In California: Should California buy coastal homes threatened by sea level rise?

·5 min read

Plus: Songwriter Diane Warren saves escaped cow, and female mountain lion is set free.

I'm Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, coming to you from beautiful Rancho Mirage, where the sun is shining outside and the A/C is cranking inside. Here are some of the latest headlines from this great state of ours.

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Pelosi announces House select committee to investigate Jan. 6 attack

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Calling the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 "a day of darkness," California-based House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday she will create a select committee to investigate the riot.

“It is imperative we seek the truth about what happened," Pelosi said. She decided to create the select committee “with great solemnity and sadness” because she would have preferred a bipartisan committee, she said.

The House passed a bill creating such a committee but it was blocked by Senate Republicans last month in a move Pelosi described Thursday as "cowardly."

"It’s clear Republicans are afraid of the truth," she said.

Pelosi said she would have preferred an outside commission, "but I had no (intention) of walking away from our responsibility.”

The select committee “will investigate and report on the facts and the causes of the attack and report recommendations for the prevention” of another attack, Pelosi said.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, on Thursday called the move to create a select committee "raw gut politics."

The House impeached Trump on Jan. 13 on charges of inciting the insurrection; the Senate, led by Republicans, voted to acquit him.

Songwriter Diane Warren saves escaped cow from slaughter

Diane Warren
Diane Warren

Heroes come in all forms.

Yesterday, this newsletter reported on 40 cows that escaped a slaughterhouse and ended up in a Los Angeles suburb. Today comes the news that Grammy, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriter Diane Warren has stepped in to save one of them.

The Associated Press reports that the fugitive cow, who disappeared in the nation's most populous county, had become somewhat of a celebrity by the time it was located before dawn Thursday in the Whittier Narrows recreation area in South El Monte, about 10 miles from downtown L.A.

Upon news of its apprehension, Warren, who penned such hits as Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" contacted officials, offering to personally adopt the animal and arranging to have it sent to the Farm Sanctuary north of Los Angeles, City Manager Steve Carmona announced via press conference.

“I had to do something,” the songwriter tweeted.

Yahoo! News reports that prior to the capture of the elusive cow, Warren tweeted: “This breaks my (expletive) heart. These poor babies escaping for their lives. They know their fate. How cruel human beings are.”

Young mountain lion released in California

A young female mountain lion goes free for the first time.
A young female mountain lion goes free for the first time.

In other animal news, wildlife officials released a young female mountain lion into the mountains of Orange County this week after it was rehabilitated at the San Diego Humane Society.

"This is the first time we've released a younger female lion, so it's significant for us," said Dr. Deanna Clifford of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. "She's basically a teenager going out on her own for the first time, and we've tried to help her get to the teenage stage so she's old enough, so that is really significant. And we're hoping that she can contribute to the Orange County population in the Santa Ana mountains... If we get lucky and she breeds and has kittens, then we've done our job."

Head on over to USA Today to see a video of the release.

California considering purchasing beachfront houses threatened by sea level rise

More than a dozen people were on a beachfront balcony in Malibu, California, when it collapsed nearly 15 feet onto rocks and sand below.
More than a dozen people were on a beachfront balcony in Malibu, California, when it collapsed nearly 15 feet onto rocks and sand below.

We've all read about the devastating condo collapse in Miami, but what about the beachfront homes along the California coast that are threatened by rising seas?

A report from Scientific American says the state is considering purchasing the doomed properties and renting them out until the time comes for them to be demolished.

The article states: "The goal is finding a less explosive way to implement the volatile idea of managed retreat or removing homes threatened by waves. Many Golden State lawmakers and regulators back that idea over armoring California's iconic coastline with sea walls that experts say accelerate beach erosion."

But not all politicians are on board with the idea. "You have areas that are already experiencing flooding, that the sea is starting to rise," state Sen. Ben Allen (D) said. "We're finding, of course, that buying out local residents, relocating them, it's been very controversial and, in some instances, cost prohibitive."

As an example, the report states that recouping the investment of one $4 million beachfront house would require approximately $550 per day in rent, every day for 20 years.

As an alternative, Allen is considering legislation that would tell the state's Ocean Protection Council to consider which properties could generate enough revenue to repay the loan.

Good weather and moist ocean air aid firefighters in California's coastal mountain range

Members of the Little Tujunga Hot Shots take a break after fighting the Willow Fire near the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Carmel Valley, Calif., Wednesday, June 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Nic Coury)
Members of the Little Tujunga Hot Shots take a break after fighting the Willow Fire near the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Carmel Valley, Calif., Wednesday, June 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Nic Coury)

An influx of moist and cool ocean air helped more than 500 firefighters who were working to suppress a forest fire burning in California coastal mountains near a remote Buddhist monastery south of Big Sur.

The fire was just under 4.5 square miles. Firefighters took advantage of the weather to continue improving fire control lines, Los Padres National Forest officials said.

The improved conditions were expected to continue through Thursday. But the fire remains a threat to about 125 homes and other buildings, including the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

Seven firefighting monks have been clearing brush and running a sprinkler system dubbed “Dharma rain,” which helps keep moisture around the buildings, said Sozan Miglioli, president of San Francisco Zen Center, which operates the monastery.

In the Sierra Nevada, a separate wildfire in the Whitney Portal area was calm overnight after growing to nearly 500 acres, and clouds and increased humidity helped to slow the fire's growth, officials with the Inyo National Forest said.

In California is a roundup of news from across USA Today network newsrooms. Also contributing: Associated Press, Scientific American, Yahoo! News. We'll be back in your inbox tomorrow with the latest headlines.

As the philanthropy and special sections editor at The Desert Sun, Winston Gieseke writes about nonprofits, fundraising and people who give back in the Coachella Valley. Reach him at winston.gieseke@desertsun.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Should state buy coastal homes threatened by sea level rise?

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