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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 Sunday, January 3, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Do you recall?
  • New laws
  • SF drug epidemic
  • COVID-19
    -the numbers
    -new strain
    -post-Christmas surge
    -New Year's clusterf***
    -Kaiser San José
    -LA County breakdown
    -regional stay-at-home
    --regional data
    --Bay Area strain
    --Greater Sacramento Region
    --Placer County
    --LA homeless
    -tiers for fears
  • Cakeday and classifieds

¡Hola! It was an early morning but another night of good sleep albeit an early morning. I got more than three hours of work in before heading to farmers market at 8. Most of the vendors were back, although my beloved PT Ranch was not. So, no chicken on the menu this week. It looks like dinners will be chili, stew, and pork chops. Given the weather outlook, I think I'll be satisfied.

Last night was the final night of my "sturgeon week." I made a Thai yellow curry with Passmore Ranch (Sloughhouse, Sacramento County) sturgeon, Ge Moua Farm (Sacramento County) Japanese sweet potatoes, and snow peas over Lundberg Family Farms (Richvale, Butte County) jasmine rice.

It was awesome and tonight will be leftovers before I start cooking tomorrow with this week's haul, which will include a chili and a stew with Winterport Farm (Ione, Amador County) beef, and pork chops from Riverdog Farm (Guinda, Yolo County). Actually, this afternoon, I'll likely make the chili and cook a Riverdog pork shoulder roast for salads this week with beautiful greens from Farmelot (Vina, Tehama County) and broccoli from Ge Moua. I also have lots of root veggies to roast and on this cold, gloomy day, I have no qualms of turning the oven to 400 for an hour!

Aside from Farmelot, all of the farms above are in the Greater Sacramento Region and I am so thankful for the hardworking essential farmworkers who continue to put food on our tables during these troubling times.

On to politics and policy...

We now have a 117th Congress and this is going to be a wild week. It's 10:45am now and I'm waiting for the state COVID-19 data to be updated at 11:00, although the ICU capacity percentages of the five regions has been coming out several hours later. I've been tweeting it out when it's posted, although there should be no breaking news today, but rather just more troubling news.

ICU capacity by region - January 2

I'm also waiting for the vote for Speaker of the House of Representatives. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) is expected to retain the gavel, although some Democrats may vote "present." Actually, at 11:25am just before the Early-Bird Nooner goes out, they are working through the roll call, which is painstaking as groups of lawmakers are ushered in by alphabetical order in groups to maintain distancing.

There is currently an 11-vote margin for Democrats although some members are absent due to positive SARS-CoV-2 tests, including David Valadao (R-Hanford). The election for Speaker is a majority of those voting by name for a candidate.

The votes to accept the Electoral College ballots is Wednesday, although it will be anything but the usual ceremonial event with 12 Republican senators planning to challenge slates of electors from several states.

Here is what will happen on Wednesday in the joint session of Congress at 1pm EST in the House chamber, pursuant to the Electoral Count Act of 1887 (3 U.S. Code §15). Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, will preside. His job is to open envelopes, just as Al Gore did after the disputed election in 2000. He will open the electoral vote count for each state in alphabetical order, read the count, and ask if there are any objections.

If there is an objection, the two houses divide and senators return to the Senate chamber. Both houses have two hours to debate amongst themselves on the electors from the state for which the objection has been raised.

You can imagine how long that could take. However, the hope is that the 12 (at last count) GOP senators and 120+ House Republicans make their point with Georgia, which would be first alphabetically (unless Arizona is objected to). They will lose the vote in both houses, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposing the effort. But, it could play out with two-hour debates for Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well. President Trump was on a conference call with state legislators from AZ, GA, MI, PA, and WI yesterday hosted by 501(c)(4) organization "Got Freedom?." The President tweeted a Breitbart article about the call this morning. The article states that a "similar briefing is being scheduled in Washington, D.C. at the request of Members of Congress."

Anyway, Wednesday could be a long day but the final chapter has already been written.

DO YOU RECALL? Yesterday, former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted:

It’s a new year. We need a new governor.

Jobs are leaving, homelessness is skyrocketing, and the state can’t even issue unemployment checks to people struggling right now to get by.

California is better than this.

Join me in signing the recall petition.

While he hasn't opened a committee yet or filed a Statement of Intent, Faulconer has sent strong signals that he would challenge Governor Newsom in 2022. Now it appears that he's poised to jump into the "second question" race if there is a recall election.

NEW LAWS: I should have linked to this earlier, but the CalMatters staff has put together explainers of nine new state laws, each explained in one-minute videos.

Included are:

  1. Mental health parity
  2. Paid family leave expansion
  3. New policing laws
  4. CSU ethnic studies
  5. Inmate firefighters
  6. Slavery reparations study
  7. Tax credits for undocumented workers
  8. Closing juvenile prisons
  9. Workplace COVID-19 outbreaks

SF DRUG EPIDEMIC: In the Chron, Trisha Thadani reports on the relentless scourge of fentanyl deaths in San Francisco, particularly in the Tenderloin, amidst increased policing.

