Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Jan. 4.
- Regional rainfall projections across California.
- Kevin McCarthy faces open revolt in House chamber.
- And driver accused of intentional plunge from Highway 1.
Here it comes.
Days after a New Year’s Eve storm unleashed havoc across Northern California, another atmospheric river packing powerful winds is set to blast the state Wednesday and Thursday, except this time the landscape is already waterlogged and the rivers are running high. Forecasters and emergency officials across the northern half of the state were treating the prospect of widespread flooding, collapsing hillsides, power outages, and road closures as certainties. And that won’t be the end of it: The parade of storms was expected to continue this weekend and next week. Mercury News | S.F. Chronicle | Accuweather
See rainfall projections for:
- The North Coast
- The Sacramento Valley
- The Bay Area
- San Joaquin Valley
- Central Coast and Los Angeles
- Orange County and San Diego
Three rounds of voting. Three defeats.
A mutiny waged by conservative lawmakers blocked Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s path to the House speakership on Tuesday as he failed repeatedly to muster enough support to win the chamber’s top job on the opening day of Republican rule. It was the first time since 1923 that the House failed to elect a speaker on the first roll call. But it’s not yet over for the Bakersfield Republican: Lawmakers planned to reconvene Wednesday and start the process anew. “I’m staying until we win,” McCarthy said Tuesday. “I know the path.” N.Y. Times | Washington Post
- Paul Kane in the Washington Post: “They saw in him what he essentially is: a nonideological lawmaker without much policy substance who really just enjoys political campaigns and tactics.”
- John F. Harris in Politico: “[Liz] Cheney’s experience showed that taking a stand comes at a political cost. McCarthy’s experience may soon show that refusing to take a stand does, too.”
- David A. Graham in the Atlantic: “Nearly everyone who has pinned their political hopes on Trump has, for one reason or another, had it backfire on them. McCarthy’s case is just a vivid example.”
A 17% raise for Caltech academic workers.
A 24% raise for PhD candidates at University of Pennsylvania.
A 25% raise for graduate students at Princeton.
The strike of University of California academic workers is over, but it has helped energize an unprecedented surge of union activism among academic workers. In 2022 alone, peers at nearly a dozen institutions filed documents with the National Labor Relations Board for a union election. L.A. Times
The driver of a Tesla that plunged off a cliff along Highway 1 on Monday was arrested on charges of attempted murder after the authorities accused him of trying to kill his family. The survival of the car’s occupants — Dharmesh Patel, his wife, and their two young children — was described as a miracle. But the highway patrol said Tuesday that witness interviews and other evidence led investigators to believe Patel, a 41-year-old doctor from Pasadena, had committed “an intentional act.” N.Y. Times | A.P.
On Monday, Sheng Thao will be sworn in as mayor of Oakland, making her the most prominent Hmong American officeholder in the U.S. to date. Not long ago, she was living in her car. She teared up when reporter Joe Garofoli asked about her journey. “I know what I went through, and I don’t want families to go through what I had to go through,” she said. S.F. Chronicle
Firefighting culture in California has long been highly masculine, peppered with militaristic jargon: “unit,” “incident commander,” “squads.” In October, for the first time, a prescribed fire training was tailored specifically for Indigenous women in the remote mountains of Northern California. It incorporated overlooked cultural objectives such as nourishing basketry shoots, opening forest access, food gathering, and tending ceremonial grounds. High Country News
Jeremy Renner posted an Instagram selfie from his hospital bed on Tuesday after he was critically injured in a snow plow accident on New Year’s Day in Reno. Sheriff Darin Balaam of Washoe County said Renner had gotten off a plow after helping extract a stuck vehicle driven by a family member. The seven-ton plow then began to roll; Renner tried to jump back into the driver’s seat, but was “run over,” Balaam said. Hollywood Reporter | Reno Gazette Journal
In a ceremony last July, Los Angeles County returned a beachfront property to the descendants of its former Black owners, acknowledging that it had been stolen a century ago. On Tuesday, in a surprise twist, the family said it would sell the property, known as Bruce’s Beach, back to the county for nearly $20 million. L.A. Times | A.P.
The two stars of 1968′s “Romeo and Juliet” are suing Paramount Pictures for $500 million, accusing the company of sexually exploiting them as teenagers. Olivia Hussey, then 15 and now 71, and Leonard Whiting, then 16 now 72, filed the lawsuit under a California law that suspended the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. It claims Hussey and Whiting suffered mental anguish over a scene that included images of Whiting’s buttocks and Hussey’s breasts. As recently as 2018, Hussey defended the scene in news interviews, saying it was done tastefully. “It was needed for the film,” she said. Variety | A.P.
The reporter Antonia Hitchens attended weekly meetings of a Southern California chapter of People’s Rights, a civilian defense group established by the antigovernment activist Ammon Bundy. What seemed to unite members was a sense that society had lost its bearings. “We need strong people willing to lose their lives — like our Founding Fathers,” a woman in a red tank top told one gathering. “Republicans are weak. We need to start our own, parallel society.” The Atlantic
President Biden still wants Eric Garcetti to be his ambassador to India. The former Los Angeles mayor was originally tapped for the post in July of 2021, but his nomination stalled over accusations that he turned a blind eye to sexual harassment in his mayor’s office. On Tuesday, Biden renominated Garcetti as the new congressional session began. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who opposed Garcetti’s nomination, accused the Biden administration of forsaking harassment victims to prop up a powerful ally. A.P. | L.A. Times
You can sleep alongside a dormant volcano in the Southern California desert. Amboy Crater rises with near-perfect symmetry from the Mojave Desert east of Barstow. It’s surrounded by Bureau of Land Management lands, which means you’re welcome to pitch a tent. The best time to go: new moon weekends between the fall and spring, when the sky is darkest and the stars shine like floodlights.
A pair of travelers climbed inside the crater. 👉 YouTube (8:30 mins)
Tuesday’s newsletter misspelled the name of a California river. It’s the Mokelumne River, not Mokelume.
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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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