Updating . .   

Experts see cult-like behavior in Trump’s most extreme followers. Breaking them free may not be easy -- The person on the phone was desperate. Her father believed the election was stolen, the U.S. Capitol siege was staged and the COVID-19 vaccine was dangerous, possibly implanting a chip in his body or giving him the virus. Either way, he wasn’t getting one. “Can you help?” the family member asked. Colleen Russell said yes. Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21

California’s Capitol remains under tight security as authorities brace for expected protests -- California’s state Capitol remained on lockdown Sunday along with parts of downtown Sacramento as authorities brace for the possibility of armed violence and demonstrations in advance of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Sam Stanton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/17/21

Make America California Again? That’s Biden’s plan -- After four years of being relentlessly targeted by a Republican president who worked overtime to bait, punish and marginalize California and everything it represents, the state is suddenly center stage again in Washington’s policy arena. Evan Halper in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/21

Harris Will Leave Senate Seat Monday, Set To Return As Tie-Breaking Vice President -- When Harris makes history as the first woman, first Black person and first Indian American to serve as vice president, she'll also become president of the Senate. It's a largely ceremonial position — most of the time. Scott Detrow NPR Chelsea Janes in the Washington Post$ -- 1/17/21

California Women’s Legislative Caucus wants Newsom to appoint woman as attorney general -- State Democratic female lawmakers are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to appoint a woman to replace outgoing Attorney General Xavier Becerra, if and when he’s confirmed as the next U.S. secretary of health and human services. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21

Biden campaigned on eliminating death penalty — we could soon see how that turns out -- In 1994, Sen. Joe Biden sponsored a far-reaching crime bill that lengthened federal sentences and expanded the federal death penalty to cover about 60 crimes. In 2020, Biden ran for president on a platform that advocated eliminating the federal death penalty and giving states incentives, presumably federal funding, to abolish their capital punishment laws. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21


‘Dad, are you going to die?’: Bay Area COVID health care workers face fear at home -- In the overflowing intensive care unit at Valley Medical Center, Dr. Amit Gohil battles the coronavirus every day. He calls it the monster. When he goes home each night, his wife and three young children are waiting with monster fears of their own. Julia Prodis Sulek in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/17/21

Why some older people are getting the vaccine in Southern California but others are striking out -- It was a weekend of frustration and confusion for many Californians 65 and older who tried to figure out how to get the coronavirus vaccine. Alex Wigglesworth, Colleen Shalby in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/21

Two Bay Area community clinics cut through red tape to speed vaccines for seniors -- Dr. Rebecca Parish, a Lafayette internist, was getting a lot of calls from patients in their 70s, 80s and 90s who were stressed out, frustrated and, frankly, frightened, that they didn’t know how to get a vaccination against the coronavirus — shots they’d been told they need to get. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21

O.C. congressman received vaccine dose, but tests positive for virus -- U.S. Rep. Lou Correa, who represents the 46th Congressional District covering parts of Orange County, announced Saturday he had tested positive for the virus — even though he received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Dec. 19. Alex Wigglesworth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/21

An angel on his shoulder: Team nursing helps hospitals survive during surge -- Midafternoon, one of the three intensive care patients assigned to nurse Jim Hayes was doing well enough that they were ready to transfer to a room with a lower level of care. But that did not mean there would be much time with the other two patients. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/17/21

Patton State Hospital to vaccinate all patients against COVID-19 by this week amid major outbreak -- Amid a rapidly spreading COVID-19 outbreak that has infected nearly 500 patients and killed 15, Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino is on track to vaccinate all of its consenting patients by Friday, Jan. 22. More than 1,200 patients are committed to the psychiatric facility, the largest of five in the state system. Joe Nelson in the Orange County Register -- 1/17/21

UC San Diego stages in-person classes in outdoor tents to fight pandemic, loneliness -- The temperature was in the 30s and 40s Friday in such college towns as Boston and Boulder. But it was 77 and clear at UC San Diego, and the sun-baked campus was making the most of it. Professors welcomed small groups of students into large, breezy, outdoor tents where they taught everything from politics to engineering, interrupted only by the occasional crackle of fighter jets out of Miramar MCAS. Gary Robbins in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/17/21

Can work-at-home cure California traffic jams? -- A rare positive of the pandemic era has been the dramatic reduction in California’s infamous traffic congestion. That’s what recessions do. Fewer jobs, fewer commutes. Right? Jonathan Lansner in the Orange County Register -- 1/17/21

The gig economy wants its coronavirus shots -- As California struggles to get a limited supply of coronavirus vaccines injected into the arms of those who need it the most, gig workers and the app makers that provide their livelihood are trying to elbow their way toward the front of the line. Chase DiFeliciantonio in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21

Policy & Politics 

Two steps steps forward, one step back in history of racial equity -- San Diego County supervisors last week formally defined racism as a public health crisis, acknowledging for the first time that a broad and baked-in prejudice underpins virtually every aspect of public policy. Jeff McDonald, Lyndsay Winkley in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/17/21

San Francisco rolls out raises for city workers — some are eye-popping -- Pay raises for most of San Francisco’s municipal workforce just kicked in — they add about $2,340 a year to the annual base pay of an experienced Muni driver, about $3,633 more for a registered nurse, and a whopping $10,000 to $14,000 for the city’s top executives. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21

San Diego’s pension payment spiking $50M, worsening budget crisis during pandemic -- San Diego’s annual pension payment will rise by nearly $50 million this June, making it much harder for the tourism-reliant city to balance its budget while tax revenues continue their sharp slide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. David Garrick in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/17/21

Also . . .   

Phil Spector, visionary music producer convicted in notorious murder, dies at 81 -- Phil Spector, the visionary record producer who revolutionized pop music in the early 1960s with his majestic sound and fierce ambition but spent his final years behind bars after shooting and killing an aspiring actress in his Alhambra mansion, has died in a hospital. He was 81. Alex Wigglesworth, Richard Cromelin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/21

Desert off-road festival to go ahead despite violating state guidelines -- Every year, tens of thousands of people descend on a rough stretch of desert north of Joshua Tree for a weeklong off-roading festival and series of extreme races. Billed as one of the toughest desert off-roading races in the nation, the King of the Hammers event is often described as part Burning Man and part “Mad Max.” Julia Wick in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/21

High wind watch this week means possible power outages across Northern and Central California -- NWS meteorologists warn that wind gusts could exceed 75 mph in some areas of the Sierra Nevada over the next few days, and the Valley is expected to see up to 50 mph gusts. Vincent Moleski in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/17/21


California Policy and P  olitics Sunday Morning  

More contagious coronavirus strain detected in L.A. County as total cases top 1 million -- Los Angeles County on Saturday surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases since reporting its first infection nearly a year before and also recorded its first instance of a new, more contagious variant of the virus that was initially identified in the United Kingdom. Alex Wigglesworth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/21

California deaths remain devastatingly high even as surge of infections begins to abate -- California posted its highest one-day death toll on Friday, with the number of deaths reaching 700, as hospitals in some parts of the state continued to triage patients and force ambulances to circle while waiting for a bed to open. Jill Tucker and Lauren Hernández in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21

Santa Clara County Jail Inmates Start Hunger Strike In Wake of COVID Outbreaks -- On Wednesday afternoon, the sheriff's office reported 109 new COVID-19 cases. That same night, the hunger strike began in the main jail's 7B wing to protest unsanitary living conditions and lack of policy that prisoners believe have led to the outbreaks. KQED -- 1/17/21

Struggling hospitality workers to get boost from Sycuan’s donation -- In an effort to help restaurant and hospitality workers such as Lemus who continue to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Sycuan Casino Resort has donated $150,000 to the nonprofit Big Table San Diego. Lauren J. Mapp in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/17/21

Capitol Siege  

S.F. man, a self-proclaimed Proud Boy, charged by FBI in Capitol riot -- Authorities identified Daniel Goodwyn as one of the Capitol invaders through a series of videos, Instagram messages and Twitter posts, according to an FBI complaint filed Friday. In the days since the riot incited by President Trump, officials have been combing through social media to find and arrest those involved. Trisha Thadani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21

National Guard deployed around Sacramento in preparation for potential unrest -- Amid growing security concerns, California National Guard troops were deployed throughout downtown Sacramento early Saturday to protect property and maintain safety during potentially violent protests expected through Inauguration Day on Wednesday. Louis Sahagún in the Los Angeles Times$ Steve Rubenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21

Policy & Politics 

In Home District, McCarthy Faces Some Backlash From the Right -- In conservative Bakersfield, Calif., Kevin McCarthy enjoys solid support. But in the days since impeachment, some Republicans now say he has not been loyal enough to President Trump. Manny Fernandez in the New York Times$ -- 1/17/21

Wilie Brown: Trump impeachment trial is the last thing Biden needs -- Count me among those who aren’t convinced the Senate will convict President Trump at his impeachment trial. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21

Walters: Democrats overreach on recall, miss valid point -- Last week, the California Democratic Party attempted to link the Republican-backed drive to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom to the riotous invasion of the U.S. Capitol building by supporters of soon-to-be ex-President Donald Trump. Dan Walters CalMatters -- 1/17/21


‘White Lives Matter’ banner found in Union City on weekend before MLK day -- Union City’s mayor and other officials condemned a “White Lives Matter” banner found Saturday morning at a city intersection. City officials called the incident — which happened the weekend before the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday and 10 days after the pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol — racist. Lauren Hernández in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/21

LAPD chief calls out deadly crime surge -- The first two weeks of 2021 saw 59 shooting victims in Los Angeles compared with seven last year, L.A. Police Chief Michel Moore said in a tweet Saturday, calling attention to a deadly crime surge that has coincided with a devastating pandemic. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/16/21

Oscar Grant killing: Civil-rights coalition renews pressure for charges against ex-BART cop -- Civic and civil-rights leaders are amassing national support to pressure Alameda County prosecutors to charge an ex-BART police officer they blame for the melee that ended with another officer fatally shooting Oscar Grant 12 years ago. Robert Salonga in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/17/21

Also . . .   

National Guard Humvee is stolen in Bell -- The vehicle is attached to the A Company 40th Brigade Support Battalion, according to information released by authorities. It was stolen from a National Guard Armory in Bell. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/16/21

POTUS 46  

Biden Seeks Quick Start With Executive Actions and Aggressive Legislation -- In an effort to mark a clean break from the Trump era, the president-elect plans to roll out dozens of executive orders in his first 10 days on top of a big stimulus plan and an expansive immigration bill. Michael D. Shear and Peter Baker in the New York Times$ -- 1/17/21

POTUS 45  

A First for an American President, and a First for Donald Trump -- In the final moments of his presidency, Mr. Trump is confronting an unfamiliar fate: He is being held to account as never before for things he has said. Matt Flegenheimer and Maggie Haberman in the New York Times$ -- 1/17/21

Balz: Trump leaves behind a Republican Party both broken and still in his grip -- There are many parts of the legacy President Trump will leave behind when his term ends Wednesday. One of them is a broken Republican Party. Dan Balz in the Washington Post$ -- 1/17/21

-- Saturday Updates

California has 2 million unused doses of vaccine even as demand soars. Here’s why -- Across California, a vast number of coronavirus vaccine doses are locked up in cold storage. But last week, when Santa Clara County asked for 100,000 doses to ramp up vaccine distribution, the state offered only a fraction of that amount: 6,000 doses. Catherine Ho and Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/16/21

Orange County Congressman Lou Correa says he has COVID-19 -- Correa wrote that he would quarantine away from his family. Correa, 62, was among the lawmakers who sheltered in the House chamber on Jan. 6 when rioters stormed the Capitol. Brian Rokos in the Orange County Register -- 1/16/21

Drive to get COVID-19 vaccine to L.A. firefighters loses steam as 40% fail to show up -- The reluctance of L.A. firefighters adds to the list of healthcare workers in the state who are declining to take the vaccine, a trend that health experts say could have serious public health implications. Ben Welsh, Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/16/21 

Kaiser apologizes for long phone wait times amid huge vaccine demand -- Kaiser Permanente officials apologized on Friday to their members for the long call center wait times in recent days since the state’s coronavirus vaccine eligibility was expanded to those 65 and older. Lauren Hernández in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/16/21

‘Light at the end of tunnel’ or a small blip? Flattening COVID-19 numbers bring hope in California -- Despite hospitals overflowing with patients, heartbreaking numbers of deaths and COVID-19 infection rates hovering at dangerous levels, there are some signs that the daily increase in the number of coronavirus cases is beginning to flatten in California. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Luke Money, Soumya Karlamangla in the Los Angeles Times$ Leonardo Castañeda in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/16/21

Limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine likely to slow rocky rollout for California seniors -- As California launches massive COVID-19 vaccination sites to speed up inoculations, concern is growing among public health officials that the supply of doses could soon dry up. Laura J. Nelson, Hayley Smith, Maya Lau in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/16/21

San Diego County’s two largest nursing homes have largest outbreaks in region -- Even as vaccination efforts are launched in the region’s skilled nursing facilities, novel coronavirus cases and outbreaks continue to rise among the county’s most vulnerable populations. Lauren J. Mapp in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/16/21

Slow to start, coronavirus testing in Orange County is booming -- Once novel and hard to come by, coronavirus tests have become an essential part of pandemic life in Orange County and now can be found at doctors’ offices and massive drive-thrus or ordered online for doorstep delivery. Ian Wheeler in the Orange County Register -- 1/16/21

Hospital sending stable COVID-19 patients home early to free up beds -- Daily, McMurray and other members of the team drive to patients’ homes, checking vital signs, collecting testing samples and generally watching for signs of trouble in the same way they would if their charges were still laying in hospital beds. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/16/21

WWII vet, 95, returns home after COVID-19 scare -- “I’m great,” he said Friday while waiting to be discharged from the Villas at Poway, a skilled nursing facility where he had been recovering from COVID-19 for about a month. “I feel wonderful. I’m getting better each day.” Gary Warth in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/16/21


California EDD’s mass suspension of accounts hangs over jobless -- Carie Mathis’ housecleaning business collapsed when the pandemic started. The single mom went on unemployment to support herself and her twin 15-year-olds, but couldn’t make the rent payments for their Rodeo house. They moved in with her parents in Vacaville. She bunks in the garage so the kids can have bedrooms. Carolyn Said in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/16/21

Policy & Politics 

‘We didn’t buy guns for nothing:’ California lawmakers face threats as national tensions grow -- State lawmakers attended what was supposed to be a routine Capitol budget hearing last week assessing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s spending plans for next year. But when the time came for public comment, things took a dark turn. Lara Korte and Hannah Wiley in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/16/21

He led the Valley’s campaign to break from L.A. Now, his website is a refuge for the far-right -- Jeff Brain knows a thing or two about tilting at the establishment. He did, after all, help lead the campaign that sought to create a city in the San Fernando Valley by breaking away about one third of Los Angeles’ population and nearly half of its land mass. James Rainey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/16/21

Christine Pelosi feared for her mother’s life and wants the SF Giants to take a stand about that -- Christine Pelosi, a big deal in California politics and daughter of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is poised to quit the board of the San Francisco Giants Community fund after revelations that principal owner Charles Johnson and his wife Ann are financial contributors to a Republican legislator accused of endangering the life of Pelosi’s mother. Marcos Bretón in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/16/21

Lelyveld: This former politician wants politicians to know what it’s like to be jobless, get COVID, scrape to survive -- Araceli Gonzalez-Burkle, a former politician, lost her good job in May. In December, she got COVID-19. Often, she doesn’t have enough money for laundry. She wants our government to focus on the suffering out there. Nita Lelyveld in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/16/21

Knight: Tech titans give S.F. the finger as they flee. But this billionaire is staying and working to make it better -- Jeff Lawson, founder and CEO of San Francisco’s Twilio, called out his fellow tech titans for not only bailing on the city in the middle of a pandemic, but being rude about it as they leave. Heather Knight in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/16/21

Covid Rules Frustration  

‘Let Them Play’: Sacramento-area rallies call for kids to resume playing sports -- Student-athletes in school colors arrived at more than 130 sites across California on Friday, their emotions and signage in tow. The signs read, “Sports are essential” and “Let them play!” They met at parks, in church parking lots, on sidewalks, all at 4 p.m. in an effort to be seen and heard in large numbers. Joe Davidson and Cameron Salerno in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/16/21

Local diner sues Sacramento County, state over business fees assessed during pandemic -- Brookfields is leading a class action lawsuit against Sacramento County and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, alleging restaurants shouldn’t have to pay full governmental fees while hampered by COVID-19 health orders. Benjy Egel in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/16/21


New state rules for schools force some San Diego districts to cancel reopening dates -- Many big districts, like San Diego Unified, were already going to remain closed because COVID-19 rates are too high to allow reopening. But San Diego County school districts that were planning to reopen middle and high schools in the next few weeks now are postponing those plans indefinitely. Kristen Taketa, Deborah Sullivan Brennan in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/16/21


UC Berkeley reverses course and will not close institute helping students of color -- Following an outcry, UC Berkeley is reversing its plan to disband a campus institute that for four decades has served as a pipeline into the social sciences for students of color and has lifted them into the highest echelons of academia. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/16/21

Capitol Siege  

Guard troops deployed throughout downtown Sacramento in advance of expected violence -- At the state Capitol — which is expected to be the site of protests Sunday and Wednesday as well as unrest between supporters of President Trump and antifacist groups — armed soldiers, Guard trucks and armored Humvees were stationed on streets around the building. Sam Stanton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/16/21

McManus: There’s no need to hurry Trump’s impeachment trial — accountability is a dish best served cold -- If Senate Democrats want to have any serious hope of convicting Trump, their best strategy is to slow the process down. Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/16/21

Also . . .   

Caltech to remove name of founding president, a eugenics supporter, from buildings -- Caltech announced Friday that it would remove the name of its founding president and first Nobel laureate, Robert A. Millikan, from campus buildings because he supported eugenics — joining universities across the nation in repudiating those who joined the racist movement a century ago. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/16/21

Lopez: What do conductor Gustavo Dudamel and rocker John Densmore have in common? Plenty -- You need a break, right? I know I do. We’re cooped up and locked down, and when we turn on the TV news, it’s politics and the pandemic all the time, nonstop. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/16/21