More than 630 people died of overdoses in San Francisco from January to the end of November, a new record and a staggering increase from 441 in all of 2019. Amid the wave of death this spring, the San Francisco Police Department increased the number of officers focused on drug dealers in the Tenderloin — particularly those selling fentanyl to people like Stanphill’s 26-year-old son.

But the added focus on the long-troubled neighborhood did not stop the surge of fatalities in 2020, most of which occurred in and around the Tenderloin. Even as police seized potentially millions of lethal doses of fentanyl — an opioid that can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine — more than 70% of the people who died had the drug in their system.

Overdoses killed more than three times as many people in San Francisco last year as COVID-19, and the drug epidemic shows no sign of slowing. Experts are divided over how to control it. The issue has largely pitted police and federal authorities against advocates for users and a progressive new district attorney, who favor treatment more than enforcement.

Many worry that 2021 will be another historically deadly year, as the pandemic disrupts lives and fentanyl permeates the drug supply. City leaders agree San Francisco needs increased help from the federal government and more robust drug treatment services, but they disagree on how authorities should punish street-level dealers who often come from out of town and are easily replaced after they’re arrested.

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

If you like The Nooner and don't already, consider a subscription, advertising, or otherwise support the work using Square, PayPal, or check. only 11% of readers are currently paid subscribers. even a $5 or $10 quick "tip" via Square or Venmo to "Scott-Lay" helps during this low-advertising 2020 and likely depressed first quarter with limited legislative action. (For Venmo, the last 4 of my phone is 5801 if asked.)

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

Hopefully this customary ad slot will be filled soon!

COVID-19: California added 184 deaths yesterday for a total of 26,550 since the pandemic began. As of yesterday, the 14-day rolling average was 280 deaths per day. Yesterday's hospitalizations reached the highest point yet at 21,213 pushing the 14-day average to 20,090. Of these, 4,606 were in the ICU yesterday and the 14-day average was 4,193, also both the highest yet.

The 14-day positivity rate for January 1 was 12.6%, the highest since April 21. Of course, on that date the 14-day average number of test results was 10,487 as only high-risk individuals were tested (mostly skilled nursing facilities). In yesterday's report, the 14-day average number of test results ending January 1 was over 300,000.

-new strain: The more virulent albeit apparently not more deadly strain first identified in the UK in September has now been detected by two people in Big Bear in San Bernardino County bringing the total to six. Four people were previously identified with the strain in San Diego County, which appears to spread particularly quickly among young people. Identifying the strain requires DNA sequencing of each sample, which is time-consuming. The new strain is believed to be much more prevalent in California than identified.

-post-Christmas surge: In the LAT, Rong-Gong Lin II and Kevin Rector write that the feared surge following Christmas is beginning to appear in Los Angeles County.

The county reported 19,063 cases on New Year’s Day, its third-highest single-day total, and 16,603 on Saturday, its fifth-highest total, according to an independent Times tally of local health jurisdictions. That means that over the last three days, an average of more than 16,000 new cases a day have been reported in the county — one of the highest such tallies on record.

Saturday’s tally pushed the county’s cumulative number of cases past 800,000. In a sign of how rapidly the coronavirus is spreading, more than 400,000 of those infections were reported since Dec. 1.

“This is the fastest acceleration of new cases than at any other time during the pandemic,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health said.

I read the county's press releases daily, and they've sounded increasingly desperate. From yesterday's:

Public Health urges everyone to stay home as much as possible to protect yourself and others. Only go out for work, exercise or for essential services. When you must leave your home, wear a face covering and stay at least 6 feet away from people you do not live with at all times, no crowding, and wash hands frequently. If you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, isolate immediately from your family and others. Individuals with underlying health conditions and those that are older should remain in their home and not be around others unless seeking essential health and dental care. If you are having difficulty breathing, go to an emergency room or call 911.

Not to name names, but my Facebook friends who live in Los Angeles County don't read the releases as reflected by photos posted over the last week. And that order to quarantine for 10 days after entering or re-entering the county for non-essential travel? Not so much.

-New Year's clusterf***: In the Times, Kevin Rector reports on those who ignored the Los Angeles County public health order in favor of large New Year's celebrations.

LAPD officials said they broke up at least eight New Year’s Eve gatherings involving more than 2,000 people downtown and in the surrounding area, including one warehouse party where more than 1,000 people were dispersed. Sheriff’s officials said they broke up at least five parties involving more than 900 people — including at a rented house, a vacant warehouse, a hotel and a closed business.

“I have made it clear that we will seek out and take law enforcement action against all ‘Super-Spreader’ events occurring anywhere within Los Angeles County,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement.

The enforcement continued a frustrating COVID-19 cat-and-mouse game for local law enforcement, which has been tasked for months with identifying big parties that violate health orders as party promoters go deeper underground to avoid detection.


So-called “influencers” and other young partygoers posted footage on social media of revelers ringing in the New Year the old fashioned way — by screaming, dancing and singing together in enclosed spaces without masks.

Some traveled to states where rules against gathering aren’t as strict. Others stayed in L.A. and simply ignored rules put in place to stop the airborne virus from spreading.

-Kaiser San José: The Chron's Jill Tucker reports that 43 staff members in the emergency department of the Kaiser Hospital in San José have been infected and the suspected cause is odd.

“A staff member did appear briefly in the emergency department on Dec. 25th wearing an air-powered costume,” said Irene Chavez, senior vice president and area manager of Kaiser’s San Jose Medical Center, in a written response to Chronicle questions. “ Any exposure, if it occurred, would have been completely innocent, and quite accidental, as the individual had no COVID symptoms and only sought to lift the spirits of those around them during what is a very stressful time.”

The department includes physicians, nurses, technicians and assistants, and those confirmed or suspected of having a coronavirus infection will follow isolation protocols, she added.

The Emergency Department is undergoing deep cleaning while officials conduct contact tracing, Chavez said.


Air-powered costumes will “obviously” no longer be allowed, she added.

-LA breakdown: Somebody shared this site yesterday that breaks down commercial and public workplaces by searchable location of confirmed COVID-19 cases using the data from Los Angeles County Public Health.

-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 and to emerge from it, there must be a four-week outlook indicating that it will remain above 15%.

  • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
    ICU capacity as of 1/2: 32.6% (-0.5%)
  • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
    ICU capacity as of 1/2: 5.1% (-1.2%)

  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
    ICU capacity as of 1/2: 6.9% (-4.2%)
  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
    ICU capacity as of 1/2: 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 1/2: 0.0% (no change)

--Bay Area back in the hot spot seat: The Bay Area was the first hard hit region in the state and the first to institute stay-at-home orders in the spring. Then it moved to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. Now the Bay Area is being slammed again, writes Jill Tucker in the Chron.

The Bay Area’s intensive care unit availability dipped to 5.1% — its lowest figure yet — on the second day of the new year, even as the state braces for a further surge from Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

The situation has gotten so difficult in Santa Clara County that some ambulances are sitting outside emergency rooms for up to seven hours waiting for a bed to open up for the patients they are carrying, county health officials said.

The delays — which mean the waiting ambulances cannot respond to other calls — have caused the San Jose Fire Department to transport people to emergency rooms at least a half-dozen times in the past week, the county officials said.

--Greater Sacramento Region: As expected, the California Department of Public Health yesterday announced that the 13-county Greater Sacramento Region will remain under the stay-at-home order indefinitely, joining the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions. The Bay Area Region is expected to also remain under the order when its initial three weeks are up January 8.

--Placer County: There continues to be little enforcement of the stay-at-home order and restrictions in the foothill county to the east of Sacramento. For those not from the region, Placer is home to fast-growing suburban communities such as Roseville, Rocklin, and Lincoln.

Restaurants are openly advertising that they are open for indoor dining. Some leaders, including electeds, say that they are unfairly grouped with Sacramento and things are safer. Well, let's look at the relevant number in the two counties.

14-day average Sacramento
Positivity rate (through 01/02) 13.4% of 6,759 tests 12.9% of 1,630 tests
Case rate
(excl. prisons)
61.2 per 100,000 52.8 per 100,000
Sources: California Department of Public Health dashboard
CDPH Blueprint for a Safer Economy data spreadsheet (updated 12/29)

There essentially is no difference between the counties in terms of how fast the virus is spreading.

--LA Homeless: In the Los Angeles Times, Doug Smith reports on the increase in COVID-19 cases among the homeless in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.

Though infections among the homeless have generally lagged slightly below the county’s per capita rate, belying early predictions of devastating outbreaks in shelters and encampments, the December surge has brought a spike in the homeless numbers as well, further straining the overstretched services system.

After averaging about 60 new cases each week through the fall, infections of homeless people doubled in the week after Thanksgiving and have since continued to climb sharply. On Tuesday, the Department of Public Health’s latest report showed 547 new cases in the previous week.

“The unexplainable protection that people who are homeless have had from COVID is disappearing,” [United Rescue Mission chief executive Rev. Andrew J.] Bales said. “All of skid row and many agencies/missions are hot spots. All are overwhelmed.”


Housing for Health, a Department of Health Services program that provides housing for medically vulnerable homeless people, runs the county’s coronavirus isolation and quarantine system.

To keep up with the upsurge in cases, the agency opened four new isolation/quarantine sites in December, more than doubling the available beds.

The rapid response was partly assisted by the state’s Project Homekey program through which the county has purchased 10 motels and hotels for homeless housing. Most are being used as interim housing before being converted into permanent homes. Two have been converted temporarily into medical isolation/quarantine sites.

A third site was set up in a motel that was phased out of Project Roomkey, the program to house medically vulnerable homeless people during the pandemic. A nonprofit provided the fourth site on a property it had acquired for a future project.

-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)

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Ryan Brown, Assembly member Jacqui Irwin, and Reps. Mike Levin and Katie Porter!


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]

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:

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: