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Thousands of Southern California residents gathered in Santa Barbara on Sunday for a somber vigil in honor of the 20 victims who died in last week’s horrific mudslides in Montecito. Friends, families, neighbors and community leaders came together in solidarity outside the Santa Barbara Courthouse, with candles, signs and cathartic stories about those lost.
It was a moment for reflection amid a swift and urgent pivot toward recovery. The Central Coast’s infrastructure was also deeply affected by the tragedy that ripped apart families and destroyed scores of homes.
Among the top priorities in the cleanup effort has been repairing Highway 101, which connects Los Angeles to many communities on the coast. It remained closed on Monday, and officials have been hesitant to say when it will be reopened. Jim Shivers, a spokesman for the California Department of Transportation, said on Sunday that road crews have to deal with “massive amount of water” on the highway. It is now expected to reopen in one week.
“Once we can get that water to recede, we feel very confident that we can bring in the available equipment on standby, get down to the bottom, and move the heavy material out of the way,” he said.
As the community resolves to reconstruct damaged roads and buildings in Montecito, residents are fearful of what other natural disasters might come next. The flooding and mudslides, which were made worse by scorched earth from last month’s wildfires, came at the very beginning of California’s rainy season. And more rain is predicted on Thursday.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m scared of Mother Nature right now,” Mayor Cathy Murillo of Santa Barbara said at the vigil, The Associated Press reported.
“This was just the very first storm,” Larry Collins, an officer with the state’s emergency service, said in an interview with The Times on Saturday, surrounded by the devastation. “We don’t know what’s coming.”
• The cleanup in Montecito has begun but there’s no end in sight, reported The Los Angeles Times.
• Future floods will be top-of-mind as Montecito rebuilds, reports The Associated Press.
• Meanwhile, Santa Barbara faces an economic shock to its tourism industry after last week’s mudslides.
• Why were the mudslides deadlier than the wildfires? KQED News has an explainer.
(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)
• Thirteen siblings, some shackled to their beds, were held captive by their parents in Perris, according to initial reports from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. [The New York Times]
• Antonio Villaraigosa, the former Los Angeles mayor, accused Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom of “selling you snake oil” on universal health care during the first major debate in California’s 2018 governor’s race. [The Los Angeles Times]
• Profile: How the House majority leader Kevin McCarthy has become President Trump’s “friend and fixer.” [The Washington Post]
• A California town with deep Salvadoran influence wonders what comes next after Mr. Trump ended the “temporary protected status” for many. [The Fresno Bee]
• California’s attorney general, dismissing Mr. Trump’s claim that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is dead, said the state is taking renewal applications. [The Sacramento Bee]
• In his last year of office, don’t expect Gov. Jerry Brown to go up against Proposition 13. [The Los Angeles Times]
• In a shock to many, the San Francisco mayoral race does not have any major Chinese-American candidate. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
• Amid a housing squeeze, a city must decide whether to rebuild after last months wildfires. [The Washington Post]
• A car crashed into the second floor of a building in Santa Ana after flying about 60 feet following a crash. [The New York Times]
• Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks do better against President Trump in California than Senators. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, according to a new poll. [East Bay Times]
• The actor Antonio Sabato Jr.’s bid for Congress faces some resistance among conservatives who say certain risqué acting roles disqualify him among fellow Republicans. [The Los Angeles Times]
• There is a high surf advisory in the Bay Area, with waves expected to reach between 20 feet. [SF Gate]
• The Upshot: How California became a role model on measles vaccination. [The New York Times]
And Finally …
The Hollywood Farmers’ Market is one of the most popular in Los Angeles: Every Sunday, dozens of farmers drive in from across Southern California to set up stands along a two-block stretch of Ivar Avenue.
On any given Sunday, there is an abundant selection of strawberries, flowers, lettuce, avocados and vegetables. Although this is what is known as “winter” in Los Angeles, the market is always crowded with people and produce, and is a big source of revenue for many farmers.
This past Sunday, the market offered another way to measure the disruption caused by the mudflows in Montecito: Empty spaces. The closing of two miles of the 101, because of mud and debris, blocked farmers north of Los Angeles from driving their wares to market. Among the farmers who were unable to get there were Tutti Frutti Farms and The Garden Of….
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California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.