California Sun

Good morning. It's Monday, Jan. 25.

Governor is expected to lift stay-home order today.
San Francisco as one of California's most conservative cities.
And forecasts call for an atmospheric river midweek.



Outdoor dining was closed at the Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles on Nov. 30.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom was expected to lift stay-at-home orders across the entire state Monday, a change that would allow outdoor dining and indoor salon appointments to resume. Sources told the Chronicle that health officials were encouraged by projections that showed ICU availability rising above 15% across most of the state in the coming weeks. Counties would move back into the colored tiered system for reopening that assigns risk according to case numbers and rates of positive tests. S.F. Chronicle | Politico

Check your county's status. 👉


From the beginning of the pandemic, Newsom has said he would make coronavirus policy decisions based on data shared with the public. But his administration has refused to share its formula for projecting ICU capacity. Why? "State health officials said they rely on a very complex set of measurements that would confuse and potentially mislead the public if they were made public." A.P.


Paramedics brought a patient into a hospital in Boyle Heights on Jan. 7.

Genaro Molina/L.A. Times via Getty Images

Covid-19 deaths on L.A. County's affluent western side:

Bel-Air: 2
Venice: 13
Beverly Hills: 21

Covid-19 deaths in poorer neighborhoods to the east:

Westlake: 202
Pico-Union: 146
Boyle Heights: 187

The N.Y. Times published a devastating account of how overcrowded housing has resulted in far worse outcomes for the have-nots of Los Angeles County.


It's become common in Los Angeles County for young "vaccine chasers" to show up at inoculation centers and hang around in hopes of getting vaccines that would otherwise be discarded. They are sometimes successful, as up to 30% of people with appointments fail to show up. "There are times when your inventory has to be either put into someone’s arm or discarded," one doctor said, "and we refuse to waste a dose." L.A. Times


Officials halted distribution of coronavirus vaccines to a Bay Area hospital after it let teachers cut in line in front of hospital workers and the elderly. The superintendent of the Los Gatos school district said the early inoculations were a reward for teachers who had raised money to feed hospital workers. The educators were told to lie about being health care workers when making appointments. San Jose Spotlight | Mercury News

In an effort to simplify California's chaotic vaccine rollout, officials are now pushing to prioritize older age above all other factors. Sacramento Bee | A.P.




Hail created driving hazards on Malibu Canyon Road on Saturday.

After a weekend of wild weather that saw funnel clouds over San Diego and white roads in Malibu, forecasts called for more excitement this week. Meteorologists said an atmospheric river would swirl into the state late Tuesday and linger for two days, dropping intense rain and, at higher elevations, abundant snow. Communities below a burn scar in the Santa Cruz Mountains were bracing for potential mudslides. CBS News | Mercury News | L.A. Times


When it comes to housing, San Francisco is one of California's most conservative cities. That's according to the Chronicle columnist Heather Knight, who compared the NIMBYism of San Francisco to the progressive approach adopted by Sacramento. The capital city last week moved to let people build up to four units of housing on any piece of land now slated for one house. "So people of all socioeconomic backgrounds can live there," Knight wrote. "Shocking, I know."


The FBI and local authorities were investigating a bomb blast at an anti-gay church in Los Angeles County on Saturday. No injuries were reported after the blast at First Works Baptist Church in El Monte. The words "get out" were spray-painted on the front of the church, which has faced regular protests over the pastor's condemnation of same-sex relationships. A petition calling for it to be ousted from the city has more than 15,000 signatures. N.Y. Times | A.P.


Kevin Cooper in 1983.


Kevin Cooper is still on death row. His supporters believe he was framed for the 1983 killings of four people in Chino Hills because he was poor, Black, and an easy target. But analysts have performed new DNA testing on items from the crime scene. It points elsewhere. In a new column, the N.Y. Times's Nicholas Kristof said he can't know for sure whether Cooper is innocent. "What is indisputable is not Cooper’s guilt or innocence," he wrote, "but doubt."


☝️ That skinny kid with Hank Aaron is Stanley Burrell, the future MC Hammer.

The rapper tweeted the 1975 photo on Friday after news of the baseball legend's passing. As a boy, Burrell was an unofficial Oakland A’s bat boy. One day, a player suggested he bore a resemblance to Aaron, whose nickname was "the Hammer." People started calling Burrell "Little Hammer." "I am Hammer," the rapper wrote Friday, "because he was 'Hammering Hank Aaron.'" East Bay Times | Sports Illustrated


To enter the Marin County Civic Center is to be transported into a Wes Anderson film. It was the exquisite detail of Frank Lloyd Wright's largest public project that caught the eye of photographer Skyler Dahan, who made it the subject of a new series of photos, shot fittingly on film. "From the buttons on the elevators, to the phone booths, to the long hallways covered with arcs, to the calm courtyards, it felt less like a civic center and more like a museum," said Dahan.

See a few images from the series below, and more here. 👉 designboom

Skyler Dahan

Skyler Dahan

Skyler Dahan


5 questions with ...


Marek Warszawski, a columnist for The Fresno Bee.

Q. What is one place everyone should visit in California?

A. When I tell people the best national park in California is Death Valley, they tend to look at me funny. Then they go themselves — just not in summer — and are forever changed. Nowhere else in the state are the forces of nature, shaped over millions of years, so glaring.

What’s the best book you've read or TV series you've watched recently?

My favorite read during the pandemic was “Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide” by Tony Horwitz. The final book by one of my favorite writers, published shortly before his death in 2019. TV show? Like a lot of people, I was entranced by “The Queen’s Gambit.”

What’s a hidden food gem in your area?

Fresno and the central San Joaquin Valley boast some of the best tacos on Earth. But to find these gems, you’ll have to venture off the beaten path. In downtown Fresno, go to La Elegante on Kern Street and order the adobada tacos. (Pork marinated in a red chile sauce.) Your taste buds will thank you.

You’re organizing a dinner party. Which three California figures, dead or alive, do you invite, and why? How would you get the conversation started?

Jack London was the first writer to capture my imagination, and I’m sure it helped that the 140-pound canine protagonist in “The Call of the Wild” and I shared Santa Clara Valley roots. I’d be fascinated to hear his stories about the Alaskan Gold Rush and life in turn-of-the-20th century San Francisco and Oakland.

I tried to think of someone less obvious than John Muir, but failed. While there are some good Muir impersonators out there, listening to the man himself wax poetic about his beloved “Range of Light” is an opportunity that simply can’t be missed. Plus he wouldn’t eat much. (That’s a joke.)

The final invitation would go to Marilyn Monroe. Why? Well, because she’s a notable California figure and this is my dinner party.

2020 was quite a year. What bright spots were there for you, and what are your hopeful predictions for this year?

Since the start of the pandemic I’ve read (and re-read) a lot of books and gotten lots and lots of sleep. Those are the two main bright spots.

Until these last 10 months, I never realized how much being around other people in public spaces (i.e. restaurants, movie theaters, concerts, stadiums) brings a sense of community. It’s hard to feel that connection waving at someone on the bike path when both of you are wearing masks, and I am hopeful things will regain some normalcy in 2021.

“5 questions with …” is a weekly feature by Finn Cohen, who edits the California Sun. Conversations are sometimes edited for brevity. Someone you’d like to see interviewed? Let him know:


Thanks for reading!

The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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