California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, Jan. 8.

Nancy Pelosi privately accuses President Trump of treason.
Elon Musk assumes mantle of richest person in the world.
And a photographic ode to San Francisco's signature fog.

Capitol siege


Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the removal of President Trump in Washington on Thursday.

Samuel Corum/Getty Images

On a private call Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Trump of treason, sources told Politico. Publicly, she called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows him and the cabinet to strip the president of his powers. If Pence declines, she said, Democrats would seek to oust Trump through impeachment. “While there’s only 13 days left," Pelosi said, "any day can be a horror show for America.” N.Y. Times | Politico


Silicon Valley moved to further muzzle Trump on Thursday in a striking change for a social media industry that has long declined to interfere with the president's posts. Facebook and Instagram planned to block Trump until at least the end of his term on Jan. 20. “We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Mark Zuckerberg said. Twitch, Snap, and YouTube also took steps to limit Trump's accounts. S.F. Chronicle | The Verge


Melody Black, from Minnesota, visited a memorial for Ashli Babbitt near the Capitol on Thursday.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The N.Y. Times dug deeper into the life story of Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old San Diego woman killed by police during the insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday. Her family described her as a "normal Californian." But she was fiercely outspoken on politics and grew increasingly ensared by the conspiratorial thinking of QAnon. She retweeted a post that promised a violent uprising that would lead to President Trump’s second inauguration. “Nothing will stop us,” she wrote the day before her death.


A former Oakland police officer was part of the mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. In an interview with KPIX, Jurell Snyder defended the siege as an appropriate response to what he described as a treasonous theft of the presidential election by Democrats. The Oakland Police Department condemned his remarks. Oaklandside |




Coronavirus testing in three low-income communities in Los Angeles found that 32% of children were infected by the virus. In contrast, the rate in the wealthy enclave of Venice was 4.3%. The kids reported feeling no symptoms of Covid-19, but asymptomatic carriers can still spread the disease. The data has intensified worries about the push to reopen schools, especially for Black and Latino students. L.A. Times


California health officials reported a record two-day total of 1,042 coronavirus deaths on Thursday. The pile-up up of bodies at hospital morgues in Los Angeles County has gotten so severe that officials sent refrigerated trucks and National Guard troops to help with temporary storage of corpses. A.P. | L.A. Times


A man was tested for the coronavirus in Fresno County on Dec. 8.

Genaro Molina/L.A. Times via Getty Images

The number of new daily infections across California has flattened over the last week at roughly 39,000, modestly less than the peak at the end of December. Health officials, however, aren't celebrating. They're bracing for a new wave of cases by the end of this weekend fueled by the social gatherings of Christmas and New Year's. “It’s my belief this is just a pause before a new peak,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles. L.A. Times

Latest California coronavirus totals. 👉 COVID Tracking Project




One consequence of a split U.S. Senate: Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will have a starring role on Capitol Hill as the tie-breaking vote on key bills, Cabinet confirmations, and judgeships. “It will be a pretty dramatic moment anytime she has to come up to the Hill to break a tie, with every move monitored and put on the cable news and put on the Twitterverse,” a former Democratic leadership aide said. L.A. Times | KCRA


Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla.

Elon Musk just became the richest person in the world. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk is now worth $194.8 billion, or about $9.5 billion more than the former No. 1, Jeff Bezos. Thanks to a rally in Tesla's share price, the brash South Africa-born engineer added more than $165 billion to his fortune over just the last year in what’s likely the fastest bout of wealth creation in history. Responding to the news, Musk tweeted, “How strange.” Then: "Well, back to work." Bloomberg | CNBC


While sifting through a dumpster in San Rafael last month, a homeless man named Sean Currey found a lost wallet. He thought about keeping it, but dismissed the idea. He tracked down the owner, 80-year-old Evelyn Topper, who was ecstatic to get her wallet back. Topper told the story to her granddaughter, whose 12th birthday was coming up. Moved, the girl asked her friends and family to donate to Currey in lieu of gifts. They collected $475. Currey teared up. But that wasn't all. A GoFundMe set up for him has raised nearly $30,000. Washington Post


California the beautiful


The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti once likened San Francisco to a place that “drifts anchorless upon the ocean.”

The metaphor comes to life with the city’s signature fog, which pours over the hills in slow-motion waves of white. On the ground, the experience can be dreary, “like living inside a great gray pearl,” as Herb Caen once put it. But viewed from above, the fog resembles the sea itself, upon which bits of the skyline appear like lighthouses or ship masts.

Below, some views of San Francisco submerged.

Victor Volta

Peter Aroner

Denys Nevozhai

Mark Schwettmann


In case you missed it


Starlings twisted and twirled above San Rafael on Dec. 23.

Five items that got big views over the past week:

For the past few weeks, European starlings have been putting on murmuration shows in the skies above Marin County. A video of the dance in action. 👉 YouTube (~6 mins)
A group of anti-maskers stormed a grocery store and mall in Los Angeles. A woman who identified as a doctor angrily told the protesters that her father was in the hospital with Covid-19. "People die," a man yelled back. @SamBraslow
Los Angeles Magazine published a disturbing account of the city's thriving underground party scene in a time of pandemic.
A zen retreat surrounded by open space, a glass-walled home built by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, and a low-key guest house in the heart of Venice Beach. Architectural Digest listed "the 7 best Airbnbs in Los Angeles."
Two rare tornados touched down in the Sacramento Valley on Monday. A storm chaser caught great footage of what looked like a scene from Oklahoma. 👉 YouTube

On this week's California Sun Podcast:

Host Jeff Schechtman chats with Kathryn Olmsted, a UC Davis historian who has written about union organizing in California. Asked about the stirrings of labor activism in Silicon Valley, Olmsted said: "It would seem like we could well be at the beginning of a new era in labor politics."

Thanks for reading!

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

The Sun is built by Marquee on Proof.

Consider becoming a member.

Please tell us how we can make the newsletter better. Email

California Sun masthead
The California Sun, PO Box 6868, Los Osos, CA 93412
Wake up to must-read news from around the Golden State delivered to your inbox each morning.