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RECENT PODS:

  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Lenny Medonca with a California economic forecast (2021-01-24)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Dee Dee Myers on White House Briefings and California's Economic Outlook (2021-01-23)

DISTRICT UPDATES: note that districts will be redistricted before the 2022 election

  • CA21 (Coalinga-Lemoore-South Bakersfield): added former Assembly member Nicole Parra (D)
  • CA48 (Orange County beach cities-Costa Mesa-Fountain Valley): switched from Leans Dem to Toss-up

The Nooner for Tuesday, January 26, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    - back to tiers for fears
    - vaccines
    - churches
  • EDD/unemployment
  • Evictions
  • Household water
  • Secretary of State
  • Education
  • Hospitals
  • Environment
  • Legislative staff unionization
  • OC supe district 2
  • Cakeday and classifieds  

Good morning! My left arm is finally feeling well enough today to type after hyperextending it in my sleep several days ago. It still hurts but is at least functional and not as miserable as it has been. Obviously, I don't want narcotics, so it's just been stretching, ibuprofen, heat, and ice. I'll of course extend subscriptions.

Meanwhile, what a news day yesterday was!

COVID-19: California added 424 deaths yesterday for a total of 37,542 since the pandemic began.

-Tiers for fears: Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced that the state was returning to county-based colored tiers system, putting an end to the regional stay-at-home orders. The rationale for the change, according to Governor Newson, is a sharp increase in ICU capacity projected over the next four weeks.

4-week ICU projections

Current tier status, which may change with Dr Ghaly's noon press conference.

  • Purple/widespread: 54 counties
  • Red/substantial: 3 counties (Alpine, Humboldt, Mariposa) 
  • Orange/moderate: 1 county (Sierra)

Lauren Hepler writes for CalMatters:

Outdoor restaurant service, haircuts and open-air workouts could soon resume — again — across California after state health officials announced an end to stay-at-home orders in an early morning press release. The state will return to the same color-coded county reopening system unveiled by Gov. Gavin Newsom over the summer.

But it’s not yet clear how the change in state policy will play out in virus hotspots like Los Angeles, since local health officials are still free to enact stricter orders. Business owners and health experts are also split over whether the new rules go too far or not far enough when compared to reopening efforts underway in other states.

Late yesterday, Los Angeles County (and the City of LA) announced that it would follow the state's restrictions instead of its previous stricter order that landed it in court with restaurant plaintiffs and will allow outdoor dining beginning Friday. Bay Area counties allowed outdoor dining immediately yesterday, with the exception of San Francisco, which is allowing such activity beginning Thursday. The Greater Sacramento Region had already had the stay-at-home order lifted on January 12 given improved ICU capacity.

Even some state lawmakers were caught off guard by the sudden change of course, highlighting how the pandemic has strained communication both within government and with the public. Adding to the tension are nagging questions about the credibility of Newsom and other state officials who themselves have been caught skirting pandemic restrictions.

A team at Politico reports:

The shift comes as California has seen a steady decrease in new infections over the past week, as well as a reduction in hospitalizations and intensive care unit use. Newsom earlier this month lifted the stay-at-home order in the greater Sacramento region after projecting that it would have at least 15 percent ICU capacity within four weeks.

“It suggests there’s an enormous amount on pressure on Newsom,” said John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, Berkeley.

...

Swartzberg acknowledged the state’s case rates and hospitalizations are going in the right direction, but he called Newsom's move an “aggressively loosening” of the entire order. "My initial reaction was I’ve seen this before," he said. "Can’t we learn from the past, and can’t we do this a little more slowly?"

When FoxLA's Elex Michaelson asked if the changes in restrictions was in response to the growing recall effort, Newsom called such claims as "Utter, complete nonsense..."

-vaccines: In the Times, Colleen Shalby and Melody Guttierez report on the changes in vaccine distribution priority announced yesterday.

In a significant reshuffling of vaccine eligibility guidelines, California officials said Monday they will be shifting who is prioritized in the next round of COVID-19 inoculations to focus on age rather than specific occupations considered higher risk.

The modifications announced Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom leave unchanged the current priority list, which focuses on healthcare workers and residents 65 and older before expanding to teachers, farmworkers and first responders.

But there will be shift in who gets the vaccine after them. Under the original plan’s tier structure, Tier 2 workers in manufacturing, transportation and commercial and residential settings along with incarcerated people and the homeless would be prioritized.

Under the new plan, the next priority would be people under 65 year old. No details about the criteria were released Monday, but it could end up focusing on people over 50 first.

-churches: Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction the Pasadena-based Harvest Rock Church v. Newsom case, holding that indoor worship restrictions could be allowed based on reopening tiers, although fixed limits on capacity are not, based on the Supreme Court of the United States's holding in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo 141 S. Ct. 63 (2020).

--Governor Newsom update on 01/25:

more stories after the jump...

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EDD/UNEMPLOYMENT: In a conference call with reporters yesterday, California Labor Secretary Julie Su reported that the California Employment Development Department estimates that it has paid out more than $11 billion in fraudulent unemployment benefits during the pandemic. David Lightman and Dale Kasler report for The Bee:

The fraudulent payments represent about 10% of all payments for pandemic era unemployment benefits, Su said. The percentage is likely to go higher. Another 17% of the dollars that have been paid out — more than $19 billion — are considered suspicious and “a large number of that could be confirmed fraud as well,” she said.

“There is no sugarcoating the reality,” Su told a news conference. “California did not have enough security measures in place.”

Most of the fraudulent claims have been made through the federally-funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

PUA was designed to provide unemployment benefits to people who do not qualify for traditional unemployment insurance, such as independent contractors and small business owners. Recipients can currently get up to $750 a week in benefits.

Today at 1:30, Assembly Budget Sub 4 on State Admin holds a hearing on EDD's administration of the unemployment insurance program. The California State Auditor is out with a highly critical report today.

Meanwhile, The Bee's David Lightman reports that the state's huge backlog in unemployment claims is back.

As of Wednesday, the latest data available, 916,531 claims were listed in the state’s backlog, meaning it’s taking more than 21 days to issue a first payment or disqualification.

Two weeks earlier, that backlog was 515,956. In September, just before the governor’s strike force recommended a major overhaul of how EDD operates, the number was about the same.

The state’s Employment Development Department explained that the big number is mostly temporary, the result of recent additions to federal benefits.

It was also announced yesterday that Su has been nominated by the Biden Administration to be Deputy Secretary in the Department of Labor.

EVICTIONS: Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced that he had reached agreement with Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon on an extension to the evictions moratorium to June 30. It had been scheduled to expire on January 31. Nigel Duara reports for CalMatters:

Legislators are prepared to extend California’s eviction moratorium to the end of June while offering landlords an incentive to forgive back rent using an extra $2.6 billion the state received from the latest federal relief bill.

Legislators and groups representing landlords and tenants worked on a deal over the weekend, and the bill, SB 91, was introduced this morning, which means lawmakers can vote on it Thursday morning.  

HOUSEHOLD WATER: For CalMatters, Jackie Botts looks at the plight of California households with unpaid utility debt.

At least 1.6 million California households, or one in eight, have water debt. Like Bell-Holt, they could face shutoffs when Newsom ends the state of emergency.

The unpaid water bills total $1 billion, according to new data from the State Water Resources Control Board. That may dwarf statewide rental debt, which the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office pegged at $400 million.

Californian’s water debt crisis, which Newsom called a “critical issue” on Monday, represents another pandemic ripple effect that jeopardizes basic human needs in the face of disaster: a shelter from the virus, safe water to drink and wash hands. 

“Water to us is the most basic form of PPE,” said Jonathan Nelson, policy director for the nonprofit Community Water Center.

SECRETARY OF STATE: Today at 3pm, a special Assembly committee will consider Governor Newsom's nomination of Dr. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) to succeed Alex Padilla as Secretary of State. Padilla was sworn in to fill Kamala Harris' Senate seat following the Inauguration last Wednesday. Senate Rules will consider the nomination tomorrow at 1:30 pm.

EDUCATION: Ricardo Cano reports for CalMatters on the drop in public school enrollment during the pandemic.

California’s K-12 public-school enrollment has precipitously declined during the pandemic, dropping by a record 155,000 students, according to new state projections. 

That drop-off is about five times greater than California’s annual rate of enrollment decline in recent years. The state, which boasts the largest student enrollment in the country, has seen a steady decline of between 20,000 and 30,000 students in its public schools in the two years prior partly due to declining birth rates, and the state had predicted a similar rate of decline to continue. 

Absent more granular data, it is difficult to determine which grade levels, student groups and school districts have been most affected by the enrollment declines, and what the potential long-term impacts would be. The California Department of Education plans to publish more detailed enrollment data later this spring.

HOSPITALS: For California Healthline, Samantha Young profiles Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the California Hospital Association.

While Coyle, 60, is unknown to many Californians, she is a power player in the state Capitol, one whose profile and influence have grown in the past year. She has used her position as president and CEO of the association to lobby for the multibillion-dollar hospital industry, including asking officials to temporarily relax guidelines intended to safeguard patients and workers.

Along the way, she has been granted personal access to Gov. Gavin Newsom and other top officials, helping shape the state’s response to covid-19.

“Having spent many, many hours embedded with the Governor’s team in the state’s Office of Emergency Services, everyone is working 18-plus hours a day,” she wrote to hospital executives in March, “and the dedication to supporting what hospitals need to do their jobs is impressive.”

Though she hasn’t won every battle, Coyle has scored some big wins for the industry.

ENVIRONMENT: For CapRadio, Ezra David Romero reports that environment experts are leaning on Governor Newsom to elevate environmental causes on his agenda.

[W]hile Newsom has grabbed attention for his clean car policy — so far, he’s not earned a broader reputation as an environmental champion.

In fact, two years into his administration, environmental experts say he hasn’t moved boldly enough on ecological issues — either because he’s distracted by other emergencies, or because he’s been playing political defense. They say now is his moment to change his strategy.

LEGISLATIVE STAFF UNIONIZATION: Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) tweets:

The first time we introduced a legislative staff unionization bill, I had 1 co-author. The next session, We had 12. Today, we Introduced #AB314 with 44 co-authors. That’s 39 Assemblymembers on the bill, and growing. I’m beyond thrilled.  

OC SUPE DISTRICT 2: Yesterday was the filing deadline for the March 9 special election to fill now-Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA48) on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Five qualified:

  • Katrina Foley, Mayor/Orange County Businessowner
  • John M.W. Moorlach, California State Senator
  • Kevin Muldoon, Councilman/Small Businessman
  • Janet Rappaport, Tax Attorney
  • Michael Vo, Mayor/Business Owner 

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Senator Lena Gonzalez, Eddie KirbyScott Lipton!, and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy!

Classifieds

Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing scottlay@gmail.com, 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: https://www.cpapsych.org/resource/resmgr/advocacy_and_lan/CPADirOfGovAffairsPosition.pdf

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 graduatelaw@pacific.edu.

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: