California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, March 26.

California sets April date to open vaccine floodgates.
A landmark court ruling curtails bail for the poor.
And bioluminescence sightings along the Orange County coast.

Scheduling note: The newsletter will be off on Monday. Back in your inbox Tuesday.



Denise Saldana, a nurse, prepared a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

The floodgates of vaccine eligibility in California will swing open in the next 20 days. The new plan announced Thursday:

Everyone 50 and older will be eligible starting April 1.
Everyone 16 and older will be eligible April 15.

“In just a few weeks, there’ll be no rules, no limitations, as it relates to the ability to get a vaccine administered,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “This state is going to come roaring back.” A.P. | S.F. Chronicle


California currently receives about 1.8 million vaccine doses per week, though that number is expected to grow. With roughly 24 million residents between the ages 16 and 65, vaccine eligibility will not guarantee immediate access to a shot. The L.A. Times rounded up a bunch of strategies for snagging an appointment, including pharmacy sign-ups, scanning sites, and Twitter bots.




Sanchez Bail Bonds in Indio.

In a landmark decision, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that it is unconstitutional to keep defendants behind bars simply because they cannot afford bail. The ruling doesn't ban bail outright, but it requires that judges consider ability to pay before setting bail, essentially ensuring that indigent defendants go free while awaiting trial. Public defenders called it a massive victory. A.P. | KQED


Among California Latinos, more favor a recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom than oppose it, a new poll found. Roughly 45% of Latino voters said they would vote to oust the governor; 41% would not. The rest were undecided. The numbers spoke to the disproportionate harm faced by California's largest ethnic group during the pandemic year. "The response for Latinos has been a failure," said Mike Madrid, a Latino voting trends expert. "There’s no other way around it. This shows that.” Sacramento Bee


A backyard apartment by Abodu arrived to a site in San Jose.

Adam Rouse/courtesy of Abodu

Gripped by a housing shortage, California passed laws in 2016 and 2017 making it easier to build backyard apartments. That set off a boom in construction of so-called accessory dwelling units, or ADUs. In 2019, 12,000 were added, a tenfold increase from before deregulation. New companies now boast the ability to put up ADUs very quickly: Abodu, in Redwood City, can deliver a Scandinavian-style flat, from permit through construction, in 30 days. Bloomberg CityLab


Northern California


Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive, spoke during a House hearing on Thursday.

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The kings of Silicon Valley were grilled by Congressional lawmakers on Thursday over their role in the corrosion of civic life in America. The chief executives of Google, Facebook, and Twitter were each asked whether their platform bore responsibility for the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol. Only Jack Dorsey, of Twitter, gave a direct answer: "Yes." Reuters | Washington Post


San Francisco is the latest city to introduce guaranteed income, but with a new twist: Only artists in neighborhoods hard hit by the pandemic can apply. Starting in May, 130 participants will get $1,000 a month for six months. "If we help the arts recover, the arts will help San Francisco recover,” Mayor London Breed said. S.F. Examiner |


Oscar Frayer brought the ball up the court during the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis on March 20.

Trevor Brown Jr/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Oscar Frayer, a basketball standout in the East Bay, had two goals as he graduated high school in 2016: to get his bachelors degree and to play in the NCAA Tournament. In February, he finished his degree requirements. And last weekend he played for Grand Canyon University in the NCAA Tournament. Then tragedy struck. On Tuesday, Frayer died in a car crash along Interstate 5 near Lodi that also killed his 28-year-old sister and a third person who was unidentified. Frayer was 23. S.F. Chronicle | Mercury News


Southern California


USC agreed to pay more than $1.1 billion to former patients of campus gynecologist George Tyndall, the largest sex abuse payout in higher education history. A group of roughly 710 women will get an average payment of $1.2 million. A lawyer for victims said the size of the payout reflected the complicity of the university in keeping Tyndall on the job from 1989 to 2016, even as complaints mounted. L.A. Times | N.Y. Times


Red packed up his things at Echo Park Lake on Thursday.

Francine Orr/L.A. Times via Getty Images

The battle over a homeless encampment in Los Angeles' Echo Park appeared to near its conclusion late Thursday as workers fenced off the area and police prepared to remove the few remaining campers. A reporter and numerous protesters were detained in the commotion. An Echo Park resident said he was pleased by the outcome, but wanted to see people get into housing. “There’s no win-win in any of this.” L.A. Times | KTLA


"Ooh! That was so good!"

The bioluminescence is back. In recent days, beachgoers along the Orange County coast have reported sightings of the glowing aqua-colored waves caused by phytoplankton that glow when agitated. The resurgence comes nearly a year after an especially vibrant bloom sparked nightly watching parties, a joyful respite as the state plunged into its first lockdown. LAist | KABC

The photographer Mark Girardeau caught some good video in Laguna Beach last week. 👉 YouTube


In case you missed it


A serpentine section of the California Aqueduct in Palmdale.

California Department of Water Reources

Five items that got big views over the past week:

Scientists ran the numbers on what would happen if California placed solar panels atop the state's 4,000 miles of water canals. It would save 63 billion gallons of water from evaporating each year, while providing 13 gigawatts of renewable power annually. WIRED | Gizmodo
With at least 350 students regularly failing to show up for virtual classes at Indio High School, an assistant principal has spent every Wednesday driving all over town looking for them. Washington Post
Jensen Karp, a 41-year-old comedian and writer in Los Angeles, was filling a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch when, he said, “something plopped out of the box. I picked it up, and I was like, ‘This is clearly a shrimp tail.’” N.Y. Times
Olema House is the best hotel in all of America. That's according to a 2020 analysis of reader reviews by Condé Nast Traveler. It holds a unique advantage: gorgeous views from its perch at the edge of the Point Reyes national seashore.
Spread across the Southern California desert are a series of isolated pumping plants and reservoirs that bring drinking water to homes in Los Angeles and beyond. In a profile of the man in charge of it all, the L.A. Times opened a disturbing window into the dysfunctional work culture that was allowed to fester in the untamed frontier.

On this week's California Sun Podcast:

Host Jeff Schechtman chats with Molly Knight, a senior writer for The Athletic. She talks about the resonance of Los Angeles' sporting dominance in such a grim year. "It gave people some hope," she says. "It gave people some joy."

Thanks for reading!

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

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