California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Nov. 19.
Today's edition: 13 items, < 4 minutes

The unique personality traits of Californians.
The spectacular flameout of legal marijuana.
And the glorious shoppers of Rodeo Drive in 1984.



It's not clear whether relaxed people move to California, or the state makes them that way.

Researchers have suggested America contains three distinct regional personalities. There's a cluster including the Midwest and parts of the Southeast where people tend to be extroverted, friendly, and conscientious. In the Northeast, common traits include neuroticism, impulsivity, and irritability — You talkin' to me? Then there's us out West: Relaxed, creative, open-minded. The research has all kinds of implications for our political preferences. The Atlantic


In the Sacramento Bee's founding editorial in 1857, editor James McClatchy declared, "the object of this newspaper is not only independence but permanence." Now McClatchy, the family-owned publisher of the Bee and four other California dailies, is teetering near bankruptcy. There's been talk of a potential sale. Bloomberg | Poynter

Founded in 1858, the Martinez News-Gazette just announced that it would cease print publication. Bay City News Service


Juul marketing materials. The company has been accused of targeting young people.

California sued Juul, accusing the nation's biggest e-cigarette maker of deliberately marketing its flavored nicotine products to teenagers. The San Francisco startup says it never sought teenagers even as it marketed its products using young models posing flirtatiously with Juuls. The percentage of California high schoolers who have vaped increased from 11.7 percent in 2017 to 27.5 percent this year. L.A. Times | A.P.


The pot bubble has burst. Many marijuana companies have lost two-thirds or more of their value. Bank financing has dried up. MedMen, one of the biggest names in cannabis dispensaries, said it was firing 190 employees. And the black market remains vastly larger than the legal one. The cannabis flameout, Bloomberg wrote, looks almost as bad as the dot-com bust. Bloomberg


Northern California


PG&E began notifying Northern California customers to be ready for power outages Wednesday and Thursday. More than 300,000 homes and businesses — amounting to more than 900,000 people — could face blackouts as winds whip across bone-dry areas of the greater Bay Area and northern Sierra foothills. S.F. Chronicle | KQED

See a map showing the planned outage area, and use PG&E's lookup to determine if your address may be affected.


People gathered in the neighborhood of a mass shooting in Fresno late Sunday.

John Walker/Fresno Bee via Getty Images

Police officials said the deadly shooting at a football-viewing party of mostly ethnic Hmong in Fresno was a targeted attack, possibly in retaliation for a previous altercation. The authorities said two gunmen entered the backyard through an open gate then opened fire with semi-automatic handguns, killing four and wounding six. "We're coming for you," Fresno's police chief said of the suspects. Fresno Bee | A.P.

One of the victims, 23-year-old Xy Lee, was a popular singer in the Hmong community with millions of views on YouTube. Valley Public Radio


An open-space agency has proposed allowing ranchers to kill mountain lions and coyotes that attack their livestock. Conservationists are outraged. "Shooting mountain lions or coyotes is ludicrous," one said. "We're paying millions and millions of dollars for this land. I think if you took a poll about shooting coyotes and lions out there, you wouldn't have anybody agree with that other than cattlemen." Mercury News


It's no wonder artists have been drawn to tiny Carmel, pictured above, with its twisted cypress trees, Hansel and Gretel cottages, and graceful ocean waves. The great earthquake of 1906 was catastrophic to San Francisco, but an adrenaline shot to sleepy Carmel. Displaced Bay Area artists fled there in droves and were offered lots for $10 down and whatever they could pay per month. More than a century later, Carmel is no place to live on a painter's wage. Selling art, rather than creating it, is the major industry. Within one square mile, there are nearly 100 galleries. KCET


Southern California


The arrest of Marines at Camp Pendleton was captured on video.

U.S. Marine Corps

The arrest of 16 Marines — who were paraded in front of their battalion in handcuffs at Camp Pendleton — was unlawful, a judge ruled. The Marines were accused of migrant smuggling. Lawyers for the defendants argued that their theatrical arrests amounted to a public humiliation aimed at influencing the outcome of their cases. S.D. Union-Tribune | CBS 8


The San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester donated $1 million to Donald Trump's inauguration fund. He was nominated as ambassador to the Bahamas a day after Trump was sworn in. But the nomination got held up in the Senate. Then, according to leaked emails, the Republican National Committee chairwoman hit up Manchester for $500,000. His reply: $100,000 now, and once he's confirmed he would "respond." CBS News | Vox


A surfing haven is set to rise like a mirage from the Southern California desert. Local officials in Palm Desert have given the go-ahead for an enormous $200 million surf resort, dubbed DSRT Surf, about 70 miles from the nearest ocean break. The project has raised eyebrows in a region of scarce water resources. One assurance: Water from the pool will be used to irrigate a nearby golf course. Desert Sun

Here's a video showing how Kelly Slater creates near-perfect waves in the San Joaquin Valley. ESPN/YouTube (~3 mins)


"Rodeo Drive, 1984" showcases the heady consumption of 1980s Beverly Hills.

Anthony Hernandez

Here are two great photo collections on the isolation and excess of Los Angeles:

"Rich and miserable." Photographer Anthony Hernandez captured the big hair, wide shoulders, and cinched waists of shoppers on Rodeo Drive in 1984. feature shoot | AnOther magazine
Jonathan Castillo created surreal images of motorists ensconced in their cocoons of steel and glass, idling at red lights and suspended in thought. New Yorker | WIRED

California archive


Leo Ryan in 1972.

Bettmann archive/Getty Images

It was on this week in 1978 that Leo Ryan, a U.S. congressman from California, was murdered along with four others on a remote airstrip in Guyana.

Ryan had traveled there to follow up on concerns from his constituents that their family members were being sexually and mentally abused at the People's Temple compound led by the Rev. Jim Jones. On the same day of the murders, more than 900 members of the cult died in a mass murder and suicide.

Ryan, who also served as South San Francisco's mayor and a state assemblyman, was by many accounts a force of nature. After the Watts riots of 1965, he took a job there as a substitute teacher to try and understand issues affecting the community. As a state lawmaker, he entered Folsom Prison as an undercover inmate to investigate prison conditions.

Isolated in his cell, he played chess with other inmates by calling out moves with a set made from toilet paper and toothpaste. When he left, the inmates presented the lawmaker with the chess set. It became his prized possession.

Asked later what he learned from the Folsom experience, Ryan said, "I learned that if you give in to fear you can't do your job." Washington Post | NPR

● ●

In a bizarre twist, after Ryan's killing his daughter Shannon Jo Ryan joined the Rajneeshees, a group known for their cult-like devotion to the Indian guru Baghwan Shree Rajneesh. "It is impossible that Bhagwan would ever ask people to kill anyone," she once told a reporter. "But if he asked me to do it, I don't know. I love and trust him very much. To me he is God." People | Washington Post


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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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