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.

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 Wednesday, February 10, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    -the numbers
    -tiers for fears
    -school daze
  • AGstakes?
  • Housing
  • Dam it!
  • Big Sur, Sir
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

Happy Wednesday! We're half way though the week, well at least when that made something. Legislators and Governor Newsom appear to be near a deal for returning to the classroom. Of course, the issue is over whether all school employees should be advanced to the head of the line now that California employees aged 65 and older are in the same prioritization class. 

Like many others in this world, I have been spending lots of time on finding vaccinations for my parents. This week might bring good news, but I have feld that way several times before.

COVID-19: California added 514 deaths yesterday for a total of 44,007 since the pandemic began. The daily is likely higher because of reporting delays from the weekend.

-tiers for fears: Here are the statuses of California's 58 counties. Yesterday, Del Norte was moved from purple to red. If you haven't been there, it is pronounced Del Nort. Don't even try to go all Spanish on the county name.

Del Norte was named by settlers from Portugal, which is the reason from the pronunciation of the name. The same issues are found around California amidst the prevailing Spanish-influenced words. The late and grate John Vasconcellos was pronounced with the Portuguese double-Ls. In Monterey County, the debate will never end. Now we have the debate over LatinX.

Welcome to my former life of being the CEO of a statewide association.

You can see what the restrictions mean here, although county health orders may be stricter than the state.

  • purple (widespread): 53 counties
  • red (substantial): 2 counties (Del Norte, Mariposa)
  • orange (moderate): 3 county (Alpine, Sierra, Trinity)
  • yellow (minimal): 0 counties 

-vaccines: A team at the Los Angeles Times looks at the scramble to correct a demonstrably inequitable vaccination distribution system.

The rate of vaccination among white and Asian seniors in L.A. County is far higher than among Black, Latino and Native American seniors, the very communities where COVID-19 case and death rates are highest, according to county data. Black residents 65 and older have the lowest vaccination rate of all the groups.

That trend is the opposite of how vaccines should be distributed if the goal is slowing transmission of the virus, both in the most devastated communities and elsewhere, [UCSF epidemiologist Dr. Kirsten] Bibbins-Domingo said. Outbreaks will continue if coverage is not widespread, she added.

“What does it mean to really reach herd immunity when one part of the county might effectively have herd immunity while another part of the community really doesn’t?” she said. “Our way of interacting with one another means that people move across communities, which means that effectively we don’t have herd immunity, so the pandemic doesn’t end.”

Of course, I am part of the problem as I talked to my mom and dad (both in their 70s) last night about strategy to get a vaccine.

Meanwhile, the very smart Newsom Vaccination Tour 2021 continued today in Fresno. And, vaccinations won't come to teachers or restaurant workers in Orange County, writes Alicia Robinson in the Register.

-school daze: The great The Daily podcast from the New York Times today looks at the science and politics of reopening schools for another fantastic episode.

Meanwhile, as President Biden seeks to reopen schools nationwide, the LAT's Chris Megerian looks at the hurdles he faces in California.

Although dates have been set in New York City and Chicago to send children back to elementary and middle schools, there are no such agreements in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, dragging out the process nearly a year after students began learning remotely.

It’s a thorny political problem for Biden, who pledged to reopen the majority of schools serving kindergarten through eighth grade by April 30, coinciding with his 100th day in office. The president is intensely proud of his support from organized labor, but he has also pledged to let science guide his approach to the pandemic, and a growing body of research shows that schools can be safe even without vaccinations.

Failing to get students back into classrooms would undermine Biden’s efforts to boost the economy by freeing parents to return more fully to work and derail one of his administration’s earliest promises.

Biden’s biggest roadblock appears to be in deep-blue California, where teachers unions are one of the strongest political forces and fear of the coronavirus remains high after a deadly winter turned the state into the country’s epicenter of infection. If labor leaders remain unbending on their inoculation requirements, getting students back into classrooms on Biden’s timeline will be difficult because the vaccine supply has failed to meet demand.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that a deal on a framework for reopening the state’s schools could be reached this week.

“A plan not to open is not a plan,” he said. “We need a plan to safely reopen this school year.”

