California Sun

Good morning. It's Thursday, Oct. 15.

Early voting surge suggests enthusiasm among Democrats.
Social media giants faulted for handling of Joe Biden story.
And a home in Montecito is recognized as a masterwork.



A Santa Clara County election official on Tuesday.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Election Day is less than three weeks away, but more than 1.5 million Californians have already voted. At this time in 2016, the figure was roughly 150,000. The enormous wave of votes, echoed nationwide, suggests that Americans are especially engaged in the contentious presidential race. An analysis of early votes cast in a handful of states found that registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans roughly 2 to 1. CBS SF | Washington Post


The columnist Farhad Manjoo is fed up with the unfairness of the Electoral College in California: "The system is corrosive. We are told by everyone, everywhere, that voting is the path toward a better country, but in every election, we are shown that some votes matter much more than others, and that we should all just live with it, because smart people a long time ago decided it should be so." N.Y. Times


The California Republican Party said the number of unauthorized ballot drop boxes that it placed around the state is far higher than previously reported. Hector Barajas, a spokesman, declined to offer specifics, but said a report of "as many as 100" was far too low. A legal showdown appeared imminent: state officials threatened to prosecute and party leaders vowed to fight in court. O.C. Register | A.P.


The Bobcat fire tore through the Angeles National Forest on Sept. 17.

Kyle Grillot/AFP via Getty Images

"We can no longer live this way.”

In the fall — after summer has dried out California's trees and shrubs — the combination of hot weather, high winds, and a spark can trigger a catastrophe. ProPublica created maps visualizing how these fall fire weather days are expected to increase over time, with red depicting danger. Northern California, the Sierra Nevada, and the corridor from Los Angeles to San Diego are bathed in deep hues.


Northern California


Twitter and Facebook faced intense blowback after restricting a New York Post article that cited unverified material from Trump allies to accuse Joe Biden of shady dealings in Ukraine. The move against a mainstream newspaper was described as unprecedented and prompted howls of protest from Republican lawmakers. Still, a cybersecurity expert said concerns about disinformation so close to an election were warranted. Social media companies are “doing the right thing by being cautious here," he said. The Guardian | Wall Street Journal


Hakeem Brown has been a frontrunner in the race for Vallejo mayor. While investigating his past, a local news site discovered he had a history of violence against women and asked him about it. He threatened to sue for libel, then acknowledged that he was arrested once for “a scuffle with a domestic partner.” But it was much worse than that, court records and interviews showed. In one case, he repeatedly punched his pregnant wife, including twice in the stomach, she said. Open Vallejo


Maki is missing.

San Francisco Zoo

☝️ Have you seen this lemur?

San Francisco Zoo officials said on Wednesday that Maki, a 21-year-old male ring-tailed lemur, had gone missing. Police were investigating the disappearance as a possible burglary. "We understand that lemurs are adorable animals," a zoo official said, "but Maki is a highly endangered animal that requires special care." KGO | S.F. Examiner


A peacock wages a losing battle at Lake Solano County Park.

There's a county park near Lake Berryessa where peacocks are legion. Their forebears were introduced by a landowner in the 1950s to control rattlesnakes, then kept on as an attraction for visitors. The birds, shimmering with blues and greens, are stunning to behold — but very strange. They are endlessly fascinated by their reflections in the bumpers and hub caps of parked cars, repeatedly pecking at the mysterious rivals that mimic their movements.

A peacock-bumper battle over the summer. 👉 YouTube (50 secs)


Southern California


The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to reimagine its approach to public safety by forming an unarmed crisis team to respond to nonviolent 911 calls. The move was prompted by the summer of criminal justice protests. "Calling the police on George Floyd about an alleged counterfeit $20 bill ended his life," one lawmaker said. He added: "This plan will save lives." KABC | CBSLA


Bill Bodner, a DEA agent, spoke to reporters in Montebello on Wednesday.

Sarah Reingewirtz/O.C. Register via AP

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced the largest domestic seizure of methamphetamine in its history: roughly 2,224 pounds found at two locations in Riverside County. That bust was followed by an even larger one a week later at Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego. “These two seizures are more than enough to provide a dose of meth for every man, woman, and child in the United States and Mexico,” a DEA official said. A.P. | CBSLA


There was another report of a man flying in a jet pack in the skies near Los Angeles International Airport. Six weeks after an earlier sighting, a China Airlines crew reported seeing a solo flier at roughly 6,500 feet. The sightings are perplexing, given that jet packs typically are not equipped to fly very long or so high. The FBI is investigating. L.A. Times | N.Y. Times


“It’s just an absolute magical place.”

A new architecture book catalogues the 50 most important American homes since 1900. Among the California entries is the personal residence of the architect Barton Myers. The glass-and-steel compound, set on 39 acres in Montecito, has breathtaking views of the Pacific to the south and the mountains to the north. It's currently on the market. Asking: $8.2 million. Dwell | Architectural Digest

A few pictures 👇

The home was inspired by Japanese temples and the California modernism movement.

Fran Collin/Sotheby's International Realty

A view from the kitchen.

Fran Collin/Sotheby's International Realty

A bedroom spills into the outdoors.

Fran Collin/Sotheby's International Realty

Barton and Victoria Myers at the studio on the property.

Fran Collin/Sotheby's International Realty


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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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