IN TODAY’S NOONER:
- Loaves and Fishes
- Cave Fire
- Money matters: the state’s finances
- How we work
- Cue Lorena
- Muni matters
Good morning! It’s Turkey Taco Tuesday! If you weren’t aware, turkeys were first domesticated in ancient Mexico. The bird, which is called pavo in our neighbor to our south is eaten year-round in many parts of Mexico. I know it is heretical to say on this particular week, but pavo con mole is far more delicious than turkey with gravy.
Obviously, I’m continuing with the Band-Aid approach to getting The Nooner to you. I’m literally inspecting hundreds of files to discover the problem. Some folks have asked why I haven’t moved it to a new server. I have tried that but there are two problems. First it’s about 50 gigabytes in total, leading to transfer time outs. Second, my transferring all the files, it replicates the exact problem. The only way to solve it is to find the malignant code, which is a time-consuming, manual process.
This is the biggest server problem I’ve had in twenty years of doing a variety of projects that many of you are familiar with, including The Nooner that began in earnest eight years ago.
I feel bad but it could be worse. It’s a holiday week and many of you are taking time off. Further, I’m not running the database that is having glitches at the California Employment Development Department and leading toward delayed unemployment checks this week. Hannah Wiley writes for the Bee that the checks may arrive Wednesday.
Of course, Thursday is a bank holiday and we know how those electronic payments get sat on by banks…
Above you will note that Gibran and I recorded a new podcast yesterday afternoon with Noel Kammermann, executive director of Sacramento homeless services nonprofit Loaves and Fishes. It was a fascinating discussion about the literal homeless crises we have in Sacramento and other cities around the state. The problem is bigger than we know about and things are not moving nearly quickly enough on either short-term or long-term solutions.
It wasn’t lost on us that we were recording the day before harsh winter storm hits. While most of us are happy to see the rainy forecast to suppress the Cave Fire, the cold, wet weather is a serious threat to those on the streets. And, we learned yesterday that there are far fewer shelter beds and no cold weather shelters in Sacramento because of changes this year.
Donate to Loaves and Fishes. – Let’s raise some Nooner cash for the very important work they are doing this week and all year long (particularly the winter). They accept no government money and are a nondenominational nonprofit.
As many of you will be traveling tomorrow or Thursday, I think you’ll find it a timely conversation of what we give thanks for and to understand the urgency toward doing something about it. So, load up your podcatcher and the one-hour, ten-minute pod will hopefully make your flight or drive that much more interesting.
CAVE FIRE: Obviously, the Bee’s article yesterday about the approaching end of fire season with the large storm expected this afternoon was no solace to the people around Santa Barbara last night who were watching a nightmarish fire that started in the Los Padres National Forest and quickly burned down the mountain toward the cities mostly on the south side of Highway 101. Within three hours, the fire grew from 200 to 3,100 acres.
As of this morning, it is 4,100 and zero percent contained but the wind has died down.
There was immediate suspicion based on where the fire broke out that Southern California Edison lines could be to blame. There was no public safety power shutoff in place when winds whipped up (the “sundowner” winds) that made what we saw yesterday in Sacramento seem like a ceiling fan. In Montecito east of Santa Barbara, a gust was measured at 82 MPH last night.
As usual, the hashtag #CaveFire has been taken over by adult spam bots. Twitter has banned political ads, but lets this crap continue.
MONEY MATTERS: While I have wrestled with server issues, the Legislative Analyst’s Office released its annual fiscal outlook and the news looks good while it notes that there are signs of an economic slowdown although it’s unclear when it will hit state revenues. It states:
We estimate the state has a surplus of $7 billion for 2020-21. A portion of this $7 billion would be available for one-time commitments and a portion for new, ongoing commitments. (The surplus is $4 billion if the managed care organization [MCO] tax is not approved by the federal government.)
PG&E: In the Bee, Andrew Sheeler reports on new technology that Pacific Gas & Electric is looking at to the utility hopes will prevent wildfires caused by PG&E’s equipment:
Distribution Fault Anticipation, as the technology is called, uses a predictive algorithm to assess electric systems and identify potential equipment failures, not unlike how a modern vehicle’s on-board computer works by “telling you everything there is to know of what’s wrong with the car,” said B. Don Russell.
PG&E does not expect any public safety power shutoffs with the storm as winds have calmed down and the winds aren’t expected to return until they come with precipitation.
NUNES: For Politico, Jeremy B. White reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has begun running digital ads to tie Rep. Devin Nunes to the Ukranian allegations. White writes:
A new wave of digital ads amplifies the charge that Nunes met with a Ukrainian ex-official linked to impeachment proceedings to seek political ammunition. While Nunes has rejected that as “demonstrably false,” Democrats have argued Nunes should face an ethics investigation.
The online spots will assail Nunes for using taxpayer money on “political dirty work” — a reference to a trip to Europe during which an indicted former associate of Rudy Giuliani maintains Nunes met with former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.
So far, California city officials have approved or are still considering more than 6,000 homes proposed under the law — including about 4,500 in the Bay Area, according to this news organization’s analysis of anecdotal reports and city and county data.
The majority are subsidized units for low-income renters, including the homeless, seniors and people with disabilities — which advocates say is evidence that the law is protecting the region’s most vulnerable residents. In some cities, officials are approving projects out of fear that if they don’t, they’ll be hit with an SB 35 application that they might like even less, but can’t reject. Other communities are fighting the law, sparking multiple lawsuits.
Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, drafted SB 35 to force reluctant cities to approve housing in a climate where residential production hasn’t kept up with booming demand. Cities and counties that fail to approve enough housing (95% of California jurisdictions as of June) are subject to the law, which forces them to automatically green-light certain residential and mixed-use projects if they meet a city’s zoning and planning rules.
Wiener is expected to try to push his controversial housing density bill, SB 50, in January when the Legislature returns. He faces fierce opposition to the bipartisan bill including from members of his own caucus. Opponents argue that it’s a state takeover of local zoning, while proponents argue the cities are caving to NIMBY opposition and accepts state transportation funds without increasing density near public transportation and job corridors.
Bills introduced last year that didn’t have a final vote are called “two-year bills” and must be passed by January 31.
CANNABIS: For the LAT, Patrick McGreevy reports that the state is siding in court with cannabis delivery companies over cities and counties in the fight over whether deliveries can occur in localities that have not allowed any dispensaries. He writes:
Earlier this month, Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed a motion on behalf of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control to join a lawsuit by Salinas-based East of Eden Cannabis Co. against Santa Cruz County, which has banned deliveries by companies it has not licensed.
The legal action comes as a group of cities is challenging California’s home delivery rules in Fresno County Superior Court, arguing that state law allows them to decide whether businesses can sell pot in their communities. In January, the Bureau of Cannabis Control issued regulations that permit firms it licenses to deliver marijuana to homes anywhere in the state, including in cities and counties that have banned pot shops.
HOW WE WORK: For CalMatters, Judy Lin writes up what the future of work looks like in California. Lin writes:
Over the next decade, jobs mostly held by the working poor appear to be most at risk of displacement: food services, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, agriculture and retail. The least likely to be automated by 2030? Professional, management and educational services, and jobs in health care and social assistance.
State leaders fear that, if something isn’t done before the next wave of automation, what’s left will be “f-ing feudalism,” to borrow one politician’s expletive. Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to figure out how to make future jobs pay well. A key question his Future of Work Commission is asking: What role should organized labor have?
CUE LORENA: In the WaPo, Greg Bensinger writes that Google has fired four employees involved in a pro-worker rally last week for “violations of its policies around accessing and sharing internal documents and calendars.” Bensinger reports:
[Rebecca] Rivers, a worker in Boulder, Colo., suggested at Friday’s rally that she had been targeted for her activism at the company. “Instead of listening to me or thousands of my co-workers, Google has punished me by putting me on administrative leave,” she said at the rally. “I believe everyone has a right to know what their work is being used for.”
In the memo, Google said some employees “felt scared or unsafe, and requested to work from another location,” after learning their calendars were being monitored.
MICKEY D’S: John Antczak reports for AP on the settlement agreement between McDonald’s and a class of employees over wages and working conditions. He writes:
McDonald’s has agreed to a $26 million settlement of a long-running class-action lawsuit over wages and work conditions at corporate-run locations in California, the parties said Monday.
The agreement, which estimates the settlement covers about 38,000 individuals, requires the approval of a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.
The lawsuit filed nearly seven years ago against McDonald’s Restaurants of California Inc. made an array of claims including failure to pay minimum and overtime wages and to provide required meal and rest breaks.
LAW AND DISORDER: In the Chron, legal eagle Bob Egelko writes up a 4-3 divided Supreme Court of California case that concludes that failure to produce a driver’s license does not mean that an officer can conduct a warrantless search. The case is P. v. Lopez and originated out of Woodland in Yolo County from a traffic stop after an anonymous tip about erratic driving. The officer did not witness any traffic violations or erratic driving, which complicated the city’s case.
It’s unclear whether or not the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which can be done since the decision is about the Fourth Amendment and has had a final decision by the highest state court. The case was passed off from the city to the state Office of the Attorney General.
BAGHDAD BY THE BAY: Trisha Thadani reports for the Chron “Despite City Hall’s efforts to save San Francisco’s board-and-care homes, the facilities for the homeless, mentally ill and drug addicted are still rapidly closing around the city — and officials are running out of places to send the residents.”
SF NIMBY: For KQED, Matthew Green reports that a judge has again denied opponents’ attempt to stop the Embarcadero Navigation Center to serve the homeless. Green writes:
The decision, announced on Monday, clears the way for the 200-bed navigation center on a 2.3-acre South Beach lot, where homeless residents can receive round-the-clock supportive housing and rehabilitative services. The city broke ground on the facility in August and hopes to open it by the end of the year, the mayor’s office said.
“With these legal challenges put to rest, we can focus on what really matters — helping people get off the streets and into shelter and care,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “I’m committed to continuing on our progress so that we can open 1,000 new shelter beds by the end of next year.”
Since March, when Breed first proposed the facility, the project has faced intense pushback from a group of local residents who claim it will bring blight and crime to the tourist-heavy neighborhood, and cause property values to plummet.
OAKTOWN: For the East Bay Times, Ali Tadayon writes that Oakland has placed a parcel tax on the March ballot. Tadayon writes:
The tax, if passed, is estimated to generate $21 million annually for 20 years — $13.44 million would be used for parks, landscape maintenance and recreational services; $6.3 million would be used for homeless support services; $1.05 million would be used to fix and clean storm drains; and $210,000 to be used for auditing and overseeing the tax.
SACTOWN: I missed this yesterday as the story date is from September. However, CapRadio’s Scott Rodd has updated his coverage of the issue of property owners being fined for illegal cannabis grows when they have rented out property. Rodd writes:
The city of Sacramento has assessed almost $100 million in fines against property owners for illegal cannabis cultivation. At least $51 million of those fines are being challenged, often by landlords who claimed their tenants grew the cannabis without their knowledge.
It’s collected $5.5 million from those fines, as hundreds of property owners have challenged more than $50 million of the penalties. Dozens of them say they rented to tenants who operated the illegal grows without their knowledge, despite following best practices as a landlord.
LA-LA LAND: In the LAT, Dakota Smith writes that mayor Eric Garcetti has abandoned his campaign promise to require city employees to begin paying a portion of their health care costs. Smith writes:
“Under contracts signed this year that were supported by the mayor, many of City Hall’s largest unions will continue to contribute nothing toward their healthcare premiums. Garcetti also backed agreements with several smaller unions, allowing those employees who had been contributing 10% of their premiums to stop paying in January.”
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Ray Bishop, Dustin Call, Pete Conaty, Sean Doherty, Stacie Frerichs, Edie Lambert, Jason Murphy, and Bart Reed!