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RECALL WATCH: notes from significant contribution/expenditure reports from yesterday's filings relating to effort to recall Governor Newsom
The Nooner for Saturday, January 30, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners
Happy Saturday! It's a glorious blue sky morning at Nooner Global HQ. I hope to get out for another walk this afternoon after writing and chores. Yesterday's walk was the first this week and very much needed.
Thank you very much to those of you who answered my plea yesterday. I slept a lot better last night including not sleeping on my arm. I do have sizeable and reliable accounts receivable that means I shouldn't have to ask again for March, but as with everything else, things are slower because of the pandemic with many offices closed. As now a 48-year-old, I just didn't want to call Dad for a bridge loan.
I also didn't want to explain a 25% rent payment under SB 91 to my new landlord, even if I fully intended to pay the full rent this month and have always paid all my rent on time. Unlike the previous owners, the new one isn't going through a property management firm and probably doesn't keep up with the law. (It also means that I am writing checks for the first time in a very long time. I had to dig out a checkbook.)
Meanwhile, I welcome several first time paid subscribers! Please note that there is ATCpro analysis for SD30 (Downtown LA-Culver City-South LA) posted earlier this week. Make sure you set a password with the new subscriber email or, if you deleted it, just click "Forgot password" on the subscriber login page. After you've set a password, you can log in on the district page itself and it should bring you back to that district's page. As always, let me know if anything doesn't work correctly. I've written a lot of code over the years and some of it is a mess by now.
I'll post AD79 (East San Diego) special election analysis after Governor Newsom issues the proclamation calling the special election in the next 13 days. Technically, while we know three candidates, nobody can file a Statement of Intent until there is an election.
On to a funny story before we get into the craziness of the day.
Across the alley from my place is the back side of a house on U Street. There is a small parking area and then a yard leading to the house. Since I have lived here over 6 years, there was a large portion of the yard that wasn't used. It had a wooden fence, but I'm guessing it was just dirt (wished I could have used it for a garden, but that's not relevant).
Anyway, over the summer, a large pickup truck started showing up that didn't park overnight and which I hadn't seen before. First, two guys raised the fences and added lighting. Then they built a large shed with a tin roof.
My curiosity piqued. What could this be?
My mind wandered to think that it was an illegal marijuana grow. I thought about the ethics of reporting it if I believed it exceeded the personal use limits. I thought about whether I should to peer through the fortified fence when the guys weren't around to beat me up.
I elected to live and let live.
Pandemic months passed.
Then, one day this fall, the truth came out.
CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK.
It's a chicken coop and clearly for eggs since there are no "cocks" around. Just the kind of thing I wanted when I had a backyard.
It made for a great moment of levity among the stress and depression that came with fall 2020.
Thank you for listening. On to the gnus...
COVID-19: California added 664 deaths yesterday for a total of 40,231 since the pandemic began.
-vaccines: For CalMatters, Ana B. Ibarra writes that many Californians want to know why they don't yet have access to a vaccine.
If you think about it, this creates an odd situation relating to the possible recall election aimed at Governor Newsom. Some of the most anti-Newsom and anti-restrictions protestors at the Capitol last year were the same as those who led the anti-vaccination protests at the Capitol. They are also involved in the recall campaign.
However, when it comes to the ballot box, they will likely point to perceived mishandling of distribution of vaccinations as a reason to recall him.
Meanwhile, Alexei Koseff writes in the Chron that the Newsom Administration has not provided the rationale for how Blue Shield of California was selected as the vaccine distribution administrator or the process by which it was chosen.
In the Times, Emily Baumgaertner reports on the fears of scientists that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may be mutating to elude the vaccines developed to combat it based on the results of the most recent trials.
New data showing that two COVID-19 vaccines are far less effective in South Africa than in other places they were tested have heightened fears that the coronavirus is quickly finding ways to elude the world’s most powerful tools to contain it.
The U.S. company Novavax reported this week that although its vaccine was nearly 90% effective in clinical trials conducted in Britain, the figure fell to 49% in South Africa — and that nearly all the infections the company analyzed in South Africa involved the B.1.351 variant that emerged there late last year and has spread to the United States and at least 30 other countries.
Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its new shot was 72% effective against preventing moderate or severe illness in the United States, compared with 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa.
Laboratory tests had suggested that the vaccines authorized in the U.S. — one from Pfizer and BioNTech, the other from Moderna and the National Institutes of Health — trigger a smaller immune response to the South Africa variant.
I have never been a big believer of the "Chinese lab theory" as the origin of the virus. That said, the first segment with evolutionary biologists Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein on Real Time with Bill Maher (free on YouTube) last night was pretty persuasive as they cite how the virus is behaving differently than most strains from the coronavirus family in the wild.
While agreeing that the strain originally was from a bat, they point out that the theory that it jumped to a pangolin sold at a Wuhan "wet market" have largely been debunked. Instead, the crowded market may have instead been the locale of a super spreader event from an individual infected elsewhere.
Anyway, the segment is very interesting and worth a watch.
-school daze: For CalMatters, Ricardo Cano looks at why a majority of public schools in the state might not open anytime soon.
In The Bee, Sawson Morrar writes that a dozen Placer County teachers union presidents have sent a letter to the health director and county superintendent of schools urging them to follow state guidance before allowing schools to reopen for in-person instruction.
Notably, the copy of the letter linked to in Morrar's article is on the website of the California Teachers Association. CTA sent a letter to Governor Newsom on Wednesday, copied to legislative leaders. The Placer County letter was sent Thursday.
-Placer County: As I have written before, Placer County has been notoriously lax in enforcement. When the county health director issued the first local order as did county directors around the state, the Board of Supervisors overturned it. She quit and now works at Yolo County Department of Public Health. There still hasn't been a new county order.
I've written before about the Facebook group that shares ideas about locally owned restaurants that are serving, including offerings of special meals and ideas for special occasion delivery. It's supposed to be those restaurants that are complying with health orders. During the stay-at-home when no restaurant was supposed to be offering outdoor dining, people would always volunteer spots in Placer County. Just yesterday, someone wanted sushi and didn't want to be "cold outside." No purple tier county (including Placer) is allowed to have indoor dining. I don't tattle in this space, but there were a few suggestions of sushi restaurants in Placer County.
Meanwhile, Sacramento County, where there is enforcement has several outstanding sushi restaurants that have played by the rules and invested money in compliance -- buying space heaters, tents, more outdoor tables, pillows, plants, and the like.
Not only is Placer County's lax approach to restaurants allowing indoor dining bad from a public health perspective (outdoor dining is a reasonable discussion), but it's unfair to Sacramento County restaurants playing by the rules.
The same thing is true about schools. Placer County running afoul of the rules impedes the ability of others who would likely be more compliant from getting waivers to reopen for in-person instruction. For example, there is a push by families with children in several Davis schools in Yolo County to reopen. The city is covered in a New York Times article today because of the efforts of UC Davis to make the city a "COVID-free zone" by providing free testing, masks, and quarantine housing for those exposed. Yolo County remains in the the purple tier, although cases for waivers from the county health officer could likely be made following state guidelines.
Of course, the teachers in Davis public schools are represented by a CTA local, which according to the above-linked letter to the Governor opposes allowing any in-person instruction while a county is in the purple tier although the state allows waivers for elementary schools under specified conditions.
For the Nooner newbies, while I lived in Davis fore 20 years, neither I nor my ex-wife (who still lives there) have any children.
-Bay Area: For the Chron, Kellie Hwang looks at the most recent "surge on top of a surge" and when the next one might come.
-L.A. County: Yesterday, Los Angeles County allowed outdoor dining to resume, with restrictions. One was simple and not unlike many counties providing no more than 6 customers from the same household at spaced-out tables. Another provision, though, is what created a buzz. The order provides that televisions or other screens providing broadcast programming at outdoor dining are prohibited.
Clearly, that's not targeted at the crowds gathering to watched "The Masked Dancer" on Wednesday nights, but rather a sporting event a week from Sunday. Critics of the policy argue that it will just force more house parties where the risk of spread is far greater. That is true. However, remember that bars are only allowed to be open for outside service if they are serving full meals and beverages are supposed to be in conjunction with a meal. In this LAT article today, it appears it was happy hour as usual at several LA County spots yesterday.
The Super Bowl is a four-hour game. You can't tell me that people from the same household would be gathered at a table, eating meals with their beverages of choice in compliance with the same household rule. The same household rule has always been a problem for restaurants, whether it was for outdoor dining or the brief time in which indoor dining was allowed in Sacramento and other counties that dropped to red.
I live alone. As I mostly cook at home as enjoyable time away from the computer, I've only eaten two meals out since March, one outdoors and one indoors. Obviously, I ate with friends from outside my household. One who lives alone and one with kids. One at a local Viet joint and one at Market 5-ONE-5. How are they supposed to police that?
Try enforcing that on Valentine's Day.
Public health experts are very concerned about the Super Bowl being an even bigger spreader event of the virus including the new strains than the holidays. Unlike Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah, viewing parties bring together multiple households, involve a lot more drinking, and include shouting and booing. It's a virulent perfect storm.
-Governor Newsom update on 01/25:
-HHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly update on 01/26:
more stories after the jump...
VOTING VS. PETITIONS: While Thursday's Senate Floor Session's highlights were Dr. Shirley Weber's confirmation as Secretary of State and the extension of the eviction moratorium/renter/landlord assistance bill, another bill was approved -- SB 29 (Umberg). While not addressing the long-term issue that is contained in other bills, the bill provides that county elections officials send all registered voters a ballot to all voters for elections that happen in 2021 in the same manner as the November 2020 election because of the pandemic. The urgency for the passage is the March 2 special primary in SD30 (Downtown LA-Culver City-South LA) and the March 9 election for District 2 on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
Echoing the national theme promoted by President Trump, Republicans did not vote for the bill. Seven voted no and one abstained (Borgeas). Senator Pat Bates was not at session Thursday.
I didn't write about it and I understand that it was a safe vote for them. They don't care about the two March elections or Weber's yet-to-be-set AD79 (East San Diego). They care about the overall strong MAGA supporters and the increasingly likely election to consider the question of whether Governor Newsom should be recalled. I get it.
However, on the recall election, we started today with the "RECALL WATCH" item and we see hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent to mail petitions to individual voters to sign and mail back in. We don't know exactly how much has been spent on mailing out petitions yet as only that passed through the intermediary Rescue California committee has been reported, but it's likely over a million and will likely push the effort over the top, triggering a recall election.
Both vote-by-mail ballots and recall petitions require the same methodology of matching the signatures on the envelope or on petitions to voter registration records.
Why the hypocrisy?
PG&E: In The Bee, Dale Kasler writes that the overseer of the trust set up by PG&E and funded by stock under court order to compensate victims of fires attributed to its equipment has written victims and shared with the court stating that the fund is woefully short.
NO-CHELLA: The Riverside County Public Health Officer has issued a health order that prohibits the Coachella and Stagecoach music and art festivals from occurring as scheduled for April, reports Jesus Reyes for KESQ News Channel 3. The order expresses concerns about the size of the festivals that would make contact tracing near impossible if positive cases were detected following the events. The events were among the first canceled last year on March 10 and preceded the statewide stay-at-home order, which was issued March 19.
As of now, Outside Lands in San Francisco (August 6-8) and Aftershock in Sacramento (October 7-10) are still planned to take place.
HIGHWAY 1: If you thought the still photo of the destruction of Highway 1 at Rat Creek south of Big Sur, wait until you see the drone footage posted by Caltrans.
SF: POINT WELL MADE: Amidst the renaming of schools in Baghdad by the Bay, Chron columnist Carl Nolte asks that since there was such a passionate debate over school names, why isn't there a debate about the name of the City and County itself?
I know the avversario principale (primary opponent) of renaming the city named after Saint Francis of Assisi -- Nancy Pelosi. She regularly cites Patron Saint Francis of Assisi, for whom the city is named and cited him in her remarks upon the reconvening of the House on January 6 after the insurrection.
cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, Brent Perumal, Kristen Root, and former state senator Jeff Stone!