I also live in CA and have lots of oak leaves. I also try to avoid the work involved in deliberate composting and try to minimize the amount of time I spend handling stuff like this. And they must be taken up for fire suppression, along with the pine needles which are the other main item. Some end up under the sheep in their night pens, but that only needs so many. Every year I completely dig out one of my 30 foot raised beds, setting the soil off to the side. This allows me to look at the mesh and plastic in the bottom and be sure that no rodents, tree roots, or bermuda runners have encroached, and then I begin to refill the bed, layer by layer, and add in all the leaves, as well as any other garden cleanup stuff. I cut up cardboard and put it in there too. When a layer of this stuff is six or eight inches deep, I pour urine on it for a couple of weeks, then add a layer of the soil back, and start again. By spring planting time the bed is topped up to the brim and all the rakings and garden prunings and sheep manure and humanure and livestock slaughter scrap and everything else compostable is down in there. As time goes on it all composts, down there while I'm irrigating stuff over top, and since I have three such beds it will be three years before it's dug out again, at which time all the stuff has become fluffy soil. This process gradually increases the volume of the soil in the beds, but that is fine since I've been slowly adding more beds elsewhere! I long ago gave up trying to mulch on the surface of the soil, like I did when I lived in the South. The stuff never breaks down, it's a fire hazard, and it seems to make an instant habitat for large numbers of earwigs, millipedes, pillbugs, and slugs. My conclusion is that in the dry West, mulch really belongs below the soil, not on top of it. Compost happens by default, without direct attention.