My Ceanothus 'Ray Hartman' also suffered quite a bit this summer, and I had to prune away a lot of dead branches. Fortunately, it is also coming back strong. When these buds open up, the fragrance will be fantastic. The local pollinators will go nuts.
http://www.calflora.org/entry/dgrid.html?crn=10954. You'll have to zoom in to San Diego County to see the locations, and I think it helps to select "Show Individual Observation Points."
Although Ceanothus verrucosus might not have been found growing on the site where my house is, I'm glad to see that it is happy here. It's about 3 years old and showed no sign of distress this past summer.
Grigsby Cactus Nursery in Vista, and they don't have it all the time.
On the other hand, it is possible that it was previously more common on the coastal bluffs and around the lagoons. Like Coast Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus viridescens) it would have been considered worthless, and its removal by early farmers would have been scarcely noticed.