Around The Capitol

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  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): The media's challenge: Reporting the pandemic election. (2020-08-06)
  • The Axe Files (David Axelrod @ CNN/UChicago): Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) on her background and the veepstakes (2020-08-06)
  • 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 Monday, August 10, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Weekends at The Nooner 
  • COVID-19
    • State Public Health Director resigns
    • The numbers
    • The spread and the data
    • The defiant
    • Prisons
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Bills, bills, bills
  • Pensions
  • High-speed rail
  • Senate vacancies
  • Insurance commish
  • cakeday 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)
  • AD68 (Anaheim Hills-Orange-Tustin-Irvine): updated anaysis (Toss-up)
  • *AD55 (Diamond Bar-Yorba Linda): updated analysis (Toss-up)

TOP 100: On Tuesday at 7pm, the annual Capitol Weekly Top 100 Party recognizing non-elected movers and shakers is being held virtually, but that also means it's free this year. Register and find out how to get copies of this year's book of those recognized at this link.

¡Buenos dias mis amigos! Rested up and raring to go for another week (as if the last one stopped). I know lots of you were working based on our conversations in the Twitterverse. Then again, it wasn't like we were going to go to the movies or a concert.

Last night's 60 Minutes had the sexual assault victim in the case of Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer who was given a very light sentence leading to the recall of Judge Aaron Persky. I may be a little emotional after nearly five months mostly indoors, but I was near tears. During the segment that I highly recommend, Chanel Miller -- who first came forward on 60 Minutes to reveal that she was "Emily Doe" last September -- shares her story and talks about her new book, "Know My Name."

Today, most NCAA conferences are deciding on whether to punt the fall sports season to the spring. Some Division I FCS conferences, such as the Big Sky that Sac State and UC Davis (GO AGS!) play in, have already postponed the season to the spring. Today everything else may follow suit and there are wide reports that the PAC-12 Conference has already decided against competition this fall. There are similar reports about the Big 10. The dominoes are falling.

I'm not happy, but there are lots of things that I'm not happy about right now and football can't be played in an NBA-like bubble and the game is very different than baseball. It changes more than those fall games when the chill starts to set in and you debate whether a blanket will be needed for those night games. Think about all of the bowl games around the holidays. I think fondly of watching games with my mom in Portland.

It's a huge economic hit to the hospitality industry at a time that is otherwise relatively quiet with no conventions or conferences and generally little business travel. The Rose Parade has already been canceled. The bowl games scheduled for California this season include the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, the Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and the LA Bowl in Inglewood (assuming the stadium is complete, but it could be moved). A delay to the spring and a bowl schedule in the late spring creates other issues, such as hotel capacity, assuming conventions and conferences have resumed.

College football fans may be sitting on the edge of their seats but so are hoteliers and labor that make them run and cities that are already devastated by the loss of TOT (hotel tax) revenue. Then you have the bars, restaurants, and tourist spots that were also hoping for a rebound after a disastrous year.

Anyway, that's how I think about it. It's just another economic hit, particularly to the hospitality industry and it's going to hurt a lot more people -- around the holidays. Don't pout about having to watch something other than the gridiron while families are hoping there's a food bank giving out holiday turkeys. It puts it all in perspective.

PELOSI: The video is now available of last Wednesday's conversation with PPIC president/CEO Mark Baldassare and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). Remember that it was recorded before talks on the COVID-19 relief package collapsed Friday, although those talks may return as early as today.

WEEKENDS AT THE NOONER: Hopefully, you stepped away from the computer and socially distanced outside over the weekend as it's going to be another busy week.  Here's what was covered in The Nooner this weekend:

Saturday, August 8

  • Money Matters
  • COVID-19
    • The numbers
    • Testing
    • Kids
    • The violators
    • Enforcement
    • Defiance
    • School daze
    • Colleges and universities
  • Police use of force
  • Wildfires
  • UC's new chief
  • Desal
  • LA-LA Land
  • Veepstakes

Sunday, August 9

  • Money Matters
  • The Final Countdown
  • COVID-19
    • The numbers
    • Survival rate
    • Bay Area biz impact
    • San Diego food need
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Nurse practitioners
  • AB 70/For-profit colleges
  • Policing
  • Baghdad by the Bay

Let's get to it after the jump!


- State Public Health Director resigns: John Myers reports for the Times:

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s director of the California Department of Public Health resigned on Sunday, an abrupt departure of a key advisor in the state’s coronavirus battle just days after the discovery of a computer system failure that resulted in the undercounting of COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Sonia Angell, who held the position for less than a year, announced her resignation in an email sent to department staff that was released by the California Health and Human Services Agency.

“Since January, when we got word of repatriation flights arriving from Wuhan, China, our department has been front and center in what has become an all-of-government response of unprecedented proportions to COVID-19,” Angell wrote in the email to public health staff members. “In the final calculation, all of our work, in aggregate, makes the difference.”


Last week, state officials confirmed that as many as 300,000 records had not been processed by the computer clearinghouse system relied upon to provide to local officials the COVID-19 test results reported by labs on a daily basis. Two separate errors were identified — one related to a computer server outage, the other to the expiration of an electronic certificate for data to be transferred from Quest Laboratories.

- The numbers: There were 66 new reported deaths in California yesterday for a total of 10,378. The normal weekend reporting caveat applies, but LA County's number of 10 looked comparatively good. The next few days are key to the 7-day moving average, which is the line in this chart:

COVID deaths by day
Source: Los Angeles Times

- The spread and the data: On the graph of cases with the daily reported confirmed cases and the 7-day moving average, the Los Angeles Times has added an indicator of when the state's data problem began due to a lapsed certification with a processor of Quest lab data and perhaps also server problems on the state's end, according to Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly. The problem with the Quest Processor has been fixed, although it's unclear if all of the county data is being collected by the state at this point. As you can see in the chart, the 7-day moving average had begun a decline before the data collection orders were reported.

COVID cases by day
Source: Los Angeles Times

As I wrote yesterday, hospitalizations, perhaps the best metric of all, are on the decline.

- The defiant: Despite a Ventura County judge's temporary restraining order forbidding indoor services, Pastor Rob McCoy gathered his flock at Godspeak Cavalry Church in Newbury Park yesterday for an indoor service. Christopher Goffard reports for the Times that the services weren't without controversy

While services were underway inside, 100 to 150 people were gathered in the church parking lot and the surrounding area, said Capt. Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. By late morning, the pro-church demonstrators appeared to far outnumber those who had come to protest the services. Buschow said no arrests had been made at that point.

“We have deputies on scene right now, just addressing issues with minor scuffles,” Buschow said. Video footage showed pushing and screaming but no serious injuries.

And why weren't the police enforcing the TRO? Isn't that the duty of the Sheriff's Office? Indeed, Ventura County is very complicated.

The church has held indoor services since late May, and county healthy authorities have complained that parishioners have not been using masks or practicing social distancing as they pack inside.

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 to enforce health orders with court actions, and last week a judge issued a restraining order against the church, saying the gatherings were a menace to public health. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for Aug. 31.

In the meantime, Pastor Rob McCoy — who resigned in April as a member of the Thousand Oaks City Council after the governor deemed churches nonessential — has said he will defy the court order, declaring that the county’s crackdown is “an ideological issue,” not a health issue.

“Really, all we’re doing is having church,” McCoy said Saturday on the church’s YouTube channel. “Folks are coming out of the woodwork to support us.”

And all that the high school in Atlanta that caught national attention through the photo posted on social media of crowded hallways of mostly unmasked teens was doing was having school. Now they have an outbreak and are starting the week with virtual instruction. Just sayin'...

- Prisons: For the Chron, Jason Fagone and Megan Cassidy report that, while executions are hold in California under executive order by Governor Newsom, COVID-19 is hitting Death Row at San Quentin particularly hard.

A colossal outbreak at San Quentin has infected more than 2,000 incarcerated men and 260 staffers; killing 25 prisoners and one correctional sergeant. It’s also hit Death Row especially hard, claiming the lives of 12 condemned men with an average age of 62.


“My clients are entitled to a review of their convictions and sentences,” said Harry Simon, a federal public defender in Sacramento who represented three of the 12 men on Death Row who were felled by the virus. “To the extent that the negligence of San Quentin and CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) stopped them from having that, that’s a problem.”

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: For CalMatters, Jackie Botts looks at how Californians who are on unemployment insurance are getting by without the $600/week federal supplement through personal stories.

SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES: A team at KQED reports that, even though previous wildfires has shown the vulnerability of adult care homes, the state is still not prepared for the next one.

California regulates around 10,000 long-term care facilities, from small assisted living homes to large skilled-nursing centers. A KQED investigation has found that wildfire is a significant hazard at 35% of these facilities, in the wildland-urban interface, in state-designated fire hazard severity zones, or both.

A gray wave is crashing on California. The Golden State is aging faster than the rest of the country. In 10 years, the state projects the number of people 65 or older will be 8.6 million. And while demand for care facilities is curving up, critics say the laws governing emergency preparedness are weak and enforcement is lax. In addition, the pandemic is disrupting watchdog efforts and complicating urgent disaster planning even further.

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds on, this disaster planning is taking place against a backdrop of global heating, a dominant force shaping the fates of elderly people in long-term care.

BILLS, BILLS, BILLS: Chris Micheli answers the question of whether the Legislature has really reduced its bill load amidst the abridged legislative session and need to focus on the pandemic and other critical issues.

This is the first question being discussed in and out of the State Capitol the past few months. And, the answer is a resounding yes.

The second question being discussed the past few weeks is which house of the Legislature has done a better job of reducing their respective bill load? That question is more difficult to answer. Let’s take a look at the metrics.

After looking at a bunch of metrics, Micheli writes:

This means the Legislature will be hearing and voting on just over 500 bills this Session, as opposed to its usual amount of about 2,000 bills that are considered. So, between the two houses, legislators will be debating and voting on about ¼ of their usual bill load. 

PENSIONS: Dan Walters again rings the bell on California's pension funds.

California’s public employee pension dilemma boils down to this: The California Public Employees Retirement System has scarcely two-thirds of the money it needs to pay benefits that state and local governments have promised their workers.

Moreover, CalPERS’ official estimate that it is 70.8% funded is based on an assumption of future investment earnings averaging 7% a year, which probably is at least one or two percentage points too high. In the 2019-20 fiscal year that ended June 30, CalPERS posted a 4.7% return and over the last 20 years it has averaged 5.5% by its own calculation.

Were the earnings assumption dropped to a more realistic level, the system’s “unfunded liability” — essentially a multi-billion-dollar debt — would increase sharply from the current $160 billion to at least $200 billion.

Walters also writes about the California Supreme Court's July 30 unanimous decision in three cases by labor against state and local government upholding the "California Rule." That rule provides that, once a pension structure is promised, the employees hired under it can't have the structure changed by the employer.

HIGH-SPEED RAILThe LAT's Ralph Vartabedian reports on a failed bridge project in Madera County that is further delaying the first segment of the California High-Speed Rail project.

Hundreds of pages of documents obtained by The Times under a public records request show the steel supports snapped as a result of neglect, work damage, miscommunications and possible design problems.

“It is a horrible sequence of mistakes,” said Robert Bea, emeritus professor of civil engineering at UC Berkeley and co-founder of its Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.

The bridge is part of a 31-mile stretch of construction under contract to Tutor Perini Corp., a major construction firm based in Sylmar. The company declined to answer a series of written questions or make a statement.

The bridge is part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan for a 171-mile, $20.4-billion bullet train operation from Merced to Bakersfield.

SENATE VACANCIES: With Joe Biden on the precipice of announcing his running mate at Senator Kamala Harris seriously in the running leading to parlor games of who Newsom would appoint if the ticket is successful, George Skelton writes that vacancies should be filled by special election rather than appointment of the governor.

There’s a valid argument for not holding a special election to fill a vacant Senate seat. It’s costly — around $100 million.

But democracy isn’t free. California taxpayers send Sacramento enough money to foot the bill.

Maybe we can start with special elections for county supe vacancies...

INSURANCE COMMISH: For the SDUT, Jeff McDonald catches that Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (D) has raised little money after media reports that he was taking contributions from folks connected with regulated insurance companies, after pledging not to in his 2018 campaign.

Lara — who suspended all fund-raising last summer after The San Diego Union-Tribune disclosed that he had accepted tens of thousands of dollars from insurers and that his office intervened in proceedings to benefit donors — reported less than $5,000 in donations so far this year.

The money came in a single contribution — a cash transfer from Lockyer for Controller 2022, a committee representing the long-retired state senator, treasurer and attorney general Bill Lockyer.

According to Lara’s most recent campaign filing, which was submitted July 31 and covers financial activity through the first six months of 2020, Lara took $4,700 from the Lockyer committee.

Here is the filing for the period ending June 30, which shows an ending net cash on hand of -$501.17.

As I've written before, this (among others) should be a ministerial rather than elected office. The only people willing to contribute are family, friends, and industry.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to a legislative hat trick of Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo, Senator Steve Glazer, and Assembly Member Buffy Wicks, as well as Dominic Dimare, Alexander Gurfinkel, Lisa Matocq, Krystal Moreno, Naomi Padron, and Kimi Shigetani!


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]

Research Analyst, Full-Time (remote)

Probolsky Research is a market and opinion research company based in Newport Beach, California. We are woman and Latina-owned. We are non-partisan, independent researchers passionate about accuracy, data security, and using storytelling to make data usable.

The Research Analyst is responsible for facilitating market and opinion research projects from instrument design to project fulfillment, final research deliverables and presentation to client.


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Location: We are a virtual company – work from anywhere

California School Boards Association - Public Affairs & Community Engagement Representative (LA North/Ventura)
Serve as CSBA’s liaison to local schools and county boards of education, key decision makers, and the community-at-large. Execute grassroots strategies designed to build relationships with, train, and mobilize local school board members and communities to advance CSBA’s legislative and statewide ballot measure advocacy priorities. Coordinates and executes fundraising events. Remote position based in the following location: LA North/Ventura. Salary based on experience. Please apply at:
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 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 or (415) 577-9734 with questions.

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For 30 Years PDI has been California’s premier data vendor. Now, you can get live online trainings on the newest PDI software every week: