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 Wednesday, December 30, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Do you recall?
  • Undocumented children
  • Sin agua de la niña
  • Capitol construction
  • COVID-19
  • -the numbers
    -what ICU availability means
    -regional stay-at-home
    --the regions
    -tiers for fears
    -school reopening
    -disproportionate hospitals
    -LA: travel quarantine
    -LA: outdoor dining
    -LA: TV and film
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

State Capitol 12/29/20

Happy New Year's Eve eve, or something like that. I did get out from behind the desk in the afternoon yesterday for a longer walk. Walking down 7th Street, I looked down at that building from yesteryear, whenever that was. Anyway, it looked so "normal."

When I posted the slightly askew (hey, it's 2020 -- the world is askew) picture to IG and Facebook, I noted that things return Monday but under the same restrictions on members, staff, and the public as were in effect when the 2019-2020 Legislative Session adjourned in the early hours of September 1. A few folks reminded me that when the 2021-22 Legislature convened on December 7, both houses agreed to push back their return to Monday, January 11.

Okay, folks really didn't remind me. I just missed the announcement.

Nevertheless, the year will still start off in the same situation where staff coming into the Capitol per legislator and per committee will be limited, policy committees will be limited to two hearings unless given permission by Rules, elevator capacity will be limited, etc. Anyway, it'll at least start out as another Zoomtastic legislative session.

Downtown was of course quiet, although most of the Kay Street restaurants still in business were serving take-out orders. There were ominous buzzards flying high above Kay Street in their familiar circular pattern. Allspicery has been pleading for customers that have made online or phone orders to pick them up as they're running out of space in the small shop. Goodie Tuchews was still dishing out delicious cookies, although I took a pass this time around. I was masked door to door and would estimate 75% of folks were.

Anyway, for those who usually are downtown on weekdays, the Capitol says "I miss you!"

DO YOU RECALL? Politico's Jeremy B. White reports on the odd $500,000 contribution that was reported yesterday in support of the effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. Here is the contribution, which was found on yesterday's daily filing of large contributions:

Recall contribution

Jeremy writes:

Irvine-based consulting firm Prov 3:9, LLC contributed $500,000 to one of the committees seeking to put a recall election before California voters. The effort also received roughly $100,000 from Sequoia Capital partner Douglas Leone and his wife Patricia Perkins-Leone, who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Donald Trump and allied Republican groups this last campaign cycle.

I've been watching California campaign finance for 26 years, and I believe this is the first time a chapter and verse of the Bible has made a contribution. It gives new credence to those that suggested that 2020 may signal the Armageddon. Jeremy continues:

Prov 3:9, LLC has very little public trace. The company filed paperwork with the state in 2018 listing Gordon Schaller as the California agent. Subsequent filings list Schaller, as well as Thomas Liu as the manager, with "consulting services" as the type of business.


The company's name could refer to Proverbs 3:9 in the Bible, which says to "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops."

Me thinketh so. Also, I would surmise the "consulting" company that has no other trace is a shell to allow donors to obscure their donations and remain off Governor Newsom's "naughty" list. That would be illegal for a candidate campaign, but is allowable for a ballot measure campaign.

As of the sixth reporting period closing 12/07/20, proponents submitted 442,195 unvalidated signatures. Backers must collect 1,495,709 valid signatures by March 17, 2021 to trigger a recall election, which is 12% of the votes cast combined for all candidates in the 2018 gubernatorial election. Like the gaming and plastics initiatives, the deadline was extended because of public health orders limiting traditional signature gathering.

UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN: The Chron's legal eagle Bob Egelko reports that the Ninth Circuit has upheld most of a district court judge's ruling ordering the release of undocumented children.

Immigrant children caught crossing the border with their parents must be released to relatives or adult sponsors in the U.S. as soon as possible under a 1997 legal settlement, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, rejecting the Trump administration’s attempt to discard the agreement.

The Flores settlement — the result of a lawsuit filed in 1985 by Jenny Flores, a 15-year-old girl who had fled El Salvador — requires immigration officials to place youngsters in the “least restrictive setting available” and release them “without unnecessary delay” to a parent, adult relative or guardian. If none of those is available, they must be freed from confinement and placed with a licensed program that provides education and social services.

The Trump administration asked a federal judge in Los Angeles to end the settlement in August 2019, saying it was unworkable because of an influx of immigrants at the Mexico border and was no longer needed because of new regulations limiting confinement of migrant children. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee disagreed with both arguments, and on Tuesday the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld key points of her ruling, though not all of it.

Here is the ruling, which was 3-0 including two Clinton-appoint judges and one appointed by George W. Bush.

SIN AGUA CON LA NIÑA: In the Chron, Kurtis Alexander reports that state officials will be surveying the snowpack today to see if the picture has gotten any better, but it's believed that they will find a worrying situation for California's hopes of avoiding a return to drought conditions.

