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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)
- California Apartment Association: $25,000 to Californians for Sydney Kamlager for Senate 2021, sponsored by Healthcare Providers, Insurance, Energy, and Housing Suppliers
The Nooner for Saturday, January 2, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners
- Prop. 22
- Train safety
-ICU capacity projection methodology
-"World War III"
-Valadao tests positive
-Every Rose Has Its Thorn
- Cakeday and classifieds
Happy Saturday! It was an exciting New Year's Day at Nooner Global HQ with a Zoom meet-up with the maternal side of my family. Then I made pork belly from Riverdog Farm in Guinda (Capay Valley in Yolo County) and paired it with braised kale with smoked ham hock, also from Riverdog, and al dente steamed broccoli from Patrick's Garden in Camino (Apple Hill area of El Dorado County). Anyway, I didn't get into the sourdough craze and I don't brew beer, but that doesn't mean "Lay, party of one?" can't have some food fun with farmers market food during these strange days. Lunches this week have been "sassy" salad mix from Farmelot in Vina (Tehama County) with smoked sturgeon from Passmore Ranch in Sloughhouse (Delta area of Sacramento County) and more produce from Patrick's Garden and other vendors.
Sorry for the food deviation. That's what happens after 8 hours of sleep and getting to my desk at 5:30am. It's 10:30 and I've written everything below but am waiting for the latest numbers from the California Department of Public Health, which begin to be posted at 11:00.
While most of the nearly 350,000 deaths in the United States pass away alone in a hospital and are only known by family and friends, this week has brought more names to the headlines. Congressman-elect Luke Letlow of Louisiana died from COVID-19, New Jersey State Senator Ben Chafin (R) died, former state senator Adam "John" Tassin, Jr., MD of Minnesota died, and an El Paso bilingual teacher known for her social media post of the routine of her first graders hugging upon arrival at school each day is gone after two months in the hospital and a month on a ventilator.
Meanwhile, Congressman-elect David Valadao (R-Hanford) tweeted yesterday that he tested positive for SARS-CoV-19 via a rapid antigen test and is awaiting results from the more accurate but time-consuming PCR test. Valadao, who reclaimed the seat in November flipped by TJ Cox in 2018, will miss tomorrow's swearing-in as he isolates in Hanford. The CDC reported yesterday that the rapid antigen tests are of questionable reliability.
While the return of the California State Legislature was delayed a week to January 11, these stories are certainly on the minds of members and their staff right now. When most legislators came to Sacramento on December 7 (eight state senators and five state Assembly members stayed home), the picture was quite a bit different. Just how different is remarkable and tragic.
Positivity rate (14-day rolling average):
- December 7: 8.7% of 296,424
- December 31: 12.6% of 308,377 tests
Daily cases (14-day rolling average):
- December 7: 18,858
- January 1: 38,423
Hospitalized COVID-19 patients (14-day rolling average):
- December 7: 9,113
- January 1: 20,090
ICU hospitalized COVID-19 patients (14-day rolling average):
- December 7: 2,041
- January 1: 4,193
Deaths (14-day rolling average):
- December 7: 91
- January 1: 280
That's a big change over 25 Days from when the Legislature convened the 2021-22 session. Most public health officials are saying it's the "Thanksgiving effect" with folks not heeding the warnings. January 1 was 36 days after Thanksgiving. The same time markers would be January 30 for Christmas Day and February 5 for New Year's Eve.
I've talked to several people around the Sacramento region (including Placer County, among the loosest in enforcing restrictions), and my neighborhood was not alone in celebrating New Year's with business as usual. I can't imagine other regions were all that different.
We're going to need a new version for January of the Counting Crows song I included yesterday.
PROP. 22 (transportation network companies): Following the passage of Proposition 22 in November, Joaquin Romero looks at the labor landscape for Capitol Weekly.
Proposition 22, which took effect in the middle of last month, exempts app-based employers — such as the ride-hailing and food delivery companies who sponsored the initiative — from classifying their workers as employees, identifying them instead as independent contractors.
