California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, Oct. 1.

Some jurisdictions move to drop their mask mandates.
Riverside County becomes the largest to back recall.
And a "neo-brutalist" home goes up for grabs in Joshua Tree.



Police stood guard during a protest on Nov. 3, 2020, in Los Angeles.

Jae C. Hong/A.P.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a pile of bills Thursday aimed at reforming California law enforcement, including raising the minimum age for officers from 18 to 21 and restricting techniques of restraint that inhibit breathing. Most noteworthy was a measure that allows badges to be stripped from problem cops. California has been one of just four states without a system of decertifying police. CalMatters | L.A. Times


As coronavirus infection rates subside, some California jurisdictions are reexamining their mask mandates:

Santa Cruz and Colusa counties both lifted their mask mandates this week. Lookout Santa Cruz |
Sacramento's top health official said he expected the county's mask mandate to end when transmission rates fall to pre-Delta surge levels. That should happen "pretty quickly," he added. Sacramento Bee
In San Francisco, where case rates are among the lowest in the state, a strict indoor mask mandate remains in place. But a health official said there are now talks about “where there may be flexibility.” S.F. Chronicle

California's Covid vaccine requirement for all health care workers appears to have compelled tens of thousands of people to get their shots in recent weeks. Some feared the mandate would lead to widespread departures of hesitant employees. So far that hasn't been the case. The New York Times collected vaccination rates:

UC Davis Health in Sacramento: 94% of 15,000 workers
Sharp HealthCare in San Diego: 91.7% of 18,000 workers
Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles: 97% of 17,000 workers

A Victorian in California's Mayberry, Frank Sinatra's former midcentury pad, and a concrete box in the desert — here are a few interesting homes on the market.👇

via Circa

1. The entire village of Ferndale, in southern Humboldt County, is a historical landmark. That's thanks to its wonderfully preserved Victorians built by dairy farmers in the 1800s. One of them listed for $849,000. Circa

Scott Everts for The Agency and Sotheby’s International Realty

2. The midcentury compound where Frank Sinatra once lived in the San Fernando Valley was designed by William Pereira, whose works included the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. The home is a bit of a celebrity in its own right, starring in "Mad Men." Yours for $21.5 million. Architectural Digest

via KUD Properties

3. A minimalist concrete home on five acres in Joshua Tree was designed to fit in among the area's boulders. Described as "Neo-brutalist," it includes big windows that face the open desert. Asking: $1.75 million. The Spaces


Northern California


Protesters calling for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants blocked the Golden Gate Bridge during morning rush hour on Thursday. A caravan of about a dozen vehicles parked across the bridge's northbound lanes around 7 a.m., stopping commuters for about an hour. When officers arrived, the protesters refused to leave, police said. Four people were arrested and five vehicles seized. SFist | Washington Post


Six weeks later, investigators still don't know what killed a family found dead on a hiking trail in Mariposa County on Aug. 17. But in an update Thursday, the county sheriff's office ruled out a number of possibilities in the deaths of John Gerrish, Ellen Chung, their 1-year-old daughter Miju, and their dog. They include a lightning strike, carbon monoxide, cyanide exposure, illegal drugs, or suicide. One theory still on the table: toxic algae poisoning. A.P. | Fresno Bee


Sue-meg State Park.

California on Thursday renamed a popular state park in Humboldt County to its indigenous name used by the Yurok people. Patrick's Point State Park, a lushly forested promontory just north of Eureka, is now Sue-meg State Park. Tribal leaders said the change was especially meaningful given the history of the old namesake, a homesteader named Patrick Beegan who was accused of murdering Native Americans. Eureka Times-Standard | North Coast Journal


Southern California


Gov. Gavin Newsom shook hands with Anthony Bruce, great-great grandson of Charles and Willa Bruce, in Manhattan Beach on Thursday.

Jay L. Clendenin/L.A. Times via Getty Images

In a milestone for reparations, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday authorized the return of a Manhattan Beach property to the descendants of a Black couple who once owned it. Willa and Charles Bruce bought the prime real estate in 1912 for $1,225 and created a thriving resort for Black beachgoers, only to be driven from town by white neighbors. In his remarks, Newsom took a shot at Manhattan Beach, whose City Council refused to issue an apology to the Bruce family. “As governor of California, let me do what apparently Manhattan Beach is unwilling to do," he said. "I want to apologize to the Bruce family.” A.P. | L.A. Times


Hannah Kaye paused to compose herself while giving a victim impact statement on Thursday.

Pool Photo by Nelvin C. Cepeda

John Earnest, the 22-year-old white supremacist who opened fire in a Poway synagogue in 2019, killing a 60-year-old woman and injuring three others, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no possibility of parole. At a hearing, relatives of victims gave heart-wrenching testimony. “How could you kill my beautiful, loving sister?" Ellen Edwards said. "You are an animal." Earnest's lawyer asked if his client could address the court. No, the judge answered. City News Service | S.D. Union-Tribune


If Riverside County had its way, Larry Elder would be sworn in as California's governor. The final tally in the recall election showed 50.5% of county voters in favor of ousting Gov. Gavin Newsom, signaling a rightward turn for a county where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a significant margin. The result makes Riverside the only county in Southern California — and the most populated statewide — to back the recall. Desert Sun | L.A. Daily News




On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Michael Hiltzik, a Los Angeles Times columnist and author of "Iron Empires," about the robber barons of the Gilded Age. He discussed the similarities of the superrich then and now. There exists an "uncomfortable reality," he said: "That to be really successful in business, and to be really successful as an innovator, you have to have a certain streak of meanness about you."


In case you missed it


Santa Barbara's Bar Montecito got one star.

Five items that got big views over the past week:

The Michelin Guide, the authoritative star rating system for restaurants, released its 2021 selections for California. Explore all 90 restaurants. 👉 Michelin
Richard Neutra perfected a signature Los Angeles look: houses that blur the boundary between inside and outside. In a profile, the New Yorker chronicled how the architect saw himself as a therapist of sorts, easing the stress of modern life.
In 1954, Warner Bros. asked Bob Willoughby to photograph Judy Garland on a film set. Over the next 20 years, he captured candid pictures of Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, and others. His website has a great gallery. 👉
Soobleej Kaub Hawj and his family were fleeing a wildfire in Siskiyou County when they reached a checkpoint. Officials say Hawj turned toward an evacuation zone and pointed a gun. Police shot him dead. But many in the Hmong community doubt that narrative. Vice News did a deep dive.
All of California's Cook pines lean conspicuously in the same direction, as though buffeted by winds. But that isn't their only quirk. Matt Ritter, a botany professor, discovered that Cook pines around the globe all lean toward the equator — and the further away they are, they greater the slant. L.A. Times | New Scientist

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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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