Good morning. It’s Friday, Dec. 2.
- California weighs ambitious reparations proposals.
- L.A. County raises prospect of reimposing mask mandate.
- And a note on the fifth anniversary of the California Sun.
The New York Times published a front-page article on California’s effort to pay reparations to Black residents for the economic legacy of slavery and racism. A task force has estimated compensation of $569 billion for housing discrimination, or $223,200 per person. “We are looking at reparations on a scale that is the largest since Reconstruction,” said Jovan Scott Lewis, a professor at the UC Berkeley, who is a member of the task force. N.Y. Times
Rep. Buddy Carter: “There are no options. It’s definitely going to be McCarthy.”
Rep. David Valadao: “There’s no Plan B on this. It’s McCarthy.”
Rep. Kat Cammack: “It’s just McCarthy.”
While Rep. Kevin McCarthy has faced a conservative mutiny over his bid for speaker, his allies are asking: if not him, then who? So far there’s no obvious answer. Semafor
Politico: Both sides are digging in their heels.
California water managers announced Thursday that water agencies serving 27 million residents will get just 5% of what they requested to start the new year. The allocation suggested that 2023 would be another year of brown lawns and parched farmland. Noting the storm now drenching the state, Michael Anderson, the state climatologist, recalled that two big storms toward the end of 2021 were followed by months of bone-dry weather. “Don’t get too carried away by any one storm,” he said. A.P. | L.A. Times
Vallejo, home to one of the most violent police forces in the country, said it “inadvertently” destroyed audio and video records from five police shooting investigations. In 2019, the Vallejo Sun requested all police shooting records after state lawmakers made them public under a new transparency law. The evidence from five shootings, including one of the department’s most controversial cases, was destroyed two years later. A city attorney assured the news outlet it wouldn’t happen again. Vallejo Sun
Federal officials are investigating allegations that Stanford University is biased against men. The probe by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights was triggered by a Title IX complaint that accused the university of offering scholarships and programs for women but no equivalents for men. One of the complainants, a men’s rights activist named Kursat Pekgoz, recently forced UC Santa Cruz to open up a women-only STEM scholarship to men. Forbes | S.F. Chronicle
On this week’s California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman chats with Leighton Woodhouse, a journalist and filmmaker in Oakland. Woodhouse had predicted a moderate wave across California in the Nov. 8 election. That didn’t exactly happen, he said. But several moderates prevailed in San Francisco, including District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. Asked what that would mean for the city, Woodhouse said, “The mere act of a DA enforcing laws is a big change.”
“I don’t even remember the last time I went outside. Like, what’s the sun? Sorry, I forgot what it looks like.”
☀️ Brighten someone’s everyday.
Los Angeles County on Thursday raised the prospect of reimposing an indoor mask mandate after coronavirus infections surged to their highest levels since summer. “We feel like we’re seeing a much more rapid acceleration than we want to be seeing at this point,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. The L.A. Times predicted that rising Covid-19 hospitalizations, if unabated, could trigger the mask mandate after “a few weeks.” L.A. Times | LAist
California coronavirus tracker. 👉 Covid19.ca.gov
At least 10 middle schoolers were treated for what the authorities suspected was ingestion of cannabis edibles in the San Fernando Valley on Thursday. Officials said some of the children at Van Nuys Middle School, between the ages of 12 and 15, may have run and hid when emergency officials arrived. Christopher Angel, 12, said three people were “drugged” in his class: “They were acting weird, tired, high.” L.A. Times | KABC
Hollywood has become enamored with a drug that makes people lose weight by triggering a repugnance to food. Ozempic was originally marketed to diabetics as an insulin regulator. But doctors noticed their patients losing weight as a side effect. Musicians, actors, and other high-profile figures are now paying up to $1,500 a month for the drug, out of pocket. “A lot of celebrities are on it,” said Dr. Daniel Ghiyam, who runs a “medical spa” in Ventura county. Vanity Fair | The Guardian
In case you missed it
Five items that got big views over the past week:
- In 1972, the Rolling Stones went on a U.S. tour at the height of their hedonistic glory. LIFE magazine assigned photojournalist Jim Marshall to ensconce himself with the band, which he did zealously. His photos turned out brilliant. Huck magazine | The Guardian
- During the pandemic, Matthew Mellow made YouTube videos about walking with Jesus and the evils of Covid-19 testing. In 2020, he convinced two other men to join him on a quest to rebuild the kingdom of Christ in the South Pacific. Tragedy followed. N.Y. Times
- Pajaretes are clandestine ranch parties that begin at dawn and involve drinking spiked hot chocolate with raw milk. Originated in rural Mexico, they have become a ritual for farm workers and other laborers across Southern California. Eater Los Angeles
- When driving through Joshua Tree, architecture buffs commonly pause to catch a view of the High Desert House, a lair with otherworldly “wings” that meld into the surrounding boulders. Fewer visitors get to glimpse the interior. Insider
- Robin Engelman and her husband moved to a redwood forest in Marin County after decades in the Los Angeles area. They can hardly believe their eyes when look they out the windows every morning, Engleman said: “It’s ridiculously magical.” N.Y. Times
5 years of the Sun
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the California Sun.
On Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, I sent an inaugural newsletter that led with a story on dangerous holiday roads and included a writeup on Mimi Plumb’s fantastic photos of the 1970s Bay Area. It had fewer than 2,000 readers.
Five years later, the formula remains the same: a roundup of California news along with a post or two that highlights the history, beauty, or creativity of the state and its people. The readership — now 16 times larger — is still growing.
My dream was once to be a foreign correspondent: a Sydney Schanberg in Cambodia’s “Killing Fields.” I never would have guessed my career would lead me to a makeshift office in my garage on the Central Coast, tapping away about my home state late into the night.
California is an elusive topic. Over the years, writers have called it “an island on the land,” a “grander Greece,” “a tragic land — like Palestine, like every promised land,” “America, only more so,” and a “dirty trick.”
In “California: The Great Exception,” Carey McWilliams wrote that “it is the great catch-all, the vortex at the continent’s end into which elements of America’s diverse population have been drawn, whirled around.”
Whatever you say about California, this seems to be true: There’s no place like it. I can’t think of a more fascinating place to write about than the Golden State. It’s not Cambodia, but I love my job.
Thank you so much for making it possible.
Have a great weekend. I’ll have your next newsletter ready first thing Monday.
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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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