Essential California: Divergent paths for two GOP reps in swing districts

Rep. Mike Garcia greets supporters
Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) greets campaign supporters in Simi Valley in January 2020. Garcia represents a swing district in the suburbs north of Los Angeles and backed former President Trump’s efforts to block the election certification.
(Michael Blood / Associated Press)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Feb. 8, and here’s a quick look at the week ahead:

The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins Tuesday in the U.S. Senate.

[See also: “Senate readies Trump impeachment trial for a divided nation” in the Los Angeles Times]

The Lunar New Year — the biggest holiday in many Asian communities — begins on Friday. Here are some Bay Area virtual celebrations, and some Cantonese Lunar New Year feasts in Los Angeles.

[See also: “‘Drama. Competition. Fear’: Those lucky red envelopes for the Lunar New Year yield much more than cash” in the Los Angeles Times]


The Daytona 500 is on Sunday in Florida.

Sunday is also Valentine’s Day.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

For two California Republicans, diverging approaches to former President Trump loom large: Reps. Mike Garcia and David Valadao are both California Republicans in swing districts. Garcia backed former President Trump’s efforts to block the election certification, while Valadao voted for impeachment. Both have faced backlash that could complicate their reelection efforts. Two years can be a lifetime in politics, and with congressional district lines being redrawn this year, there’s more uncertainty than usual. But at the moment, both members find themselves playing defense: Garcia primarily from Democrats eager to win back his seat; Valadao from his own party’s right flank. Los Angeles Times

A tentative deal to reopen San Francisco schools: “Unions representing San Francisco Unified School District employees and district officials announced a tentative agreement Sunday to safely reopen the city’s public schools — a major step in a contentious, months-long debate that pitted city officials against district leaders.” San Francisco Chronicle

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An L.A. community clinic in a hard-hit Latino neighborhood received only 100 vaccines for its 12,000 patients. “We are in the eye of the storm,” the clinic’s medical director said. “But nobody is reaching out and responding to my cries of passion and frustration.” Los Angeles Times

L.A.’s first lady, Amy Wakeland, navigates shifting political fortunes in the final Garcetti years. An illuminating profile of the mayor’s wife — a woman who largely operates behind the scenes, but has helped steer her husband’s political career. Los Angeles Times


Mayor Eric Garcetti and First Lady Amy Wakeland
There was a time when “The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)” from “Star Wars” would sound from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s phone any time his wife Amy Wakeland was calling. The mayor said he employed the special ring “tongue in cheek.”
(Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images)

Angeleno Amanda Gorman became the first poet to perform at the Super Bowl on Sunday. Read and watch her poem celebrating the contributions of the game’s three honorary captains: educator Trimaine Davis, nurse manager Suzie Dorner and Marine Corps veteran James Martin. Los Angeles Times

[In other Super Bowl news, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers crushed the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9, for Tom Brady’s seventh Super Bowl win.]

Everyone from Dwayne Johnson to Kate Hudson is vying to be the next George Clooney in the increasingly crowded field of liquor startups. But replicating Clooney’s Casamigos success isn’t just a matter of matching celebrity with spirit; plenty of such partnerships have fizzled. The Hollywood Reporter


George Shultz, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of State who shaped foreign policy in the Cold War, dies at 100. Shultz spent his later years in the Bay Area as a Republican Party elder statesman, teaching economics at Stanford University. Los Angeles Times


Two small children kidnapped Saturday during a car theft in San Francisco have been reunited with their father. But the two suspects — who later abandoned the vehicle with the children in it — remain at large. San Francisco Chronicle


Some California churches opened their doors Sunday after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the state’s ban on indoor worship services during the pandemic, ruling that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s strict orders appear to violate the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion. Los Angeles Times

An interview with the head of the San Francisco Board of Education about the decision to rename 44 San Francisco schools: You may think you’ve already heard more than enough about the controversy. But trust me, this interview is worth the read. The New Yorker

In Napa County, some library employees have a new task: staffing a hotline to help seniors navigate the vaccine process. There has been enough demand already for the hotline’s services that the library’s main Napa branch has chosen to reduce its operating hours to dedicate more staff to answering the phones. Napa Valley Register

A poem to to start your week: “In Goya’s Greatest Scenes We Seem to See...” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Poetry Foundation

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Los Angeles: partly sunny, 70. San Diego: sunny, 63. San Francisco: fog, 55. San Jose: cloudy, 63. Fresno: more clouds, 66. Sacramento: still cloudy, 63.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California:

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (Feb. 8, 1990), L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl (Feb. 9, 1941), Disney chairman Bob Iger (Feb. 10, 1951), surfer Kelly Slater (Feb. 11, 1972) and former Black Flag frontman/columnist Henry Rollins (Feb. 13, 1961).

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.