Good morning. It’s Thursday, Nov. 3.
- Meteorologists declare the end of wildfire season.
- Freedom for man imprisoned 20 years for stealing $14.
- And how to spend a perfect weekend in Santa Cruz.
Even if global warming is held to just 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, which appears unlikely, all the glaciers in Yosemite will be lost by 2050, the United Nations warned in a new report. A separate study by state scientists reported this week that one of two glaciers in Northern California’s Trinity Alps had already vanished, with the remaining glacier “arguably too small to be considered a glacier any longer.” On Mount Shasta, glaciers are believed to have lost 20% of their ice over the last two summers. Washington Post | L.A. Times | S.F. Chronicle
California’s wildfire season has been mild compared to recent years. In 2020 and 2021, the total acres burned were 4.3 million and 2.6 million, respectively. This year, so far: 362,232 acres. With a storm now rolling across the state, meteorologists are saying we appear to be in the clear. “It’s pretty hard to have a fire in three to six inches of snow,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist. S.F. Chronicle
On Saturday, Dianne Feinstein will mark 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate, making her the longest-serving female senator. At 89, Feinstein is also the oldest sitting senator, and according to Politico she “doesn’t sound like she’s going anywhere.” Feinstein’s term is up after 2024, when she will be 92 years old. She has not publicly indicated her plans on running for reelection. Politico | CNN
It wasn’t until an intruder was standing over Paul Pelosi’s bedside that he was startled awake. “Are you Paul Pelosi?” the man asked, gripping zip ties in one hand and a hammer in the other. Moments later, the man told Pelosi this was the “end of the road.”
The S.F. Chronicle gave a minute-by-minute account of the attack on Paul Pelosi.
In the months after San Francisco’s progressive district attorney, Chesa Boudin, was replaced by a more moderate prosecutor, the city’s police force began making 30% more traffic stops and 20% more “public order” stops per day, an analysis showed. Some critics have accused the police of purposeful inactivity under Boudin, who clashed with the city’s police union over criminal justice policies. S.F. Chronicle
Dr. Frank Mitloehner, the head of an agricultural research center at UC Davis, has been an outspoken critic of what he calls the “radical anti-meat agenda.” On Twitter, he led a backlash using the hashtag #yes2meat against researchers who warned about cattle industry emissions. Documents obtained under freedom of information laws showed that Mitloehner’s center “receives almost all its funding from industry donations and coordinates with a major livestock lobby group on messaging campaigns.” N.Y. Times
A researcher’s finding that Sacheen Littlefeather was an “ethnic fraud” led to some to heated discussions about the “policing” of Native American heritage. Some Native scholars said falsely appropriating Native identity can cause real harm. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which hosted an event honoring Littlefeather in September, said Indigenous members of the academy supported its position: “The Academy recognizes self-identification.” Washington Post
World-class mountain biking, outstanding craft beer, and a music scene that punches well above the city’s weight. A Bay Area writer who has been visiting Santa Cruz since childhood gave her take on how to spend a perfect weekend there. Several locals showed up in the comments to endorse her recommendations. N.Y. Times
In 2002, David Coulson walked into an open garage in Long Beach and stole $14. He had no violent crimes on his record. Yet a judge gave him 35 years to life under California’s three strikes law. Two weeks ago, Coulson was released after 20 years behind bars by a judge who said the case “shocks the conscience.” On his fourth day of freedom, Coulson went to his grandson’s football game, where family members had planned a surprise reunion. He bawled. The Guardian
In a report by the New York attorney general’s office, prosecutors accused a former Los Angeles police captain of helping to cover up allegations of sexual assault against former CBS chief Leslie Moonves. The report said the captain tipped off CBS executives after a woman made a report at the department’s Hollywood station in 2017 then secretly provided Moonves with status updates for months. CBS began its own investigation of the woman. L.A. Times | Variety
The Russian photographer Lev Rukhin takes an unusual approach to street photography: He drives around Los Angeles with a giant flash affixed to the roof of his Volvo and snaps pictures out of the passenger window. Once asked what he’s learned about Los Angeles from the project, he answered: “This is a desert dressed up with cheap lipstick inside of a movie set.” Boing Boing | Losangelev.com
Search for “Agua Caliente tribal reservation” in Google Maps, and you’ll see a bizarre checkerboard design draped across Southern California’s Coachella Valley, pictured above.
It’s not an error. The borders of the Agua Caliente reservation emerged as a byproduct of America’s westward expansion in the 19th century and the technological innovation that facilitated it: the railroad. No longer would the settlement of Indian lands proceed slowly, the secretary of the interior, Jacob Dolson Cox, wrote in 1869, the year the transcontinental railroad was completed. “The very center of the desert has been pierced,” he said.
In many cases, the piercing of Native American territories was accomplished through land grants to the railroad companies. Rather than hand out ribbons of land along proposed routes, the federal government created grids of square parcels, giving away every other block while keeping the rest for itself with the hope that train service would raise the value of the land.
When the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived to the dusty Coachella Valley in the 1870s, the U.S. used part of its checkerboard share — nearly 50 square miles — to establish a reservation for the Agua Caliente, a tiny impoverished tribe whose ancestors had walked the valley since “time immemorial.” At the time, the remote land was deemed largely worthless. That was before the invention of Palm Springs.
As the desert became a fashionable resort destination in the early 1900s, restaurants and hotels popped up everywhere. A century later, roughly half of the glittering playground of Hollywood’s elite now sits atop land held by the Agua Caliente, whose members collect monthly lease payments from thousands of homeowners and businesses. The Agua Caliente, which also operates three major casinos, is today one of the Coachella Valley’s most powerful political forces and one of the country’s richest tribes.
In press reports, tribal members have sometimes bristled at questions about their wealth. But the late elder Vyola Ortner said she was proud of what the tribe achieved. “From my perspective,” she wrote in her 2011 memoir, “we did greater honor to our ancestors by prospering in the society that was forced upon us than by giving up or being taken in by self-righteous indignation.”
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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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