Around The Capitol

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RECENT PODS:

  • KQED's Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice, on Prop. 20 (repeal of criminal justice reforms) on the November ballot (2020-07-16)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): California Teachers Association president E. Toby Boyd (2020-07-16)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): COVID-19 and the response of school district and political leaders (2020-07-16)
  • SDSU Health Policy Podcast (Gary Rotto and Carolina López Rivera): Richard Barrera, VP of the Board of Education for the San Diego Unified School District on the district's response to COVID-19 (2020-07-16)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Paul Mitchell on the Redistricting Commission (2020-07-06)
  • KQED's Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Los Angeles County supe Hilda Solis (2020-07-09)
  • Gimme Shelter (LAT's Liam Dillon and CalMatters's Matt Levin): Why California’s housing market isn’t tanking (2020-07-06)

The Nooner for Friday, July 17, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Unemployment
  • COVID-19
    • the numbers
    • the model
    • the workforce
    • the younger people
    • the salons
  • The Legislature
  • Prop. 15 (split roll)
  • cakeday and classifieds

GENERAL ELECTION DATA POINTS

¡Feliz viernes! I hope you've had a great week, although I know it's been a busy one for many and a worrisome one for parents as they wait with bated breath for decisions one way or another about the decisions by local school boards as to how school will be conducted starting next month (for most).

As you receive this, Governor Newsom should be issuing statewide guidance on how local school districts should decide on conducting instruction this fall. Of course, as recent as last night, I was seeing districts announce their decisions, so I don't know what he issues at this point.

Veteran education reporters Louis Freedberg and John Fensterwald report for EdSource that Newsom is expected to announce guidance that all public and private schools in the 32 counties on the state's watch list are expected to close for in-class instruction, perhaps until their county is removed from the watch list.

It's July 17th. Happy 65th birthday Disneyland! Sorry you weren't able to welcome visitors today as planned. There is no planned reopen date yet and Orange County is seeing increased cases and is on the state's watch list (more on that later). Meanwhile, the Disneyland in Hong Kong is closed after reopening after the city clamped down on reopening amidst a second wave.

Meanwhile, before we get to bizness, as a reminder, the Capitol Mall farmers market on Thursdays is open from 10-1:30pm through September 24. It's the only midweek one open this year and obviously, they are clobbered by the lack of people working in the Capitol and the area office buildings. There are fewer farm vendors although you can still get your nuts, flowers, and the usual array of summer produce. There are around six food truck vendors as well. I was there yesterday and it was pretty sad, but let me tell you, these peaches are fantastic!

Capitol Mall farmers market

Meanwhile, the Sunday farmers market under the W-X freeway at 6th is pretty much functioning as usual with the full array of vendors (which are more spaced out) and vendors and shoppers wearing masks and maintaining distance when congregated in lines.

UNEMPLOYMENT: The official California unemployment data came out this morning, which found the state's rate declining from 16.9% in June to 14.5% in May. Of course, the data comes from the survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the survey is from May 12-June 12. The BLS continues to caution readers of the data that many furloughed employees may be misclassified due to data gathering methodology changes necessitated by the pandemic.

Of course, tear up the report. Many of the 558,200 nonfarm jobs "added" in June were likely furloughed employees brought back. Of the jobs added in June, 292,500 (52.4%) were in leisure and hospitality, which includes restaurants and bars. Bars are now completely closed statewide and restaurants are back to take-out, delivery, and outdoor dining located in the watch list counties that account for more than 75% of the state's population.

COVID-19:

On last night's Late Show:

  • Colbert to comedian W. Kamau Bell: "You're in California. How are things going out there?"
  • Bell: "We're like Florida Jr."

The numbers: Yesterday was another large day of deaths with 128 with 46% of them from Los Angeles County. It was the

The model: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington updated its highly respected model yesterday. IHME now projects 21,264 deaths in California by November 1 under current practices (range of 15,415-34,437). With universal masks, IHME projects 15,707 deaths by November 1 (range of 12,914-21,027). As of yesterday, there were 7,490 according to the Los Angeles Times (Chron has 7,492). Both use reports from counties.

Here's what the daily projection looks like (enlarge):

IHME 20200716

When I wrote on the model on June 16, the projected number of deaths in California was 15,155 by October 1.

The latest IHME national projection is for 224,546 deaths on November 1 with a range of 196,519-266,556. As of yesterday, there were 138,262 US deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

IHME has been on the low end all along. How much is to attribute on the unpredictability of the virus to the unpredictability of humans in complying with (or government sticking with) restrictive orders? We may never know.

The workforce: In the Times, Hannah Fry looks at the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County's workplaces:

Saying Los Angeles County is in an “alarming and dangerous phase” of the pandemic, health officials said the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in workplaces that are not following safety rules.

