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Image caption: View  north over Highway 140, El Portal, and the Merced River canyon as a summer storm rolls on by. Screenshot from a time-lapse courtesy of ALERTCalifornia-UC San Diego.
Heat Waves, Mountaintop Cameras, and Municipal Budgets

The public process that determines who stays cool and who does not—and many more urgent issues. Plus a virtual escape to the high country.

Image caption: A commitment to justice and accountability is carved in stone, so to speak, in the California constitution, which gives every citizen the right to serve on their county's civil grand jury.
Citizens Investigating Governments

Over the past week, citizens empowered as members of civil grand juries issued reports of their investigations of local governments. It's an honorable institution, and they found some dishonorable stuff.

Image caption: Um, how much for the fire extinguisher?
Staying Safe and Sane

The celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence is always a booming success for the fireworks industry.

Image caption: An image from September 2020 of Lake Tenaya in Yosemite National Park, with sunlight and shadows cast in the wildfire smoke hanging over the lake water.
Fire Season Begins with a Roar

Summer is here, and with it, fire season.

Image caption: The Sacramento San Joaquin Delta, aka the California Delta, is one of the largest estuaries on the West Coast, and supplies the state with two-thirds of its water.
Californians Saving Trees and Water

Logging for the future, starting in 1946, and building water resiliency, starting now.

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The Importance of Planning

It's impossible to predict the future—unless you set your mind to make something happen and build a coalition to execute your plan. That's how democracy works. And, frankly, how California works.

Image caption: A typically joyful scene in the pool at the city of Sacramento's Clunie Community Center.
Celebrating California's Diversity, Homegrown Food, and DTLA

Kamala Harris, Tiger Woods, and 23 more AAPI Californians; DTLA flourishes, and a homemade birthday cake.

Image caption: If you really look, you will find some good things are happening in California.
We Have Some Real Good News

Our brand new book, "How California Works: Building Democracy in the Golden State," tells a true story that you'll be glad to know. And: Learn how, if you look closely, you'll see that things are truly getting better.

Image caption: Construction of multifamily housing developments is set to skyrocket in the next half decade.
Here Comes the California Housing Boom

The state has pledged to build 2.5 million housing units by 2030, and one agency is charged with that task. Meet the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

Image caption: People are nearby to throw you a line if you feel you are sinking.
May is Mental Health Month

Your mental health is the most important thing in the world.

Image caption: California Forever's proposed city (in blue) is located roughly halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento.
The California Exodus and California Forever, Redux

The state's never-ending housing crisis has inspired hundreds of thousands of Californians to flee, and inspired an audacious plan for a brand-new city. Here's where the two related stories stand this week.

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On Photography and Politics

A celebration of the work of an artist who devoted a career to preserving the wildlands he loved. Plus: News you can use, and a tasty recipe!

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Earth Day: Resilience vs. Disaster

Ee celebrate the efforts our fellow humans have made and are making to help heal our planet and connect us, while we simultaneously consider what we must do to protect our communities as the climate crisis worsens.

Image caption: Gov. Jerry Brown meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at an economic summit in LA in February, 2012. Since being named Chinese president later that year, Xi has earned harsh criticism for human rights violations, and praise for his environmental policies.
California's Power Beyond its Borders

A Tesla lobbyist, an LA-based environmental group, and Gov. Jerry Brown brought a rule minted in Sacramento to Beijing, and helped launch China’s EV industry.

Image caption: The Douglas iris is a wildflower native to central and northern California and parts of southern Oregon.
Greetings & Spring Things from Santa Cruz

This week, a virtual visit to Surf City USA—a great place to experience the season of rebirth and renewal that's worth a drive from anywhere in our coverage area.

Image caption: Prop 1 includes funding that will build institutions to treat mental illness and addiction—hopefully nothing like what Randle Patrick McMurphy encountered in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'
Sandhill Cranes, Foster Kids, and Coercive Compassion

A type of resurrection involving big birds, and two efforts that offer help to individuals whose lives have been impacted by addiction.

Image caption: At the McKinley Park Rose Garden in Sacramento, the first rose of 2024.
Four Good Things about Spring

In this week’s, edition of The Newsletter, some hopeful aspects related to the very best season: spring!

Image caption: Gov. Gavin Newsom looking troubled in a file photo.
State of the State? We'll See.

Prop 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom's signature plan to confront the twin problems of homelessness and the mental health crisis, was expected to cruise to victory. It did not.

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Political Economics and the Movies

In the wake of the Oscars, we consider the role film plays in helping us understand ourselves and our culture, and reveal the story of Hollywood's role in our state's history and economy.

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