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- Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Doug Moore, Executive Director of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 (2020-11-30)
- Political Breakdown (KQED's Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Dr. Boch Wachter (2020-11-19)
- Passing Judgment (Chapman Law prof Jessica Levinson): former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (2020-11-18)
- Look West Podcast (Assembly Democratic Caucus): The progression of the Transgender community with Human Rights Activist Ebony Ava Harper and Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) (2020-11-13)
- SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Assembly member Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) Apple Podcasts | YouTube (2020-11-13)
- Capitol Weekly Podcast: A Post-Mortem on the 2020 Election (5 subject area panel discussions) (2020-11-12)
The Nooner for Tuesday, December 1, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
In today's Nooner:
- The numbers
- New stay-at-home orders?
- School daze
- CA25 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley)
- Unemployment insurance
- Cakeday and classifieds
My back is still a pain in the, well, lumbar from those 1987 corticosteroid-caused compression fractures, now aggravated by the cooler weather. At least I am out of bed today for the first time in three days and have been at my desk for six hours. Hopefully that lasts today. Anyway, if you emailed me and didn't get a response, try again. Awfully hard to track all of it from the iPhone in bed and the inbox is daunting with all the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday traffic.
2020 is just the year that keeps on giving.
Of course, ads and subscriptions are extended for missed days.
COVID-19: Yesterday, 63 deaths were reported in the state, bringing the total to 19,214. The LAT reports:
-Vaccines: In The Bee, Hannah Wiley looks at when Californians can expect SARS-CoV-19 vaccines and how might get them.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that California could receive as many as 327,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine as early as mid-December, with another round of supply anticipated three weeks later.
Newsom said he “did not want to give the specific date quite yet” for when exactly the pharmaceutical company Pfizer plans to send a shipment to California, but said it’s expected before the end of the year.
“We are anticipating 327,000 doses of the vaccine, Pfizer, to come in within the next few weeks,” Newsom said.
In California, the first phase of its vaccine distribution program prioritizes health care workers at the highest risk of infection, working in both clinical and non-clinical settings.
California is home to up to 2.4 million health care workers, according to the state Department of Public Health’s Community Vaccine Advisory Committee. Around 1 million work in acute care hospitals. Close to 145,000 work in nursing homes.
-New stay-at-home order? Meanwhile, Nicole Nixon reports for CapRadio that Governor Gavin Newsom said during NewsomAtNoon yesterday that surging numbers may lead to another stay-at-home order for the most affected regions again soon.
Over the weekend, California reported the highest number of coronavirus hospitalizations since the onset of the pandemic. New case numbers continue to top those seen during the state's summer surge, with a seven-day average of 14,657 daily cases. According to Newsom, the state’s previous case numbers peaked in July with a seven-day average of 9,881.
Here are the current numbers from the state dashboard. Remember that the ICU numbers are available beds, so we want that graph to be on an upslope, opposite of the hospitalizations graph.
"If these trends continue, we're going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action," Newsom said.
He hinted that could start in the state’s purple-tier counties, where the virus is considered widespread. Of the state’s 58 counties, 51 are currently in the purple tier, which bans indoor operations for worship services and businesses like gyms and restaurants and limits in-store capacity for other businesses.
With 99.1% of California's residents in purple tier counties, such an order would essentially be statewide. Sierra County is now the only one in the orange (moderate) tier. The red (substantial) tier counties are Alpine, Amador, Inyo, Marin, Mariposa, and Mono.
-School daze: Politico's Katy Murphy reports on a new lawsuit against the state alleging is not serving low-income students equitably, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Seven families took California to court Monday, accusing the state of failing to ensure "basic educational equality" during a prolonged period of remote learning brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The plaintiffs say the state isn't providing the equipment, training and support that low-income families desperately need and that it has left it up to districts and teachers to navigate the challenges on their own, providing scant guidance or oversight. Meanwhile, they say, families have been forced to pay for basic school supplies or make do without a computer for each child or reliable internet access.
The Alameda Superior Court filing comes as most public schools in the state have yet to return to classrooms nearly nine months after closing campuses when the pandemic struck. The challenges of distance learning are exacerbating the existing inequalities in the public education system, the suit said, causing many to miss lessons and fall behind their classmates whose families have the means to overcome such barriers. In particular, the suit says, Black and Latino students have suffered most.
-Churches: In the Chron, legal eagle Bob Egelko reports that the state's attorneys have requested the Supreme Court of the United States to deny a request from a Pasadena church to lift restrictions on indoor religious services in light of the high Court's ruling last Wednesday throwing out New York's restrictions on indoor services.
Despite a Supreme Court ruling lifting restrictions on indoor worship services in New York, Gov. Gavin Newsom refused to back down Monday from shutdowns in California, telling the high court they are justified by the sharp increase in coronavirus cases and the perils of lengthy indoor gatherings with singing and chanting.
“California is experiencing an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, creating an even greater public health need for restrictions on prolonged communal gatherings in indoor places,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office, representing Newsom, said in a filing opposing a church group’s request for an immediate order lifting his restrictions.
“Scientific evidence demonstrates why those activities pose a particularly grave threat of virus transmission during the current pandemic,” the state’s lawyers said.
There is a similar case by a Christian school in Kentucky wanting to conduct in-person classes.
-Sports: In the Chron, Eric Branch reports that the next two home games of the San Francisco 49ers will be played in Arizona.
On Monday, in an unprecedented announcement in the midst of an unprecedented season being played during a pandemic, the 49ers revealed they will play their next two home games at the home of the Arizona Cardinals, State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
In Glendale, the 49ers will host the Bills next Monday night and Washington on Dec. 13. The 49ers still are scheduled to play their final regular-season home game, against the Seahawks on Jan. 3, at Levi’s Stadium.
CA25 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): Politico's Jeremy B. White writes that with Rep. Mike Garcia's victory, that completes a four-seat pick up for Republicans of districts that flipped to Democrats in 2018.
[Assembly member Christy] Smith conceded Monday afternoon after the last vote update showed Garcia clinging to a 339-vote lead out of nearly 239,000 cast in the race. The difference amounted to one-tenth of a percentage point.
Garcia's win completed a Republican comeback in the 25th Congressional District, a Los Angeles-area seat that had remained red for years until Democrat Katie Hill unseated then-Rep. Steve Knight in 2018. But Hill resigned less than a year into her term amid sexual misconduct allegations, opening a path for Garcia to reclaim the seat in a May special election matchup with Smith.
Now Garcia has defeated Smith a second time in one of the year’s closest races, two years after Hill won by a comfortable 22,000-vote margin.
CENSUS: The Supreme Court heard arguments in Trump v. New York yesterday, the case about whether residents living in the U.S. illegally will be counted in the 2020 Census for the purposes of apportionment of congressional districts to the states. Reading Amy Howe's recap of the arguments, there are two non-merit doctrines that could keep the Court from ruling on the constitutional issues for now -- standing and ripeness.
VOTING: For CalMatters, Michael Lozano looks at how the pandemic may have changed voting in California permanently.
Most of the state’s 58 counties followed suit this election, choosing to use technology and some form of vote center. It turned out to be critical infrastructure to support California’s pandemic-inspired decision to mail ballots to every registered voter. Forty-eight counties responded to a CalMatters survey, with many registrars attributing a smoother election to the new approach. Now that politicians in Sacramento are talking about making vote-by-mail permanent and expanding vote centers, though, some local officials are worried about cost given vote center usage.
The vote centers were possible this year because of the 2016 Voter’s Choice Act, intended to increase turnout by allowing more ways to cast a ballot. Voters could receive a mailed ballot that could be returned via mail or in an election drop box. They could vote early at a voting center or on election day. Fifteen counties —including Los Angeles and Orange— had opted into the Act and its perks. The pandemic prompted another 24 counties like Riverside and Sonoma to try on similar changes by having flexible-use vote centers for early voting.
“We can now say, I think, with confidence that the voting model we’ve adopted in L.A. County is sustainable,” said Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan. “From a 95-year-old voter to a generation Z voter and everything in between, the system worked as it was designed and it got overwhelmingly positive reviews in its utility and in the intuitive ease of its use.”
While not certified until December 11, California is currently at 17,751,057 votes, which is 80% turnout of those registered. That is the highest turnout since the 1972 presidential general, which was 82.13%. That election was the month before I was born, when California native Richard Nixon was reelected and the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: Patrick McGreevy writes in the Times:
State investigators have so far identified $400 million paid on some 21,000 unemployment benefit claims improperly filed in the names of California prison inmates, officials said Monday as state lawmakers called for legislative hearings over the massive fraud.
Debit cards issued by the state Employment Development Department containing the millions in benefits have since been frozen, while an additional $80 million in potential payments were blocked when some 10,000 other claims were not approved, according to Crystal Page, a deputy secretary for the state Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
The new total is nearly three times the $140 million in claim payments estimated last week by a group of nine district attorneys across California and a federal prosecutor.
DROUGHT: For CapRadio, Ezra David Romero looks at the drought prospects for The Golden State over next few years.
With no rain in the forecast for the rest of 2020 — thanks to a La Niña weather pattern pushing storms north of the state — the probability of California entering a multi-year drought is increasing.
“We did fortunately get some rain in November,” said Michelle Mead, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. “However, since that time, it has been drying, and we even had some wind events. So we're very quickly back into fire season.”
An autumn with little rain and a forecast for a dry December is reminding weather and climate experts of the patterns that took place before last year's mild winter. That season, much of the state only got about half of what’s normal, bringing a majority of Northern California into what could be two years of below average precipitation.
HOMELESSNESS: For CalMatters, Matt Dillon looks at whether there will be lasting impacts on the war on homelessness after the pandemic.
When asked about Project Homekey, [Governor Newsom's] program for counties to gobble up as many properties as possible for homeless housing in six months, Newsom veered into the theological.
“You can take years off purgatory, anything you’ve damn done wrong in your damn lives,” said the governor, crediting those officials that have jumped at the program. “Thank you for having the decency, the courage to do the right thing.”
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Markos Kounalakis, Jeremy Oberstein, and Alejandro Torres!
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CCST Expert Briefing: Carbon Neutral California: Blue Carbon Sequestration along California’s Coast
Join the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) in partnership with the Office of Assemblymember Mark Stone and the California Ocean Science Trust on Wednesday, December 9th from 1:30-2:30pm for our latest Virtual CCST Expert Briefing: Blue Carbon Sequestration along California’s Coast. A panel of experts from San Diego State University, USGS, Silvestrum Climate Associates, and LandSea Science will discuss strategic ways to increase blue carbon sequestration in California’s coastal ecosystems. RSVP
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 577-9734 with questions.
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