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RECENT PODS:

  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Campaign consultant Gale Kaufman on education at the ballot box. (2021-01-31)
  • Look West California (Assembly Democratic Caucus): Get to know Speaker Anthony Rendon like never before. Join us as he shares how a son of Mexican immigrants came to be the Speaker of the CA State Assembly. (2021-01-29)
  • 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)

DISTRICT UPDATES:

  • GOV: added commentator Mike Cernovich (NPP)
  • GOV: added businessman John Cox (R)
  • GOV: added former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer (R)

STUDENT SUBSCRIPTIONS: I meant to include this in my Friday evening email but it got left out. I do have additional sponsored student subscriptions (normally $10) that I am matching. Any current student can email me a pic of their student ID card and be set up with a Nooner/ATCpro subscription.

The Nooner for Tuesday, February 2, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    -the numbers
    -tiers for fears
    -January
    -vaccines
    -school daze/vaccine priority
    -variants
    -workplaces
    -Foster Farms
  • Poll position
  • Do you recall?
  • The rent is too damn due
  • Pesticides
  • Leon Panetta interview
  • Cakeday and classifieds  

Black History Month

Frederick Madison Roberts
Source: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Frederick Roberts
First African-American California Legislator
California State Assembly, 1918-1934

From the California Legislative Black Caucus:

Frederick Madison Roberts, was born September 14, 1879 in Chillicothe, Ohio. He was a newspaper owner, editor, educator and business owner, and California’s first known African American state legislator. A member of the Republican Party representing Los Angeles, he was the great grandson of Sally Hemings and is believed to be the great grandson of President Thomas Jefferson. Roberts sponsored California’s early civil rights legislation and authored a bill to establish UCLA. He served 16-years in the California State Assembly from 1918 to 1934. He died in 1952, at the age of 72.

More on Roberts:

Yesterday was the first day of Black History month, but dad's birthday got the spot so I'm starting today. Periodically this month, I'll be highlighting Black figures in California political history.

Happy Taco Tuesday! What will you stuff in your tortillas or lettuce wraps tonight?

Not much time for opening comments today (which I usually write last). On to the gnus and numbers of the day.

COVID-19: California added 409 deaths yesterday for a total of 41,342 since the pandemic began.

-tiers for fears: During last week's Tuesday update, HHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said that changes were likely this week with the possibility of a county slipping to a more restrictive tier and others improving to a less restrictive one. Data are run on Mondays and tier changes are announced during the Tuesday update from Dr. Ghaly.

Obviously, today's YouTube presser will have the attention of many of us.

  • purple (widespread): 54 counties
  • red (substantial): 3 counties (Alpine, Mariposa, Trinity)
  • orange (moderate): 1 county (Sierra)
  • yellow (minimal): 0 counties

-January: Since the first month of this year was the deadliest nationally, it's no surprise that it was also the case in California and Los Angeles. For the Times, Smith, Lin, and Greene review the toll.

In the first month of 2021, 14,940 people lost their lives to the disease in California, bringing the state’s death toll close to 41,000, signifying that at least 1 in every 1,000 Californians has been killed by COVID-19.

In Los Angeles County, 6,411 people died in January — 137% more than the previous most-deadly month of December, in which 2,703 people died. To date, nearly 17,000 people have died of the disease in the county.

The record-breaking number of deaths comes despite a downward trend in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, as well as growing vaccinations in Los Angeles County.

That's why we call deaths a lagging indicator. Similarly, if another surge comes as the University of Washington IHME model and many public health experts suggest, the important indicators to watch to forecast future deaths are test positivity/cases, then hospitalizations, and then ICU hospitalizations.

-vaccines: For the Times, Maya Lau and Laura J. Nelson look at why California's vaccine rollout has been anything but smooth.

California has administered more than 3.45 million injections, by far the most in the country, but for weeks ranked among the slowest per capita in vaccinating its population and in using up the doses allocated by federal officials, data show.

By Monday, about 7.2% of California residents had received a first dose, and 60.9% of the state’s vaccine supply had been administered — a dramatic improvement from a week ago, but still behind other big states like Texas, Illinois and New York, and only slightly ahead of Florida.

