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- SacTown Talks (Jarheet Blonien): Senator Steve Bradford (D-Gardena) (2021-03-22)
- Nooner Conversations (Scott Lay): Lobbyist and legislative process law professor Chris Micheli (2021-03-19) - recorded February 23, first technical and then shoulder problems; hope to add the intro once Quicktime is fixed (Big Sur update broke it) - Simplecast | Apple Podcasts | Amazon Podcasts | YouTube
- Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Political consultant Garry South on the recall effot (2021-03-19)
- California State of Mind (CapRadio): California Considers World’s First Guidelines on Microplastics in Drinking Water (2021-03-19)
- This Week in California Politics (KQED): Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) (2021-03-19)
- Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) on building Los Angeles's labor movement (2021-03-18)
- Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): With political analyst Bill Schneider, the filibuster and the recall (2021-03-18)
- Associate Position at CleanSweep Campaigns, San Francisco
- Capitol Seminars Zoom workshop - April 1
- McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - MPA/MPP
- McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - Masters of Science in Law
- GOV: added pastor Sam Gallucci (R)
- FLAVORED TOBACCO REFERENDUM: Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund (Nonprofit 501(c)(4)) reports acting as an intermediary for Michael Bloomberg and giving $667,000 Committee to Protect California Kids sponsored by Nonprofit Health Organizations for the referendum to uphold SB 739 (Hill - 2019).
- AD79 (East San Diego): Keep California Golden reports $11,364 for mail to support Akilah Weber (cumulative total: $169,851)
- AD79 (East San Diego): San Diegans for Economic Recovery & Job Creation to support Leticia Munguia for Assembly 2021 sponsored by Laborers' International Union of Northern America Local 89 reports spending $31,746 for mail (cumulative total: $181,267)
- Rescue California-Recall Gavin Newsom reports giving $35,361 to California Patriot Coalition - Recall Governor Gavin Newsom (Reported as $25,000 and $10,361.25. While not identified as such, I would guess the latter odd number is an in-kind contribution.)
The Nooner for Tuesday, March 23, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners
Happy Taco Tuesday! Now that my shoulder is better, I've enjoyed being back in the kitchen over the last week. Last night was a yummy spring meal of wild Alaska Coho salmon, buttery and garlicky potatoes with wilted greens, and asparagus. Can you tell I'm hungry? I've already included lots below and it's 8:30, so it's time to take a break to make my breakfast scramble. While I'm cooking, I'll be thinking about what to stuff in my tacos tonight.
Policy committees are in full swing. This afternoon I'll be watching Assembly Public Safety as two key contentious police use-of-force bills are considered. AB 26 (Holden) would disqualify a person from being a police officer if they have been found by a law enforcement agency to have used unlawful use of force that resulted in great bodily harm or death. It also would make a peace officer who witnesses another officer using excessive force who fails to report to it to a superior officer an accessory of the crime. Last year, Assemblymember Chris Holden's similar AB 1066 died on the Senate Appropriations suspense file.
Meanwhile, AB 48 (Gonzalez) would, in most cases, ban the use of projectiles and certain chemical agents to disperse any assembly, protest, or demonstration. At the end of session last year, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez's similar AB 66 didn't get a vote on the Senate Floor it what was largely seen as tensions between the houses.
At the same time as Assembly Public Safety, Senate Judiciary will hear SB 26 (Skinner), which would accelerate the effective date of her "Fair Pay to Play Act" from January 1, 2023 to January 1, 2022. That's the law approved in 2019 (SB 206) that allows student athletes to receive compensation and retain representation for the use of their name, image, or likeness. With USC and UCLA advancing to the Sweet 16, Nancy Skinner again finds ideal timing.
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DO YOU RECALL?
- For CalMatters, Dan Walters looks at the unforced errors by Governor Newsom that have given momentum to the recall effort, which he identifies as:
- French Laundry dinner
- claim that he was currently a "Zoom parent," referring to distance learning, when his kids have been back in school for months
- opening high school sports but banning cheerleaders, which has been reversed (as was the prohibition on bands yesterday)
- Blue shield vaccination distribution deal
Walters concludes "Newsom is still favored to avoid recall, but if he continues to make unforced errors, he could die the political death of a thousand small cuts."
AGstakes: As we await an appointment by Governor Newsom to fill the Attorney General vacancy, the Times's Patrick McGreevy provides another review of the short list. He reviews:
- Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton
- Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda)
- Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas)
- Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
- California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin Liu
- Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen
- Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)
- Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
- Equality California executive director Rick Chavez Zbur
COVID-19, cakeday, and classifieds after the jump...
COVID-19: California reported an additional 191 deaths yesterday for a total of 57,224 since the pandemic began. The usual weekend reporting delays caveat applies.
-data dive: California's 7-day positivity rate is now 1.7%, the lowest point of the pandemic and 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, from the daily CDPH press release, may be delayed by reporting.
- vaccine doses administered in California: 14,819,755 (7-day change: +2,646,807)
- vaccine doses delivered to administering entities in California: 18,234,500 (7-day change: +2,532,270)
- AstraZeneca: After yesterday's widely publicized promising results from the phase III United States trial of the AstraZeneca viral vector vaccine, members of the review committee and United States officials are expressing concerns with how the data were presented. AP reports:
The way I understand it is that the data presented had a mid-February cut off date and was deemed "interim," while the trial has been completed and there are now final results.
Results from a U.S. trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine may have included “outdated information” that could mean the company provided an incomplete view of efficacy data, federal health officials said early Tuesday.
An AstraZeneca spokesman said the drug company was “looking into” the matter.
AstraZeneca had reported Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine provided strong protection among adults of all ages in a long-anticipated U.S. study, a finding that could help rebuild public confidence in the shot around the world and move it a step closer to clearance in the U.S.
...[J]ust hours after those encouraging results were reported, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases issued an unusual statement. The agency said the Data and Safety Monitoring Board “expressed concern that AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from that trial, which may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data.”“We urge the company to work with the DSMB to review the efficacy data and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date efficacy data be made public as quickly as possible,” the statement said.
- Contra Costa: The Chron's Catherine Ho writes that a second Bay Area county is expanding its pool of residents eligible for a vaccine.
Contra Costa County on Monday announced it is expanding coronavirus vaccine eligibility to people 50 and older who live or work in the county, becoming the second Bay Area county after Solano to do so.
California has not expanded eligibility to people 50 and older, but does plan to open up vaccinations to people 16 and older by the last week of April, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday. The California Department of Public Health on Monday declined to say whether it will first expand eligibility to those 50 and older before opening it up to everyone else.
-tiers for fears: As a reminder, any county must remain at a tier for three weeks before progressing to a less-restrictive tier, even if the metrics continue to improve. After the changes yesterday, here's where the counties stand. At Nooner distribution time, I confirmed that San Francisco and Yolo have moved from red to orange. Orange County is also likely to, although I was unable to confirm by 11:25am.
- 11 counties in the Purple (widespread) Tier (10.3% of population): Fresno, Glenn, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Nevada, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Yuba
- 40 counties in the Red (substantial) Tier (87.7% of population): Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Humboldt, Imperial, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, and Ventura
- 8 counties in Orange (moderate) Tier (2.0% of population): Mariposa, Plumas, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sierra, and Yolo
- 1 county in Yellow (minimal) Tier (0.0% of population): Alpine
- bands, drumline, choir, and drama: Amidst significant parental outcry, the California Department of Public Health yesterday updated its school reopening guidance to define bands, drumline, choir, and drama as "low contact youth recreational activities," allowing activities to resume with precautions outdoors in more restrictive tiers and indoors in the less restrictive orange and yellow tiers. While the FAQ was updated, the actual guidance has not.
-theme parks: Don't get too excited if you luck out and get a ticket to Disneyland while it is limited capacity and only open to California residents. There will still likely be lines for popular rides. Brady MacDonald reports for the Register:
People-eater attractions like Pirates of the Carribean, Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World, known for gobbling up riders, will have their capacity levels severely slashed when Disneyland returns after a year-long coronavirus closure.
Updated state guidelines for California theme parks will keep indoor attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure at reduced capacity levels indefinitely and could force the Anaheim theme parks to keep some rides closed.
Starting on April 1, California theme parks can reopen at 15% attendance capacity in the red/substantial tier 2, 25% capacity in the orange/moderate tier 3 and 35% capacity in the least-restrictive yellow/minimal tier 4.
Under revised guidelines, indoor rides will be required to maintain a 15% capacity limit in the red tier and 25% capacity in the orange and yellow tiers while outdoor rides can accommodate more riders provided social distancing mandates are followed.
Indoor attractions will also be subject to time limits, according to state officials.
“There are going to be limits on indoor rides,” California Business and Economic Development Director Dee Dee Myers told the media in early March. “There will be a building capacity limit and then there will be a time limit. We’re still working out the details of that.”
State officials have not yet revealed what the time limits will be on indoor attractions.
Pirates of the Carribean is Disneyland's longest ride at 15:30, plus waiting time indoors. Several others, such as Space Mountain, ordinarily have long lines indoors. Disneyland plans to open April 30. MacDonald continues:
Orange County, home to Disneyland and DCA, is currently in the red tier and could reach the orange tier by the time the Disney theme parks reopen in late April. That would help raise indoor attraction capacity to 25%, but then rider levels would remain stuck indefinitely at that level — with no indication when the limitations would be lifted.
The restrictions mean Disneyland and DCA will have far less ride capacity and the parks could opt to keep some low capacity attractions closed. As a result, fans expecting relatively low crowd levels when the parks initially reopen with attendance restrictions could still find themselves waiting in long attraction line.
Thank you to these Nooner readers who have gone above and beyond with support during the pandemic advertising lull!
PLASTICS! In addition to the bills I wrote about yesterday, there are 28 bills that mention plastics, including a very ambitious new version of SB 54 (Allen).
INFRASTRUCTURE: In the LAT, Ralph Vartabedian looks at what California could yield if the infrastructure plan being developed by the Biden Administration were to come to fruition.
A Biden initiative expected to pour up to $3 trillion into repairing America’s decrepit infrastructure and funding other programs has sparked a scramble across the nation for the federal funds — with California expecting to reap the biggest piece.
The potential federal bounty opens the door to a list of ambitious projects: electrifying the Burbank-to-Anaheim passenger rail system, straightening the Los Angeles-to-San Diego rail line to cut travel time, and building a 1.3-mile tunnel to extend a passenger line to downtown San Francisco.
The exact size of the infrastructure plan is still in flux, but sources knowledgeable about the discussion put it at up to $2 trillion, with another $1 trillion aimed at jobs, education and other goals, a set of proposals that Biden would receive from advisors this week. Whether such a massive package can get through Congress is uncertain at best.
However, it likely is not a panacea for the beleaguered high-speed rail project.
Amid the bounty of funding, the biggest transportation project in the nation, the $100-billion, high-speed rail project, will have to compete for funding with lesser-known proposals in California. Its construction problems, cost growth and delays have muddied its future.
“The demands for political support from other programs are significant,” [Rep. John] Garamendi said. “The funding for high-speed rail must contend with the other programs. [It] will get funding, but it will not get funding that beggars the other projects.”
ANAHEIM: On March 14, 2020, I wrote in this space:
[Tranisient occupance tax or "hotel tax"] accounts for 10% of the city's $1.7 billion current year budget. While that doesn't sound like a lot, most of the city's expenses (like other cities) are non-discretionary spending on things like pensions and employee compensation benefits. The Disneyland Resort and Knott's in neighboring Buena Park are currently closed through the end of the month and large conventions are likely canceled for months. The theme parks could easily be closed longer and, even when they open, there will be a lag in hotel bookings (great time for locals) as out-of-town guests are not exactly booking April and May right now.
Let's assume TOT in Anaheim is down the equivalent of one month's worth of hotel rooms, which would be 8.3%, and that is likely conservative since there will be a long tail before conference bookings pick up and out-of-town visitors plan vacations. That's $14.5 million in the current year and, with four months left in the fiscal year could easily be 2-3 times that.
Add to it a huge drop off of sales tax revenue from all the closed venues and empty hotels. That's a $90 million revenue source, which will likely come up $10 million short or more just from the resort and venue expenditures. I'm not even factoring in falling automobile sales and an expected drop off of sales of big ticket items as consumers pull back as they fear what's ahead.
Well, it's a little more than a year since I wrote that, and now we have the reality. Alicia Robertson writes in the Register:
With its theme parks closed and hotels nearly empty for the past year, the city of Anaheim is faced with a budget gap of more than $100 million this fiscal year – so officials may borrow as much as $200 million to get them through this rough patch.
Why so much? It’s not just to cover shortfalls this year and next: city finance officials are making conservative forecasts that include deficits for the next five years, Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said. The total through fiscal 2024-25 is nearly $203 million.
The City Council on Tuesday, March 23, will consider whether to borrow either enough to cover five years of projected red ink, or a smaller amount covering this year and next, by issuing bonds.
“There’s no question that Anaheim has been probably more impacted than any other city in the country as a result of economic shutdowns that we’ve had here in California,” City Councilman Trevor O’Neil said
SACTOWN: In The Bee, Tony Bizjak takes a deep look at the Highway 50/Business 80 project that is stealing my farmers market Sundays.
Caltrans this week ramps up the most ambitious highway reconstruction in Sacramento history, a four-year effort to modernize and widen Highway 50 from Watt Avenue to the Interstate 5 interchange in downtown Sacramento.
The $460 million project not only is the most expensive in the region’s history, it is also one of the most unusual.
The state will construct a third freeway bridge between the two existing elevated sections of the freeway through downtown, between W and X streets.
And, the important part.
Also, the Sunday Farmer’s Market has been moved temporarily to the Arden Fair mall parking lot as well. It likely will be able to return to its spot under the freeway at Sixth street in about a year, when work on that section of the project is finished.
The relocated farmers market only has a home at Arden Fair until December, when the mall is hoping for a booming holiday season (although Nordstrom is gone and Sears will likely be by then as well). While Sunday's reopening in the mall parking lot had lower attendance but was still better than expected. While lots of regulars who walk and bike to the market under the W-X did not show up, reports are that there were several new customers.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Marty Hittelman, Alva Johnson, and Randy Perry!
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