Aaron Read
Olson Hagel
Capitol Weekly
CA Leg Analyst

California Policy & Politics Tuesday Morning  

Federal judge orders Postal Service to stop operational changes that slowed mail in California and U.S. -- The U.S. Postal Service must prioritize election mail and immediately reverse changes that resulted in widespread delays in California and several other states, a federal judge ruled Monday. Maya Lau in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20


Dying winds give crews hope in Northern California fires -- Firefighters say they hoped dying winds would enable them to bear down on a wildfire that exploded in the Northern California wine country, prompting tens of thousands of evacuations while a second blaze killed at least three people. Janie Har Associated Press -- 9/29/20

‘Horrifying’ Glass Fire burns homes, with 68,000 from Santa Rosa to Napa fleeing -- A massive and chaotic wildfire that burned dozens of homes and threatened thousands more across Wine Country flared up on several fronts Monday, roaring across the northern Napa Valley and blazing toward dense residential neighborhoods in eastern Santa Rosa. Peter Fimrite, Megan Cassidy, Chase DiFeliciantonio and Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/29/20

‘It’s like God has no sympathy’: Wine Country residents shaken by relentless onslaught of wildfires -- Some places that burned or were threatened by the Tubbs and Nuns fires three years ago were evacuated again overnight as several major wildfires, linked together as the Glass Incident, burned in Sonoma and Napa counties. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/29/20

California’s ancient ‘asbestos’ forests no longer seem immune -- But what has stunned officials most about the state’s 8,000 fires is the location of the largest blazes: sizzling deep in stands of redwoods along what should be a fog-shrouded rainforest. The state’s oldest park, Big Basin Redwoods, was gutted by fire. Julie Cart CalMatters -- 9/29/20

Napa and Sonoma are burning again. Here’s why scorched areas can remain vulnerable -- Some parts of Northern California are suffering a repeat nightmare of wildfire destruction. Kellie Hwang in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/29/20

Brush fire threatening homes near Santa Clarita amid red-flag conditions -- A brush fire ignited Monday afternoon above Santa Clarita, enveloping 300 acres within minutes as it burned with “a rapid rate of speed,” fire authorities said. It comes amid heightened fire danger in Southern California with rising temperatures and strengthening winds. Matthew Ormseth, Hayley Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20

PG&E outages leave tens of thousands without power as fires tear through Northern California -- About 87,500 Pacific Gas & Electric customers in 16 California counties were without power Monday morning after the state’s largest investor-owned utility preemptively de-energized some of its equipment to avoid sparking wildfires and shut off power at other locations because of blazes already burning. Alex Wigglesworth, Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20

Why did California fires suddenly roar? Weekend winds topped freeway speeds -- Pacific Gas and Electric announced Monday afternoon that it is ending its latest “public safety power shutoff” and will have electricity restored to most of the 65,000 affected customers in 16 counties by midnight. As of Monday afternoon, almost all customers had already had their power restored. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/29/20

‘Sorry, Sasha, we don’t have a house anymore.’ Wildfire devastation unfolds in Napa hills -- Just hours after the Glass Fire churned through the hills above St. Helena and Napa Valley, Antonio Velazquez walked past the ruins of his neighbors’ homes toward his house, a chain saw in hand and his German shepherd-mix, Sasha, by his side. Sam Stanton and Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/29/20

Chateau Boswell, 41-year-old Napa Valley mainstay, destroyed in Glass Fire -- Chateau Boswell was unable to be saved as the fire raged along the Silverado Trail on Sunday. Both the estate and the romantic, castle-inspired buildings were badly damaged. Katie Dowd in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/29/20

Napa Valley's famed castle, Castello di Amorosa, loses building containing all of its bottled wine -- One of Napa Valley's most well-known attractions is still standing, but it has reportedly suffered major losses on the property. Katie Dowd in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/29/20