Hey, we're now beating Florida! That's a start!

The Golden State’s early sluggish rollout defies one easy explanation. For weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom and public health officials limited vaccine access to only health workers and nursing homes, and data snafus complicated the picture of how vaccination efforts are progressing. Experts say the structural barriers of such a large, decentralized state that leaned heavily on 61 local health departments to administer the doses also complicated the response.

The biggest and most persistent problem, though, has been beyond the state’s control. Officials have been hamstrung by vaccine supply shortages and lack of predictability from the federal government and the manufacturers.

...

California’s initial vaccine plan mirrored federal recommendations by prioritizing nursing home residents and 2.4 million healthcare workers. But as states like South Dakota, West Virginia, Texas and Florida moved on to new groups of patients, California trailed behind.

...

California has now adopted an age-based distribution system, and the share of vaccine doses used has surged 13 percentage points in a week, bringing the state almost level with the national average. The state has also contracted with Blue Shield of California to oversee distribution. But some experts say the state is still recovering from the first critical early weeks.

...

One reason it has taken so long to inoculate healthcare and front-line workers is that many have been reluctant to take the shots. The state, public health officials and critics say, should have better anticipated that hesitation and provided more funding for vaccine education and outreach — or moved on to other groups more quickly.

Though about 84% of workers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have been vaccinated, the rate is closer to 65% at Keck Medicine of USC and at UCLA Health, officials said. Only 55% of Los Angeles firefighters have gotten the shot.

Anyway, there are lots of reasons, but a major part is vaccine hesitancy among health care workers that has led doses to sit in freezers for weeks. That's why many of us are seeing our parents and grandparents having difficulties obtaining one.

Meanwhile, on A Late Show last night, Stephen Colbert addressed the protestors that shut down the Dodger Stadium mass vaccination site on Saturday, one of the largest in the country.

Anti-vaxx protestors temporarily shut down the COVID-19 vaccination site at LA's Dodger Stadium delaying appointments for nearly an hour. Nice try, anti-vaxxers. These are Angelenos. They're not going to quit something because you made them wait sixty minutes. For Pete's sake, it takes two hours just to change lanes on the 405.

[video]

-vaccines: This morning, Biden Administration Coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients announced that beginning next week around 6,500 pharmacies around the country will receive a total of 1 million doses of vaccine. Previously, vaccine doses have been distributed to states, local health agencies, and hospitals. Pharmacies obtained them through the governmental agencies.

Meanwhile, in the SDUT, Deborah Sullivan Brennan looks at whether those teachers already back in the classroom should be prioritized for vaccinations.

Vaccination plans for the education sector have aimed to ensure that teachers and support staff are ready to go when conditions permit schools to reopen. With a majority of students likely to remain in virtual learning for the foreseeable future, however, some educators are saying vaccines should be rolled out first to staff members working on campus now.

“Under the governor’s guidelines and California Department of Public Health, school districts have to be at a certain metric point to reopen, a certain infection point,” Alvarado said. “Knowing that, many schools won’t be able to open any time soon until the numbers are significantly reduced in infection rates. Which led me to ask the supervisors in an email if there is any way to differentiate the school districts that are seeing kids now.”

Bob Mueller, special projects coordinator with the San Diego County Office of Education, said school officials in San Diego County have discussed the possibility of administering vaccines first to teachers and support staff currently working in person. He said county authorities did not consider it possible to distinguish between teachers and other staff working on campus from those working remotely.

“I think there are many school leaders that have that same concern,” he said. “What we’ve been told by the county is that with the logistics that they face in opening centers — everything from safely transporting and storing vaccines, staffing centers, getting things open — that layering on additional priorities would be beyond their ability to manage.”

Why it's not possible for school districts to distribute "permission slips" for those teaching in-person and those teaching early grades that are allowed to reopen under certain conditions is beyond me. If a high school is not going to reopen this school year, those teachers should not be a priority unless they meet other criteria.

