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- Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) on two statewide water/equity advocates, talking about 'water debt' (2021-03-15)
- Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): Gavin's State of the State, the recall effort, and more (2021-03-12)
- Capitol Weekly Podcast: The Future of Work (continuation of the four-part online conference series) (2021-03-12)
- SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Assemblymember James Ramos (D-Highland) (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)
- Capitol Seminars Zoom workshop - April 1
- 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
The Nooner for Monday, March 15, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners
¡Feliz lunes! A little Prince for your midday Monday. Eight hours sleep, oh my. However, no matter how hard I try, I still roll over onto my left shoulder. Sort of impossible to change at age 48. However, with ibuprofen and CBD cream, I'm typing like normal with minimal pain. And a further benefit, I can drink tea while writing with my left hand. That said, I didn't try to do my sheets as part of my Sunday schedule, as I didn't see putting on the fitted sheet as meeting my doctor's recommendations as resting it. That's usually the most excruciating part of my week.
I'll repeat my I'm back note from Saturday's Nooner:
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 renewals (including any subscription that has expired since January 1, 2020) fourteen months for the same $49.99 usually for twelve months because of missed issues over the last year.
Thank you to my dear friend KC for the delivery of bún bò Huế from a home chef last night! A steaming, spicy soup made for a perfect dinner as the rain came in.
WEEKENDS AT THE NOONER: Buoyed by a healed shoulder, I returned on Saturday. If you wisely stepped away from your devices over the weekend, here are the topics you may have missed.
Saturday, March 13
- Money matters
- The Gov
- State of the State
- AD54 (Culver City)
- 2020 election
-tiers for fears
-a year ago today in The Nooner
- Student aid
- Statutory construction
Sunday, March 14
- Money matters
-tiers for fears
- The Gov
- AD79 (East San Diego)
- LA protest
- The OC
DO YOU RECALL?
- GAME ON! This morning, gavin@gavinnewsom emailed:
I am writing to let you know that earlier today, we launched our campaign to stop the Republican recall attempt in California. I am not going to take this recall attempt lying down. I'm going to fight because there's too much at stake in this moment.
And today, I am asking you to join me...
And let's call it what it is: it's a partisan, Republican recall -- backed by the RNC, anti-mask and anti-vax extremists, and pro-Trump forces who want to overturn the last election and have opposed much of what we have done to fight the pandemic.
The email also included a disclosure with the committee name: "Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom."
Meanwhile, the California Democratic Party followed with an email an hour later:
California Democrats won’t back down.
That's why today, the California Democratic Party (CADEM) announced a contribution of $250,000 to fight against the Republican led effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom.
“The California Democratic Party unequivocally opposes the Republican attempt to recall Governor Gavin Newsom,” stated Rusty Hicks, Chair of CADEM. “The Republican National Committee, wealthy Trump donors and right-wing extremists have joined forces to disrupt California’s road to recovery. Despite the efforts by the GOP to take us back to some of our darkest days, CADEM is prepared to mobilize our grassroots people power and make it clear to voters that the Democratic Party is the only party focused on protecting the health and safety of all Californians and their families,” continued Hicks.
The leadership of Hicks was criticized in a letter last week by party activists from the left. Today's CADEM email points out that the coalition of "Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom" includes Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker. Also listed are other darlings of the left Congressmembers Ro Khanna and Katie Porter as well as Stacey Abrams -- all darlings of the left.
Ballots for the California Democratic Party virtual convention go out March 24 and Hicks is seeking reelection. Ballots must be returned by April 21. The only challenger to Hicks's effort for reelection is former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin. Any other candidates for offices have until Friday to file.
Governor Newsom will be on The View tomorrow (10am PDT on ABC) to face some "hardball questions." Then again, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his run in the 2003 recall on Jay Leno. I don't think John Cox or Kevin Faulconer will be getting any late-night invites.
For the LAT, John Myers looks at this morning's surprise campaign launch.
- BIG FUMBLE? In The Bee, Lara Korte looks at whether Democrats fumbled in keeping a recall election off the ballot.
Organizers say they have 2 million signatures, just enough to be sure they reach the threshold of 1.5 million valid ones. But had it not been granted a deadline extension last fall, it never would have gotten this far.
“This thing would never qualify if they had been forced to adhere to the 160-day timelines for getting signatures,” said Garry South, a Democratic political consultant who worked under Gov. Gray Davis, the only California governor ever recalled. “Without the 120 day (extension), they wouldn’t have ever made it.”
In California, the Secretary of State must certify recall efforts before supporters can circulate a petition. The Newsom recall, led by former Yolo County law enforcement officer Orinn Heatlie, got the all-clear to begin collecting signatures on June 10. In line with state laws, they had 160 days, or until Nov. 17, to gather 1.5 million signatures.
But by October, the recall campaign was seeking an extension, arguing that the pandemic had made it too difficult to collect signatures. Normally, petitions are circulated and signed at large events, rallies and gatherings, they said — all things that virtually disappeared over the summer due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The recall filed a request with Sacramento Superior Court, naming Secretary of State Alex Padilla, California’s top elections official, as a respondent.
At that point, petitioners told the court they had collected 675,000 signatures. Consultants argued that number was only 25% of what would be expected in a “normal election cycle.” Had the pandemic not hampered efforts, the number would have been far greater, the recall argued.
Padilla, represented by an attorney in the court documents, argued against the extension, saying the pandemic wasn’t a good enough reason to extend the deadline. The lack of signatures, Padilla argued, was due to the recall petitioners’ own failed efforts.
Judge James R. Arguelles, however, took the recall’s side.
Part of the reason Arguelles extended the recall’s deadline stemmed from the fact that he had already granted a signature collection extension for two initiatives backed by Democrats earlier that year.
In 2020, California Democratic Party-aligned law firm Olson Remcho represented two groups trying to place initiatives on the 2022 ballot: Indian tribes seeking to expand gambling on tribal lands and environmental groups seeking to increase plastic recycling.
Korte goes on to point out that Democrats didn't appeal the decision by Arguelles and that the extension gave recall proponents 280 days rather than the statutory 160 days to collect signatures. There's no way it would have qualified without the extension, which led to big money coming in to mail out petitions to Republican and No Party Preference voters.
Great article, Lara!
"STATE OF NEWSOM": For CalMatters, Dan Walters criticizes Governor Newsom's "elaborately staged State of the State address in an empty Dodger Stadium."
Newsom boasted that California, with himself at the helm, has survived the COVID-19 pandemic and “so now, we look ahead to better days with the California can-do spirit — with the energy and optimism that defines us — we will beat this virus and realize our dream of a California for All.”
It was clearly a campaign speech by a politician who faces the likelihood of a recall election later this year, using his official pulpit to persuade voters that he’s been working hard for them and thus deserves to remain in office.
Newsom overstated the positive — a half-truth, for instance, that “California’s death rate has remained one of the lowest per capita in the nation” — and downplayed the negative. He glossed over the complete meltdown at the Employment Development Department, an erratic vaccination program and his passive attitude toward reopening schools until the recall was on the verge of qualifying.
Newsom dismissed the negatives in one brief passage: “And look, we’ve made mistakes. I’ve made mistakes. But we own them, learn from them, and never stop trying.”
LATINO, ASIAN, AND YOUTH VOTING: Kate Irby writes in The Bee that new analysis has found that Latino, Asian, and youth voting lagged in the 2020 election, which likely had an impact on House races. Although, it's because other groups voted in larger numbers in the high-turnout election.
The 2020 election had historic levels of participation across the board — both in California and nationwide. In California, turnout among registered voters was 67.4% — 10 points higher than in 2016.
Even though the amount of Latinos and Asian Americans voting in California increased in 2020, they did not increase their voting numbers as much as other groups did.
n fact, the gap widened between those two groups and all other ethnic and racial groups, including white Californians, between 2016 and 2020, according to a study by the Center for Inclusive Democracy at the University of Southern California released this week.
“Everybody increased, but Latinos and Asian Americans did not increase as much,” said Mindy Romero, the author of the study.
Additionally, the study looked at youth turnout in California, which it defined as voters between the ages of 18 and 24. Numerous news reports have painted Generation Z as a more politically involved generation than preceding generations, and voting among that group did increase by about 10 points in California between 2016 and 2020.
COVID-19: California reported an additional 178 deaths yesterday for a total of 55,815 since the pandemic began. Of course, the usual weekend reporting delays must be considered.
-data dive: California's 7-day positivity rate continues to tick down and is now 2.0%, far below the 7.1% peak amidst mass testing on December 30.
-vaccines: Remember that in many cases, vaccines are being reserved for second doses (of Moderna and Pfizer). The following data may be delayed by reporting.
- vaccine doses administered in California: 11,785,750
- vaccine doses delivered to administering entities in California: 15,702,230
- vaccine doses shipped to California: 16,361,975
-tiers for fears:
- LA County: As of 12:01am today, Los Angeles County is now observing its red tier status. To see what it means, I outlined it in yesterday's Nooner.
- Green tier? In the Chron, Susie Nielson looks at what a green tier would look like if added to the state's rubric after Governor Newsom hinted at it last week amid plummeting case and hospitalization rates:
“I think the only definitive thing that can be said right now is that a green tier would be less restrictive than the yellow tier but still have some restrictions,” John Swartzberg, a professor emeritus and infectious disease specialist at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, said in an email.
“The yellow tier includes most indoor business operations with modifications. Therefore, I imagine a green tier would allow for all business operations to open (this would include concerts, etc.) without modifications.”
Swartzberg said that much of the state could possibly enter into a green tier when Californians reach community or herd immunity — which could happen this summer.
Still, he said, Californians in green tier counties would likely have to wear masks and practice social distancing in public spaces.
Robert Siegel, a professor of virology and immunology at Stanford University, said he’d prefer an even stricter definition of green tier than Swartzberg’s “widespread immunity” metric — if only because of the positive connotations of the color green.
“Green means go,” Siegel said. “So it better be very safe.”
-school daze: In the SDUT, David Hernandez writes up the plans released yesterday for the reopening of San Diego Unified:
The San Diego Unified School District on Sunday announced new details about its planned re-opening, which will allow some students to return to school four days a week — for six hours each day — beginning April 12.
District officials said they will work with principals this week to create “specific models” for each campus. Families will receive details from their schools March 22 and will be asked to choose a learning option. Students will have the option to continue with online-only learning or switch to an in-person/online hybrid model.
“Those remaining online will continue to receive a robust online experience, while those choosing the hybrid model will see their (in-person) instruction time increase,” the district said in a statement.
Specific schedules will be set based on the number of students who opt for in-person learning, available space and health and safety guidelines, according to the district.
Here is San Diego Unified's reopening portal.
-higher ed: Gary Robbins reports in the Union-Trib that UCSD is urging students to refrain from going away for Spring Break even with very few new cases.
UC San Diego is urging students not to head off to party spots for spring break to help the university maintain what has been a nearly perfect recent effort to stave off COVID-19 infections.
The campus experienced a small COVID-19 surge in early January, after students returned from the Christmas holidays. But the infection rate among students who are living at UCSD or attending in-person classes now stands at 0.01 percent.
Of the 20,434 tests performed during the first 13 days of March, only eight proved to be positive, according to campus data.
“We’re in good shape and have been encouraging students to stay on campus,” said Dr. Robert “Chip” Schooley, who is running the university’s “Return to Learn” program.
“We could have a little outburst (of infections) among students who leave to see friends and family on spring break. But we think it will be smaller than before because a lot of people have been vaccinated and there are many people (in San Diego).”
Spring Break for UCSD begins on March 29. Meanwhile, CNN has in regular rotation this morning video of unmasked, undistanced youth frolicking at Miami Beach. Some specifically said they were there to escape COVID restrictions at home.
-a year ago today: In The Nooner on March 15, 2020, I wrote:
Well, hello there. It's Sunday but a strange one for most of us. From church to sports to events, you probably have had something canceled today. I know that some folks were looking for what seemed to be the one safe spot to get away from crowds with the storms coming through but then yesterday afternoon a cascade of ski resort closures hit Utah, Colorado, and California.
