Good morning. It’s Monday, June 12.
- The limited appeal of affirmative action in California.
- Migrants describe being pressured to fly to Sacramento.
- And Yelp names California’s most celebrated state parks.
In 2020, the campaign to restore race-conscious affirmative action in California enjoyed what seemed like unanimous Democratic support. The governor, senators, and state legislative leaders backed it. So did the Golden State Warriors, the ACLU of Northern California, and prominent voices from the business and nonprofit worlds. Supporters outspent opponents by 19 to 1. Then voters rejected it by a margin of 14 percentage points. On the eve of a Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, the N.Y. Times analyzed how California embodies the divide between the Democratic Party and its voters.
After traveling more than 2,800 miles from Venezuela, María was approached by a woman in El Paso, Texas, last month. María had no money for a plane or bus ticket. But the woman said she would fly her on a private plane to California, promising shelter and immigration aid. “She told us not to be afraid — that she didn’t want to steal our hearts or our organs or anything,” María told a reporter. She didn’t know that the woman was hired by the administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. L.A. Times
A state law enacted on Jan. 1 bars local elected officials from voting on matters that directly benefit contributors to their campaigns. Supporters have portrayed it as a long overdue death blow to the practice known as “pay-to-play.” “While it rarely makes the headlines,” state Senator Steve Glazer wrote, “it is common knowledge that local officials solicit contributions from private interests who have matters pending at the city council or county board of supervisors.” Lawyers for a coalition of business groups are fighting the measure on free speech grounds. CalMatters
On the market now are a Malibu masterpiece, a San Francisco landmark, and an Alhambra “troll apartment”:
- Harry Gesner’s Malibu “wave house,” pictured above, is considered one of the most important homes in California. Built for a surfer in 1957, the midcentury modern home’s rooflines mimic the roiling sea. Yours for $49.5 million. Wall Street Journal | Dirt
- In 1916, the famed architect Julia Morgan designed a Tudor-style home at a construction cost of $20,000 for a dried-fruit tycoon in San Francisco. More than a century and multiple renovations later, the house was just listed for $36 million. SFGATE | Wall Street Journal
- People are calling it the “troll apartment.” For $250,000, you can get a tiny, one-bedroom apartment embedded in a bridge in the San Gabriel Valley community of Alhambra. Open houses have been packed. L.A. Times | KTLA
When Ted Kaczynski was a young math professor at UC Berkeley in the 1960s, he was regarded as standoffish and unremarkable. “I can’t recollect this guy, nor does anybody I know recollect him,” a colleague told the N.Y. Times in 1996. Two years after taking the job, Kaczynski quit. He then retreated to a cabin in the Montana wilderness, where he carried out a 17-year bombing campaign in a bid to hasten the collapse of industrial society. Known as the Unabomber, Kaczynski died in a North Carolina prison Saturday in what sources told the A.P. was a suicide. He was 81. SFGATE
Google’s Sundar Pichai said artificial intelligence is “more profound than fire or electricity.” The billionaire investor Reid Hoffman said “the power to make positive change in the world is about to get the biggest boost it’s ever had.” Microsoft’s Bill Gates declared that A.I. “will change the way people work, learn, travel, get health care and communicate with each other.” Or it could destroy humanity, the N.Y. Times reports.
Carl Nolte, a columnist whose family goes back four generations in San Francisco, has long celebrated the city for its diversity, invention, and otherworldly beauty. Now he’s starting to hear the call of other places, he wrote: “Politics, they say, is a blood sport in San Francisco. It’s a city where politicians are denounced for being moderate. The city drifts. The results are in plain view.” S.F. Chronicle
- Hotel owners are starting to write off San Francisco as the market nosedives. Wall Street Journal
Yelp analyzed its trove of reviews to find what it says were the country’s 50 most celebrated state parks in 2022. Taking top honors in California was Wilder Ranch State Park on the northern outskirts of Santa Cruz, pictured above, where one trail hugs 50-foot sea cliffs and another leads to one of California’s best picnic spots. Other nods went to Montana de Oro State Park, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Yelp
- KCET explored “the ancient coast of Wilder Ranch State Park.”
The Oakland artist Jeremy Mayer creates elaborate sculptures from the parts of discarded typewriters. A purist, he uses only original parts, eschewing epoxy or welding, a process he has likened to building with Legos. “This is the way I honor them,” he once told the Marin Independent Journal. Colossal has a gallery of Mayer’s metallic birds, some of which have moving parts.
- “Since I was a kid, I took all my toys apart.” See a short documentary on Mayer’s obsession. 👉 YouTube/WIRED
An estimated 19% of mature giant sequoias were lost in three wildfires in 2020 to 2021. Now a reforestation effort is underway that no one ever thought would be necessary. Crews recently planted 30,000 giant sequoia seedlings in the charred southern Sierra Nevada. Sam Hodder, of Save the Redwoods League, lives there in a yurt during the summer. “There’s nothing that prepares you for walking through a charred landscape with these skeletons of trees that were 2,000, 3,000 years old,” he said. L.A. Times
John Eastman, the Orange County lawyer who orchestrated a last-ditch bid to subvert the 2020 presidential election, is fighting to save his bar license in California. The trial this month has flown largely under the radar, but it’s expected to feature revealing testimony from a number of figures who surrounded former President Trump as he sought to derail the transfer of power. The witness lists include former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo, former trade adviser Peter Navarro, and election officials from seven states. Politico
Brett Crozier, the former commander of the San Diego-based USS Theodore Roosevelt, became a hero to his crew in 2020 after he sent an email to the Navy pleading for help fighting a coronavirus outbreak. “Sailors do not need to die,” he wrote. The message, which was leaked to the media, cost him his job. Now he’s speaking out for the first time. “As a leader, your No. 1 responsibility, your No. 1 priority, is to take care of the folks that work for you,” he said. “It was a conscience over career moment.” S.D. Union-Tribune | S.F. Chronicle
- Crozier will talk about his new book at a forum in Santa Rosa, where he grew up, this Friday.
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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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