I put that into my fancy Political Translater 3000 and even after I still don't really know what it means. Unions want all school employees to be at the front of the line among 11.5 million Californians in phases 1A and 1B, along with everybody 65+ or takes your order as you eat a sandwich outdoors at a restaurant.

As you know, I am okay with that in Portland because my mom is staying at home who will wait for likely another month. I am not okay with my 76-year-old father in OC who is a tax accountant, prepared for many in-person appointments, and is now waiting behing 20-something high school PE teachers who have no intentions of outdoors activities returning soon.

-museums: In the NYT, Robin Pogrebin writes about the impact of restrictions on Los Angeles's great museums.

Los Angeles, where the coronavirus pandemic has been particularly severe, is the largest city in the nation whose museums have yet to reopen even temporarily since the pandemic struck last March. The prolonged closure is costing its museums millions of dollars a day in lost revenues, and setting the city back at a crucial moment when an influx of artists and galleries and an expanding museum scene had prompted some to pronounce Los Angeles the contemporary art world’s creative center.

“It’s frustrating to see crowded shopping malls and retail spaces and airports, yet museums are completely closed and many have not been able to reopen at all for the last 10 months,” said Celeste DeWald, the executive director of the California Association of Museums. “There is a unique impact on museums.”

While movies have moved from the big screen to our various smaller screens, this resonates with me. One year ago this Saturday, I arrived in Mexico City, which has one of the best collections of museums in the world (actually, the most number in the world, and lots are free through the benefaction of billionaire Carlos Slim). I hoped to return last September, but we know how that worked out.

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


-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

AGstakes? Lots of California political folks have been looking to the (202) to wonder when and if current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will be confirmed as the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Biden Administation. Evan Halper writes for the Los Angeles Times about the challenges facing Becerra.

The GOP is fixated on rejecting President Biden’s pick to helm the Department of Health and Human Services, but not for the type of personal failings that typically doom early nominees. It is Becerra’s perceived political and policy sins that are fueling the bid to block him. His California credentials aren’t helping in a Senate where Republicans have no shortage of hostility toward the state, particularly after Becerra led the filing of more than 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently ripped into the nominee on the Senate floor, calling Becerra a “famously partisan” abortion advocate who is unqualified for the job. Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford called Becerra’s policy pursuits “bizarre,” accusing the California attorney general of “encouraging the death of children.” Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said Becerra is on the “extreme left.”

As other Biden nominees cruise to confirmation, Republicans are maneuvering to slow down the process for Becerra, who has declined interview requests. They are building their case in caucus meetings, in the Senate chamber and in the media.

I wouldn't be shocked if Governor Newsom is just fine with a withdrawal of Becerra.While he is an outstanding choice for stae AG, an end of what was an expected confiirmation in favor of clamoring of interest groups with their preferred appointments to be Attorney General ahead of the 2022 election.

HOUSING: In the Times, Liam Dillon looks at the changing landscape in the Sacramento region as formerly dedicated single-family lots are made more flexible.

So far, Sacramento has not seen the intense negative reaction from homeowners that led to the demise of other efforts to upend single-family home zoning in California. But some residents say that’s only because most residents remain unaware of what’s going on.


The city’s plan would still permit single-family home construction in these communities, and any larger buildings would have to comply with existing height restrictions. Already, because of state and local laws, single-family home owners can add smaller backyard units and garage conversions on their properties.

The city has no formal estimate on how many new homes — either through new construction or the subdivision of existing single-family homes — the proposal would create, but officials believe it’ll be fewer than 100 a year.

Nevertheless, activists and leaders hope that the idea will help tame housing cost increases that were unthinkable in Sacramento until the recent influx of Bay Area residents boosted demand to live here. The city’s popularity has been bolstered in recent years by a new NBA arena, plans for professional soccer and, most notably, “Lady Bird,” the 2017 Oscar- nominated movie that highlighted Sacramento’s unpretentious charm.

As I've written here many times, I live on a former single-family lot exactly one mile from the south door to the Capitol. There are now three units on the property, which was built in 2005. I miss some things like my gardens in front and back that I had in Davis. However, there are many things I don't miss and I feel a lot hypocritical in my writing.

DAM IT! The LAT's Louis Sahagun writes that, 50 years after the Sylmar great earthquake that gravely damaged the San Fernando reservoir, California still has many dams vulnerable to the shaking earth.

Although the 1971 San Fernando earthquake and the near failure of the Lower Van Norman Dam have given rise to construction improvements — the much newer Los Angeles Dam survived an equivalent shaking in the 1994 Northridge quake — the overwhelming majority of California dams are decades past their design life span.

And while earthquakes still loom as the greatest threat to California’s massive collection of dams, experts warn that these aging structures will be challenged further by a new and emerging hazard: “whiplashing shifts” in extreme weather due to climate change.

“The biggest issue facing dam safety in California is aging infrastructure and lack of money to fund repairs and retrofits of dams,” said Sharon K. Tapia, who leads the Division of Safety of Dams at the California Department of Water Resources. “Many older dams were built using construction methods considered outdated by today’s standards.”

Big Sur Sir, cakeday, and classifieds after the jump...

BIG SUR, SIR: For the Chron, Kurtis Alexander looks as the challenge ahead for state scientists trying to repair Highway 1.

As everyone knows, putting things back together in Big Sur is not easy. The place was never meant to stay put. And the job is only getting tougher. While the region has been in motion ever since tectonic forces lifted the Santa Lucia Mountains to their towering heights above the Pacific millions of years ago, climate change is likely accelerating the wear and tear.

“Yeah, it’s a challenge,” said [geotechnical engineer with the California Department of Transportation Ryan] Turner, who was on his seventh straight day of work surveying the damage at Rat Creek late last week. “The Big Sur coast, obviously, is very active geologically.”

The past five years have exposed Mother Nature’s mounting fury. In 2016, one of the Central Coast’s biggest wildfires, the drought-fueled Soberanes Fire, ravaged 132,000 acres of Big Sur, leaving vast patches of unstable trees and hillsides. Many parks and roads are still shut down because of the hazards.

It's not just about fixing a very difficult a stretch...

[State leaders are] committed to keeping Big Sur’s roughly 90 miles of Highway 1 open, even though the 1930s-era road was designed as a seasonal route, like the storm-prone passes in the Sierra that are closed in the winter. Their calculus stems from the road’s high value to the economy.

“This highway has interest worldwide. People are traveling from all over the world to see this,” said Jim Shivers, a spokesman for Caltrans. “Abandoning the highway or walking away from it (seasonally) just never enters the discussion.”

Caltrans has spent about $200 million to repair damage to Highway 1 in Big Sur over the past decade, according to agency records. Officials say the benefits of having a functional artery far outweigh the maintenance costs.

As I have written before, it's a huge economic force for the state, although it's more expensive than maintaining the Golden Gate, let alone the miserable freeways around the currently closed theme parks in Orange County.

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Courtney Baxter and Morgan Roth!



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]

California School Boards Association - Public Affairs & Community Engagement Representative (San Diego)

Serve as CSBA’s liaison to local schools and county boards of education, key decision makers, and the community-at-large. Execute grassroots strategies designed to build relationships with, train, and mobilize local school board members and communities to advance CSBA’s legislative and statewide ballot measure advocacy priorities. Coordinates and executes fundraising events. Salary based on experience. This is a remote position based in San Diego County. Please apply at:

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.

Further information:

Game Changer: Using Coaching to Level Up!

Have you ever wondered, “What is coaching anyway!?”

We hear this word a lot, but what IS it?

  • Coaching is a way of being that enhances personal and professional communication, understanding, and growth.
  • Coaching is becoming more popular as a career path.
  • Coaching is becoming a popular leadership style in organizations.

Join us and you will walk away with:

  • Real and practical coaching tools for your business and other areas of your life
  • An experience of coaching and its value
  • An understanding of “what is coaching?”
  • Possibilities for using coaching or coach-style leadership in your future
  • The opportunity for a complimentary individual coaching session for first-hand experience with the power of coaching

Where? Zoom
When? Offered twice for your convenience on February 17 (Wed), 10am - 11:30am and March 16 (Tues), 5pm - 6:30pm
Cost? $35 (each session)
To register: Email

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?
  • Propose a benefit-related bill for Medi-Cal?
  • Sponsor or take a position on one?
  • Vote on one?

Great! Legislators, legislative and agency staff, advocates, health plan staff, and the public are warmly invited to the annual legislative briefing of the California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP), which will take place virtually this year.

Informational flyer | Register

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

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: