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The Nooner for Friday, June 12, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
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Happy Friday! What a week, month, year it has been. I made it through the week without coffee and got at least six hours of sleep each night.
Richard and Mildred Loving
It's Loving v. Virginia Day! On this day in 1967, Chief Justice Earl Warren penned the unanimous decision finding that anti-miscegenation statutes banning marriage between races violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It's one of the cases that almost gets us to forgive Warren for his active role as attorney general in enforcing Executive Order 9066 sending California Japanese Americans to internment camps and subsequently campaigning with that "feather in his cap" in his 1942 gubernatorial campaign.
History.com writes up the background and at what happened to the Lovings after the case:
Richard, a white construction worker, and Mildred, a woman of mixed African American and Native American ancestry, were longtime friends who had fallen in love. In June 1958, they exchanged wedding vows in Washington, D.C., where interracial marriage was legal, and then returned home to Virginia.
On July 11, 1958, just five weeks after their wedding, the Lovings were woken in their bed at about 2:00 a.m. and arrested by the local sheriff. Richard and Mildred were indicted on charges of violating Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law, which deemed interracial marriages a felony.
When the couple pleaded guilty the following year, Judge Leon M. Bazile sentenced them to one year in prison, but suspended the sentence on the condition that they would leave Virginia and not return together for a period of 25 years.
The Lovings had lived secretly on a Virginia farm for much of their legal battle, but after the Supreme Court decision, they returned to the town of Central Point (Virginia) to raise their three children.
Richard Loving was killed in 1975 when a drunk driver in Caroline County struck the couple’s car. Mildred survived the crash and went on to spend the rest of her life in Central Point. She died in 2008, having never remarried.
REPARATIONS: Yesterday, the Assembly approved AB 3121 (Weber) on a 61-12-6 vote. The bill would establish a Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, which would be charged to "recommend, among other things, the form of compensation that should be awarded, the instrumentalities through which it should be awarded, and who should be eligible for this compensation." (Leg. Counsel language)
Given this week and today's day in history, I'll offer two great movies from last year: Just Mercy (free on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Google Play right now) and Queen & Slim ($5.99 on most platforms). Additionally, there is Loving from 2016, which is available for $3.99 on most platforms and is currently on HBO on demand.
All address the issues that many of us have been thinking about and I found both to be fantastic. Just because movie theaters may open today in Sacramento and many other counties, that doesn't mean they will. For most, that a limit of whichever is less of 100 patrons or 25% of occupancy simply doesn't pencil out. All Cinemarks say "mid-summer," Regal Natomas is "until further notice," and Tower simply saiys "we are closed" with the first advance tickets available July 1.
Similarly, Jessica Gelt and Deborah Vankin report in the Times that while okayed to open, Los Angeles County museums are not ready to do so.
Meanwhile, I ate at a restaurant for the first time in three months yesterday with a friend, as Co Mai's Kitchen reopened. That's the Vietnamese restaurant at 5th/Broadway is about a half-mile from Nooner Intergalactic HQ and a fave affordable spot. While I've had takeout a few times from them during the last few months, it's just not the same. The family was happy to see folks show up and seat them appropriately distanced in the spacious dining room. Beyond distancing, the normal condiment caddy including chopsticks and soup spoons were no longer on the table and disposable chopsticks were used. Paper menus replaced the laminated ones per the county order.
There was no change to the food however, which was delicious. Anyway, if you're near downtown and craving Viet without heading to South Sac, this is a great spot (same family as Coriander). If you want a condiment (fish sauce, hoisin, chili oil, limes), just ask. Just because it's not on the table doesn't mean it's not available! Current hours are on Yelp.
Say a prayer, cross your fingers, or whatever you do as a panoply of higher-risk businesses reopen around the state today, including in the four-county Sacramento region. Each sector has specific guidelines that are a condition of reopening but personal behavior is going to be key to whether or not the reopening's economic benefit and health risks balance out.
Trust me, I want things back to normal as anyone. As I've written, the current situation directly affects me and family members in affected businesses but also high-risk individuals. It's a tough balancing act and I do appreciate how hard political and health leaders have worked on that balance.
THE SPREAD: For CalMatters, Kate Cimini and Jackie Botts write that California's often overcrowded housing is contributing to the COVID-19 spread.
The poorest ZIP codes with the most people living in crowded housing are suffering the most from the coronavirus, according to an analysis of housing and health data by The California Divide, a statewide media collaboration. The millions of Californians who live in overcrowded houses are more likely to be infected.
The hardest-hit neighborhoods had three times the rate of overcrowded homes and twice the rate of poverty as the neighborhoods that have largely escaped the virus, according to the analysis. And the neighborhoods with the most infections are disproportionately populated by people of color.
About 6.3 million Californians, or 16%, live in overcrowded housing. A third of those are severely overcrowded. California has the second-highest rate of crowded households in the nation, more than double the nationwide rate.
Around two-thirds of the people who live in these homes — about 4 million people — are essential workers or live with at least one essential worker.
Health experts say this creates a perfect storm for the coronavirus: People bunched together at night and on the frontlines during the day, exposed to a lot of people both at work and at home.
Add that these workers usually either have poor access to health coverage or no sick leave and fear seeking medical attention that might lead to lost shifts. In this article, Botts and Lo Bénichou look at the counties with the most overcrowded housing.
ANTI-VAXX: In the Register, Teri Sforza writes that while there is no COVID-19 vaccine yet let alone deciding whether it should be mandatory for school kids, the campaign against has already begun among the opponents of mandatory vaccinations.
Social media teems with posts claiming that the pandemic — and riots over George Floyd’s death — were engineered by the government to justify a sinister level of control. One meme equates a COVID inoculation with the Tuskegee experiment — “US government offers free healthcare to southern rural blacks. Intentionally injects them with syphilis. STILL WANT A CORONA VACCINE?”
While most people eagerly await a vaccine that might protect against the worst ravages of the novel coronavirus — recent polling found 70 percent of Americans would get one if it were free and available to everyone — reasonable doubt and conspiracy theories abound. If skeptics refuse to get inoculated, it might suck wind from the sails of any vaccine that ultimately gains approval — which, in turn, could enable the virus to keep spreading and, ultimately, cost lives.
EVICTIONS: Liam Dillon reports in the Times that the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles has sued the City of Los Angeles in federal court arguing that the city's eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent due to the economic or health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic violates Fifth Amendment rights of landlords by taking property rights without compensation.
The suit is the latest effort from landlord groups to attempt to overturn anti-eviction rules passed by local governments across the region in the wake of the coronavirus. In at least one case, the city of Upland rescinded its eviction protections under threat of litigation.
A spokesman for L.A. City Atty. Mike Feuer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit. Property law experts have said that local governments have broad constitutional authority to temporarily ban evictions during emergencies.
Under the city of L.A.’s rules, landlords cannot evict tenants for unpaid rent if they can show in court that they’ve been economically affected by the coronavirus, including those who have lost jobs or wages during the pandemic. Tenants must repay all past-due rent, but they have a year following the expiration of the city’s state of emergency related to the coronavirus to do it. The city also has passed a measure allowing renters to sue their landlords if they violate the anti-eviction regulations.
WHY CAN'T WE BE FRIENDS? The tensions between the Legislature and Governor Newsom over Administration spending showed their face again yesterday as the Assembly approved HR 97, a resolution demanding more oversight of California's high-speed rail build-out. All but ten members of the Assembly joined as a co-author of the measure and it was approved on a voice vote. The reso concludes:
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the Assembly has an active role in appropriating $4.2 billion in remaining Proposition 1A bond funds, and must be respected for their role to provide input before key decisions on the high-speed rail project’s future direction; and be it further
Resolved, That the Assembly has the time to provide appropriate oversight and thoughtful consideration of all project alternatives without discussions and debate being prematurely stopped through actions by the High-Speed Rail Authority proposed to take place in the fall of 2020; and be it further
Resolved, That the High-Speed Rail Authority is hereby directed to not proceed with the execution of track and systems or train set procurements, or with the acquisition of the right-of-way along the City of Merced and the City of Bakersfield extensions, until the Assembly has considered and approved the High-Speed Rail Authority’s funding request for appropriation of the remaining bond funds...
CENSUS: PPIC is out with a blog post with findings that, even while many people are sitting around at home, Census self-responses are down from ten years ago.
With 62.1% of households responding, the rate is about six points below the state’s final self-response rate in 2010 (68.2%). Even in the best of times, a strong self-response through mail or online minimizes in-person follow-up to nonresponding households. COVID-19 has now complicated such in-person operations.
California’s current response rate is actually slightly higher than the nation’s as a whole (60.9%), and well ahead those of large diverse states like Florida (58.3%), New York (56.2%), and Texas (55.6%). But it is still low for such a late point in the process, and responses have slowed. At the current pace of 0.04% per day, the state will not reach its 2010 self-response rate before the Census Bureau begins in-person follow-up on August 11.
VOTE-BY-MAIL: The State Senate yesterday approved AB 860 (Berman) yesterday to codify Governor Newsom's executive order to conduct the November election by mail with Vote Centers for late registration and lost ballots, sending the bill back to the Assembly for concurrence. The vote was 31-7-2, with Senate Republicans Ling Ling Chang, John M.W. Moorlach, and Scott Wilk joining Democrats as aye votes. If you had any questions as to the Senate Republicans up for election this year who are vulnerable, there is your list.
