Good morning. It’s Friday, April 29.
|•||Lawmakers propose rebates from massive budget surplus.|
|•||State says Big Oil perpetuated “myth” of plastics recycling.|
|•||And Ferndale becomes microcosm of American political divide.|
California’s budget surplus is expected to reach a staggering $68 billion after more than doubling since January, lawmakers said Thursday. The record sum, attributed to collections from high earners under the state’s progressive tax system, set off a flurry of spending proposals on homelessness, education, climate, infrastructure, and other priorities. Democrats said they want to give $200 rebate checks to taxpayers based on income. Bloomberg | A.P.
Plastic and styrofoam lined the banks of Ballona Creek in Los Angeles after a rain last November.
Citizen of the Planet/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
California’s top prosecutor on Thursday announced an investigation into Big Oil’s role in plastic waste pollution. Attorney General Rob Bonta accused fossil fuel companies of mounting “an aggressive campaign to deceive the public, perpetuating a myth that recycling can solve the plastics crisis. The truth is: The vast majority of plastic cannot be recycled.” ExxonMobil has been subpoenaed. L.A. Times | A.P.
California is leading a new legal effort to force the U.S. Postal Service to electrify its vehicle fleet. Attorneys general from 16 states filed suit in San Francisco Thursday to block the agency’s plan to modernize its fleet with gas-powered trucks. “Once this purchase goes through,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said, “we’ll be stuck with more than 100,000 new gas-guzzling vehicles on neighborhood streets, serving homes across our state and across the country, for the next 30 years.” A.P. | Gizmodo
For the writer, #VanLife looked better in the pictures.
The writer Caity Weaver was dispatched by her editor to adopt the #VanLife in California for a week. Her trip report is thoroughly entertaining. “To suggest that the worst part of vacationing in a van is sleeping in a van is not fair to the other aspects of the endeavor, which are also all the worst part — but it is cramped, slovenly and bad.” N.Y. Times Magazine (gift article)
BART on Thursday reinstated its mask mandate, making it the only transit system in the Bay Area to do so. Officials said the move was necessary to protect young and immunocompromised riders who are reliant on public transit. The union for BART workers expressed concern about enforcement as more riders grow accustomed to going maskless in other settings. Most of the Bay Area remains in the CDC’s lowest risk category for Covid-19 transmission. S.F. Chronicle | Mercury News
The entire village of Ferndale is designated as a state historical landmark.
Black Box Guild
The quaint village of Ferndale, the northern gateway to the Lost Coast, has become a microcosm of the country’s political divisions, Silas Valentino wrote. “The tension reached a boil last summer when the pastor for St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church placed a sign that said ‘Hurt by LGBTQ Culture? Healing Here.’ It was soon pelted with tomatoes. In response to the sign, organizers launched the first Pride Parade in the town’s history.” SFGATE
“A post-pandemic reality is beginning to set in.”
The Republican Accountability Project erected billboards criticizing Rep. Kevin McCarthy in Bakersfield.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has faced little criticism from his Republican colleagues over leaked audio revealing that he blamed President Trump for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. On Wednesday, he got a standing ovation from House Republicans. But in his hometown of Bakersfield, a conservative group is taunting McCarthy with six billboards. “We’ve heard the tapes, Kevin,” the billboards say. “Stop lying about January 6th.” Washington Post | Los Angeles Magazine
“This is a community that doesn’t want to be erased.”
A real estate company is trying to flip an entire neighborhood in Los Angeles. West Adams was formerly occupied by auto mechanics, upholsterers, and pipe fitters. Now it has its own Szechuan noodle joint, a vinyl record shop, and a $200-a-night boutique hotel. In real estate jargon, the transformation is known as “placemaking.” Others call it gentrification, and those who have resisted the incursion are paying a price. Bloomberg
Looters took to the streets at the intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues on April 29, 1992.
Steve Grayson/WireImage, via Getty Images
“Is it possible? Hell, yeah.”
Since the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which kicked off 30 years ago today, pollsters have periodically asked residents whether renewed riots or disturbances are likely. The share of those who answered in the affirmative fell for years, then rose sharply after 2015. This year, the poll found that 68% of Angelenos believe riots are likely in the next five years. L.A. Times
On this week’s California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Ryan Gattis, author of the novel “All Involved,” a fictionalized account of the lawlessness that followed Rodney King’s acquittal. They discussed how the balkanization of Los Angeles seems to have only worsened in the last 30 years. “[People] exist side by side,” Gattis said, “but they don’t necessarily exist together.”
In case you missed it
Travielle Pope was sentenced to life for a deadly beating during the riots in Los Angeles in 1992.
Five items that got big views over the past week:
|•||In 2020, more than 27,000 people were released from California prisons. The project “Facing Life” tells the story of eight former inmates as they navigate difficulties like smartphones, auto-flush toilets, and getting a job. Facing.life|
|•||One day in 2013, on a lark, Angelica Glass decided she would walk every street in Santa Cruz County. After nine years and 3,000 miles, she realized what was driving her was a profound need to find beauty in the world around her. She found it in wild cucumbers, rainbow webs, and the kindness of others. L.A. Times|
|•||Lake Berryessa is famous for its nightmarish spillway, a drain that sends excess water down a giant concrete funnel into Putah Creek, on the other side of a dam. During dry years, however, the bottom end of the spillway doubles as a perfectly ridable full-pipe for skateboarders. YouTube (~1 min)|
|•||A teacher in San Francisco brought cotton plants to her eighth-grade class during a lesson on slavery so her students could feel how the sharp edges had pierced people’s hands. Within 24 hours, the school’s leadership declared the teaching “harmful” and launched an investigation. S.F. Chronicle|
|•||In Desolation Wilderness, just west of Lake Tahoe, 130 pristine lakes are scattered across 100 square miles of granite peaks and alpine forest. After five days backpacking with friends, the photographer Skyler Greene described it as “the path to Valhalla.” Field Mag|
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