Almost Daily Briefing, March 24, 2020
The Almost Daily Briefing
Published news articles from local, regional, and national media on topics of interest to the #LoveLafayette Community
This update was provided to the City of Lafayette by Townsend Public Affairs. Read the latest coronavirus information and find resources for Lafayette residents and businesses on the City’s COVID-19 Webpage: http://bit.ly/LafayetteCoronavirusInfo.
- Congress: Negotiations continue on “Phase 3” legislation to create an economic stimulus.Last night and today, procedural votes on “Phase 3” legislation, worth approximately $1.8 trillion, failed in the Senate, preventing the bill from moving forward until amendments to the text are made. “Phase 3” negotiations have become much more politically tense than Phases 1 and 2 because of the bill’s focus on direct payments to industry: Democrats believe it is crucial to ensure that the $500 billion fund to travel industries has adequate controls, to avoid an outcome similar to the financial crisis.Republicans believe Democrats are holding up the package for a narrow set of issues that reflect their political priorities.
- Late Monday afternoon, Speaker Pelosi she would be releasing of Democrats’ own “Phase 3” stimulus package, worth approximately $2.5 trillion. Briefly, it is anticipated to include the following:
- $1500 in aid per individual; as much as $7500 for a family of 5
- Would create a temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation of $600 a week for any worker affected by the virus and eligible for unemployment compensation benefits
- Would expand paid leave and family medical leave to larger companies
- Aims to help current borrowers with student debt
- More than $500 billion in grants, interest-free loans to small businesses
- Would provide $200 billion in funding for states; $15 billion to local governments through the Community Development Block Grant program
- $4 billion in grant funding to ensure states can carry out this year’s election; includes national requirement for both 15 days of early voting and absentee vote-by-mail
- $25 billion for transit agencies
- At least 31 members of Congress have announced steps to self-quarantine, or otherwise isolate themselves, as a precaution after either coming into direct contact or potentially coming into contact with an infected individual. Republican Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee of Utah both announced on Sunday that they will self-quarantine following news that Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky tested positive for coronavirus. These quarantines will impact the ability of the House and Senate to pass a Phase 3 coronavirus aid package. While members of both parties are self-quarantining, in the Senate there are more Republican Senators in quarantine than Democrats, which affectively shifts the partisan makeup of the Senate slightly in favor of the Democrats.
- Currently, neither the House nor Senate have the ability for members to vote while physically outside of the House/Senate Chambers, so it is not possible for those on self-quarantine to cast votes on Phase 3 legislation.
- Homeless Emergency Funding Allocations: The California Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council has published the allocation of the $100M that Governor Newsom made available for local governments to assist with the acquisition of hotel/motel and shelter space for the homeless.
- Closure of State Parking Lots: Due to the large number of Californians that were seen at beaches and state parks over the weekend, Governor Newsom has announced that he will be ordering state operated parking lots at parks and beaches to be closed until further notice. The Governor indicated that this move is necessary as people were not observing proper social distancing over the weekend and thereby endangering the health of those around them.
- Major Disaster Declaration: Yesterday, the Trump Administration approved California’s request for a presidential Major Disaster Declaration to bolster California’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts. As a result of the Declaration, the Trump Administration has announced it will send eight federal medical units to California. This will provide California with 2,000 additional hospital beds to treat COVID-19 patients. It has also been announced that the USS Mercy, a 1,000-bed naval hospital ship, will be docked at the Port of Los Angeles and made available to non-COVID-19 patients that are currently admitted to shore-based hospitals.
- National Guard reimbursement: Yesterday, the White House issued a memorandum to governors announcing the federal government’s intention to provide 100% cost sharing—via FEMA—for National Guard units activated by states in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Guard units will still support state governments (i.e., will not be federalized), but this measure is intended to make it more financially feasible for states to activate them to support local response activities.
- Census: The 2020 Census revised its schedule of operations.
- REAL ID: REAL ID deadline will be pushed back; deadline TBD.
- White House: President Trump said today that he is considering reducing social distances restrictions starting next week (next week is the end of the initial 15 day quarantine that they asked citizens to follow)
- FEMA: FEMA is sending 8 million masks nationwide, and has received 6.5 million mask donations.
- CDC Definitions of Quarantine and Isolation: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/aboutlawsregulationsquarantineisolation.html
Contra Costa County adds 10 more cases to list; total at 71 - The county recorded its only death from COVID-10 last week. (East Bay Times)
Bay Area coronavirus tests: Where can I get one? -Here is a list of Bay Area locations where testing is available, who can get it, and the conditions that must be met to get tested. (SF Chronicle)
Contra Costa County to accept donations for medical equipment, supplies - Facebook has donated 350,000 medical gloves to health facilities in Contra Costa County. (East Bay Times)
BART begins limited service hours - As ridership has plunged nearly 90%, BART will stop running trains past 9 p.m. beginning yesterday. (East Bay Times)
Grocery Drive-Thru: A New Option - A Danville-based school lunch company had to lay off workers when schools closed. Now those workers are loading groceries instead of delivering lunches. (Patch)
Rep. DeSaulnier in critical condition -East Bay Rep. Mark DeSaulnier is in critical condition with pneumonia, his congressional office announced Saturday. (East Bay Citizen)
Former San Mateo top cop picked as Oakland’s new interim chief -The decision comes a month after Schaaf and the citizen-led Oakland Police Commission fired Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and appointed Assistant Chief Darren Allison as acting chief. (East Bay Times)
Pacific Gas & Electric has agreed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deadly Camp Fire, which led to the deaths of 85 people. (The New York Times)
California has billions of dollars socked away for a fiscal “rainy day.” But two economic hurricanes could wipe that out. (The Sacramento Bee)
One silver (or green) lining in all this? Traffic and pollution have plummeted. Look at how pollution over Los Angeles has disappeared. (The New York Times)
Lafayette Planning & Building Department’s Virtual Planning Counter (1:00-3:00 p.m., Monday-Friday)
HOUSING, TRANSPORTATION AND CITY PLANNING
Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem -Will the coronavirus change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization, and pandemic preparation. (CityLab)
How COVID-19 has affected the Bay Area housing market -With social distancing in effect, SF homes are like sunken treasure—incredibly valuable, but impossible to reach. (Curbed SF)
How Power and Gas Utilities Keep Energy Flowing in the Pandemic -There’s no working from home for control room staff who must be on site to keep systems operating. (CityLab)
THAT OTHER LAFAYETTE
With $50 million reserve, Lafayette can handle coronavirus crisis for a while -The city of Lafayette's general fund has a healthy $50 million reserve. Auditors are working on the books now.
Beans are booming. Sales are skyrocketing as people stock up on foods with long shelf lives.
The Almost Daily Briefing (ADB) is an aggregation of links to news articles from local and regional newspapers, magazines, websites, and other news sources. Its purpose is to alert readers to current issues and affairs that may impact Lafayette. The ADB does not promote, favor, disfavor, support, reject, or endorse any position, candidate, campaign, or proposition, and nothing about the ADB, including the selection, presentation, arrangement, or content of the links presented should be construed as an advocacy position. Please note: At times, the ADB features articles from sites that limit access for nonsubscribers. If you have questions about the ADB, please contact the City of Lafayette's Communications Analyst, Jeff Heyman, at email@example.com. You can subscribe to the ADB and learn more about Lafayette’s publications and social media sites here.