While the county is seeing outbreaks at a variety of workplaces, the sectors with the highest numbers are food processing and distribution facilities, including meatpacking plants, manufacturing facilities, garment factories and wholesale warehouses.

Often the locations are not enforcing physical distancing among employees or implementing infection control procedures, including the proper use of face coverings and frequent sanitation, Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis said.

The younger people: There was this disturbing graf in yesterday's LA County release:

There are 2,173 confirmed cases currently hospitalized, 27% of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU and 17% are confirmed cases on ventilators. Data shows younger people between the ages of 18 and 40 years old are being hospitalized at a higher rate than seen at any point in this pandemic. They comprise of 20% of patients with COVID-19 currently hospitalized.

Let me break out my abacus because I don't think my fingers and toes will do. The beads tell us that 435 of the currently hospitalized patients in Los Angeles California are between 18 and 40. 

What the what? I thought this was a disease of the oldz and those already sick?

In truth, most people under 65 who die have an underlying condition, such as:

  • people with compromised immune systems
  • Individuals who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease
  • Smokers

I think those definitions cover 70-80% of Americans. They may not know it until they're hospitalized, but those obese likely fall into the heart disease or diabetes categories.

Even so, while the hospitalization of between 18 and 40 reflects morbidity of COVID-19 among that age group, the mortality rate is 3.08% (115) in LA County. However, this is the chart that has health officials concerned at both the county and state levels.

LA County hospitalizations

Hospitalizations of both confirmed and suspected cases in Los Angeles County are at their highest in the pandemic. And you can see the dip after shelter in place and then the slow rise as reopenings occurred.

The surge in cases requiring hospitalization among 18-40 year olds is stressing hospital capacity. While they are much less likely to die from COVID-19, it is no picnic. A case requiring an ICU stay with a ventilator can cost $1 million and could lead to ongoing health problems long after the body has overcome the virus with antibodies. Most of us know someone who has been through it and have heard the stories.

These data tie in to two issues -- the workplace and schools.

In the workplace item above this one, LAT's Hannah Fry wrote about the disturbing spread in workplaces, with the most notable recent outbreak at Los Angeles Apparel, which Fry notes:

The worst local workplace outbreak occurred at Los Angeles Apparel, a garment manufacturer based in South L.A. More than 300 of the company’s nearly 2,300 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and four have died, Davis said Thursday.

Other garment factories are of similar concern because of lack of social distancing and precautions. The workforce is frequently predominantly Latino, younger, and often without health insurance (and thus more likely to have underlying conditions).

But these data also back up the argument that when thinking about returning schools to in-person instruction, we need to be concerned about the teachers and staff at the schools. We don't really know yet about the transmission from kids to adults because schools have been largely closed for four months. But we know that

I look forward to Governor Newsom's comments at noon to hear how directly he explains this aspect because the arguments I see for in-person school reopening has usually focused on spread among kids and the possibility they might bring it home. However, there are huge legal issues for districts if they call back teachers and other staff. If they ask if they have a pre-existing condition, that could be an ADA violation. If they don't and there is virus spread among staff, there could be liability. (The same issue is playing out at non-education public and private employers as well.)

Boiling it down, the issue of school reopening is much bigger than the pedagogical one about where kids can learn this fall.

The spread: COVID-19 is now spreading faster in the suburb counties than Los Angeles, reports a team at the Times.

“Orange County has the lowest rate of confirmed cases in comparison to our neighboring counties,” Michelle Steel, chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, said on May 21, just two days before the county was cleared by the state to reopen restaurants for indoor dining. “Orange County is in good condition.”

I have a feeling this is a leading paragraph...

But less than two months later, the conditions have changed dramatically. Over the last week, Orange County as well as two other suburban counties to the east of L.A. — Riverside and San Bernardino — are reporting worse coronavirus case rates per capita than L.A. County, according to a Times analysis.

The shift is all the more dramatic because Los Angeles County — long the epicenter of the coronavirus in California — continues to see huge spikes in cases. On Thursday, it reported more than 4,000 new cases, shattering a one-day record. But the new surge in COVID-19 has been particularly painful for suburban counties that were eager to reopen their economies after months of stay-at-home orders and where political battles raged about whether the government should require residents to wear masks in public settings.]

The three counties opened many businesses a week before Los Angeles County. And along with the decisions by all three counties to rescind local mask-wearing orders, some experts said that sent an unintended message to some residents that they could go back to old routines.

Well, that didn't work out well.

The salons: Hair and nail salons in California are saying that their survival is in peril under the governor's closure order and are asking to be able to operate with precautions or outside. Amy Taxin reports for AP:

The closures hit salons in the nation’s most populous state especially hard. The industry is filled with mom-and-pop shops and independent stylists — many still struggling after a monthslong shutdown that began in March. While restaurants and retail stores are encouraged to set up on sidewalks, regulators have barred salons from moving outdoors. That’s something Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson and industry representatives on Thursday urged Newsom’s administration to reconsider to keep shops afloat.

Like many businesses, salons nationwide have been walloped by closures in states seeking to slow the spread of the virus. New York City only recently allowed nail salons to reopen.

Many owners feel like they’re being unfairly punished with the new California shutdown. Unlike at bars or restaurants, workers and customers at salons wear masks constantly and groups don’t typically gather. They say they have ample training on sanitizing procedures and don’t understand why they’re lumped in with other businesses.

We all know about the illegal underground operations...

THE LEGISLATURE: The Bee's Hannah Wiley reports on the plan for how the Legislature will complete its business by August 31 after it returns on July 27. Each policy committee gets one hearing and members are being urged to shelve bills that can wait until next year.

The Assembly will have two separate hearings per day in each hearing room, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, with a cleaning in between.

I kind of like this. I can actually somewhat follow things unlike having 4-5 concurrent hearings.

Because the Senate is scheduled to consider more bills, around 540 total according to the document, it will meet for policy hearings on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Senate’s committee schedule was still being worked out, and no specifics had yet been communicated to members, spokeswoman Lizelda Lopez said Thursday.

...

Members will finish, as anticipated, with voting on the remaining bills during floor sessions from Aug. 17-31. Per the document, Assembly leadership has not discussed the potential for a special session with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office since early March.

Four vans with installed plexiglass are also being rented by the Legislature to transport members one at a time to the building. Masks are a continued requirement, as is limiting one person to the elevator and staying in assigned seats, according to the document.

Only one essential staff member per lawmaker had been allowed to work in the office, a protocol that will continue, the document states.

Because no COVID-19 cases have been reported in the building in the last week, per the memo, essential staff are being allowed back into the building as early as July 20. Hygiene products like Clorox wipes, sanitizer and gloves are also being offered.

There will be little "normal" in the Capitol at least through the end of the year according to my sources. This has area business owners terrified as the blocks around the Capitol have become a ghost town.

Have I told you lately to place your orders for spices and teas from The Allspicery? Order online or by phone and they'll gladly meet you at the door. Obviously, there is near zero traffic on 11th Street.

PROP 15 (Split Roll):  In response to the new report (which I wrote about on Wednesday) by backers of the measure to assess most commercial and industrial property at market rate rather than at Prop. 13 (1978) constrained values to benefit schools and local governments, Joel Fox offers his perspective:

The Yes on Prop 15 campaign is trying to convince voters that only a few parcels owned by big business around the state will pay the bulk of the largest property tax increase in California history. In fact, they ignore the fact that the big property owners lease much of their property to small businesses. The study does not estimate the number of small business tenants in office parks or industrial complexes, for example. Those businesses end up paying the higher property taxes under their leases.

More than three out of four small businesses in California do not own real property. Most small businesses in shops, industrial areas and office buildings lease their spaces. Standard triple net leases require that the leasing businesses cover any of the increases of insurance, maintenance and taxes. Basically, these small businesses are required under the contract of the lease to pay the property tax increase.

In turn, if possible, the small businesses will pass the tax increases on to consumers in the form of higher costs. Goods and services will go up in price including gasoline, food, and retail goods.

It's going to be a helluva fight!

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Teresa BuiJessica Hsiang Ng, and Jackie Yoon!

Classifieds

Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing scottlay@gmail.com, with a headline, a summary of up to 200 words, and what you'd like the end date to be. You can attach a PDF or provide a link for a bigger job description/info to apply. [Other advertising options]


OFFICES AVAILABLE TO SUBLEASE
Between 1-3 unfurnished offices are available for sublease in the Wells Fargo office building, 400 Capital Mall Sacramento, CA 95814. The offices are approximately 12’X10’ each. Internet, gym. 24/7/365 key card access; professional offices. One year lease preferred. $1,500 per office. Contact Tricia Horan at Tricia.Horan@CALawyers.org or 415-919-7990 with questions.
Offices available for sublease: Meridian Plaza

Between 1-3 offices are available for sublease in the Meridian Plaza office building, 1415 L Street, two blocks from the Capitol. The offices are approximately 150 SF each. Internet, gym, partially furnished (desk, chair, bookcases) are included. 24/7/365 key card access; floor-ceiling windows facing Sierras; professional offices. One year lease preferred. $1,500 per office. Contact Jane at admin@stoneadvocacy.com or (415) 577-9734 with questions.

Photos: 1 | 2 | 3

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