Around The Capitol

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  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senator Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) on the details of the COVID 19 vaccine and equitable distribution of the vaccine and fighting the disinformation from vaccine deniers (2021-02-08)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Chris Micheli on lobbying during the pandemic (2021-02-07)
  • This Week in California Education (EdSource): San Francisco Unified Superintendent Vincent Matthews on lawsuit by the city and CTA president E. Toby Boyd on Vaccinating Teachers (2021-02-06)
  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) (2021-02-05)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Scott and Marisa talk about this week's statewide polls and then to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia to discuss his city's success in distributing vaccines, its "hero pay" legislation, why his family idolized Ronald Reagan, overcoming self-hate after coming out as gay and losing his mother and step-father to COVID-19 last year. (2022-02-05)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): With their guest,  television political reporter Dave Bryan, Bill and Sherry analyze the attacks on Gov. Gavin Newsom, some of them political, others downright dangerous. (2021-02-04)


  • Presidential results are now available for each congressional district on the district pages.
  • SD36 (South OC/North SD coast): added Carlsbad councilmember Priya Bhat-Patel (D) - open seat - Bates (R) termed out

STUDENT SUBSCRIPTIONS: 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 9, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    -the numbers
    -tiers for fears
    -school daze
  • Newsom hits the road
  • AD79
  • AGstakes
  • Net neutrality
  • Cakeday and classifieds  

Happy Taco Tuesday! Tonight I'll likely have carnitas tacos using the Riverdog Farm pork shoulder I cooked Sunday in the Instant Pot. Last night, I made pork spare ribs, also from Riverdog, along with braised greens and potatoes fried in duck fat (Riverdog Farm in Capay Valley, Yolo County) and broccoli quick steamed in the IP from Ge Moua Farm in Sacramento County. [dinner photo]

Today, the other Capitol is forgetting about the pandemic and driving down the dead-end road of an impeachment trial. I get why Dems are doing it to sate the base, but no individual American will be materially better off following this exercise.

I would just prefer to never hear DJT's name again.

That said, I do love the ConLaw class that I am getting. Needless to say, at King Hall, even as a research assistant to a ConLaw prof, we never talked about the ability to impeach someone after they've left office.

COVID-19: California added 340 deaths yesterday for a total of 44,493 since the pandemic began. As usual, the daily release from LA County Public Health notes "The lower number of deaths and cases may reflect reporting delays over the weekend." As of yesterday, the 14-day rolling average has dropped to 502.3 from a peak 14-day rolling average of 542.2 (-5.8%) on February 1.

As I wrote yesterday, we're all crossing our fingers that Super Bowl parties on Sunday amidst an increasing number of cases of SARS-CoV-19 variants in California won't flip the impressive downward slope of the curve.

-tiers for fears: Here are the statuses of California's 58 counties. You can see what the restrictions mean here, although county health orders may be stricter than the state.

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

As we await the weekly presser from Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's HHS secretary, the Chron's Jessica Flores looks at the when the City and County of San Francisco may move to a less restrictive tier than the current, most restrictive purple. The tentative deal between school district and union officials to reopen schools is based on when the county moves to the red tier.

[B]ased on current case rates, San Francisco is still a ways off from exiting the most restrictive purple tier in California’s reopening system — as are the rest of the Bay Area counties.

The tier assignments set by California determine what can reopen in a county, and are a key component of a tentative deal reached Sunday between the San Francisco Unified School District and employee unions to safely reopen the city’s public schools. The agreement allows a return to classrooms when San Francisco enters the next-less-restrictive red tier, if coronavirus vaccinations are made available to on-site school staff. If the city enters the moderate orange tier, vaccinations would not be required.

San Francisco’s adjusted seven-day average of positive cases for the week ending Feb. 2 was 12.5 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to state figures. That’s a significant decline from the week ending Jan. 12, when the rate was 19.8 new daily cases per 100,000 residents.

To enter the red tier, the county must have an adjusted seven-day average of positive cases in the range of 4-7 per 100,000 residents. To enter the orange tier, the average must be in the 1-4 range.

The state considers two other factors in tier assignments: positive test rate and a health equity metric keyed to the positive test rate in disadvantaged communities. To advance to a less-restrictive tier, a county must have been in its current tier for a minimum of three weeks, and must meet the criteria for the next-less-restrictive tier for both adjusted case rate and positive test rate for the prior two consecutive weeks.

-variants: For The Bee, Michael McGough reports on the discovery of the UK variant in the Sacramento region:

Researchers and local leaders on Monday announced a COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7, originally found in the United Kingdom, has been confirmed for the first time in the Sacramento area.

The case came in a Yolo County adult who recently traveled outside the community, though it is unclear to where. The B.1.1.7 mutation was confirmed by a lab at the UC Davis Genome Center.

“Given that the B.1.1.7 variant has already been found in Southern California and the Bay Area, it is not surprising that it has now been detected in Yolo County,” Yolo health officer Dr. Aimee Sisson said in a statement. “However, detecting this more infectious variant locally is a reminder that even though case rates are declining in Yolo County, we must maintain our vigilance and continue using protective measures against coronavirus.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom during a Wednesday news conference said at least 153 cases of B.1.1.7 have been identified in California, most of them in San Diego County, which is where it was first found in the state in late December.

The variant has been shown to be 40-50% more transmissible, although does not appear to be more virulent (harmful) or able to avoid the protections of the FDA-approved vaccines.

-vaccines: Good news from the is scheduled for a vaccine on Friday. He's crossing his fingers after several canceled appointments because of supply. Meanwhile, up in Portland, mom still isn't a priority as she doesn't turn 75 until later this month, and the priority in Oregon is still 75+ and teachers.

In Los Angeles County, there are more vaccine doses arriving but they are reserved for second doses. Luke Money and Rong-Gong Lin II write for the Times:

Most of Los Angeles County’s supply of COVID-19 vaccine will be needed for second doses into next week, as even stepped-up shipments will be insufficient to break the bottleneck of people needing to complete their inoculation regimen, officials said.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday that about 55% of the doses expected this week will be needed for second shots — which are required a few weeks after people initially roll up their sleeves.

County officials have already said they will be limited to administering second doses for the rest of the week starting Tuesday at a handful of their major vaccination sites: the Fairplex in Pomona, the Forum in Inglewood, county Office of Education in Downey, Cal State Northridge, El Sereno, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia and Balboa Sports Complex in Encino.

While the county is committed to providing second doses as close to the recommend interval as possible — three weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech and four weeks for Moderna — Ferrer acknowledged that “it is hard to manage a vaccination program with so much variability in the weekly allocations.”

-school daze: While I didn't have time to watch, Laurel Rosenhall (CalMatters) tweeted during Newsom's presser at Levi's Stadium this morning:

Key points on SCHOOLS from Newsom:

  • Gov & lawmakers are close to a deal on a new plan to reopen elem grades
  • If it includes requirement that teachers are vaccinated (which unions want) then we should not expect schools to reopen this school year

Meanwhile, The Bee's Lara Korte looks at whether kids will be expected to be vaccinated before returning to school.

It could be months before federal health officials approve the vaccine for younger cohorts. If schools are to reopen as quickly as Gov. Gavin Newsom and others want them to, before the end of the spring semester, they’re unlikely to wait to vaccinate children.

Newsom has said he wants to reopen schools quickly and safely, and the Centers for Disease Control say it is possible to reopen schools for in-person activity safely as vaccine distribution continues, as long as districts take the the proper safety measures.

The CDC says children, age 0 to 17 years old, have reported fewer cases of COVID-19 than adults, but the true incidence of infection in children is not known due to the lack of widespread testing and the prioritization of testing for adults. Children in general are less symptomatic when infected and less likely to develop severe illness from the coronavirus, the CDC says.

But even if the effects in children tend to be more mild than adults, recent evidence suggests that compared to adults, children likely have similar viral loads in their nasal cavity and can spread the virus to others.

“Eventually, we want to get kids vaccinated,” said Bradley Pollock, a professor of epidemiology and chairman of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California Davis School of Medicine.

“The problem is that it’s going to take some time to get to the point where we can do that, because you have to have the efficacy and the safety data generated to be able to do that.”

Well, that's bringing a poo-poo cake to the party...

In San Francisco, City Attorney Dennis Herrera is expanding the lawsuit against the school district after the union and district leaders reached a vague agreement on reopening. Jill Tucker reports for the Chron in the last hour:

City Attorney Dennis Herrera added the new counts to an existing lawsuit against the San Francisco Unified School District, that has previously alleged school officials failed to create a specific plan for reopening as required by state law.

Herrera said he is now seeking a court order requiring the district to “stop depriving San Francisco school children of their constitutional rights and to offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible, as the law requires.”

Herrera also claims the district is discriminating against students from low-income families in violation of the state’s equal protection clause.

District officials say they have not had a chance to respond to the new allegations, which were just filed Tuesday morning in San Francisco Superior Court.

...more COVID-19 coverage after the jump.

NEWSOM HITS THE ROAD: Last week, we didn't have the Monday distanced presser that had become routine. Then, he popped up on Wednesday at the Oakland Coliseum to announce a partnership with the Oakland A's for a major vaccination site. Yesterday, there was no scheduled virtual press conference and Where's Waldo popped up at Petco Park in San Diego to announce another large vaccination site.

This morning, he's at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, which is one of the biggest vaccination sites in the country. By the way, national media, it is not in San Francisco, despite the 49ers team name.

Frankly, this is what he needs to do as the recall effort moves from simmer to boil. As I've written in many places, I think the recall effort qualifies, but I think Newsom beats it.

Getting out to the new large vaccination sites and talking about the issues with supplies from the multi-national companies with FDA-approved vaccines is a far better image for Newsom at this point than appearing in what looks like a bunker at the state's emergency operations center or home. Emergency ops centers are a good visual for a short period of time during a disaster, but going on eleven months, it just doesn't work.

