As vaccines began rolling out, misinformation turned out to be one of the biggest threats to achieving herd immunity.
What should be a nonpartisan issue of public health continued to be just another front in a highly partisan culture war.
A surprising number of police officers — whose job is all about public safety and following laws — balked at vaccine mandates.
And even more unbelievably, Gov. Gavin Newsom sided with the powerful California prison guards union as they fought mandatory vaccines for prison guards and staff.
Meanwhile, the investigation into corruption in San Francisco politics grew to the point where I helped KQED's Joe 'Fitz' Rodriguez and Matthew Green create an interactive cartoon outlining the main players in the unfolding drama.
In San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, the opioid crisis and deaths due to fentanyl continued largely unabated ...
On the U.S.-Mexico border, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.
And what do you get when you have a guy campaigning with a live grizzly bear, another guy who likes to rant on YouTube while wearing a bathrobe and a governor leading a state with a gigantic budget surplus?
... Another couple years of Newsom.
The other big story this year (and every year for the next umpteen years) was climate change.
The Bay Area is a paradox of environmental activism and pollution-spewing oil refineries.
The summer of 2021 was much more than just "hot" ...
People suffering from wildfires of years past caused by a deadly combination of tinder-dry forests and PG&E's shoddy upkeep of its transmission lines were still waiting for a payout.
Meanwhile, the billionaire's view from space may have looked a little smokier than expected.
And sadly, many of California's giant sequoias were killed by out-of-control wildfires.
Climate change continues to bring more extreme weather as California went from fire danger to flooding in the blink of an eye.
Which, if you're in the coal business, makes it a little more difficult to sell the Bay Area on a fossil fuel distribution terminal.
In the spirit of turning over a new, upbeat leaf in 2022, I'll leave you with a slightly more uplifting cartoon about wind farms that are likely coming to the waters off California's northern coast.
Happy holidays! Here's hoping 2022 has a lot less calamity ...