Good morning. It’s Monday, Oct. 23.
- Reopened Death Valley gleams with water and color.
- Tribes battle over casino proposal in Shasta County.
- And an Air France pilot falls to his death on Mount Whitney.
Over the last two weeks, a website has been publishing a list of social media posts with “potentially terror supporting” sentiments on the Israeli-Hamas conflict, naming the authors and grouping them by their workplaces. They include employees of Google, Cisco, and the Los Angeles Unified School District. Itai Liptz, a Silicon Valley hedge fund manager who claims to have helped create the site, said he wanted to shame “people who supported Hamas publicly.” But the site also flagged posts that merely expressed support for Palestinians. N.Y. Times | Washington Post
A Muslim-Jewish interfaith group in Los Angeles has been tested by the bloodshed in the Middle East. During a recent meeting in a park, the conversation was anguished. “I know Israelis who are going from funeral to funeral for children of their friends,” one person said. “I know people in Gaza who have lost loved ones,” said another. Hours passed. A Muslim woman said a prayer. A Jewish woman sang. “The sun went down,” wrote Kurt Streeter. “The sky turned black. For a while, there was a peaceful silence.” N.Y. Times
- During a one-day trip to Israel, Gov. Gavin Newsom met with Californians injured in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. “No one deserves to live in the kind of fear and terror that the Israeli people are enduring right now,” he said afterward. Politico | The Hill
- On Friday, more than 75 Hollywood writers gathered to express their anger over the Writers Guild of America’s failure to condemn Hamas. They discussed withholding fees in protest. Hollywood Reporter | Wall Street Journal
- Maha Dakhil, a top Hollywood agent, quit her internal leadership roles at Creative Artists Agency after she compared Israel’s action in Gaza to genocide. “What’s more heartbreaking than witnessing genocide? Witnessing the denial that genocide is happening,” she wrote on Instagram. L.A. Times | Variety
On Friday, after Republicans toppled their latest candidate for speaker of the House, Rep. Jim Jordan, seven of the Republicans who earlier voted to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the speakership offered a trade: They would accept any form of punishment in exchange for handing the gavel to Jordan. That prompted a bitterly sarcastic response from Rep. Tom McClintock, of Sacramento County, who released a letter on Saturday that began, “Dear Wayward Colleagues.” Your offer, he continued, “is perhaps the most selfless act in American history.” S.F. Chronicle
Visitors are getting their first glimpse of a rare lake in Death Valley after the park reopened to visitors last week. In August, Tropical Storm Hilary dumped a year’s worth of rain in a single day, leaving behind a sprawling lake in the famously flat and dry Badwater Basin. Travel writer Christopher Reynolds visited and found surreal vistas of gleaming water and color. “Across the plains and slopes, you see more green than usual and sometimes yellow and orange wildflowers, apparently blooming out of seasonal confusion,” he wrote. L.A. Times
Three tribes are locked in a bloodless war over plans to build a casino along the Upper Sacramento River. Two tribes trying to block the project made an explosive charge: it would desecrate hallowed ground where native people were slaughtered by the U.S. Cavalry in 1846. “In my heart, I find it hard to believe that there are Wintu people that are willing to build a casino on … the blood-soaked dirt of the massacre site,” said Gary Rickard, a Wintu tribal leader. Jack Potter Jr., chair of the Redding Rancheria, which began planning the development two decades ago, called the accusation “a slander that will not be easily forgotten.” L.A. Times
On June 5, 2021, a gunman entered a home near Lake Tahoe and shot the elderly couple living there. Robert Spohr, 70, died. His wife, Wendy Wood, survived but took her own life a year later. After a two-year investigation, the authorities arrested two people in connection with the grisly attack on Friday. One of them is Danny Serafini, a former Major League Baseball pitcher and the husband of Erin Spohr, the couple’s daughter. The second suspect is Samantha Scott, described as a possible nanny for the family. Police sources said Serafini may have hoped to get inheritance money. S.F. Chronicle | KCRA
- Surveillance video captured the moment the suspected gunman entered the house. 👉 YouTube
On May 22, Fook Poy Lai, a state mental hospital patient with a history of violence, was released by a judge based on findings that his severe mental illness had abated. A week later, Lai, 61, walked into a San Francisco bakery and repeatedly plunged a 6-inch knife into an employee’s neck. What happened during that week? Lai was placed in a residential hotel with no on-site services in the middle of an open-air drug market. “He was basically dumped,” said Robert Okin, former chief of psychiatry at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. “Let’s face it.” S.F. Chronicle
In 2004, the New York photographer Richard Rothman travelled to California’s redwood country, pitched a tent in the forest, and began making portraits of the trees. But he found himself unexpectedly drawn to the depressed nearby community of Crescent City. The result was a five-year photo project called “Redwood Saw” that explores the juxtaposition of the North Coast’s fabulously rich ecosystems and the deprivation of the former logging towns that abut them. LensCulture
Charles E. Young, a chancellor of UCLA for 29 years who oversaw its transformation from a small regional campus into an academic powerhouse, died on Sunday at his home in Sonoma. He was 91. During his leadership, from 1968 to 1997, UCLA’s operating budget increased tenfold to $1.7 billion. The number of undergraduates rose from 19,000 to 24,000. And the number of endowed professorships went from one to more than 100. Shortly after becoming chancellor, Young defied the Board of Regents and refused to fire the radical Angela Davis. He recalled it as among his proudest moments. L.A. Times
A pilot for Air France fell to his death from a 1,000-foot cliff during a climb on Mount Whitney, the National Park Service said on Friday. Tom Gerbier of Fontenay-sous-Bois, a suburb just east of Paris, was on a stopover in Los Angeles when he set off Tuesday for a day hike on California’s tallest mountain. When he failed to show up for his return flight on Wednesday, search operations commenced. His body was found at the bottom of a cliff in an area called “The Notch,” just below the summit. S.F. Chronicle | A.P.
The Huntington Library imported a 320-year-old home, piece by piece, from Japan, then meticulously reassembled it on the grounds of its lush Japanese garden in the San Gabriel Valley. The $10 million relocation of the Japanese Heritage Shōya House, many decades older than California’s oldest missions, was the result of eight years of negotiations, bureaucratic wrangling, and skilled craftsmanship. It just opened to the public. L.A. Times | TimeOut
- Take a video tour. 👉 YouTube
Thanks for reading!
The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.
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