California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, Feb 26.

Giving people vaccine shots is the happiest job in medicine.
A push to kick Jim Crow out of the California Constitution.
And two skiers pull off an amazing feat on Half Dome.



Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a plan to send teachers to the front of the vaccine line; that sets aside 75,000 doses for educators and staff each week. If the allotments come through, all of California's roughly 320,000 K-12 public school teachers should be inoculated in a month or so. Still, a union official declined to forecast a date for reopening schools. "We need to know when it’s safe,” he said. EdSource | A.P.


A vaccination crew member was in an upbeat mood at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 15.

Irfan Khan/AFP via Getty Images

The happiest job in medicine right now is plunging the coronavirus vaccine in the arms of strangers. Many of the people getting inoculated shed tears of joy. “I will never forget the face of the first person I vaccinated,” Ebram Botros, a CVS pharmacy manager, said. It was an 80-year-old who hadn’t seen his children or grandchildren since March. Washington Post


Anna Chico, a nurse, at Stanford last March.

Cati Brown-Johnson

Hyperallergic, an arts website, did a survey of the best Los Angeles stories of 2020. Among them was the PPE Portrait Project, an idea conjured by the Los Angeles artist Mary Beth Heffernan during the West African Ebola outbreak of 2014. It was simple but profound: Health care workers affixed photos of their smiling faces to the outside of their head-to-toe protective covering as a way to establish a connection with patients. The practice was revived by a Stanford researcher early in the coronavirus pandemic and caught on around the world.




There's a growing movement to strike a clause from the state Constitution: “Involuntary servitude is prohibited except to punish crime.” The line, according to critics, is a vestige of slavery that has no place in a just society. While California inmates are not officially forced into labor, some prisoners have described being made to work under threat of discipline. Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco called the proposal "pro-criminal." “Inmates are not slaves," he said. "They are convicted criminals serving a sentence for victimizing us." L.A. Times


The San Joaquin Valley has some of the nation's worst air pollution. Not helping matters are growers that burn hundreds of thousands of waste from vineyards and orchards every year, sending up plumes of smoke that drift into largely Latino farm towns. On Thursday, after more than a decade of delays, state regulators moved to finally put a stop to the practice. CalMatters


Yosemite's Half Dome in winter white.

Shaun Jeffers

“If you fall to your left or right, you’re definitely dead.”

On Sunday, a pair of creative daredevils summited a snow-covered Half Dome, then skied back down its exceedingly steep spine, continuing all the way to Yosemite Valley 4,000 feet below. No one is known to have attempted the feat before. One of the skiers, Jason Torlano, 45, is a true badass: an Army veteran who spends several months a year as a volunteer helping people flee war zones overseas. Fresno Bee | S.F. Chronicle

See video from the descent. 👉 @sfchronicle


On Sunday, an L.A. Times investigation revealed that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — the group that doles out the Golden Globes — has no Black people among its 87 members. Entertainment critics said the lack of representation was reflected in the shows and movies snubbed this year. With the award ceremony set for Sunday, the association is now vowing to change. "We understand that we need to bring in Black members," it said. L.A. Times | Hollywood Reporter


Two individuals attacked Lady Gaga's dog walker late Wednesday, opening fire on him and fleeing with two of the singer's French bulldogs, police officials said. "Oh my God, oh my God, help me," the dog walker is heard shouting on surveillance video. He was said to be in critical condition with a single gunshot wound. Lady Gaga offered a $500,000 reward for the dogs' return — no questions asked. L.A. Times | CNN


Bruce Meyers in one of his dune buggies, circa 1966.

Eric Rickman/Enthusiast Network via Getty Images

Bruce Meyers, inventor of the dune buggy as we know it, has died. In 1964, Meyers, a surfer and boatbuilder in northern San Diego County, took a standard Beetle, tossed the body, added fatter tires, and bolted on a curving fiberglass body. The Meyers Manx, as it was called, was born, inspiring thousands of imitators and turning the dune buggy into an emblem of 1960s California cool. “It’s sort of a reflection of my lifestyle," Meyers said, "which is all about being free.” He was 94. Washington Post


On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman discussed California's corporate exodus with Bradley Tusk, a venture capitalist and political strategist. Companies, he said, are being drawn to a particular sort of destination: Blue cities in red states. For millennial workers, places like Austin and Nashville provide an attractive fit culturally. For the companies, they offer fewer regulations and no income tax.


☝️ Daniel Strickland, a marketer from Oakland, shared this picture of a sign he captured Thursday in Sea Ranch, a utopian community along the Sonoma coast. He said was struck by the warning's accidental poetry. Move a few words and add a syllable and it could have been a haiku.


In case you missed it


A truck pulled a Victorian home through San Francisco on Sunday.

Noah Berger/A.P.

Five items that got big views over the past week:

A 19th-century Victorian in San Francisco was hoisted on giant dollies and paraded at 1 mph to a new location. Spectators lining the six-block route uttered "oohs" and "aahs." Watch a time-lapse. 👉 @karlmondon
A distressing lead from the L.A. Times: "A coronavirus variant that emerged in mid-2020 and surged to become the dominant strain in California not only spreads more readily than its predecessors, but also evades antibodies generated by Covid-19 vaccines or prior infection and it's associated with severe illness and death, researchers said."
Last week, a pair of Black surfers, both 24, paddled out to catch some waves at Manhattan Beach Pier. When one of them accidentally collided with a teenager, words were exchanged. Then an older white surfer came over hurled the n-word. Easy Reader News
Before the springtime poppies of Antelope Valley come the late-winter mustard blooms of Wine Country. Here's a nice photo tour of 10 of the prettiest spots in Sonoma County. 👉 Sonoma magazine
Oakland teacher: "All the rich white parents suddenly concerned about mental health can take a seat. Most of them are causing their kids' anxiety by pressuring them to complete asynchronous work and feeding into their sense of entitlement. Sorry/not sorry."

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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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