Good morning. It’s Thursday, Jan. 4.
- Gaza cease-fire protesters shut down California Assembly.
- Police raid Berkeley’s People’s Park in midnight operation.
- And a surfer’s awesome ride with dolphins at Rincon Beach.
California’s Assembly gaveled in Wednesday after several months on break only to have the session cut short by a disruptive protest demanding a cease-fire in Gaza. Hundreds of protesters in the viewing gallery sang and chanted “cease-fire now,” ignoring calls for order. After about 10 minutes, the lawmakers filed out. Both Democrats and Republicans later condemned the action. “Familiar pattern across the country,” Republican Assemblymember James Gallagher wrote on X. “Chant, intimidate and shut down.” L.A. Times | Politico
- An Alameda City Council spent a grueling five hours debating a cease-fire resolution late Tuesday. It failed. Jewish News
The best-books-of-2023 lists are in. Based on a review of roughly a dozen entries from leading publications, here are three books with connections to California that earned repeated mentions:
- “Our Migrant Souls” by Héctor Tobar
The veteran Los Angeles Times journalist’s latest book seeks to restore the full humanity of Latinos. “There is power in the refrain of Tobar’s direct address, which gives his writing the feel of warm advice dispensed to youngsters grappling with a sense of self,” Francisco Cantú wrote in a N.Y. Times review.
- “The Talk” by Darrin Bell
In a powerful graphic memoir, Bell writes about asking his mom for a water gun as a 6-year-old growing up in Los Angeles. That prompts “the talk” about racism and police brutality in America. Later he is confronted with having the talk with his own son.
- “A Man of Two Faces” by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Nguyen, whose debut novel “The Sympathizer” won a Pulitzer, wrote a stream-of-consciousness memoir of his upbringing in San Jose, dissecting his relationship with the United States and the country his family fled as refugees, Vietnam. Reviewers called it “lyrical,” “riveting,” and “audacious.”
- Other mentions:
“Going Infinite” by Michael Lewis
“Pandora’s Box” by Peter Biskind
“Oscar Wars” by Michael Schulman
“We Were Once a Family” by Roxanna Asgarian
“Künstlers in Paradise” by Cathleen Schine
“Fire in the Canyon” by Daniel Gumbiner
Winter has officially returned to Yosemite after the latest storm dropped a fresh blanket of snow on the meadows and granite peaks. See for yourself on the Yosemite Conservancy’s live webcams. Yosemite.com
- Forecasters said more heavy snow is on tap this weekend. @NWSSacramento
For a few weeks around the winter solstice each year, the setting sun aligns with a stately rock arch in Big Sur to magical effect. Two photographers shared nice shots from this year’s show at Keyhole Arch with the California Sun. 👇
Shortly before midnight late Wednesday, about 100 police officers descended on People’s Park in Berkeley in a surprise operation to wall off the historic plot using metal cargo containers. Dozens of activists occupying the park have stridently opposed a university proposal to build student housing on the site, regarded by some as a sacred symbol of the 1960s. They greeted the officers with chants of “Long live People’s Park.” By 1 a.m. police began arresting people, warning that pepper spray and tear gas would come next. Berkeleyside | Daily Californian
Authorities investigating the Friday killing of an undercover Oakland police officer announced the arrest on Wednesday of a man who had killed before as a teenager. Prosecutors charged Mark Sanders, 27, with murder in the fatal shooting of Officer Tuan Le, who had responded to a burglary at a marijuana business. In 2014, when Sanders was 17, he was arrested in the killing of 18-year-old Marcellus Perry. He served five years. Mercury News
In a milestone, officials announced Wednesday that crews had finished installing nets along both sides of the entire Golden Gate Bridge. Nearly 2,000 people have fallen to their deaths since the bridge opened in 1937. Officials said the nets have already shown results while partially built, as the number of jumps fell from an annual average of 30 to 14. All told, they took six years to install at a cost of $224 million. The bridge itself took four years and $35 million (or about $750 million in today’s dollars). A.P.
Since the 1990s, a pair of speed bumps placed perplexingly close to one another on a street in Fresno has been sending heedless speeders airborne. Doorbell camera video of the gnarliest flights, posted to the YouTube channel Speed Bump Olympics, have become a celebrated subgenre of drivers behaving poorly on social media. A reporter shared his favorite 16 videos. Jalopnik
An 88-year-old Los Angeles woman had an armed-response security system at her home for safety. When the alarm was tripped on New Year’s Eve, a security guard showed up and, mistaking the woman for a burglar, shot her in the abdomen, officials said. She was taken to the hospital in stable condition. The guard, Kaion Ciego, 34, was arrested on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm but was released on Wednesday. “It was a total accident,” his attorney said. L.A. Times | L.A. Daily News
Jimmy Kimmel threatened legal action against Aaron Rodgers on Tuesday after the Jets quarterback suggested that the late-night talk show host’s name might show up on the associates list of the late accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. “Your reckless words put my family in danger,” Kimmel wrote on Twitter. Kimmel has mocked Rodgers, a Chico native, in the past, calling him a “tin foil hatter.” After the Epstein list was released Wednesday, reports said they showed no evidence of Jimmy Kimmel’s name. Washington Post
UCLA is paying $700 million to buy a former Los Angeles shopping mall with plans to convert it into a medical and engineering research facility. The 700,000-square-foot former Westside Pavilion, once one of L.A.’s hottest malls, will be called UCLA Research Park. UCLA receives more student applications than any U.S. university, but it has among the smallest UC campuses. Over the past couple years, it has snapped up several properties as part of an effort to expand its footprint. Bloomberg | A.P.
Video posted online showing a group of dolphins leaping alongside a surfer at the Central Coast’s Rincon Beach over the weekend went viral, racking up millions of views. In a YouTube video, the surfer, a USC student named Spencer Fanticola, said it was the most special moment of his life. “I couldn’t even believe it.” See the ride. 👉 @surfline
- Surfers have been delighting in massive waves along the California coast. See photos. 👉 The Guardian
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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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