Good morning. It’s Friday, March 25.
|•||Population losses pose demographic risk for California cities.|
|•||Los Angeles County sheriff indulges in resentment politics.|
|•||And an oasis of open grasslands and tule elk in Kern County.|
The Census released data Thursday on urban population loss during the first year of the pandemic, and California cities had among the sharpest declines. San Francisco lost roughly 6.3% of its population, or nearly 55,000 people — second among counties only to New York (Manhattan). Metropolitan Los Angeles lost nearly 176,000 residents. Dowell Myers, a demographer, said the trend risks leaving cities with too few working-age adults to support aging baby boomers. The risk “is just deadly,” he said. “We’re not building enough housing to keep our own kids.” A.P. | SFist | N.Y. Times (gift article)
People gathered in Fresno where gunmen opened fire on a backyard gathering on Nov. 17, 2019.
John Walker/Fresno Bee via Getty Images
For decades, the authorities claimed to have won the war on illegal machine guns. Then came an explosion in the popularity of auto sears, devices sold cheaply online that allow semiautomatic guns to empty a magazine with a single trigger pull. In California, they’ve been linked to high-profile cases such as the 2020 killing of a federal security officer in Oakland and a 2019 deadly mass shooting at a backyard party in Fresno. A veteran ATF agent in California said he hardly ever used to see auto sears. Now he sees them “all the time.” The Trace
For two years, California has protected non-paying renters from eviction if they faced pandemic hardship. On Thursday, with the eviction moratorium set to expire in just days, state lawmakers announced a proposal to extend it a fourth time, until July 1. They said more time was needed to process a backlog of more than 275,600 applications for rental assistance. Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated he would sign the bill. A.P. | L.A. Times
William Randolph Hearst built a Mediterranean Revival palace on a hilltop in the town of San Simeon.
Francine Orr/L.A. Times via Getty Images
More than two years after closing its doors, Hearst Castle announced that it would reopen on May 11. The shuttering of William Randolph Hearst’s palace along the Central Coast was devastating for local businesses in San Simeon and Cambria, which relied on tourists to spend on hotel rooms and meals. Castle staff have worked on some upgrades, including a new “Julia Morgan Tour” that honors the life of the castle’s pioneering architect. The Tribune | A.P.
UC Berkeley’s enrollment freeze may have been lifted, but the student housing crisis is still dire. About 82% of the roughly 45,000 students enrolled last fall had to fend for themselves in off-campus housing. Students commute long distances to campus, share tiny rooms with strangers, and store belongings in cars while couch surfing. Max Bentley, 24, crams into a “mini dorm” home. “Everyone that I’ve met has struggled with finding housing,” he said. “I don’t see how we could even fit more people in the city.” Mercury News
A San Francisco cyclist said he rode every every street in the city last year, roughly 1,600 miles, the equivalent of riding the length of California — twice. “Hidden parks, secret views, weird architecture,” he said of the project. “It was a great way to fall back in love with a city I’ve lived in for more than a decade.” Above, his GPS tracker captured the journey. Reddit
On this week’s California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman chats with Vanessa Hua, a Bay Area journalist and author of the forthcoming novel “Forbidden City.” She talked about the overlooked Asian immigrant experience in San Francisco. “That waitress in the restaurant, that old man walking down the street, those ladies playing cards in Portsmouth Square, they all have fascinating backstories,” she said. “You have no idea what journey people made to come to this country.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is seeking reelection.
Genaro Molina/L.A. Times via Getty Images
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva sat for an interview with Gustavo Arellano, a columnist the sheriff has described as a sellout with a “woke agenda” to attack him. It was awkward. After talking for an hour, Arellano wrote, the Villanueva that emerged was “a curt Latino populist — a rancho libertarian personified — who proudly stated near the end of our talk that his job is to ‘defend the weak from the oppressors.’ The enemy of Latinos, in his mind: corrupt politicians, leftist activists, cholos — and definitely not law enforcement.” L.A. Times
Villanueva on hate crime suspects. “Overwhelming majority are Black. It’s a rule in media that it cannot be mentioned.”
On vaccine mandates: “As soon as you mandate something, especially people that are suspicious of government, they believe in all these conspiracy theories… And what is 80% of my workforce? Conservative and far right.”
People living along the southern border of California are driving into Mexico to fill up their car tanks. Claudia Jessica Villarreal, a 54-year-old psychologist from Chula Vista, drives about 12 miles south to Tijuana, where regular gas sells for an average of $3.96 a gallon. “I swear, I’ve been coming once a week,” she said. “I cross when I can.” L.A. Times
When the projector failed during a screening of “The Lost City” at the AMC in Burbank on Wednesday, a woman named Tiffany King walked to the front of the theater and delivered an impromptu stand-up set. Video shared on Twitter went viral with soundbites such as “all the moms in NorCal thought I was a stripper” and “I joined the all-Black gospel choir.” (King is white). Reached by a reporter Thursday morning, King had not yet seen the videos. She winced. “Can you please tell me how bad it is?” she said. BuzzFeed news
Wind Wolves Preserve is a natural haven at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley.
The BlackBox Digital Guild
And if you can’t make your life as you’d wish it,
try, at the very least, to accomplish this much:
do not make it less than what it already is
by mixing too excessively with the masses,
by hanging around and endlessly chattering.
— Constantine Cavafy
Just a couple hours north of Los Angeles is an oasis of open grasslands and wandering tule elk that feels impossibly far away from chaos of the city. The largest nonprofit preserve on the West Coast, Wind Wolves Preserve is spread across 145 square miles of the Transverse Ranges, the east–west mountains that rise from the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. Compared to California’s household-name parks, practically nobody goes there. “Yet it’s just as extraordinary,” wrote the outdoors journalist Laura Randall. Washington Post (gift article)
In case you missed it
Dunsmuir’s entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Five items that got big views over the past week:
|•||A Gold Rush town filled with wineries and art galleries, an East Bay community that was once America’s film capital, and a village nestled at the foot of Mount Shasta where time seems to have stopped in the 1930s. 7×7 gave a tour of six charming Northern California towns you’ve never heard of.|
|•||James Pogue, a journalist who has written extensively on rural American resistance, explored the Jefferson movement north of Sacramento. To some, he wrote, it represents “a barely concealed desire to carve an ethnostate out of the only part of California where whites still constitute a majority.” Harper’s Magazine|
|•||Mickey Muennig, the late architect known for undulating creations perched along the Big Sur coast, suspended the bed in his own residence within a glass dome to maximize views of the night sky. DWELL shared 14 pictures of Muennig’s 30-acre property, just listed for $7 million.|
|•||All of a sudden, permanent daylight saving seems like a real possibility after the Senate unanimously approved the change. What would it mean for California? The cartographer Andy Woodruff built a great interactive map that depicts how the timing of sunrises and sunsets would change depending on where one lives. Look up your city. 👉 andywoodruff.com|
|•||Wealthy white millennials in the Bay Area are giving away their fortunes in an act of rebellion against capitalism. Clemmy Brown, 36, whose great-grandfather founded Whirlpool appliances, struggled with guilt over her inheritance of $1.2 million. So she gave it away and moved in with her parents. Bay Area News Group|
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