Q. You’ve been a big promoter of high-speed rail. Where does that fit in?
A. The high-speed rail system, like the one we are building in California, is modeled after the systems that operate in Japan or China, or France or Germany or Italy. It includes all of the safety and operational safeguards that have been learned about in earlier systems. It’s safer than walking on the sidewalk.
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• Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, on the tax plan that passed the Senate and House on Tuesday: “Simply theft — monumental, brazen theft from the American middle class and from every person who aspires to reach it.” [The New York Times]
• Twelve of California’s 14 Republican members of the House of Representatives voted for the tax bill. The two who voted against it — Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher — said residents in their wealthy districts would be hurt by the plan. [Los Angeles Times]
• As firefighters brace for the return of stronger winds, the Thomas fire officially became the second largest fire in modern California history, displacing the 2012 Rush fire, which previously held the No. 2 spot. (The statistic comes with an asterisk; Cal Fire is not counting the 44,000 acres that burned on the Nevada side of the border during the Rush fire.) [Los Angeles Times]
• Yes, something can be done about wildfires: Deschutes County, Ore., has become a national leader in promoting public education, community outreach, landscape restoration and robust emergency response. [The New York Times]
• More than five years into San Francisco’s tech boom the number of companies looking to gobble up real estate is growing, and the cost of San Francisco’s Class A office space — already the most expensive in the country — is ready to spike again. [San Francisco Chronicle]
• Uber flipped a building in downtown Oakland it bought two years ago. It sold it for $180 million to Los Angeles-based CIM Group. In 2015 Uber bought the building, a former Sears store, for $123.5 million. It was a fixer upper. [San Francisco Business Times]
• A sexual harassment prevention class for lawmakers in Sacramento: “Some people do take it seriously — and some people are on their phones, some people are cracking jokes. I would say the large majority of people are not as attentive.” [Associated Press via Sacramento Bee]
• An Orange County family kept their Christmas tree alive for 34 years running. In environmental terms, it’s the equivalent of not burning 1,200 pounds of coal. Or driving 2,668 fewer miles in your car. [Orange County Register]
• U.C. Berkeley has settled a sex harassment claim against Nezar AlSayyad, a tenured architecture professor, for $80,000. [San Francisco Chronicle]
• San Luis Obispo has a reputation for being a sleepy town in central California known for its laid-back charm. The number of tech workers in San Luis Obispo County has increased by 20 percent, to 7,800, over the past five years. [The New York Times]
• A goose with an arrow stuck in its body has been splashing around a park in San Dimas for at least three weeks. Park rangers can’t catch up with it to render aid. [Daily Bulletin]
And Finally …
The end of 2017 in California means farewell to the incandescent light bulb. On Jan. 1, California will be the first state to effectively ban the sale of the bulbs, which were first patented by Thomas Edison in 1879. Out with the incandescents, in with the LEDs, which use 80 percent less energy.
Under a deal reached in Congress during the administration of George W. Bush, California agreed to adopt more stringent standards for light bulbs two years ahead of the rest of the nation.
There are still an estimated 250 million incandescent bulbs in use in California and replacing them will save $1 billion in electricity costs annually, according to estimates published by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the environmental advocacy group.
“There’s been an LED revolution — your computer, the headlight in your car, your flashlight, you name it,” said Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist at the council. “It’s just a superior technology.”
There are a few exceptions to the ban. Incandescent bulbs will still be allowed to illuminate the inside of ovens and clothes dryers. Edison’s bulb was inefficient, producing more heat than light, but it stands up much better than LEDs to high temperatures.
California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.
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