California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Nov. 10.

California looks forward to cooperation on climate goals.
A pink island in the Los Angeles region's sea of blue.
And Emily Harrington makes record ascent of El Capitan.

Election 2020


A smoggy morning in Los Angeles.

Allen G.

“It goes from headwinds to tailwinds, that’s pretty obvious.”

California filed its 100th lawsuit against the Trump administration in August. Under a Biden administration, that legal wrangling is expected to transform into cooperation, most significantly on California's environmental goals. Among the first priorities, analysts say: restoring California's ability to set its own tough emission standards for cars and trucks. A.P. | S.F. Chronicle | Sacramento Bee


In a sea of blue and deeper blue in greater Los Angeles, two rose-colored neighborhoods stand out on a map of presidential election results. They represent part of Beverly Hills, where homes cost many millions and support for President Trump has deepened since 2016. “Trump has been very good for rich people,” one resident said. L.A. Times


Eric Garcetti. Meg Whitman. Xavier Becerra.

President-elect Joe Biden faces what Politico called a "nearly impossible" task: assemble a governing team that holds together an unruly Democratic coalition and appeases what's likely to be a Republican-held Senate. Here are the Californians that Biden is likely considering for appointments in his administration. 👉 S.F. Chronicle | Politico

On Monday, Biden named a coronavirus task force that includes three UC San Francisco professors. Mercury News


Todd Gloria, at the 2019 San Diego Pride Parade, was elected mayor of San Diego.

Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

Other election developments as votes continue to be tallied:

Except for Bob Filner's truncated tenure, Todd Gloria will be the first Democrat to serve as mayor of San Diego since 2005. He will also be the city's first mayor of color and first mayor who has come out as gay. Voice of San Diego | L.A. Times
Todd Gloria became the first Democrat to be elected mayor of San Diego since 2005. He will also be the city's first mayor of color and first mayor who has come out as gay. Voice of San Diego | L.A. Times
Bobbie Singh-Allen won the race for mayor of Elk Grove, making her the first directly elected Sikh woman to hold the office in the country. Sacramento Bee | KCRA
Carroll Fife, an activist who orchestrated the takeover of an empty house in West Oakland, defeated a two-term incumbent to win a seat on Oakland's City Council. Oaklandside | SFist



Coronavirus is again stalking California. The number of confirmed cases, the infection rate, hospitalizations, and intensive care patients all have reached their highest level in months, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday. “California is starting to look like the rest of the country when things took off in mid-September,” a UCSF epidemiologist said. Halloween gatherings were cited as a driver of infections. Sacramento Bee | A.P. | S.F. Chronicle

See trackers of cases in California, the U.S., and worldwide.


A poll found that nearly nine out of 10 Los Angeles police officers disapproved of Chief Michel Moore's handling of the summer of Black Lives Matter protests. Many accused him of “cowering” to protesters and lacking a plan to manage the unrest. A majority said they were appalled that he took a knee. Responding, Moore struck a conciliatory tone, vowing to "do better." L.A. Times | L.A. Daily News


Emily Harrington, 34, climbed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park last Wednesday.

Jon Glassberg/Louder Than 11

On a difficult pitch of the Golden Gate route up Yosemite's El Capitan, the climber Emily Harrington slipped, smacking her head against the wall. The was "blood everywhere," she recalled. She thought about quitting. “Then I just had one of those attempts where it was an out-of-body experience, like, ‘I can’t believe I’m still holding on, I can’t believe I’m still holding on,’ and then I was finished with the pitch.” Harrington completed the route in under 24 hours last Wednesday, becoming the first woman to do so. N.Y. Times | CBS News


Catalina's bison have become a tourist draw.

Dale Gast

Bison were never meant to live on an island off California. Yet there they are on Catalina, descendants of a herd brought by a filmmaker in 1924 and left to fend for themselves. The shaggy beasts became a symbol of the island — but their numbers are now dwindling. So Catalina is planning to bring out more. That has angered some biologists who say the bison hurt native species and have struggled to thrive on the island. L.A. Times | A.P.


☝️ That speck near the top of the picture is the International Space Station whizzing by the sun, photographed from a backyard near Sacramento.

Viewed from earth, the station flies past the fiery orb in less than a second, making a shot so crisp very hard to pull off. Photographer Andrew McCarthy used two scopes, one for the spacecraft and another for the sun, then blended the images together. The following week, he captured another incredible shot of the station traversing the moon. PetaPixel


After months of fire and desiccation, the Sierra Nevada was draped by snow over the weekend. Ski operators were elated, the Creek Fire was "mellowed," and the Yosemite Valley was transformed in the sort of snowy wonderland that, according to many regulars, makes winter the park's prettiest season. Here's a gorgeous little video of Yosemite's snowfall. 👉 @YosemiteNPS (2 mins)


A new mural by Shaun Burner in Sacramento.


In recent years, Sacramento has established itself as a city of murals. Since 2016, when the annual Wide Open Walls festival kicked off, the number of outdoor artworks has grown to more than 650, from an ode to "Lady Bird" to a 15-story Johnny Cash. Pictured above is one of the newest additions. Painted by Shaun Burner, it expresses a sentiment now familiar in a world seized by pandemic: that feeling of being boxed in. @shaunburner

Here are 13 of the coolest murals in Sacramento. 👉


5 questions with …


Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA and author of the popular weather blog Weather West.

Q. What is one place everyone should visit in California?

A. I’ll throw one out there that's a bit different than some folks might suggest: California's Great Central Valley, along with the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta region. Many folks' relationship with the Central Valley are long, boring drives up and down the I-5 corridor on the way to somewhere else. But the valley is actually quite a fascinating and important part of California, if an often underappreciated one. It's a place where much of California's history has played out, from its infamous "water wars" to its rise to global agricultural importance. It's home to fascinating and even quirky geography, from the volcanic lava domes of the Sutter Buttes in the north to the formerly vast Tulare Lake in the south. And the human interventions in that geography are themselves amazing to behold, from the vast but rickety system of levees in the Delta to the incredibly comprehensive network of irrigation canals and pipelines that criss-cross the San Joaquin. It's a region of stark contrasts with the Pacific Coast or Sierra Nevada mountains on either side, and more than worth a second look.

What’s the last great book you read?

"Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy" by Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano. The title is pretty self-explanatory, but the storytelling is extremely compelling. It's a fantastic read about a really sobering chapter in recent California history.

What’s a hidden food gem in your hometown?

Johnny Doughnuts in San Rafael is great, if you can handle the gluten!

You’re organizing a dinner party. Which three California figures, dead or alive, do you invite?

John Steinbeck, Cesar Chavez, and Dorothea Lange. I think they'd collectively have quite a lot to say about the times that we're currently living through.

2020 has been a tumultuous year for Californians. How are you keeping yourself sane?

It has been a profoundly exhausting year for just about everyone, on so many levels. Personally, I've just been throwing my focus into planning to ensure that 2021 (and beyond) are better. There's a whole lot of work to be done.

“5 questions with …” is a new weekly feature by Finn Cohen, who edits the California Sun. Conversations are sometimes edited for brevity. Someone you’d like to see interviewed? Let him know:



An earlier version of this newsletter erroneously attributed a distinction to Todd Gloria. He is not the first Democrat to be elected mayor of San Diego since 2005. Bob Filner, a Democrat, served a truncated term that began in 2012.

Thanks for reading!

The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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