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Essential California: Did you care what your neighbor thought about your lawn?
Robin Abcarian Commentary, news and analysis
Living on tinder hooks in forest fire country

From this teensy town, which bills itself as the "exact center of California," the Willow fire did not look especially menacing. White smoke billowed up, away from people, away from homes, into the Sierra National Forest's clear blue sky.

Scattered homes and two campgrounds near the fire area had been evacuated over the weekend, but no one sought refuge with the Red Cross in Oakhurst until Thursday,...

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Man says racial harassment, including a noose, drove him from the job he loved

In April 2014, Nicholas P. was about four months into a job as assistant construction superintendent on a housing project in the East Bay suburb of Lafayette when a new boss arrived.

"The first thing he tells me is, 'I need to see your resume,'" Nick told me. "He looked at it and looked at me and said, 'Something is missing.' I said 'What's missing?' He said, 'I don't see any penitentiary time on...

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You go, girl: Zoey Tur gets aggressive with a bully from Breitbart News

You know that scene in a movie when the bully gets his comeuppance?

And you know how you cheer even though you know physical aggression is wrong, but you are thinking hey, someone had to teach this guy a lesson?

That was pretty much my reaction as I watched Zoey Tur’s now well-known interaction with Breitbart News Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro last week on “Dr. Drew on Call,” the Headline News talk...

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A first-hand look at lane-splitting from a motorcyclist's perspective

The motorcyclist merged onto the I-5 at Riverside Drive. In a tight ecru leather jacket, jeans that hugged her like a second-skin and black spike-heeled boots, she was dressed to kill.

I just hoped she wasn't going to kill me.

I was on the back of her bike, wearing dorky jeans and a look of pure terror.

Susanna Schick had offered to show me what it's like to ride a motorcycle between cars during rush...

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Fort Bragg to California lawmakers: Hell no, our name won't go

How small is this town?

Let’s put it this way: When you ask the City Hall receptionist to see the mayor, she directs you to FloBeds, two blocks away.

There, in an office at the back of a mattress store festooned with his wife’s colorful quilts, Dave Turner sits at his paper-strewn desk, prepping for the afternoon’s joint meeting of the Fort Bragg City Council and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors....

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A farmer's straight talk on the drought: Listen up, city dwellers

It was heating up in the San Joaquin Valley this week. Joe Del Bosque, a farmer who had to make some hard decisions this year, was driving toward an asparagus field he's about to plow under. The windshield of his white Yukon was splattered with dead bugs. He didn't seem to notice.

As he drove, he told me a story that has become all too familiar in the last few months.

His sister was at a dinner party...

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