California Sun

Good morning. It's Monday, Jan. 7.

Gavin Newsom to propose the nation's longest parental leave.
Recalling the greatest celebrator of California's treasures.
And a ranking of the state's 20 most beautiful places.



Gavin Newsom, with his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom, on election night in Los Angeles.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Gavin Newsom is set to be sworn in as California's 40th governor today. (Watch live starting at 11:15 a.m.). As one of his first acts, he's expected to propose a dramatic expansion of paid parental leave — from six weeks to six months. It would be the most generous state policy in the nation. How would California would pay for it? Unclear.


Horses grazed in Colusa County, where Jerry Brown plans to enjoy the quiet life.

What's next for Jerry Brown? He's retiring to a rural patch of Colusa County, a place populated by ranchers and Republicans who have rejected Brown every time he's been on the ballot. He acknowledged being booed at a local rodeo.

Brown, 80, expects to miss his life in Sacramento. "I like it all," he said. "I like fund-raising. I like sparring with the press. I like attacking my opponents. I like being attacked. I like the whole thing. People in this business like attention and you get a lot of attention as governor."


Blustery weekend storms closed multiple roads in the northern Sierra, knocked out power to more than 125,000 homes and businesses in greater Sacramento, and caused mudslides that shut down Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California. More wet weather was expected through the week.



Here is a young Huell Howser. As the host of the public TV show "California's Gold," the Tennesseean with an aw-shucks demeanor became the greatest celebrator of the Golden State's people and places. He died six years ago this day at the age of 67, shortly after announcing his retirement.

"All you have to do is open your eyes and have a sense of adventure," he once said. "I'm convinced that if you put a spotlight on any person or any subject, and you're genuinely interested in them, you can make something people enjoy watching."

Here's a video tribute by KCET (~4 minutes) and the 2013 obituary by the L.A. Times.


"I had bugs in my ears and neck and face, it was a mess." "Another freakin' beach with sand and water." "Deadwood stacked into huts. Nudity allowed. Just disgusting." The Bold Italic scoured the one-star Yelp reviews for beloved California state parks and found some amusingly tough-to-please visitors.


Northern California


Amanika Chand-Singh, the widow of Ronil Singh, was presented with the American flag during the funeral service in Hughson on Saturday.

Stephen Lam/Getty Images

About 4,000 mourners gathered for the funeral of Ronil Singh, a Central Valley police officer who was killed after he pulled over a suspected drunk driver. Singh, who grew up in a Fijian farming town, was proud to be an American and a police officer, Newman's police chief recalled: "He told me he came to this country with one purpose, and that purpose was to become a police officer." Gustavo Arriaga Perez, a Mexican national in the country illegally, has been charged with Singh's murder.


Bryce Turner was a redshirt sophomore cornerback for California.

Cal Athletics

A 20-year-old U.C. Berkeley football player died after a medical emergency during a non-team workout. Reports said Bryce Turner, a sophomore cornerback from Southern California, collapsed, was hospitalized, then fell into a coma. "Our hearts are broken with this unimaginable tragedy," Cal's athletic director said.


The editor-publisher of California’s oldest weekly newspaper — the Mountain Messenger in Sierra County — has unorthodox rules for the publication: no children on the front page, no beauty pageants, and no online presence. "As long as I'm running it," he said. "It's on pulp, period."


The Golden Gate, circa 1933.

California State Library

This weekend marked 86 years since construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge. A common misconception holds that the name refers to the span's radiant hue. It rather came from the narrow strait between the bay and the Pacific, which was named by an explorer who was reminded of the harbor of modern-day Istanbul, known as the Golden Horn. The photo above shows what the passage looked like before the Golden Gate Bridge was added.


This is the Lone Cypress, often called the world's most photographed tree. Clinging to a granite pedestal along the Monterey Peninsula, it has improbably withstood storms, winds, and fire for as long as 250 years. "It represents eternity," a local elder once said. Condé Nast included the Lone Cypress in a ranking of California's 20 most beautiful places.


Southern California


Sandra Oh arrived for the Golden Globes at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Sunday.

Valerie Macon/A.F.P./Getty Images

The Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the period road movie "Green Book" were the big winners at the 76th Golden Globes, a ceremony that was notable for its attention to diversity. Among the highlights:

"Bohemian Rhapsody" won best picture over the heavily favored "A Star Is Born," the Bradley Cooper remake which went home with just one award for the song "Shallow." Hollywood Reporter
Sandra Oh was the first person of Asian descent to ever host the Globes. In a heartwarming moment, she thanked her parents in Korean after picking up a trophy of her own for her work in "Killing Eve." The Atlantic
Christian Bale, who earned a best actor trophy, thanked Satan for giving him the inspiration to portray former Vice President Dick Cheney in "Vice." NBC News
And here are a couple galleries showcasing the glamorous looks on the red carpet. N.Y. Times | Hollywood Reporter

The police were searching for suspects after a shooting at a popular bowling alley in Torrance left three young men dead. Witnesses said the shooting stemmed from a brawl between two large groups, but it was unclear what sparked the melee. "I'm thinking this is a dream and I'll wake up," the father of one victim said. "He was a good kid. I don't understand it."


Andrew Stoecklein, a young pastor in Chino, talked about depression from the pulpit. It's a topic we don't talk about enough, he said, adding, "There is hope, and there is help available." Twelve days later, Stoecklein killed himself. Now his death is prompting a conversation about the reluctance of many churches to openly discuss mental illness.


A screen grab from Vincent Laforet's "Air Los Angeles."

What does Los Angeles look like from above when captured by a Pulitzer-winning photographer using an $87,000 lens? Achingly gorgeous. Vincent Laforet published a 7-minute video as part of a "proof of concept" for a larger project.


Today I Learned


Photo: Library of Congress

In the late 19th century, jackrabbits were a plague upon California orchards and vineyards. Settlers employed an ingenious, if brutal, method of counterattack.

They would build a fence in the shape of a V, with wings stretching about two miles. Then the townsfolk would line up at the open end of the V and drive the rabbits down the funnel, where men awaited with clubs and beat the trapped animals to death. About half a million rabbits were killed this way in the span of a decade. The picture above shows the carnage of a 1893 drive in Fresno.


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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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