Around The Capitol

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  • KQED's Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Dr. Anthony Fauci on California's New COVID Restrictions and Lessons from the HIV/AIDS Epidemic (2020-12-04)
  • Cap•Impact (Chris Micheli @ McGeorge School of Law): Convening the New Legislative Session (2020-12-04)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): The Myth of the Latino Monolith with journalist Pilar Marrero (2020-12-03)
  • 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)

The Nooner for Monday, December 7, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • December fires (and not the yule log type)
  • No juice for you
  • Hunger games
  • Governor 2022
  • COVID-19
  • -The numbers
    -Tiers for Fears
    --lingering questions about the order
  • Evictions
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

Hey there! Crazy morning interrupted by the Governor's 9:30am presser. There really wasn't much news, except for a new opt-in notification app for Apple and Android to notify a user that they have been exposed. The app has been piloted at the campuses of the University of California and should be available Thursday. More deets for you soon.

He spent a good amount of time explaining the rationale for regions, something that has been a major question from residents of many counties. Anyway, here are the links to watch the video:

Anyway, more later today if anything comes up!


  • Bond Fire (Orange County): As of 7:35am, the fire had burned 7,375 acres and was 50% contained. At that time, 28 structures were deemed destroyed and 19 were deemed damaged.
  • Airport Fire (Riverside County): As of 12/06 at 6:35pm, the fire had burned 1,000 acres and was 25% contained. No damage report is available.

NO JUICE FOR YOU: This week in PSPS (public safety power shutoff)...

  • Pacific Gas and Electric: This week's forecasted public safety power shutoff has been downgraded to only portions of five counties further south, including Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Tulare, and Tuolumne for 8,448 customers. Restoration is expected tonight through midday tomorrow. 
  • Southern California Edison: Shortly after the power was restored following a 2-3 day outage across SCE territory, the utility is has implemented another PSPS outage affecting 161,355 customers. Power is out now in most places with restoration expected tomorrow afternoon. For many (including my sister in Simi Valley), this is the second PSPS in a week. 
    • Kern County: 15,568 customers
    • Los Angeles County: 46,237 customers
    • Orange County: 13,121 customers
    • Riverside County: 18,027 customers
    • San Bernardino County: 35,727 customers
    • Tulare County: 130 customers
    • Ventura County: 32,545 customers

HUNGER GAMES: Well, at least we had something talk about yesterday rather than impending shutdowns of many activities amidst very troubling numbers.

Following President-elect Joe Biden's choice of Xavier Becerra for HHS Secretary, Governor Gavin Newsom could have three big upcoming appointments.

We have the Senate seat. If Newsom taps Secretary of State Alex Padilla, now the odds-on favorite following yesterday's pick of Becerra as HHS Secretary, that opens up an appointment to SOS. Then, presuming Becerra is confirmed by the US Senate to HHS, then Newsom will have AG to fill.

On the Senate speculation list (assuming not a caretaker):

  • Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) 
  • Secretary of State Alex Padilla

On the Attorney General speculation list, some additions and some deletions from that included yesterday. List again is alphabetical.

  • Contra Costa DA (and former superior court judge) Diana Becton
  • Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Alameda)
  • State Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas)
  • Former state treasurer John Chiang
  • Assembly member David Chiu (D-San Francisco)
  • SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera
  • State Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys)
  • Former insurance commissioner Dave Jones
  • Former supervising deputy AG Maggy Krell (currently, chief counsel of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA)
  • Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg
  • State Senator Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park)
  • Rick Zbur, executive director, Equality California

Removed is Rep. Katie Porter, and not for the reason most think (competitive seat when Dems have a slim majority). Rather, Gov't Code §12503 requires admission to practice before the California Supreme Court for the five years immediately preceding the appointment and Porter has never been a member of the State Bar of California. California does not grant reciprocity for bar admissions in other states. This was an issue with Becerra since he was on inactive status but after reactivation was deemed qualified. Also removed are the other four members of the House, as Speaker Pelosi has asked Biden's team for no more congressional appointments given the narrow majority left for Democrats and Newsom will hear a similar message. That strikes Barragán, Lieu, Schiff, and Speier.

Added were Becton, Bonta, Chiang, Chiu, Herrera, Krell, and Steinberg.

I can't believe I forgot fellow King Hall alum and Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg as I've often floated his name in conversations over the last couple of weeks. He's close to Newsom and is co-chair with former LA supe Mark Ridley-Thomas of the governor's task force on homelessness. Steinberg also served as President Pro Tem of the State Senate while Governor Newsom was Lieutenant Governor, aka President of the State Senate.

Following a rebuke in the election by the defeat of a measure to strengthen the role of the Sac mayor, the election of councilmembers from the left critical of his leadership (and defeat of a key ally), and a looming budget problems because of the pandemic, most observers believe Steinberg's ready to move on given the right opportunity.

On the Secretary of State speculation list (alphabetical):

  • State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego)
  • Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) - declared 2022 candidate
  • Assembly member Evan Low (D-Palo Alto) - declared 2022 candidate

GOVERNOR 2022: In the Times, George Skelton writes that this year's election results show that anything is possible in the 2022 race for governor, including the election of a member of the GOP in a state currently with no statewide Republicans.

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin "Faulconer seems to be the only GOP politician with even a remote chance of beating Newsom. He’s a fiscal conservative and social moderate.

He supports abortion rights, same-sex marriage, California’s tough gun controls and a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. He opposes Trump’s border wall.

He’s a Republican who twice has been elected mayor in a Democratic city. And he has a strong record of fighting homelessness, which Newsom doesn’t have despite his rhetoric.

Does Faulconer have a prayer?

“He’s a credible candidate,” says Target Book editor Tony Quinn, a Republican political analyst. “But the sun and moon and stars would have to all be lined up correctly.”

It’s unlikely, but no longer impossible.


COVID-19: Yesterday, 56 deaths were reported in the state, bringing the total to 19,938. As usual, The weekend reporting caveat applies, with lower reports that push into the work week.

On CNN this morning,

If you look at the hospitalizations and ICU availability, we are now at the worst point of the pandemic in California. If you look at the dailies (light blue vertical columns) in the hospitalizations, we're at the highest point. Thus, the 14-day trend line will continue to increase. ICU bed availability/capacity is also at its lowest yet.

Remember, on ICU bed capacity -- the measurement determining the stay-at-home orders -- this is beyond COVID-19. I've written it before, but I know not everyone reads every day. Public health officers at the county and state levels have a duty to ensure availability (locally or through mutual aid out-of-county) of ICU beds in case of a disaster, ranging from transportation to natural. This is what has them scared. From everything I have read about the COVID-19 experience thus far and after therapeutics have been developed, ICU demand is usually around 7 days following admission of a patient for those requiring it.

COVID hospitalizations and ICU beds

-Tiers for fearsNo changes to county tier assignments. Purple/Widespread=52 counties; Red=5/Substantial; Orange/Moderate=1

-Stay at home: I am not including all of the main points and restrictions of the new stay at home order. You can find them in The Nooner for December 5, or read the state order or state guidance.


Press conference on 12/03 with Governor Newsom and HHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly:

Regions: Here is the latest ICU capacity by region, which is from this state page.

  • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
    ICU capacity as of 12/06: 26.5%
  • Bay Area: Alameda*, Contra Costa*, Marin*, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco*, San Mateo, Santa Clara*, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
    ICU capacity as of 12/06: 24.1%
  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
    ICU capacity as of 12/06: 18.2%

  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
    ICU capacity as of 12/06: 6.6%

  • Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura
    ICU capacity as of 12/06: 10.3%

*County has voluntarily adopted the state's Stay At Home Order

Cite: COVID19.CA.GOV: About COVID-19 restrictions (Under "Regional Stay Home Order")

Trend: We now have four days of data. Tomorrow this likely becomes a line chart.

ICU Bed Capacity by Region*
Region 12/03 12/04 12/05 12/06
Northern California 18.6% 20.9% 24.1% 26.5%
Bay Area 25.3% 21.2% 21.7% 24.1%
Greater Sacramento 22.2% 21.4% 21.4% 18.2%
San Joaquin Valley 19.7% 14.1% 8.6% 6.6%
Southern California 20.6% 13.1% 12.5% 10.3%
*Beginning December 4, PICU and NICU beds were removed and adult ICU beds were standardized.
Source: California Dept of Public Health,

SacTown: While the state is operating off percentages, it comes down to available beds. The absolute number is based on two factors -- bed/equipment and staffing. Staffing is a big issue, particularly in the smaller counties even in normal times, particularly with a large number of staff either ill or in quarantine. Here are the bed numbers for the Greater Sacramento Region over the last two days.

Greater Sacramento Region
Available ICU Beds
  12/6 am 12/7 am
Alpine 0 0
Amador                  1 1
Butte 15 9
Colusa 0 0
El Dorado 6 6
Nevada 5 1
Placer 25 21
Plumas 0 0
Sacramento 73 65
Sierra 0 0
Sutter 0 0
Yolo 5 7
Yuba 5 3
Region Total 135 113

I started doing it for the Greater Sacramento Region, and ended up doing it for all five and I'm guessing this may become a morning routine since there's no other way to track (like the %s) without recording it in a spreadsheet each day. Here's my spreadsheet of all five regions.

Some people have asked "What is the total number of beds?" That's complicated, but you can draw inferences from yesterday's ICU capacity/availability of 18.2% that the Greater Sacramento Region has a total of around 742 ICU beds.

Source: State dashboard, drop-down "ICU Available Beds." Data obtained 12/07 0730.

Lodging: During this morning's update, Governor Newsom made clear that hotels and other lodging reservations are only to be accepted or honored in Stay At Home counties for essential workers or for quarantine/isolation. No leisure travel stays are allowed.

Lingering questions: I've written before that the new state Stay At Home Order appeared rushed, albeit likely necessary. However, here are some questions I've heard (beyond playgrounds, which we've all heard):

  • In the spring stay-at-home, automobile service shops were allowed to remain open with precautions, as were laundromats. These are necessary to keep essential workers, well, working. Under the direct read of current guidance, they are not allowed to be open. Are they?
  • Similarly, in the spring, wineries and breweries were allowed to continue production operations and sell for off-site consumption. That is not directly provided for in the current order, yet grocery stores are selling similar products. Can they reopen with precautions as long as there is no on-site consumption (same rule as grocery stores)?

EVICTIONS: For CalMatters, Nigel Duara looks at how Californians are preparing for a rash of evictions ahead as tenant protections expire and courts begin processing cases.

California’s mixed response to the economic and housing fallout during the pandemic hasn’t helped matters. Some states were quicker with their unemployment payouts while California’s system has been beset by problems both technical and administrative. And without government action, it’s estimated that 750,000 Californians will run out of unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. Beyond that, the state’s eviction moratorium expires Feb. 1 and landlords can take tenants to court starting Mar. 1. 

The clock is ticking for California to head off an eviction tsunami for renters.

On that note, it does sound like tenant and landlord assistance is part of the developing bipartisan compromise federal relief bill. Of course, the details of the plan coming together through Zoom meetings are not available and it's unclear whether the eventual deal will have leadership support.

...cakeday and classifieds after the jump


Probolsky Research


CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to former state senator Jim Beall, Odysseus Bostick, Sarah Bachez Campos, Julia Spiess Lewis, and Kassy Perry!


Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing, 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 or (415) 577-9734 with questions.

Photos: 1 | 2 | 3

Political Data Inc.
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