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  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): GOP political consultant Rob Stutzman (2021-02-22)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) on His Family's Internment History and His Agenda for Military Veterans (2021-02-18)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Daniel Zingale on his career in California politics. (2021-02-14)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): We  examine the media's continuing obsession with Donald Trump. And we dig into the current buzz around California politics. (2021-02-18)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe):  We examine the impact of the Trump impeachment trial on the country.   We wonder if die-hard Republican senators will turn against the president.  And we look at how Trump's behavior is impacting two California Republican members of Congress. (2021-02-12)
  • 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)


  • 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 Monday, February 22, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Weekends at The Nooner
  • COVID-19
    -the numbers
    -tiers for fears
    -school daze
    -post-COVID syndrome
  • Dollars and nonsense?
  • Do you recall?
  • Housing
  • High-speed choo-choo
  • Cakeday and classifieds  

Happy Monday folks! It's a beautiful day at Nooner Global HQ, aside from the fact that the despair about the relocation of the Sacramento Central Farmers Market for the rest of the year after this upcoming Sunday. The current fret is that I'll miss the season of the coveted asparagus from Riverdog Farm. As much as I love seeing daffodils and tulips and flowering trees on my walks, that specific asparagus has defined spring for me the last 6 years. Since I'm an early bird, I could usually get a bunch, latecomers to the market would be out of luck. I'll figure it out.

Meanwhile, I the trials and tribulations of my shoulder, I think I figured out what changed. Up until a couple of weeks ago, my setup was my MacBook powering a Thunderbolt monitor, and I used an external keyboard and wireless TrackPad. Well, while changing the batteries in the TrackPad, I dropped the coin-screwed in end over the batteries and I heard it bounce around the floor beneath my desk. I looked everywhere for that damn little silver disc to no avail. So, I returned to typing directly on my laptop. That's just when my shoulder started hurting. I should be back to my setup that that has worked for several years by tonight and hopefully that helps, along with the other measures, in a full rehabilitation. If it works, call me Dr. House.

Here's a recap for those of you who admirably stepped away from the email over the weekend.


Saturday, February 20

  • Money matters
  • COVID-19
    -the numbers
    -tiers for fears
    -skilled nursing facilities
    -LA vaccines
    -LA demographic discrepancies
    -school daze
    -youth sports
  • Do you recall?
  • SB 29
  • CA and TX electricity woes
  • On second thought

Sunday, February 21

  • Recall watch
  • The week ahead
  • COVID-19
    -the numbers
    -tiers for fears
    -herd immunity
  • Housing the homeless
  • Prosecutors v. Prosecutors

on to the news after the jump...

COVID-19: California added 225 deaths yesterday for a total of 49,342 since the pandemic began. As usual, Sunday reporting can be delayed. That said, all all indicators took progressively better.

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

  • purple (widespread): 52 counties
  • red (substantial): 3 counties (Del Norte, Mariposa and Plumas)
  • orange (moderate): 3 counties (Alpine, Sierra, Trinity)

-vaccines: In the Times, Maya Lau writes that Governor Newsom on Sunday acknowledges faults in the rollout of vaccinations in the Black and Latino communities.

Speaking at a mobile vaccination clinic in Inglewood, Newsom said the state needs to “do more and do better” to provide outreach and set up vaccine sites directly in the communities that have been hit hardest by the virus.

“We’re not doing enough. We need to do significantly more programs like this,” he said. “We’ve got to get people back to work. We’ve got to get people back into church. And we’ve got to get people back into school.”

Of the 7.3 million doses administered in California, 2.9% have gone to Black residents, 16% to Latinos and 13% to Asian Americans, compared with 32.7% to white people, according to state data.

Those disparities are reflected to some degree in L.A. County, where 24% of Black residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with Latino seniors at 29% and Asian American seniors at 39%, compared with 43% among white seniors, according to county public health data.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 death rate for Latinos is triple that of white people in the county, with a daily rate of 48 deaths per 100,000 residents compared with 16 deaths per 100,000 residents for white people, according to county data from mid-January. Black residents were dying at a rate of 23 deaths per 100,000 people.

Newsom, who is facing a recall campaign with nearly 1.1 million signatures, sought to illuminate the state’s efforts to vaccinate “hard-to-reach” and “disproportionately impacted” communities by visiting two sites Sunday, including the one in Inglewood and another in Boyle Heights.

-school daze:

  • From the Desk of the Dean: George Skelton argues for returning kids to in-person instruction.
    This is guaranteed: Many kids locked out of classrooms by the pandemic will suffer academically from being forced to learn at home.

    It doesn’t matter what the politicians say — the governor, legislators, superintendents, school board members and teachers union leaders. They must not fully grasp the extent of the potential harm to homebound students, or they’d have reopened classrooms long ago.

    They’d have found some way to get the kids safely back into class with their friends and teachers.

    I’m no education expert, even if my late wife did teach high school English for 38 years. But I know what I personally experienced. And reading these days about the problems of students trying to learn at home triggers bad memories.

    I was stuck at home my entire freshman year in high school because of a physical ailment. Fortunately, no impersonal Zoom existed in those ancient times. A live teacher — a very nice woman — showed up a few hours each day to run through my algebra, English and other ninth-grade lessons.

    As with many homebound kids today, my mind constantly wandered. Thoughts were on sports, fishing and my illness. I couldn’t wait for the short “school day” to end.
    Homework was done haphazardly, if at all. I got away with stuff I never would have at a real school.

    Regardless of what side of the fence you are on in the debate of when and how schools should return, the entire column is a great read. As Nooner veterans know, I dropped out of high school because of health issues after on-again, off-again in-person attendance. I had tutors at home and in the hospital, but I certainly missed on a lot of things. Yes, I stumbled to law school and passed the bar (although never practiced) because that's just how my brain works.

    But, I never read any of the novels you were supposed to read in high school and stumble on NYT crossword puzzle clues during my evening routine on such things as the periodic table of elements. Don't ask me about physics. I think I took it twice at Orange Coast. I only got to do about three plays in drama, my extracurricular activity of choice. "Objection, your honor, this is preposterous!" was one of my lines from Inherit the Wind. Indeed, I once played a district attorney.

    I don't have children and thus don't proffer a solution between the two sides of the argument over how fast schools should return to in-person. I have friends on both sides. All I can say is that I agree with Skelton that in-person does matter. Then again, there was neither a pandemic nor technology in my day, except for that TRS-80 and the dial-up modem used with the XT/AT IBM-compatible computers I could assemble with parts from Fry's.
  • Los Angeles Unified: The LAT's Howard Blume writes that Los Angeles Unified will begin returning to some limited services beginning next week with plans to open elementary schools in April. 

    Los Angeles schools will resume some services next week for a small percentage of students with special needs, Supt. Austin Beutner announced Monday.

    The state’s largest school system had been among the last in the region to maintain a hard shutdown that halted all in-person services in early December. The district’s move will partially address a growing outcry among many families to reopen campuses as much as possible.

    “In anticipation of a more complete reopening of schools in April, we will begin next week to offer child care, one-on-one and small group instruction, services for students with special needs and a return to athletic conditioning,” Beutner said in remarks broadcast Monday morning. “Your school principal will have more information on this during the course of the week.”

    For about two months in the fall, L.A. Unified had offered many of these services, but shut them down when a devastating COVID-19 surge took hold in Southern California, straining the medical system. At the time, in-person services and instruction were reaching fewer than 1% of the 465,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The district also was relying on staff who volunteered to work outside of the normal school day.

  • Sac County: In The Bee, Sawson Morrar and Tony Bizjak report that shots are going in arms of Sacramento County teachers, but that it's also only one step for a broad return to in-person instruction and will take more time.

    Sacramento County began vaccinating teachers and child care providers last week. It’s a key step toward reopening school campuses, but health officials warned it will take weeks – or even months – to offer the vaccine to the roughly 25,000 school employees in the county.

    Teachers are finding that appointments are limited and some are booking their first shot in mid-March. Appointments will be required, and vaccines are available on a first come, first served basis.

    Delays may occur for a variety of reasons, including storms that hit the U.S. this week. But school officials are hopeful.

    “I’m very optimistic,” said Sacramento County superintendent of schools Dave Gordon. “But none of us can control the appearance of these vaccines. That’s the big imponderable in all of this. We will hope and see how that works out. But educators are now a priority.”

    Morrar and Bizjak proceed to look at the situation in each district in the county and how teachers can get an appointment.

-immigration detention centers: For CalMatters, Ana B. Ibarra writes up the confusion over whose responsibility it is to ensure that those in immigration detention centers get vaccinated amidst often crowded situations.

In the midst of this chaos, one county, San Diego, has already taken action and sent doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to a local detention center. But another county, San Bernardino, is awaiting instructions from state health officials on when detainees will become eligible for shots. 

Because detainees are in federal custody, state health officials said last week that they aren’t sure who is responsible for vaccination at the detention centers.

“I will tell you very transparently right now, the answer is I don’t know,” California Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris, who chairs the state’s vaccine advisory committee, told committee members on Wednesday. “There are some real complex jurisdictional issues that are at play.”

That same day, while visiting a vaccination clinic in Riverside County, Gov. Gavin Newsom said detention facilities are “operated uniquely and distinctively from the state.”

So far, 571 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in California’s seven immigration detention centers, including 270 at the Adelanto facility in San Bernardino County. One detainee died of COVID-19 at the Otay Mesa facility in San Diego County, according to ICE’s COVID-19 tracker.  

Meanwhile, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say that while its medical staff may help administer the vaccinations, it’s up to states and local health departments to come up with the doses and a plan for vaccinating detainees. Six of California’s seven centers are operated by private companies.

Well, isn't that just great?

-'post-COVID syndrome': For the Chron, Nanette Asimov looks at the effects that some people face long after they have "recovered" from a serious COVID-19 illness.

Doctors call the medical conundrum “post-acute COVID syndrome.” Scientists prefer “post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection.” But those suffering from the multitude of frightening symptoms that don’t go away just call themselves “long-haulers.”

“Thousands of researchers across the United States are going to be developing projects to study this problem,” said Dr. Michael Peluso, an infectious disease expert who manages a UCSF study of long-haulers with funding for 250 participants. “There will be a huge effort to do this now, and it will far exceed the small studies that have existed so far.”

Terrifying for sufferers and frustrating for physicians, post-COVID syndrome’s questions far outnumber answers. Scientists don’t know how common it is, what causes it, and who is likely to get it.

A cough that won’t quit, shortness of breath, exhaustion, headaches and brain fog are the most common symptoms reported by long-haulers — people who no longer test positive for the coronavirus yet, months later, still feel ill. Scientists can’t predict how long people will suffer, and they don’t know if they should study everyone together or group people by symptoms.

“The only thing we know is that this syndrome is real,” said Dr. Steve Deeks, who works with Peluso on the UCSF study.

 -child care providers: For CalMatters, Elizabeth Aguilera looks at the move by the Senate Budget Committee to provide COVID-19 relief to child care workers.

California lawmakers and thousands of family child care providers reached a tentative agreement to provide one-time stipends and paid-days off for COVID-19 to help ease the burden of the pandemic.

Funding was approved by the Senate Budget Committee last week and is expected to be approved by the Legislature within days. The $144 million in federal funds are part of a larger economic recovery package announced by the governor this week worth $9.6 billion. It represents the first major victory for the union since being formally recognized by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019.

This agreement is an important step in ongoing negotiations for a master contract between the state and the newly formed Child Care Providers United union. It’s been 17 years since child care providers began organizing and trying to be recognized by the state as a labor force, said the union’s vice chair, Johanna Hester.

 “This is a huge relief for family child care providers,” she said.

The agreement before the Legislature includes:

  • A one-time stipend for providers of $525 per child in subsidized care as of Nov. 2020
  • 16 additional paid non-operational days for COVID-19 closures, bringing total paid non-operational days to 40
  • Formation of a working group of state and union representatives to review additional funding through the federal CARES Act, including a waiver of family fees and support for providers who shut down

-Governor Newsom visits Long Beach vaccination site to highlight the city's leadership on 2/22.

-Governor Newsom visits mobile clinic location providing vaccinations to teachers and school site employees on 02/19.

-Governor Newsom visits vaccination center in the Coachella Valley on 02/18:

-Governor Newsom attends opening of vaccination center in Los Angeles on 02/16:

-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:

more stories after the jump...

DOLLARS AND NONSENSE? For CalMatters, Dan Walters cautions that the $9.6 billion economic relief package is using one-time unexpected funding (because there wasn't a fiscal cliff associated with the pandemic in the current year) for what are temporary infusions, but history tells us that expectations may be that spending at that level may continue.

The relief package that Newsom and legislative leaders want to enact is not supposed to be permanent, but rather one-time or short-term until the pandemic is tamed and the economy swings upward. In theory, as businesses reopen and begin earning profits and as workers are called back to their jobs, the need for direct aid will vanish.

However, temporary government benefits have a way of morphing into permanent entitlements and advocates for those receiving the aid may see it as a pathway to long-sought structural changes of fiscal and economic policy to close California’s very wide income and wealth disparities.

Whether one likes or dislikes the possibility of those changes, there’s no question that they would carry very large price tags on top of the budget deficits already on the horizon.

Universal single-payer health care, universal early childhood education, guaranteed family incomes, vastly expanded services to the homeless and other items on progressive political agendas would cost tens of billions of dollars. Thus, they would require hefty increases of taxes on Californians who already are carrying one of the nation’s highest taxation burdens.

On one hand, Newsom has publicly endorsed some of those costly new entitlements. But on the other, he has opposed the new income or wealth taxes that some left-leaning legislators have proposed to finance them, clearly fearing that new taxes would escalate migrations of employers and high-income taxpayers to other states.

There is no free lunch.


-what you need to know: The LAT's Seema Mehta provides a Q&A on the effort to recall Governor Newsom.

-timing: In The Bee, Sophia Bollag looks at how supermajority Democrats in the Legislature could delay a recall election date if sufficient valid signatures are turned in.

Democrats can’t control whether an effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom qualifies for the ballot, but they could influence when Californians vote.

If recall supporters collect enough signatures to trigger a special election, they will set in motion a process that could result in a vote later this year. The Democratic governor could be removed from office if a majority of voters cast their ballots for the recall.

Democrats, who dominate statewide elected offices and the Legislature in California, will carry out the process at every level. They will have some discretion over how quickly they act, although they will be subject to deadlines set in state law.

-campaign finance: For those that don't remember the 2003 recall of Governor Gray Davis or 2018 recall of Senator Josh Newman (who voters returned to SD29 in 2020), the fundraising laws are interesting.

First, remember that a theoretical recall ballot against Gavin Newsom would have two questions.

  1. Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?
  2. Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled:
    Vote for One

The first question is a ballot measure. The second question is a candidate election for the office of Governor. That means that two different campaign finance laws apply to the limits that apply to contributions.

Ballot measures, under court precedent -- largely as extensions of Buckley v. Valeo 424 U.S. 1 (1978) -- don't create the possibility of undue influence on an elected official by a direct donation by an individual donor. Therefore, a campaign for or against a recall that does not express a name of a successor candidate in question 2, can accept contributions of any amount.

In contrast, candidates to succeed Governor Newsom would be subject to campaign finance limits for the office of Governor, which are $32,400 (with the exception of a state or local political party) in the 2021-2022 cycle.

In his campaign account for reelection in 2022, Governor Newsom reported ending cash of $20,229,945 on 12/31. Since January 1, he has reported raising an additional $581,400. He also has around $1.3 million in a ballot measure account. He could transfer any of that to a committee opposing the recall. Of course, allies in Sacramento have far more money to amass against a recall, so he likely wouldn't have to.

For more on campaign finance and recall elections, the FPPC has an FAQ.

HIGH-SPEED CHOO-CHOOIn the LAT, Ralph Vartabedian has a thorough investigation on cost overruns and delays in the "scaled-down" high-speed rail project. As often happens in projects, the lowest bidder, a Spanish giant although without experience on California's geography and environmental laws may end up costing more. It's an outstanding article that I can't dignify with an excerpt.

Great work, Ralph!

HOUSING: The city of Berkeley is considering a non-binding resolution tomorrow to end "exclusionary housing," viewed as single-family zoning, by December 2022. For Berkeleyside, John Metcalfe writes:

Separately, the council and the mayor are considering allowing multiplexes in places zoned for single families, potentially opening the door for residents of more-diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

These actions would do something to help correct the arc of Berkeley’s ugly housing history. The city was the first in the nation to enact single-family zoning, in 1916, which had the effect of pushing nonwhite people to more crowded, impoverished neighborhoods in the south and west. Berkeley also used racist covenants to restrict who could live where  – Claremont’s inclusion of “pure Caucasian blood”-residents, for instance – and with redlining maps that praised exclusive neighborhoods like the Elmwood for their lack of “Negros” and “foreign-born” inhabitants. (These maps, which banks used to deny loans for residents of nonwhite neighborhoods, have to this day been linked to premature births and low-weight babies.)

“We saw these zoning practices originate because Berkeley didn’t want African-American dance halls or Chinese laundromats,” said Lori Droste, the District 8 council member sponsoring the new legislation. As a politician who represents Elmwood, she said, “I felt particularly morally compelled to address this issue.”

CAGOP: There was little news made over the three-day virtual GOP Convention. Chair Jessica Patterson was reelected, fending off challenges by former Assembly member Travis Allen and conservative columnist Steve Frank. A resolution to censure Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) for voting to impeach Donald Trump was ruled out of order.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...


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CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Ashley Johnson and Andrew Rodriguez!




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