Good morning. It’s Friday, Feb. 10.
- Report says 152,000 California students are missing.
- Cal Poly Humboldt proposes barge for student housing.
- And a beautiful photo feature about getting your first car.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s wife was just appointed to lead a committee that oversees his budget. Assemblymember Mia Bonta, an Oakland Democrat, was elected to replace her husband after he was named attorney general in 2021. The couple often works together on legislation. “It should raise eyebrows,” said Bob Stern, a government ethics expert. “What’s going on with them? It seems to me they have a tin ear about ethics.” KCRA
The Bontas have faced ethics questions before. As an assemblymember in 2020, Rob Bonta created a foundation that contributed to a nonprofit led by his wife. CalMatters
“The findings are sound and eye-popping.”
An analysis of enrollment data conducted by Stanford University in collaboration with the Associated Press found that about 152,000 California school-age children are unaccounted for in the wake of the pandemic. It’s unclear where the students went, but Stanford education professor Thomas Dee offered theories: Some joined unregistered homeschools, others skipped kindergarten, and many just stopped going to school. L.A. Times | A.P.
Cal Poly Humboldt is considering a plan to temporarily house students aboard a barge docked in Humboldt Bay. Protests erupted this week after the administration informed students that enrollment growth meant as many as 1,000 students would be ousted from campus housing in the fall. One protester held a sign that read “Don’t put us on a fucking prison boat!” Miles Slattery, Eureka’s city manager, said he loved the barge idea. If he was back in college, he said, “I would be the first one to apply.” Lost Coast Outpost
In 2020, Chesa Boudin became the first San Francisco district attorney to charge a police officer in an on-duty killing. Then he was recalled in a backlash by more politically moderate voters. Now his replacement, Brooke Jenkins, is planning to drop the prosecution. “It appears that the case was filed for political reasons,” she wrote in a letter to state Attorney General Rob Bonta on Wednesday. Boudin called the move offensive. “She does not care about victims of police violence,” he said. S.F. Chronicle
The owner of a popular Oakland bakery died Thursday after she was dragged by a car of thieves who robbed her in a Wells Fargo parking lot. According to Jennifer Angel’s fiancé, a suspect snatched a purse from her car as she was pulling out of the lot on Monday. She followed the robber to a waiting vehicle, then got snagged in the car door. She was then dragged more than 50 feet, police said. The brutal killing has shaken the Oakland culinary community, where she had deep roots. Oaklandside | S.F. Chronicle
A Mendocino County jury found a man not guilty of driving under the influence because he had been caught cheating on his wife and needed to “escape two angry women.” According to court records, both women turned on Thomas Houston, 60, of Ukiah — his wife pummeling him and the other woman throwing rocks at him. In a defense motion, Houston’s lawyer said he “was forced to leave his residence under duress.” Press Democrat | Ukiah Daily Journal
During the pandemic, the Bay Area author Peggy Orenstein passed the time by learning the art of shearing sheep, dyeing wool, and creating a sweater from start to finish, a journey she recounts in her new book “Unraveling.” On the latest California Sun Podcast, she talked with host Jeff Schechtman about how knitters have been perceived as little old ladies in a rocking chair. “Even if that were true, so what?” she said. “I think it’s really easy for us to dismiss and discount women when we get to a certain age.”
Downtown San Francisco’s tallest buildings line up symmetrically in the windows of Coit Tower. The public is welcome to climb the stairs of the slender Art Deco column, built in the 1930s on a hilltop that served as a lookout for incoming ships during the Gold Rush. For the settlers, then as now, the perch offered magnificent 360-degree views of the bay and a city on the cusp of change. California Through My Lens
After an Orange County public defender named Elliot Blair died in the Mexican resort town of Rosarito Beach on Jan. 14, the local authorities concluded that he died in a drunken fall from the third story of his hotel. But his family insisted that he was the victim of a crime. Now an independent pathologist has revealed that Blair sustained about 40 skull fractures, a lawyer for the family said. In an interview Thursday, Blair’s wife, Kimberly Williams, said “Someone did this to him.” L.A. Times | ABC News
“It’s so interesting to be in charge, like, oh my God, if we want to go through the drive-through, we can go. You want to smoke a cigarette in my car? You can smoke a cigarette in my car.”
In a beautifully done photo feature, a group of young friends and artists in Los Angeles talked about a distinct American rite of passage: getting your first car. N.Y. Times
You can live like a Martian in a Joshua Tree home that just hit the market for $2.1 million. Built by a spiritual healer, the Bonita Domes compound was inspired by principles intended for space habitation, using found materials with maximum stability and minimal maintenance. It’s currently being operated as a rental on AirBnb for about $800 a night. Press-Enterprise | Insider
Gallery: See inside Bonita Domes. 👉 Desert Sun
In case you missed it
Five items that got big views over the past week:
- Matthew Greene left his campsite in Mammoth Lakes on July 17, 2013, and was never seen again. The reporter Jason Nark wrote a deeply moving story about love, grief, and climbers who never abandon their search for the dead in the great outdoors. The Alpinist
- A plaza across from Oakland’s airport has become a thieves’ paradise. One worker estimated that she sees 10 thefts daily, brazen and in broad daylight. SF Standard
- The country’s largest Catholic parish church just opened its doors in Visalia: St. Charles Borromeo church, with room for 3,200 worshippers. See inside. 👉 Visalia Times Delta
- Ian Ruhter photographs California’s Sierra by climbing inside a camera. The Lake Tahoe photographer converted a delivery truck into a massive box camera that draws in light through a small hole onto light-sensitive metal plates. See 19 of his works. 👉 IanRuhter.com
- In 1990, the head and feet of gay porn actor Billy London were found in a Hollywood dumpster. For 30 years, the murder went unsolved. But in an incredible twist, a group of amateur internet sleuths helped crack the case. L.A. Times
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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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