California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, March 12.

Biden directs states to open vaccines to all adults by May 1.
Builders struggle to meet demand in Central Valley.
And admiring one of America's finest green roofs.



Motorists waited in line at the Dodger Stadium vaccine site.

Robert Gauthier/L.A. Times via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday directed states to ensure that all adults are eligible for Covid-19 vaccines by May 1. But California, constrained by limited supply, is currently on pace to overshoot that deadline by about two weeks. Public health officials said they were hopeful that federal vaccine deliveries would scale up soon. "When the president makes promises like that, I think that means that the supply will follow," said Dr. George Rutherford, a UCSF epidemiologist. KGO


Vaccine misinformation has complicated California's efforts to reach out to many Black and Hispanic residents. A reporter tagged along with a group trying to persuade people to get vaccinated in an ethnically diverse neighborhood of San Jose. "I see all this stuff online, about how it’s going to change my DNA," George Rodriguez, 67, told the volunteers. "It does something to your DNA, right? There is just too much stuff out, too much conflicting information. And then I hear that even if you get the vaccine you can still get sick. Why would I get it, then?” N.Y. Times


Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California's surgeon general, got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Oakland on Thursday.

Jane Tyska/East Bay Times via Getty Images

On Thursday, several public officials received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at sites in Los Angeles and Oakland, part of a campaign to counter the vaccine's reputation as second-rate. They shared the hashtag #oneanddone, referring to the need for only one shot. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has an efficacy rate of about 72%, which is very good but less than that of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are both 95% effective. Health officials have been facing people who balk at the third choice. S.F. Chronicle | A.P.


Even as the pandemic seems to be receding, some experts believe a fourth surge is all but certain — though in the form of a hill rather than a peak. “The question is not whether or not we’ll get a surge, but by how much,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UCSF infectious disease expert. Among the contributing factors: The so-called U.K. variant, which is 50% more transmissible, is ascendant, and people are increasingly letting their guard down. S.F. Chronicle




Police officers held a line in front of Los Angeles City Hall during protests on July 25.

Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

A report prepared by a team of former police commanders concluded that Los Angeles' police force mishandled the unrest that erupted on the streets last summer after the killing of George Floyd. According to the 101-page report commissioned by the City Council, officers illegally detained protesters and struck people who had committed no crimes with rubber bullets, bean bags, and batons. “It is unfortunate," it said, "that the same issues have arisen again and again, with the department being unable or unwilling to rectify the problem." L.A. Times | N.Y. Times


Builders in the Central Valley can't keep up with the demand from homebuyers leaving the Bay Area. Perhaps the hottest development is River Islands, a community on the San Joaquin River with 13 man-made lakes that will eventually include 11,000 single-family homes and another 4,000 apartments and condos. “Our builders have so much demand they have waiting lists,” a River Islands official said. S.F. Chronicle


Los Angeles is trying to solve its housing crisis, in part, with granny flats. Known officially as accessory dwelling units, they take the form of garage conversions or backyard cottages that can be used by a relative or a college-age renter. To mitigate red tape, the city has now launched a program that offers 20 minimalist, pre-approved designs. Pick one, and save yourself a permitting headache. LAist | L.A. Times

A few examples. 👇

The "Lean-To ADU" by Jennifer Bonner/MALL.

A modular design by Abodu.

A one-bedroom unit by Connect Homes.


Los Angeles's elite Harvard-Westlake school was featured in an Atlantic magazine cover story on private schools that pretend to be engines of “inclusivity.” Harvard-Westlake commonly makes acknowledgments that the campus sits on Native lands, even as it expands onto even more presumably Native land to build a private athletic facility. On the one hand it's comical, a critic wrote: "But on the other, our kids are being taught terrible values: that hypocrisy and dishonesty are fine so long as you virtue-signal the right fashionable politics."


One afternoon in April 2015, Ali F. Elmezayen drove his family off a wharf into San Pedro Bay. His two severely autistic sons, Abdelkarim Elmezayen, 8, and Elhassan, 13, drowned in the back seat. On Thursday, Elmezayen was sentenced to 212 years in prison for the murder of his sons and attempted murder of their mother in a plot to collect on insurance policies. The judge called Elmezayen evil. “The only regret that the defendant has is that he got caught,” he said. L.A. Times | NBC News


As Stockton mayor, Michael Tubbs became a champion of universal basic income.

Nick Otto/AFP via Getty Images

On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Michael Tubbs. As Stockton's youngest and first Black mayor, he launched a universal basic income pilot program, brought new energy to the city, and made a long list of enemies. He talked about the role that a single social media page played in scuttling his reelection bid: "I was just shocked when these stories would come out that Michael Tubbs is corrupt, that Michael Tubbs is stealing money, that Michael Tubbs doesn't work. It was so disconnected from who I am."

● ●

Newsom's office announced Thursday that Tubbs would become an economic adviser to the governor. Politico | A.P.


The California Academy of Sciences blends into Golden Gate Park.

There's a museum in Golden Gate Park that appears to have been swallowed by the surrounding vegetation.

Renzo Piano, who designed the California Academy of Sciences, said his aim was "metaphorically lifting up a piece of the park and putting a building underneath." The result is one of America's finest green roofs, a publicly accessible canopy with roughly 1.7 million plants and rolling mounds that mimic the city's hills. It's also meant as a symbol: challenging visitors to imagine a humanity that entwines with the natural world rather than dominates it. designboom


In case you missed it


Alexander Shulgin in Oakland in 2011.

JonRHanna/Wikimedia Commons

Five items that got big views over the past week:

Alexander Shulgin, a Berkeley chemist who experimented with MDMA in the 1970s, saw the promise of his work disregarded for decades. Here's a fascinating profile of the psychedelic wizard so ahead of his time that "he's still cutting edge in 2021." 👉 MEL magazine
An hour north of Lake Tahoe, the Lost Sierra is a little-known natural paradise. Lodging options are limited, but one includes an amazing draw: a clubhouse with 60-foot high ceilings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. | Architectural Digest
For decades, activists have been fighting for the removal of four dams choking the Klamath River, which courses through Indigenous lands in Northern California. Here's the story of a fateful trip along the river that helped put the project back on track. 👉 North Coast Journal
Desert X — the art biennial in the Southern California desert — begins today, and people are already flocking to see one of the installations. "Never Forget" by Nicholas Galanin makes a comment about the meaning of monuments. The Desert Sun offered a preview of Desert X.
On May 18, 1986, 9-year-old Desireé Rodriguez watched helplessly as her family members died after their boat capsized off Catalina Island. She was rescued by two young men who happened by on a fishing boat. The L.A. Times wrote a tear-jerker of a story about their reunion.

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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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