California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, Nov. 6.

Election showcases California's libertarian impulses.
New San Francisco tax targets highly paid CEOs.
And a rainy forecast after months of heat and dryness.

Please note: The newsletter will pause for a long weekend. Back in your inbox on Tuesday.

Election 2020


This week, Californians shot down expanded rent control, opposed affirmative action, and eviscerated a law offering greater labor protection for gig workers. The results suggest a more complex portrait of the Golden State, the N.Y. Times wrote, "of strong libertarian impulses and resistance to some quintessentially liberal ideas." N.Y. Times | Politico

Another way to view the state: The Bay Area and Los Angeles vs. the rest of California. Here's how the vote broke down on affirmative action. 👇


— In parts of the Bay Area, support for Joe Biden soars above 80%.

— Across the north, support for President Trump is widespread with a notable exception: Butte County.

— In Orange County, a red coastline fades to blue a few miles inland.

There are still ballots to be counted, but some revealing voting patterns have emerged across California. Below are two maps to explore how your neighbors voted.

County by county, statewide 👉 Politico

Precinct by precinct in Southern California 👉 L.A. Times


San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved a first-in-the-nation tax measure targeting highly paid CEOs. Under the new law, any company whose top executive earns 100 times more than the average worker will have to pay higher business taxes. As the disparity in pay rises, so does the tax. “We’re not gonna shed any tears if penthouse dwellers have to cough up,” one voter guide said. A.P. | CalMatters


A hobbyist cartographer in San Francisco wondered what America would look like divided into areas with populations equivalent to that of California — roughly 40 million people. The result, above, went viral on social media, where it stirred up some strong feelings about representative democracy.

Here is the map showing the number of U.S. senators in each section. 👉 @RadioChio


On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman chats with S.F. Chronicle journalists Kathleen Pender and Carolyn Said about the statewide propositions. Much has been made of the roughly $205 million spent by gig companies on the campaign to classify their workers as independent contractors. But for Uber and Lyft, Said noted, the spending was "chump change." After clinching victory, the companies gained $10 billion in market value.


Alex Lee, a Democrat from San Jose, won a seat in the California Assembly.

Alex Lee campaign

Other election odds and ends:

Four years ago, Alex Lee was student body president at UC Davis. Now, at age 25, he is the youngest state legislator to assume office in California in more than 80 years. L.A. Times
Republicans gained ground in closely contested House races on Thursday. Darrell Issa in San Diego County, Michelle Steel in Orange County, Mike Garcia in Los Angeles County, and David Valadao in the Central Valley were all leading. A.P.
Twitter gives world leaders special allowances to post offensive or misleading content. If President Trump loses, @realDonaldTrump would become just another account, the social media giant said. Bloomberg



After weeks of punishing heat and dryness, much of California was expected see rain for the first time in months starting Friday and through the weekend. Forecasts called for cool, wet weather from San Diego to the Bay Area, along with the first snows of the season in the Sierra. "This is the most significant rain of the season so far," a meteorologist told the Mercury News. "It isn’t going to do anything for reservoirs. But we’ll take what we can get." Weather West | Mercury News | L.A. Times


A firefighter doused a smoldering home in San Bernardino on Oct. 31, 2019.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

With each wildfire season seemingly more destructive than the last, insurance companies have increasingly retreated from risky communities, threatening to make homes all but uninsurable. On Thursday, California offered some relief, if temporary, by banning insurance companies from dropping homeowners for one year. The move gives homeowners "breathing room," said the state's insurance commissioner, while officials plot a long-term fix. N.Y. Times | CalMatters


“You have a puzzle: electricity or your refrigerator is empty.”

California's seasonal farmworkers typically conserve earnings during the year to survive the winter, when work dries up. But this year, wildfires and the pandemic disrupted harvests, and thousands of workers were themselves infected. Now many are fearing a winter of hunger and homelessness. L.A. Times


There were some troubling coronavirus reports across California on Thursday. Shasta County logged its highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began. San Diego County reported a significant spike in infections. And Los Angeles County had its highest case count in months. That county's top health official said people had become lax about safety measures. “Unless we can all get back to protecting each other," she said, "our recovery will stall.” Record-Searchlight | S.D. Union-Tribune | L.A. Times


California wonders


A vineyard just north of Healdsburg in Sonoma County during a past autumn.

Scott Gibson

California's fall colors roll out like a carpet, starting high in the Sierra in September and ending down in the valleys as late as early December. Next up is the turning of the vineyards, which have begun to don hues of crimson and gold across the state's varied wine regions.

Asked to name his favorite place to see the show, fall color connoisseur John Poimiroo said there were too many to name. But he mentioned one: the driveway leading to Napa Valley's Far Niente Winery, which includes stately rows of brilliant yellow ginkgo biloba trees. At peak, he said, it's "stunning."

Here's a drone view of the drive. 👉 YouTube (18 secs)

Spring Lake Regional Park. Sonoma Overlook Trail. Jack London State Historic Park. Here are 10 fall color walks in Sonoma County. 👉


In case you missed it


Photo: Hipcamp

Five items that got big views over the past week:

Feeling an urge to run and hide? Pictured above is an off-the-grid cabin in Tahoe National Forest, surrounded by towering redwoods and mountain lakes. Lonely Planet included it in a list of the 12 best secluded cabins in the West.
A humpback whale all but swallowed a pair of kayakers off the Central Coast. Julie McSorley and Liz Cottriel were sitting in a two-seater kayak when the ocean giant thrust out of the water, taking them and their kayak into its mouth. KMPH
Holly Courtier, of Los Angeles, went missing for 12 days in Utah’s Zion National Park. Upon her rescue, she was said to be so dehydrated "she couldn’t open her mouth.” A GoFundMe page for her raised nearly $12,000 — but officials have launched a fraud investigation. Salt Lake Tribune
In the northwest corner of California, plant life is bathed in mist and rain all year. The result is the sort of overflowing abundance on display along Damnation Creek Trail in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. Redwood Hikes | The Oregonian
President Trump didn't just hold onto his Latino support from 2016, he built on it. Liberal pundits have been aghast, wrote Gustavo Arellano. But they shouldn't be. "None of this is new, and I’m frankly getting bored of having to explain Latino conservatives every election cycle." L.A. Times

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

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