California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, June 4.

New rules require workplace masks if anyone is unvaccinated.
Companies lobbying Gavin Newsom fund his wife's nonprofit.
And San Francisco's vaping ban is linked to rise in teen smoking.



Vlad Lapich worked at the tech startup company Fast in San Francisco on March 24.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California regulators approved rules Thursday that allow workers to remove their masks only if every person in the room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The vote came after a heated debate during which business leaders argued that the mask requirement conflicts with looser CDC standards, as well as Gov. Gavin Newsom's pledge to fully reopen California on June 15. Without further revision, the new rules could remain in place into 2022. A.P. | Mercury News

Also announced Thursday: California will allow to-go cocktails and expanded outdoor dining through Dec. 31. CalMatters


"We're looking at a boom time for the U.S. economy."

An analysis by economists at UCLA found that California’s strict public health measures during the pandemic actually protected its economy. California had less of a contraction last year than Texas, Florida, and Indiana, states with fewer restrictions. As the nation emerges from its downturn, the economists predicted California would recover faster than the nation. L.A. Times


The Newsoms walked inside Dodger Stadium after the governor's State of the State address on March 9.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A Sacramento Bee investigation found that companies with reasons to ingratiate themselves with Gov. Gavin Newsom — including PG&E, Comcast, and Kaiser Permanente — pumped more than $800,000 into his wife's nonprofit, The Representation Project. The nonprofit has paid Jennifer Siebel Newsom more than $290,000 per year. “This is just a subtler variation of a lobbyist hiring an elected official’s spouse,” a law professor said. Sacramento Bee | Fox News


The columnist Mark Z. Barabak checked in with Stuart Spencer, the legendary Republican strategist who helped make Ronald Reagan a governor and a president. Spencer is 94 now, and he voted for Joe Biden in November — the first Democrat he’s supported since Harry Truman in 1948. Asked what Reagan would make of Donald Trump, Spencer paused. “Oh, boy,” he said. “He would be sick.” L.A. Times


Northern California


Mark Zuckerberg defended free expression in a speech at Georgetown University in 2019.

Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Facebook

Two years after Mark Zuckerberg declared that Facebook "must continue to stand for free expression,” the company plans to announce a major policy reversal on Friday, ending its hands-off approach to political speech. Since 2016, Facebook has granted greater latitude to politicians because their speech is considered newsworthy. Now they will be subject to same content moderation rules as everyone else: harassment, discrimination, and other harmful speech is prohibited. The Verge | N.Y. Times


In 2018, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban vaping in the name of protecting children. Now new research from the Yale School of Public Health has revealed that the prohibition appears to have pushed kids toward traditional cigarettes. It found that San Francisco high school students' likelihood of smoking doubled relative to young people in other places. “I would say it’s very compelling evidence that the ban led to an increase in smoking,” study author Abigail Friedman said. GIZMODO |


Cooling fog rolls across San Francisco.

As Californians get ready to enjoy the warmest weather of the year, San Francisco still has some waiting to do. According to National Weather Service data, the city's warmest month is September, when the average high hits 70.2 degrees. October is next warmest, with an average high of 69.8. San Francisco's famously chilly summers result from the city's location between the Pacific Ocean and Central Valley. Meteorologists say the low-pressure heat of the valley acts like a vacuum cleaner, sucking the ocean's cold, high-pressure air and fog inland. It takes the path of least resistance, sweeping through gaps in the mountains like the Golden Gate. As inland temperatures drop, the effect reverses, letting San Franciscans bask, finally, in the autumn sun. KQED has a nice explainer.


Southern California


“I’m afraid I’m going to lose everything I worked all my life for."

Richard Perry built a middle-class life in Compton from scratch, with little or no generational wealth to lean on in a crisis. But at 58, he was fighting for his life in a hospital. Every call from home seemed to add new burdens. His wife lost her job. The disability checks weren't covering the bills. His older brother, also stricken, died. Here's a beautifully written story about how Covid-19 can upend a lifetime of hard work. 👉 L.A. Times


More people have been talking seriously of alien visitation.

Universal/Getty Images

Did aliens visit off the coast of San Diego in 2004? Officials briefed on a highly anticipated government report into that and other unexplained aerial phenomena over the past two decades said they couldn't rule it out. But they found no proof of extraterrestrial activity. The uncertainty is likely to further stoke what has become a very strange national discussion about alien life. N.Y. Times | Washington Post


A compass rose is painted onto Rogers Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert.


Fun fact: The world's largest compass rose is painted in black oil on a dry lakebed northeast of Los Angeles. With a diameter stretching three quarters of a mile, it looks like some cryptic geoglyph but was added as a navigational aid to pilots at Edwards Air Force Base. Over time, the usefulness of the analog device has faded. Even so, the military keeps it freshly painted largely as a landmark. Atlas Obscura


On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Mick LaSalle, the San Francisco Chronicle film critic and author of the new book "Dream State: California in the Movies." He talked about how Hollywood reflects our cultural anxieties, even if they are invisible to us in the moment. In 2015, for example, every other movie seemed to involve a city being destroyed. "I started realizing that Godzilla was Trump," LaSalle said.


In case you missed it


Christopher Hall

Five items that got big views over the past week:

Christopher Hall's photos of parked cars around San Francisco seem drawn from some dreamy bygone past. But the found scenes were captured squarely in the age of Twitter and Facebook. California Sun
When Hailey Morinico saw a large bear swatting at her dogs in her backyard, she didn't hesitate. The 17-year-old darted toward the powerful animal and shoved it from atop a fence, a perhaps reckless but effective move captured on surveillance camera. KABC
California's more than 1,500 reservoirs are 50% lower than they should be this time of year. Ahead of an anticipated hot summer, the dwindling water supply threatens fish, crops, households, and hydroelectric power plants. A.P.
The daughter of the author Michael Lewis and her boyfriend died in a car crash near Truckee. A CHP officer said the Ford Fusion being driven by Ross Schultz, 20, with Dixie Lewis, 19, in the passenger seat, crossed the double yellow line on Highway 89 and slammed into a semi truck. Berkeleyside
At River Islands, a master planned community south of Stockton, transplants from the Bay Area are subjecting themselves to multi-hour commutes in exchange for homes they can afford. It's part of a national exurban housing boom. N.Y. Times


A photo caption in Thursday's newsletter misidentified the county of a neighborhood near Mount Shasta. It's Siskiyou County, not Shasta County.

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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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