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The Nooner for Sunday, November 8, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Election 2020
  • Senate vacancy
  • The new administration
  • The insider
  • The governor
  • COVID-19
  • Cakeday, corrections, and classifieds

Happy Sunday! Beautiful fall morning at farmers market and after skipping it the last couple of weeks my fridge/freezer certainly needed a restocking. The chill in the air opens so many different cooking options after leaving the oven idle over the summer. This afternoon, I'll be roasting veggies -- beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, daikon, garlic, purple yams, red onions, and Tokyo turnips.

I need to work on that COVID+19, exacerbated by a lot more time in this chair and convenience eating (honey walnut prawns while reading election results?). Time to eat better for awhile and get more walks in -- even if there are fewer reasons to head over to the Capitol area. The only problem is that bathroom options downtown are much more limited with so many usual haunts closed. I digress.

Well, the national election is over, seemingly so. I'll leave that for the other newsletters in your inbox. California still has a way to go.

-What's left? From the unprocessed ballots report, updated at 8:47am yesterday (~350,000 would be subtracted from counts reported yesterday):

  • Vote-by-mail: 3,149,199
  • Provisional: 71,587
  • Conditional Voter Registration Provisional: 284,075
  • Other (damaged, write-ins, etc): 64,303
  • Total: 3,569,164

-Ballot count: Yesterday, only eight counties provided updates. They are Alameda, Kern, Merced, Napa, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and San Francisco. Thus far, 14,400,615 ballots have been counted. Los Angeles plans to update on Tuesday and Friday this week.

-Candidates: Here is the update on our closely watched races.

  • CA21 (Coalinga-Lemoore-South Bakersfield): David Valadao (R): 66,383; *TJ Cox (D): 61,813 (Diff: 3.6% ⬇️) 0.6%)
  • CA25 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): *Mike Garcia (R): 148,916, Christy Smith (D): 148,484 (Diff: 0.2%)
  • CA39 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton-Yorba Linda): Young Kim (R): 159,571, *Gil Cisneros (D): 156,476 (Diff: 1.0% ⬆️  0.2%)
  • CA48 (Orange County beach cities): Michelle Steel (R): 196,591, *Harley Rouda (D): 189,235 (Diff: 1.8% ⬆️  0.2%)
  • SD21 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): *Scott Wilk (R): 160,724, Kipp Mueller (D): 157,317 (Diff: 1.0%)
  • SD23 (Rancho Cucamonga-Redlands-Hemet): Rosalicie Ochoa Bogh (R): 141,067, Abigail Medina (D): 136,829 (Diff: 1.6% ⬆️  0.2%)
  • SD29 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton): Josh Newman (D): 200,453, *Ling Ling Chang (R): 188,935 (Diff: 3.0% ⬇️  0.2%)
  • SD37 (Anaheim Hills-Irvine-OC beach cities): Dave Min (D): 264,411, *John M.W. Moorlach (R): 251,620 (Diff: 2.4% ⬇️. 0.4%)
  • AD13 (Stockton): Kathy Miller (D): 45,050 Carlos Villapudua (D): 41,151 (Diff: 4.6%)
  • NEW RACE <5%: AD42 (Cathedral City, Twenty-Nine Palms, Yucaipa): Chad Mayes (NPP): 78,167, Andrew Kotyuk (R): 57,936 (Diff: 4.8% ⬇️  0.4%)
  • AD74 (OC Beach Cities-Costa Mesa-Irvine): *Cottie Petrie-Norris (D): 130,606, Diane Dixon (R): 127,327 (Diff: 1.2% ⬇️  0.4%) 

As it currently stands, the California congressional delegation would be 42 Democrats, 11 Republicans (R+3 from 2018 -- CA21, CA39, and CA48, while filling the CA50 vacancy). The State Senate would be 31 Democrats, 9 Republicans (D+2 -- SD29, SD37). The State Assembly would be 60 Democrats, 20 Republicans (R+1 -- AD38).

Obviously, we're far from complete and we have a little over two weeks of updates ahead.

-Provisionals: For CalMatters, Lewis Griswold reports that vote centers in every county significantly reduced the number of provisional ballots, accelerating the ballot count in California.

Officials who faced a mountain of 1 million provisional ballots four years ago instead found just over one-third of that this year. The Secretary of State’s office reported Thursday that counties have an estimated 354,600 to process.

Provisional ballots chew up time from election workers because of the work involved. They must verify that the voter is registered in the county and has not already cast a ballot.

Election officials credit new vote centers available in 15 counties for the lower number of provisional ballots. Brandi Orth, registrar of voters for Fresno County, said the centers allow staff to resolve issues on the spot, unlike traditional polling places that didn’t offer similar services.

“They can now determine if they voted or not,” she said. Provisional ballots are used when election workers cannot verify at the polls if the voter is eligible to vote.

-Election changes here to stay? John Wilkens writes for the SDUT that the election changes California voters saw this year may be here to stay statewide beyond the pandemic.

Already the method preferred by more three-fourths of San Diego County’s voters, its apparent success in the just-concluded election has some officials talking openly about making it permanent.

“Whether it’s enacted statewide by the legislature, or whether we adopt it on a county level with some tweaks, I think it’s here to stay,” said Nathan Fletcher, a county supervisor. “We should be doing everything we can to make it possible for valid votes to be counted.”

Even before the novel coronavirus arrived, the county was exploring adoption of the Voter’s Choice Act, signed into law in 2016, which allows something very much like what we just experienced: Every registered voter gets a ballot in the mail weeks before Election Day and can return it through the postal service, at designated drop-off sites, or at polling places that are open for multiple days up to and including Election Day. Those who prefer to vote in person have that option.

Five counties in the state (Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento and San Mateo) implemented the model for the 2018 gubernatorial election. Ten more, including Orange and Los Angeles, adopted it for this year.

And then COVID-19 put everybody in the same boat. State officials, hoping to deter crowds from gathering in polling places on Election Day and spreading the virus, ordered an all-mail ballot.

-CA50 (East San Diego County): The AP's Julie Watson looks at the return of Darrell Issa (R) to Congress, this time from a much friendlier district to the east of the CA49 (S. Orange/N. SD coast) seat he previously held and which is now held by Mike Levin (D).

When Issa was last in Congress, the GOP had a majority in the House. He was chairman of the oversight committee from 2011 to 2015 and oversaw high-profile investigations into the Obama administration, including its handling of affairs leading up to the attacks on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

ssa said he also pushed through 40 pieces of legislation under the Obama administration, showing his ability to get bipartisan support on issues. He said he backs a middle-ground approach on immigration that includes offering law-abiding immigrants the chance to fill jobs Americans do not want.

Issa said he also will push for a common-sense approach to the coronavirus pandemic that brings in the voices of business to find a way to operate safely without having to shut down.

His top priority, he said, will be to support the armed forces and veterans.

-SD37 (Anaheim Hills-Irvine-OC beach cities): UC Irvine law professor Dave Min (D) declared victory and thanked opponent John M.W. Moorlach (R) for his many years of public service.

SENATE VACANCY: A team at The Bee plays the parlor game with possible appointments by Governor Gavin Newsom to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Kamala Harris's ascendancy to the vice presidency. The Chron's Alexei Koseff joins in the vacancy chatter.

I'll be updating my list that I've included in this space over the next couple of weeks, but Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra will be at the top. Remember that any appointee has to turn around and run for reelection in 2022 and while a Newsom appointee is unlikely to be challenged, I didn't expect former Rep. Loretta Sanchez to run against the early favorite Kamala Harris in 2016 let alone Kevin de León to challenge Dianne Feinstein in 2018. Whoever Newsom picks will leave a segment of the Democratic Party aggrieved, so unless he appoints a caretaker (unlikely), Newsom is going to be looking at statewide strength and fundraising ability for the 2022 bid just around the corner.

A couple of readers pointed out that Harris may not wait until January 20 to resign her seat to create the vacancy. That is because if a new senator is appointed by Newsom (and sworn in) before the January 4 swearing in of new members, the new California senator would have an seniority edge over other new members except for Mark Kelly (D-AZ), who won a special and can be sworn in upon certification of the AZ results. Seniority plays a role in committee assignments and, more importantly, office space. So, getting a new senator sworn in before January 4 would put Kamala's successor ahead of 5 other new senators.

THE NEW ADMINISTRATION: For The Bee, David Lightman looks at who from California might be considered for the new Biden Administration. Mentioned are:

  • Attorney General Xavier Becerra: Attorney General, FBI Director
  • LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (although perhaps not given City Hall troubles)
  • CARB chair Mary Nichols: EPA director, White House advisor
  • Meg Whitman: Commerce Secretary
  • Labor Secretary Julie Su: Secretary of Labor
  • Rep. Karen Bass

I'll add that Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) has been mentioned as a possible Consumer Protection Financial Bureau director like her Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren was before being elected to the Senate, although with Democrats possibly losing two Orange county congressional seats (CA39, CA48) flipped by Dems in 2018, a vacancy in Porter's CA45 filled in a special election could be a third. The same would be true with an appointment by Newsom to Kamala's Senate seat, even if pushed by many progressives.

THE INSIDER: For CalMatters, Laurel Rosenhall looks at what a Kamala Harris vice presidency could mean for California.

Goodbye, state of resistance. Hello, state of influence.


“With Kamala Harris as vice president, we won’t have to feel like we’re walking on landmines all the time, because we know she’s not looking for ways to harm California,” said Daniel Zingale, Newsom’s strategy and communications director until retiring early this year.

“Quite the opposite — she is going to take the interests of our nearly 40 million people to heart.”

Harris could become an influential vice president in part because the office itself is more powerful than in earlier periods of American history, said Joel K. Goldstein, a Saint Louis University law school professor and scholar of the vice presidency.

Beginning with Jimmy Carter’s inclusion of Vice President Walter Mondale in the 1970s, he said, presidents started giving their VPs an office in the West Wing, an open invitation to attend meetings and lots of access to confer privately with the president. That was how Biden experienced being Barack Obama’s second-in-command, Goldstein said, and the way he expects Biden to treat Harris.

When Biden announced picking Harris as his running mate, he envisioned her holding a significant role, saying he wanted Harris “to be the last one in the room” as he weighed big decisions.

THE GOVERNOR: For CalMatters, Dan Walters looks at what Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman's ruling that Governor Gavin Newsom exceeded his authority under the California Emergency Services Act means for the balance of power between the Governor and Legislature.

Judge Heckman’s order will certainly be appealed and the issue will probably wind up in the state Supreme Court. Newsom press secretary Jesse Melgar said Newsom and his advisers “strongly disagree” with “specific limitations” on the governor’s emergency authority.

Meanwhile, it’s time for the entire Legislature, not just [Assembly members Kevin] Kiley and [James] Gallagher, to reassert its co-equal authority rather than allowing Newsom to operate indefinitely as a one-man band.

The law that gives Newsom the authority to declare an emergency also allows the Legislature, on its own, to end such an order.

COVID-19: Yesterday, 29 deaths were added in California for a total of 17,965 since the beginning of the pandemic.

-Los Angeles: In the Times, Adam Elmahrek reports that seeing a third day of more than 2,000 cases, Los Angeles County public health officials are cautioning residents about attending the large rallies and protests like those seen yesterday.

County health officials cautioned residents to avoid crowds and the kind of street celebrations happening across the country in the wake of the presidential election, warning that such events “are places where it is very easy and very likely for COVID-19 to spread.”

“Let us remember that no matter how we feel, we all have an obligation to protect each other from COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health. “Gathering with people outside of your household, especially in settings where people are shouting, chanting or singing and not distancing, can easily lead to increased cases of COVID-19.”

Ferrer added that attending street celebrations and protests “will slow down our recovery and can result in more illness and deaths.”

The protests were nothing. Did you see the field in South Bend after Notre Dame upset #1 Clemson in double overtime last night? Things are not good in Indiana right now...

COVID in IndianaSource: New York Times

At the California State Capitol yesterday, most pro-Biden celebrants were masked. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for others, including the guy selling the "F*** COVID-19" (uncensored) t-shirts.

The group organizing yesterday's Pro-Trump rally was "Freedom Angels," the group behind many of the anti-vaccination protests at the Capitol the last several years.

-San Diego: In the SDUT, Paul Sisson looks at why San Diego County is facing the most restrictive purple tier and closing businesses and services when hospitalizations in the county are low.

Though a recent surge in cases is now causing the number to trend upward a bit, those with coronavirus infections have recently represented only about 6 percent of all local hospitalizations.

And yet San Diego County teeters on the brink of falling to the most-restrictive level of the state’s reopening system due to a case rate per 100,000 residents that exceeded the allowable 7 last week. If a similar result arrives in Tuesday’s state tier report, many local businesses, including restaurants and movie theaters, would have to stop serving customers indoors and nursing homes would cease allowing visitors.

It’s quite a stark situation given that, while there has been a recent increase in cases and hospitalizations, the numbers have not created a crisis situation. Friday’s county COVID-19 report indicated that 74 percent of the 6,030 hospital beds available throughout the county were occupied. Out of 4,484 occupied beds, just 332 were confirmed or suspected to be fighting the disease. There were 1,546 unoccupied beds across the region.


Asked to address the situation during his regular COVID-19 news conference Tuesday, Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary, noted that hospitalizations are a lagging indicator. It can take days or weeks after infection for a coronavirus infection to become severe enough to require a hospital stay.

“As cases rise, I can almost predict, three, three and a half weeks later, that there will be some increase in hospitalizations,” Ghaly said.

He added that the focus on new cases provides a more-immediate indication of when the virus is starting to spread in a community at a faster rate.

“We feel confident, especially as we see other states quickly and, sort of dramatically, get overwhelmed in their own health care delivery systems, that we’ve made the right choice and that this is where we’ll be for the foreseeable future,” Ghaly said.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Teresa Acuña and Chris Townsend!

DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: AD13 candidate Kathy Miller (D) is a member of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and is a former member of the Stockton City Council.


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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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