California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Oct. 20.

California to block Covid-19 vaccines until reviewed by state.
Top advisor to L.A. mayor is accused of sexual misconduct.
And a new book celebrates the stylish seniors of Chinatown.



Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that California would block the distribution of any federally approved coronavirus vaccine until it had been reviewed by the state's own experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci has made assurances that vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration would be safe. But Newsom suggested that public trust had been too battered by politicization of the pandemic. "Of course, we don’t take anyone’s word for it," he said. A.P. | CalMatters


Drought conditions as of Oct. 13. Dark red is "exceptional drought," red is “extreme,” orange is “severe,” tan is “moderate,” yellow is "abnormally dry," and white is “normal.”

Roughly 80% of the American West is now experiencing drought conditions, according to the government’s U.S. Drought Monitor — and it's expected to get worse. In their winter outlook, forecasters at NOAA said a developing La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean means drought is likely to prevail or worsen between December and February. That raises the prospect of an extended fire season. Washington Post


In 2018, insurance companies refused to renew the policies of roughly 24,000 homeowners in California communities prone to wildfires. In 2019, the figure was 42,000. The retreat has raised the prospect of large swaths of the state, particularly in the Sierra, being rendered all but uninsurable. The state is working with the insurance industry on fire-proofing standards that might help restore the viability of the communities. Sacramento Bee | Press Democrat


Under California's gig worker law, theater companies face drastic increases in expenses as they turn actors, stagehands, costume makers, and others into employees. Arts professionals say it threatens to kill the state's rich landscape of community theaters, leaving just the major institutions behind. A group of theaters sent a letter to lawmakers in February expressing their concerns. They never heard back. S.F. Chronicle


Fred Dean in San Francisco in 1983.

Greg Trott/A.P.

The N.Y. Times has been publishing short obituaries as part of a project to put names and faces to the hundreds of thousands of people who have died from the coronavirus. A selection from recent weeks:

Fred Dean was a Hall of Famer who helped lift the 49ers to two Super Bowl wins in the 1980s. In his later years, he earned a master’s in theology and became a pastor. He was was 68.
Stuart Bowyer was an astronomer at UC Berkeley who turned the campus into a global hub in the search for extraterrestrial life. His former colleagues called him larger than life. He was 86.
Cathy Phanavong was an executive assistant in Los Angeles who loved feeding her friends. “We would have dinner parties two or three times a week,” her boyfriend said. She was 39.

Northern California


State Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat of San Francisco, on his experience after introducing a bill that was falsely characterized as legalizing pedophilia: "Before I became the center of a QAnon conspiracy theory, I followed the news about this internet cult with alarm, but also from afar. Then QAnon followers sent me over a thousand death threats." N.Y. Times


"'What’s your name?' we asked. 'Angie,' he said. 'Angie No Good.'"

Andria Lo

A bejeweled baseball cap. A necktie-plus-bow-tie combo. Patterns atop patterns atop patterns.

The elderly community of San Francisco's Chinatown is an unlikely hub of sartorial swagger. A Bay Area photographer and writer began documenting the fashion choices of America's Chinatowns in 2014. Now they've released a book. Title: "Chinatown Pretty." BuzzFeed News | Hyperallergic


Bridgeport Covered Bridge crosses South Yuba River outside Nevada City.

Outside magazine once named Nevada City as one of the country's greatest river towns. That's in part because of the amazing swimming holes along the South Yuba River, which carves a path through a granite gorge in the Sierra foothills. Fall brings an added delight: an explosion of yellows and oranges along the river banks. Outside

A nice roundup of the best South Yuba River swimming holes 👉 No Man Before


Southern California


Rick Jacobs, center, has been accused of sexual misconduct.

Tasia Wells/Getty Images

In a first-person article, the journalist Yashar Ali accused Rick Jacobs, a top advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, of sexual misconduct. Between 2005 and 2015, Ali said he attended a number of social functions at the advisor's home: "Jacobs would grab my face and kiss me on the lips — always twice — and he would turn to other people who witnessed it and say, ‘He has the softest lips.'" Garcetti knew about allegations against Jacobs and did nothing, Ali said. Yashar's Newsletter | L.A. Times


In recent weeks, Los Angeles County has allowed the reopening of outdoor casino cardrooms, breweries, and indoor malls — but not the vast majority of schools. With thousands of students in crisis, school superintendents across the county are starting to speak out. “We all need to better understand how these choices are being made,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said. L.A. Daily News


An official ballot drop box in Baldwin Park was damaged by fire and officials said it appeared that someone had ignited the blaze with a lit newspaper. Dozens of ballots were soaked by water or charred beyond recognition. Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn called it "an attack on our democracy." The FBI was asked to investigate. Fox 11 | L.A. Times



via Invisible House


via Invisible House

At the edge of Joshua Tree is a lone dwelling that seems to melt into the desert. Known as the Invisible House, it was designed to look like a New York skyscraper lying on its side. The walls function like the one-way mirror of an interrogation room, transparent from the inside and reflecting the surrounding landscape on the outside. The singer Demi Lovato did some social distancing there over the summer — for $2,500 a night. See pictures. 👉 dezeen | Plain Magazine


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