Around The Capitol

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  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Dr. Barbara O’Connor, Professor Emeritus at CSU Sacramento (2020-08-02)
  • KQED's Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Joe Trippi on the Veepstakes, Pioneering Netroots and the Real Story of Doug Jones' Victory (2020-07-30)
  • Cap•Impact Podcast (Chris Micheli): How Proxy Voting Could Work in the California Assembly (2020-07-30)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): Asian Americans join Latinos as targets of Tump (2020-07-30)
  • California Nation (SacBee): Governor Gavin Newsom and COVID-19 with Elizabeth Ashford, former advisor to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. Jerry Brown, Steven Maviglio, former press secretary to Gov. Gray Davis and Joe Rodota, former cabinet secretary to Gov. Pete Wilson (2020-07-25)

The Nooner for Wednesday, August 5, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    • The numbers
    • Reporting
    • School daze
    • Poll positiion
  • SB 793 (Hill): Flavored tobacco products
  • Board diversity
  • Census
  • Ballot language
  • Caltrain
  • SacTown
  • LA-LA Land
  • Veepstakes
  • cakeday, farewell, and classifieds


ATCpro SUBSCRIBER UPDATES[A full list of recent election analysis is on the subscribers home page. If you have forgotten or haven't set a password, use the forgot password tool]

  • CA39 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton-Yorba Linda): updated analysis (Leans Dem)
  • CA53 (SD Balboa Park-La Mesa-El Cajon): updated analysis (Safe Dem - Dem-Dem general)
  • SD29 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton): updated anaysis (Toss-up)
  • SD37 (Anaheim Hills-Irvine): updated anaysis (Leans Dem)


The numbers: California added 199 deaths yesterday, making the total 9,705. The seven-day number of daily deaths in California is at the highest of the pandemic. The LAT plots it out with columns reflecting daily deaths and the line the 7-day moving average.

COVID deaths by day

Reporting: Meanwhile the state has informed counties that not all data collection has been successful and that the data may actually incomplete and low.  Colleen Shalby reports in the Times:

A steep decline in California’s coronavirus infection rate announced this week by Gov. Gavin Newson may not be accurate, according to the state’s top public health official who said Tuesday that the state’s data system used to process COVID-19 test results is marred with technical issues.

The problems have caused delays in analyzing test results and cast doubt on Newsom’s announcement Monday of a 21.2% decline in the seven-day average rate for positive infections compared with the average from the week before.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said that “the seven-day positivity rate is absolutely affected” by the issue. It’s unclear to what extent and for how long cases have been undercounted, and how this situation differs from the more routine delays when test reporting lags over weekends.

Ana B. Ibarra also reports on rhw issue for CalMatters:

“There is no doubt that [state and county officials'] ability to address in a timely way specific cases around case investigation and contact tracing is limited,” Ghaly said. This is on top of the high volume of cases that already were overwhelming counties’ efforts to conduct timely and effective investigations and tracing.


A spokesperson with the California Department of Public Health said in an email that the state is still assessing the magnitude of the undercount, but did not say how many days the system was buggy. 


This technical issue, however, does not affect the hospitalization or intensive care unit numbers, which also have seen recent declines, state data show.  

School daze: Tony Bizjak and Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks report for The Bee that the above reporting issue for elementary schools hoping for a waiver to reopen as counties aren't sure what their numbers are.

Citing high COVID-19 positivity cases, Los Angeles County has said it will not be granting elementary schools waivers to reopen, writes Nina Agrawal in the Times.

The decision comes one day after the California Department of Public Health announced new guidelines for granting school reopening waivers, indicating that counties with case rates above 200 per 100,000 residents should not consider applications.

The case rate in L.A. County is currently 355 per 100,000 residents.

“We know that to many families, this is a disappointing announcement, but it’s based on the existing science and data that is guiding all of our decision-making. We need to ensure the health and safety of our children, school teachers and staff and all of their families,” the department said in a statement.

Meanwhile, about 75 charter school supporters rallied in Santa Ana yesterday to call for a reopening of the schools, reports Roxana Kopetman in the Register.