A running list of Napa Valley wineries that have been damaged or destroyed in the Glass Fire -- The Glass Fire erupted on September 27 and has moved rapidly across northern Napa Valley, decimating structures at some of the region’s most celebrated wineries. Here’s a list of the wineries that have been confirmed to have sustained damage so far. We’ll be updating the list as we learn more. Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/29/20

Empty North Bay lodgings fill up as people flee Glass Fire in Wine Country -- Knowing that Northern California hotels could soon be inundated by evacuees fleeing the fast-moving Glass Fire, Steve Page is doing his best to increase amenities at the 50 Acres Campground by the Sonoma Raceway, near San Pablo Bay in southern Sonoma County. Shwanika Narayan and Rusty Simmons in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/29/20

Kitten dubbed ‘Baby Yoda’ rescued from North Complex fire -- Firefighters found the soot- and ash-covered animal in the middle of a road near Berry Creek on Sept. 20 and rushed her to a nearby shelter, the North Valley Animal Disaster Group said in a Facebook post. Hayley Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/2

Policy & Politics 

Gavin Newsom gets flu shot during live-streamed news conference -- Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraged Californians to do their part to prevent a potential “twindemic” of the coronavirus and the flu this fall by getting his flu shot in the middle of a live-streamed news conference Monday. Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/29/20

The California Republican Party endorsed three candidates who say QAnon theories should be heard -- For years, the falsehoods of the QAnon movement lived on the fringes of the internet. It was a collection of conspiracy theories aimed at exposing a supposed deep-state cabal of pedophiles. Lara Korte in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/29/20

Trump’s EPA asks Newsom to rethink gas car ban: ‘You can’t even keep the lights on today’ -- The Trump administration on Monday asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to back down from the executive order he announced last week that would phase out the sale of gas-powered passenger vehicles by 2035, arguing California’s power grid can’t handle a surge in demand from battery-powered vehicles. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/29/20

‘It’s almost a joke.’ In rural California, Newsom’s gas-powered car ban is a stretch -- It’s a long drive to just about anywhere Gary Wright needs to go. A rancher in the far northeastern corner of California, he sometimes has to drive nearly 100 miles, one-way, to get to where his cattle graze. It’s 36 miles to Klamath Falls, Ore., for a significant errand run. Ryan Sabalow and Phillip Reese in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/29/20

New law paves way for California to make its own insulin, generic drugs in effort to lower costs -- California could make its own insulin and other prescription drugs in an effort to lower costs under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he signed into law Monday. Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/29/20

California prison union wants to be ‘800 pound gorilla’ in politics. Can it win over voters? -- The bad news keeps coming for California correctional officers. They took a pay cut amid a pandemic that has infected more than 3,500 prison employees, killing nine. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Friday it will close a state prison in Tracy, affecting 469 correctional officers’ jobs, in what could be the first of two closures under Gov. Gavin Newsom. Wes Venteicher in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/29/20

Housing is core issue in SF’s Wiener-Fielder Senate race -- While most electoral contests in San Francisco are a fierce fight, incumbents up for reelection tend to have an easy run. A year ago, few thought that Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener, a veteran San Francisco politician, would have difficulty defending his Senate District 11 seat. Scott Soriano Capitol Weekly -- 9/29/20

Hiltzik: Let’s put Donald Trump’s $750 annual tax payment in perspective -- Trump’s $750 annual tax payment was about what the average American household owed in federal income taxes per month. Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20

Weighing August Vollmer's tarnished legacy: Should his name be scrubbed from peak? -- Vollmer Peak, the highest point on a ridge adjacent to the Berkeley Hills, is named for August Vollmer, the City of Berkeley’s first police chief. Berkeley honored the chief with the tribute in 1940. Now the city wants to strip the landmark of its namesake. Mike Moffitt in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/29/20


So much for shaking hands and kissing babies: How COVID-19 is reshaping L.A. campaigns -- Weeks ahead of the November election, many of the familiar rituals of stumping for votes are off the table during the COVID-19 pandemic, drastically changing what it looks like to run for office in Los Angeles. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20

If voters raise taxes on corporate landlords, will small biz foot the bill? -- When supporters of a November property tax ballot measure talk about soaking the state’s faceless corporate giants and its wealthiest landlords, they are not talking about people like John Kevranian. Ben Christopher CalMatters -- 9/29/20

Californians Harboring Doubts About Election Integrity, Poll Finds -- With just over five weeks until Election Day, many California voters are concerned about the integrity of the presidential election and doubt the willingness of their fellow citizens to accept the eventual results, according to a poll released Monday by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies. Guy Marzoranti KQED -- 9/29/20


More Than A Million Californians Are Still Waiting for Unemployment Benefits -- California wasn’t ready for the spike in unemployment since the pandemic. And one big reason is because the agency that handles unemployment benefits has had a lot of problems: dated technology, lack of staffing, and a system that focuses more on stopping fraud than getting people the money they need now. Today, that means 1.6 million Californians are waiting for help while the pandemic rages on. Devin Katayama, Mary Franklin Harvin, Ericka Cruz Guevarra, Alan Montecillo KQED -- 9/29/20


Orange County health officials survey public on future coronavirus vaccine -- “If a COVID-19 vaccine is available, I plan to be vaccinated.” Do you strongly agree, strongly disagree or something in between? That’s the first scenario posed in a survey called “How Do You Feel About a COVID-19 Vaccine” launched Monday, Sept. 28, by Orange County’s Health Care Agency. Ian Wheeler in the Orange County Register -- 9/29/20

Is A Third COVID-19 Surge Coming? Experts Say It’s Likely, Unless Behaviors Change -- After spring and summer brought persistent surges in COVID-19 cases, California’s rates appear to be on the decline for the fall. But as businesses reopen with modifications, some children go back to school and the weather slowly cools, health experts have a uniform message: It’s not over. Sammy Caiola Capital Public Radio Adam Beam Associated Press -- 9/29/20

Another scary thing about COVID: Survivors aren’t fully recovering -- Sullivan, 60, had been cleared from quarantine and had started venturing outside his home in Brentwood. But he was far from healthy. Though he didn’t know it at the time, Sullivan is among the so-called long-haulers, a grim and expanding club of coronavirus survivors who suffer debilitating symptoms long after the virus has left their body. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/29/20

Hospitalizations in Bay Area decline at fastest rate of pandemic -- Following its largest reduction in hospital patients on record — both over the past two weeks, as well as the past 24 hours — the Bay Area’s number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 fell to its lowest point since late June, according to data from the California Department of Public Health compiled by this news organization. Evan Webeck in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/29/20

Hawaiian Air to offer drive-through COVID-19 testing near SFO, LAX -- Hawaiian Airlines passengers flying out of San Francisco and Los Angeles will soon be able to get drive-thru COVID-19 tests before their flights to the Aloha State, the carrier announced over the weekend. Darrell Smith in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/29/20

Virus on Campus  

UC San Diego Begins Fall Term With COVID-19 Precautions -- The campus has reduced its housing capacity to just over 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students — 50% of the number of students who would normally live on campus. Arrivals to the campus were spread out over 10 days to encourage physical distancing. Jacob Aere KPBS -- 9/29/20

Virus Behind Bars  

Family, advocates mourn San Diego federal inmate who died of COVID-19 -- Inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center San Diego and mourners across the street communicated Monday night through lights, candles, music and the banging of windows. Alex Riggins in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/29/20

Virus Economy  

Bay Area, California hotels suffer huge revenue drops -- Massive losses in revenue have bludgeoned the reeling hotel industry in the Bay Area and California, fresh evidence of the brutal effects of the coronavirus, according to figures released Monday by a top lodging analyst. George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/29/20

Virus, strife prompt ‘resiliency’ funds in Black communities -- The modest cash grant Iguehi James received from the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce helped the clothing designer defray costs, including surge prices on elastic and fabric that jumped dramatically due to the pandemic. Janie Har Associated Press -- 9/29/20


As some push for faster COVID-19 reopenings, Newsom warns of a possible second wave -- By practically every metric, California is steadily beating back the coronavirus pandemic. But officials are watching data that could suggest a second surge of the virus is on the way, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday. Laura J. Nelson in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20

Why one coronavirus metric might be keeping your county from reopening -- The mouthful of a metric — known as the adjusted case rate — represents how many people are falling sick every day in a county. The standard is part of the state’s attempt to strike a delicate balance that will avoid a surge in cases as restrictions are loosened. Soumya Karlamangla in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20

Tier roller-coaster continues in San Diego County -- The roller-coaster continues in San Diego County with the latest set of coronavirus numbers showing that the region’s closely-watched case rate is once again over the state-specified limit that governs the region’s ability to keep restaurants and other organizations open at their present capacities. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/29/20

Back to School   

Private schools say they’re ready to open and are pushing L.A. County to let them -- A coalition of private schools, including the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, called Monday for the County Board of Supervisors and public health officials to begin accepting waiver applications to allow elementary schools to open — an issue that Board Chair Kathryn Barger said would be discussed at their Tuesday meeting. Andrew J. Campa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20

‘Zoom Out’ protests against distance learning planned this week -- The protest calls for families to inform schools of their participation in the “Zoom Out,” request homework for students and log off distance learning online platforms, said Syndie Ly, an organizer with Reopen California Schools and a parent of four boys in the Tustin Unified School District. Dan Albano in the Orange County Register -- 9/29/20

Palo Alto Unified wants to reopen classes Oct. 12; parents and teachers object -- Almost 400 parents and teachers have signed a letter urging the school board not to approve the district’s plan to bring elementary school students back to campuses starting Oct. 12 with two grade levels phased in every week through Nov. 9. Middle and high school students would start returning on Jan. 7 in similarly staggered schedules. Aldo Toledo in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/29/20


Even when the smoke clears, schools find student trauma can linger -- For some students, the fire is only the beginning. The nightmares, the grief and an all-consuming dread can persist for months or even years. Carolyn Jones EdSource -- 9/29/20


Video shows man pistol-whipping LAPD officer in police station, pointing cop’s gun at him -- A security video from inside the Los Angeles Police station where a veteran officer was attacked this weekend shows the officer get knocked to the ground and repeatedly pistol-whipped with his own gun before the attacker points the gun at the officer’s chest at close range. Richard Winton, Kevin Rector in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20

SDPD investigates claims that officer’s social media post made light of memorial for man he fatally shot -- San Diego police have launched an internal investigation into allegations that an officer posted a photo on social media that appeared to make light of a makeshift memorial for a man who was fatally shot by the officer and a partner in late June. David Hernandez in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/29/20

Taylor: Black construction workers in Bay Area say employers don’t stop abuse -- When he arrived at a construction site at 1100 Broadway in Oakland on June 26, 2019, Leiroi Bowie found a noose on the barricade near his assigned elevator. It wasn’t the first noose Bowie, who is Black, had seen on the job. Otis R. Taylor Jr. in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/29/20

Immigration / Border / ICE   

Detainees at California’s for-profit ICE detention centers will soon be able to sue over abuse, harm -- Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Sunday backed by immigrant-rights advocates that mandates greater accountability by the companies that operate federal detention facilities in California. Andrea Castillo in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20


To Address Homelessness Crisis, Sacramento Considers Converting Private Land Into Temporary Housing Sites -- Sacramento is considering a formal permitting process to allow for the creation of more privately-owned temporary housing sites, similar to the current tent city set up in the Alkali Flats neighborhood of downtown. Sarah Mizes-Tan Capital Public Radio -- 9/29/20

Newsom seeks more money for novel homeless housing program -- As Project Homekey funds begin to dry up, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said he’s seeking an extra $200 million to help more cities and counties convert property into homeless housing. Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/29/20


California Law Prioritizes People Over Corporate Home-Buyers -- Tenants, affordable housing groups and local governments will get first crack at buying foreclosed homes under a measure approved Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Don Thompson Associated Press Associated Press -- 9/29/20

Also . . .   

Record temperatures lure ‘heat tourists’ to Death Valley National Park -- Once he saw that temperatures in Death Valley National Park had hit 130 degrees Fahrenheit, Dan Markham, 40, knew he had to go. Megan Calfas in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/29/20

POTUS 45  

Trump’s tax troubles couldn’t have come at a worse time -- The explosive news that President Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes for a decade — and only $750 the year he ran for office and his first year in the White House — hands Joe Biden a powerful cudgel just in time for the first presidential debate on Tuesday. Natasha Korecki and Nancy Cook Politico -- 9/29/20


5 things to know about Trump's taxes -- The story suggests the president mostly avoided paying taxes the old-fashioned way: by losing money. Brian Faler Politico -- 9/29/20


-- Monday Updates   

Wine Country fires burn homes, force evacuations from Santa Rosa to Napa Valley -- The Wine Country awoke in flames Monday as windblown wildfires closed in on the Napa Valley from the east and west and swept into Santa Rosa, forcing thousands of North Bay residents to flee their homes in an ominous flashback to the catastrophic infernos three years ago. Sarah Ravani , Matthias Gafni and J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/28/20

Glass Fire near Santa Rosa explodes overnight, prompts evacuation orders -- Homes on the eastern edge of Santa Rosa were under assault early Monday morning and residents had been ordered to flee from the flames of a fast-burning fire that broke out Sunday — the largest in the Bay Area and one of the 27 fires currently burning around California. Evan Webeck in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/28/20

Defending Oakmont seen as critical as Shady fire burns in Santa Rosa -- Defending Oakmont, a 5,000-person retirement community between Highway 12 and Annadel Trione State Park, was a critical mission before dawn Monday as the Shady fire continued burning ferociously down the densely forested hills of eastern Sonoma County, according to Santa Rosa Fire Chief Tony Gossner. The community was ordered to evacuate late Sunday, leaving firefighters able to focus on what Gossner expected to be a critical and sustained firefight ahead. Julie Johnson in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat -- 9/28/20

Fires besiege wine country: 11,000 acres burned, homes lost, thousands flee -- Another series of wildfires stormed California’s wine country overnight as flames destroyed numerous homes and other buildings in Napa and Sonoma counties and forced thousands to flee. Rong-Gong Lin II, Kent Nishimura, Luke Money, Alex Wigglesworth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/28/20

Paradise again threatened as deadly fires push toward towns gutted by 2018 inferno -- Two years after being decimated by the worst blaze in California history, the town of Paradise was again under threat, this time from the deadly North Complex fire. Rong-Gong Lin II, Luke Money in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/28/20

Red flag fire warning issued for greater San Diego as Santa Ana winds approach -- SDG&E says it might have to interrupt electrical service to some backcountry customers. Gary Robbins in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/28/20

Contact Tracing 

After digital contact tracing stalls out nationwide, L.A. County backs a controversial crime app to track virus -- Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles County is partnering with a crime-reporting app to provide mobile contact tracing, but the rollout of the app and others like it highlights the nation’s slow, controversial and sometimes patchwork approach to replacing fallible human memories with cold, hard electronic facts. Jason Henry in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 9/28/20

Policy & Politics 

Fox: No New Gas-Powered Cars? Hello Vehicle Mileage Tax -- California officials have been toying with the idea of a Vehicle Mileage Traveled Tax (VMT) for some time but due to Governor Newsom’s executive order that only zero-emission cars must be sold starting in 2035 you can bet that the VMT will become a reality. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 9/28/20


Tesla referral code for you to use -- john93948  to get 1000 free Supercharger miles.