For me today, it means no Sakura Matsuri food and craft fair at the Sacramento Buddhist Church. The annual event is one to look forward to where the (largely) sangha elders prepare food an for days and crafts for month to sell to raise money for activities. It's sad to see it canceled, but I was happy to hear that, as it's a highly vulnerable population. The church is closed for at least three weeks. Reverend Matt, however, provides a much-needed Dharma message for today addressing these times that even non-Buddhists will probably not find comforting. (For those not familiar, the Jodo Shinshu sect among Japanese-American is relatively secular.
Of course, the temple has now been closed for 52 weeks instead of the initial three. We were so innocent. On that day I also continued my push for the Legislature to go into recess, which they did on March 16. The initial recess was only through April 13 but extended for another month for a very limited session. On March 19, Governor Newsom issued the statewide stay-at-home order, which was preceded by the announcement by the Trump Administration of "15 Days to Slow the Spread."
COVID-19 RELIEF: In The Bee, Jeong Park looks at the proposals from state lawmakers to provide further relief to workers during the pandemic.
Assembly Bill 995 from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, calls for increasing the number of minimum paid sick days from three to five a year for California workers. The five days of paid sick leave must be available for employees to use by their 200th calendar day of employment, per bill.
Another bill from Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, would give workers at businesses with 25 or more employees up to 10 days off unpaid for the death of their direct family member. Workers at smaller businesses would have up to three days.
Finally, Assembly Bill 1179, introduced by Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, D-Los Angeles, would require employers with 1,000 or more employees to pay for up to 60 hours a year for workers’ “backup childcare,” used when their regular provider can’t be utilized.
REDISTRICTING: With Ohio asking a federal judge to force the Census Bureau to release the Census data by the pre-pandemic deadline of May 31, Redistricting Partners (Paul Mitchell, Evan McLaughlin, et al.) tweets that a coalition of cities, counties, and civil rights group is seeking to intervene to argue that the Bureau's plan to release it by September 30.
The coalition argues that the position of the Bureau that complete, disaggregated data can't be provided in the original timeframe because of the difficulty in collecting data last year during the pandemic. The process of following up online submissions couldn't be followed up with individual visits to residences and also the homeless during much of the collection period. Without fuily disaggregated data, lines can't be legally drawn under the federal Voting Rights Act and California Voting Rights Act, which applies to the state's local governments.
If you're interested in redistricting, make sure you're following the @udrawthelines Twitter feed.
CA10 (San Joaquin-Stanislaus): The Chron's Tal Kopan writes that the survival of Josh Harder (D) in the Central Valley swing district while Democrats in similar districts fell across the country may provide a roadmap for Democrats to bring some of those districts back in 2022. It helped that the National Republican Congressional Committee abandoned Harder's opponent Ted Howze after racist social media posts were discovered.
MICROPLASTICS: For CalMatters, Rachel Becker looks at California's efforts to keep microplastics out of drinking water.
California is poised to issue the world’s first guidelines for microplastics in drinking water despite no data on how plentiful they are in the state, no scientific agreement on how to test water for them and little research on their health risks.
The pieces of plastic — smaller than an ant, some so tiny they can be seen only with a microscope — have contaminated wildlife and human bodies through their food, air and water.
Under a 2018 state law, California must require four years of testing for microplastics in drinking water, and the state must consider guidelines to help water providers and consumers determine what levels may be safe to drink.
Now the state Water Resources Control Board is blazing a trail to issue a preliminary health-based threshold and testing methods by July 1.
The irony is about how many of those microplastics come from unnecessary water bottles.
SACTOWN: In The Bee, Kasler, Bizjak, and Venteicher write about the challenges faced by Sacramento businesses as many employees continue to work at home.
From Rancho Cordova to south Natomas to downtown Sacramento, the coronavirus pandemic has turned the region’s office districts into ghost towns. Even as shutdown orders ease and parts of the economy gradually reopen, the cubical and conference room world of Sacramento remains eerily quiet.
State government is keeping most of its workers home for the foreseeable future, and many private-sector employers are doing the same. It could be months before most teleworkers return to their desks, with grim consequences for scores of small businesses.
“If you’ve got a cafe that’s geared to serving the lunch crowd, or you’re set up in any kind of supplier relationship with those office communities — it could be cleaning or maintenance, not just a cafe — the trend is not a good one for you,” said Jeff Michael, an economist at the University of the Pacific. About 17,000 restaurant jobs have vanished in the metro area in the past year, or 6% of the total.
What’s more, it’s unlikely that conditions will ever go back completely to the way they were before the pandemic. Teleworking is expected to continue, in some fashion, long after it’s considered safe to gossip around the water cooler again.
I was having this exact conversation with my Mom yesterday. We've already seen some of our favorite spots in downtown and East Sac close and more are hanging on likely unsustainably. The announcement on Friday that the popular OneSpeed Pizza restaurant by Rick Mahan (also owns The Waterboy), however, reportedly has nothing to do with the pandemic, but rather a lease cancellation at the end of the year by the landlord. That said, there is plenty of restaurant space available.
The next crisis that could happen is in commercial real estate as the state consolidates from leased space to state-owned space and private employers downsize as more employees work-from-home permanently. While both good and bad, the last year has shown that most employees have been as productive working from home.
LA-LA LAND: Councilman Joe Buscaino has enter the race for Los Angeles mayor in 2022, reports Dakota Smith in the Times. Mayor Eric Garcetti is termed out.
Buscaino said that when friends and family members have questioned whether a police officer could be elected to the city’s highest office, he pointed to Tom Bradley, who served two decades with the LAPD before joining the City Council and, in 1973, becoming L.A.'s only Black mayor to date. Buscaino said his role as a senior lead officer in San Pedro was “focused on problem solving, on creating partnerships to improve the quality of life here.”
Buscaino, 46, who served for 15 years in the Los Angeles Police Department and is currently a reserve officer, is the first City Council member to enter the 2022 mayor’s race. Others, including Kevin de León and Mark Ridley-Thomas, have not publicly ruled out a run.
SIN AGUA: The LAT's Louis Sahagun writes up an Alameda County judges ruling against LADWP's cutbacks of water to lessees on its watershed land from which the agency draws water.
A judge has ordered the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to continue providing historic quantities of irrigation water to lessees of its pasturelands east of Yosemite, despite the agency’s assertion that climate change is making water resources in the Sierra Nevada watershed increasingly unreliable.
Alameda County Judge Evelio Grillo’s ruling could have significant implications for water agencies statewide as they face the complex challenges of servicing ratepayers and meeting environmental requirements in a time of rising temperatures, drought, dwindling snowpack and changing water availability.
The case was brought in a lawsuit filed against the city of Los Angeles by Mono County and the Sierra Club and was triggered by new leases the LADWP proposed in 2018 indicating that ranchers on its 6,400 acres in Long Valley should expect little to no irrigation water when they renew, according to court documents.
SANDY EGGO POLICE HIRING: In the SDUT, David Garrick writes that a consultant reports that women and minorities are often filtered out early in the hiring process in the white-dominated police force.
During the early stages of the hiring process, men were 2.3 times more likely to be considered “qualified” than women, despite those same women being 1.2 times more likely to have a college degree, the report found.
The report said that data, which is based on an analysis of applicants from 2016 through 2019, was troubling.
“Anything that disproportionately filters women from potentially becoming police officers at this early stage will undoubtedly reduce diversity in the department and increase the citywide pay gap,” the report said.
Men’s dominance of police officer jobs contributes to San Diego’s 17.6 percent pay gap between men and women, because police officer is among the highest paid jobs in the city, with average total compensation of $124,154.
Women make up 32.3 percent of the city’s overall workforce, but they account for only 16.5 percent of the city’s 1,820 police officer jobs.
The report found similar disparities with people of color, who are paid 20.8 percent less than whites overall in the city workforce.
White police officer applicants were 1.5 times more likely to be deemed “qualified” than applicants of color.
While people of color make up 55 percent of the city’s overall workforce, they account for just 40.6 percent of police officers.
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