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The Nooner for Thursday, July 2, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
GENERAL ELECTION DATA POINTS
RE-CLOSING TIME: As expected, Governor Newsom announced new shutdowns for 19 counties for at least the next three weeks and in advance of the July 4th holiday weekend. The counties are roughly 72% of the state's population. Any additional county that has troubling indicators on the state's County Monitoring List for three consecutive days will be added to those that must take the closing steps.
The new health order prohibits indoor activities at the following places:
Bars without meal service must close completely, including outdoor service and take-out where previously authorized. Bars are required to sell food with each alcoholic beverage order after several examples of, for example, an order of nachos leading to a group party.
The nineteen counties under the order are Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura.
Several counties not on the list have announced that they would follow the orders anyway, including Yolo County, which has seen a recent rise in cases and would attract visitors from adjacent Sacramento and Solano. San Diego County is close to landing on the County Monitoring list and has added new restrictions such as adopting the bars with food restrictions and requiring restaurants to close at 10pm.
Many cities have taken steps to allow additional outdoor seating beyond conventional patios by allowing additional seating in parking lots and sidewalks. In some cities, streets have been temporarily closed to allow a broader al fresco dining scene.
The Sacramento Zoo tweeted that it will be open with only indoor exhibits closed and food and merch sales being made outside. All tickets must be purchased in advance for a specific time, masks are required, and no cash will be accepted on site.
ENFORCEMENT: During is NewsomAtNoon presser yesterday, the governor reminded local officials that $2.5 billion included in the state budget for cities and counties is contingent on their enforcing the state orders. He said that the state would be dispatching multi-agency strike teams consisting of staff from staff from such agencies as the California Highway Patrol, Department of Consumer Affairs, Department of Business Oversight, Cal/OSHA, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.
The governor encouraged tips from workers and the public where non-implementation of state rules is observed.
BEACHES: Orange County cities of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Seal Beach yesterday joined Laguna Beach in closing on the Fourth of July. Laylon Connelly reports for the Register:
Newport Beach is historically one of the busiest stretches of coast on the Fourth of July, especially when the holiday falls on a weekend. This year, the holiday also coincides with the largest swell of the season expected to hit, with waves in the 5- to 8-foot range expected, and up to 20-footers at the Wedge.
Mayor Will O’Neill, who called the emergency meeting, said a big concern is not only the number of people who may show up in the city but also the big swell when people who are not regular ocean users show up.
O’Neill said he was concerned about Los Angeles and Laguna Beach closing and state beaches shutting down parking, potentially sending even more crowds to Newport Beach. Add on top of that bars and indoor restaurants shutting down, which could prompt people to order take-out to eat at the beach. Then there’s the big swell hitting.
Newport Beach reports two lifeguards have tested positive for COVID-19 and another is showing symptoms.
Additionally, state beaches in Los Angeles and Ventura counties will be fully closed and parking will be closed at several state beaches in other counties. California State Parks reports:
California State Parks is implementing safety measures to reduce the density of visitors over the Fourth of July weekend (July 3-5) in the State Park System. All state beaches in Los Angeles and Ventura counties will be temporarily fully closed to the public in alignment with county public health orders. State Parks will also be temporarily closing vehicular access at all beaches in Marin, Monterey, Orange, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties. While other state park units will remain open, State Parks’ staff will monitor visitation and physical distancing over the weekend. Measures will be taken to modify operations where needed to limit overcrowding. Current camping reservations at all state park units over the Fourth of July weekend will be honored.
I've seen confusion on social media. While State Parks parking lots are closing and not the actual beaches, in Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura counties, the actual beaches are closed since they typically draw large crowds for Fourth of July.
TESTING: In the Register, Teri Sforza writes that Orange County has admitted that it was inflating the number of COVID-19 tests conducted.
First, it’s important to understand the differences between the two most common COVID-19 tests.
But for five weeks — from April 28 through June 3 — Orange County mistakenly added about 30,000 serology test results to its “cumulative tests to date” figures, according to Orange County Public Health Services.
ASSEMBLY HANGS UP: The Assembly will no longer allow telephone testimony in committee hearings, a step taken to minimize the crowds in the Capitol. Folks wish to testify will need to show up in person, mail/fax a letter reflecting their position, or testify via video from Capitol Park.
The concern about telephone testimony were that people weren't following the separate dedicated time for support and oppose, something that is done during in-person hearings. Also, there were concerns about impersonation.
Several advocates suggested pre-call registration alternatives as are done for sensitive calls at other state and national agencies. Ironically, the news came out a couple of hours after Governor Newsom shut down large parts of the economy for 72% of the state's residents.
SB 1383 (Jackson): The bill to mandate paid family leave by making an unlawful employment practice enforceable by a private right of action instead of optional and expand it to employers of 5 or more employees passed the Senate today. Democrats opposing the bill were Caballero, Dodd, Glazer, and Hurtado.
As a budget trailer bill, it required a simple majority of 41 but a provision in the bill makes it operative January 1, 2021 instead of immediately.
ANTI-VAXX, ANTI-MASK: For Politico, Mackenzie Mays reports that the same folks who led the efforts against limiting medical exemptions for vaccinations are now setting their sights on opposing mask requirements when schools return this fall.
The same parents who loudly opposed school vaccine requirements in Sacramento last year are turning their attention to mask recommendations that districts are considering as they figure out how to send kids back to the classroom in the middle of a pandemic.
The anti-vaccine movement has seized on mask orders and stay-at-home restrictions as similar infringements on their bodily autonomy and constitutional rights. Those arguments could complicate matters when school returns in the fall, as activists become a vocal force in opposing new mandates on student facial coverings and other preventative efforts.
BALLOTPALOOZA 2020: The Secretary of State announced yesterday the assignment of ballot numbers for measures qualified for the November 3 ballot pursuant to Elections Code §13115.
PG&E: In the NYT, Ivan Penn reports that Pacific Gas & Electric Company yesterday emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
The utility exits bankruptcy as a new company with a restructured board of directors and an interim chief executive officer, Bill Smith. The chief executive who led it for much of the last year, Bill Johnson, retired on Tuesday.
PG&E sought bankruptcy protection in January 2019 after accumulating an estimated $30 billion in liability for fires started by its poorly maintained equipment. One of the blazes, the 2018 Camp Fire, killed scores of people and destroyed the town of Paradise.
With its bankruptcy behind it, PG&E is hoping to recast its public image. It has pledged to state lawmakers and regulators that it will improve safety and compensate wildfire victims. To that end, the company paid most of the money it owes under a $13.5 billion settlement into a trust fund that will compensate the tens of thousands of people who lost homes and businesses in wildfires.
Porter’s total, generated from 131,000 contributions, is staggering not just because she raised it in the midst of a global economic crisis. It also is the fifth consecutive quarter that she has cleared the $1 million mark. Her fundraising prowess has firmed up her reelection prospects and knocked her Orange County swing seat to the very edge of the House battleground map.
Her campaign will report $6.6 million in its reelection war chest as June 30. Porter, who ousted GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in 2018, has banked more in 18 months than most veteran members of Congress. Only four members had over $6 million in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter, according to a POLITICO analysis of FEC filings — and none were freshmen.
Porter faces Mission Viejo City Council member Greg Raths in November, who was not the first choice of the NRCC. I have the race as Likely Democratic, as does the Cook Political Report. Sabato's Crystal Ball at the Center for Politics at UVA and InsideElections are not even following it anymore.
PRISONS: During yesterday's Senate Public Safety Committee, Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) "skewered" state prison officials for its handling of the outbreak of COVID-19, writes Megan Cassidy for the Chron.
At a partially virtual Senate oversight hearing, officials for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and its health care system acknowledged the botched prisoner transfers to San Quentin and Corcoran state prisons, confirming the missteps first revealed last month by The Chronicle. Those mistakes included a failure to test incarcerated patients for the coronavirus for up to a month before they were transferred.
Ralph Diaz, secretary of the state’s prison system, told senators that officials have recently faced “setbacks,” and he specifically noted the San Quentin outbreak that has sickened more than 1,100 people in custody and 100 staffers.
But the secretary also defended the prisons’ efforts to thwart infections from incarcerated people, staff and communities, adding that many prisons have seen no cases to date.
“We can do better. And I know we will do better,” Diaz said. “But I need to express we’ve also had successes.”
IMMIGRATION: In the Chron, Lauren Hernádez reports that Cambodian immigrant Chanthon Bun was released from San Quentin yesterday into the community and note turned over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, as was feared. It was not all good news, however:
Bun was released from the prison at around 9 a.m. Wednesday. After getting tested for the coronavirus, he called his mother, said Anoop Prasad, a staff attorney with the Asian Law Caucus who is representing Bun.
He tested positive for the coronavirus, Interfaith Movement officials said.
Advocates previously had expressed concerns that Bun, who has a blood disorder, had shown signs of COVID-19. Health care conditions reportedly are even worse in immigration detention facilities than the beleaguered California prison system, which has been on federal receiveship since 2006 for its insufficient health care services.
UBER/LYFT: A fight between the transportation network companies and the California Public Utilities Commission may be brewing, reports Carolyn Said in the Chron. Said writes:
The San Francisco ride-hailing companies, along with two smaller ride services for children called HopSkipDrive and Zum, on Tuesday filed papers challenging the authority of the California Public Utilities Commission to determine that their drivers are employees.
At issue is a June 9 “scoping memo” from agency Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma that said “for now, TNC drivers are presumed to be employees,” using the acronym for “transportation network companies,” which is what the commission calls on-demand ride services. A scoping memo is a mechanism to identify future issues rather than a formal decision.
The scoping memo’s reason was AB5, California’s new gig-work law that makes it harder for companies to claim that workers are independent contractors, as the ride-hailing companies classify their drivers.
cakeday, farewell, and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Richard Harris, Genevieve Villafranca Jopanda, Minnie Santillan, and Michael Soto!
BELATED: Happy birthday to Denise Ng (yesterday)!
FAREWELL: Former Assembly member and lobbyist Bill Duplissea (1950-2020)