Good morning. It’s Monday, Dec. 19.
- Elon Musk asks Twitter users if he should quit.
- The timber wars live on in Humboldt County.
- And a moving tribute to famed Los Angeles cougar.
A day after the University of California reached a tentative labor pact with striking academic workers, dissent within union ranks boiled to the surface on Saturday. While some labor leaders hailed the deal as a historic win that would lift minimum wages by as much as 80%, others vowed to urge their peers to reject ratification. Mark Woodall, of UC Merced, said the deal abandoned a crucial demand to link pay to housing costs. “The idea that these are being sold as spectacular wins is just ludicrous,” he said. L.A. Times
New restrictions on oil wells.
A ban on sales of new gas-powered cars.
A proposal to cap windfall profits.
As California moves aggressively toward a carbon neutral future, fossil fuel companies are facing an existential threat. “At some point, refiners will have to look at California and decide whether it makes sense to be there or not,” said Kevin Slagle, a trade group spokesperson. “And that starts to become a real problem for consumers and others who need fuels.” Politico
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In 2011, the adjacent Tahoe ski resorts Alpine Meadows and the erstwhile Squaw Valley announced a plan to combine as a single megaresort. A decade later, Palisades Tahoe, as it’s now known, made the connection a reality with the unveiling of a $65 million gondola that will whisk passengers 2.4 miles from one base area to the other. Palisades posted a timelapse video of the scenic trip. @palisadestahoe
It was another chaotic 48 hours at Twitter as the platform suspended high-profile users and announced a new policy barring users from linking to other social platforms. Outrage mounted, including from some entrepreneurs who previously supported Elon Musk. Then on Sunday afternoon, he appeared to backtrack. The new policy was deleted from the web, and Musk posted a poll that asked, “Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.” The results: 57.5% yes, 42.5% no. N.Y. Times | Washington Post
San Francisco is now home to perhaps the most deserted major downtown in America. Office building occupancy has fallen to roughly 40% of its prepandemic level, while the vacancy rate has jumped to 24% from 5%. Storefronts are boarded up and restaurants are empty. An urban real estate researcher likened what’s happening to a forest where an entire species suddenly disappears. “Chaos,” he said. N.Y. Times
When Caleb Hill told his parents he was gay, he was kicked out of the house. He had heard podcast ads about BetterHelp, a Mountain View company that provides therapy remotely, and reached out. His therapist’s advice: try not to be gay. Startups offering mental-health services have surged using heavy advertising and other strategies from the Silicon Valley playbook, but the quality of the care has lagged, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The timber wars of the 1990s never fully ended. For the last two years, young environmental activists have been living in the canopy of a redwood forest east of Trinidad in Humboldt County, where Green Diamond Company is logging a 100-acre parcel. They plan to stay until the company’s logging permit expires in 2024. An immersive short film on the tree-sit captured the beauty of the region, the patter of the rain, and the care involved in climbing 100 feet into a redwood. L.A. Times (~17 mins)
Messages of sadness came from around the world after P-22, the aging and injured Griffith Park mountain lion, was euthanized on Saturday. Perhaps the most touching tribute was written by National Wildlife Federation’s Beth Pratt, who often called herself P-22’s agent: “Although I have advocated for his protection for a decade, we had never met before. I sat near him, looking into his eyes for a few minutes, and told him he was a good boy.” NWF.org
L.A. Times obituary: “P-22’s discovery in Griffith Park led to one of the most unusual elements of his life: the city taking his side, instead of demanding that he be removed.”
On her first day in office last week, Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles declared a state of emergency on homelessness. On Sunday, she followed up by announcing that her administration would start moving homeless people from tent encampments into hotels and motels “immediately.” “It’s not going to address everybody, but it is going to address hopefully a significant number,” she said. L.A. Times | A.P.
“Imagine if these kids had been on a movie set for Lionsgate. People would go to jail if this had happened at a studio.”
Piper Rockelle, a 15-year-old kidfluencer, earned up to $625,000 a month posting YouTube videos of her and her friends pulling pranks, singing, and dancing. It was all smiles and hugs and trips to the Candy Factory. But a lawsuit has now accused Rockelle’s mother of subjecting the children to “an emotionally, physically, and sometimes sexually abusive environment.” L.A. Times
Zion Clark was born without legs to a mother who was in and out of prison. In the foster care system, he developed a toughness and became a very good wrestler. Now 25, he’s trying to go big-time in mixed martial arts, a prospect that has prompted skepticism. Clark had his MMA debut Saturday in San Diego County. “I understand the concern,” he told a reporter before the fight. “But I’m good at it. I’m fucking good at it. You’ll see.” He won by unanimous decision after three rounds. ESPN | Wall Street Journal
See one of Clark’s takedowns. 👉 @SpinninBackfist
And here he is running 20 meters in 4.78 seconds. 👉 YouTube
On Feb. 28, 1957, a nervous Hollywood newcomer named Vikki Dougan wore a backless gown at the 14th annual Golden Globes awards and became the talk of the ceremony. Dubbed “The Back,” she became tabloid fodder for Hollywood gossip columns. At one point, she told the N.Y. Times, she was banned from a party because Jayne Mansfield, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Mamie Van Doren were jealous. LIFE published a photo gallery recalling “Vikki Dougan’s head-turning moment.”
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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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