobs in March worked in the restaurant industry, the California numbers are likely even far more astounding. 

VENTILATORS: In the LAT, Phil Willon and Colleen Shalby report that some counties were caught by surprise by Governor Newsom's announcement that the state was lending 500 ventilators to other states.

Riverside County officials said the state recently denied their request for an additional 500 ventilators, even though the county expects demand for the breathing machines at county hospitals and medical centers to exceed the supply in less than three weeks.

Santa Clara County, another area hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, is offering a $1,000 bounty for each device it receives and has ordered companies with the devices to report their inventory to the county.

“I understand and respect what the governor is doing. But are we going to be able to get the assistance that we’re going to need in a week or two weeks out?” Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said Wednesday. “I think we were all a little surprised. We’re all trying to prepare so we’re not like New York.”


Brian Ferguson, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said the state has been inundated with requests for respirators and personal protective gear from counties around the state, and is assisting areas with the most pressing needs first.

“The goal is to ultimately fill everyone’s needs. Those with the more immediate need will be prioritized,” Ferguson said.

Although Riverside County expects to need ventilators when an expected surge of coronavirus patients hits in late April, 305 of the 512 ventilators currently in the county were not in use as of Wednesday morning, according to county spokeswoman Brooke Federico.

County heath officials estimate that all ventilators will be in use by April 26.

I look forward to following this story more and hope it's asked of Newsom in his daily presser. It's worth noting that Jeffries is a former Assembly Republican and is neither the chair or vice chair of the Riverside County board. It may come down to which model is being used and exactly how many the state has in the its stockpile.

The latest UW IHME model projects a need of 672 ventilators statewide on April 13. Obviously, ventilators are needed for other malladies, but the COVID-19 demand appears to be dropping.

Like with the beds that are being procured, if things stay on track (and people stay home and otherwise practice physical distancing), we will have a surplus of both beds and ventilators statewide. Being prepared for the worst is the right thing to do, but a statewide worse case does not necessarily equal an addition of the worst case of 58 different counties.

BREAKDOWN BY RACE: You may have seen Governor Newsom's press conference yesterday where he shared a preliminary breakdown by race and there have been numberouos articles since. The data is based on 37% of COVID cases overall and 39% of the deaths. While I'm going to wait until there are more data, you can see the preliminary numbers on the CDPH website.

RURAL CALIFORNA: For the LAT, Melissa Gomez reports that, while many thought that rural California was largely immune from the COVID-19 outbreaks in more densely parts of the state, an outbreak in Tulare County has some reconsidering that belief.

“A lot of us don’t think it will hit us, but it can hit us,” [Farmersville councilmember Ruben] Macareno said.

Hey, Macareno...AY! Sorry, people have been having fun with my last name since grade school. If there hasn't been a reason to make the political conventions this year virtual, there is one. Sorry, I've got a little bit of cabin fever here at Nooner Global HQ.

Anyway, Macareno ran in the 2018 primary for SD14.

Tulare County residents, however, are seeing firsthand how the virus is infiltrating their towns along the foothills of Sequoia National Park as the number of cases and reported deaths have increased in the last week.

An outbreak in a Visalia nursing home has become a hot spot, and local leaders are working to keep residents at home, worried that some think their geography will keep them shielded from COVID-19.

Last month, local congressmember Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) suggested that local residents defy recommendations of public health experts, reports Rachel Sandler for Forbes.

In an interview with Fox News, Nunes said, “If you’re healthy, you and your family, it’s a great time to go out and go to a local restaurant, likely you can get in easy. Let’s not hurt the working people in this country...go to your local pub.”

When his comments were covered even by conservative Forbes, Nunes called the reporting done by "media freaks."

SPORTS: For the Chron, Ann Killion reports that Santa Clara County executive officer Jeffrey Smith said during Tuesday's board of supervisors meeting that sports may not return to the county until late fall.

“I’m sorry to say, I don’t expect to have any sports games until at least Thanksgiving, and we’d be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving,” Smith said. “This is not something that’s going to be easy to do.”

By the way, while his title sounds like that of a bureaucrat, Smith is a former supervisor of Contra Costa County, an M.D., and a J.D.

Smith’s words were significant because a) they came from the county that has earned national, well-deserved praise for its aggressive, proactive steps to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

And b) because they came in the home county of the San Francisco 49ers.

As well as the San Jose Sharks, the San Jose Earthquakes, and several collegiate athletic programs, like Stanford, San Jose State and Santa Clara.

And we thought the end of the last season of the 49ers sucked...

But “lucky to have them by Thanksgiving” is a far cry from the rosy picture President Trump tried to paint last weekend, when he reportedly told sports executives on a conference call that he’d like to see games by August and have the NFL start up in September. That he wants sports “sooner rather than later.”

It appears the "fun" is just beginning.

