California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, July 10.

An epidemiologist explains why schools should reopen.
L.A. activists target the homes of public officials.
And the ultimate outdoor bucket list for the Golden State.



A woman watched traffic from her tent above the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles on May 22.

Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

A worst-case scenario projects that rising unemployment will drive up homelessness in California by 20%. But some see hope to blunt the disaster — or even make progress: The cratering of the real estate market could open up distressed properties for use as shelters. It sounds counterintuitive, one expert said, "but some of the biggest periods of homeless people being placed into housing came after the 2008 economic crash.” S.F. Chronicle


The Los Angeles teachers union has concluded that returning to school in fall would be too risky. The sentiment appeared to be shared by the California Teachers Association, the state's largest teachers union, which sent a letter to legislative leaders: “It is clear that communities and school districts have not come close to meeting the threshold for a safe return to in-person learning, even under a hybrid model.” EdSource | L.A. Times

"I’m an epidemiologist and a dad. Here’s why I think schools should reopen." Vox


A view of a new emergency care facility inside San Quentin State Prison on Wednesday.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

State lawmakers gathered outside of San Quentin prison and demanded that inmates be released to save their lives amid a stampeding coronavirus outbreak. An inmate's letter was read aloud: ”This is the most scared I’ve ever been in my life. I’m begging for you to hear us and please, Governor Newsom, save our lives. We’re dying in here.” Nearly 1,500 people have tested positive at the prison. Seven have died. The Guardian | KQED


On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Dr. Robert Wachter, the chair of UC San Francisco's Department of Medicine. He said we've learned a great deal about Covid-19 since the disease invaded California. One bright spot has been the infrequency of sickness among children. But he added, "Most of the things that we've learned have been shocking and bad news." California Sun Podcast

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Lenin Gutierrez posed with the world's greatest tip in San Diego on Monday.

Last month, a San Diego Starbucks customer tried to publicly shame a barista who refused to serve her until she put on a mask. This week, the barista, 24-year-old Lenin Gutierrez, was handed a suitcase filled with $105,000 in cash, raised in a GoFundMe campaign. "This is so mind-blowing right now," Gutierrez said. "I’ve never seen anything like this, except in the movies. This is insane.” NBC 7 | YouTube




Robert Fuller, who was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale last month, died by suicide, investigators concluded. Officials said Fuller had a history of depression and talked about planning to kill himself. His death, along with the hanging death of another black man — Malcolm Harsch — drew intense community and media scrutiny as Black Lives Matter protests roiled the country. Harsch also committed suicide. NPR | A.P.


Protesters gathered at the the home of Mayor Eric Garcetti in Los Angeles on June 2.

Presley Ann/Getty Images

“Nice neighborhood, David Michaelson. Would be a real shame if we came and disrupted it.”

Protesters in Los Angeles have been increasingly showing up at the homes of public officials to press political demands. Activists say the tactic reflects the urgency of their cause. "Inaction will lead to death,” one organizer said. A Republican political consultant called it the behavior of "extremists." L.A. Times


The influx of warehouses for companies like Amazon and Walmart in the Inland Empire helped to dramatically slash unemployment. It has also transformed the landscape, effectively surrounding long-term homeowners with massive, boxy buildings. This story includes jarring aerial images showing the warehouse takeover of the landscape. N.Y. Times


"We have hours of footage of people in the water surfing, swimming, sharks swimming right by them, sometimes right underneath them, and completely ignoring them."

Here's a great little film about a shark research group that's been sending drones up and down the Southern California coast looking for sharks. There are a lot. Scientific American (~4 mins)


Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

The Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Sebastian Smee has been nominating his favorite works of art in permanent collections around the U.S. His latest selection is Richard Diebenkorn's “Cityscape #1,” above, a quaint California scene that hangs in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. There may no be more beautiful painting of California, Smee says. Washington Post


Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County.

Sinkyone Wilderness. Phantom Falls. Red Rock Canyon.

For the past several weeks, the California Sun has been gathering recommendations from outdoor experts of not-to-be-missed natural wonders across nine California regions. Here are their picks, 45 in all, compiled as an ultimate outdoor bucket list for the Golden State. California Sun


In case you missed it


"Portrait of a California gold miner with daguerreotype and letter, circa 1852."

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Five items that got big views over the past week:

A new collection of daguerreotypes captures the determination and style of the Gold Rush prospectors who set out west in search of wealth and adventure. California Sun
A Bay Area doctor driving along an off-road trail in the Sierra with his 15-year-old son was fatally shot by a random stranger. Here's a moment-by-moment reconstruction. S.F. Chronicle
So how exactly do you catch Covid-19? A consensus is now emerging around an answer: "The major culprit is close-up, person-to-person interactions for extended periods." Wall Street Journal
A video editor named Mike Dent put the soundtrack from the cyberpunk dystopia "Blade Runner" over footage of Los Angeles's July Fourth fireworks bacchanal. The result is delightful. Vimeo (~1:45 mins)
In a June 20 message on Facebook, Thomas Macias shared his regrets about having attended a party in Lake Elsinore and catching the coronavirus. He died the next day. NBC News

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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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