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The Nooner for Sunday, September 13, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
  • Wildfires
  • Ballots
  • Public safety
  • CEQA
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

SEEN ON SUNDAY TEEVEE: LA mayor Eric Garcetti on CNN's State of the Union on wildfires yesterday's shooting of two LA County Sheriff's deputies.

¡Buenos dias! It's another smoky day (although it may get a bit better today), so I'll be on lockdown with no farmers market this morning. With my asthma totally unhappy with the smoke (even with windows and doors shut), I have gotten very little sleep the last few nights. 

At least it looks like there will be a Giants doubleheader today after it appears that Friday's positive test of a player was a false positive. The fate of the 49ers opener against Arizona is still unclear this morning as air quality in Santa Clara is still "Unhealthy" although it sounds like it is going forward.

Meanwhile, YMCA was President Trump's playoff song during his Nevada rally last night. Hmmm...


-The numbers: 63 more Californians lost their lives to COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total to 14,332. The usual caveat of low reporting over the weekend and correspondingly higher reports early in the week applies. That said, the 7-day trends on both cases and deaths look good.

COVID 20200913
Source: Los Angeles Times


-The numbers: 20 fatalities have been tallied and 4,690 structures destroyed or damaged in the Caliifornia fires. Five of the state's 20 largest fires in California history have occurred in 2020, with 3,154,107 acres burned.

Here are the five biggest currently burning:

  1. August Complex (Mendocino, Humboldt counties): 877,477 acres, with 28% containment as of 8:17am
  2. SCU Lightning Complex (Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Stanislaus counties): 396,624 acres, with 98% containment as of 7:19am
  3. LNU Lightning Complex (Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo, Solano counties): 363,220 acres, with 95% containment as of 09/12/20 
  4. North Complex (Plumas, Butte, Yuba counties): 258,802 acreas. with 25% containment as of 8:48am
  5. Creek Fire (Fresno, Madera counties): 201,908 acres, with 8% containment as of 8:52am

-The forecast: Today, the weather is expected to shift to an onshore flow. It's cooler but until we have rain, wind is not good.

-The missing: In the Times, Robin Vives and Alex Wigglesworth report on the search for missing persons in the North Complex Fire, particularly in Butte County.

As firefighters struggled to get a handle on multiple massive wildfires in Northern California on Saturday, a grim search was underway for survivors — and more likely remains — among the missing.

The true death toll likely won’t be known for days, officials cautioned, as heat and flames prevented authorities from entering some areas to search.

“There are still some areas that they are looking into but they have not been able to get into due to the fire activity that’s going on,” said Capt. Bruno Baertschi, public information officer for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

-Berry Creek: Meanwhile, Mallory Moench reports in the Chron on how residents in the small town of Berry Creek In Butte County found themselves trapped by the fast-moving blaze.

-Dead trees: The LAT's Betting Boxall writes that the large number of dead trees is likely fueling the spread of fires in the Sierras.

Two years ago scientists warned that a massive tree die-off in the Sierra Nevada could set the stage for forest conflagrations akin to World War II fire bombings.

The Creek fire, which forced the dramatic helicopter evacuations of more than 200 campers over Labor Day weekend in California, may be a hint of far worse to come in future years.

It is burning in the Sierra National Forest, an epicenter of the bark beetle attacks that killed nearly 150 million drought-stressed trees during the last decade.

The U.S. Forest Service estimates that dead stands in the Creek fire contain 2,000 tons of fuel per acre.

-School daze: In the NYT, Dan Levin and Kate Taylor write that one positive out of 2020 is that the kids in Berry Creek were already prepared for distance learning because of COVID-19. Now their school has burned down.

As the worst wildfire season in decades scorches the West amid a still raging pandemic, families and educators who were already starting the strangest and most challenging school year of their lifetimes have been traumatized all over again. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, with some mourning the loss of their entire communities.

But amid the twin disasters, the remote learning preparations that schools made for the coronavirus are providing a strange modicum of stability for teachers and students, letting many stay connected and take comfort in an unexpected form of virtual community.

“The pandemic has actually helped,” said Patsy Oxford, the principal of Berry Creek Elementary.

-SoCal: In the Times, Hayley Smith writes about the clouds of smoke hanging over Southern California from the Bobcat Fire.

The Bobcat fire burning in the Angeles National Forest has torn through nearly 30,000 acres and continues to send thick, unhealthful smoke into the Los Angeles Basin.

Air quality remained bad across the region on Saturday, with much of the basin under unhealthy air warning and the area near the Bobcat fire under hazardous air warning.

L.A. Zoo is closing Sunday and Monday because of bad air quality, and the county is shutting down some COVID-19 testing centers. The Rams said they are monitoring the air quality in advance of Sunday’s big game.

-The cause: For CapRadio, Ezra David Romero looks at the debate over "fire suppression" and "climate change" as a cause increasing widespread California wildfires.

There’s a litany of reasons why nearly 5 million acres have burned so far this year across the United States — three-fifths of the burn scar is in California alone. Fire officials blame everything from lightning to gender reveal parties to climate change. 

Perhaps the most present term in news articles as one of the main causes for fires getting so big so fast is fire suppression, which has resulted in a lack of fire for more than a century.

“They're deeply interconnected, but they can't really be disentangled,” said Carly Phillips, a researcher in residence at the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. “They're interacting and they're also making each other worse. The fuel is drier and easier to ignite as a result of climate change.”

-President Trump Monday: President Trump announced yesterday that he will survey the fires in California on Monday from McClellan Park, the former Air Force used often for Cal Fire for staging and refueling tankers. As of yesterday, it wasn't clear whether the President will meet with Governor Newsom.

More after the jumpity jump...

BALLOTS: A recent nationwide postal service mailing about the November is stirring confusion among voters, reports Vincent Moleski in The Bee.

Sacramento County officials are criticizing the use of a nationwide mail-in election circular meant to inform Americans about mail-in voting as many states eye remote democracy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

You probably got one in the mail — a postcard sent by the United States Postal Service that read: “If you plan to vote by mail, plan ahead.”

But local leaders say there’s probably a lot less planning necessary than the document makes out.

“There is information on this postcard that is not relevant to the voters in California and causing confusion,” said Janna Haynes, a spokeswoman for Sacramento County.

The county takes issue with two of the bullet points listed on the reverse side of the USPS mailer, one of which warns voters to request an absentee ballot at least 15 days before election day and another that advises them to add postage if necessary.

Of course, all registered voters in California are being mailed a ballot on October 5 and within five days of registration after that date, the return ballot envelope is postage paid first class this year, and as long as the ballot is postmarked by Election Day, it will be counted if received within 17 days of Election Day.

PUBLIC SAFETY: A team at the Times reports on the shooting of two Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies yesterday in Compton.

Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were critically wounded after being shot Saturday evening in Compton in what authorities described as an “ambush” that was captured on surveillance video.

The video, released by the department, shows a man walking up to the deputies’ parked patrol car, pulling out a gun and firing several times into the front seat area from the passenger side. The assailant is then seen running from the scene.

The Sheriff’s Department reported that the shooting occurred about 7 p.m. near the Blue Line station at 275 Willowbrook Avenue.

“One male deputy and one female deputy were ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle. Both sustained multiple gunshot wounds and are in critical condition. They are both currently undergoing surgery,” the department said in a statement.

The department later said both were out of surgery. Law enforcement sources told The Times at least one of the deputies was shot in the face and the other in the head.

Covering the violence and protests outside of the hospital the officers were taken to was KPCC's and LAist's Josie Huang, who identified herself, but was tackeled by several officers and taken to jail with charges of obstruction of justice, before being released. Reports are conflicting of whether or not she had her credentials.

In response, NPR tweeted:

NPR is appalled by the arrest of Josie Huang, a KPCC public radio reporter, who was performing her job last night—gathering facts to inform the American public. The rights of journalists are protected by the First Amendment, and essential to an informed public and our Democracy.

On September 3, the Legislature passed SB 629 on a bipartisan vote to avoid just this. The bill is pending on the governor's desk.

CEQA: For CalMatters, Dan Walters writes that while several CEQA exemptions were approved by the Legislature this year, legislative Democrats are largely keeping broad reform to the law off the table.

instead of spending political capital for a comprehensive overhaul of CEQA to prevent its misuse, [former governor Jerry] Brown continued the practice — or malpractice — of granting full or partial CEQA exemptions for individual projects whose developers had political pull, most obviously for sports arenas such as a basketball palace near the Capitol.

No legislative session would be complete without a flurry of CEQA exemption bills and the dying hours of this year’s version was typical.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to David Balla-Hawkins, LA councilmember Bob Blumenfeld, Omega Brewer-Gonzalez, Dustin Corcoran, Bernice Creager, Martha Guerrero, Gordon Hinkle, Katerina Ioannides, Matt Klopfenstein, and Ray LeBov, Erin Norwood, Assembly mayor Blanca Rubio, Don Singer, and Allen Wilson!


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California Council on Science and Technology briefing

On Monday, September 14th, at 12:00 PM, the California Council on Science and Technology hosts a panel of experts to discuss the role of app-based contact tracing as part of a strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin will moderate. Please register here.

Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA): Legislative Advocate

Represent and advocate for the interests of Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) members and policyholders before the Legislature, Administration, state agencies, industry and trade associations, and related forums. Based in Sacramento. Excellent salary and benefits.

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.

Photos: 1 | 2 | 3

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