Good morning. It’s Tuesday, Oct 4.
- California gas prices soar even higher above U.S. average.
- Investigators warn of serial killer prowling Stockton.
- And the unremarkable people that surround Elon Musk.
The past three water years in California, tracked from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, have been the driest since records began in 1895, surpassing the drought of 2013-2015, newly released data showed. And while no one can be sure what the winter will bring, many believe the odds favor another dry year. “We can’t just continue to think of drought as something that happens occasionally,” said Jeanine Jones, a water official. Mercury News | S.F. Chronicle
Another analysis says you have to go back much further for a drought as severe as the one now gripping the American West: roughly A.D. 800. The Guardian
California is used to paying more for gas than the rest of the country. But as of Monday, it’s a staggering 66% more. The average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. on Monday was $3.799. The California average: $6.382, up from $5.254 a month ago. In Los Angeles, it hit an all-time high of $6.467. Analysts blamed maintenance at oil refineries. Gov. Gavin Newsom blamed oil companies. “It just doesn’t add up,” he said in a Twitter video last Friday. L.A. Times | Marketwatch
California churches are barred under the terms of their tax exemptions from endorsing political candidates. But they can advocate on issues. And leaders of several denominations are tapping into their networks to mobilize voters against Proposition 1, which would enshrine abortion rights in the state Constitution. The campaign has included homilies from the pulpit, video messages, and pew cards in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean distributed at masses. CalMatters
They face long odds: An August poll showed 71% of voters support Proposition 1. Berkeley IGS Poll
☝️ Behold, the cuckoo wasp.
Common in California, the wasp is no bigger than a housefly but makes up for its diminutive stature with outrageous metallic colors, earning it nicknames such as “ruby wasp,” “emerald wasp,” and “jewel wasp.” The purpose of the flamboyant appearance is a mystery, especially because the wasps operate by subterfuge, secretly slipping their eggs into the underground nests of other wasps or bees, where they devour the hosts’ young. Bay Nature
Marin County was once known for its low childhood vaccination rates, driven by a contingent of liberal parents skeptical of traditional medicine. But something flipped during the pandemic. Uneasy wearing the “anti-vax” label associated with conservatives, Marin now has one of the highest youth Covid vaccination rates in the country. “You almost become a little bit of an outcast if you’re not vaccinated,” said Naveen Kumar, a local physician. N.Y. Times
Five homicide victims in three months. All men, none of them robbed. All shot while walking alone in the dark. All within a few miles of each other.
Investigators believe there is a serial killer operating in the city of Stockton. Police Officer Joseph Silva said on Monday that the killings did not appear to be related to gangs or drugs. “It definitely meets the definition of a serial killer,” he said. “What makes this different is the shooter is just looking for an opportunity and unfortunately our victims were alone in a dark area.” A.P. | SFGATE
“Just overconfident dudes winging it.”
Last week, the world got a peek into Elon Musk’s phone as part of the discovery process in his legal battle with Twitter. The tech journalist Charlie Warzel read through hundreds of hundreds of text messages and emails sent to and from Musk. What is remarkable about the correspondence between Musk and Silicon Valley figures such as Marc Andreessen, Larry Ellison, and Jack Dorsey, he wrote, is “how unimpressive, unimaginative, and sycophantic the powerful men in Musk’s contacts appear to be.” The Atlantic
Sacheen Littlefeather died at her home in Novato on Sunday. Born in Salinas in 1946, the Apache activist stunned American audiences when she declined Marlon Brando’s 1973 Academy Award for “The Godfather” on his behalf in a protest of Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans. She endured years of scorn for her act. But nearly 50 years later, in August, the Academy apologized. During a program held in her honor two weeks ago, Littlefeather said she was representing all Indigenous people. “Somebody had to do it,” she said, drawing applause. Littlefeather was 75. Hollywood Reporter | N.Y. Times
A Los Angeles “slumlord” named Arthur Aslanian owed money he didn’t have to two men. So he hired a gang member to kill them. That’s according to an account provided by the U.S. attorney’s office that reads like a Martin Scorsese script. Aslanian’s plan collapsed when agents staged a murder of a would-be victim and had an informant show a picture of it to Aslanian in a roadside meeting. The informant asked Aslanian what to do with the photo. “F— shred it,” he answered. L.A. Times
A local lawmaker in San Bernardino County was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Monday for taking a $10,000 bribe to help open a cannabis business and hiring someone to burn down his restaurant in an insurance scam. Jermaine Wright, who served as acting mayor of Adelanto, is the latest official to face prison after the legalization of recreational cannabis unleashed a wave of bribery and shakedowns that came to feel like a normal part of doing business. L.A. Times | CBSLA
A criminal syndicate released data stolen from the Los Angeles public school system over the weekend after Superintendent Alberto Carvalho refused to pay a ransom. The data included passport details, Social Security numbers, and tax forms, but Carvalho said Monday that the hackers failed to steal sensitive information from the overwhelming majority of students, parents, and employees. Reporters who saw the data largely corroborated his assessment. L.A. Times | KABC
A law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom late last week moved elections for district attorneys and sheriffs from the year of gubernatorial elections to the same year as presidential elections. One consequence: Two extra years in office for the sheriffs and district attorneys in Orange, Riverside, and other counties. Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco, a sharp Newsom critic, gloated on Facebook: “Thank you governor for the unintended consequences!!! Lol!” O.C. Register | Press Riverside
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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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