-school daze/vaccine priority: Just in case the message wasn't clear before, Los Angeles Unified schools are not reopening for large-scale in-person instruction any time soon. Howard Blume writes for the Times.

Los Angeles schools will delay in-person student classes and services of any kind while coronavirus infection rates remain high in local communities and teachers remain unvaccinated, Supt. Austin Beutner said Monday, a firm stance that is driving the district toward a mandatory summer session and an extended academic year in 2021-22.

In some of his strongest criticism of state guidance on reopening schools, Beutner called the waiver process that has allowed schools apply to open in-person classes for lower grades “bass ackwards” and called the state’s newest coronavirus threshold for reopening elementary schools a “magic number” not adequately explained or justified.

His comments — made after he commemorated the district having provided 100 million meals to families at 63 campus-based Grab and Go centers — come as the district is locked in a new round of negotiations with its teachers union over returning to campus, growing anger among some parents to reopen schools and reluctance among others in hard-hit areas to send their children back.

Questions about the possibility of reopening campuses for kindergarten through sixth grade emerged last week when L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said declining coronavirus rates in the county could hit the state threshold number in two to three weeks.

While Governor Newsom's plan to accelerate school reopenings requires weekly testing of students and staff including teachers, it does not require vaccinations. The California Teachers Association, which United Teachers Los Angeles affiliates with along with the California Federation of Teachers, and other unions want all teachers vaccinated before returning to in-person instruction. LA Superintendent Beutner has made similar statements.

Teachers are in Phase 1B and while some counties are working through reaching the level, it appears that it's mostly smaller counties. (I don't know of any resource that shows where each county is.) Along with teachers in Phase 1B Tier One are Californians 65 and older, bringing the total cohort to "about 8.5 million people," according to the state. Phase 1A of health care workers and long-term care residents is 3 million people. (state vaccination plan)

From yesterday's CDPH daily release:

As of February 1, providers have reported administering a total of 3,523,111 vaccine doses statewide. Numbers do not represent true day-to-day change as reporting may be delayed. The CDC reports that 5,666,550 doses have been delivered to entities within the state, and 5,772,775 vaccine doses, which includes the first and second dose, have been shipped.

So, while some counties have moved on to Phase 1B Tier One, there weren't enough doses to cover Phase 1A. The only reason they have been able to move to the second phase is because health care workers are taking a pass. Nevertheless, we are far from covering the 8.5 million in Phase 1B Tier One.

If these phase and tier categories seem like confusing mumbo jumbo to you as much as they do to me, don't blame the state. They were created by the Centers for Disease Control, although each state has twisted them. Even California changed it last week by putting 65-year-olds in the same group as the previously higher-priority folks 75+, pissing off many of us with parents and/or grandparents in the previous higher priority who still can't get a vaccine despite daily efforts to get an appointment.

I've previously noted that it's not just California. My mom can't get one in Portland because all teachers are ahead of those in their 70s.

As you can see, states including California are not following CDC guidelines:

CDC vaccine phases

Let's compare CDC with the California priorities re-shuffled last Monday.

California vaccine phases

In California, we upgraded 65+ to Phase 1B along with 75+. We similarly upgraded food service (including restaurant) workers to Phase 1B. There was intense lobbying by both groups, particularly by the California Restaurant Association that wanted outdoor dining back.  Despite CDC's guidance, President Biden has also encouraged states to vaccinate adults 65 and older.

Mixed messages and mass confusion.

Of course, CDC's guidelines are not binding on the states. In California, state guidelines are not binding on counties. Meanwhile, we added millions of people to a higher priority who are competing for appointments against more vulnerable populations. Under CDC guidelines, 65+ are supposed to be in the cohort with younger people recovering from cancer, with cystic fibrosis, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and other severe underlying conditions. In California, we've put millions of people ahead of those at far more risk -- for political purposes.

From what we've heard, the Blue Shield of California contract only deals with distribution and not prioritization let alone administration of the vaccines.

This is screwed up at the federal, state, and local levels.

Sorry for the rant. Obviously this touches a nerve for me. It's not just my parents or those of friends of mine. For Nooner Newbies, I spent three years working in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children's Hospital of Orange County and, before that, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I know immune-compromised kids (the survivors are now adults) quite well.

