HIT — For once, a prediction about the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be coming true — in a good way.
It looks like the most recent iteration of COVID (omicron) is winding down just as quickly as it ramped up a few weeks back. New cases have plummeted 90 percent in California since peaking about a month ago.
As is the case with most rural areas in the state, Butte County is lagging slightly behind the trend. Still, we had more than 1,700 active cases just three weeks ago and now it’s below 500.
Perhaps most encouraging of all, Gov. Gavin Newsom is now using words like “endemic” while finally admitting the virus isn’t something that’s going to go away; it’s just something we need to learn to live with, especially since this latest variant was much less deadly than its predecessors — and should lead to increased immunity for those who have had it.
Mask requirements are lessening and people are able to get out and do things with less restriction. Let’s hope the trend continues and we don’t see another variant crop up and throw a monkey wrench into things.
MISS — You keep wondering when the people who run professional sports are finally going to kill the golden goose. Major League Baseball seems to be in a bigger hurry than the others right now.
MLB, which has shown almost no interest in negotiating with the players since locking them out Dec. 1, has officially called off all spring training games through March 5. You can expect it’ll get much worse than that.
There was a time when the billionaires who argue with millionaires could get away with that sort of nonsense, and that time was called “pre-COVID.” It’s a different world today. People are used to doing without many (maybe most) of the luxuries in life, and if baseball’s sagging attendance and TV ratings the past two years wasn’t a clue of what lies ahead, it should have been.
This was supposed to be the first full spring training since 2019, and now it’s not going to happen. That’s no small inconvenience to tens of thousands of dedicated fans who were planning to enjoy some mask-free spring baseball for the first time in three years and had planned their vacations accordingly.
Now, when it comes to baseball, more fans than ever are simply going to turn a blind eye to it.
Count on it.
HIT — It was good to see both the cities of Oroville and Chico, along with Butte County, agree to send letters of support for California Assembly Bill 1599, which would allow voters a chance to repeal Proposition 47 from 2014.
Prop. 47 reduced various crimes penalties and allowed the early release of certain prisoners. Many law enforcement officials believe it has led to increased crime and less ability to prosecute individuals for their crimes. For example, any theft of less than $950 must be considered a misdemeanor.
You can count Chico Chief of Police Matt Madden among the AB 1599 supporters. His talk at Tuesday night’s Chico City Council meeting was a powerful reminder of the extra challenges Prop. 47 placed on law enforcement, and the extra harm it has placed on communities.
We sense a lot of support for AB 1599, and we can’t help but notice a bit of a trend here. Our state government is cutting back on COVID restrictions while funneling more resources toward things like fire prevention and homelessness; and, in San Francisco, voters in that hugely progressive city just recalled three members of the school board for going so far off the left side of the road, they were basically out past the Farallon Islands in terms of sensible policy.
Is common sense returning to the Golden State? Oh wait. We’ve got one miss to go…
MISS — It’s been too long since we’ve focused on one of our favorite targets, the California Bullet Train. Fortunately, like the billionaires who own professional sports team, it’s a comedic and costly gift that never stops giving.
Or, should we say, taking.
The High Speed Rail Project, read Bullet Train, has announced another increase in the cost of the project, this time lifting the cost by $5 billion to a $105 billion total cost. When initially asked in 2008 to approve a bond to help build the project, the total cost was pegged at $33 billion.
Meanwhile, we’re still at least seven years away from anyone actually being able to ride the thing. Anybody want to bet whether or not the price tag is going to go up a few more times between now and then?
Who’s running this railroad, anyway? Rob Manfred?
Hits and misses are compiled by the editorial board.