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By Eric Johnson
Published Dec 11, 2023

California's Revolutionary Culture

In this week’s edition of the newsletter, we wish a happy 90th birthday to Lou Adler—a peerless impresario, brilliant producer of music and films, and a great Californian.

Lou’s first megahit was, fittingly, “California Dreamin’,” by the Mamas & the Papas—unless you count “Surf City,” by Jan and Dean, or “Wonderful World,” which Lou co-wrote with Sam Cooke. His biggest hit record was Carole King’s Tapestry, which won a Grammy in 1972 and is widely considered one of the greatest pop albums of all time. A man of vast depth and breadth, he also discovered Cheech and Chong and produced their first movie, Up in Smoke. And oh, that’s right, he gave us The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I would argue that Lou Adler’s most significant cultural contribution was the Monterey Pop Festival, and even more so the movie, Monterey Pop, which let the world see that something explosive was happening in California in 1967, and not just on the stage. Which gives us a segue to introduce this week’s first story.


Bringing California Music to the World

Monterey Pop is widely remembered for introducing both The Who and Jimi Hendrix (who got his start in London) to America. More importantly, if you ask me, the movie also introduced the California sound to a broad audience. The festival featured then-upstart bands from San Francisco including Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin, and brought them together for the first time with their counterparts from Southern California—The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and the Mamas & the Papas, who were the headlining act (!).

As you may have noticed, here at California Local, we are not shy about bragging up the fact that our state leads the world in many regards. While we mostly focus on the democratic institutions of government, policy and politics, this week my colleague Sharan Street presents a magnum opus about California music documentaries.

We all know in our bones how important cultural products like music and movies can be. Even just reading a little bit about the 50-plus films presented here gives a glimpse into the richness and diversity that defines California, and, more and more, the United States. And here’s how important one of these movies was to me: I’m pretty sure that if I had not seen Monterey Pop when I was in high school, I might still be in New Jersey. I was already predisposed to California thanks to my pre-adolescent passion for the Beach Boys, and it was the Dead that fully sealed the deal—but as I was reminded while listening to the still-mindblowing Monterey Pop soundtrack yesterday, when I witnessed the revolutionary scene captured by D.A. Pennebaker in his film of the world’s first big rock festival, it sparked a flame in my teenage heart that still burns. So, thanks, Lou Adler, and happy birthday!

On that note:


California Music Docs


Tune in, turn on, and drop into these California-focused documentaries—only some of which are about the ’60s San Francisco sound.

Green Giving, Cali Style

Sustainable shopping may or may not have been invented in California, but the notion certainly thrives here. In this piece, the first by our new colleague Veronica Yoo, you will find a bunch of cool earth-friendly stuff to make your people happy.


Sustainable Solstice


Looking for greener gifts? Buy local, try organic, and embrace upcycling with goods from these California makers.


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Big Brothers Big Sisters logo Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brother Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong, enduring, professionally supported mentorship. The chapter serves Sacramento and Yolo counties, as well as southern Placer County.

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From Our Media Allies

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The Dirt logo Grief Support During the Holidays

The Dirt interviewed Debra Chapman and Elisa Stone to learn about the services and support offered by YoloCares to comfort those who are grieving.

The Dirt logo Instagrammable Davis

UC Davis ranks as the country’s fourth most instagrammable university. Analysts looked at how many times 100 university hashtags were publicly used, and UCD students showed up.

The Dirt logo Hope & Understanding in 2023

Carmel Raviv, a sophomore at UC Davis, shares her thoughts on Jewish identity and culture—and how we can support each other during these challenging times.

The Dirt logo Purple Tree Cafe to Open Brick & Mortar

Purple Tree Cafe, a pop-up bakery in Davis, plans to expand to a brick & mortar location on the UC Davis Medical Center campus, where the nonprofit will expand to a more broad selection of food.

West Sacramento News Ledger logo Santa Receives a Little Help, From Horses

The West Sacramento Trail Riders Association, a group of horse owners and enthusiasts, has conducted their Trot for Tots toy drive for the past 15 years.

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Recent Local News

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• Davis City Council to Consider Village Farms Alternatives for EIR

Village Farms is the first of possibly five Measure J projects to undergo CEQA review ahead of a potential Measure J vote in the spring of 2025.

(12/08/2023) → Davis Vanguard

• Davis League of Women Voters Releases Survey on Housing Concerns

The organization presents a General Plan and Community Vision Committee Project Report to the city.

(12/07/2023) → The California Aggie

• Woodland’s New Mayor Takes Up Duties

Tania Garcia-Cadena was sworn in as Woodland’s mayor as part of the city’s annual mayoral rotation. Rich Lansburgh, the District 1 rep, became Woodland’s next mayor pro-tempore.

(12/07/2023) → Daily Democrat

• Council Adopts City’s Housing Element for Third Time

It was déjà vu for the Davis City Council on Dec. 5. The group has adopted the city’s revised 2021-2029 Housing Element (Version 3).

(12/07/2023) → Read the full Davis Enterprise report

• Right Wing Group Files Suit on Behalf of Moms for Liberty Against Yolo County Library

Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit against the Yolo County Library for an incident that happened in late August that triggered nearly a month’s worth of bomb threats to the library and school district.

(12/06/2023) → Davis Vanguard

• Yolo County’s Dr. Tico Zendejas Takes Over New Duties

Yolo County has made a strategic move within its leadership team as Dr. Tico Zendejas transitions from the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to take on the pivotal role of branch director for the Service Centers Branch of the Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency.

(12/06/2023) → Daily Democrat

• Two UC Davis Graduates Create New Fabric to Revitalize the Fashion Industry

Akshay Sethi and Moby Ahmed were seniors at UC Davis in 2015 when they came up with the idea for a textile recycling company. In 2023, they have since made deals with major fashion labels.

(12/06/2023) → The California Aggie

• Sacramento DA Adds to Lawsuit Against City Over Homelessness Response

Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho is adding environmental violations to his lawsuit against the city of Sacramento over what he calls its failure to act regarding the homelessness crisis.

(12/06/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• As Atmospheric Rivers Become More Frequent, California Expands Research to Prepare

A new law expanding California’s atmospheric river research program goes into effect next year. It connects flood and reservoir control operations with new technologies and strategies that can help operators accurately predict the arrival of these storms.

(12/05/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Consulting Services Approved to Begin Prop. 218 Efforts

Voter approval would provide funding for Winters Fire Department staff and equipment.

(12/04/2023) → Winters Express
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Recent Statewide News

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• 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

• Here’s Why It’s Getting Harder to Buy Car Insurance in California

Californians have said they experienced added difficulty over the past year in getting car insurance. Insurer rates have gone up more than usual.

(12/10/2023) → CalMatters

• State Releases EIR for Delta Tunnel

The California Department of Water Resources released an environmental impact report for a tunnel that the state would like to build through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The report identifies potential impacts to farmland, tribal remains and endangered species of fish.

(12/08/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• Coyotes More Likely To Turn Up at Wealthier Properties in San Francisco

A coyote recently was found at the $27 million Russian Hill home of AI mogul Sam Altman. This relates to a study, which found that coyote sightings were more frequent in higher-income areas of San Francisco.

(12/08/2023) → SFGate

• Thousands of Migrant Farmworker Apartments Sit Vacant for Months

Even though California is facing a crippling housing shortage, one potential source remains untapped. The state allows thousands of apartments used for part of the year by farmworkers to otherwise sit vacant for three to six months.

(12/07/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• At-Home COVID Tests Can Be Reimbursable in California

Although the federal government is providing four free COVID tests per month, that’s not the only way to get them. Aetna and Blue Shield of California members can be reimbursed for up to eight at-home tests per month, while Kaiser Permanente is offering discounts on tests.

(12/07/2023) → KQED

• Native American Tribe to Get Back 40 Acres of Land from State

The Fort Independence Indian Community is getting the Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at no cost in 2024. Native Americans had lived on this land for centuries before the hatchery’s construction.

(12/06/2023) → SFGate

• State Might Soon Require Replacing Broken A/C Units

California energy regulators are considering requiring homeowners to replace broken air-conditioning systems with heat pumps or HVAC systems that are more energy efficient. The change would go into effect in 2026.

(12/06/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• Moms Who Suffer Domestic Abuse Can Lose Their Kids. But Does This Policy Make Any Sense?

California’s “failure to protect” law allows child welfare agencies to take kids from households scarred by domestic violence. Advocates say the separation can worsen a family’s trauma.

(12/06/2023) → CalMatters

• High-Speed Rail Project Connecting SoCal to Las Vegas Wins Grant

Private company Brightline secured a $3 billion grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation toward a 218-mile high-speed rail line from Rancho Cucamonga to Las Vegas. The line would allow people to make the trip to Sin City in a little over two hours.

(12/05/2023) → Los Angeles Times

• DMV Shift Appears to Spur Drop in ‘No Party Preference’ Voter Sign-Ups

The California Department of Motor Vehicles changed its voter registration process in 2019 to put a party selection dropdown on the same page. Since then, the number of people registering as Republicans or Democrats has jumped close to 20 points.

(12/04/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• New Assembly Labor Committee Chair Faces Ongoing Worker Unrest, but Scores Some Wins

With nine months’ experience in the Assembly, Liz Ortega will lead the Labor committee after a strike-filled summer and several wins for low-wage workers.

(12/04/2023) → CalMatters

• Oakland Might Have to Pay Developers Millions Over Coal Terminal

An Alameda County judge ruled on Nov. 22 that the city of Oakland thwarted a proposed coal export terminal. The judge will rule if the developer who sued is entitled to $159 million in damages or moving forward with the project.

(12/04/2023) → KQED
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Government Announcements

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Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (12/08/2023)

Community Park Pump Track Closed Due To Inclement Weather

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (12/06/2023)

Sycamore Park Path Work Ends Dec. 13

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (11/30/2023)

Putah Creek Path from South Davis to UCD Closed During Winter Break Starting Dec. 18

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (11/30/2023)

Old Lincoln Hwy Multi-Use Path Tree Trimming Starts Dec. 6

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (11/29/2023)

Mace Redesign Final Message 11.30.23

Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (11/28/2023)

Holiday Events in Woodland

Festivities highlighted by Tree Lighting and Holiday Parade
Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (11/27/2023)

Candy Land at the Public Library Returns on Dec. 16

The library children's area will transform into a life-sized board game
Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (11/27/2023)

Freeze Warning - November 27, 2023

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (11/21/2023)

Sycamore Park Phase 2 Paving Starts Nov. 27

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (11/20/2023)

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