Few people are happy other than those bragging with photos on social media. Most of us have reasons to be pissed.

-variants: The LAT's Luke Money writes about the spread of the new strains of SARS-CoV-2 in Southern California:

B.1.1.7 is expected to become the dominant variant within weeks. L.A. County officials announced the second confirmed case Saturday and said it is “spreading in the county.” At least two cases have been identified in San Bernardino County.

San Diego County has California’s largest cluster of known cases of B.1.1.7, at least 109, plus 44 others that are linked epidemiologically to known cases of the variant, officials said last week. Health authorities in San Diego County announced last week the first death linked to B.1.1.7, a 71-year-old man who was a household contact of someone who was confirmed to have been infected by the variant. Two people have been hospitalized with the variant.

The median age of those sickened with B.1.1.7 is 30, but the strain has been identified in newborns and up to age 77, said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the San Diego County health officer.

The emergence of B.1.1.7 “requires us to remain vigilant, to not be complacent, to continue to take all the necessary precautions to slow the spread,” warned Nathan Fletcher, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

B.1.1.7 led to a rapid expansion of COVID-19 across the U.K., Ireland and Portugal and quickly became the dominant strain in those countries, Natasha Martin, associate professor in the UC San Diego Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Health, told the Board of Supervisors last week.

“This particular variant is estimated to be 50% to 70% more transmissible than previous variants, leading to surges in cases,” Martin said. “There is recent evidence that it may lead to higher mortality as well.”

California first detected the B.1.1.7 variant Dec. 30 in San Diego County. It’s now estimated to account for 5% of circulating strains, Martin said.

“The question is not whether this strain will become dominant, but how long it will take, and what effect it will have on our epidemic trajectory, given its increased transmissibility,” Martin said.

Meanwhile, Scott Rodd reports for CapRadio that the state's genomic sequencing lab network is a "patchwork of informal collaborations." That means that we really don't know the breadth of spread (and possibly the existence) of the various, and possibly more transmissible and pathogenic, strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that can cause COVID-19.

Viruses are constantly mutating, and researchers use a method called genomic sequencing to track those changes. Over six months ago, the state launched an effort to create a statewide network of laboratories to do this work. After spending millions of dollars, pieces of the program are in place, but the vision has not been realized.

Individual labs in California have been doing genomic sequencing on a small scale since the start of the pandemic. The sequencing process produces a sort of tracking code to map changes in the virus’ RNA over time; the more it spreads, the more it mutates. As early as June, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) began developing its statewide lab network, called COVIDNet. The goal was to choreograph the flow of specimen samples, track lab performance and manage communications between partners.

The lab network remains fragmented, and there isn’t substantial collaboration facilitated by the state, according to participants and observers. Critics also point out that the state’s new diagnostic laboratory in Valencia is not equipped for genomic sequencing, which they say is a missed opportunity. It also has limited ability to send samples to outside labs for this work.

In addition to identifying variants that may be more contagious or deadly, genomic sequencing can help identify the source of an outbreak with more accuracy than traditional contact tracing.

...

Joseph DeRisi — co-president of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, which performs the bulk of COVIDNet’s sequencing — says a big issue is funding.

“There is no large funded effort; it's all just a patchwork of informal collaborations,” said DeRisi, who is also a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. “You can't launch one of these networks unless somebody pays for it.”

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub covers the cost of performing 10,000 sequences a week for COVIDNet.

The number of new cases over the last week has ranged 12,664 to 19,377 per day.

-workplaces: In The Bee, Pohl, Kasler, and Reese write that the state is doing a poor job at tracking workplace infections and deaths:

A year after the first COVID-19 case hit California, the state agency in charge of policing warehouses, offices, factories and other workplaces is woefully understaffed and significantly undercounting the number of employees who have fallen seriously ill or died as a result of the coronavirus.

California employers reported only 1,600 serious worker illnesses or deaths to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA, from the start of the pandemic through mid-December, according to data obtained by The Sacramento Bee through a Public Records Act request.

The agency’s inspectors determined that only 779 of those serious or deadly infections were actually contracted in the workplace. That represents a tiny fraction of the 3.2 million people who have tested positive for the disease in California, and less than 2% of the more than 41,000 who have died from it.

Worker-safety advocates and elected officials say the absence of a reliable count of serious on-the-job infections by Cal/OSHA creates significant consequences. The agency relies on employers to self-report workplace infections, and the incomplete statistics could put workers and their families at greater risk because the state has no clear picture of where COVID-19 workplace hot spots may have flared up.

“It’s troubling; it absolutely is troubling,” said state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who co-authored legislation last year strengthening workers’ compensation protections for employees who contract COVID-19 on the job.

-Foster Farms: While there was a lot of attention on virus spread and working conditions at meat processing facilities early on, it's been moved to the back burner of many minds given focuses on reopening of schools and the economy, let alone vaccinations. Nevertheless, it is still an issue. Robert Rodriguez reports for The Bee:

A Merced County Superior Court judge has reinforced an order requiring Foster Farms in Livingston to protect its poultry workers from becoming infected with COVID-19.

Judge Brian L. McCabe on Friday granted a request by the United Farm Workers for a preliminary injunction against Foster Farms. The court had earlier approved a temporary restraining order on Dec. 23 setting the stage for the court to enforce worker safety protections.

Attorney Monique Alonso, of Messing Adam & Jasmine, said the injunction gives the judge much-needed oversight over whether Foster Farms is complying with COVID-19 protections for workers in meatpacking plants.

“The injunction carries along with it the threat of a contempt order if (Foster Farms) is not following the orders they claim they have been doing,” Alonso said.

The family-run poultry company, one of the largest in the West, has been hit hard with COVID-19 illnesses at its Livingston plant. About 400 workers there have become infected with the coronavirus and nine have died, according to a lawsuit filed by the United Farm Workers. Foster Farms also has two plants in Fresno that are not part of the suit.

-Governor Newsom update on 01/25:

-HHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly update on 01/26:

THE NOONER A YEAR AGO TODAY:

CORONAVIRUS: Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield and San Diego Miramar Air Force Base have been identified as additional California two-week quarantine sites for Americans evacuated from China following the coronavirus outbreak. The virus now has confirmed cases in California, Arizona, Illinois, Washington, and 27 other countries. The big problem is that public health officials neither know how the virus is transmitted beyond the original outbreak from a Wuhan, China meat market nor how long the incubation period is.

Riverside congressmembers Mark Takano and Norma Torres were miffed that 250 such passengers were diverted to March Air Reserve Base without notice.

more stories after the jump...

Probolsky Research

POLL POSITION: Berkeley IGS is out with a new poll today. It is the first poll to test voter attitude of Governor Newsom's overall job performance and that of his actions on the pandemic since the regional stay-at-home began December 6 and vaccines were given emergency use authorization by the FDA (December 11 for Pfizer/BioNTech and December 18 for Moderna).

[January 23-29, online, English/Spanish, 10,357 registered voters ±2%]

Trend of voter opinions of Gavin Newsom's job performance as Governor
(among California registered voters)
  Late-January
2021

%
September
2020
%
June
2019
%
Approve 46 64 57
Approve strongly 14 25 15
Approve somewhat 32 39 42
Disapprove 48 36 42
Disapprove somewhat 17 13 17
Disapprove strongly 31 23 25
No opinion 6 <0.5% 1

And here are results from several questions relating to the pandemic (not enough time to create my own table):

Berkeley IGS results

There are more questions that I'll get to tomorrow or, of course, you can review them today.

I'm expecting a new PPIC poll in the next week or so. Hopefully it's the usual telephone English/Spanish methodology or a blended one. While online results via email from the voter file can be weighted by race and gender, it is imperfect (mostly based on first and last name and try to classify "Jamie" or "Lee") and you can't weight by income.

