California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, May 15.

Governor pleads for federal aid to avoid deep cuts.
San Francisco shifts to embrace homeless tents.
And officials propose moving restaurants outdoors.



A farmer's market in Manhattan Beach welcomed shoppers on Tuesday as retail activity in the state gradually restarts.

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

Deep cuts to schools and health care. State worker pay slashed by a tenth. Environmental programs and a new state park put on hold.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday outlined his plan to close an anticipated $54 billion budget gap caused by plummeting tax collections and the costs of responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The cuts recall those made during the depths of the Great Recession more than a decade ago — but they're not inevitable, the governor said in an appeal for federal aid. With a stroke of President Trump's pen, he said, "these cuts could be eliminated." CalMatters | L.A. Times | S.F. Chronicle

California's unemployment rate is expected to peak at 25 percent, rivaling that of the Great Depression. Newsom called the numbers "jaw dropping." L.A. Times | Mercury News


For years, San Francisco authorities have treated homeless tents as a scourge, even at times slashing them with knives. Now they have adopted plans to create five "Safe Sleeping Villages," replete with showers and food. "Tents, once an ultimate bogeyman of San Francisco's government, will be revered as lifesaving." NPR

Study: Homelessness in California will increase 20 percent within a year. L.A. Times


Eight of the 10 California counties with the highest rates of new infections are in Southern California, an analysis found. Explanations have cited isolated clusters of infections, population density, and varied testing rates. But public health experts are unsure of the cause. "It's a mystery to me," one said. "It just doesn't totally make sense." Mercury News


Paulino Perez, right, hugged his brother after he was released from a Coronado hospital last week.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Imperial County reports highest hospitalization rate in California, Orange County breaks its record for largest daily case count, and an outbreak sickens 17 at an LAPD training center. Here are the latest coronavirus totals, according to tallies by the S.F. Chronicle and N.Y. Times:

Confirmed cases:
1,424,700 in U.S.
74,834 in California
10,370 in Bay Area
57,780 in Southern California

85,800 in U.S.
3,049 in California

Cumulative infections and deaths in California:

Sources: California Department of Public Health; SF Chronicle

See trackers of cases in California, the U.S., and worldwide.


With restaurant guidelines that call for more space between patrons and workers, Bay Area officials are talking about letting restaurants spill outdoors. Berkeley has introduced legislation that would cordon off parking lots, public parks, and even whole city streets to make room for outdoor seating. Eater San Francisco | S.F. Chronicle

Latest counties approved to open more fully: Humboldt, Mariposa, and Siskiyou.


Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos altered guidance in a way that blocks undocumented immigrants from collecting aid.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

California's public community college system, the nation's largest, sued the federal government for denying coronavirus relief funds to more than 500,000 California students. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos added an eligibility requirement that excludes, among others, students without Social Security numbers. S.F. Chronicle | EdSource


Other odds and ends:

A gym owner in Oceanside reopened his club again despite being arrested last weekend for violating an order to remain closed. A councilman cheered him on. A.P. | S.D. Union-Tribune
Fresno County's sheriff said she would not enforce the governor's stay-home orders: "We've got our hands full trying to re-arrest people that are released due to zero-dollar bail." San Joaquin Valley Sun
Lake Tahoe is seeing a surge of interest in real estate. Why? "They all say the same thing, they want to get the hell out of where they're at," an agent said. Tahoe Daily Tribune



"Finally he just looked at me and he said, 'This is it. This is the largest pine tree on earth.' And it was just an amazing moment. I mean, what are the chances of that?"

Here's a touching short film on an outdoorsman named Carl Casey. Its title: "Meet California's best big-tree hunter." Field Mag (~4:30 mins)


John Fremont, circa 1870.

California State Library

On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Steve Inskeep, the host of NPR's "Morning Edition," who has a new book out on the life of John Fremont. The 19th-century explorer was sent to the West Coast to map trails, but he ultimately played a central role in transforming the U.S. into a Pacific power and part of Latin America. "This is the backstory of everything we're living now," Inskeep said. California Sun Podcast

Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.

Southern California seems capable of nurturing almost any plant, and one of the most magnificent showcases is Descanso Gardens. Nestled in the San Rafael Hills just north of Los Angeles, the public garden is a saunterer's paradise of oaks, roses, azaleas, irises, and the largest collection of camellias in North America.

Closed since March, it's planning to welcome back visitors on Saturday, though with far fewer people allowed in at any one time. Explaining the decision to reopen, the director said people need a peaceful escape more than ever. "We want to be able to provide that kind of tranquility." Pasadena Star News

Below, some views of the garden.


Descanso Gardens


In case you missed it


Madelaine Turner's "Anderson Guide to Surviving a Global Pandemic" went viral on social media.

Five items that got big views over the past week:

Madelaine Turner, a Southern California TikTok user, created a Wes Anderson-inspired guide to surviving the lockdown. It's pretty great. TikTok
A garbage collector was captured on video belting out Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love Of All" for two high schoolers as they posed for graduation pictures. Twitter
In 1976 and '77, a group of kids in a dicey area of Santa Monica and Venice known as Dogtown made skateboarding cool. The filmmaker David Markey was there with his 8 mm film camera rolling. YouTube (~6 mins)
A geographer named Sean Conway created a depiction of California's extreme topography using a 1944 government map and exaggerated elevation data. It's been a giant hit on social media. Instagram
There's a creek at Shasta Lake made up of idyllic waterfalls, swimming holes, and vivid rust-colored boulders. People in the know hike about 20 minutes from the lakeshore to natural waterslide. YouTube (~7 mins)

Thanks for reading!

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

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