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Explainers and guides from our team of journalists, a curated news digest from trusted local newsrooms, and local government announcements and upcoming meetings, delivered every Monday morning to your inbox.


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Oct. 09, 2023: Our New Book & Goodbye, Columbus

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we’re making an announcement, and offering suggestions about commemorating some California heroes.

Image caption: Many regions in California were hit hard by the 2022-23 winter storms. In Sacramento, the losses came in the form of a thinning of the urban forest.
Oct. 2, 2023: Connectivity in a Crisis

When you’re getting your go kit together, don’t forget to make sure your phone is smart enough to handle any disaster.

Image caption: It's a long way to the top, if you wanna rock ’n’ roll (or do journalism).
Sept. 25, 2023: Progress Report

In this issue of The Newsletter, we ponder incremental progress as reflected in the journey of two newsrooms.

Image caption: What the hell happened to this sweet, smart kid?
Sept. 18, 2023: Problem Child

Big Social Media is abandoning the field of reliable information-distribution in some big ways. CALocal is helping to fill that hole—with maps.

Image caption: The Sacramento region may be the center of state politics, but it’s also a world-class destination for serious athletes. Find out more in our guide to running in the Capital region.
Sept. 11, 2023: The Lighter Side of … California

Take a break from the weighty worries of the modern world. Go on a run, absorb some culture, and yuk it up with California-born comedians.

Image caption: The River Islands development will significantly expand the population and the footprint of the Central Valley city of Lathrop.
Sept. 5, 2023: Exurban Sprawl

Planned communities—the past. the present and the future.

Image caption: Four years before the era of reclamation districts began, the city of Sacramento saw the Great Flood of 1862.
Aug. 28, 2023: There’s Gold in Them Thar Wetlands

California Local focuses on reclamation districts, the oldest type of special district in California, created to turn wetlands into arable—and monetizable—land.

Image caption: One of many tableaus of destruction as seen on a tour of Paradise with Cal Fire on May 8, 2019, six months after the outbreak of the Camp Fire.
Aug. 21, 2023: Wildfire in Paradise

As Lahaina recovers from the deadliest wildfire in modern US history, we revisit the second-deadliest—the Camp Fire, which destroyed Paradise, CA almost five years ago. Also: Is California ready for a Lahaina-type disaster? And: A climate-crisis lexicon.

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Aug. 14, 2023: Community Builders Rule

The nonprofit sector plays a huge role in what we like to call “community betterment” throughout California. Here are some organizations and individuals who are doing some very cool work that you’ll want to know about.

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Aug. 7, 2023: Online Media vs. Democracy

Twitter, the "digital town square" that never really was, is no more. And Meta/Facebook is (almost) revealed as a spreader of hate and division. Plus: Some real good news.

Image caption: To avoid the worst climate impacts, humans must halve carbon emissions to stay below 1.5C of global heating.
July 31, 2023: A Matter of Degrees

Even as new studies further strengthen scientific consensus on global warming, climate deniers persist—and so do California’s efforts to fend off disaster.

Image caption: The simultaneous release of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” ignited a firestorm of creative memes, including this poster on Etsy.
July 24, 2023: Box Office Bombshell

Two films celebrate historic events: the dawn of the atomic age and the birth of the modern woman.

Image caption: The sidewalk under this Capital City Freeway overpass in Midtown Sacramento often serves as a sad and squalid home for a dozen or more tent-dwellers. During the weeks that these two gentlemen lived there, they kept it relatively tidy.
July 17, 2023: A Simple Solution to Two Huge Problems

There is evidence that the tightly related scourges of housing affordability and homelessness could be alleviated with one bold move: Abolish restrictive zoning.

Image caption: On downtown San Jose’s Milligan Lot sits a home from the Civil War era that could be bulldozed to make way for a parking lot. Preservationists believe there are more creative options for this pretty creekside site.
July 10, 2023: The History of Us

Modern humans face a rate of societal change that far outstrips anything our ancestors encountered. It’s no wonder we struggle to preserve what we can of the past.

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July 3, 2023: California Independence

Here in California, we are not waiting for national politicians to recognize that we live in a land built on diversity—and that the world needs us to act boldly to make big changes.

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June 26, 2023: California Pride

A quick perusal of “Milestones in the American Gay Rights Movement” proves that the Left Coast contributed more than its fair share to the cause.

Image caption: A homeless camp along Interstate 80 in Sacramento.
June 19, 2023: Is Housing a Human Right?

The California Legislature is considering a constitutional amendment declaring "that the state “recognizes the fundamental human right to adequate housing for everyone in California.”

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June 12, 2023: Juneteenth Reasons to Celebrate

2023 marks the first year Juneteenth is an official state holiday, but Californians have observed the holiday for decades. Find out where the parties are.

Image caption: Detail from The New York Times Magazine cover for June 4, 2023.
June 5, 2023: The California Effect and CalMatters

The New York Times Magazine spends an entire issue explaining why California matters, and CalMatters wins gold for giving the state the coverage it deserves.

Image caption: Service members stand in formation during a Memorial Day service.
May 29, 2023: Memorial Day & the Death Penalty

Let’s face some hard facts—and still be able to celebrate the beginning of the best season of the year.

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