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The Nooner for Wednesday, November 18, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Election 2020
  • COVID-19
    • the numbers
    • testing
    • Thanksgiving
    • The French Laundry
    • LA County
    • Orange County
    • Yolo County
  • Senate vacancy
  • State budget
  • The other Capitol
  • Cakeday and classifieds

Happy Humpday! Continuing with the 2020 suckage, it is now 8:10am and I just deleted all of my work in this space that began at 4:45! It's neither the first nor likely the last time I have done that. I have to remember to save often!

Off to reconstruct...

ELECTION 2020:  Yesterday, 20 counties added results from 162,016 ballots bringing the statewide total to 17,453,869 voters.

-Tallied turnout: 79% of registered voters

-Possible turnout: Around 80% 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:

  • Vote-by-mail: 216,133
  • Provisional: 47,448
  • Conditional Voter Registration Provisional: 147,372
  • Other (damaged, write-ins, etc): 29,419
  • Total: 440,372

The actual number of unprocessed ballots is certainly lower, as 24 counties have not updated their totals in more than a week. Monterey, Sierra, and Solano have completed their counts.

-Closely watched races: The races in bolded red are consisted still in play. CA21 is unique as Kings County has suspended counting until November 21 because of a COVID exposure. In the other races, the victor is in bold.

  • CA21 (Coalinga-Lemoore-South Bakersfield): David Valadao (R): 82,071; *TJ Cox (D): 80,266 (Diff: 1.2%)
  • CA25 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): *Mike Garcia (R): 168,017, Christy Smith (D): 167,595 (Diff: 0.2%)
  • CA39 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton-Yorba Linda): Young Kim (R): 173,007, *Gil Cisneros (D): 168,812 (Diff: 1.2%)
  • CA48 (Orange County beach cities): Michelle Steel (R): 201,572, *Harley Rouda (D): 193,155 (Diff: 2.0%)
  • SD21 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): *Scott Wilk (R): 195,670, Kipp Mueller (D): 189,480 (Diff: 1.6%)
  • SD23 (Rancho Cucamonga-Redlands-Hemet): Rosalicie Ochoa Bogh (R): 217,771 Abigail Medina (D): 196,775 (Diff: 5.0%)
  • SD29 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton): Josh Newman (D): 213,508, *Ling Ling Chang (R): 202,869 (Diff: 2.4% ⬇️ 0.2%)
  • SD37 (Anaheim Hills-Irvine-OC beach cities): Dave Min (D): 270,319, *John M.W. Moorlach (R): 258,251 (Diff: 2.2% ⬇️ 0.1%)
  • AD13 (Stockton): Carlos Villapudua (D): 77,822, Kathy Miller (D): 74,122 (Diff: 2.4%)
  • AD74 (OC Beach Cities-Costa Mesa-Irvine): *Cottie Petrie-Norris (D): 133,510, Diane Dixon (R): 130,933 (Diff: 1.0%) 

*=incumbent

As it currently stands (this changes with lead changes):

  • California congressional delegation: 42 Democrats, 11 Republicans (R+4 from 2018 -- CA21, CA25CA39, and CA48, while retaining the CA50 vacancy).
  • The State Senate: 31 Democrats, 9 Republicans (D+2 -- SD29, SD37).
  • The State Assembly: 60 Democrats, 19 Republicans (R+1 -- AD38), and one NPP (AD42)

Here are the current ballot measure results, which will likely reflect the final results. All ballot measures have been called by the Associated Press.

Proposition 14 (stem cell bond) 51.0%
Proposition 15 (split roll property tax) 48.0%
Proposition 16 (affirmative action ban repeal) 42.8%
Proposition 17 (voting: parole) 58.6%
Proposition 18 (voting: primary for 17yos) 44.0%
Proposition 19 (property tax base transfer) 51.1%
Proposition 20 (criminal justice) 38.2%
Proposition 21 (rent control) 40.1%
Proposition 22 (transportation network AB 5 exemption) 58.7%
Proposition 23 (dialysis) 36.5%
Proposition 24 (consumer privacy) 56.2%
Proposition 25 (bail referendum - yes upholds SB 10) 43.6%


COVID-19:
 Yesterday, 56 deaths were added in California for a total of 18,359 since the beginning of the pandemic and 10,364 cases were added for a total of 1,054,635.

-Tiers for Fears: The counties added to a more restrictive tier in the most recent update are bolded and italicized. A county moved to a less restrictive tier in the most recent update are bolded and underlined (none have been). Look up a county here, and learn about the restrictions on each industry here. Counties must have those restrictions as a minimum while many have imposed stricter ones.

Purple
widespread
Red
substantial
Orange
moderate
Yellow
minimal
 AlamedaButteContra CostaEl DoradoFresnoGlenn, Imperial, KernKings, Los Angeles, Madera, MendocinoMerced, Monterey, NapaNevadaOrangePlacer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San JoaquinSanta BarbaraSan Luis ObispoSanta ClaraSanta Cruz, Shasta, SiskiyouSolano, Sonoma, StanislausSutter, Tehama, TuolumneTrinity, Tulare, VenturaYoloYuba Amador, ColusaDel NorteHumboldt, Lake, MarinModocMonoPlumasSan FranciscoSan Mateo  Calaveras, Inyo, Lassen, Sierra  Alpine, Mariposa 
Look up a county | Restrictions by industry | School restrictions

-Testing: The AP reports that yesterday the Food and Drug Administration approved the first test that can be self-administered at home with results in 30 minutes.

The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration represents an important step in U.S. efforts to expand testing options for COVID-19 beyond health care facilities and testing sites. However, the test will require a prescription, likely limiting its initial use.

The FDA granted emergency authorization to the single-use test kit from Lucira Health, a California manufacturer.

The company’s test allows users to swab themselves to collect a nasal sample. The sample is then swirled in a vial of laboratory solution that plugs into a portable device. Results are displayed as lights labeled positive or negative.

To date, the FDA has authorized nearly 300 tests for coronavirus. The vast majority require a nasal swab performed by a health professional and must be processed at laboratories using high-tech equipment. A handful of tests allow people to collect their own sample at home — a nasal swab or saliva — that’s then shipped to a lab, which usually means waiting days for results.

Health experts have called for options to allow people to test themselves at home, reducing turnaround times and the potential spread of the virus to others, including health care workers. Rapid test results are critical to quickly quarantining those who are infected and tracing their contacts. But for months, U.S. testing has been plagued by slow results due to bottlenecks as testing laboratories. There are other rapid tests but most require a small, special machine operated by a health professional to develop results

...

The test uses technology similar to genetic laboratory-based tests that are the standard tool for COVID-19 screening. That’s different than most rapid tests currently used in the U.S., which look for viral proteins called antigens — not the virus itself.

...

The FDA said Lucira’s test was also authorized for use in doctor’s offices and testing sites. Currently all U.S. testing sites must report results to state and federal health authorities tracking the pandemic. Doctors will be required to report the home test results.

Emeryville-based Lucira had been working on a test for influenza that could be performed at home. The SARS-CoV2-19 test is an outgrowth of that effort.

-Thanksgiving: In the NYT's California Today newsletter, Jill Cowan talks to UCSF medicine professor and dean Dr. Bob Wachter:

First, tell me about what you’re tracking most closely in California.

The state of the pandemic is just terrible across the country. But then you have this vaccine news, which is unbelievably hopeful. I think the human brain has a hard time reconciling those two data streams.

The vaccine news over the last couple of weeks has really changed the way I think about the next year, but we’ve got to make it through the next year.

Things are worse than I think I and others had predicted. California is in the early part of a surge, but it’s different than June, in that it’s much more national and distributed than the prior surges.

How worried are you about Thanksgiving?

I’m massively worried. We couldn’t be more poorly positioned and the timing is just optimally terrible.

In California, things may be a little better. But if you wanted to design something to make things go worse, you would have designed Thanksgiving exactly when it’s coming.

But I see this in light of the vaccine news, which I believe now makes it somewhere between likely and very likely that by next Thanksgiving, life will be pretty close to back to normal.

-The French Laundry: Jeremy B. White and Victoria Colliver write for Politico that California Medical Association CEO Dustin Corcoran and CMA lobbyist Janus Norman both attended the November 6 The French Laundry dinner for Jason Kinney's 50th birthday that Governor Newsom apologized for attending on Monday. Someone not attending the dinner took pictures that were sent to Fox 11 in Los Angeles.

Both Norman and Corcoran are friends of Kinney, as is Newsom, who referred this week to his 20-year friendship with Kinney. In a photo obtained by Fox LA, Norman is clearly visible seated to Newsom's left.

The presence of CMA brass could amplify criticisms of the dinner occurring despite coronavirus restrictions that have limited Californians’ movements and constrained businesses. While Newsom and Kinney’s lobbying firm have said the meal abided by public health rules, it has struck a chord with Californians who have assailed the upscale soiree as hypocritical as coronavirus cases surge.

The state has issued guidelines prohibiting more than three households from gathering privately — a limit clearly exceeded by the French Laundry dinner. However, the state has intentionally allowed restaurants to seat people from more than three households together.

 ...

A spokesperson for the CMA, Anthony York, said in a statement that "the dinner was held in accordance with state and county guidelines."

The photos suggest that the dinner was held in what amounts to a fancy garage, with walls on three sides and a roof. Newsom and Kinney's lobbying firm, Axiom Advisors, has insisted that it was an outdoor dinner. It is unclear whether that counts as outdoor dining under state guidelines, though Napa County restaurants were allowed to serve patrons inside at the time of the Nov. 6 event.

-LA County: At 12:01am on Friday, a new county health department order takes effect in Los Angeles County with further restrictions as the county wrestles with a spike in the number of cases and hospitalizations.

  • For non-essential businesses permitted to operate indoors—including retail stores, offices, personal care services—occupancy will be limited to 25% maximum capacity.
  • The number of patrons at outdoor restaurants, breweries and wineries will be limited to 50% max outdoor capacity.
  • The number of customers at cardrooms, outdoor mini-golf, go-karts and batting cages will be limited to 50% maximum outdoor capacity.
  • Services at personal care establishments may only be provided by appointment to customers wearing face coverings by staff wearing face coverings.
    • Services that require either the customer or the staff to remove their face covering, such as facials and shaves, are not permitted.
    • Food and drinks cannot be served at these establishments to customers.
  • Restaurants, breweries, wineries, bars, and all other non-essential retail establishments must close from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
  • Outdoor gatherings remain the only gatherings permitted, and they must only include 15 people maximum who are members of no more than 3 households.

The curfew and other new state restrictions are likely to be added to the purple and perhaps the red tier on Friday, Governor Newsom hinted at during his NewsomAtNoon presser on Monday.

Several people have asked about the 50% of capacity restriction on outdoor dining, since indoor locations have a capacity limit but outdoors do not, including the ad hoc operations on sidewalks and streets allowed by many cities.

In the LAT, Jaclyn Cosgrove writes:

“Lives and livelihoods are at stake, and our entire community will be affected by our collective action if we do the right thing,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

More stringent requirements will be implemented if L.A. County’s numbers do not improve. If the five-day average of cases in the county becomes 4,500 or more, or there are more than 2,000 hospitalizations per day, the county will implement an order allowing only essential workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes.

Additionally, a countywide curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. would be mandated, with essential workers exempt.

From yesterday's county health department release:

There are 1,126 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 27% of these people are in the ICU. The County has not experienced the number of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations over 1,100 since late-August. This is more than a 40% increase from two week ago when daily hospitalizations were 798.

-Orange County: In the LAT, Luke Money reports that Orange County leaders are unhappy with the restrictions under the strictest purple tier, which OC was moved to along with 27 other counties on Monday.

Though they reiterated the importance of residents taking steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus, some county supervisors took Newsom and his administration to task for the reclassification.

Board Chairwoman Michelle Steel, a Republican who was recently elected to Congress, called the decision a “unilateral move” that she thinks “is troubling and harmful to Orange County families who need to put food on the table, to small businesses struggling to stay open and to the mental health of our community.”

“Instead of combatting COVID-19 in a thoughtful manner, this one-size fits-all approach threatens the livelihoods of our residents,” she said in a statement.

...

Orange County had for weeks been in the second-most severe — or red — category. However, its latest adjusted daily case rate per 100,000 residents was 10.8, high enough to land in the purple range, indicating widespread transmission of the disease.

Even with the backsliding, that adjusted rate is the third-lowest in Southern California, trailing only Santa Barbara County and, narrowly, San Diego County, according to state data.

To some in Orange County, though, the abrupt shift — aside from causing undue confusion and consternation for residents and businesses — is the latest example of a state pandemic response that too often has been top-down, uneven and overbroad.

“We’re hearing a bit of hopelessness that is out there in the community as we move back into purple, and that hopelessness, I think, is not there just because, ‘Oh, gosh, we’re doing more clampdowns,’ but because we’re seeing no end in sight,” Supervisor Don Wagner said during Tuesday’s board meeting.

“And by that I mean every time this governor has come up with some sort of a plan for dealing with coronavirus, it ends up changing — changing for the worse.”

Others took issue with the tiered system itself, saying that the state should take other metrics — such as hospitalization numbers — into consideration.

“Our healthcare system is very prepared,” Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said. “So while we want to balance that with health and safety, I think reopening our economy to the greatest extent possible, and we’ve proven that we can safely do that, is really the proper way to go.”

Like Placer County, Orange County has already had one public health officer quit under pressure from the supes.

Wagner previously wrote President Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) requesting that the purse strings Governor Newsom is using to prod county compliance with state guidance with federal CARES Act funds be undone by passing the funds directly to counties instead of through states.

YOLO COUNTY: Former Placer County health officer Dr. Aimee Sisson now has that role in Yolo County. She tells CBS 13:

“It’s more of a calling than a job,” she explained. “This is what I want to do. I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be.”

Sisson said the biggest lesson the state has learned was that it re-opened too soon. As we approach the second wave with most counties in the restrictive purple tier, Sisson believes the state’s rollbacks are essential to moving forward.

“We have a light at the end of the tunnel now and I think for the public to realize we don’t have to do this forever but we do have to keep doing this now,” Sisson said.

Yolo County is one of the few counties that impose fines for businesses that do not follow health orders. They have only issued around four. Sisson said that’s because the area is largely following the rules. For those who don’t, she says, an educational approach has been more effective.

SENATE VACANCY:  I totally screwed up in yesterday's item on Assembly member Kevin Kiley's (R-Roseville) request for a legal opinion on whether Governor Newsom has the authority to make an appointment to fill the U.S. Senate seat that will be left vacant with Kamala Harris's ascendence to the vice presidency. If I would have read his memo instead of relying on someone's tweet, I would have done better.

The request was to Senior Assistant Attorney General Mollie Lee (not Leg Counsel as I wrote) and it specifically questions the constitutionality of Elections Code §10720 that provides the appointment authority. Kiley cites the 2010 Seventh Circuit in Judge v. Quinn (612 F.3d 537) that held that the Seventeenth Amendment (1913) requires an election and only a temporary appointment by a governor if granted such authority by the state's legislature. A temporary appointment could be of someone who is or is not seeking election in the special.

In January 1991, Governor Pete Wilson appointed state senator John Seymour to the seat left vacant by Wilson after his 1990 election as Governor. Seymour was defeated in the 1992 general election by Dianne Feinstein for the two years remaining on the term.

A spring special election for a statewide race as expensive as California is would significantly limit who could run successfully, likely to those with an existing federal account (Karen Bass, Xavier Becerra, Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, Ted Lieu) or someone with personal financial largesse, like Dr. Priscilla Chan, who now runs the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).

In 2010, Chan and husband Mark Zuckerberg signed The Giving Pledge alongside with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett pledging to donate half their worth to charity over time. Chan is the daughter of ethnic Chinese parents who were "boat people" refugees from Vietnam and was born, grew up near Boston, and met Zuck at Harvard. She is a pediatrician with a medical degree from UCSF.

If there is a 2021 special election, the winner would again be on the ballot in November 2022 for the regular election for the seat and likely would face a challenger. Lots of money to be raised (or spent) on the seat over the next two years if there is a special in 2021.

It is unclear whether Chan is interested, as Zuck and her have two young children (3 and 5). However, they made lots of friends this year, spending $14.2 million this cycle with support to the unsuccessful Props. 15 (split roll property tax) and 16 (affirmative action), the successful Prop. 20 (criminal justice), and local housing measures in Alameda County, San Francisco, San Mateo and San José. In an election where tech companies were at war with labor over Proposition 22 (AB 5 exemption for technology network companies), Zuck and Chan were earning big credz with labor.

CZI is a major grantmaking LLC in Education, Justice & Opportunity, Science, and Community, with $2 billion in grants since its launch in 2015 and discloses all of its grants online. There are making a lot of friends this year with grants in the COVID-19 space. CZI acts as well as a venture investor.

The Seventh Circuit case is only controlling in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, but it's a pretty strong opinion. The case was over the filling of the vacancy created when Barack Obama was elected President in 2008.

THE OTHER CAPITOL: This morning, Nancy Pelosi secured her caucus's support to be Speaker in the 117th Congress, report Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle for Politico.

Pelosi ran unopposed and only needed a simple majority of the Democratic Caucus during the secret ballot vote. But she’ll still have to clinch 218 votes on the House floor in January to officially become speaker — and she has a much narrower majority to work with this time around after Democrats lost more than half a dozen seats on Election Day.

When she ran to return to the rostrum after Democrats took the majority with the 2018 elections, Pelosi promised to serve only two terms to secure the votes of the most liberal members of the caucus.

STATE BUDGET: The Legislative Analyst's Office Fiscal Outlook was released today.

We find the budget situation has improved considerably relative to the June budget act with an estimated $26 billion windfall in 2021-22. However, the state also faces an operating deficit beginning in 2021-22 and throughout the outlook period, growing to $17 billion by 2024-25. Our analysis also finds it is quite unlikely for revenues to grow fast enough for the budget to break even and erase the operating deficit.

 ...

Tax collections for the state’s three largest taxes—the personal income tax, the corporation tax, and the sales tax—have been very strong over the past several months. Between August and October, collections were up 9 percent compared with the same period the previous year and 22 percent compared with June 2020 estimates (Figure 2). Tax collections at the end of 2019‑20 also exceeded expectations. Across the entirety of each fiscal year, we estimate General Fund tax revenues are up more than $4 billion in 2019‑20 and nearly $34 billion in 2020‑21 relative to the June 2020 estimates. Although these increases might seem at odds with high levels of unemployment, they are consistent with the more stable employment picture for high‑income workers, who account for a large share of state tax payments.

-Prop 98:

Based on the much stronger revenue projections in our outlook, we estimate the 2020‑21 guarantee is up $13.1 billion (18.5 percent) over the June budget act level. We estimate the 2021‑22 guarantee is up another $595 million (0.7 percent) over our revised 2020‑21 estimate. Under a law enacted in June, the state also would be required to make a $2.3 billion supplemental payment on top of the guarantee in 2021‑22. After accounting for various baseline adjustments—including prior‑year revisions, a 1.14 percent statutory cost‑of‑living adjustment (COLA), and required deposits into the Proposition 98 Reserve—we estimate the Legislature has $13.7 billion in one‑time funds and $4.2 billion in ongoing funds available for allocation in the upcoming budget cycle.

Under our outlook, the state has enough one‑time funds to reverse all of the payment deferrals it implemented in the June 2020 budget plan. By paying down deferrals, the Legislature could improve cash flow for schools and community colleges and reduce pressure on future Proposition 98 funding. Regarding ongoing funds, we think the Legislature should reassess the supplemental payments after reviewing all of its budget priorities. The funding decline these new payments were intended to address no longer exists, and the minimum guarantee is projected to grow faster than the cost of the COLA over the next several years. Regardless of its decision about supplemental payments, the Legislature might want to set aside some 2021‑22 funding for one‑time activities. Such an approach creates a buffer that helps protect ongoing programs in case the guarantee drops in the future. Potential uses for this one‑time funding include addressing student learning loss, paying down future pension costs, and building reserves.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Light those candles for Mike Burkholder, Rep. Salud Carbajal, Gabriela Castillo, Bryan Ha, Oscar Lopez, Carlos Marquez, Dennis Meyers, Susan Naranjo, Martin Radosevich, and Ace Smith!

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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 admin@stoneadvocacy.com or (415) 577-9734 with questions.

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