RECALL REDUX: Yesterday, I intimated that Newsom recall leader Orrin Heatlie of Folsom retired at the earliest possible time to utilize the 3% at 50 public safety pension formula. He did retire at 50, but someone familiar with him said it was for health reasons and enumerated Heatlie's medical issues. My apologies, although I do think it's time to revisit that formula given the financial troubles in most local governments.
...lots more after the jump.
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY: A team at the Bee looks at how the San Joaquin Valley has emerged as a COVID-10 hotspot.
Jonathan London, a UC Davis professor of human ecology, says the Valley’s air pollution has long made the Valley a hot spot for asthma and other respiratory illnesses, for example, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says has been linked to serious COVID-19 cases.
“It’s poor, it’s precarious, people are just hanging on in the best of times,” London said. Preventive health care isn’t as widespread as in wealthier counties. “You have something like this, and it’s adding fuel to the fire.”
In San Joaquin County, hospitalizations jumped in the past three weeks amid disagreements among public officials over the wearing of masks. Kern County, at mid-week, had more current COVID-19 hospital patients than all but five of California’s 58 counties. Fresno County hospitalizations have risen steadily for months, but have leveled off in the past two weeks.
Kings and Tulare hospital cases have been increasing slowly. In contrast, Stanislaus has kept its COVID-19 hospitalizations steady. And although Madera just saw a spike in the last 10 days, the patient number remains low, only six.
LA-LA LAND: In the Times, Rong Gong Lin II and Colleen Shalby write that health officials are concerned that rising transmission counts amid reopening of sectors in the nation's most populous county could max out ICU beds in the next 2-4 weeks. Harris County, the third most populous county and where Houston is located, is also approaching a crisis point. Lin and Shalby write:
THE OC: On Tuesday, I wrote in this space about the resignation of Orange County health officer Dr. Nichole Quick after being criticized by some members of the Board of Supervisors and protests outside of her home for her order requiring residents to wear masks in public in most circumstances. Yesterday, as the board green-lighted several business sectors to reopen today, it was announced that the mask order was being changed from mandatory to simply a recommendation.
The Register's Alicia Robinson reports:
Orange County will no longer require people to wear face coverings in public, but will “strongly recommend” them to help curb the spread of the coronavirus as more businesses reopen Friday under new state guidelines.
County officials on Thursday, June 11, announced a new list of businesses that can resume as California enters Stage 3 of the state’s reopening plan, including bars and breweries, gyms, movie theaters and family entertainment centers, hotels, museums and campgrounds.
While nail salons, youth sports and some other activities and businesses remain closed, county Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel said she has sent the state a letter asking if those remaining sectors can reopen soon as well.
A group of nail salon owners have sued Governor Newsom since they have not been allowed to reopen while hair salons have and it's a particularly contentious issue within the Vietnamese community.
Meanwhile, Susan Christian Goulding reports in the Register about the reopening yesterday of South Coast Plaza, Orange County's premium shopping mall.
Indeed, Costa Mesa’s high-end shopping center looked the same yet also quite different.
Arrows plastered along passageways directed visitors to walk six feet apart from one another. Hand sanitizer dispensers were stationed throughout. With the exception of that surprising line outside Louis Vuitton, stores were sparsely populated. A jazz quartet’s enchanting music sounded almost melancholy, given the hard times.
And then there were those masks – an entrance requirement.
Paper face coverings are now distributed to those who forget their own. With drinking fountains turned off, customers are offered bottled water. They also can nab packets of hand sanitizer. A restroom attendant disinfects after each use.
And, not everyone is happy with the planned reopening next month of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. The OCR's Kelli Skye Fridowski reports:
As news spread of the staggered reopening, which would include the Downtown Disney District opening first on July 9, followed by Disneyland and Disney California Adventure on July 17 and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disney Vacation Club and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel on July 23, a petition was drafted by an anonymous group on Change.org that called upon The Walt Disney Company to reconsider the plan and postpone the reopening. As of Thursday afternoon, the petition has over 13,500 digital signatures.
“As you know, COVID-19 cases are rising and have not dropped,” reads the petition. “Many people have lost loved ones due to this pandemic and by reopening the parks they are endangering cast members and guests to be exposed to COVID-19.”
The petition argues that there are more cases of COVID-19 now than when the park initially closed back on March 13 and that health officials have predicted a second wave of COVID-19 that could be worse than the first. Reopening before a second wave, it states, “is irresponsible and greedy.”
“For us, the city, we have confidence in Disney’s ability to open safely and responsibly,” Anaheim city spokesperson Mike Lyster said.
Putting that through the super-duper Nooner translater, the readout is "WE NEED THE TAX MONEY PRONTO!"
cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Sean Dugar, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Laura Speed!