Before we get to the next topic, I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from polling samples taken in January. Even though we will likely see at least one more surge, January 2021 likely will go down as the deadliest month and the period of greatest vaccine angst. Most people won't remember the wait to be vaccinated or early confusion after the shot is in their arm. A few months from now, many schools will be back in session and it is likely that restaurants will be open for indoor dining, with precautions. As I wrote yesterday, it is akin to judging a general in a war that is eventually won.

DO YOU RECALL? As a recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom appears more likely than not to qualify, the candidates who intend to be listed on the second question should the first question of whether he should be recalled are coming forward. And, the jousting is already beginning.

Seema Mehta writes for the Times:

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer plans to challenge the governor if the recall qualifies for the ballot this year, or in 2022 if it does not. In an interview with The Times, the Republican attacked Newsom’s handling of the economy, homelessness and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is time to be a voice for Californians who are suffering because Sacramento can’t do the basics,” Faulconer said. “This campaign is going to be about restoring balance and common sense to California, to get people back to work, to get our kids back to school and to get people proud of our state again.”

...

Faulconer would be among the most prominent challengers to Democrat Newsom. He said he has already raised or received pledges for $1 million.

Another Republican who said he will run in a recall election is businessman John Cox, who lost to Newsom in the 2018 gubernatorial race.

Right-wing provocateur Mike Cernovich, who is registered as an independent voter, also said he plans to join the race.

David Garrick, who covered Faulconer's time as mayor, reports for the San Diego Union-Tribune:

A moderate Republican, Faulconer said in a Monday phone interview that his campaign will focus on restoring common sense to state government, returning children to school and fostering overregulated small businesses.

...

While Faulconer’s candidacy for governor is considered a longshot because he’s a Republican in a state dominated by Democrats, the possible recall could boost his chances.

In the last three general elections for governor, Republican candidates have lost by double digits each time to their Democrat opponents: Meg Whitman to Jerry Brown in 2010, Neel Kashkari to Brown in 2014, and John Cox to Newsom in 2018.

But in a successful recall of Newsom, the candidate who gets the most votes among those seeking to replace Newsom would become the new governor, regardless of whether that candidate gets more than 50 percent of the ballots cast.

...

Faulconer’s chances would be strongest if he is the only Republican on the recall ballot. But Cox, the losing Republican candidate in 2018 and a Rancho Santa Fe resident, announced over the weekend that he also plans to run.

They won't be the only two GOP candidates. Let me remind you with a visual of 2003:

Recall ballot

Garrick continues:

Faulconer said he is optimistic about the recall, which has been fueled primarily by Newsom’s questionable handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You are seeing a tremendous amount of momentum across the board — among Republicans, independents and Democrats,” Faulconer said.

Democrats are still trying to figure out how to play this. In the 2003 recall of Gray Davis, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante (D) jumped into the "second question" race and ran a "no on recall, yes on Cruz" campaign. Bustamante was no match to Arnold Schwarzenegger, by fundraising, star power, and geography (Bustamante is from the San Joaquin Valley, where no governor has been elected). The Davis camp wasn't happy with Bustamante's entrance and the two weren't exactly besties.

Will Democrats encourage someone to be list of candidates for the second question or will they put all their effort into the message of defeating the recall?

You can envision a focus on the delays in vaccines on the Trump Administration, with the photo of Faulconer standing next to the Resolute Desk where the former President is seated featured prominently in ads. Yes, there are photos of Gavin with Trump at emergency response events, but they weren't posing and smiling.

Meanwhile, the John Cox campaign sent out a release upon Faulconer's declaration.

As mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer's mismanagement earned him C- and D- grades from his hometown newspaper. Career politicians like Faulconer and Gavin Newsom have kept California in constant 'crisis mode,' from shady insider deals to failing on vaccine preparation.

In contrast, John Cox has built a successful business career as a problem solver, with the innovative skills to provide Californians with a fresh start.

The electorate is very different from 2003 and the pandemic is very different than rolling blackouts.

That said, it's also as unpredictable of a time as I have seen. This time last year, I was planning the schedule for my Mexico City trip with dreams of all variety of tacos.

