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  • Political Breakdown  (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): former Assembly member Mike Gatto on end-of-session fallout, parenting in office and prison realignment (2020-09-11)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Lobbyist Jennifer Fearing (2020-09-11)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Assembly member Buffy Wicks on showing up to vote with her newborn (2020-09-03)
  • If I Could Change One Thing: (Gary Rotto @ San Diego State): Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) on the work of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (2020-09-03)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): The end of the legislative session and the presidential (2020-09-03)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Republican political strategist Jon Fleischman (2020-09-01)
  • California Nation: (Gil Duran @ SacBee): The impact of COVID-19 on California's economy. (2020-08-29)
  • Nooner Conversations (Scott Lay): State Senator Holly J. Mitchell (2020-08-17) [Apple Podcasts | Simplecast]


  • Election Day: 47 days
  • Ballots mailed to all California registered voters: 18 days (w/in 5 days)
  • RealClearPolitics presidential average: Biden 49.2, Trump: 43.0 (9/3-9/15): Biden+6.2
  • RealClearPolitics generic congressional average: Dems+5.7 (8/1-9/15)


  • CA50 (East San Diego County): moved from safe Republican to leans Republican - updated ATCpro analysis coming in the next couple of days.

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]

The Nooner for Thursday, September 17, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Money matters
  • COVID-19
  • Wildfires
  • Poll position
  • Mental health
  • Policing
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

It's Thursday! We're almost there. Wherever "there" is. Anyway, it's super busy at Nooner Global HQ, but I did get out for a walk yesterday after writing to clear my head amidst clear air for the first time in weeks. While we've had the bad downtown news this week of the closure of Bud's Buffet and Oblivion Comics and Coffee, many patios were full (and appropriately spaced) or there were many apparent takeout orders from DOCO and down Kay Street among places open.

DOCO continues its Dining Al Fresco this weekend, with food available from six restaurants (hours vary) with socially distanced table in the outdoor area between the Golden 1 Grand Entrance and Urban Outfitters. Reservations are recommended, although walk-ins will be accommodated if space is available. The participating restaurants are Echo & Rig, Local Eats at Golden 1, Polanco Cantina, Sauced BBQ & Spirits, Tahoe Blue Ridge Bar, and Yard House.

Here is the process:






At selected times, live music will be available. Times for each restaurant and menus are available on the DOCO site.

Tonight, all six restaurants are open from 4pm-9pm.

A portion of proceeds from September food sales will benefit American Red Cross wildfire relief efforts for communities impacted by the devastating fires across California, including the nearby LNU Lightning Complex fire.

I noticed that Sauced BBQ also now has bar codes for the same process on its outdoor tables to minimize the interactions between staff and guests.

Obviously, on Kay, you still have the shuttered El Rey (before pandemic), El Santo, Pizza Rock, etc. One of my favorites, Darna Mediterranean, hasn't been open at all since March and I'm guessing Mo is trying to envision a different business model since 80-90% of his business was from the lunch buffet, which probably will no longer work with new health protocols. However, his family owns the building, so he's not under the same pressure as other restaurants right now. But, damn, I'll miss that buffet, particularly when I do Whole30, as you could have a great paleo lunch.

Anywho...on to the gnus after the jump...

MONEY MATTERS: highlights of filings from the yesterday's daily reports.

  • Yes on 15 (split roll): $95,625 from eight donors
  • No on 15 (split roll): $458,800 from eight donors, including $250,000 from the California Alliance for Jobs
  • No on 21 (rent control): $679,925 from five contributors, including $432,800 from Camden Development (Mission Viejo, CA)
  • Yes on 22 (transportation network companies): $78,000 from MapleBear, Inc. DBA Instacart
  • No on 22 (transportation network companies): $100,000 from United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 324
  • No on 23 (dialysis): $19,585,683 from DaVita, Inc.
  • No on 25 (bail reform referendum, "no" repeals SB 10): $45,666 from four donors
  • SD21 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): $64,497 for mail IE in SUPPORT of Scott Wilk (R) by California Labor and Business Alliance (CLAB) (Cumulative total: $155,723)
  • SD29 (Fullerton-Diamond Bar): $52,334 for mail IE in SUPPORT of Ling Ling Chang (R) by California Alliance for Progress and Education, an alliance of business organizations (Cumulative total: $233,660)
  • AD42 (Cathedral City, Twenty-Nine Palms, Yucaipa): $189,050 for television IE in SUPPORT of Chad Mayes (NPP) by California Labor and Business Alliance (CLAB)(Cumulative total: $404,667)
  • AD59 (South Los Angeles): $36,552 for mail IE in SUPPORT of Efren Martinez (D) by California Correctional Peace Officers Association (Cumulative total: $143,103)


-The numbers: 114 more Californians reportedly lost their lives to COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total to 14,728.

-Turnaround? In the Times, Soumya Karlamangla writes that, while the numbers suggest that California has turned the tide on COVID-19, the question is will it last?

[T]hese signs of progress also bring concerns that it could be erased. Many businesses are pushing for a faster reopening timeline, including Disneyland, Universal Studios and other theme parks, which wrote a letter to Newsom this week urging him to quickly issue guidelines so they can start allowing visitors again. Also this week, a group of nearly 300 fitness centers filed suit against the governor protesting their extended closure.

Experts fear that reopenings could coincide with flu season as well as with people becoming more complacent in their day-to-day lives, wearing masks less or choosing to attend gatherings likely to spread the virus. Such loosening happened before, in late May and June, and there is no reason it would play out differently this time, they say.

“The virus is the same. These numbers we generate are markers of how efficiently we’re avoiding the virus,” said UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford. “We’re not doing anything to the virus except avoiding it.”

Ideally, there is a delicate balance that can be struck, with eased restrictions that cause only a slight increase in case numbers that don’t overwhelm the healthcare system or lead to hundreds of deaths. But California failed in its first attempt, so the question now is whether it can pull it off this time.

On that note, many countries in Europe are seeing a resurgence after relaxing restrictions and while moving into the fall.

-Football: Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom stated that nothing in the state's COVID-19 guidance prohibits PAC-12 games from occurring, writes Jeremy B. White for Politico.

“There's nothing in our guidelines that prevent these games from occurring,” Newsom told reporters, adding that schools “can resume football. There’s nothing in the guidelines saying the Pac-12 cannot move forward.”

Let's just say it's a very complicated issue involving counties worried about case/positivity rates, university presidents with faculty already skeptical of the influence of athletics wondering why sports should move ahead before in-person classes, and students wondering why athletes get preferential treatment over other student activities and academic programs. Meanwhile, athletic departments are bleeding cash and athletes are wondering if their chance to make it big will be eclipsed as the Big12 and SEC move forward. Yesterday, the Big10 announced a plan for an abridged conference-only season starting in October.

There is no winning on the California university campuses where athletics are big but not as big as conferences in the midwest and south.

-Folsom Prison Blues: In the Bee, Michael McGough reports on the recent surge in cases at Folsom State Prison in eastern Sacramento County.

A major coronavirus outbreak that has lasted more than a month is growing rapidly again at Folsom State Prison, where more than 850 inmates and close to 40 prison staff have now tested positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic.

More than half those inmate cases, 484 of them, are currently considered active, including 482 who’ve tested positive in the past two weeks, according to a Wednesday afternoon update to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s online COVID-19 tracker, up from 464 reported active cases a few hours earlier.

Another 380 inmates at Folsom had the virus previously and have recovered. Ten others were released with their cases still active.

In a separate data dashboard for employee cases, CDCR says 38 staff members at Folsom State Prison have tested positive, and 33 of them have returned to work.

-San Diego: Governor Newsom yesterday nixed the idea of letting San Diego County excise data from San Diego State University students from case and positivity rates used to determine which tier the county falls in under the reopening allowance structure, reports Paul Sisson for the SDUT.

“You can’t isolate, as if on an island, a campus community that is part of a larger community, so no,” Newsom said.

That statement was preceded by a similarly-firm stance from Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Services. Just one day after the physician said there would be an ongoing conversation between state and county officials this week about whether the region would fall into the most restrictive tier of the state’s reopening hierarchy, Gahly came back with a harder edge.

The state’s reopening blueprint clearly states that if a county’s numbers fail to justify their current tier for two consecutive weeks, they must fall, and the state’s top public health doc stood behind those words.

San Diego fell below the 7 case/100k residents requirement to stay in the red tier in Monday's calculation. If the county falls below again next Monday, it would likely have to close indoor operations at restaurants, movie theaters, churches, and museums.

-San Diego tax revenue: The City of San Diego expects of $300 million in tax revenue through next spring during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports David Garrick in the SDUT.

The COVID-19 pandemic will cost San Diego about $300 million in tax revenue by next summer, including $48 million in hotel tax losses beyond previous estimates, according to projections city officials unveiled Wednesday.

But city finance officials said it is too soon to discuss emergency budget cuts because projected deficits could shrink, thanks to expense-cutting efforts and the possibility of an additional federal stimulus package.

San Diego used $248 million in federal virus relief money last spring to close projected gaps in the $1.6 billion general fund budget the City Council adopted for the fiscal year that began July 1.

City officials had expected group travel and conventions to revive in November when that budget was adopted, but they are now estimating the revival will be delayed until at least March.

Speaking of hotels...

-San Diego hotels: In a situation likely facing nearly all convention-hosting cities, the SDUT's Lori Weisberg reports that San Diego hotels saw a sales volume drop of 70% in the first half of the year.

The dollar volume of San Diego County hotel sales plummeted by 70 percent during the first half of this year, yet another indicator of an industry facing huge financial challenges amid a pandemic that has already forced some properties to default on their loans.

In a recently released report by Atlas Hospitality Group, a Southern California brokerage firm specializing in the lodging industry, counties up and down the state saw a major slowdown in lodging properties changing hands, with the dollar volume of sales statewide down by more than 53 percent during the first six months of this year.

Even more telling are the numbers documenting the abrupt slowdown in transactions since the mid-March shutdown order from Gov. Gavin Newsom. Between April and June, there was just one hotel in San Diego County that changed hands, compared with five a year earlier, which translated to a 97 percent plunge in the dollar volume of the sales, Atlas reported.

Like we're seeing in Anaheim which is facing a $100 million budget shortfall, tourism and convention cities often rely heavily on transient occupancy taxes ("TOTs" or hotel taxes) for a significant share of revenue. Anaheim levies 15% per room, per night.

In Sacramento, that's what is supposed to be paying for the Convention Center and Community Center remodel. Construction continues, but the financial means to pay for them are now in question.

-Theme parks: Following the call by the city of Anaheim to let Disneyland reopen, other Orange County mayors as well as labor leaders and others are joining the chorus in calling for both Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm to be allowed to reopen, reports Hugo Martin in the Times.

Six months after theme parks closed across California because of the pandemic, Orange County politicians, trade-worker union leaders and tourism promoters expressed frustration that the state has yet to give Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm a path to reopen.

“It’s a disaster right here,” Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu said at a Wednesday news conference, joining the mayors of Buena Park and Garden Grove on a hotel rooftop overlooking Disneyland. “How long are you going to keep us closed?”

Their ire was directed at Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said Wednesday that state officials were working on health protocols for reopening theme parks and that there would be “announcements soon” but did not specify when.

Knott's has been allowed to have outdoor food and wine events.


-The numbers: 24 fatalities have been tallied and 5,430 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. (Note: the cumulative acres burned number has not been updated in several days, while individual fires have certainly grown. There's just no easy way to get a total as the data is not downloadable.)

Here are the five biggest currently burning:

  1. August Complex (Mendocino, Humboldt counties): 839,175 acres, with 30% containment as of 8:25am
    - 18 structures destroyed

  2. SCU Lightning Complex (Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Stanislaus counties): 396,624 acres, with 98% containment as of 09/16/20 11:07am -- not updated today
    - 222 structures destroyed

  3. LNU Lightning Complex (Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo, Solano counties): 363,220 acres, with 97% containment as of 09/16/20 8:55pm -- not updated today
    - 5 deaths; 1,491 structures destroyed

  4. North Complex (Plumas, Butte, Yuba counties): 280,775 acres with 36% containment as of 9:34am
    - 15 deaths; 1,142 structures destroyed

  5. Creek Fire (Fresno, Madera counties): 244,746 acres, with 18% containment as of 10:40am
    - 744 structures destroyed

-North Complex Fire The Bee's Michael McGough writes that more gusty winds today and tomorrow could cause erratic fire behavior in the blaze in Butte, Plumas, and Yuba counties. While the fourth largest, it is the deadliest and second most destructive fire, with 1,142 structures destroyed. The Bear Fire, a component of the North Complex after merging with others largely destroyed the town of Berry Creek. McGough reports:

After days of calmer weather conditions in the north Sierra Nevada foothills, where the deadly North Complex wildfire continues to burn, crews are bracing for more gusty winds Thursday and Friday that will have the potential to again flare up fire activity.

A cold front is expected to bring more intense wind to the northeast corner of California and a large portion of the Sierra Nevada range, and the National Weather Service office in Reno has put a red flag warning in place from 1 p.m. Thursday through the end of Friday due to critical fire danger just east of the North Complex.

-Bobcat Fire: In the Times, Hayley Smith reports on the continued spread of the Bobcat Fire in Southern California.

New evacuation warnings are in effect for parts of the southern Antelope Valley as the nearby Bobcat fire swelled to 50,539 acres, the U.S. Forest Service said Thursday.

The new warning applies to residents in the unincorporated community of Juniper Hills, including residents south of Fort Tejon Road, east of 96th Street and east and south of Valyermo Road, west of Bobs Gap Road.


The Bobcat fire, which began Sept. 6, remains at 3% containment and has grown steadily in numerous directions. Firefighting efforts are focused on securing the south end of the blaze, near threatened foothill communities, as well as near Camp Trask, where the fire is “holding the line,” officials said.

“With decreased smoke conditions, increased temperatures, and lower relative humidity, the fire saw growth along the perimeter,” the Forest Service said.

The area around Mt. Wilson and the southwestern edge of the fire also remain active, “where crews continue to protect the Mt. Wilson Observatory infrastructure.”

-From the Desk of the Dean: The LAT's George Skelton writes:

...I think it’s time for the governor to start blaming mismanagement of the forests as much as climate change for these horrendous wildfires. Most of us understand that global warming is real and people around the globe need to slow it. California can be a role model, but we can’t lower the planet’s thermometer ourselves — it’s beyond the state’s reach.

We do have the ability, however, to better cope with climate change in our forests by managing them better.

I called Scott Stephens, a UC Berkeley fire science professor and asked how much climate change was to blame for our wildfires.

“Less than 50%,” he said. “Maybe a third.”

More after the jumpity jump...

POLL POSITION: I was going to send this out at 9pm last night when the embargo was lifted, but figured you'd rather watch baseball or whatever show you're bingeing. The Public Policy Institute of California is out with its latest Californians & Their Government statewide poll. After my walk, I spent the afternoon and evening with the poll results.

Today, I'm providing you numbers and I'll be writing more about what I think they mean over the next few days, particularly as I dive more into the crosstabs. Take the question about COVID-19 restrictions for example. Only 7% of Democratic likely voters think there should be fewer restrictions right now, while 62% of Republicans think they should be relaxed. Independent voters fall in the middle at 32%. Among likely voters, 40% of Democrats believe there should be more restrictions right now, while 7% of Republicans do, and 31% of independent voters believe in more. That speaks a lot about the rancor at the end of the Senate session when Republican state senators were trying to get a resolution to the floor to call for the end of the state of emergency.

Anyway, there's a lot more to dive into.

Here are the documents:

[n=1,704 adult residents; n=1,168 likely voters; September 4-13, 2020; live phone interview via random-digit deadline (75% cell, 25% landline); MOE ±3.5 for all residents, ±4.3 for likely voters]

Here is the slidedeck I made of selected results.

Elected officials

Governor approval ratings

Job approvals among likely voters (approve/disapprove/don't know [volunteered]):

  • Governor Gavin Newsom: 60/37/3
  • Governor Gavin Newsom on coronavirus: 62/35/2
  • State legislature: 45/43/12
  • Your local legislators: 48/41/11
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein: 46/45/9
  • Senator Kamala Harris: 56/38/5
  • President Donald Trump: 32/67/2
  • President Donald Trump on coronavirus: 32/67/2
  • United States Congress: 21/75/3


California right direction/wrong direction (likely voters): 48/48/3
California right direction/wrong direction (all adults): 51/45/4

Would you say that California is in an economic recession, or not? (if yes, ask “Do you think it is in a serious, a moderate, or a mild recession?”)

All adults/likely voters:

  • Yes, serious recession: 31/34
  • Yes, moderate recession: 29/32
  • Yes, mild recession: 11/10
  • Yes, don't know (volunteered): 1/1
  • No: 23/20
  • don't know (volunteered): 4/4

Economic conditions in United States over the next 12 months:

  • good times: 35/31
  • bad times: 58/60
  • don't know (volunteered): 7/9

Personal financial situation?

  • excellent: 11/14
  • good: 35/41
  • only fair: 37/31
  • poor: 17/12
  • don't know (volunteered): 1/1


All adults/likely voters:

How concerned, if at all, are you that you will get the coronavirus and require hospitalization?

  • very concerned: 28/26
  • somewhat concerned: 33/33
  • not too concerned: 21/22
  • not at all concerned: 18/19
  • don't know (volunteered): -/-

Thinking about the restrictions on public activity because of the coronavirus outbreak in your area...

  • more restrictions right now: 34/28
  • fewer restrictions right now: 26/29
  • about the same number of restrictions right now: 39/42
  • don't know (volunteered): 1/1

Ballot measures: PPIC polled on two ballot measures -- Proposition 15 for a split roll property tax to benefit schools and community colleges and Proposition 16 to overturn Proposition to reallow affirmative action in public hiring, college admissions, and contracting.

Proposition 15 (likely voters):

  • Yes: 51%
  • No: 40
  • don't know (volunteered): 9 

Proposition 15 poll results

Proposition 15 (likely voters):

  • Yes: 31%
  • No: 47%
  • don't know (volunteered): 22% 

Proposition 16 poll results

Anyway, there's not much to write about Proposition 16, but I'll look at 15 in the next couple of days.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

MENTAL HEALTH: For Capitol Weekly, Sigrid Bathen writes up an interview with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg about his long passion on mental health issues.

In a Sept. 3 interview with Capitol Weekly, Steinberg responded to a wide range of questions about his decades of mental-health advocacy, past and current state legislation, local programs and future plans.

POLICING: In great news, one of the two Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies shot last Saturday night in an ambush-style attack has been released from the hospital, writes Rachel Winton in the Times.

Both deputies — a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man who have not been identified by the Sheriff’s Department — were shot in the head Saturday evening while sitting in their patrol car near the Compton Metro station. They underwent surgery over the weekend and were expected to recover. The deputy was released Wednesday.

The female deputy remains in the intensive care unit and is still undergoing treatment for her injuries, the sheriff said.

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assembly members Ed Chau, Tim Grayson, and Sharon Quirk-Silva, as well as Janessa Goldbeck, Julie Phillips, and Jessie Ryan!


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]

Steinberg Institute is Expanding Our Team

Leading mental health advocacy organization seeks articulate, strategic, and passionate full time advocate. 3+ years' legislative/budget experience required. Knowledge of mental health/substance use issues strongly preferred. Sacramento-based. $75,000 - $90,000, depending on experience, with excellent benefits. Deadline: October 2, 2020. Details.

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.

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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