California Policy and Politics This Morning  

WHO names a new coronavirus variant of concern: Here’s what we know about omicron -- It’s deja vu all over again: The emergence of a new coronavirus variant has sent markets into a spiral and led some countries to again impose global travel restrictions. Mila Jasper in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 11/27/21

Court blocks COVID-19 vaccine mandate for California prisons -- A federal appeals court on Friday temporarily blocked an order that all California prison workers must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or have a religious or medical exemption. Don Thompson Associated Press -- 11/27/21

Fines, citations but no compliance: How some restaurants have defied L.A. County on COVID-19 -- Again and again, public health inspectors returned to the Italian restaurant at the Westlake Village shopping center. They found Novo Cafe serving diners indoors and out, despite a Los Angeles County order forbidding it during the worst wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to county records. Over and over, they handed out citations with a $500 fine. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/27/21

Wildfire   

‘There is nothing alive on that tree’: Inside a giant sequoia grove scorched by the KNP Complex fire -- It looked like a bomb had gone off in the vast stand of giant sequoias on a mountain ridge in the southern Sierra. Charred trees rose — some stripped of leaves and eerily skeletal — in Kings Canyon National Park’s Redwood Mountain Grove. Ash hung in the air and clawed at visitors’ throats on a chilly afternoon in November. Lila Seidman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/27/21

Black Friday  

Black Friday lacks luster as pandemic shopping habits stick -- Ashton Caudillo headed out with his father early Friday morning to the Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia looking for a hard-to-find PlayStation 5 well before the mall’s 7 a.m. opening. What they found surprised them: only a handful of other shoppers. Laurence Darmiento, Angel Carreras , Jaimie Ding , Salma Loum, Anumita Kaur in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/27/21

Inflation and supply-chain issues don’t deter Black Friday early birds -- “I thought the line would be a lot longer,” said 31-year-old Miguel Gonzalez of Linda Vista, who showed up at 4 a.m. at the Best Buy store in Mission Valley with his friend Victor Gomez. “Other years it would all the way around (the block). I just told (Victor), ‘Oh, we’re late. We’re supposed to get here at 2 or 3 a.m.” Rob Nikolewski in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 11/27/21

Gas  

Why Biden isn't to blame for California's astronomical gas prices -- The price of crude oil is the steady driver for the high price of gasoline across the country, and in the last six months crude oil prices rose because there hasn't been enough world supply to meet world demand. Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/27/21

Supply Chain  

A broken supply chain isn’t a problem for the logistics industry. It’s a moneymaking opportunity -- Thirty-thousand high-end snow globes are trapped in San Pedro Bay, split between two shipping containers on two ships in the idle flotilla offshore. One ship arrived in late September; the other in late October. They’ve been stuck at anchor ever since. Sam Dean in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/27/21

Street  

Black Friday smash-and-grab robberies put LAPD on tactical alert -- Los Angeles police late Friday were on citywide tactical alert after a wave of smash-and-grab “flash mob” robberies at high-end stores. And in Lakewood, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives were investigating a possible smash-and-grab robbery at a Home Depot after people stormed into the store Friday night and fled with sledgehammers and bolt cutters, according to authorities and a store employee. Robert J. Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/27/21

Police, retailers struggle to respond to smash-and-grab ‘flash mob’ robberies -- A surge in smash-and-grab “flash mob” robberies at luxury stores has police and retailers struggling with how to crack down on the crimes. Such thefts continued in Los Angeles as organized groups descended on stores and grabbed expensive merchandise in pre-Thanksgiving raids around the city. Richard Winton, Andrew J. Campa, Doug Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/27/21

Chokehold at center of a new excessive-force lawsuit against San Diego sheriff, county -- Michael Keeler was at his parents’ home in Fallbrook in February of last year when he noticed four San Diego sheriff’s deputies walking toward the house. He approached the deputies to ask what he could do for them. Jeff McDonald in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 11/27/21

Homeless  

Glendale’s homeless community lost access to showers during the pandemic. A nonprofit sees racism -- At the outset, in May 2020, there appeared to be little that could cause controversy around a program offering showers to homeless people in Glendale. Lila Seidman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/27/21

Guns  

Prominent Conservatives Back Letting States Limit Guns in Public -- A brief filed in a major gun control case to be heard on Wednesday by the Supreme Court argued that limits on the public carrying of weapons were consistent with the Second Amendment. Adam Liptak in the New York Times$ -- 11/27/21

Breathe  

Ahead of California's Ban on Gas-Powered Tools, Some Landscapers Call the State's Subsidy Inadequate -- Though Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill banning the sale of most new gas powered tools by 2024, gardeners and landscapers say a $30 million state subsidy isn’t nearly enough to help small operators make the switch to electric. Jesse Bedayn KQED -- 11/27/21

Also . . .   

He sued SeaWorld to liberate the whales. Then he started getting postcards from them -- In 2018, Matthew Strugar received a postcard from a whale. Anita Chabria in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/27/21