There are currently 410,087 valid signatures of the 1,495,709 needed to qualify. The next report is due February 16. That report will have the number of valid signatures from the 226,054 reported in the previous report covering 12/08-01/06 as well as the number of unverified signatures collected between 01/07-02/11.

The deadline for proponents to submit signatures to county elections officials is March 17 and counties submit their final report to the state on April 19. If there are sufficient valid signatures, the Governor must call an election between 60-80 days following qualification (Cal. Const. Art. II, Sec. 15).

If there is a recall election this year and you want your name on a ballot like the 2003 one displayed above, it'll take $4,195 (2% of salary of office - Elections §8103) or 7,000 signatures (Elections §8106).

Rent, Leon Panetta interview, cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

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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!

THE RENT IS TOO DAMN DUE: The LAT's Andrew Khouri looks at what happens when the federal, state, and local eviction moratoriums end, rent becomes due, and millions of Americans face eviction.

Federal, state and local officials are grappling with how best to help people stay afloat — including keeping them housed — amid job losses, slashed incomes and pervasive disease. A second year of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought little reprieve, with new variants of the coronavirus threatening to accelerate the virus’ spread and cause longer disruptions to the economy and everyday life.

States are planning to get federal aid funds, which have begun to flow, into the hands of landlords to reduce the debt load on tenants. California, where median rent is 50% higher than in the nation at large, has passed what state leaders characterize as the strongest statewide measures to address the crisis, providing a potential model for how states could distribute rent funds.

The California measures, approved by the Legislature last week, extend a statewide moratorium on evictions for people with pandemic hardships through June. Significantly, they bar landlords from using rent debt accrued between March 2020 and June of this year to deny future housing — a nod to fears that unpaid rent may affect people’s housing for years to come.

And to protect the most vulnerable, they establish a program that uses federal stimulus money to encourage landlords to forgive debt accrued by low-income tenants over the span of a year: April 2020 to March of this year.

Whether California landlords opt in, exactly how the program will be implemented, and if it will make a significant difference for those most in debt are still open questions. Nonprofit groups that work with low-income renters say the measures could be hard to enforce and, in terms of altogether forgiving some debt, rely precariously on optional landlord participation.

Eviction and debt can make it difficult to find new housing, take out loans, get some types of jobs or budget for necessities like food. In California, where rent was unaffordable for most tenants to begin with, the debt pile-on compounds a long-brewing problem.

PESTICIDES: For Capitol Weekly, Will Schuck reports on Governor Newsom's proposal to raise fees on toxic pesticides to discourage their use.

The cost of killing bugs in California will start to rise if lawmakers adopt Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to reduce toxic pesticide use by gradually increasing fees, a measure that could affect everyone from crop dusters to home gardeners.

The fee hike, phased in over four years, is included in the governor’s budget proposal. It would nudge pesticide users toward more sustainable methods while generating money — about $45 million annually over time — for the state’s efforts at expanding the use of sustainable methods.

Val Dolcini, director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation, called the proposal “bold and innovative” and said “the biggest beneficiaries will be everyone in California.”

Currently, the state charges a 2.1 percent fee on the sale of pesticides entering the state. It is the same for relatively benign products as for the most problematic toxins. Whether those chemicals end up at a garden center or a commercial crop dusting operation, the initial fee is the same. And it hasn’t budged since 2004.

LEON PANETTA INTERVIEW: PPIC has posted last Tuesday's conversation between president/CEO Mark Baldassare and former Secretary of Defense, CIA Director, White House chief of staff, and congressman (D-Monterey) Leon Panetta. They talk about federal and state efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and discusses the role of political leadership during turbulent times.

CAKEDAY: Light those candles for Carolyn Becker, Amy Hines-Shaikh, and Jason Overman!

Classifieds

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CCST Announces 2021 Science in Public Interest Awards

On Feb 2nd, the California Council of Science and Technology recognizes Senator Robert Hertzberg, Assemblymember Chris Holden, and former California Energy Commission Vice Chair Janea Scott with its 2021 Science in Public Service Award for their work to reduce disaster impacts in CA. The award honors distinguished public servants who are leaders in connecting science and technology with policy.

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: