Around The Capitol

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RECENT PODS:

  • Capitol Weekly Podcast: The Future of Work (2021-03-12)
  • California State of Mind (CapRadio) - Putting a Positive Spin on California’s Pandemic Response; Some Cities Explore Higher Density Solutions to Housing Crisis (2021-03-12)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): Misogyny of the on-line attacks on Vice President Kamala Harris and political women in general (2021-02-25)
  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), who makes a return to the Legislature (2021-02-24)
  • 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)

CLASSIFIEDS BELOW:

  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - MPA/MPP
  • Executive Director of Government Relations: California State University, Fresno
  • California School Boards Association - Public Affairs & Community Engagement Representative (San Diego)
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - Masters of Science in Law

DISTRICT UPDATES:

  • CA15 (Hayward-Livermore): added program manager Jackie Cota (R) - challenge to Eric Swalwell (D)
  • CA22 (Clovis-Tulare-Visalia): added operations manager Lourin Hubbard (D) - challenge to Devin Nunes (R)

MONEY MATTERS:

  • GOV: Newsom for Governor reports $129,600 from Angelo and Sofia Tsakapolous, the parents of LtGov Eleni Kounalakis
  • AD79 (East San Diego): Laborers International Union Of North America Local 89 Pac Fund reports $50,000 to San Diegans For Economic Recovery & Job Creation To Support Leticia Munguia For Assembly 2021
  • AD79 (East San Diego): Keep California Golden reports $32,746 for mail in support of Akilah Weber. (cumulative total: $113,928)
  • AD79 (East San Diego): Frontline Healthcare and Essential Workers Supporting Dr. Akilah Weber for Assembly 2021, sponsored by healthcare, business and domestic worker organizations reports $100,700 for a television buy in support of Akilah Weber. (cumulative total: $454,366)
  • AD79 (East San Diego): Jobspac, A Bi-Partisan Coalition Of California Employers reports $65,292 for live calls, text messaging, and research in support of Akilah Weber.

The Nooner for Saturday, March 13, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

  • The Gov
  • State of the State
  • AD54 (Culver City)
  • 2020 election
  • CADEM
  • COVID
    -data dive
    -vaccines
    -tiers for fears
    -Tesla
    -a year ago today in The Nooner
  • Wildfires
  • Student aid
  • Statutory construction
  • Cakeday and classifieds

Well, I'm finally back at my desk and can sort of type two-handed again. Shoulder still hurts, but it's not agonizing. It's been no picnic, but rest, ice, heat, ibuprofen, and CBD cream seems have done the trick. Now if I can find a comfortable position to sleep in! It'll take me a few days to get caught up as my news source the last few days was limited to the one-handed operation of Twitter and Facebook on my phone.

Of course, I continue to make renewels fourteen months for the same $49.99 usually for twelve months because of missed issues over the last year.

THE GOV: In the Chron, Joe Garafoli looks at whether Gavin Newsom can recover politically.

Some analysts believe Newsom hit rock bottom when the state’s pandemic situation did, and that his fortunes will improve if the state has already seen its worst days.

The only way he gets dragged down again, in their view, is if California mismanages another surge or bungles the vaccine distribution as the rest of the country gets its shots, or if students aren’t back in classrooms at least most of the time by fall.

Newsom just received a political cushion in the form of $42.6 billion in aid coming to state and local governments in California from the $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package. That will prevent many cuts to local services and could give Californians the feeling that life is returning to what it was before the pandemic struck.

“You won’t have a lot of budget cuts, and he can sprinkle that money around,” said veteran Democratic strategist Andrew Acosta.

Remember, in the worst month of the pandemic, Newsom's approval was still above January 2020 before the virus started spreading in California. PPIC Newsom time trends

STATE OF THE STATE: Politico's Jeremy B. White looks at how Governor Newsom's speech at Dodger Stadium was paid for.

Gov. Gavin Newsom relied on $80,000 from a donor-connected foundation, along with complimentary use of Dodger Stadium, to deliver a splashy State of the State speech this week that offered a defense against a mounting recall effort.

The Democratic governor departed from convention by delivering his annual address not to elected officials at the state Capitol but in an empty Dodger Stadium under the lights. A Newsom representative said the Dodgers provided the venue — an in-kind contribution whose value has not yet been specified — and that production costs were covered by the California State Protocol Foundation.

The California State Protocol Foundation previously has paid for various official functions for California governors that go beyond what taxpayers might consider reasonable state expenditures. It has covered foreign travel for both Newsom and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example.

AD54 (Culver City): The special election to fill the seat vacated by Sydney Kamlager (D) following her elevation to the State Senate will be May 18/July 20. The filing deadline is March 24. Kamlager was sworn in Thursday.

CADEM: The Chron's Joe Garafoli writes up the turmoil at the California Democratic Party ahead of a likely recall election and next year's midterm election.

California Democratic Party chair Rusty Hicks, who is seeking re-election to a four-year term, is being blasted by some party leaders who say he’s “failing the basic functions” of his job and want Gov. Gavin Newsom to do something about it.

In a letter to the governor obtained by The Chronicle, several party officials asked Newsom to “take urgent action” to ensure the party has a strong leader before a potential gubernatorial recall election and next year’s midterms.

The letter doesn’t specify what the urgent action would be, and Newsom lacks the authority to replace the party chair. But he can endorse an opponent or decline to back Hicks.

So far, Hicks’ only opponent for re-election is former state schools Superintendent Delaine Eastin. Voting lasts from March 24 through April 21. Hicks won the chair’s job in 2019 after the resignation of Eric Bauman.

The letter blames Hicks for a variety of Democratic problems, including a failure to engage “emerging immigrant populations” in Southern California and the Central Valley that contributed to the party’s loss of four House seats last year.

2020 ELECTION: The New York Times now has California results by precinct for the presidential.

COVID-19: California reported an additional 298 deaths yesterday for a total of 55,453 since the pandemic began.

-data dive: California's 7-day positivity rate is now 2.3%, far below the 7.1% rate on December 30.

-vaccines: In the LAT, Colleen Shalby and Hayley Smith report that millions of Californians with disabilities or underlying health conditions become eligible for a vaccine on Monday, but supplies will still be limited.

The expansion marks an important step for the state’s emergence from the pandemic, and new guidance released Thursday by health officials allows high-risk people to self-attest to their eligibility — a key win for advocates who worried that people would not be able to gather documentation to verify their disability or underlying condition.

But the addition of an estimated 4.4 million Californians to the eligibility list will place additional burdens on a vaccine supply that has grown steadily but not significantly. California is reserving 40% of its supply for people in underserved communities and 10% for teachers. And there are still many people 65 and older who are waiting for their vaccinations as well.

Further straining tight supplies: The state on Monday is also expanding eligibility to people who live or work in high-risk congregate residential settings, such as homeless shelters and incarceration facilities, and to public transit and airport employees.

Also in the Times, Melody Gutierrez writes that the counties not signing up with the state's vaccination distribution deal with Blue Shield of California may be nearing a separate compact with the state.

Blue Shield President Paul Markovich said Friday that counties were concerned about signing the vaccine distribution contract with a private company, which had been a requirement for all vaccine providers that wanted to continue receiving doses in California under the new program. A spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health confirmed the change.

“They’re much more comfortable with an agreement with the state, which is fine by us as long as there’s agreement that they will participate in the performance management system that allows us to deliver on the performance in our contract,” Markovich said in a call with reporters Friday. “It should be just fine.”

-tiers for fears:  Lots of county movement to the less-restrictive red tier is expected over the next week:

With 2 million doses now having gone into the arms of residents in targeted communities statewide, officials have loosened the criteria for counties to exit the strictest of California’s four-tier reopening plan.

The move sets the stage for a wider unlocking of the state’s battered economy. Thirteen counties — Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Amador, Colusa, Contra Costa, Mendocino, Mono, Placer, San Benito, Siskiyou, Sonoma and Tuolumne — will exit the proscriptive purple tier Sunday, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Another 13 counties — Sacramento, San Diego, Riverside, Ventura, Kings, Lake, Monterey, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare and Yuba — are poised to also join the red tier as soon as Wednesday, provided their coronavirus metrics stay steady.

-Tesla: For WaPo, Faiz Siddiqui writes up the positive cases at the Fremont Tesla factory Elon Musk defiantly opened up against Alameda County's health order.

Tesla’s Bay Area production plant recorded hundreds of covid-19 cases following CEO Elon Musk’s defiant reopening of the plant in May, according to county-level data obtained by a legal transparency website.

The document, obtained by the website PlainSite following a court ruling this year, showed Tesla received around 10 reports of covid-19 in May when the plant reopened, and saw a steady rise in cases all the way up to 125 in December, as the disease caused by the novel coronavirus peaked around the country.

The revelation follows The Washington Post’s reporting in June that there had been multiple covid-19 cases reported at Tesla’s facilities in Fremont, Calif., after Musk decided to reopen despite a countywide stay-at-home order, daring officials to arrest him.

-A year ago today in The Nooner:

These have been sixteen-hour days and even with that I can't keep up with everything. Yesterday, I wrote about things getting real. But the real factor kept notching up seemingly every 15 minutes throughout the day. We had a cascade of school district closings -- San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Oakland, Berkeley, San Mateo, Sacramento (Mon-Wed), and more -- and the United Teachers of Los Angeles calling for the closure of the nation's second largest school district. Six states have shut down their entire school systems.

This morning (after I had written most of this), the state's two largest school districts announced that classes would be suspended Monday. Los Angeles currently plans to close for two weeks and San Diego through April 6. They announced the decision in a joint press release. LAUSD plans to have 40 family resource centers as schools are closed, which will provide hot meals and childcare from 6 am to 6 pm. Oakland Unified also announced this morning that they are closing after today through at least April 5.

It appears that these large school districts are getting waivers to the usual 180-day school year and getting permission to have teacher-assisted home study. Los Angeles explicitly says that it is sending students home with a study plan today.

WILDFIRES: In The Bee, Dale Kasler looks at an increase in upcoming payments to victims of wildfires caused by PG&E transmission lines.

The trust distributing payments to PG&E Corp. wildfire victims is set to release another multimillion-dollar round of funds. The Fire Victim Trust said Friday it will make begin making payments Monday representing a 30% share of each verified claim.

So far, however, only a small fraction of the claims filed by more than 71,000 homeowners and businesses have been verified, and trust Administrator Cathy Yanni said about $30 million will go out the door Monday. The deadline for filing claims was in late February.

But the volume of claim verifications will grow substantially, and this round of payouts will be “certainly in the hundreds of millions,” Yanni said. The payments will likely take months, she said.

STUDENT AID: PPIC's Kevin Cook had a blog post yesterday on the large decline in students filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during the pandemic.

In the 2020–21 academic year, only 38.6% of California’s high school seniors completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), about a 10 percentage point drop from the previous year. This drop is similar to the nationwide decline in FAFSA completion but notably bigger than declines in other populous states. Recent research shows that declines in application rates since last year have occurred largely among first-time freshmen, raising concerns that the pandemic has created additional barriers to accessing the financial aid necessary to make the critical transition from high school to college.

Increasing FAFSA completion rates has long been a focus of policymakers, educational institutions, and advocacy organizations. And change is on the horizon. The most recent federal omnibus spending bill will simplify the FAFSA application process for most students beginning in the 2023–24 academic year. It will also expand eligibility and reduce the length of the application, from 108 questions to 36. 

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION: Chris Micheli has a UOP Law Review article on statutory construction guidelines for bill drafting in California.

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Senator Ben Allen, Xochitl Murillo, and Matthew Roman! Sorry about the missed birthdays as I battled my bum shoulder!

Classifieds

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The McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific

In addition to a well-respected JD, the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degrees. Both full-time students and those earning a professional degree while working succeed in the program. Our focus on the interconnections of law, policy, management, and leadership provides unique competencies for your success. Students gain a foundation in statutory interpretation and skills in public policy making and implementation. Learn at a beautiful campus three miles from the State Capitol:
go.mcgeorge.edu/publicpolicy

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.

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: