View in Browser Our Journalism Needs Your Support Please Donate Today

California Local Logo
Graphic which spells out The Newsletter.

By Eric Johnson
Published Dec 18, 2023

JP Reese, a registered nurse, stands with a couple of Ukranian soldiers near the front lines of the war zone. The photo was taken by JP's bride, Dawn Davidson, two weeks after they were married in Sacramento. JP Reese, a registered nurse, stands with a couple of Ukranian soldiers near the front lines of the war zone. The photo was taken by JP's bride, Dawn Davidson, two weeks after they were married in Sacramento.

Californians Supporting Ukraine

In one of his final acts as the most powerful California Republican, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy capitulated to radical members of his party and refused to allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to address a joint meeting of Congress. Last week, as the brutal dictator Vladamir Putin predicted that Americans will grow weary of helping Ukraine defend itself against his murderous war, the same group of House members seemed to prove him right.

Meanwhile, as the progressive Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) has pointed out, House Democrats are being unhelpfully obstinate by refusing to even discuss the situation on our southern border as a condition of funding the war, making things more difficult for Zelenskyy.

In this week's edition of The Newsletter, we bring our focus to Californians who are standing with the Ukrainian people. 

Nurses on the Front Lines

My friend JP Reese is a wound nurse who has worked for the past decade as a home healthcare provider. Most Tuesday evenings we sit in a men’s group together, and occasionally JP will tell a story about visiting one of his patients, most of whom are house-bound and in serious need of his skills as a healer. It’s a powerful gift to witness the depth of his compassion—in my judgment, he was already a hero before he decided to spend his honeymoon in a warzone. 

JP and his bride, Dawn Davidson, who is also a nurse, hoped to spend the weeks after their wedding helping wounded Ukrainian soldiers. As you will see in Graham Womack's wonderful telling of their story, they were unable to accomplish that, but they found other ways to help.

While very few Californians will manage to deliver aid to Ukrainians directly, plenty are doing what they can. Tamara Warta presents here a nunber of organizations that deserve your support.

A Honeymoon in Ukraine

JP Reese (left) and Dawn Davidson (right) celebrated their union with a honeymoon spent serving others.
After their October wedding, registered nurses Dawn Davidson and JP Reese spent their honeymoon in Ukraine, where they distributed humanitarian aid.

From California to Kyiv

With the war between Russia and Ukraine dragging on, California organizations are continuing to take action in support of embattled Ukrainians.

Ambition and Luck

How former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy became Califonria's most powerful Republican leader—and how it all suddenly and predictably came to an end.

Kevin McCarthy: A Look Back

Kevin McCarthy, the Bakersfield Republican whose fall from power was even more rapid than his rise, gave a farewell speech on Dec. 14.
Many conservatives believe success is achieved through hard work. So how did California’s most prominent conservative politician reach the top? Kevin McCarthy won the lottery.

Impact Report Image for decorative use

  California Local Pin Marker  

Recent Statewide News

→ View All

• SF Hits New Record for Overdose Deaths

The fentanyl epidemic has pushed San Francisco to a grim milestone: a new record for overdoses. A total 752 people overdosed in the first 11 months of this year, surpassing 2020’s record number of 726.

(12/14/2023) → SFGate

• Newsom Touts California to Seth Meyers

Gov. Gavin Newsom defended his work and that of current or former California leaders like Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris during an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Newsom suggested conservatives focus unduly on California's failures.

(12/14/2023) → SFGate

• Commute Times Highlight Income Divide

Higher-income workers are more likely to work from home, analysis of recent census data shows. Lower-income workers can face long and solitary commutes to get to work.

(12/13/2023) → Los Angeles Times

• Michelin Guide Adds Seven California Restaurants

Three restaurants in San Francisco, three in Los Angeles and one in San Diego have been added to the Michelin Guide. Two of the SF eateries also made Esquire’s list for best new American restaurants in 2023.

(12/12/2023) → SFGate

• Assembly Group on Retail Theft to Hold First Hearing

A new select committee in the California Assembly dedicated to retail theft will hold its first hearing on Dec. 19. This allows the committee to get to work before the next legislative session on an issue that’s drawn much press for California in recent years.

(12/12/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• Supreme Court Upholds California Ban on Conversion Therapy

By declining to hear a conservative group’s challenge, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a California ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth. California is one of 22 states to ban this practice.

(12/11/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• Yosemite Trying New Strategies to Reduce Food Packaging Waste

An estimated 100,000 pizza boxes have been removed from Yosemite’s waste stream. This is because the famed park now serves pizza on trays and puts to-go portions in compostable bags, part of a move to reduce food-related waste.

(12/11/2023) → SFGate