The proposition was billed as a way to maintain the flexibility and freedom currently offered by app-based work. However, detractors argued that the law would allow companies to skirt labor law and exploit workers.
However, Proposition 22 isn’t simply an exception (from AB 5) for companies.
It also includes a number of concessions to drivers, including a minimum earnings requirement, compensation for additional expenses, non-discrimination protections, and ACA compliant healthcare. Needless to say, these changes will have some serious impacts on how much gig workers will actually take home.
Probably the most significant of these is the minimum earnings guarantee, which the bill requires be “tied to 120 percent of [the] minimum wage with no maximum,” as well as include a per-mile compensation fee of $0.30. Before the bill was drafted, Uber reportedly promised “a minimum wage of $21 per hour while a driver had a passenger or was on the way to pick one up” according to the New York Times.
Assembly member Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville), one of the most vociferous critics of AB 5, has introduced AB 25 to repeal the associated labor law provisions and replace the Supreme Court of California's holding in Dynamex v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County with the previous legal construct developed after S. G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations (1989).
TRAIN SAFETY: The LAT's David Lauter writes the story about why it took so long for a positive train control system to prevent deadly accidents to be implemented in California. It was the 2008 Chatsworth crash that broke the congressional logjam.
Using GPS signals, wayside radio towers and onboard computers, positive train control can track every train in the U.S. moving across nearly 60,000 miles of track. It’s designed to automatically stop a train if an engineer runs a signal, or slow it down if it’s moving too fast.
The system cost some $14 billion, by industry estimates, and took nearly half a century.
How that happened provides a case study in the halting, sometimes confounding, course that safety regulation can take in the United States. It’s a winding path that typically takes place in federal agencies far from the center of political debate. Some officials have spent entire careers working on train-control issues.
COVID-19, cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
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COVID-19: California added 378 deaths yesterday for a total of 26,362 since the pandemic began. Again, daily reporting has been somewhat screwed up because of the holiday and the Spectrum internet outage on Christmas Day. The 14-day trend is what is important, although it's good to look at what happened in the days since Christmas, specifically for Los Angeles County that had the network outage and accounts for a plurality (majority most days) of the daily reports of deaths.
Here's an update of the numbers for LA County with a smoothing out average of the last nine days:
|Los Angeles County reports
|| no report*
|| no report*
*no report was provided because of a Spectrum internet service outage; reports carried forward
Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, daily releases
--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.
No new regional data as of 11:25am 01/02.
- Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
ICU capacity as of 12/31: 33.3% (-0.8%)
- Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
ICU capacity as of 1/1: 6.3% (-2.2%)
- Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
ICU capacity as of 1/1: 11.1% (-3.3%)
- San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
ICU capacity as of 1/1: 0.0% (no change)
- Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura
ICU capacity as of 1/1: 0.0% (no change)
-ICU projection methodology: Today was the first day that the Greater Sacramento Region was eligible to have its stay-at-home order lifted after the initial three weeks, which is not going to happen. It obviously doesn't help that the region fell to 11.1% yesterday, well below the 15% minimum capacity (availability) required to return to the colored tier system for each county. Lots of folks have wondered how the four-week look-ahead is being measured. There is a paragraph in recent California Department of Public Health (CDPH) press releases, which states:
The ICU capacity projections are based on four factors: current estimated regional ICU capacity available, measure of current community transmission, current regional case rates and the proportion of ICU cases being admitted. Decreasing community transmission and increasing the health system capacity can help a region's projected ICU capacity so they can exit the order.
CDPH is expected to announce later today the status for the Greater Sacramento Region. Like San Joaquin and Southern California, the extension of stay-at-home is likely to be indefinite and won't be lifted until the outlook looks better.
-tiers for fears: There were no changes to county tier assignments yesterday.
- Purple/Widespread=54 counties
- Red/Substantial=3 (Alpine, Humboldt, Mariposa)
- Orange/Moderate=1 (Sierra)
-"World War III": In the Times, Matt Hamilton and Rong-Gong Lin II look at the combat-like atmosphere Los Angeles County health workers find themselves in.
Across L.A. County and much of Southern California, hospitals are struggling with an influx of intensely sick COVID-19 patients and a lack of resources, including staff and vital infrastructure, such as oxygen piping.
On Friday, the state summoned the U.S. Army Corps to help six hospitals dealing with severe challenges supplying oxygen to patients who needed it.
Alhambra Hospital was not among those, but it nonetheless was stretched thin by COVID-19 and the emotional toll it placed on all involved.
“I don’t think a lot of people outside are seeing what we are seeing,” [Nick Kwan, assistant medical director of emergency services at Alhambra Hospital in Los Angeles County] said. “It’s hard until you are in there, until your family and loved ones are in there.”
Since Thanksgiving, the 144-bed hospital that serves as a melting pot of the San Gabriel Valley, many of whose residents are first- and second-generation Latino and Asian immigrants, has seen a steady wave of patients with difficulty breathing.
Kwan said that besides Alhambra, he knows several other hospitals along the 210 Freeway corridor are full and straining under the burdens of the present surge.
Kwan said he knows the toll that the pandemic is taking: businesses closing, family and friends limiting social gatherings. He hasn’t seen his mom since February and his dad since March. His children waited until five days after Christmas to open gifts and celebrate with their father.
“I would tell people out there that this is serious. Help us fight this war,” he said. “It’s a group effort — we cannot fix this by ourselves. It’s really on public awareness and a collective effort to conquer this.”
Essentially, Los Angeles County is facing what New York City and Italy faced in the spring of 2020.
-Oxygen: The Army Corps of Engineers is coming to the aid of several Southern California hospitals with infrastructure problems delivering oxygen to the hardest hit COVID victims, report Marisa Gerber and Rong-Gong Lin II in the Times.
In L.A. County, where hospitals have gotten so backed up that patients have had to wait outside in ambulances for up to eight hours, hope for some respite finally arrived Friday: The Army Corps of Engineers was planning to send specialized crews to the region to update oxygen-delivery systems at a handful of aging hospitals.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, L.A. County health services director, said that the demand is so great for a high flow of oxygen and the buildings pipes are so old, they can’t maintain sufficient pressure and, at times, started to freeze. In a scramble, Ghaly said, some hospitals were forced to move patients to lower floors, because it’s easier to deliver oxygen there without needing pressure to push it up to higher floors.
Another oxygen-related problem — the chronic shortage of portable tanks — has also hampered hospitals abilities in recent days, county officials said. To discharge recovering patients as quickly as possible and free up space for other, sicker patients, hospitals often send patients home with oxygen tanks.
The team of design and construction experts from the Corps will evaluate six hospitals — Adventist Health White Memorial in Boyle Heights, Beverly Community Hospital in Montebello, Emanate Health Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, Lakewood Regional Medical Center, Mission Community Hospital in Panorama City and PIH Health Hospital in Downey — and then oversee upgrades where they’re deemed necessary.
Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said in a statement that the upgrades will “improve the ability to deliver life sustaining medical care to those who need it.”
The assessments are scheduled to begin as soon as Saturday, state officials said.
-Vaccines: In the Register, Scott Schwebke writes that as hospitals end up with surplus vaccines because a surprising number of first-priority workers are declining inoculation, in some cases family members are getting to jump the line in the state's priority system.
Amid assurances from major Southern California medical centers that only frontline health workers are receiving early COVID-19 vaccines, a second community hospital has apparently strayed from federal guidelines and inoculated an employee’s relative.
Officials at Southern California Hospital in Culver City, like Redlands Community Hospital previously, acknowledge they reached out to non-hospital workers when they found themselves with extra Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses that would have otherwise expired. They insist, however, that first-responders were targeted for the extra doses at the 420-bed facility.
Elsewhere, officials at other medical facilities throughout the region have indicated they are strictly heeding Centers for Disease Control recommendations to only offer the vaccine and extra doses found in some vials to frontline workers.
-Traveling nurses: In the SDUT, Mike Freeman looks at the steep prices hospitals and the state are paying to procure traveling health professionals from around the country to meet critical care needs.
The upswell of COVID-19 cases nationwide this fall has sparked surging demand for travel health care workers — mostly nurses who take temporary assignments outside of their hometowns.
ICU nurses are needed the most and command the highest pay. But telemetry and medical-surgical nurses are also in demand, followed by emergency department nurses and respiratory therapists.
Hospitals facing the toughest COVID-related labor shortages are now paying $4,000 to $8,000 per week for clinicians with highly sought skills such as ICU training, said Alan Braynin, chief executive of Aya Healthcare, a staffing agency for travel health professionals.
“I would say for certain specialties nothing has changed, but if you’re in ICU, telemetry or med-surg, rates could be up 80 percent to 100 percent,” he said. “I can think of three (hospital) systems where rates are up 200 percent.”
-What pandemic? The concert by Northern California Christian singer and congressional candidate Sean Feucht in the Northern California city of Valencia (think Magic Mountain) proceeded as scheduled Thursday night, reports Cindy Carcomo for the L.A. Times.
Southern California residents mostly stayed home on New Year’s Eve, heeding warnings by public health officials, but several large gatherings were still held across the region, including one by Christian activist Sean Feucht that drew an estimated 2,500 mostly unmasked attendants to a church parking lot in Valencia.
Despite the risks of spreading the coronavirus amid a deadly surge in the pandemic, people could be seen standing shoulder to shoulder while jumping, singing and shouting in a video posted by Feucht’s Instagram account. Most in the crowd did not wear face coverings.
The gathering took place Thursday night in the parking lot of Higher Vision Church in Valencia for a New Year’s Eve concert and worship service coordinated by Feucht.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies said there were no incidents reported before, during or after the event.
No "incidents." Meanwhile, everything is hunky-dory at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The "super-spreader task force" did conduct five raids on New Year's Eve and arrested 90 people. The Valencia concert was an allowable outdoor religious gathering under state and local stay-at-home orders.
We'll watch L.A. County numbers over the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Carcomo continues in her article about another New Year's Eve event to the southwest in Ventura County:
Earlier Thursday evening, actor Kirk Cameron and others gathered at Point Mugu Beach in Ventura County, according to ABC-7 footage and other news sources.
“We need to be listening for the voice of God, rather than being distracted by the noise of men. ... And let’s let our 2021 be a year of trumpets and shouting,” Cameron said in a video posted on his Instagram page, which showed a crowd shouting and clapping in response to his sermon. Most did not wear masks.
In recent weeks, Cameron has openly defied COVID-19 mandates to wear masks and physically distance from others, claiming they violate civil and religious liberties. He recently hosted two caroling events in Thousands Oaks that also came under fire from public health authorities.
Ventura County sheriff’s officials didn’t receive any calls about the gathering on the isolated stretch of beach, Capt. Eric Buschow said.
And, the Register's Susan Christian Goulding reports on the COVID-19 denial in Huntington Beach despite high spread, impacted hospitals, and death rates in Orange County.
[W]hen it comes to anti-mask sentiment, Huntington Beach is a special place. From the loud denial of health guidance to hosting political rallies promoting the belief that masks are unconstitutional to the local restaurants and bars that simply ignore state guidelines, Huntington Beach has gained national notoriety for its COVID denial.
Amplifying that reputation, voters elected mixed martial arts star Tito Ortiz – a colorful local celebrity who promotes coronavirus conspiracy theories — to the city council. At his swearing in on Dec. 7, Ortiz referred to the pandemic as the “plandemic,” in reference to the debunked idea it has been exaggerated as a way for governments to control their constituents.
Ortiz may be a high-profile anti-masker, but he is far from alone. Even as coronavirus cases surge around Orange County, hundreds of people regularly gather at the city’s pier – maskless and elbow-to-elbow – for “Curfew Breaker” parties. Tony Roman, the owner of a local restaurant, Basilico’s, garnered 15 minutes of fame by instituting a no-mask policy at his eatery. And just about any day, a stroll on crowded downtown sidewalks reveals many a bare face.
