California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Devin Nunes is leaving Congress to join Trump venture.
San Francisco dooms parklets with raft of regulations.
And Los Angeles mayor is accused of protecting serial harasser.



Rep. Devin Nunes in the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 24.

Al Drago/Getty Images

Rep. Devin Nunes is quitting Congress after 19 years to lead former President Trump's new social media company. A litigious foe of the press and Big Tech, the Central Valley Republican said on Monday: “The time has come to reopen the internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship.” Nunes had appeared headed for a leadership role on the House Ways and Means Committee. That he took another path, the N.Y. Times wrote, "signals where he thinks power lies in the Republican Party and the conservative movement." N.Y. Times | A.P.

Columnist Marek Warszawski: "It’s an early Christmas gift for Fresno."


In 2014, San Francisco pushed algebra out of middle schools in an effort to lower the number of Black and Latino kids failing the subject in eighth grade. That number did drop, but achievement gaps widened as schools with high proportions of Black and Latino students fared far worse on standardized tests. “It has led to even worse inequities and driven them underground,” said one math teacher. “People with means started finding other ways to get ahead.” California is now planning to recommend the same policy statewide. CalMatters


The go-to source for information on California wildfires is a Twitter account called @CAFireScanner run by a 30-year-old sitting at his computer in New Zealand. Michael Silvester began as a scanner enthusiast. But hobby grew into obsession: During fire season, he sometimes logs 18-hour shifts, monitoring radio channels with four phones and tweeting out details of fire movements. The irony is that he's never set foot outside New Zealand. “Even I know it's a weird thing to be doing,” he said. WIRED


Max Whittaker

California has the highest rate of poverty in the U.S., a crisis visible on the city streets. But many more destitute people congregate in rural parts of the state, places where streetlights and clean water are scarce. For his series "In the Shadow of the Sun," the photographer Max Whittaker sought out the California that, he said, "most people don't care about."

Follow Whittaker on Instagram. 👉 @maxwhittaker


Northern California


People ate at a San Francisco parklet on Jan. 28.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By popular demand, San Francisco supervisors voted in July to make permanent the parklets that sprouted during the pandemic as an alternative to indoor dining. Then regulators drafted a set of codes that fills more than 60 pages. It's now estimated that as many as 90% of parklets will have to be dismantled or altered at great expense. “It’s the most uncoordinated, messed up, insulting display of government incompetence,” one supervisor said. “It’s breathtaking.” S.F. Chronicle


Neighbors knew something was off about Robert Enger, who lived in a small bungalow behind a white fence in Santa Rosa. He believed the military was following him and might be poisoning his water. He had groceries delivered by taxi. Then, in 2019, Enger vanished. Two years later, police finally pieced together what they believe happened: Enger killed himself with a makeshift guillotine in his home. Squatters then moved in, and the remains were buried in trash and old clothes. “There is a lot of methamphetamine use involved in this story,” a Sonoma County prosecutor told the Press Democrat. S.F. Chronicle


Japanese migrants gathered in Lima in December 1941.

Museum of Japanese Immigration to Peru

In 1944, Art Shibayama, then 13, was living with his family in Peru when police wrenched them from their home, shipped them to the U.S., and held them under armed guard for more than two years. The Shibayamas were among 2,200 Latin Americans of Japanese descent kidnapped from foreign lands and confined on U.S. soil in a little-known chapter of Japanese internment. For decades, Shibayama fought for reparations from the U.S. But in 2018, he died at age 88 in San Jose, his mission unfulfilled. Politico Magazine told the story of "America's forgotten internment."


In Myanmar, it is commonly said, Facebook is the internet. So when Myanmar military personnel turned the social network into a tool for ethnic cleansing against the country’s mostly Muslim Rohingya minority group, the consequences were devastating. Now dozens of Rohingya refugees have filed a class action lawsuit in San Francisco, accusing Facebook of allowing hate speech to spread. They are demanding $150 billion. BCC | Reuters


Southern California


An investigative piece by New York magazine presented damning evidence that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti knew a top aide, according to multiple victims, was a serial sexual harasser. And Garcetti, they say, ignored it: "For the past decade, those who experienced or witnessed [Rick] Jacobs’s alleged harassment say this has been the line delivered behind closed doors to them by the Garcetti administration: Yes, we know about Rick, but he’s the mayor’s friend and there’s nothing we can do."


Firefighters attended a "March for Freedom" rally in Los Angeles on Nov. 8.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

More than 500 Los Angeles firefighters have filed a lawsuit challenging a requirement that they get the coronavirus vaccine by Dec. 18. Union leaders have warned of "devastating" risk from potential departures. But the columnist Steve Lopez and others see them as an opportunity. The vast majority of Fire Department calls are for medical issues rather than fires. Fill new vacancies with paramedics, and the department would better reflect the needs of city — while trimming the number of hefty firefighter paychecks. L.A. Times


Jack in the Box has agreed to buy Del Taco for $575 million. The acquisition joins two Southern California chains into a combined company of more than 2,800 restaurants that executives said would increase profits through bulk-buying power. Wall Street thought Del Taco got the better end of the deal: Its stock jumped 66%, while Jack in the Box's fell 4%. CNN | Bloomberg


Iwan Baan

Architectural Digest selected 20 groundbreaking projects around the world for its 2022 Works of Wonder list. Included was the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, pictured above, in Los Angeles. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Renzo Piano, the museum devoted to movie making opened to the public in September. Its most dramatic feature: a state-of-the-art theater housed in a glass-and-concrete sphere. It's been likened to a soap bubble or dirigible, which is fine with Piano. He just made one request: Don’t call it the Death Star.


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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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