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Allergic reactions that caused California to halt 330,000 vaccine doses occurred at San Diego’s Petco Park -- The “higher-than-usual” number of allergic reactions that prompted California health officials Sunday to pause the use of one batch of Moderna vaccines occurred at a mass vaccination clinic at Petco Park in San Diego, the state confirmed Monday. Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Benjy Egel in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/18/21

Bay Area has its own scary new variant: Why experts are so concerned -- The Bay Area’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic suffered a potentially large setback this weekend, as public health experts sounded the alarm over another new variant of the coronavirus spreading across California and linked to multiple outbreaks. The variant, which is called L452R, is different from the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant that was first found in the United Kingdom, as well as other virus mutations recently identified in South Africa and Brazil. Aidin Vaziri in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/21

As death rate doubles, air quality regulator suspends limits for cremations in LA County -- With the current death rate being more than double that in pre-pandemic years, a permit limiting the number of monthly cremations is Los Angeles County for air quality reasons has been temporarily suspended to assist in relieving the current backlog caused by COVID-19. Quinn Wilson in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/18/21

Coronavirus: California’s outlook improves but with complications -- There were substantially fewer new cases of COVID-19, as well as fatalities from the virus, around California on Sunday than there were a week ago, as the state’s case curve continued its most extensive downturn since Christmas. Evan Webeck in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/18/21

Fight against COVID-19 hits wall of defiance, suspicion in rural California: ‘The excuses just go on’ -- Among their biggest obstacles: overcoming widespread skepticism that the virus is a serious threat in far-flung towns, fear that the new vaccine is unsafe, and open rebellion against health orders. The pushback in rural parts of California is emblematic of the challenge in many parts of the United States, particularly outside more liberal urban centers. Hailey Branson-Potts in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/21

Beutner presses for L.A. schools to become COVID-19 vaccine centers -- Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner on Monday pressed for using schools as COVID-19 vaccination centers, saying his 900 campuses are “ready to go” — a move that could speed up the reopening of in-person classes for students. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ Linh Tat in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/18/21

As virus spreads unchecked, 5 more inmates at Donovan state prison succumb to COVID-19 -- Five more inmates have died from COVID-19 at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility over the past week, pushing the total number of fatalities to 14 since the pandemic erupted and making Otay Mesa prison the fourth-deadliest prison in the state. Jeff McDonald in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/18/21


This L.A. project shows that homeless housing can be done quickly and cheaply -- For years it was just another dreary piece of the downtown Los Angeles backdrop — a vacant lot between the county jail and the rusted hulk of a factory. But since Thanksgiving, two three-story buildings, flanked by a village of trailer homes, have sprung up on the former industrial site. Doug Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/21


San Jose, S.F. lead nation in plunging rent — while inland California sees most price growth -- San Jose housing rental prices in December were down 13.7% year over year, the nation’s sharpest decline, according to a new report, and San Francisco wasn’t far behind. Kellie Hwang in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/21

DC Siege  

FBI seeks woman accused of taking Pelosi laptop in Capitol siege, as Washington security tightens -- A manhunt was underway Monday for a Pennsylvania woman suspected of stealing a laptop from the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) during the attack on the U.S. Capitol, possibly with the intent to hand the device over to the Russian government, the FBI said. Kevin Rector in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/21

Large police presence remains in downtown Sacramento despite no demonstrations -- Despite there being no active demonstrations in downtown Sacramento on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a large police force was still present throughout the city, the Sacramento Police Department said in a social media post. Molly Sullivan in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/18/21

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Biden chooses San Diego Unified superintendent as deputy education secretary -- President-elect Joe Biden nominated San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten as his deputy secretary of education, the Biden administration announced Monday. Kristen Taketa in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/18/21

Harris: Serving as California’s senator has been an honor. But this is not a goodbye -- The first time I came to work in the United States Senate was not as a United States senator but as an intern. Kamala Harris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/21

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Five ways Trump changed California — including one that helped Democrats -- His immigration policies sharply restricted migration to the state and made it harder for Silicon Valley to bring in foreign talent. His rollback of environmental safeguards stalled efforts to fight climate change that threatens coastal cities. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/21


California Policy and P  olitics Monday Morning  

California calls for pause in use of huge batch of Moderna vaccines after allergic reactions -- California’s top epidemiologist is warning health providers to delay using a batch of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine after a “higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions” were reported at a Southern Calfornia vaccination clinic. Michael Williams in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Evan Webeck in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/18/21

Another new coronavirus variant found across California, including L.A. County -- As the total number of coronavirus infections in California approaches 3 million, health officials said Sunday that a new strain — different from a highly contagious variant first identified in the United Kingdom — is popping up more frequently across the state. Laura J. Nelson in the Los Angeles Times$ Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee$ J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/21

California on brink of 3 million infections, despite coronavirus surge heading to plateau -- Even as coronavirus hospitalizations and infections appear to be reaching a plateau following an enormous surge, California is nearing in on another big number — 3 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. Vincent Moleski in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/18/21

Children are the next frontier for COVID vaccine clinical trials -- Slowly and gingerly, researchers are testing COVID-19 vaccines in younger and younger kids — even as millions of doses are pushed into the arms of their parents — with an eye toward FDA approval in the next year or two. Teri Sforza in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/18/21

191 San Diego Fire-Rescue personnel decline COVID-19 vaccine so far -- Nearly 200 San Diego Fire-Rescue personnel have so far turned down a COVID-19 vaccine, showing reluctance as health officials scramble to protect frontline workers like firefighters from the highly infectious coronavirus. David Hernandez in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/18/21

Two Orange County high school teams played football game this weekend despite sports shutdown for COVID-19 -- The Capistrano Valley Christian and Calvary Chapel of Santa Ana high school football teams played a game Saturday, Jan. 16, that might have violated CIF and Southern Section rules as well as state health orders that are in place because of the pandemic. Steve Fryer in the Orange County Register -- 1/18/21

Policy & Politics 

Skelton: Voting against Trump’s impeachment could come back to haunt these California Republicans -- Republican Rep. Mike Garcia of Santa Clarita barely won reelection in a district that rejected President Trump and voted for Democrat Joe Biden. Yet the congressman last week voted to protect Trump from impeachment. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/21

Walters: A big data system for public education? -- California, as we all should know by now, has an almost unblemished record of failure in efficiently implementing digital technology in state government operations. Dan Walters CalMatters -- 1/18/21


Unusual winter fire risk may prompt unique winter power cut to 6,100 California customers -- About 6,100 homes and businesses in the southern Sierra Nevada could lose power Monday as Pacific Gas and Electric Co. tries to avoid fires in perilously dry weather, a move that would be the utility company’s first such shut-off this far into winter. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/21

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Trump prepares to offer clemency to more than 100 people in his final hours in office -- President Trump is preparing to pardon or commute the sentences of more than 100 people in his final hours in office, decisions that are expected to be announced Monday or Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the plans. Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman in the Washington Post$ -- 1/18/21

Records: Trump allies behind rally that ignited Capitol riot -- Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters. Richard Lardner and Michelle R. Smith Associated Press -- 1/18/21

Prospect of Pardons in Final Days Fuels Market to Buy Access to Trump -- The president’s allies have collected tens of thousands of dollars — and potentially much more — from people seeking pardons. Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel in the New York Times$ -- 1/18/21

-- Sunday Updates

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