Around The Capitol

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  • SacTown Talks: Assembly member Cristina Garcia (2020-12-18)
  • If I Couid Change One Thing (SDSU): Dr. David "Davey" Smith on Operation Warp Speed" and vaccinations (2020-12-02)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): Becerra: Another Bright Spot For California And The Rest of The Country (2020-12-10)
  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, the new Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, talks about public policy, health, and social justice priorities for our Latinx communities in 2021. (2020-12-09)
  • 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)

The Nooner for Monday, December 28, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Federal stimulus
  • Do you recall?
  • SD30
  • Wildfires
  • Affordable housing
  • Ducks and shorebirds
  • COVID-19
    -the numbers
    -IHME model
    -regional stay-at-home
    -prospects for a lift
    -tiers for fears
    -LA: what went wrong
    -East LA
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

What a day yesterday was! Anyway, I wrote the below last night.

Fortunately, a key person at the Secretary of State's office caught the error I emailed you about right away and DMd me on Twitter.

Anyway, I woke up at 5:30 after seven hours of pretty good sleep. Of course, the melatonin to aid in said sleep also has a tendency to promote vivid dreams. I'm guessing the constant email and social media traffic about the timing of Kamala's resignation and the Christmas photo of the Padilla all came together during REM sleep. I did try to fact check it as I always do and did wonder why I didn't see it elsewhere. Too much sleep obviously makes me stupid.

After I finished writing, I rushed down the street for the Sunday street tacos at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Of course, today was the first day since early in the pandemic that there was no food. The outdoor mass was the largest in many months and I'm guessing the folks who normally work the food booths were participating in the holiday-related mass. There was one street vendor, so I picked up some esquités and paired in with a salad at home.

That wasn't the end of the Sunday foibles. After lunch and sending my correction/apology email and since PT Ranch wasn't at farmers market, I walked over to Market 5-ONE-5 to pick up chicken thighs to make one of my favorite recipes for salads through the week.

It was a beautiful day for another walk with lots of the churchgoers masked after just leaving one of the many masses that have each Sunday. About halfway through the 5-block walk, I went to drink out of my water bottle. Of course, I was wearing my mask. Well, that didn't work well.

Reaching 5-ONE-5, I went to get some berry-flavored La Croix waters. Apparently, they are the new toilet paper. Nada. I instead got the alternative flavor Razz-Cranberry and moved on to get my chicken. Of course, that was another item on which there was a run today. I took my waters, grabbed from wild rice and came back home.

After putting my sheets in the washing machine, I am now typing to you while wrapped in bubblewrap given the omens.

In all seriousness, I noticed this morning the largest number of tents on the sidewalks under the W-X freeway. It's getting worse as the temperatures get colder. I have local sturgeon, local wild rice, and local broccoli for dinner and I'll be going to bed on clean sheets with a roof over my head. We'll see about that melatonin tonight.

POSTSCRIPT: No stupid political dreams last night. Instead, I was at my cousin's wedding and was the only one not wearing a mask only to be ridiculed by the entire ballroom. And, my cousins are both already married. I guess the story of trying to drink water through my mask filled the part of my brain fueling dreams.

Anyway, another night of 7 hours of sleep and I woke up to the fantastic sound of rain!

FEDERAL STIMULUS: Undoubtedly, you've heard that President Trump signed the stimulus bill last night that also averts a federal shutdown that would have happened at midnight tonight. For CalMatters, Laurel Rosenhall reported last week on what Governor Newsom said was in it for California.

  • $20 billion in unemployment assistance (based on payments of $300/week for 11 weeks) 
  • $17 billion in direct stimulus checks of $600 each to lower-income Californians 
  • $2 billion in rental assistance 
  • $1.3 billion for COVID-19 testing, tracing and vaccines 
  • $8.5 billion for schools, community colleges and universities 
  • $1 billion for childcare 
  • $2 billion for transportation 

California businesses will also receive relief from the $325 billion allotted to help small businesses nationwide, though Newsom did not provide an estimate of how much would flow to the state. 

The House is expected to approve a stand-alone bill to increase the direct stimulus checks to $2,000, although it is unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring it to the floor, even though President Trump supports it. President Trump is asking for rescissions of spending from the bill he signed last night. That request from the President does not have legal standing and many of the items he's asking for have problems with individual members of both parties.

DO YOU RECALL? From the Desk of the Dean, George Skelton pens a column for the LAT that Governor Gavin Newsom should not ignore the recall effort in circulation and offers ways that he can fight back.

Conservatives are trying to yank Gov. Gavin Newsom from office. But their recall drive is probably doomed. This is why:

  • Newsom is not Gray Davis.
  • Kevin Faulconer is not Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Donald Trump is not George W. Bush.
  • California is not the politically competitive state it was 18 years ago. Democrats now have a lopsided advantage.

All that said, Newsom would be foolish to kiss off the threat. He should prepare for the attempted recall to qualify for a special election ballot in late summer or fall.

Because — as Davis found out in 2003 — once a recall petition gathers enough signatures to force a statewide vote, events can spiral out of control for the target.

“My best advice is don’t ignore it,” says political consultant Garry South, the longtime strategist for Democrat Davis. South learned that lesson firsthand when Davis became only the second governor in the nation’s history to be recalled.

SD30 (Downtown LA-Culver City-South LA): While candidate Renita Duncan is on the Secretary of State's site as having filed a Statement of Intent as a Republican, she filed with LA County with no party preference for the March 2 special election to fill the Holly Mitchell seat. As of a registration filed last August, she is a Republican.

WILDFIRES: In the Chron, J.D. Morris looks at how Native Americans in California revitalized the state's broad forestland -- by intentionally burning it. However, is that palatable to Californians?

For years, however, tribes and other proponents of prescribed burns have been unable to light the controlled fires on anywhere close to the scale needed to keep the state’s parched land healthy. Even as research touted the benefits of prescribed fire more than a half-century ago, the practice was long held back by misguided forest management policies, a legacy of injustice toward Native Americans and a more nebulous, deep-seated cultural resistance to flames and smoke.

Finally, the tide is turning — slowly. California took a huge step forward this year when it reached a landmark deal with the federal government to reduce fire risk on 1 million acres of forest and wildlands annually, including through prescribed fire.

California has about 33 million acres of forest land, most of which is controlled by the federal government. Experts believe the 1-million-acre annual target could, in time, go a long way toward making the forests and wooded areas more resistant to ruinous infernos, if the work is sustained.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: For CalMatters, Nigel Duara looks at how Newport Beach ended up with a state requirement totaling only two affordable housing units between 2013 and 2021.

They say you get what you pay for, but when it comes to affordable housing, wealthy Southern California cities are paying to get almost nothing. And that’s exactly the way they want it. 

Between 2013 and 2021, the state of California allocated the city of Newport Beach a total of two units of affordable housing, defined by the state as low- or very low-income. The state gave Lake Forest, a city of similar size and population, 1,097 units. 

The state allocated the city of Beverly Hills three units. It allocated Coachella, in the Inland Empire, 2,614. 

The disparity was highlighted in a scathing report by the state auditor’s office as one of many flaws contributing to California’s affordable housing crisis. Researchers and auditors say the state’s approach to financing and planning housing units is uncoordinated and ineffective, and one way rich cities have been able to build far less affordable housing units than their inland and less-wealthy counterparts is to lobby during the planning stages. It’s a crucial step because once local jurisdictions receive their allocation of housing units, they must make a plan to build them.

DUCKS AND SHOREBIRDS: In the Bee, Ryan Sabalow looks at what is decimating populations of California's shorebirds.

While avian botulism outbreaks happen nearly every summer on the refuges, it’s usually just a few thousand birds at most.

This year was by far the worst avian botulism die-off on record in the Klamath Basin thanks to the refuge and its adjacent sister property, Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, having their supply water cut off earlier this year.

COVID-19, cakeday and classifieds after the jump...


Sorry for the nags, and I know it's irritating, but I also know you're seeing them across media properties, or at least I do every day including all the ones that take money from my account monthly.  

COVID-19: California added 64 deaths yesterday for a total of 24,284 since the pandemic began. Reporting continues to be delayed because of the holiday weekend, so it is possible that we wiil see higher numbers in the next few days that wouldn't suggest a worsening situation. That is why 7-day and 14-day averages are important. Below are those graphs from the California Department of Public Health, with the columns indicating daily counts and the lines tracking the 14-day averages. These data include reporting through 12/26.

COVID cases and deaths by day

Someone challenged me on Twitter this morning about if there has been a bump in hospitalizations between Thanksgiving and now. So, we just got the data from yesterday, so let's take a look.


  • Thanksgiving, November 26: 7,388
  • December 27: 20,462

ICU hospitalizations:

  • Thanksgiving, November 26: 1,726
  • December 27: 4,360

Okay, I know the joke about those who go to law school do so to evade advanced math, but I think I see something of significance in those numbers.

-IHME model: We haven't looked at the IHME model from the University of Washington in awhile, which has been considered among the most reliable even if still on the low side. It was updated on December 22.

Total deaths through April 1
IHME model - deaths
IHME model - deaths - chart
Source: UW Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (accessed 12/28/20)

From the definitions of different models, "universal masks" means that the percentage of residents wearing masks all of the time when in public immediately increases to 95%. Currently, the percentage is estimated to be 79%. "Rapid vaccine rollout" is 45 days and "mandates easing" is that restrictions are not reimposed, while "current projection" is that mandates are reimposed whenever daily deaths reach 8 per 1 million residents.

-Regional stay-at-home 

--Stay-at-home documents:

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

--Update on 12/07:

--Dr. Ghaly update on 12/08:

--Governor Newsom update on 12/18:

--the regions: Here are the regions with the latest ICU capacity (available physical beds and necessary staffing). The benchmark to avoid falling under the stay-at-home order is 15% capacity.

  • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
    ICU capacity as of 12/28: 29.3%
  • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
    ICU capacity as of 12/28: 9.5%

  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
    ICU capacity as of 12/28: 16.6%
  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
    ICU capacity as of 12/28: 0.0%

  • Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura
    ICU capacity as of 12/28: 0.0%

-prospects for a lift: I sort of had to giggle about a "BREAKING" tweet yesterday from the LA Times saying that the three-week stay-at-home order may be extended for the SoCal region. Ya think? Per the order, the regions falling below 15% ICU capacity were to be under the state's order for a minimum of three weeks, even if numbers rebounded above 15%, like the Greater Sacramento region currently stands. After the three weeks, which ended at 11:59pm last night for the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions and ends December 31 at 11:59 for the Greater Sacramento region. For the Bay Area region, it is January 7.

As of those dates, the state forecasts ahead four weeks to project whether or not ICU capacity will fall below 15%. Even with the Greater Sacramento region currently at 16.6%, I think all four regions will remain under the state's order until after the full impact of Christmas, New Year's, bowl games, and the like are known. ICU admissions of those that need it are up to six weeks from initial exposure. That's what the state and local public health officials are considering.

Here is Brittny Mejia's story at the Times about the extension of LA County. While I may tweet "Shocking to nobody," it is a story that needs to be told, as we have many emus with their heads in the sand that think that when the calendar turns to 2021, life returns to normal. That's certainly not the message I am hearing from health officials.

The unabated surge in coronavirus cases will likely result in extended stay-at-home orders for Southern California and other areas, as intensive care beds remain in dangerously short supply.

The earliest date that Southern California could have become eligible to exit the existing order was Monday, but state officials said Sunday that the region and several other areas would likely have to continue following the restrictions for several more weeks as the recent surge is pushing hospitals to the breaking point.

The restrictions include reduced capacity at retail stores; the closure of some businesses including hair salons, nail salons, card rooms, museums, zoos and aquariums; and a prohibition on most gatherings, hotel stays for tourism and outdoor restaurant dining.

Stay-at-home orders will remain in effect until the region’s projected ICU capacity is equal to or greater than 15%, according to state guidance. In the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions — which combined cover 23 of California’s 58 counties — the current available ICU capacity stands at 0%.


“It is likely that the Regional Stay at Home Order will extend for many regions in California,” the California Department of Public Health said in a statement Sunday. Once a county reaches the threshold of 15% ICU bed availability or greater, it must maintain that status for four weeks.

"Many regions" likely includes all four under the current stay-at-home order, although announced incrementally after the first three weeks and a four-week look-ahead.

-tiers for fears: There are no changes to the tiers that counties in theory will return to after regional stay-at-home orders are lifted.

  • Purple/Widespread=55 counties
  • Red/Substantial=2 (Alpine, Mariposa)
  • Orange/Moderate=1 (Sierra)

-hospitals: Tatiana Sanchez writes in the Chron that the current surge and possible further post-holidays surge of COVID-19 patients requiring advanced care has some hospital systems delaying non-emergency surgeries.

In the face of rising patient loads, Kaiser Permanente said it has postponed “elective and nonurgent” surgeries and procedures at its Northern California facilities through Jan. 4, though the delay does not apply to “cancer cases or other urgent/emergent surgeries and procedures.” The health system operates 39 hospitals across the state, with 21 in Northern California.

Kaiser hospitals in Southern California have postponed nonurgent elective surgeries through Jan. 10 — also with exceptions for cancer — and are also “not scheduling any new elective surgeries through the end of January,” according to the health system.

Sutter Health, with 24 hospitals in Northern California, is also postponing some elective surgeries, the Associated Press reported. A Sutter spokesperson declined to provide details Sunday but said the system has “a coordinated response across the network to prepare for and respond to patient surges,” which may include postponing some procedures.

Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center in San Jose also are canceling elective, nonurgent surgeries, a spokeswoman said Sunday, “so we can focus on all urgent cases, both COVID and non-COVID, and keeping all patients safe at the same time.”

-travel: The LAT's Nina Agrawal reports on the expected traffic expected to pass through LAX this week:

Tens of thousands of travelers are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport this week, amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County and pleas from public health officials for people to stay home and avoid gathering with family and friends outside their households.

The global COVID-19 pandemic drastically reduced air travel this year — in the early part of the pandemic, airport volume was down by as much as 96% compared with the same time last year — but the number of people traveling ticked up around Thanksgiving and again before Christmas, officials said.

The Transportation Security Administration screened 1.176 million passengers the Sunday after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year — and 1.191 million passengers the day before Christmas Eve, according to agency data. Many are expected to begin returning home to Southern California on Sunday.

-LA: what went wrong: In the LAT, Soumya Karlamangla and Rong-Gong Lin II look at why Los Angeles was so vulnerable to COVID-19. The answer -- it is quite complicated and multi-faceted.

-East LA: A team at the Times has a fantastic lengthy story on the pandemic through the eyes and experiences of people from different aspects in East Los Angeles.

It has been 284 days since California first went into lockdown and here in East L.A. — a hot spot of infection — nearly every street corner holds some sign of the virus that has stolen more than 24,000 lives statewide, widened the wealth gap and rewired the rhythms of how we mourn, learn, work and worship.

You can see it in the “We cash all stimulus checks” banner hanging outside a payday-loan spot on Atlantic Boulevard and in the way three women outside a clinic along Cesar Chavez Avenue quietly reposition their bodies when someone nearby lets out a rattling cough. You can hear it, too, in the whining ambulance sirens barreling west toward White Memorial Hospital.

Across the predominantly Latino neighborhood, which spans seven square miles, more than 15,000 residents — 1 in every 10 people — have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the highest recorded tally of any region in the county and serving as a stark reminder of the virus’ unequal impact.

Across L.A. County, as in most every corner of the nation, Black and Latino people have been hospitalized and died at disproportionately high rates — a testament to how the jobs we work, the number of people we live with, the level of healthcare we receive and our access to generational wealth shape so much about our lives and even our longevity.

Cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Kelly Burns, Garen Corbett, Steve Frank, Danny Leserman, and Michael Trujillo!


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]

Grants Program Director – California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency

Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council Division

Monthly salary: $8,173.00- $9,280.00

Application Deadline: Tuesday, December 22, 2020.

Expert in grant management directs all operations of grant programs, including developing and delivering public facing interactions with eligible grantees to provide technical guidance and evaluating data related to grant programs for the purpose of reporting and influencing statewide policy.

For more information about this position and to apply online please visit:

For questions contact:

Debbie Gutman
CPS HR Consulting

McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific

Built on the foundation of nationally ranked and world class programs, McGeorge School of Law offers an online master (MSL) degree for individuals seeking in depth knowledge of law and policy, but who do not require a traditional law degree. Our MSL’s two concentrations in Government Law & Policy and in Water & Environmental Law offer students the flexibility to work while they learn and still engage in a highly interactive master’s program. To learn more and to sign up for our monthly webinars, please visit our website,, or contact us at

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

Political Data Inc.
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