WHY THERE WON'T LIKELY BE A QUICK REOPEN: During NY governor's Andrew Cuomo's daily presser, he brought up on the presentation screen today's article by Ralph Vartabedian in the LA Times that not only covers the rush for a vaccine but also the second wave of COVID-19 spread after physical distancing rules were relaxed in Asia.

After initial success at containing the disease, Singapore clamped new restrictions this week on schools and nonessential businesses. Hong Kong also experienced a rebound after it relaxed controls, while the United States and Europe remain in earlier phases of the fight and have restrictions still in place. Wuhan has a new cluster of the cases, as well.

Even with a vaccine, COVID-19 will remain a menace, because researchers are not sure if the virus that causes it could mutate in the years ahead, reducing the effectiveness of a vaccine and forcing it to be modified.

“What we don’t know about this virus is what its pace of evolution is,” said David Rakestraw, a chemical physicist who is helping lead the COVID-19 work underway at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which has conducted bioterrorism research for decades. “Don’t expect this to go away soon. The virus is in the population now, and it will evolve.”

VOTE-BY-MAIL: In last night's Nooner Nightcap, I wrote about President Trump's comments during press conferences the last couple of days about voting by mail. After I wrote it, he tweeted to clarify his statements:

Absentee Ballots are a great way to vote for the many senior citizens, military, and others who can’t get to the polls on Election Day. These ballots are very different from 100% Mail-In Voting, which is “RIPE for FRAUD,” and shouldn’t be allowed!

CA25 (Santa Clarita-Palmdale): It may have fallen off the radar along with SD28 (Temecula-Blythe), but CA25 has a special general election on May 12 for the seat vacated by Rep. Katie Hill (D). For Sabato's Crystal Ball at the UVA Center for Politics, Kyle Kondik moves the special in CA25 from leans Democrat to Toss-up, which aligns with my rating. Kondik looks at the race and I thoroughly agree on his take.

I'll have analysis on both CA25 and SD28 for ATCpro on Sunday, the day before ballots start to be mailed. Both elections are all mail-in and are being conducted in an environment unlike any we have seen. The fact is that Hill flipped the congressional seat in 2018 through a huge ground effort. Long after my sister had mailed in her ballot, volunteers continued to knock on her door in Simi Valley. Why? They had so many volunteers.

It's going to be very hard for Democrats to hold the seat for the remainder of Hill's term. While people have plenty of time on their hands right now, "chasing ballots" even by phone is much more difficult when there is no physical office running the show, and people aren't thinking about elections right now. Anyway, more on Sunday, which will include a glance of how the November general looks.

WESTMINSTER: The attempted recall of the majority on the Westminster City Council in a special election Tuesday appears to have failed. The current results are:

  • Mayor Tri Ta: 59.2% NO
  • Kimberly Ha: 57.25% NO
  • Chi Charlie Nguyen: 57.59%

The council regularly votes 3-2, although the divide is less about ideology and more about personal politics. During signature gathering for the recall, a staffer for Assembly member Tyler Diep (R) did a robocall opposing the effort as did the conservative California Republican Assembly. The Orange County Republican Central Committee passed a resolution “to affirmatively oppose the recall of our Republican majority on the Westminster Council."

However, Vietnamese-American eccentric billionaire Kieu Hoang hired political consultant Dave Gilliard to advise Westminster United, the organization behind the recall. Gilliard is running former state senator Janet Nguyen's (R) campaign for Assembly, which knocked fellow Republican Diep out on March 3. Janet Nguyen will face Garden Grove councilmember and cancer researcher Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen (D) in November.

Kieu Hoang is also spending big to defeat Andrew Do and supporting Santa Ana mayor Miguel Pulido for the nonpartisan seat. Do is a Republican and Pulido is a Democrat. Pulido was unsuccessful and Do will face Democrat Sergio Contreras in November. Oh, did I mention that Contreras is one of the two minorty members on the bitterly divided Westminster City Council?

Are you following the bouncing ball? Hoang supported the recall of the Republican Party-backed majority on the Westminster City Council. He supported Democrat Pulido for supervisor against Do. Meanwhile, he supported Janet Nguyen's challenge of incumbent Tyler Diep, which was based on Diep working too closely with Sacramento Democrats.

Indeed, there is no philosophical consistency. It's personal.

But, there is of course one more piece. Andrew Do was once Janet Nguyen's chief of staff when she was a county supervisor and he saw her as her mentor.

And you thought Tiger King was the drama you needed to get through quarantine. Vietnamese-American politics in Orange County is the gift that keeps on giving and doesn't require a subscription.

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

  • Ballots counted: 9,651,267
  • Ballots counted are up +12.9% 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: 9,651,267 of 20,660,465 registered 15 days out (46.71%)  

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...


Probolsky Research


CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Nicole Fossier, Steve Smith, and Brian VanRiper!



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