This editorial will go to press before the polls close on Tuesday, November 3. We wrote this issue during the frenzied, anxiety-inducing week leading up to the election. From here, it’s hard to imagine what our world may be like on November 6 when this issue of TNT arrives in local Topanga mailboxes and is published online. We gave it the theme “rebirthing,” in the hope that, whatever the outcome of the election, this will be a time of new beginnings, of coming together and moving forward, of less anxiety and more hope.

On this theme, activist and political organizer Jess Devin-Ackerman shares her perspective on overcoming differences and coming back together to do good and get things done (page 10); TNT columnist Jimmy Morgan explores the concept of “Deep Canvas,” progressive activists engaging with voters in so-called Trump country, not with arguments, but with compassion, understanding and the willingness to listen (page 11); and life and business coach Olivia Pool reflects on the importance of finding balance in our lives (page 15).

We are excited to introduce a new feature in this issue, “Storyland,” an anthology of writings by local authors (page 16). In this first selection, we spotlight the late Ken LaDuke, a Native American artist and mathematician who authored the first story in the Tehipite Terror Anthology, a collection of previously unpublished stories written by a group of lifelong friends and avid backpackers. We’ll be publishing more of this trove of stories in the coming months, along with essays, short stories and poetry submitted by our readers. If you are an author, or know an author who would be interested in contributing, we would love to hear from you! Contact us at: hello@topanganewtimes.com.

For another welcome diversion from election week chaos, don’t miss Topanga Youth Service’s annual Talent Show. This Canyon tradition is online this year and Topanga New Times is excited to be a sponsor. Tune in on November 8 at 2 p.m., Facebook.com/TopangaNewTimes. The show will also be available on topanganewtimes.com/tntv afterwards.

November 8 marks the second anniversary of the Woolsey Fire, the catastrophic wildfire that burned 96,949 acres, from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in the Simi Hills to the sea in Malibu, scorching nearly half of the Santa Monica Mountains. We mark the anniversary with a visit to the City of Malibu’s Charmlee Wilderness Park, which recently reopened to the public for the first time since the fire. This feature also embodies this issue’s theme: this time, it’s the rebirth of nature in the aftermath of wildfire (page 6).

Wildfire risk remains elevated this November, with no rain in sight. We joined state Senator Henry Stern for a look at home hardening and wildfire resiliency at a Malibu Lake home that survived the Woolsey Fire and share how the homeowners protected their house (page 18).

While the focus of the news this month has been the election, COVID-19 continues to be a major concern. The number of deaths and hospitalizations in Los Angeles County has declined, but the number of new cases daily continues to average around 1,500. Cloth face coverings and social distance remain essential. 

No matter what happens this week, at the polls, in the news, in our community, the nation, the world, we know we have a lot to be grateful for in our lives, and a lot that we can do to make the lives of others better. Thank you for being a TNT reader!

Stay safe, be well!