What follows is a journal of one December week in Huntington Beach, set against the backdrop of burgeoning coronavirus numbers and exhausted front-line health workers throughout Orange County.
-Collateral impact: A team at the Times looks at the impact that the COVID-19 caseload is having on those with other ailments.
With 700 nurses from primary care clinics diverted to hospitals and other critical needs, county officials have been forced to temporarily shut five public primary care clinics across the county and reduce hours at most of the others, which provide children with immunizations and where people with chronic diseases have their medications managed.
“We have kept a skeleton crew to continue to work in our outpatient clinics,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, the L.A. County director of health services. “But overall, our capacity for outpatient services is much less than it is in routine times.”
This means that patients with chronic illnesses will be at greater risk of needing to go to the emergency room if they become more seriously ill because of the lack of outpatient care.
“But in the absence of sufficient staff to care for our inpatients, we don’t have a better option,” Ghaly said.
-EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN: There was neither a Rose Parade nor a Rose Bowl in Pasadena yesterday as Los Angeles County wrestles with the worst current COVID-19 outbreak in the country. However there was a parade along the customary route -- of President Trump supporters. Eddie Rivera reports for Pasadena Now:
A massive caravan of as many as 1,000 vehicles filled with Trump supporters moved along Colorado Boulevard for hours Friday afternoon in what was billed as the “Patriots’ Rose Parade.”
The route, unused for the actual Rose Parade canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, was lined for blocks by cars and trucks festooned with flags and slogans, honking and blaring sirens. Drivers shouted slogans through bullhorns at the few pedestrians walking along mostly empty sidewalks.
Parade “provider” Dave Joson told Pasadena Now on Thursday that the participants were demonstrating against the official results of the presidential election, along with a protest against Governor Gavin Newsom’s orders to shut down restaurants and small businesses in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“They didn’t go by the rules. They didn’t follow the state constitutions to change the rules on mail-in ballots and all these things,” Joson said. “So there’s a twofold amount of people that are trying to change this and are using the Rose Parade as the crutch [sic] of this because that was a hundred year tradition. That was like the straw that broke the camel’s back at this point, because people have said ‘We’re done with this.’”
Joson called Newsom’s health orders “illegal.”
And just one day after Pasadena suffered its highest number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths in the history of the pandemic, most of the caravan participants did not wear masks, and there was little social distancing among the participants.
Meanwhile, #1 Alabama easily disposed of #4 Notre Dame 31-14 in the Rose Bowl, which was played in Arlington, Texas. 'bama will face #3 Ohio State, which beat #2 Clemson 39-28 in the Sugar Bowl, in the national championship game next Saturday at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Finally, go Ducks!
cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Light those candles for Roxanne Gould, Supervisor Curt Hagman, Jay Hansen, Briana Mullen, Nichole Rice, and Assembly member Robert Rivas!
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Director of Government Affairs, California Psychological Association
The California Psychological Association (CPA) is seeking a Director of Government Affairs. The Director of Government Affairs will report to the Chief Executive Officer and will be responsible for planning and managing the government affairs and advocacy efforts of CPA. This will include providing the primary analysis of proposed legislation to assess its impact on psychology, psychologists, and patients; serving as the primary contact for CPA with the California legislature and relevant government agencies; working with state regulators on policy issues; serving as CPA’s primary contact for health care provider advocacy groups , coalitions and stakeholders, and community providers; providing advocacy expertise and recommendations to the CPA Board of Directors , Local Advocacy Network, and CPA members, and the CPA PAC.
Link to full job description and to apply: https://www.cpapsych.org/resource/resmgr/advocacy_and_lan/CPADirOfGovAffairsPosition.pdf
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: https://jobs.ca.gov/CalHrPublic/Jobs/JobPosting.aspx?JobControlId=225782
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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, Online.McGeorge.edu, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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: