Good morning. It’s Monday, Dec. 12.
- Six California Republicans reject same-sex marriage bill.
- Karen Bass is sworn in as mayor of Los Angeles.
- And 100 amazing places to go in California in 2023.
A bipartisan coalition in Congress rallied behind legislation to protect same-sex marriages, sending the measure to President Biden last week. In California’s House delegation, five Republicans joined all Democrats to support the bill. But six voted no, including the likely next speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield. “California Republicans,” columnist Joe Garafoli wrote, “simply cannot stop repaving their road to irrelevance.” S.F. Chronicle
Newly certified election results showed that Republicans in the state Legislature now hold the smallest share of seats in a century. Of 120 lawmakers, 26 are Republicans. CBS Sacramento
In 2001, two whale researchers noticed something strange going on among blue whales off California: They were singing in increasingly lower tones over time. Then they compared the songs to blue whale recordings from the 1960s and discovered that the frequencies had fallen by an astonishing 30% in 40 years. It remains one of the biggest unsolved riddles in whale research. “It’s just kind of tormenting all the whale scientists that we can’t figure it out,” said Ally Rice, a researcher in San Diego. Nautilus Magazine
Give something they’ll open every day.
The powerful storm that crashed into California over the weekend toppled trees, closed highways, tossed ski lift chairs, and knocked out power to nearly 50,000 customers. But it wasn’t enough to keep a group of golfers from their tee times at Pebble Beach on Saturday. Video captured the moment that one golfer, standing in sideways rain and gale-force winds, swung a driver from the tee on a 100-yard par-3, sending the ball to within a few feet of the hole. Golf Digest said it might be the shot of the century.
Ride Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles.
Walk the light fields at Sensorio in Paso Robles.
Watch for elk in Redwood National Park.
The travel publication California Through My Lens published a great list of “100 things to do in California in 2023.” YouTube (~7 mins)
One happy outcome of the pandemic: several downtowns in the North Bay chose to keep their sidewalk cafes — permanently. Napa, Marin, and Sonoma counties have let restaurants continue to operate their Paris-style parklets, despite some initial grumbling over a loss of parking. “The community has embraced them, and we benefit from them,” said Vin Smith, a Napa official. “Downtown has a vibrancy now.” North Bay Business Journal
Wildlife officials confirmed that a gray wolf pack gave birth to eight pups in Northern California’s Siskiyou County last spring. The wolf is native to California but was driven to extinction in the state in the 1920s. In 2011, an Oregon-born wolf became the first to be spotted in California in 87 years. Amaroq Weiss, a biologist, said survival of all eight pups this far into the year was a promising sign. “It’s pretty rare where you have nearly eradicated a species and it starts to come back on its own,” she said. The Guardian
A few updates from the chaos at Twitter:
- Elon Musk drew outrage over the weekend for one tweet that implied a former Twitter executive advocated for child sexualization and another that called for the prosecution of Anthony Fauci. “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” Musk wrote. Bloomberg | Axios
- Eric Levitz delivered a critique of the “Twitter files“: It is “best understood as an egregious example of the very phenomenon it purports to condemn — that of social-media managers leveraging their platforms for partisan ends.” New York Magazine
- “This is egregious what we’re finding.” Rep. Kevin McCarthy said he planned to hold hearings on the Twitter revelations. The Hill
A conservation group won approval to acquire nearly 10 square miles of open space along the coast between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. The $16 million acquisition of Cloverdale Ranch sets the stage for opening the sprawling stretch of prairie and forests to visitors. Kurtis Alexander called it “one of the greatest conservation stories on the San Mateo County coast.” S.F. Chronicle
Karen Bass was sworn in as mayor of Los Angeles on Sunday, making her the first female and the second Black person to ascend to the role. She was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris, a longtime friend and the former California attorney general. The mood was jubilant, with a surprise Stevie Wonder performance and a poem from Amanda Gorman. Now comes the hard part, Politico noted: “Bass has represented Los Angeles in Sacramento and Washington for decades, but she’s never taken on a task as daunting as this one.” L.A. Times | A.P.
A Christmas gift giveaway in Los Angeles on Friday descended into bedlam when a group of activists chased Councilmember Kevin de León, who wore a Santa hat, around the auditorium, loudly calling him racist and telling him to resign. Cornered, De León shoved one of the activists, who responded by punching the lawmaker. Both filed police reports alleging they were battered. “It was another civic low in what has been a series of them over the past two months,” the L.A. Times wrote.
See video of the altercation. 👉 @Roots_Action
“I view this as a battle for civilization.”
A small Central Valley town has been divided over whether to let the police department take over the only library. Opponents say the library in McFarland is a vital resource for families who eke out a living in the fields. But the crowded police force needs more room at a time when crime is exploding, the city is growing, and the tax base is tight. N.Y. Times
In August, Los Angeles lost its title as busiest port in the nation to the Port of New York and New Jersey. It trailed again in September and October. After years of relying heavily on California seaports, companies across many industries are now betting that ports in the East and the South can save them time and money. “People are spreading out their supply chains,” said Craig Grossgart, a shipping executive. “There are so many customers that got so screwed because they were entirely reliant on L.A. and Long Beach.” Wall Street Journal
An item in Thursday’s newsletter about the photography of Bruce Davidson misattributed a characterization of Los Angeles as a “cultural desert with acrid air, bumper-to-bumper freeways, tall palms, and sordid Hollywood types.” That was Davidson’s summary of a view held by the East Coast intelligentsia, not his own perspective.
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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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