The snowpack in the Sierra and southern Cascades, which provides as much as a third of the water used by California cities and farms, is about 55% of average for this time of year. It hasn’t been this low at this time since 2017, when the state was emerging from a five-year drought.

State water officials are scheduled to lug their snow gauges into the mountains Wednesday and confirm the measurement in the first snow survey of the season — the unofficial time for Californians to start worrying about water for the coming year.

Two more historically wet months lie ahead, and a few big storms could start to rebuild the snowpack. But the bleak December picture, on top of last year’s dry winter, is renewing concerns about drought and prompting water agencies to begin calling for people to conserve more.

“In California, it’s not if the next drought is coming, it’s when,” said Chris Orrock, spokesperson for the state Department of Water Resources, which conducts the snow survey. “We’re having below-average dry conditions now, and we’re continuing to monitor it.”

CAPITOL CONSTRUCTION: For Capitol Weekly, Chuck McFadden looks at the suspense behind the rebuild of the Capitol's East Annex and construction of an underground visitor's center with fights between preservationists and lawmakers who believe the existing Annex lacks accessibility and modern safety requirements.

Can I add bathrooms and water bottle refill stations?

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. At least I do every day including all the ones that take money from my account monthly.  

COVID-19: California added 442 deaths yesterday for a total of 24,987 since the pandemic began. Many of the new deaths yesterday were carried forward from the weekend when reporting was limited because of health departments closed for the holiday and an internet outage Saturday in Los Angeles County. The catch-up from the reporting lag over the holiday weekend continues and LA County reported in its release yesterday "Public Health anticipates confirming additional deaths due to the backlog of death reports over the next two to three days."

As we've talked about several times, because of the inconsistency of daily reporting, the 14-day rolling average of each of the five indicators are what's important. That said, on deaths later today we should have a good assessment of the dailies from Christmas through yesterday, which will be informative.  Here are the 14-day rolling averages of the major indicators with data through yesterday, posted at 11am today:

  • Cases (leading): 39,076
  • Positivity (leading): 12.2%
  • Hospitalizations (current): 21,433
  • ICU hospitalizations (current): 4,478
  • Deaths (lagging): 432

On positivity rate, here are the recent 14-day rolling averages positivity rates, with the number of tests on the cited date in parentheses. Positivity rate amidst broad testing is the most leading of indicators. All data is from the state dashboard.

  • 10/1: 2.8% (96,580 tests)
  • 11/1: 3.2% (169,186)
  • 12/1: 6.9% (137,813)
  • 12/29: 12.2% (248,968*)
  • 12/29 daily: not available, was 14.8% on 12/28 

* within the 14 days, tests were up to 395,234 pre-holiday and with a 48- to 72-hour timeframe for most results, there was a big dip Monday-Tuesday, since few tests were administered Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Here are the data for Sacramento County:

  • 10/1: 3.9%
  • 11/1: 4.0%
  • 12/1: 10.7%
  • 12/29: 14.0%
  • 12/29 daily: not broken down by county

-What ICU availability means: In the Chron, Erin Allday and Dominic Fracassa looked at how "ICU capacity" (availability) is measured on the Chron's Fifth and Mission podcast.

While the Bay Area region reported sharply lower ICU availability, it has 9.5% of beds available. On Monday, the Greater Sacramento region was at 16.6% availability, down from 17.8% a day earlier. Northern California, the only region not under the stay-at-home order, improved slightly with 29.3% availability.

Chronicle health reporter Erin Allday and editor Dominic Fracassa discussed what California’s “0% ICU capacity” number means in the latest episode of the Fifth and Mission podcast. Here’s an edited transcript with the explanation.

Erin Allday responded:

But in the most simple lay terms, every hospital has a certain number of intensive care beds that are licensed by the state. The state licenses your intensive care beds and you have to have the staff and the equipment for that bed to be deemed appropriate for intensive care.

But each of these hospitals also has systems in place, and they have these in place all the time, for a busy flu season, for a busy summer season if they get a lot of car accidents. So, it’s beds that can be used for so-called surge capacity, where they put patients if they do run out of room with these licensed ICU beds.

What this 0% means is they have essentially used up all of their licensed beds, and they are now into this surge capacity. It varies a lot from hospital to hospital. In Southern California, you have some hospitals that, I think, they are at 200%. So they are doubling up patients in rooms, they have patients in the emergency room that are getting intensive level of care. And we're seeing this across the region in Southern California and in the San Joaquin Valley.

But some of those hospitals may have a few beds. It’s not necessarily saying that every hospital is at 0%. It just means that, for the whole region, there are enough of those hospitals at overcapacity that it takes away from the total number for the region, and that’s the same for the state.

Right now, the California Department of Public Health keeps telling us that we are at 0% availability for ICU beds in the entire state. We know that’s not true because we know the Bay Area, for example, has a fair amount of ICU beds still available. We’re worried about it; we’re worried about the strain. But we still definitely have ICU beds available. What that means is just that so many hospitals in these hard-hit parts of the state are so far overcapacity that it’s eating into the statewide technical availability.

