Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024

You Shared What You Love About California

For weeks, you have been writing to me about why you love California and what our state means to you.

Your tributes have been a delight to read, and a welcome antidote to the grim news that often surrounds us. You wrote about your quaint beach town, your intrepid grandmother who relocated your family to the Golden State, and the diverse community where you raised your children.

Today I’m sharing some of these reader responses, lightly edited for clarity. You can email me your own California love letter at [email protected].

“I grew up in San Diego and went to medical school at the Ohio State University, where I experienced the coldest winter on record at the time. I met my husband at O.S.U. and told him while we were dating, ‘If you want to marry me, we have to live in San Diego.’ He had never been. He came home with me for winter break and experienced a San Diego winter. I bought him his first pair of flip flops and we walked the Del Mar beach. He was sold. We moved back for residency, raised our three kids in San Diego minutes from my parents and have been here ever since. I love the year-round outdoor playground, watching the dolphins playing in the surf while walking on the bluffs, the nearby mountain trails, and I’m mesmerized by the gorgeous Pacific sunsets.” — Kristin Hampshire, Del Mar

“After a year of backpacking through Europe in 1974, my kindergarten school friend Martha lured me out to San Francisco with promises of fine weather, lots of hippies, a burgeoning gay community and food like in Europe. A week later, I was driving over the Bay Bridge into San Francisco. The fog was pouring over Twin Peaks, the sun shining down, and at that moment I knew I was home, never to go roaming again.” Joe Grubb, San Francisco

“I came to Davis with my husband and 1-year-old daughter 28 years ago. We had a son three years later. My kids biked to school from kindergarten through high school. They had birthdays in neighborhood parks. I walk the green belts of Davis, with friends, with family and alone, listening to music and listening to the birds. I see Swainson’s hawks peering from electric cables down into the tomato farms surrounding the town. There is no place I would rather be than in this sweet, green town in Central Valley.” — Poornima Balasubramanyam, Davis

“I love the state — north and south, east and west. I always answer, ‘I wasn’t born here, but it’s where my life began.’” — Kay Wilson, Desert Hot Springs

“I’ve lived in California for over 50 years, first in San Francisco and now Santa Barbara. One of my most magical moments was hiking to a hot mineral spring on the coast of Big Sur with my wife early on a chilly morning, 2 or 3 a.m., relaxing into the hot water as we watched bioluminescence dance atop the breaking waves as they crashed onto the coast.” — Richard Finn, Santa Barbara

“Being born and raised a U.S. Army brat, you learn to belong in any place pretty fast. When I left my parents’ house, I came to Los Angeles and moved in with my older sister. One day we decided to go to the beach and it was a long, hot grueling drive with many mistaken turns (Culver City, I’m looking at you). When we finally drove into Santa Monica, I was suddenly aware of how happy everyone seemed to be: People walking, in their cars, riding bikes, even at bus stops people were happy. It struck me that I more than belonged here; for the first time in my life, I had come home. And we hadn’t even gotten to the beach yet.” — Susan Alinsangan, Santa Monica

If you read one story, make it this

The New York Times just published an excellent Los Angeles reading list.

The rest of the news

Colorado River: California, Arizona and Nevada have coalesced around a plan to voluntarily conserve a large part of the water they take from the Colorado River, The Washington Post reports.

Burning Man: Festival organizers are trying to block plans to build a clean energy plant in the Nevada desert, highlighting the struggle to combat climate change and the cost of clean power.

Condors: Scientists are working to improve the breeding success of the condor. Their secret assistant: a plastic, 3-D printed, sensor-laden “smart egg.”

Save the salmon: The state plans to invest $60 million to construct a channel along the Yuba River that will allow endangered salmon to circumvent a gold-rush-era dam and spawn in their native habitats, The Associated Press reports.


Major league soccer: San Diego is expected to get the 30th team franchise in the M.L.S., The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Love on the picket line: Hollywood writers on strike attended a singles event at a taco restaurant a short walk from the Universal picket line, hoping to find a little more than solidarity.

Deputy gangs: The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has ordered nearly three dozen deputies who are suspected of gang activity to come in for questioning, The Los Angeles Times reports.


‘Stay out and stay alive’: As increased runoff from the Sierra Nevada leads to hazardous, racing rapids, officials warn residents to stay out of the Kern River, KERO-TV reports.


Tesla crash: Newly unsealed records show that the wife of Dharmesh Patel, who drove his Tesla off a cliff in January, told the authorities that her husband intentionally drove off the cliff to try to kill his family, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Tupac Shakur Way: Oakland will rename a stretch of a city street in honor of Tupac Shakur, The Associated Press reports

Where we’re traveling

Today’s tip comes from Karen Sjogren, who recommends Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego:

“Be sure to do the Bayside Trail if you’re able, with stunning views of the bay and downtown San Diego. The monument is also next to the beautiful Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, where many World War II veterans are laid to rest, with the ocean as a backdrop.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Tell us

My colleague Jill Cowan reported on the enduring fame of P-22, a mountain lion that became an icon for Angelenos.

While there have been plenty of famous domesticated animals, we want to hear about any wild animals that became celebrities to you. Did you have a bird, bear or deer in your community that you became attached to? Tell us about it and why you became a fan. Email us at [email protected] with your suggestions.

And before you go, some good news

The Michelin Guide announced on Wednesday that 19 new restaurants had been added to its California dining guide. The latest batch focuses on Northern California dining spots, Eater San Francisco reports.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

Isabella Grullón Paz and Johnna Margalotti contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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