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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 Thursday, December 31, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • School daze
  • EDD
  • LA-LA land
  • OC jails
  • Feeling crabby
  • COVID-19
    -the numbers
    -new strain
    -regional stay-at-home
    --regional data
    -tiers for fears
    -military help
    -SF: order extended
    -LA: travel quarantine
    -OC: field hospitals
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

Well, this is it. As they say during professional sports drafts, 2020 "you're on the clock." Of course, we know that a change in calendar will be merely cosmetic for now. 

One year ago on this date, Chinese authorities first reported cases of a new pneumonia in Wuhan, China.

One year ago, things were pretty quiet here. Here's the rundown:

The Nooner for 12-31-19Alas, a special election, a federal lawsuit was filed by Uber, Lyft, and Postmates against AB 5, and then-Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) announced he wouldn't seek reelection (became White House COS) 30 hours before the filing deadline allowing the wife of a close friend to file.

The good old days. May New Year's Eve 2019 return to a slow news day.

My cleaning spree leading up to the New Year's continues. Yesterday I tackled my bathroom, kitchen, refrigerator, and about half my floors. This morning I've washed a rug and towels are in now; sheets will follow. My goal is to be done by the Buddhist Church of Sacramento's Joya-E service at 7pm via Facebook Live before I settle down to watch Anderson and Andy.

On another note, if you have been unsuccessfully looking for bucatini pasta, there's an interesting story about its absence in the United States this year and it has nothing to do with COVID.

SCHOOL DAZE: Following the governor's announcement yesterday of incentives for elementary schools to reopen, Anna B. Ibarra and Mikhail Zinshteyn report for CalMatters on the details:

After painting a dark forecast for the pandemic earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom today offered parents and students some hope: He has a $2-billion plan for schools to start in-person learning by spring.

Newsom’s January budget will call for providing a  one-time payment of $450 per student to school districts that offer in-person instruction to help cover their extra costs related to the virus. 

The phased-in approach would prioritize the state’s youngest learners, kindergarten to sixth grade, beginning in February, Newsom said. Distance learning will remain an option for families, he said. Schools serving low-income families, English learners and foster youth could qualify for more than $450 per student, according to the plan posted by the California Department of Public Health.  

The proposal would need the approval of the Legislature, since it’s a major increase in spending for the state’s budget.

“It’s a good start, and we look forward to partnering with him on the details,” said Sen. John Laird, a Democrat from Santa Cruz who is chairman of the budget education subcommittee.

Here is the release from the Governor's Office on the plan. And, now that elections are over, can I say how happy that Laird is back in the Legislature and in the key education roll? 

While the plan requires local union sign-off, neither of the state's large teachers unions endorsed the plan out the gates. In a written statement, California Teachers Association president E. Toby Boyd stated in part:

As California remains the nation’s COVID hotspot and amidst an ICU crisis, CTA continues to support distance learning for schools that are in the highest, Purple Tier of transmission rates. We will continue our conversations with lawmakers and the governor. This must be a joint effort to ensure a safe return to our classrooms where we know our students learn best and thrive.”

Currently, school districts in purple counties not under a stay-at-home order can reopen with a plan and waiver from the county health department. In stay-at-home regions, only those districts that received a waiver prior to the order may continue to conduct in-person instruction. There are currently 10 counties in purple that are not at stay-at-home, all in the Northern California region.

Of course, the Greater Sacramento region will be eligible for the four-week outlook of ICU capacity although the results of that and any possible changes likely won't be announced by the state until after the holiday weekend. If the state's stay-at-home order is lifted for the region, it would then fall to local orders. Sacramento County has an order that is effective until lifted. Following the resignation of the previous county health officer after the Board of Supervisors overturned her order earlier this year, it appears that Placer County has no local order and instead points to the state.

SIN AGUA POR LA NIÑA: For KCRA, John Antcjak reports on the snowpack update:

The amount of water in California’s mountain snowpack is only about half of average for early winter, a state Department of Water Resources official said Wednesday, urging conservation but noting that a dry start doesn’t always predict the season’s outcome.

An automated sensor network on 260 snow courses statewide found the snow-water content to be 52% of average to date, said Sean de Guzman, chief of the department’s snow surveys and water supply forecasting section.

De Guzman found a bit of better news after snowshoeing out into a clearing at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada, where manual measurements have been conducted since 1941.

The measurement there found 30.5 inches (77.4 centimeters) of snow with a water content of 10.5 inches (26.6 centimeters), which equates to 93% of average to date and 42% of the April 1 average, the key date when the snowpack is typically at its peak.