-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:

--Governor Newsom update on 12/28:

--Dr. Ghaly update on 12/29:

--Governor Newsom update on 12/30 (K-6 school reopening):

--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 12/29: 27.9%
  • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
    ICU capacity as of 12/29: 10.4%

  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
    ICU capacity as of 12/29: 19.1%
  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
    ICU capacity as of 12/29: 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 12/29: 0.0%

-tiers for fears: Yesterday, Humboldt County moved from the most restrictive purple tier to the less restrictive red tier.

  • Purple/Widespread=54 counties
  • Red/Substantial=3 (Alpine, Humboldt, Mariposa)
  • Orange/Moderate=1 (Sierra)

-School reopening: Governor Newsom's 10am presser was to announce a financial incentive for school districts in red and purple counties to reopen elementary schools for in-person instruction on a phased-in basis based on grade level with precautions, including routine testing of teachers, staff, and students. In stay-at-home counties, only schools that were granted a county public health waiver to reopen are allowed to offer in-person instruction.

This should be the link to the recorded YouTube video of the announcements.

For Edsource, John Fensterwald and Louis Freedberg have more details and there are lots of nuances.

During the announcement, State Board of Education president Linda Darling-Hammond suggested that school districts will be supported to offer instruction during the summer for "make-up time," something I wrote about the other day.

In follow-up questions, Governor Newsom said that the January budget proposal will include funding to address "learning loss," specifically in the summer. He was also cautious to not get into details since they haven't been shared with key legislators, but it's clear that it's been put to bed. The Governor's Office and Department of Finance tries to wrap by Christmas and we can never forget that New Year's Eve budget drop by Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration, although I wouldn't expect that to happen tomorrow night.

-Disproportionate hospitals: A team at the Times report on the Los Angeles County hospitals seeing a disproportionate share of low-income and Latino and Black individuals presenting with COVID-19.

While all hospitals across Los Angeles County are being slammed by waves of COVID-19 patients, those in lower-income, densely populated and nonwhite communities have been hit hardest and face the greatest challenge in providing care, according to a Times data analysis.

Hospitals in South Los Angeles, the cities in Southeast L.A. County along the 710 Freeway and in parts of the southern San Gabriel Valley are experiencing the greatest capacity problems, the data showed. Many of these facilities are relatively small and are less able to add intensive care staff or expand bed capacity than the county’s biggest hospitals.

The data underscores how communities of color have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic, with Latino and Black residents far more likely to get the virus and die of it compared with whites. Low-income essential workers often get sick while on the job and then spread COVID-19 to family, officials have said.

This has been a longstanding issue of health equity in "normal" times that the state has sought to remediate through the Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) program, or "dish" in state budget parlance.

LA: travel quarantine: There was a lot of confusion when new travel quarantine requirements in Los Angeles County were slipped into Monday's daily press release. Yesterday, the new order was published (item 3(f) beginning on page 5), and reads:

LA travel order
LA travel order

-LA: outdoor dining: In the LAT, Lila Seidman writes that the 2nd District Court of Appeal has paused the trial court's order that Los Angeles County provide a cost-benefit analysis of its ban on outdoor dining, which pre-dated the state's stay-at-home order. A full hearing on the issue is back in the trial court February 10.

Brett Morrow, director of communications for the county Department of Public Health, said the most recent legal action, filed Dec. 18, allows the county to continue protecting residents from the spread of the coronavirus as hospitals struggle to accommodate COVID-19 patients amid an unprecedented surge in the illness.

“The law is on the side of protecting public health and safety, and we are grateful for the court’s decision,” Morrow said in an email, adding that state law permits the public health officer to act “urgently and swiftly” during a health crisis.

County officials suspended outdoor dining on Nov. 25 — the day before Thanksgiving — as coronavirus cases began to tick up. The California Restaurant Assn. sued to stop the county’s ban, with a downtown L.A. restaurant, Engine Co. No. 28, filing a similar suit against the initial suspension, which was meant to last for three weeks, expiring Dec. 16.

-LA: TV and film: The LAT's Wendy Lee reports that Los Angeles County public health officials are urging a pause in TV and film production for a few weeks amidst the surge and impacted hospitals.

In an update sent Dec. 24 to film industry contacts, the L.A. County Department of Public Health wrote that “although music, TV and film productions are allowed to operate, we ask you to strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases.” Parts of the note were published on the website of FilmLA, the nonprofit group that handles film permits for the city and county.

The department also said that travel for production is not advised because it is more likely people will be in shared vehicles, increasing the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.

FilmLA declined to comment, referring questions to the county’s department of public health. The department did not respond to a request for comment.

Cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Mark Dierking, Tina Cannon Leahy, and Josefina Notsinneh!


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.
For 30 Years PDI has been California’s premier data vendor. Now, you can get live online trainings on the newest PDI software every week: