Around The Capitol

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  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Vaccines are coming with Dr. Dean Blumberg, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, UC Davis School of Medicine and Acting Chief, Pediatric Infectious Disease Section, UC Davis Medical Center. (2020-12-07)
  • Look West Podcast (Assembly Democratic Caucus): Introduction to new Assembly Democrats (2020-12-07)
  • 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 Wednesday, December 9, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Governor's Office
  • December fires (and not the yule log type)
  • No juice for you
  • DoorDash
  • COVID-19
    -The numbers
    -Tiers for Fears
    -Stay at Home
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

Well, hello there. First, thank you for all the kind messages about The Nooner content and those checking to make sure that all is well at Nooner Global HQ while writing about pretty grim news. I'm doing fine mentally, getting out for long walks through a very quiet downtown and playing the daily puzzle game of what to do with the weekly farmers market haul. Last night was an Instant Pot leek and potato soup, PT Ranch chicken breast cooked sous vide, roasted veggies (beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, daikon, garlic, and turnips), and braised greens. Most of the veggies were from Riverdog Farm.

As I write this graf, I'm having my cooler weather writing go to scramble of eggs, bacon, and kale -- all from Riverdog in Guinda (Capay Valley). Today, I have a whole duck from PT Ranch in Ione (Amador County) to tackle.

Today's walk will include a stop at Allspicery on 11th Street to pick up my order of vanilla almond black tea, sweet dream herbal "tea" that is part of my nighttime routine, and garlic powder. It'll be an exciting afternoon out on the town but I'll see the Capitol holiday tree and wreaths adorning the west face of the Capitol and will look to see if the menorah is out yet for Hanukkah, which begins tomorrow night.

I'll also again see the new huge digital advertising boards around Golden 1 Center, which are being seen by nobody. Well, that is except for 75 Assembly members and very limited staff that were there on Monday for the organizational session.

Anyway, as much as some people think I'm sitting at my desk from 4:30am to 10:00pm, that's not the case. Please pass that along to my mom.

GOVERNOR'S OFFICE: Politico's Carla Marinucci reported late yesterday that Ann O'Leary, Governor Newsom's chief of staff, will be leaving the administration and is on the short list for jobs in the Biden Administration.

O'Leary had previously spent most of her government career in Washington, and President-elect Joe Biden's win gives her an opportunity to return to there with Democrats in power. But her departure also comes as Newsom faces his lowest point in office thus far.


O’Leary took charge of Newsom's operations in November 2018 during his gubernatorial transition. She arrived with deep policy experience, much of it in Washington, where she worked many years for Hillary Clinton. She came in with the reputation as a coalition builder and an impassioned advocate for early education and working families.

It was not immediately clear when she will depart the office. O'Leary did not respond to requests for comment. Newsom communications director Sahar Robertson said she had no comment.

Late Tuesday, O'Leary told governor's office staff that Jim DeBoo will join Newsom's office as a "senior member" starting Jan. 1.

DeBoo is a registered lobbyist and former legislative aide who has recently run ballot campaigns, including the successful 2016 tobacco tax backed by doctors, multiple Capitol sources said. DeBoo also worked with the governor this year on Prop. 13, the education facilities bond that voters rejected. His lobbying clients include the California Medical Association, California Apartment Association, California Dental Association and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, according to state records.


As Newsom begins his third full year in office, the governor’s team is increasingly concerned with a long-shot conservative recall that could mushroom into a major threat in 2021 if it attracts significant financial support. Newsom must also ensure he is strong enough to win reelection in two years. The governor remains an odds-on favorite in a state where Democrats hold tremendous power, but the pandemic has already shown it can scramble loyalties and voter attitudes toward those in power.

In the last 120 days, other departures include Governor Newsom's legislative secretary and communications director.


  • Bond Fire (Orange County): As of 7:47am, the fire had burned 6,686 acres and was 75% contained. At that time, 31 structures were deemed destroyed and 21 were deemed damaged.
  • Airport Fire (Riverside County): As of 12/07, the fire had burned 1,087 acres and was 50% contained. No damage report is available.

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

  • Southern California Edison: This week's PSPS is down to 4,089 customers in Los Angeles (216), Riverside (730), San Bernardino (27), and Ventura (4,089) counties.

DOORDASH: This morning, ride-hailing service DoorDash announced a "Main Street Strong Pledge" to in the company's words:

  • Enable Dashers to achieve greater financial empowerment and meet their professional goals;
  • Empower local merchants and enable greater and more diverse equality of access in local economies; and
  • Support and strengthen the communities in which we operate.

Like Lyft, the company is clearly trying to reshape its image among those unhappy with the tactics used to pass Proposition 22, which exempted transportation network companies from the provisions of AB 5 (Gonzalez) that codified Dynamex with exceptions and limiting who could be considered an independent contractor. While Prop. 22 passed with 58.6% of the vote, AB 5 supporters are already looking at other ways they can prod the companies (e.g. Uber/UberEats, Lyft, Postmates, Instacart, DoorDash) to alter their business models. Lyft has even extended an olive branch to organized labor.

As for individual employees, which has been the primary concern of lawmakers, DoorDash provides:

We are honored to take the next step today in helping Dashers secure their financial futures by announcing our multi-year partnership with the National Urban League. Together with NUL, a historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization, we will reimagine the future of the 21st century economy by creating a first-of-its-kind program designed for Dashers of color to help them attain new job skills and entrepreneurial success, and build generational wealth via financial literacy training, educational funding, job programs, and more. As Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, said, “As economic first responders, the National Urban League recognizes and appreciates the role DoorDash has played, not only in uplifting the communities hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but in recognizing the structural inequalities that have contributed to our current crisis. We are grateful for the support of DoorDash and look forward to an ongoing partnership that empowers Dashers to achieve and succeed.”

In addition, we want to ensure that we’re supporting the Dashers who’ve helped power so many important deliveries in their communities. That is why later this quarter we will be announcing details of a $12 million Dasher rewards program that will run though May 2021, and which will highlight and recognize the commitment of many dedicated Dashers across the globe.

At the end of the third quarter, the company had $1.1 billion cash on hand.

The individual assistance in the second paragraph sounds like performance funding during the pandemic before vaccines are widely available. Call it a "rewards program" or whatever. It sure sounds like combat pay.

I can't imagine that will smooth things over with a single proponent of AB 5.

Meanwhile, many like me will order food at least once this week from a local restaurant through one of these services.


COVID-19: Yesterday, 219 deaths were reported in the state, bringing the total to 20,273. Below is the state's chart. The highest recent point was 219 on July 31. While the state's dailies lag the LAT's survey of health departments by a day, it appears that yesterday tied the deadliest day of the pandemic in California yesterday. All charts below are from the state's dashboard as of this morning.

COVID deaths by day

Of course, as I have written several times, deaths are a lagging indicator. The state had the largest number of positive tests yesterday at 35,400 with positivity exceeding 10% (8.7% 14-day average, which is 2.7% higher than the average 14 days ago). Of course, while cases can be simply a measurement of breadth of testing, positivity is a measurement of community spread.

Then we have the indicators that draw the most concerning, those that signify severity of disease. With capacity in a critical mode, no COVID patient is being admitted to the hospital for the sniffles. However, we know that the curve in cases predicts the curve in demand for hospitalizations. The hospitalizations curve foretells ICU hospitalizations, and that curve leads to the gravest result.

COVID cases by day COVID hospitalizations by day
COVID ICU hospitalizations by day COVID deaths by day

I display these not to be dramatic. However, I still see on social media allegations that the ICU capacity percentages below are a big governmental fiction in cahoots with the hospitals to shut down businesses. As you know, I've been hit hard financially by this and have family in affected businesses. I'm not happy either.

To allege that Governor Gavin Newsom wants to shut down the economy as part of a big government conspiracy is asinine. If anything, he's risking his political future with the orders (see Marinucci article at the top about what could become a legitimate recall threat). We can debate whether playgrounds should or shouldn't be closed in Stay At Home regions and whether or not San Luis Obispo should be in the Southern California region, but at the end of the day, the numbers are the numbers.

There is indeed a lot of economic pain out there. But, the more important thing to recognize is the pain of 219 California families grieving relatives who died yesterday. It is the pain of the families of 11,511 Californians with a relative in the hospital including 2,526 in intensive care as of Monday. And it is the worry of the 35,400 Californians who tested positive yesterday who likely had a sleepless night as they wonder if they will become one who appears on the other, more serious (and gravest), charts.

Staying at home sucks. However, in the world of delivery of holiday gifts, food, takeout, and increased food banks, it's a hell of a lot better than being isolated in an intensive care unit. Trust me, I've been there as both staff and patient.

Those of you who have been around this space for awhile remember that I was in Mexico City in February before well, you know. I was supposed to go back in September. Anyway, talking to people down there about the situation. The numbers are as grim as here yet the government hasn't/can't provide any economic assistance to individuals and businesses. Thus, everything is open again with no restrictions.

Here, there was the financial assistance earlier and legal steps such as rent forbearance and eviction limitations at both the federal and state levels.

Further assistance from Washington is not a financial issue with the super low borrowing rates but rather a political one that may or may not be coming together depending on the hour with the two sticking points being (or continuing to be) state and local government assistance vs. individual "stimulus" checks and employer liability for COVID exposure.

I'd love to be having a nice bowl of pho indoors for lunch and see familiar faces at a local restaurant. Instead, I'll be having a salad full of ingredients from farmers market here at Nooner HQ and walk around Southside Park.

-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.


--Update on 12/03 with Governor Newsom and HHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly:

--Update on 12/07:

--Dr. Ghaly update on 12/08:

--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 12/08: 25.0%
  • Bay Area: Alameda*, Contra Costa*, Marin*, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco*, San Mateo, Santa Clara*, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
    ICU capacity as of 12/08: 24.5%
  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
    ICU capacity as of 12/08: 18.8%

  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
    ICU capacity as of 12/08: 5.6%

  • Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura
    ICU capacity as of 12/08: 10.6%

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

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

ICU capacity by region

ICU Bed Capacity by Region*
Region 12/03 12/04 12/05 12/06 12/07 12/08
Northern California 18.6% 20.9% 24.1% 26.5% 28.2% 25.0%
Bay Area 25.3% 21.2% 21.7% 24.1% 25.7% 24.5%
Greater Sacramento 22.2% 21.4% 21.4% 18.2% 20.3% 18.8%
San Joaquin Valley 19.7% 14.1% 8.6% 6.6% 6.3% 5.6%
Southern California 20.6% 13.1% 12.5% 10.3% 10.9% 10.6%
*Beginning December 4, PICU and NICU beds were removed and adult ICU beds were standardized.  
Source: California Dept of Public Health, (data captured by me daily)  

--Available beds: Here is the picture of the Greater Sacramento Region and all five regions four the past four days are available on my spreadsheet here. Note that these data, which are collected by county health departments from the local hospitals are delayed by 24 hours through the chain of reporting. The "live" situation on the ground may differ, and the same would be true of the percentages of capacity displayed above.

For example, the numbers we have from the state dashboard show Fresno with 9 available beds, Madera with 1, and Kings with 0. However, at a point yesterday, all three had 0 available beds, according to the LA Times.

Greater Sacramento Region
Available ICU Beds
  12/6 am 12/7 am 12/8 am 12/9 am
Alpine 0 0 0 0
Amador 1 1 2 2
Butte 15 9 15 13
Colusa 0 0 0 0
El Dorado 6 6 6 5
Nevada 5 1 5 2
Placer 25 21 21 23
Plumas 0 0 0 0
Sacramento 73 65 76 78
Sierra 0 0 0 0
Sutter 0 0 0 0
Yolo 5 7 4 2
Yuba 5 3 9 7
Region total 135 113 138 132

--Restaurants: I mentioned the tentative order yesterday by an LA County Superior Court judge in a case filed by the California Restaurant Association challenging Los Angeles County's ban on outdoor dining, which held that the county's order was arbitrary and not based on science. Late yesterday at the hearing, Judge Chalfant affirmed the tentative ruling, write Kate Irby and Victoria Colliver for Politico. They write:

"By failing to weigh the benefits of an outdoor dining restriction against its costs, the County acted arbitrarily and its decision lacks a rational relationship to a legitimate end," wrote Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant in a tentative ruling issued Tuesday to a legal challenge from the California Restaurant Association.

The tentative ruling to block the open-ended ban won't have immediate practical consequences for Los Angeles-area restaurants, as the county is now under a temporary stay-home order tied to the region's quickly diminishing ICU capacity. But it marks a symbolic and legal victory for those challenging the emergency powers flexed by state and local officials — and a rare setback for public health authorities facing a worsening crisis.

That's the important legal point. The order tested in the lawsuit was the Los Angeles County order and not the broader state order. The current message from Sacramento is not about the amount of virus spread but part of the goal of keeping people at home for non-essential activities. That's a completely different legal test for whether or not the ban on outdoor dining is arbitrary, as you always look at what the intent of a governmental restriction is and how such restriction is tailored.

--Churches: On a similar note regarding the differences of orders and how they are evaluated legally, I was listening to the progressive 5-4 podcast (Apple | Spotify | Stitcher) discussing Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, the case in which the Supreme Court held that the New York state order restricting church gatherings was arbitrary and in violation of the First Amendment's guarantee of Free Exercise. (Yes, this is the kind of stuff I listen to on long walks. Don't judge.)

The California importance here is that, as I wrote last Friday, SCOTUS sent Harvest Rock Church v. Newsom back to the Southern District of California for reconsideration in light of the SCOTUS decision in Diocese. This is where facts of the order matter.

In New York, churches were limited to a variable indoor occupancy of a number of persons regardless of building size (and thus legal regular occupancy) based on the regional prevalence of COVID-19. It was specifically for churches, while other entities such as concert halls were closed completely.

That's very different than the California orders. First, it was an indoor percentage occupancy limit rather than a hard count of persons. (The case was filed during the summer that evolved to were indoor limits on occupancy under yellow-red and outdoor-only under purple.) That's very different, and similar occupancy restrictions were placed on non-churches. Even under the latest schema under the Stay At Home, gatherings at places of worship and for political activities are allowed outdoors only with specified precautions. A lot more legal thinking has gone in to the California orders than went into New York's orders, but we've had more time than New York did under the nation's most serious crisis early in the pandemic.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, the county's largest Spanish-language Catholic Church down the street from me has had their large gatherings throughout the pandemic on the artificial turf fútbol field behind the church that is part of the school. Everyone is masked and distanced, with both single chairs and 2-4 chairs grouped together for families. Recently, they added tents (tops only) over the area to shield against potential rain. They are rolling with the punches. For me, it's good news because my steady fair of cheap street food is still available -- tacos w/ 8 meat choices, tamales, enchiladas, menudo, esquités, etc.

Back to the legal thinking. California's orders are completely different than those that were the fact basis in Diocese and likely will be upheld but, as is often the case in law, it depends on the facts presented to the court. 

...cakeday and classifieds after the jump 


Probolsky Research


CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Adam GottliebStephanie Nied Tseu, and Michael Wilson!


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]

Statewide Coalition Manager – Preschool Development Grant

Are you a relationship builder? Do you love policy analysis? Do you have a background in public policy, public administration, child development, or a similar field? Do you want to work somewhere that makes a difference in the lives of children across the state? Then YOU’RE the person we’re looking for! Come join us at Child Care Resource Center as our new Statewide Coalition Manager!

You will work in partnership with regional Resource and Referral (R&R) hub agencies throughout the state of CA to nurture and build out the partnerships of Regional Hubs and their local R&R partners. This position will focus on expanding regional and local relationships and building regional strategies for the delivery of early childhood services, including Parent Café and Early Childhood Café programs, throughout California, and will also coordinate the development of other regional partners including California Quality Consortia, California County Offices of Education and Tribal partners appropriate to each region. Reporting to the Chief Strategy Officer, this position utilizes a high level of collaboration and relationship building to create effective internal and external relationships, communicate the CCRC Mission, Values and Vision to external stakeholders, and work in collaboration with other CCRC Departments and organizational partners.

Full announcement

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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