Of course, detractors and supporters of the recall will criticize him about flights on private planes...

-Governor Newsom update/announcement of A's vaccine partnership on 02/03:

-HHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly update on 02/02:

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

-Governor Newsom update on 01/25:

a lot more stories after the jump...

Probolsky Research

AD79 (East San Diego): Last night, the local virtual caucus of the California Democratic Party endorsed Dr. Akilah Weber to succeed her mother Dr. Shirley Weber in the Assembly. Of course, Shirley is now Secretary of State and preparing for a statewide election next year. Akilah is an OB/GYN and councilmember in La Mesa. Consultant Derek Humphrey gives us the virtual vote:

Democratic Party Special Endorsing Caucus for Assembly District 79
  Votes %
Akilah Weber 39 97.5%
Shane Parmely 1 2.5%
Leticia Munguia 0 0%
No Endorsement 0 0%
Total 40 -

While it was considered a possibility, there was obviously no labor surge for Mungula, who is an organizer for the AFSCME local that represents many employees of the city of San Diego.

Meanwhile, as of 6:30 this morning, San Diego County hasn't updated its candidate filing list, so I have no idea who voters will see on the ballot for the April 6 special.

AGstakes: After getting a hall pass from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) is now considered the unexpected favorite for appointment by Governor Newsom to a vacancy in the state's Attorney General office, should Xavier Becerra be confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Biden Administration. What was seen as a non-starter of Newsom picking a straight white guy a few months ago, after appointments of Alex Padilla to the United States Senate and Dr. Shirley Weber to Secretary of State, Newsom has more latitude. Of course, Schiff is a well-known name in many households and wouldn't be seen as just another straight white guy. There are few that Newsom could appoint without broad criticism, but Schiff is one, particularly after appointing the first Black Secretary of State and first Latino United States Senator.

net neutrality, cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

NET NEUTRALITY: Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice dropped its lawsuit against the State of California over a law to protect neutrality of content delivered by internet service providers. While it sounds technical, it's now an even bigger issue when the legislation was passed in 2018. Because of the pandemic, a lot of content has moved from theaters to streaming. Warner Brothers is not releasing movies directly to HBO Max. Of course, the famous studio is owned by AT&T, a major internet service provider. Similarly, Comcast owns NBC/Universal and is offering proprietary content.

The legislation doesn't prohibit the behemoths from bundling content for their customers. However, they can't do things like "throttling" (providing lower bandwidth) of products from other content providers.

Jon Brodkin reports for Ars Technicha:

The Biden administration has abandoned a Trump-era lawsuit that sought to block California's net neutrality law. In a court filing today, the US Department of Justice said it "hereby gives notice of its voluntary dismissal of this case." Shortly after, the court announced that the case is "dismissed in its entirety" and "all pending motions in this action are denied as moot."

The case began when Trump's DOJ sued California in September 2018 in US District Court for the Eastern District of California, trying to block a state net neutrality law similar to the US net neutrality law repealed by the Ajit Pai-led FCC. Though Pai's FCC lost an attempt to impose a blanket, nationwide preemption of any state net neutrality law, the US government's lawsuit against the California law was moving forward in the final months of the Trump administration.

The Biden DOJ's voluntary dismissal of the case puts an end to that. "I am pleased that the Department of Justice has withdrawn this lawsuit," FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said today. "When the FCC, over my objection, rolled back its net neutrality policies, states like California sought to fill the void with their own laws. By taking this step, Washington is listening to the American people, who overwhelmingly support an open Internet, and is charting a course to once again make net neutrality the law of the land."

Meanwhile, the internet service providers such as AT&T and Comcast continue with their own lawsuits.. 

CAKEDAY: Light those candles for former state senator Liz Figueroa, Juan Torres, and Stephanie Williams!



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Capitol Seminars’ Lobbying 101 Course Now Available Via Zoom

Taught by 46-year Capitol veteran Ray LeBov, this course provides a comprehensive, real-world overview of California’s Legislative process, plus the people and best practices you need to know about for effective Legislative advocacy. Capitol Seminars is the No.1 training resource for nonprofits and private sector organizations, lobbying firms, state and local government agencies and trade associations. Send us your new lobbyists, support staff, legislative committee members, executives who hire and manage lobbyists. First Zoom session is Friday February 26, 9am-1:30pm, $275. Seats are limited. Reservations: (916) 837-0208.

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California Forward: Director of Public Policy

California Forward seeks to hire a Director of Public Policy to lead development of a cohesive public policy agenda that reflects the mission and promotes the organization as a vehicle for change in California. Please see the full description here:

California Health Benefits Review Program Legislative Briefing

Working on legislation related to health insurance/Medi-Cal this year? In 2021, will you or your office:

  • Propose a health insurance benefit-related bill?
  • Propose a bill related to reimbursement for certain kinds of health care providers or facilities?
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