California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, Aug. 9.

How government fees are slowing housing construction.
A proposal that kills tule elk to protect cattle ranches.
And a drive along one of California's most scenic byways.



Building isn't cheap in California.

Sam Lafoca, via Getty Images

One reason housing is so expensive in California? Local government fees on residential construction can amount to 18 percent of median home prices, researchers found. The costs fluctuate widely. In one Bay Area city, for example, the fees are $35,000 per unit in single-family projects. In Sacramento, it's $13,000 per unit. L.A. Times

Separately, a Bay Area YIMBY group is suing cities that reject housing projects without a valid reason. Mercury News


Responding to the recent mass shootings, a Central Valley sheriff urged people with concealed carry permits to arm themselves. "Secure our communities and protect life by being able to defend ourselves against active shooters, threats to life and those who use guns for criminal behavior," Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said in a tweet. GV Wire


A steel mill prepared to melt confiscated guns in Rancho Cucamonga in 2018.

David McNew/Getty Images

In other gun-related news:

San Rafael's mayor announced that his city's flags would remain at half-staff until Congress passes sharper gun control legislation. "I am completely fed up," he said. S.F. Chronicle | The Hill
California has a so-called "red flag" law that lets law enforcement seize guns from individuals who have expressed a wish to kill. Officials say such laws make a vital impact. N.Y. Times
Data showed that Fresno County has more than 17,000 concealed carry permit holders, the most of any California county. Firearms instructors said inquiries to get the licenses spiked this week. Fresno Bee | CBS Sacramento

Two members of the Black Panther Party were met by police at the state capitol in Sacramento in 1967.

Bettmann Archive, via Getty Images

Today I learned: Open carry was legal in California until members of the Black Panther Party started flashing their guns. A Republican state lawmaker from Oakland proposed a measure abolishing open carry that he called the "Panther Bill." Gov. Ronald Reagan signed it with NRA support in 1967. It remains on the books today. S.F. Chronicle |


Call it an Uber loss. The San Francisco ride-hailing company lost an eye-popping $5.2 billion last quarter, a loss attributed largely to compensation expenses from its initial public offering in May. It was not only Uber's largest-ever loss, the company also posted its slowest-ever revenue growth, raising doubts about its prospects. N.Y. Times | recode

Lawmakers in El Monte, an industrial city east of Los Angeles, voted to advance a plan that guarantees drivers a minimum of $30 an hour. It would be the highest such wage in the country. Fast Company


Northern California


Tule elk, seen in Point Reyes, are only found in California.

The National Park Service proposed shooting as many as 15 tule elk each year at Point Reyes National Seashore as a way to reduce conflict with ranchers, who say the elk are gobbling up grass intended for their livestock. Wildlife advocates are furious. "It just seems like the park service has basically rolled over and given the ranching interests everything that they've demanded," one advocate said. Press Democrat | Marin Independent Journal


A group of black leaders spoke out in favor of preserving a controversial mural at a San Francisco high school that shows George Washington as a slave owner. Rev. Arnold Thompson, of the Northern California NAACP, said that painting over the mural would be akin to "whitewashing history." He added: "We cannot continue to cut out the things that make us uncomfortable, or we will never grow." CBS SF | SF Examiner

Separately, a poll showed that San Francisco voters overwhelmingly oppose plans to destroy the mural. A school official said he was unswayed. S.F. Chronicle


Hulk angry.

Universal Pictures

Pretty much every year, a new movie comes out depicting San Francisco under attack — whether from tidal waves, monsters, or hyperintelligent apes. So the S.F. Chronicle has created a survival guide: "Thinking of moving into Nob Hill? Well, that's a spectacularly horrible idea. Be ready to spend on earthquake insurance, kaiju insurance, Godzilla insurance and spaceship crash insurance." S.F. Chronicle


Mosquito Lake is nestled along the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway.

Paul Judy, via Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway Association

Ebbetts Pass was once used as a trade route across the Sierra by the Miwok and Washoe Indians and was likely the route taken in 1827 by Jedediah Smith. Today, the valley is carved by one of California's most stunning scenic byways. Stretching 60 miles, the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway winds along sequoia forests, volcanic peaks, alpine lakes, and tiny hamlets. It's also bookended by two state parks — Grover Hot Springs and Calaveras Big Trees State Park. California's official tourism agency suggested a weekend-length road trip with six stops. Visit California |


Southern California


The male mountain lion dubbed P-61 survived the 405.

National Park Service

A mountain lion crossed the 405 Freeway last month, the first time that one of the GPS-collared cats made it across one of Southern California's busiest arteries over the course of a 17-year study. Other mountain lions have been killed making the attempt, or approached the edge then turned away. Ventura County Star | L.A. Times

Roadkill accidents have increased as mountain lion habitat is squeezed by urban sprawl. That's why officials have been studying a number of wildlife corridor projects. One would cross the formidable 101. KCRW


A police employee hung booking photos of Zachary Castaneda before a news conference in Garden Grove.

Jeff Gritchen/O.C. Register, via Getty Images

The suspect in a stabbing rampage that left four people dead across Southern California is a 33-year-old gang member named Zachary Castaneda with a long and violent criminal history, police said. A motive remained unclear. "He remained violent with us through the night," Garden Grove's police chief said. "He never told us why he did this." A.P. | O.C. Register

The police released highly disturbing surveillance of one of the attacks, showing a man walking into an office then savagely stabbing a woman at a desk. NY Post


A new investigative report detailed a pattern of sexual abuse allegations against a men's health physician at USC. Forty-eight former patients said Dr. Dennis Kelly subjected them to abuse, including fondling, invasive exams, and sexual remarks. Five said they complained to the university and it did nothing. Kelly, who said he always acted appropriately, worked at the same center as George Tyndall, the gynecologist accused of sexually abusing hundreds of students. BuzzFeed


Hollyhock House was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Los Angeles commission.

Los Angeles is now home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first in the city and the third in California. Built between 1918 and 1921 on a hill in East Hollywood, the Mayan-influenced Hollyhock House is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpieces. "It's a phenomenal moment for L.A.," a city official said. She added: "There is no greater honor for a cultural site in the world." KCET | L.A. Times

You can tour the house for $7. Better yet, go on a Friday night when they hold wine tastings. Barnsdall Art Park


Charles Manson followers outside the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles in 1971.

Los Angeles Public Library

On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with investigative journalist Tom O’Neill. His exhaustively researched book, "Chaos," upends much of what we thought we knew about the Manson murders, which unfolded 50 years ago this week. California Sun

These photos show just how devoted the so-called Manson girls were. Timeline

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In case you missed it


Five blurbs that got big views over the past week:

Here's a great list of eight under-the-radar small towns in California that you should really visit, including Graeagle, above, in the northern Sierra. S.F. Chronicle
In 1999, a man ended up in a vegetative state after a crash in the California desert. For the next 17 years he was kept alive with breathing and feeding tubes. Here's the story of what happened when people finally decided to learn his story. L.A. Times
Ed Freeman's pictures focus on the derelict buildings of the California desert. No one pays attention to them, he said. "So I photographed them as if they were the most important thing on Earth." | The Guardian
One of the best things on the internet is an Instagram account by Kendall Jenner's fictitious twin, who photoshops himself into pictures with the Los Angeles model. @kirbyjenner/Instagram | My Modern Met
California is a land of both extraordinary beauty and ceaseless devastation. Thomas Heinser's images of the state's scarred landscapes look like they could be abstract paintings. California Sun


An earlier version of this newsletter misstated the occupation of Kendall Jenner. She is a model, not a makeup tycoon. Her sister, Kylie Jenner, is the makeup tycoon.

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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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