The Sierra snowpack typically supplies about 30% of the water needed by California when spring comes and it begins to melt, eventually ending up in aqueducts and reservoirs.

EDD: Congratulations (I think) to longtime Nooner reader Rita Saenz for her appointment by Governor Newsom as Director of the Employment Development Department. The agency has had a rocky 2020 processing a deluge of applications amidst the pandemic, dealing with supplemental payments and temporary inclusion of "gig" workers and traditional independent contractors, and major fraud rings.

From the Governor's Office release:

Saenz was a Consultant at Saenz and Associates from 2016 to 2020. She held several positions at the Xerox Corporation from 2007 to 2016, including Director of California Governmental Affairs and Director of Communications. At Affiliated Computer Services she was Western Regional Director of Health and Human Services from 2007 to 2009. She was Chief Executive Officer at the Academy for Coaching Excellence from 2004 to 2007, Director at the California Department of Social Services from 1998 to 2004 and Chief Executive Officer at Maria Nemeth Associates LLC from 1983 to 1998. Saenz served in several positions in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 1981 to 1983, including Appointments Secretary and Special Assistant to Appointments. She was Director of the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse from 1978 to 1981. 

Best of luck Rita!

LA-LA LAND: Flouting calls from local officials to not proceed, Christian volunteer pastor, singer, and CA03 (Yolano-Yuba-Lake) candidate this year Sean Feucht proceeded with a Skid Row concert last night. The LAT's Gale Holland and Leila Miller report:

Dozens of evangelical Christians and activists skirmished in the streets of skid row Wednesday night as controversial evangelical Christian singer Sean Feucht’s followers arrived for a homeless outreach event.

Activists assembled dozens of vehicles leading into skid row to try to block Feucht, who has staged largely maskless concerts nationwide to protest COVID-19 restrictions on religious worship. The protesters worried the outreach could catalyze a coronavirus super-spreader event among skid row’s vulnerable homeless population.

Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department were on hand to stop any violence, Mayor Eric Garcetti said earlier in the day. Protesters spilled out of the vehicles, chanting, “No mask, go home” and “You don’t look like Jesus. You came here to kill us.”

Feucht, apparently in response, moved the outreach a block away. One maskless worshiper, wearing a T-shirt saying “Jesus is my lifeguard,” laid hands on a homeless man lying on the sidewalk, reciting “Satan, be silent. Go away.” She waved off hand sanitizer, and dashed a mask a protester had handed her to the ground and stamped on it.

But many of Feucht’s followers were in masks, although social distancing was nonexistent. It was unclear, however, whether Feucht was present.

Feucht has a concert and party planned for tonight in Valencia.

OC JAILS: The California 4th District Court of Appeal has rejected a motion for a stay of a superior court judge requiring county Sheriff Don Barnes to reduce jail population in light of a COVID-19 outbreak. Tony Saavedra writes in the Register:

Barnes said he would continue fighting to keep from releasing what he called dangerous criminals onto the streets.

“While I am disappointed that the court did not take immediate action, our appeal remains under consideration,” he said. “We will continue to take every step available to fight the order and keep dangerous offenders from being released into our community.”

Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson, responding to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, had ordered Barnes to release hundreds of inmates for not taking enough precautions to shield them from the virus.


Under the ruling by the California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, Barnes is next required to submit a plan to the court to reduce the jail population by more than 1,000. He said 1,471 inmates, including 183 declared medically vulnerable, already have been released since the start of the pandemic.

The jail has been hit by a resurgence of coronavirus, with 1,229 inmates currently infected.

FEELING CRABBY: It's not demoic acid. It's not endangered whales. However, there still isn't fresh Dungeness crab from Bay Area fleets for New Year's after missing Thanksgiving and Christmas. While the commercial fishery is legally open, now the fight is over pricing as crabbers scramble to make up for losses earlier in the customary season, which was delayed because of endangered migrating whales lingering on their way to Baja.

Bay Area households will again miss out on Dungeness crab for a major holiday as local fleets continue negotiating for higher wholesale prices. The commercial Dungeness crab season was set to begin on Dec. 23, but local fleets chose not to work the waters because they said the wholesale prices they were being offered weren’t enough to justify them spending money on fuel, insurance, bait and boat maintenance.

For more than a decade, wholesale prices for Dungeness crab have hovered at around $2.50 to $3.25 per pound. Pacific Seafood, one of the West Coast’s largest wholesale buyers of Dungeness crab, offered boats $2.25 per pound just before Christmas, when the commercial season was due to start after more than a monthlong delay to protect endangered whales in fishing zones. San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association President John Barnett said crabbers in the region want to see the price closer to $3.30.

The work stoppage isn’t just happening among San Francisco fishers. Most commercial fishermen along the coast from Monterey up to Bodega Bay are planning only to start working once the price negotiations are settled, said Mike Conroy, president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.

Conroy said the negotiations were still “about 50 to 80 cents” apart on pricing as of Tuesday evening. Both Conroy and Barnett said the negotiations look as though they could last through New Year’s Day.

So much for the usual New Year's Eve cioppino, which is one of my favorites for the night. Instead, tonight will be Korean short ribs that I made last night in the Instant Pot. Not cioppino, but yummy yummy anyway!

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

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Hopefully this customary ad slot will be filled soon!

COVID-19: California added 424 deaths yesterday for a total of 25,411 since the pandemic began. Yesterday, California recorded crossed 25,000 deaths and Los Angeles County crossed 10,000.

We've talked in this space about the Los Angeles County reporting situation, where a Spectrum internet service outage on Christmas Day kept the county from reporting and leading to delays that carried forward to subsequent days. Thus, it's particularly important to look at the period around the outage to get daily averages of new cases and reported deaths. Here's what that looks like:

Los Angeles County reports
   Cases   Deaths 
Thursday, 12/24         13,678              148
Friday, 12/25  no report*   no report* 
Saturday, 12/26         29,464              142
Sunday, 12/27         13,580                44
Monday, 12/28         13,661                73
Tuesday, 12/29         12,979              227
Wednesday, 12/30         10,392              274
7-day daily average         13,393              130
*no report was provided because of a Spectrum internet service outage;
reporting carried forward to subsequent days

I'll keep tracking these for a few more days, as LA County Public Health reports that additional backlog deaths may be reported over the next couple of days. Additionally, the dip in cases is likely due to closure of testing centers over the holiday as well as more limited diagnostics. Further, LA County believes that people who traveled or gathered over the holiday may be getting post-holiday tests.

-New strain: While Governor Gavin Newsom stated during the 10am update that the "UK strain" had not been found in California, but by the time of his 1pm conference with Dr. Fauci, he announced that it had been found in Southern California. Victoria Colliver reports for Politico:

The news of the strain’s arrival didn’t surprise Fauci, who described Covid-19 and other RNA viruses in the same family as “making a living off mutating” and said it was bound to arrive here. “I don’t think Californians should feel this is something odd,” he said. “This is something to be expected.”


San Diego Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said in a news briefing Wednesday that the patient is a 30-year-old man with “no travel history.”

Happy birthday Nathan!

Mark Ghaly, secretary of the state's Health and Human Services Agency, called the detection "concerning."

"As we learn more about how this patient contracted this strain, I want to stress the importance of continuing our mitigation efforts to prevent Covid-19 and this new strain," Ghaly said in a statement, urging people to follow public health protocols and to avoid travel and mixing outside households.

Fauci, chief of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, underscored that early evidence shows the new strain spreads more easily, but it doesn’t make people sicker or appear to be deadlier. Fauci said many mutations are irrelevant, but “this particular mutation does in fact make the virus better at transmitting from one person to another.”

The emergence of the new strain, which is more contagious but perhaps not more harmful, is raising questions nationally about reopening schools to in-person instruction.

-Vaccinations: In the Chron, Catherine Ho writes that Governor Newsom yesterday admitted that vaccine roll-out is going more slowly, although California is not unique.

About two weeks after the first shots began going into the arms of California’s highest-priority health care workers, about 300,000 people have been inoculated with the first of two doses of the vaccine. That is about 13% of the 2.4 million people in the first group scheduled to be inoculated in California. Earlier this month, federal health officials said most states would be able to complete vaccinations for health care workers within a few weeks.

“That we’ve already administered 300,000 doses is extraordinary,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday during a Facebook Live talk with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “But there’s been some frustration, a little bit of frustration — we may have overpromised a little bit in the short run about the availability and the distribution of vaccine.”

Operation Warp Speed, the federal program to accelerate vaccine development and distribution, has delivered 14 million doses of the vaccine in the U.S. — well below the 40 million doses it initially projected it would deliver in December. Each recipient needs two shots of the vaccine to be inoculated. The U.S. has vaccinated about 2.6 million people, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During an Operation Warp Speed briefing Wednesday, the program’s chief operating officer, Army Gen. Gus Perna, said delays could be the result of hospitals still figuring out how to store the vaccines at very cold temperatures and slowness in launching vaccinations at nursing homes.

-Regional stay-at-home:

--documents and updates:

--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):

--Governor Newsom and Dr. Fauci on 12/30:

--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. Today provides bad news for the Greater Sacramento Region, which has dropped again below 15% the day before the four-week ICU capacity look-ahead could first be considered by the state.

  • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
    ICU capacity as of 12/31: 34.1%
  • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
    ICU capacity as of 12/31: 8.5%

  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
    ICU capacity as of 12/31: 14.4%
  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
    ICU capacity as of 12/31: 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 12/31: 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)

-Military help: KQED's Alexandra Hall reports that 75 military medical personnel are being deployed to the Central Valley and Colton in San Bernardino County to assist hospitals with the most severe staffing shortages.

Roughly 65 U.S. Air Force doctors, nurses and other medical staff from the 60th Medical Group at Travis Air Force Base and around 10 U.S. Army nurses from a Fort Carson, Colorado-based military medical unit, have arrived and begun onboarding at four hospitals: Adventist Health Lodi Memorial in Lodi, Dameron Hospital in Stockton, Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.

The deployment comes as California — and the entire country — is experiencing a devastating surge in COVID-19 cases. The hospitals selected are located in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, two regions of the state with 0% ICU bed capacity and currently under mandatory stay-at-home orders. On Tuesday, those orders were extended.

“We are in the middle of a big surge and a crisis in our health care system,” Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said in a media briefing Tuesday. “We’ve seen more fatalities this month than through any other month of the pandemic here in Fresno County."

-Gyms: We have yet another lawsuit challenging public health orders restricting indoor operations, this time filed in San Diego Superior Court by twenty-five more gyms. Lyndsay Winkley reports in the Union-Tribune:

The complaint, filed Dec. 23 in San Diego Superior Court, is directed against Gov. Gavin Newsom, Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer and the California Department of Public Health, among others.

Like those before it, the lawsuit, filed on Dec. 23, seeks an injunction that would allow the fitness centers to resume indoor operations while preserving some health and safety regulations set by the county.

Gyms are a place where people go to maintain and improve their mental and physical health. And good health equals good immune systems, which help us fight off sickness,” said Charlotte Najar, one of the attorneys representing the fitness clubs. “To take that ability away seems counterintuitive when we’re battling a disease.”

Under current restrictions, gyms can only operate outdoors. And while that’s more than some businesses are allowed under the state’s most recent stay-at-home order, it’s not enough, says Artem Sharoshkin, CEO of The Boxing Club, one of the gyms named in the suit.


Najar said her law firm, the Batta Fulkerson Law Group, took the case pro bono.

While all of these lawsuits have failed, it's a good move for the law firm. A court filing and one appearance is cheaper than a billboard for a personal injury firm.

Batta Fulkerson practice areas

I never new that there were separate practice areas for Uber and Lyft accidents. Does the lawyer suing Lyft wear a pink mustache to court?

-SF: order extended: The City and County of San Francisco has extended its local order, which incorporates state stay-at-home with a quarantine requirement and other localized provisions, indefinitely. The order was scheduled to expire January 4, although the Bay Area Region won't reach the state four-week look-ahead of ICU capacity until January 8. The local quarantine requirement is remaining at home for ten days upon returning from outside the Bay Area. Erin Allday has a story in the Chron.

-LA: travel quarantine: The LA County travel quarantine order changed again yesterday, which is found on page 5 under 3(f) and now reads:

LA travel order

The biggest change is the final sentence that defines non-essential travel for the purposes of this order. While all employees are required to work at home whenever possible under the general stay-at-home order, this makes it clear that it is not a violation of the travel quarantine order for crossing county lines going to or from work.

-OC: field hospitals: In the Register, Alicia Robinson reports on field hospitals being erected In hospital parking lots in Orange County.

Facing what one hospital official called “a dire situation” as more and more people with COVID-19 seek care, UCI Medical Center in Orange became the first of three Orange County hospitals to put up field tents in a parking lot to hold extra patient beds.

After erecting the mobile hospital in just over a week, UCI doctors brought in the first patients Tuesday morning and are now treating about 22 people with less acute conditions there, medical center spokesman John Murray said Wednesday, Dec. 30.

UCI’s field tents are licensed for 40 beds and could potentially hold more. Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Los Alamitos Medical Center each have requested a 25-bed setup from the OC Health Care Agency. 

Cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Senator Steve Bennett, Rocky Fernandez, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Christian Griffith, and Miles White!


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: