Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Dec. 14.
- Twitter stops paying its office rent in San Francisco.
- L.A.’s most famous cougar faces possible euthanasia.
- And a colorful bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Former President Trump has been working the phones for Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is publicly vouching for him. And McCarthy himself has made private entreaties and public promises to win over his critics. “And yet, Mr. McCarthy, who is toiling to become speaker next year when the G.O.P. assumes the majority, has so far been unable to put down a mini-revolt on the right that threatens to imperil his bid for the top job,” the N.Y. Times wrote.
The artist-adventurer Obi Kaufmann spent a year wandering California’s coast for his latest book “The Coasts of California,” 672 pages of narratives, maps, and watercolor drawings. Critics praised the work for turning an often dry genre into something beautiful and deeply personal, like his ode to a lost species: “I was born with a bear-size hole inside me. The last California grizzly was killed fifty years before I was born, and I still miss the beautiful, precious being that she was.” Terrain.org
Deidre Pike, a Humboldt County journalist who lost her son to opioids, wrote a searing report on the fentanyl crisis engulfing the North Coast. So far in 2022, the county of roughly 136,000 people has recorded at least 60 fentanyl fatalities. That’s approaching double the total from 2021, and seven times the number in 2020. Dr. Candy Stockton, Humboldt’s health officer, said the crisis transcends demographics. “The vast majority of people die in their homes,” she said. “They are not homeless.” Lost Coast Outpost
In 2016, an 18-year-old named Jasmine Abuslin told investigators she had sex with more than two dozen law enforcement officers around the Bay Area in exchange for protection from arrest. One of those officers, San Francisco police officer Rodger Ponce De Leon, snorted cocaine and had sex with her in his car, she said. But he wasn’t fired. Instead, Ponce De Leon has remained on desk duty, performing menial tasks and earning a salary that peaked in 2020 at nearly $240,000. SF Standard
On Dec. 5, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory essentially created a miniature star. Officials announced the feat on Tuesday, describing it as significant milestone in the effort to harness nuclear fusion, an energy source with the potential to create abundant clean energy. They warned that commercial applications remained far off. Even so, wrote the columnist Megan McArdle, celebration is warranted: “We are inching toward mastering the very process that made our world.” Washington Post
Twitter has stopped paying rent for its San Francisco headquarters as its new owner Elon Musk seeks to cut costs, reports said. The company has also instructed employees to not pay vendors, refused to pay a nearly $200,000 bill for private charter flights, and discussed the consequences of denying severance payments to former employees. In November, Musk said that Twitter was losing $4 million a day. N.Y. Times | Axios
☝️ Here’s how they clear train tracks in Tahoe after heavy snow.
Drone footage captured by the weather videographer Brandon Clement showed a powerful snowplow train at work in Soda Springs on Sunday. WXChasing/YouTube (~4 mins)
P-22, the celebrated cougar of Griffith Park, is not expected to return to the urban wilderness where he has held lonely dominion for more than a decade. Captured on Monday after killing a leashed dog, P-22 was found to be underweight and suffering from an eye injury, wildlife officials said. He could go to a sanctuary. But euthanasia is also a possibility if he’s found to have kidney failure or cancer, said Deana Clifford, a wildlife veterinarian. “This an old cat,” she said. “Old cats get old cat diseases.” L.A. Times | Wall Street Journal
Give something they’ll open every day.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León has become a fugitive in his own hometown. Since becoming entangled in a racism scandal in October, he has been largely in hiding as protesters chase him around the district and colleagues demand his retirement. But De León appears dead set on sticking it out, at least through the last two years of his term, while collecting his salary of nearly $229,000. It might work. De León remains relatively popular in his district. Politico
The architecture critic Michael J. Lewis called the new $94 million Orange County Museum of Art one of the finest architectural works of 2022. The facility, nearly a generation in the making, is as much a civic plaza as it is a building, he wrote: “The outdoor public space seems to sweep up and glide across the top of the museum, taking up a full 70% of its roof, dissolving any sense that it is a closed and private thing.” Wall Street Journal
Alternate perspective: It’s “an unfinished Frankenstein’s monster.” The Guardian
“Yeah, we’re here. We’re surfing.”
Growing up in Capistrano Beach, the photographer Gabriella Angotti-Jones didn’t feel like she fit in as a surfer, a sport dominated almost entirely by white boys and men. Now 28, her new photography book “I Just Wanna Surf” is a tribute to the joy of surfing that puts the spotlight on a group seldom seen in surfing literature: Black women. CNN | Juxtapoz
The peak wildflower bloom in Southern California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park typically arrives in March. But the park sometimes puts on a winter show. Over the last couple weeks, the photographer Sicco Rood captured some gorgeous shots of the colors now painting the desert thanks to rain in the fall. 👇
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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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