In the Chron, Dustin Gardiner writes that private and charter elementary schools are likely to reopen before traditional public schools. Gardiner writes:

The guidelines let local health officers allow in-person classes in elementary schools even in counties with large numbers of cases, as long as the state health department goes along. But to obtain a waiver exempting them from state rules restricting much public activity and commerce during the pandemic, the schools must show that they can follow a long list of safety protocols, such as providing face coverings and keeping students socially distanced.

Teachers unions said the path could be much easier for private and charter schools, which often operate small campuses, with fewer students and more financial resources, than traditional public schools. They said millions of public-school children — many of them from low-income households — won’t have the same option.

EdSource's Sydney Johnson reports that some school districts are asking teachers to work from their classrooms while conducting distance learning with students at home:

[Governor Gavin] Newsom weighed in on the issue Monday, saying district leaders and labor unions should collaboratively decide whether school teachers should be required to conduct distance learning from their classrooms.

“I don’t believe anyone should be forced to put their lives and health at risk,” Newsom said. “If people feel their lives and health is being put at risk, it is incumbent on us to call that out.”

San Jose Unified officials want teachers to work from their classrooms so they have a steady Wi-Fi connection, tech support and access to classroom materials. They also believe it will help create a more consistent learning environment for students by allowing them to see their classrooms even if they aren’t on campus, said Stephen McMahon, deputy superintendent of San Jose Unified.

For CapRadio, Sarah Bohannon and Nina Sparling report that in rural California with spotty cell and Internet connections, students are turning to parking lots near WiFi connections.

Poll position: In the Chron, Phil Matier writes up a new poll on partisan attitudes in the pandemic:

California voters at all levels are anxious about fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, especially the economic impacts, according to a new statewide poll by FM3 Research and Baughman Merrill.

Respondents described themselves as feeling “fearful, anxious, depressed or worried” when it came to the coronavirus pandemic with 89% saying the economic impacts of the virus are an “extremely” or “very serious problem.”

Economic anxiety runs across party lines, with 91% of Democrats, 90% of independents and 83% of Republicans expressing concern. A majority of those surveyed also believe the economic downturn will last up to two years.

“Concern about the economic impacts is broad, strong and completely bipartisan,” pollster Dave Metz said.

But when it comes to health impacts of the virus, partisan politics come back into play.

Nearly three-quarters of the 1,026 likely voters surveyed said the health impacts of the virus are either an extremely or very serious problem — that broke down to 92% of Democrats and 75% of independents, but just 40% of Republicans.

SB 793 (Hill): Flavored tobacco products.  In a marathon hearing yesterday, Assembly Health approved SB 793 on a 10-2 vote. Members Chad Mayes (NPP), James Ramos (D), and Marie Waldron abstained from the vote and others indicated they would like further changes and didn't commit to voting for it on the Assembly Floor.

The bill moves on to Assembly Appropriations and the Assembly Floor, and then back to the Senate Floor for concurrence in Assembly amendments. The hearing had over 200 callers in support and around 50 in opposition.  Amendments were agreed to yesterday to exempt loose-leaf tobacco and premium cigars citing that minors rarely use these products.

This morning's marathon hearing was in Senate Natural Resources and Water, which is hearing AB 345 (Muratsuchi), which would require setbacks of oil and gas facilities schools, parks, and other public facilities where children are present. There were 400 people in the queue and more joining.

BOARD DIVERSITY: CalMatters's Elizabeth Castillo writes up AB 979 (Holden and Garcia), which would ban all-white corporate boards and follows a successful 2018 effort banning single-gender boards. The bill is up in Senate Banking and Financial Institutions next Tuesday.

CENSUS: For CapWeekly, Lana Schwartz looks at the challenges of finishing the Census accurately by the new goal of September 30.

This time around, California’s congressional seats are on shaky ground. But the uncertainty stems as much from President Trump’s actions as the long-awaited 2020 census numbers, which have been delayed because of the pandemic.


President Trump’s recent executive order to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count would drop the tally dramatically in California, which is home to more than two million people who are not in the state legally.

Trump’s executive order is facing three lawsuits, with more on the horizon.

Originally, the count was supposed to end in July. But in April, the official census count was extended to Oct. 31, to help census-takers accommodate for social-distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, however, the Census Bureau announced that it would be cutting the counting a month short. Local organizations have been pushing for an accurate count to make sure federal funding gets to under-resourced areas. Now they’re redoubling their efforts to get the word out about the census.

“We still have a good foundation and have been putting in the work for quite a really long time, so hopefully our communities will deliver,” said Brenda Diaz, civic engagement coordinator at Mid-City CAN. Her organization has been spearheading census efforts in City Heights.

BALLOT LANGUAGE: In two cases I know about this week, judges have rejected suits filed against the Attorney General's Office alleging bias in ballot titles and summaries on both Proposition 15 (split roll) and 22 (Uber/Lyft/Postmates-backed measure to change AB 5). These cases are routinely dismissed with wide discretion given to the office.

CALTRAIN: The Chron's Michael Cabanatuan reports "a ballot measure on a 1/8-cent sales tax increase to help fund Caltrain to be placed before voters in San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties in November. The measure needs the consent of each of the counties, its transportation agencies and the Caltrain board by Friday to make the fall ballot." The train that runs from San Francisco to Santa Clara has been battered by stay-at-home orders.

SACTOWN: Last night in a contentious meeting, the Sacramento City Council voted to place a "strong mayor" measure on the November ballot. Theresa Clift reports for The Bee:

The Sacramento City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday to place the measure on the Nov. 3 ballot, with Councilmen Jeff Harris, Larry Carr and Allen Warren voting against it.

Those council members said placing the measure on the ballot with little advanced notice during a pandemic prevented the public input needed for such a big decision.


The council discussed the controversial idea after listening to nearly three hours of public comments. About half of the callers blasted the measure as a rushed-through “power grab” by Steinberg, disguised as a way to uplift communities of color. The other half said Sacramento should give the mayor the tools to quickly enact measures to help those communities, including those promised with the Measure U sales tax revenue.

A slew of community and business leaders spoke in favor of placing the measure on the ballot, including developer Nikki Mohanna; Cassandra Jennings of the Greater Sacramento Urban League; Tecoy Porter Sr. of Genesis Church in south Sacramento; and Chet Hewitt of The Center at Sierra Health Foundation.

Councilwoman-elect Katie Valenzuela; Sacramento City Unified School Board member and council candidate Mai Vang; and Measure U Community Advisory Committee Chairwoman Flojaune Cofer spoke against putting the measure on the ballot in its current form. In addition, there were more than 130 written comments submitted before the meeting, with all but a handful in opposition.

LA-LA LAND: LA County district attorney Jackie Lacey's husband David Lacey has been charged by state Attorney General Xavier Beccerra with three counts of misdemeanor assault for waving a firearm at protestors in March. James Queally reports for the LAT:

Lacey had been under investigation for several months after video surfaced of him brandishing a handgun on his doorstep on March 2.

An arraignment is scheduled for Aug.13, the attorney general’s office said. David Lacey is not currently in police custody, a representative for the district attorney’s reelection campaign said.

VEEPSTAKES: In the NYT, Adam Nagourney looks at the special relationship Rep. Karen Bass had with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the sharp contrast in life stories with Joe Biden's upbringing.

Newly elected as the speaker of the State Assembly, Ms. Bass felt apart from that club the moment she stepped through the canvas flaps at the invitation of Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican.

“‘I guess you probably don’t want to be doing business here,’” the governor told her, as Ms. Bass recalled in a recent interview. “He didn’t know what to do. And that was right. I didn’t want to be in the tent.”

Here she was, a liberal Democrat and the first Black woman to lead a statehouse in the nation’s history, one of the three most powerful elected leaders of California in a moment of fiscal peril, and a wholly different kind of player navigating among men in a thick haze of cigar smoke.

cakedays, farewell, and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to former Assembly member Paul Fong and Richard Rios!

FAREWELL: Former state senator and broadcaster Stan Statham (1939-2020).


Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing, 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]

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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 or (415) 577-9734 with questions.

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