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RECENT PODS:

  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) (2020-11-24)
  • 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 Wednesday, December 2, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    -The numbers
    -Restrictions
    -Restrictions backlash
    -Tiers for fears
    -NorCal hospitals
    -Los Angeles County
    -San Diego County
    -Jails
    -Restaurants
    -Theme parks
  • No juice for you
  • Congress
  • First Gen Z legislator
  • Budget
  • State employee parking
  • Garcetti
  • Faulconer
  • CADEM
  • Cakeday, farewell, and classifieds

Well, hello there. Adding to the toll of this crappy year, my grandmother died last night in Portland, which I learned of with a 4:30am call from my mom. Fortunately, I had been up since 3.

It was time and I think she was ready, with the biggest regret being that we had to cancel 100th birthday party on March 29. The longtime hospital receptionist was always thrifty and recycled before it was hip. Rather she was a child of the Great Depression. My grandfather passed before I was born, but she saved his Sherwin-Williams pension and was able to spend her last few years in a 5-resident home with much of the care provided by a family. I visited her for Christmas last year and she was well taken care of in a beautiful home and isolated from COVID-19.

Thank you to those who have renewed subscriptions and made additional contributions. You are literally paying my rent, health insurance, server costs, and $150+ per month for newspaper subscriptions during this time of depressed display and classified advertising revenue. With the subjects discussed by the Legislature last year limited given the administrative session and with few events and little hiring going on, it is easily explained.

COVID-19: Yesterday, 116 deaths were reported in the state, bringing the total to 19,330. The LAT reports:

-Restrictions: Governor Newsom may announce further restrictions as early as NewsomAtNoon today, writes John Howard for Capitol Weekly.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce Wednesday a tougher response to a surge in coronavirus infections that includes at least a three-week cutback on nonessential services and businesses and renewed stay-at-home restrictions affecting most Californians.

Sources familiar with the discussions said late Tuesday that the plan — reminiscent of an earlier crackdown during the spring — evolved amid reports of a dramatic increase in infections and a spike in overcrowding at hospitals’ intensive care units.

The administration believes a “blanket order” may be forthcoming and likely would affect areas of the state representing most of California’s population, sources said. The announcement was expected at noon Wednesday.

-Restriction backlash: In the LAT, Lila Seidman and Jaclyn Cosgrove look at the backlash as both state and local officials are or are considering tightening down further.

On Sunday, protesters marched in front of the home of Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

Days later, a handful of people gathered outside Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s house in Santa Monica.

Both demonstrations, in which the majority of people were unmasked, were fairly small, but they reflect a growing political divide and vitriol over restrictions from a segment of the population weary and skeptical of such measures despite the growing health risk.

-Tiers for Fears: Yesterday, Mono County was moved to the purple/widespread tier, bringing the percentage of Californians under strictest restrictions to 99.2%.

COVID tiers as of 12/01/20Source: California Department of Public Health

-NorCal: A team at the Bee reports that Northern California hospitals are reaching a breaking point, and that may lead to the return of a stay-at-home order.

The coronavirus has found a weak spot in the California healthcare system. It’s the intensive care unit.

With the COVID-19 surge causing record hospitalizations, and with fears that Thanksgiving get-togethers are about to result in even more extremely ill patients, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned this week he may order another stay-at-home rule at any moment to stop a Christmas crisis in hospitals, particularly in acute care units where capacity is extremely limited.

...

While a hospital may have 100 beds for patients, only a small percentage of those are available for extreme care, with the type of equipment and specially trained doctors and nurses to handle patients that require, for instance, a ventilator to keep them breathing because their lungs have failed.

“Bottom line, we are looking at ICU capacity as the primary trigger for deeper (restrictions) actions,” Newsom’s health chief, Dr. Mark Ghaly, said on Monday.

-Los Angeles County: In the LAT, a team reports on the daily record set yesterday in new cases in the LA county.

Los Angeles County recorded a dramatic one-day rise in coronavirus cases Tuesday, shattering the single-day record and confirming some of the most dire forecasts about infections spreading ferociously as the holiday season gets underway.

The surge in cases renewed worries about how the healthcare system will handle a crush of new patients, with some hospitals already approaching capacity. The numbers put more pressure on state and local officials to enact a tougher stay-at-home order in hopes of slowing the spread. Officials feared the Thanksgiving holiday period would bring a flood of new cases, and there are growing concerns the spike is far from over.

L.A. County is now forecasting up to 8,000 new coronavirus cases a day by the end of this week and potentially 9,000 a day by the middle or end of next week, according to a source who listened to a briefing given by county health officials.

...

“It will likely not remain the worst day of the pandemic in Los Angeles County. That will be tomorrow, and the next day and the next as cases, hospitalizations and deaths increase,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

...

Hospitalizations have more than tripled since Halloween, when there were about 800 people hospitalized, and surged past 2,400 on Monday. It was the second-consecutive day that the high for hospitalizations in L.A. County has been broken, and a number that’s 9% higher that the peak from the summer wave.

-San Diego County: After the county recorded its 1,000th death on November 24, SDUT's Gary Warth and Paul Sisson have begun telling the stories of those lost.

-Jails: In the SDUT, Jeff McDonald and Kelly Davis report on the rapid spread of the virus in San Diego County jails.

The novel coronavirus is surging through San Diego County jails, with active infections jumping almost 70 percent in the past week, according to the latest numbers released by the sheriff’s department.

At least 161 people — 125 inmates and 36 county workers — are now sick with COVID-19, the department website reported late Monday. One week earlier the web page showed 95 active infections.

All told, 439 people working or detained in the county’s seven-jail system have been infected with COVID-19 since March, according to the sheriff’s department’s website. That’s a 70 percent increase since last month.

One employee, a counselor at the Las Colinas women’s jail, died in late October as a result of COVID-19.

Jail workers say the virus is spreading out of control.

-Restaurants: In the Chron, Justin Phillips writes that more San Francisco restaurants are considering shutting down completely for the next few months given more restrictions and small number of customers.

With indoor dining once again banned and winter weather cutting into outdoor dining revenue, a growing number of restaurants in the city are, for the first time, considering the more drastic step of possibly closing for the next few months. Others are thinking about closing for the second time since the start of the pandemic due to a lack of business. It’s a last-ditch effort known as “going into hibernation” in the industry, and it allows business owners to cut food, supplies and payroll costs for an extended period of time, with hopes of reopening.

Already, a number of the city’s more historic restaurants have made the leap. The 171-year-old Financial District establishment Tadich Grill decided not to reopen in November after San Francisco didn’t move to allowing 50% capacity for indoor dining. And this same situation is why Boulevard in San Francisco, chef Nancy Oake’s Northern California stalwart that opened more than 20 years ago, went into “hibernation” on Nov. 22.

Then there’s a slew of other chefs and restaurateurs who are strongly considering the step despite complications such as working out deals with landlords, paying employees and the uncertainty of whether they’ll be able to reopen.

-Theme parks: In the Register, Brady MacDonald writes that Disneyland is furloughing another nearly 1,800 employees as the prospect of reopening large theme parks anytime soon fading. Even after small parks reopened in many areas, they are now only allowed in orange/moderate tier counties. At this point, there is only one orange tier county in the state -- Sierra. MacDonald writes:

Disney announced 1,797 furloughs of Disneyland union and non-union employees due to continuing business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, known as the WARN Act. Disney filed the WARN Act notifications on Nov. 12 with the furloughs set to start on Nov. 23 and on subsequent dates through Feb. 21.

...

The furloughs will involve a wide range of jobs including landscapers, engineers, painters, plasterers and custodians as well as employees working in entertainment, restaurants and attractions. The furlough notices also include 18 Disneyland firefighters.

NO JUICE FOR YOU: Southern California Edison and SDG&E have warned more than 350,000 customers of public safety power shutoffs that could last multiple days with a Santa Ana Winds event creating high fire risk. They have begun in small numbers in Los Angeles and Ventura counties but will likely grow there and spread to other Southern California areas by this evening.

CONGRESS: After Republicans regained four congressional seats lost to Democrats in 2018 and with an independent redistricting of an uncertain number of districts, Dan Walters writes for CalMatters:

We may not know how many congressional seats California will have in 2022, and we don’t know the shape of those districts. However, we do know that California will, as it did in 2018 and this year, play a significant role in determining which party controls Congress.

FIRST GEN Z LEGISLATOR: For NYT's California Today, Jill Cowan interviews Alex Lee, who will be sworn in Monday to represent AD25 (Fremont-Santa Clara) as the Assembly gathers for a ceremony at Golden 1 Center for physical distancing.

Mr. Lee, 25, beat out a crowded field in the Democratic primary for the seat and has made headlines as California’s first Generation Z lawmaker. He’ll also be the first openly bisexual person to become a state legislator.

The Senate will be holding its swearing-in in the Senate Chamber as physical distancing is easier with 40 members rather than the Assembly's 80.

BUDGET: Legislative Analyst Gabriel Patek has a new Fiscal Perspectives post looking at how the Governor and Legislature might handle the unexpected revenue windfall recently identified while also facing long-term structural deficits.

As of spring 2020, a near consensus held that economic fallout from the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic would inflict a massive fiscal shock on California. Policymakers adjusted accordingly, adopting the 2020‑21 budget on a series of cautious assumptions that reflected a new and arguably warranted pessimism. To date, however, the recession has had a muted effect on tax collections while the surge in demand for state-funded safety net services has been less than anticipated. Largely as a result of these better-than-budgeted trends, we estimate in our recent report, The 2021‑22 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook, that a sizeable revenue windfall is taking shape. The magnitude of this unexpected windfall is such that it could produce an unprecedented near-term budget surplus. Looking ahead, however, we also identify the emergence of a new ongoing deficit beginning in the budget year (2021‑22). This fiscal gap persists and widens through the remainder of our outlook period (2024‑25).

STATE EMPLOYEE PARKING: Wes Venteicher writes in The Bee about state employees who don't want to give up parking passes in state garages, even though they are mostly teleworking, are paying $70 per month without relief from Department of General Services. The question is whether things will return to the days of long waits to get the treasured subsidized spaces or whether a large portion of the state workforce will continue teleworking post-pandemic as Governor Newsom has suggested. A comparable space in a private or city-owned garage is around $200 per month.

GARCETTI: Joel Fox writes that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's recent rocky road is an example of how quickly political fortunes can change and why it may cost an aspiration for a position in the Biden Administration.

Perception is an important ingredient in measuring politicians and when those around the politician are charged with wrongdoings the talk often throws a shadow on the leader—that is happening to Garcetti with the one-two punch of accusations made against former aides in the mayor’s office. These new troubles for the mayor come on top of criticism in other areas from across the political spectrum.

This week, former deputy mayor Raymond Chan was charged with conspiracy, bribery and fraud charges and lying to the FBI in a widespread corruption investigation over development projects and bribery in the City of Los Angeles.  Garcetti’s office distanced the mayor from the charges saying the mayor was not aware of the transgressions and expressing disgust over the activity. 

The mayor’s response is similar to his assertion that he was not aware of any misconduct by close aide Rick Jacobs now accused by a number of people for inappropriate sexual actions. 

Both Chan and Jacobs have denied the charges made against them.

Yet, the stories with all the details of wrongs committed come with Garcetti’s name floated in the articles’ early paragraphs and denials from his office. Such publicity cannot help at a time when the City of Los Angeles is suffering on so many fronts intensified by the scourge of the pandemic.

FAULCONER: For the Union-Tribune, Michael Smolens looks at the prospect of a run for governor by outgoing San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer recently said he is “seriously considering” running for governor in 2022, so it seems worthwhile to keep a few things in mind about how he got to this point.

One of them is that he has never won a regular general election as a non-incumbent for any office.

That’s important to note given the context that he is a rare Republican mayor in a major, and heavily Democratic, U.S. city. That status has boosted his prospects of taking on Gov. Gavin Newsom in very blue California.

Smolens goes on to look at Newsom's rough patch including joining a birthday party at The French Laundry and wonders whether a Republican can win statewide. Faulconer wonders about that too. Also on Fox&Hounds, yesterday Tony Quinn asked whether Newsom is vulnerable.

CADEM: The team at Politico's California Playbook writes that former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin is challenging California Democratic Party chair Rusty Hicks.

After Democrats failed to regain the CA-25 seat Rep. Mike Garcia claimed when Democrat Katie Hill resigned, Delaine Eastin believes it’s “time for a change” at the top of her party. That’s why Eastin, 73, a former state superintendent of public instruction and a 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, is challenging California Democratic party chair Rusty Hicks for the top job — and intends to make it a real contest.

 ...cakeday, farewell, and classifieds after the jump

 

Probolsky Research

  

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Chris Bowen and Robert Garcia!

FAREWELL: Conservative commentator Bruce Herschensohn (1932-2020)

Classifieds

Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing scottlay@gmail.com, 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]


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

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