Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Dec. 20.
- Storm to deliver heavy rain across Southern California.
- Regulators allow turning sewage into drinking water.
- And rarely seen orcas put on a show off Pacific coast.
Meteorologists said the biggest rainstorm to hit the state since Hilary in August could bring flooding to Southern California between Wednesday and Friday. Forecasts called for 2 to 4 inches of rain along the coasts and inland valleys and up to 2 feet of snow in the high mountains. The National Weather Service warned about the potential for weakened slopes to give way to mudslides, especially below burn areas along the Santa Barbara coast. Ventura County authorities told residents to be ready to evacuate. L.A. Times | S.D. Union-Tribune | Accuweather
- See the expected timing and intensity of rainfall from Los Angeles to the Central Coast. 👉 @NWSLosAngeles
State regulators on Tuesday cleared the way for the purification of sewage into drinking water, making California the second state, behind Colorado, to put rules in place to harness the water source. While critics scuttled so-called “toilet to tap” proposals in the past over a perceived ick factor, other countries have happily recycled wastewater for decades, and Orange County has done so since 2008. Daniel McCurry, an environmental engineer, said California’s protocols would be among the strictest anywhere. “I think it’s going to be cleaner than most bottled water you could find.” N.Y. Times | LAist
For decades, people relocating to California have generally been higher earning and better educated than those who have left. That’s now flipped. For several years, more college graduates and professionals have been moving out of the state to escape the higher taxes and cost of living. The trend has had ominous consequences for California, which has a progressive tax structure that leans heavily on the wealthy for revenue. “There’s a price to pay for the movement of middle- and upper-income people and corporations,” said Joel Kotkin, a fellow at Chapman University. L.A. Times
- New data showed San Francisco’s population rising again after a post-pandemic exodus. SF Standard | Bloomberg
Between January and September, Google spent $1.5 million on lobbying in California, an eightfold increase over the same period in 2022 and far more than other multibillion-dollar tech companies. Its objective: to quash legislation that would force Google, Facebook and other platforms to pay news publishers. The money appears to have been well spent. Lawmakers shelved the bill. L.A. Times
Chance Comanche, a basketball player for the G League’s Stockton Kings, confessed to murder on Dec. 15, a police report revealed on Tuesday. Comanche, a basketball standout at Beverly Hills High, helped the University of Arizona reach the Sweet 16 in 2017 before joining the professional ranks in 2022. According to the authorities, Comanche, 27, conspired with a female accomplice to strangle 23-year-old Marayna Rodgers after a game in Las Vegas on December 5. The motive, sources told investigators, was connected to friction between the two women. KCRA | FOX5
When San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a plan to compel drug addicts seeking government benefits to undergo screening and enter treatment, top Democratic lawmakers denounced the idea as punitive and counterproductive. But a poll of likely voters last month found that 66% support the proposal, which will appear on the March 2024 ballot. Nancy Tung, a moderate Democrat, said the party’s leadership “is very much out of touch with San Francisco voters.” SF Standard
Workers bound by strict nondisclosure agreements are building a secret compound for Mark Zuckerberg on the island of Kauai, a WIRED investigation found. “The property, known as Koolau Ranch, will, according to planning documents, include a 5,000-square-foot underground shelter, have its own energy and food supplies, and, when coupled with land purchase prices, will cost in excess of $270 million.” Business Insider | SFGATE
A jury on Tuesday found a San Clemente fertility doctor guilty of murdering his wife, rejecting the defense’s suggestion that she died from a fall down the stairs. Jennifer Walker, a prosecutor, told jurors that Eric Scott Sills faced a dilemma after a late-night argument with his wife turned deadly in 2016. “Now he has got to figure out in a short amount of time what to do. … So, literally the only thing available is the staircase,” she said. Two pathologists identified strangulation as the cause of death. O.C. Register | L.A. Times
“Really, it’s almost impossible to operate.”
In West Hollywood, a city ordinance mandates that workers be paid at least $19.08 an hour, the highest minimum wage in the country. It also requires that all full-time employees get 96 hours a year of paid time off as well as 80 hours that they can take off without pay. In a city known for its restaurants, boutiques, and progressive politics, many business owners say their survival is now in doubt. N.Y. Times
Frank Lloyd Wright’s son designed a glass church surrounded by redwoods on the edge of the Pacific in 1951. The romantic setting made Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes among California’s most desired wedding venues, hosting roughly 800 nuptials annually. Now, after a five-year review process, the U.S. government has declared the structure a National Historic Landmark, elevating it into the ranks of the Eames House, the Gamble House, Watts Towers, and a handful of other sites in the Los Angeles area to earn the honor. L.A. Times
An 80-pound dog sat courtside at the Lakers-Knicks matchup in Los Angeles on Monday night and he resoundingly won fan of the game. Brodie, a Goldendoodle service animal, belongs to a former accountant named Cliff Brush Jr. who quit his job after building a lucrative social media business around posts of the dog. “Everyone was saying they’ve never seen this before their entire life,” Brush said on Tuesday. “So it definitely seemed like a first. Maybe there’s been little dogs that people just don’t even notice, but you can’t miss Brodie.” L.A. Times
“An extraordinary display of nature’s power”
A rarely seen pod of orcas, normally found in warmer waters off Mexico, has been dazzling whale watchers off Southern California over the past week. They may appear cute, but orcas are fierce predators — fast, sharp-toothed, and smart. On Monday, Noemi Cabre, with Net Zero Expeditions, caught incredible video of an orca head-butting a dolphin into the air near San Diego. @netzeroexpeditions
- See drone views off Newport Beach. 👉 YouTube (~2 mins)
- And amazing close-ups. 👉 @lawofthelandnsea | @pacificoffshore
Thanks for reading!
The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.
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