Around The Capitol

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  • California State of Mind (Rodd, Nichols, and Romero @ CapRadio): Has Gavin Newsom Made the Grade as Governor of the Golden State? (2021-01-29)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Congresswoman Michelle Steel on Emigrating to America, Her Mother's Small Business, and Why She Voted Against Impeachment (2021-01-28)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): Vax mess! Latest on the rocky rollout of the Covid vaccine and its impact on California's governor and President Biden (2021-01-28)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Lenny Medonca with a California economic forecast (2021-01-24)

RECALL WATCH: notes from significant contribution/expenditure reports from yesterday's filings relating to effort to recall Governor Newsom

  • California Patriot Coalition - Recall Governor Gavin Newsom: 11 nonmonetary contributions through intermediary Rescue California - Recall Gavin Newsom
    • Boyett Petroleum (Modesto): $49,000 (01/14) - Printing, mailhouse, data & postage
    • Rescue California - Recall Gavin Newsom: $181,702 (01/14) - Printing, mailhouse, data & postage 
    • Dennis Troesh (Quarry Capital, Henderson, NV): $10,000 (01/14) - Printing, mailhouse, data & postage 
    • Rescue California - Recall Gavin Newsom: $25,000 (01/20) - Signature verification
    • Martha Ehmann Conte (Retired, San Francisco): $5,000 (01/22) - Printing, mailhouse, data & postage 
    • DGB Ranch (Los Angeles): $150,000 (01/22) - Printing, mailhouse, data & postage 
    • Hofmann Land Development Company: $50,000 (01/22) - Printing, mailhouse, data & postage 
    • Lincoln Club of Orange County Issues PAC: $15,000 (01/22) - Printing, mailhouse, data & postage 
    • Geoff Palmer (Real Estate Developer, Beverly Hills): $150,000 (01/22) - Printing, mailhouse, data & postage 
    • Rescue California - Recall Gavin Newsom: $149,697 (01/22) - Printing, mailhouse, data & postage 
    • Jacqueline Sacks (CEO, Saint Haven, San Francisco): $25,000 (01/22) - Printing, mailhouse, data & postage 


  • AD79 (East San Diego): added businessman Marco Contreras (R) - open seat - special election (Weber)

The Nooner for Saturday, January 30, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    -the numbers
    -school daze
    -Placer County
    -L.A. County
  • Voting vs. petitions?
  • PG&E
  • No-chella
  • Highway 1
  • SF: point well made
  • Cakeday and classifieds  

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.


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.

State officials have mostly pointed to insufficient federal supply as the culprit for a slower than expected vaccine rollout. About 4.7 million doses have been sent to the state, not including what’s sent for long term care facilities via a federal pharmacy partnership. But as of late Thursday, 1.8 million doses, or about 40%, had not yet been administered, according to a state vaccine dashboard.

California’s vaccine rollout per capita has been among the slowest in the country and state officials can’t say where unused doses are, whether they are reserved for upcoming appointments or whether they are sitting in freezers unnecessarily. The state announced this week that locally controlled distribution of the vaccine isn’t working. Instead, it will contract with Blue Shield to coordinate delivery statewide and speed the process.

“We understand that vaccine supply is limited. But we also need to address that the supply we have now needs to get administered as quickly as possible, so we’re developing an approach that allows us to do just that,” Yolanda Richardson, the state’s government operations secretary, said earlier this week.

Blue Shield will be what the state calls a “third party administrator.” It won’t inject shots into people’s arms, but rather will allocate doses to health providers and local health departments.

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.

The first deadline Gov. Gavin Newsom set in his $2 billion plan to reopen California’s schools will come and go Monday without the necessary support from the Legislature, signaling the proposal has all but stalled.

The governor’s proposal aimed to incentivize school districts to reopen their campuses by paying out grants of $450 to $700 per student to schools that developed safety plans for in-person instruction by Monday and opened doors to the state’s youngest students by Feb. 16.

But that proposal capsized under a wave of criticism and now the governor, lawmakers, school district leaders and teachers unions have limited time to figure out a solution before bringing kids back on campuses for this academic year becomes moot.

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.

Teachers unions in the Roseville, Rocklin and Dry Creek school districts requested a meeting with Placer County Office of Education and county health officials to provide input on how to move forward with instruction during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our position from the beginning has been simple: California cannot physically open schools for in-person instruction until it is safe to do so,” read the letter.

The county, which includes cities and schools from Lake Tahoe to the suburbs around Roseville, reopened many of its campuses in the fall when infection rates were much lower, and some districts moved to five-day, full-day instruction in January.

Originally, state guidance recommended that schools space desks six feet apart.

Some students in Placer County sit with desks touching.

But the California Department of Public Health issued new guidelines on Jan. 14 for schools to implement in their open classrooms, requiring that “under no circumstances should distance between student chairs be less than 4 feet.”

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.

Coronavirus numbers are still much higher than before the surge began in October. As the Bay Area emerges from lockdown, it faces a very different and riskier landscape, with more virus circulating and new, possibly more contagious variants in the mix.

-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...

Probolsky Research

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.

In a letter to victims filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the head of the Fire Victim Trust said the shortfall is the result of a downturn in PG&E’s stock price, which makes up about half of the settlement fund.

“To date, with the stock at its present value, the Trust is more than $1 billion short of its intended settlement value,” wrote retired appeals court Justice John Trotter, the fund’s trustee.

Trotter’s warning doesn’t mean the estimated 80,000 victims won’t get all the money they were promised by PG&E, which exited bankruptcy last June. The trust plans to sell off its 477 million shares of PG&E stock deliberately with the intent of maximizing returns and avoiding any shortfalls.

“We have developed a careful ‘sell-down plan,’” Trotter wrote.

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.

Highway 1 drone footage

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?

Just over two weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi began a speech calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump. She began by quoting Abraham Lincoln. “Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We will be remembered in spite of ourselves ...”

Thirteen days later, the San Francisco school board voted to impeach Lincoln, seven other presidents of the United States, three former mayors of San Francisco and two dozen other notable people by removing their names from public schools because they were either racists or conquistadors or had some connection to slavery, racism or oppression. Mission High School and Presidio Middle School were also on the list. Even a mythical place is getting the ax: El Dorado. And forget the Alamo.

Washington, Jefferson, Daniel Webster, Paul Revere, John Muir, Robert Louis Stevenson, Francis Scott Key and John Marshall, whose discovery set off the Gold Rush that transformed California, are all out. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is the only living person on the list. When she was mayor, she ordered a Confederate flag reinstalled at Civic Center after protesters tore it down. That was 36 years ago. Truly we cannot escape history.

I don’t have a personal ax to grind in this issue. I didn’t go to any of these schools. But I am a member of the Old School. And I remember a philosophy course in college about logic. And it is the logic behind the school board’s decision that bothers me.


I don’t mean to say we should restore all the 44 school names or go on a municipal orgy of name changing. Some of the old names should be dusted off and retired. Who cares about James Denman, the Earl of Clarendon or Antonio de Ulloa?

There are plenty of San Franciscans who should be honored. Maya Angelou, for example. But attempts to put up a statue to her have failed because of San Francisco’s favorite disease, wrangling followed by civic paralysis.

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...

If you like The Nooner and don't already, consider a subscription, advertising, or otherwise support the work using Square, PayPal, or check. only 10.5% of the 8,242 readers (adjusted for work/home dupes) 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!

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, Brent Perumal, Kristen Root, and former state senator Jeff Stone!


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:

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: