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The Nooner for Monday, November 16, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
This weekend at The Nooner:
Just another Manic Monday, wish it were Sunday. That's my food day...
Hello there! For those who tuned out this weekend, I applaud you and welcome back. Even though I was up at 5:30, I can't even say I have read all the papers today. There is just way too much going on. If I run across anything significant, I'll send out a Nooner Nightcap, and there is always tomorrow.
Governor Gavin is doing a NewsomAtNoon today and members of the press are salivating at the chance to probe him on why he went to Kinney's birthday party outdoors at The French Laundry on November 6. This will be exacerbated because lots of local news stations are for the first time paying attention to Sacramento during the pandemic, with many unfamiliar folks crowding out the Capitol press corps during the conference call Q&A. The questions, both of Newsom and HHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly are often a lot more, shall we say, slanted than the usual faces and names ask.
Hopefully Newsom dispenses of the issue in his opening comments by saying in his own words that he screwed up and people should not follow his example and instead follow the guidance of state health officials before the Q&A and moves on to talk about the real issues, including Placer County blowing off the state's guidance under the red tier it returned to last week among increasing cases and hospitalizations, as well as the very troubling numbers in Los Angeles County ahead of the holidays that I include below.
Get the apology and regrets out of the way first and "I think I've covered that" would be the response to any other question about the Yountville restaurant issue.
ELECTION 2020: San Diego was the only county with updated results yesterday, reporting an additional 2,296 ballots bringing the statewide total to 17,145,101 voters.
-Tallied turnout: 77% of registered voters
-Possible turnout: Around 79% of registered voters, depending on validity of provisionals and conditional voter registration provisionals and any ballots postmarked by Election Day and received after the last report.
-What's left? From the unprocessed ballots report, updated at 5:00pm Friday, estimates:
-Closely watched races:
As it currently stands (this changes with lead changes):
Here are the current ballot measure results, which will likely reflect the final results. All ballot measures have been called by the Associated Press.
-Vaccine: As you've undoubtedly heard this morning, pharmaceutical company Moderna Therapeutics released the first results from its SARS-CoV2-19 phase 3 trial. The independent review panel reports an effectiveness rate of 94.5% using its messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine candidate, the same biotechnology used in the Pfizer vaccine candidate for which the first results of 95% effectiveness were announced last Monday.
The effectiveness of the first two vaccine candidates are far beyond hopes of 70-80%, compared to 40-60% effectiveness for the annual flu vaccine. Of course, there are far more strains of viruses that cause influenza, which is why the vaccine changes each year based on forecasted spread. While SARS-CoV-19 has been evolving and multiple strains have been identified, it is believed that the mRNA approach will cover most if not all strains.
The good news about the Moderna vaccine is that it is reportedly much more stable at higher temperatures than the current iteration of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine candidate under trial. While Pfizer requires a shipping and long-term storage temperature of -75°C (-103°F) with a refrigerated longevity of 5 days, the Moderna vaccine candidate can be shipped and held for long-term storage at a temperature of -20°C (-4°F) and refrigerated at 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F) for up to 30 days. The Pfizer candidate can't be stored in most medical offices at its current stability and they continue to be working on a more stable version, while Moderna can be distributed stored much more widely. Both vaccines require two doses weeks apart.
At 11:20, Pfizer stock was down 3.55% while markets are up across the board, while Moderna is up 10.6%.
Like Pfizer, Moderna hopes to get emergency use authorization and have availability of the vaccine candidate by late December and begin to have doses available for health care workers and other high risk groups with broad availability beginning around next April.
-The spread and the restrictions: As Oregon and Washington issue statewide bans on indoor social gatherings, indoor service at restaurants, bars, and gyms as well as work-at-home unless necessary this week, a team at the LAT looks at what's happening and ahead in California.
Meanwhile, Placer County appears to continue to ignore state guidance under its red status with a recalcitrant Board of Supervisors willing to overturn any public health order issued by the health officer who assumed the role after the previous one quit after that exact action by the board.
-LA County: In yesterday's LA County Department of Public Health release, a recap of the data from the last seven days is provided, and the positivity and hospitalizations numbers are certainly troubling as the holidays near. Thus, the increase in number of cases is not just a factor of more widespread testing of positive yet asymptomatic individuals and creates a real concern about hospital capacity, particularly entering the flu season.
Deaths are lower and I wrote yesterday about the reason and why public health professionals are deeply concerned about the lingering effects of those who "recover."
SENATE VACANCY: Following separate calls for Governor Newsom to appoint a Black woman, an Asian Pacific Islander, and an LGBTQ individual to the United States Senate seat that will be left vacant upon the resignation of VP-elect Kamala Harris, Latino elected officials will be pressing for a "Latino or Latina" be appointed in pressers today in Sacramento and Wednesday in Fresno, reports the Capitol Morning Report.
The Latino/a names most frequently mentioned, in roughly the order of frequency I hear them are:
With four different communities calling for an appointee of a specific background, Governor Newsom is caught in a dilemma between the opportunity to make history and a potential political landmine. Here are his options:
-Pick one: By picking one, Governor Newsom could make a historical appointment with either the first Latino or first openly LGBTQ United States Senator from California. Of course, doing so will leave the other communities disappointed, and a 2022 challenge is possible. Remember that former Rep. Loretta Sanchez ran against party favorite Kamala Harris for Barbara Boxer's open seat in 2016 and Kevin de León challenged Dianne Feinstein in 2018.
-Special election: Newsom could call a special election in the spring and avoid the political landmine of the competing factions, although that would leave the seat vacant during key votes early in President-elect Biden's first 100 days. I believe that he would not be able to appoint a caretaker who is sworn in and call a special election concurrently, as that wouldn't be a "vacancy" to be filled if someone has been sworn in to the seat.
There will be special elections in the spring, including one for SD30, the Los Angeles State Senate seat held by Holly J. Mitchell, who was elected to the LA County Board of Supervisors and for the Orange County Board of Supervisors seat discussed above after Michelle Steel's election to CA48. I'm sure there are other local special elections that need to be called and could be done in sync with a statewide one. There also are possible vacancies created by appointments to the Biden administration for which specials would need to be called.
The problem with a special election is that it would be expensive for the candidates and federal money is much more difficult to come by quickly for those whose fundraising has been primarily focused in California. The limits are lower (currently $2,800 from individuals per election for federal races) compared to $4,700 per election for state legislature and $7,800 for constitutional offices other than governor). More importantly and often overlooked by state legislators looks at a bid for Congress is that federal law prohibits contributions from corporations. If you think your "friends" in your Sacramento races will be with you for DC ambitions, it is often a wrong assumption.
A special election would favor AG Xavier Becerra, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), or Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who have $1.4 million, $9.5 million, and $13 million respective federal cash on hand. That would give them an instant leg up for a spring to a spring special. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) has $1.3 million on hand, although an appointment to the Biden Administration is more likely.
-Appoint a caretaker: Governor Newsom could appoint a caretaker and let the floodgates open in 2022. I can see Padilla, Porter, Schiff, and possibly Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) jumping in the race, among others for an open race.
There have been several "caretaker" names floated for this option, but the most sensible choice from my perspective is former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Boxer retired in 2016 (leading to Kamala's election) after four six-year terms but has remained active in politics. Her PAC for a Change gave $124,500 to federal candidates this year and spent $227,900 on independent expenditures this year. She was frequently on teevee this cycle and a frequent tweeter on current events. She's been vetted by the voters, knows Capitol Hill well, and could quickly assemble a staff. Most importantly, she wouldn't be giving up an elected office for the temp job.
While the Latino community would prefer a Becerra or Padilla appointment, either would be giving up a state elected position to take a caretaker position. While Becerra can run for another term as AG, Padilla is termed-out in 2022, so I don't see him serving as a caretaker.
One long shot parlor game possibility would be the appointment of Becerra to the U.S. Senate seat as a caretaker and stepping down as AG, while running for AG in 2022. Just a Monday musing for the helluva it...
cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Steve Dunwoody, Darrow Sprague, and Rep. Eric Swalwell!