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By Eric Johnson
Published Oct 23, 2023

Image credit: TierneyMJ, Shutterstock

The Folks Who Gave You the Beach

I often say that I love California the way only someone from New Jersey can love California—partly because I grew up spending summers at the Jersey shore. I forgive you if you’re smirking, but please forget the television show. Yes, much of the shore is heavily commercialized, but New Jersey has some very beautiful beaches, and like many Jerseyans, I fell in love with the ocean at a young age. 

As you might imagine, as soon as I laid eyes on the pristine beaches of California, which happened along the stretch of Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz, I was smitten. And here’s the thing: When I was growing up, many of the most beautiful beaches in New Jersey were private and off-limits. That remained true until four years ago, when Gov. Phil Murphy, invoking the Public Trust Doctrine codified by the Roman Emperor Justinian around 500 CE, signed legislation ensuring that the public has access to New Jersey’s shorelines and tidal waters.

If as a Californian, the idea of a private beach appalls you, I want you to consider that the public beach did not happen by accident. The notion of a private beach is unfathomable here because in California, with enough effort, the government can often be made to work for the people. As you will see in Jon Vankin’s article below, it was citizen activism that created the California Coastal Commission, which has worked to ensure that all California beaches are open to the public—and that the California coast does not look like the Jersey shore.

And: What happens when a big clean-energy plan challenges our notions of a pristine coastline? We shall see.

Protecting OUR Precious Coast

The California Coastal Commission has made the state a leader in two big ways. First, by protecting 800-plus miles of precious coastline, and next by ensuring that it’s accessible to the public.

California Coastal Commission: Where It Comes From, What It Does

Since 1972, the California Coastal Commission has ruled over the state’s shoreline.
What is the California Coastal Commission? How one of the state’s most powerful agency protects public access to the state’s scenic coast from Mexico to Oregon.

The Fantastical Wind Farms of the Future

Imagine hundreds of wind turbines, each as tall as a 70-story building, each with three 450-foot blades, floating in deep ocean waters miles off the coast of California. These wind farms of the future will provide clean energy for millions of homes and are a key element of the state’s climate action plan. But only if the California Coastal Commission approves their development.

Wind Turbine Developments off Central Coast on ‘Fast Track’

There is a wind-turbine arms race underway in China, which already manufactures windmills whose blades sweep an area the size of 10 football fields per spin.
Ocean wind farms are essential to electrify California’s grid with 100% clean energy. But they’re a giant, costly experiment—no one knows how hundreds of towering turbines will transform the remote North Coast.

Building Democracy in the Golden State

Vankin’s Coastal Commission article is one of 47 similar explainers (including one called “Explanatory Journalism, Explained”) which are gathered in his upcoming book. The true stories about how California’s many progressive policies came into existence is actually quite a read. I believe you might find even his brief synopsis inspiring.

‘How California Works’—a Synopsis of California Local’s First Book

California is one of the most complex political entities in the world. California Local’s upcoming book explains it all in 46 fascinating chapters.
California Local enters the world of book publishing with its upcoming book, ‘How California Works,’ explaining the inner workings of this ‘most American state.’

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Direct your browser to to catch up on the latest news in California and Yolo County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!

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Recent Local News

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• New South Sacramento Trail Seeks to Expand Options for Transit

As part of the city’s effort to enhance infrastructure in underserved areas, Sacramento announced the completion of the South Sacramento River Parkway Trail West, which connects Meadowview to the soon-to-be-finished Del Rio Trail.

(10/20/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• With Wildfires Growing, California Writes New Rules on Where to Plant Shrubs

California has long had the strongest defensible space rules in the country. Now, it's drafting rules that would make it the first state to limit the vegetation directly next to buildings.

(10/20/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Winters City Council Discusses Paseo Park Design

Multiple plans for Paseo Park have been left abandoned, with the city council and Winters residents wanting it to be much more than what it currently is.

(10/19/2023) → Winters Express

• How Many Mountain Lions Live in California?

California biologists have long wondered: How many mountain lions live in the state? New research offers an answer.

(10/19/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Full Rice Crop Set to Win Back Lost Markets

After idling half the state’s normal rice acreage last year due to water shortages, farmers of the grain are back in full force in the Sacramento Valley.

(10/19/2023) → Daily Democrat

• UC Davis Moves from No. 10 to No. 6 on U.S. News and World Report Ranking of Public Universities

Students share their thoughts on the change in ranking.

(10/19/2023) → The California Aggie

• Woodland City Council Celebrates Yolo County Hero Paul Bridge

In honor of “Extra Mile Day” on Nov. 1, a day meant to recognize people fueling positive change in the community, the Woodland City Council recognized Bridge’s accomplishments through a mayoral proclamation.

(10/19/2023) → Daily Democrat

• Deos Announces Candidacy for Davis City Council

Linda Deos has announced her candidacy to run for Davis City Council in District 2, representing much of Davis north of Covell, and in between Oak and CA-113.

(10/18/2023) → Davis Vanguard
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Recent Statewide News

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• Comprehensive Study of West Antarctic Ice Sheet Finds Collapse May be Unavoidable

The report, published in the journal Nature Climate Communications, is a warning that one of the worst sea-level rise scenarios scientists have cautioned about since the 1970s is most likely in progress and that little can be done to stop it.

(10/23/2023) → Read the full report

• Graphic Novel Illustrates Plight of Mountain Lions

Written by Center for Biological Diversity scientist Tiffany Yap and illustrated by artist Meital Smith, “Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma’s Journey” takes the reader through diverse habitats, across busy freeways and inside science labs to learn about one mountain lion’s survival story.

(10/20/2023) → YubaNet

• California’s Broadband Plan Sold Low-Income Regions Short, Advocates Say

After years of planning a broadband system to bridge California’s digital divide, officials deprioritized some low-income areas due to unexpected costs. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’s committed to funding the entire network, but advocates are skeptical.

(10/18/2023) → CalMatters

• Tiny Homes for the Homeless—Do They Help Solve the Problem?

Tiny homes are increasingly California cities’ shelter option of choice — but how far they go in solving homelessness is a contentious question.

(10/18/2023) → CalMatters
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Government Announcements

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Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (10/20/2023)

Covell Water Line Project Finishing; Road Striping Oct. 23

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (10/20/2023)

Mace Redesign Update 10.20.23

Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (10/18/2023)

Additional Opportunities for Zoning Code Input

Join the City at one of our public workshops about the Draft Comprehensive Zoning Code
Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (10/18/2023)

North Pole Line Paving Nearly Complete; Striping 10/18-10/20

Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (10/17/2023)

Woodland Celebrates Sister City Visit

Delegates from La Piedad visited town from October 4 - 7
Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (10/17/2023)

Successful 'Global Rice Fest Founders Night' Sets Course for 2024 Public Festival

The City of Woodland will partner with Yolo Food Bank and many community stakeholders on the Fall 2024 event
Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (10/17/2023)

10.17.23 Statement from Mayor Will Arnold on Violence in the Middle East

Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (10/16/2023)

Jack Slaven Water Feature Closes for the Season

Jack Slaven water feature will close on Sunday, October 22 for the season.
Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (10/16/2023)

Visit the City's Open Space Areas This Fall

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (10/13/2023)

Mace Redesign Update 10.13.23