Almost Daily Briefing, March 25, 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.
- White House: President Trump has been signaling that he hopes that American life will be back to normal by Easter.
- In a Fox Town Hall today, the President indicated that his Administration would be reevaluating the 15-day self-isolating guidelines that are currently in place. The President indicated that indicated that they would keep the guidelines in place if more time was needed, but that there is also a need for the country’s businesses to reopen.
- Governor Newsom has previously indicated that there is no concrete timeframe in which he would like to end statewide safety actions. The Newsom Administration has indicated that they are closely monitoring the spread and infection rate of COVID-19 in California and will lift the emergency actions when they feel that they can do so without jeopardizing public health.
- Congress: The House and Senate are deep in negotiations to finalize a “Phase 3” coronavirus package, but face hurdles in the forms of policy disagreements, quarantined members, and a recessed House disinclined to risk flying back to vote.
- Public agency provisions: TPA has been working with elected officials, public agencies, and national stakeholders to advocate for provisions within the Phase 3 measure that would benefit public agencies. We have been in constant communication with Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris, as well as most members of the California Congressional delegation advocating for the following provisions: Aid to local public agencies with flexibility to use address various impacts from COVID-19; Aid to small businesses, including no-interest loans that can convert to grants; Paid leave reimbursement for public agencies, especially those that do not pay certain payroll taxes; Aid to transit agencies, fire relief, first responders, and other critical local resources; Increased funding and flexibility to address the impacts of COVID-19 on the homeless;Increased funding and flexibility for existing funding streams, like CDBG; and avoiding inclusion of provisions that would limit local control in a time of crisis.
- Remote Voting: The House Rules Committee has concluded that remote voting is not a viable option at this time, given the security, logistical and institutional concerns.
- The Committee is recommending the House try to pass the next stimulus package by unanimous consent, according to a new Rules report commissioned by leadership to study the issue. Unanimous consent would take agreement from every single member of the House.
- The Committee also laid out “proxy” voting, allowing a colleague to vote in someone’s place, which would require a rule change.
- Statutory Timelines: The League of California Cities has sent a letter to Governor Newsom (attached) to relieve public agencies from certain statutory requirements during the current COVID-19 public health crisis. TPA has been working with the Newsom Administration, members of the Legislature, local public agencies, and other stakeholders, to have the Administration provide temporary relief from certain statutory deadlines so that cities can focus on responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
- The letter to the Governor requests temporary relief from timelines related to: Review and Approval of Development Projects; Housing Element Submission; Housing and Community Development Grant Programs; California Environmental Quality Act; Transportation Funding
- Public Records Act; Public Reform Act – Form 700; California Government Claims Act
- Solar Permits; Wireless Telecommunication Facilities; Financial Reports; and Police Department Registration.
- Department of Finance: This morning the Department of Finance (DOF) issued a letter (attached) to the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees indicating that, due to the potential revenue impacts from COVID-19, the Department of Finance will not be proposing any modifications to the current budget year appropriations. Additionally, DOF will be reevaluating “all budget changes within the context of a workload budget.”
- This letter is the first official communication to the Legislature confirming what most already know, the budget proposal that the Governor put forth in January did not envision any scenario like the current COVID-19 crisis, and the impact on the state’s economy from dealing with the public health emergency.
- Since the Governor has extended the deadline for the payment of state taxes until July 15, two weeks into the new fiscal year, it is likely that the budget that the Legislature approves on June 15will need to have multiple revisions throughout the year to accurately respond to the actual level of available state revenue.
- FEMA: FEMA released a new fact sheet on their public assistance application process: https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2020/03/23/coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-public-assistance-simplified-application
- Defense Production Act: The Trump Administration will use the Defense Production Act for the first time to procure nearly 60,000 coronavirus test kits.
- Trump signed an executive order last week that set the stage to use the law, but has so far resisted using the authority.
- Governors have called for him to use the authority to increase production of medical supplies, but President Trump cited concerns about nationalizing American businesses.
- U.S. Postal Service: Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) indicated that the Postal service has seen a 'drastic' reduction in mail volume and could shutter by the summer without intervention.
- This collapse that could jeopardize access to mail-order prescription drugs for millions of Americans, especially in rural communities.
- Collapse would affect the ability of voters to cast ballots by mail.
- Olympics Postponed: IOC officially postponed the 2020 summer games in Tokyo for a year.
- Increasing Bed Space: On Friday, March 20, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to convert hotels, university dormitories, and similar spaces into hospitals to increase clinical bed space to support the COVID-19 response.
- States will identify suitable spaces—principally, those currently out of service and empty—and lease them to the Army Corps of Engineers, which will rapidly convert the available rooms for clinical care, with capabilities similar to intensive care units (ICUs), using standardized construction plans.
- FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services will provide supplies for these units.
- The program is already being implemented in New York, and the Department of Defense plans to extend it to at least 18 states in the coming weeks. States will also be permitted to implement the program on their own, without needing to wait for the Corps of Engineers, using the same conversion plans and operational model.
- The plan is also adaptable to other settings like gymnasiums, arenas, or convention center, but those sites may focus on a lower level of clinical care due to the inability to separate patients into individual rooms.
Contra Costa County cases rise to 86 - The number of Contra Costa County residents who have the COVID-19 coronavirus continued to increase as health officials shared new numbers. (East Bay Times)
Three Contra Costa firefighters test positive for COVID-19 - Eight Contra Costa firefighters were tested; two still awaiting results. (East Bay Times)
Bay Area Rep. DeSaulnier stable, but remains in critical condition -Bay Area Rep. Mark DeSaulnier’s condition is stable, though he remains in critical condition after he was hospitalized with pneumonia earlier this month, his sons said Tuesday. The congressman’s sons, Tristan and Tucker DeSaulnier, said he still being treated in the intensive care unit. (SF Chronicle)
Temporary Hospital In Works For Contra Costa Coronavirus Patients -The former Los Medanos Community Hospital in Pittsburg was discussed as a possible site during a Board of Supervisors meeting held remotely. (Patch)
East Bay parks say dogs must be on leash, more restrictions coming soon -Berkeley closes dog parks, East Bay parks require dogs on leash. (Berkeleyside)
Largest share of cases in Alameda County under 44 years old - As of Tuesday, there were 135 confirmed cases in Alameda County, a pattern of "exponential growth" that matches the rest of California and the Bay Area. It is spreading so rapidly, an update Tuesday was only able to account for the county's first 53. (East Bay Times)
Bay Area Express Lanes Open to All During Public Health Emergency -Express Lane tolling on Bay Area roadways has been halted through April 7, unless congestion along the corridors warrants a return to tolling. (Bay Link)
Kaiser Permanente cancels $900 million Oakland headquarters – The health care giant canceled its $900 million headquarters project in Oakland, in a huge setback for the city’s economy. (SF Chronicle)
Half of California’s confirmed coronavirus patients are younger than 50, Newsom says -Gov. Gavin Newsom warned that California’s young people have been disproportionately testing positive for the virus. (BANG)
Coronavirus Testing Drive-Thru Canceled After Neighbors Complain - We‘ve seen some incredible acts of kindness in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen the worst case of NIMBYism possibly anywhere, ever. (California City News)
Lafayette Planning & Building Department’s Virtual Planning Counter (1:00-3:00 p.m., Monday-Friday)
HOUSING, TRANSPORTATION AND CITY PLANNING
Plan for 182 homes along Oakland Estuary in Alameda cleared by planners - The project's 182 units will now go before City Council for approval. (Alameda News)
What to do if you get an eviction notice during the coronavirus outbreak -Good news: You won’t be evicted during the present pandemic. Bad news: You still have to pay your rent—and you could be evicted later. (Curbed SF)
Huntington Beach receives state approval for housing plan, bringing city back into compliance with state housing-element law -Five additional cities also earn state approval of their housing plans. (HCD)
San Francisco pension fund asks S&P 500 firms for coronavirus action -San Francisco City & County Employees' Retirement System is calling for companies to take action in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. (Pensions & Investments)
Monterey area cities concerned about jump in pension obligations -Money for essential services such as police and fire protection comes out of a city's general fund. (Monterey Herald)
THAT OTHER LAFAYETTE
Lafayette Housing Authority to Close Offices Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) -The Housing Authority of the City of Lafayette will close its offices, effective immediately, and will remain closed until April 12, 2020.
Digital first dates are blossoming. Meeting up the old-fashioned way—after chatting on Tinder—is not possible under lockdown.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can subscribe to the ADB and learn more about Lafayette’s publications and social media sites here.