Good morning. It’s Friday, April 28.
- San Francisco office towers see their value plummet.
- A crisis deepens at First Republic Bank.
- And Fresno County sues to keep Squaw Valley name.
“When I talk to myself, I am talking to God. I’m crying out to him. I need everything, the life that I lost. I want it back.”Carol Yvonne Simpson, a homeless woman in San Diego
In a few months, California will embrace a controversial approach to easing the crisis on its streets: forcing people suffering from mental illness into treatment programs instead of jail. Scott Wilson reported from San Diego on California’s experiment in compassionate coercion with moving photos by Melina Mara. Washington Post
More dispatches from the homelessness crisis:
- A survey found that homelessness rose 4.6% in Long Beach last year. That was welcomed as good news. Long Beach Post
- In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state procured 1,300 trailers for the homeless. Many now sit unused. KQED
- “I seek out beauty in misunderstood humans.” An anonymous photographer takes powerful pictures of life on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. PetaPixel
Isaac Chotiner interviewed Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan about her belief that sexism is driving calls for Sen. Dianne Feinstein to step down.
Chotiner: “Am I right to assume that you don’t think those claims [that Feinstein is mentally unfit] have merit, and that you think she’s fully mentally functional?”
Stabenow: “I think that she has some challenges, and she is not the only one in the Senate.”
Chotiner: “I don’t know if that’s the most heartening thing for voters to hear, or a great defense of Dianne Feinstein.” The New Yorker
Before the pandemic, a 22-story glass-and-stone tower on San Francisco’s California Street, a fabled cable-car route, was worth about $300 million. Now for sale, it’s expected to fetch roughly $60 million, a staggering 80% decline in value in just four years. “This is how dire things have become in San Francisco, an extreme form of a challenge nationwide,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.
First Republic Bank, hardly known a few weeks ago, has now become a top concern on Wall Street and in Washington. The crisis at the San Francisco bank grew direr this week after a sobering earnings report sent its stock diving. It’s now down a stunning 95% for the year. “First Republic’s stock slide means that its branches and $103 billion in deposits could be bought for, theoretically, an amount less than the market capitalization of Portillo’s, the Chicago-area hot dog purveyor,” the New York Times wrote.
Since Elon Musk took over Twitter with promises of a new era of free speech, the platform has become more willing to grant government demands for censorship. An analysis found that the company’s compliance rate shot up to 83% in the last six months; before Musk, it hovered around 50%. The bulk of takedown requests have been in countries with restrictive speech laws, such as India. In one case, India demanded that links to a BBC documentary critical of its prime minister be removed. Twitter complied. Rest of World
Fresno County has sued California after the state required the removal of the term “squaw,” considered derogatory by many Native Americans, from geographic features and place names. In January, the county’s Squaw Valley community became Yokuts Valley over the protests of many residents, who posted “Squaw Valley Forever” and “Woke is a Joke” signs in their yards. In its lawsuit, the county argues that the name change law violates the town’s right to free speech. Fresno Bee | GV Wire
The Port of Oakland is a major economic engine for California, processing millions of containers en route to or from faraway markets each year. It isn’t easy. You need specialist pilots who navigate the ships into San Francisco Bay, tugboat captains, crane operators, longshoremen, and more. “Every time a ship comes in, it’s like putting on a wedding,” Ted Blanckenburg, a former tugboat dispatcher, once told the podcast 99% Invisible. The dance, to continue the metaphor, happens in the turning basins, where tugboats spin the massive ships around to exit the bay. William Pryor, a local drone enthusiast, recently captured a great time-lapse video. 👉 @wm_pryor
“The last group that tried to build multifamily housing in La Cañada Flintridge received a dead rat in the mail.”
La Cañada Flintridge, tucked in the Verdugo and San Gabriel mountains, is an affluent bastion of single-family homes beyond the bustle of nearby Los Angeles. And residents intend to keep it that way. Jack Fleming told the story of how the city’s NIMBY homeowners, including “Family Ties” dad Michael Gross, have fought to stop plans for desperately needed affordable housing. L.A. Times
A Riverside County jury awarded $2.28 billion to a 41-year-old woman who was molested in childhood for years by her stepfather, who was at the time a Mormon elder. The church was also named in the lawsuit but settled its part for $1 million in December. The woman is not expecting much from the latest award. The stepfather is now in his 70s and works in a trophy shop. But she feels vindicated, her lawyer said: “It’s part of her healing process to have this despicable person held responsible.” Press-Enterprise | A.P.
A 20-year-old Marine died on April 20 during training at the 29 Palms Marine Corps base near Joshua Tree, authorities said. Lance Corporal Jackson Forringer, of South Carolina, was said to have been killed by an inadvertent gun discharge while traveling in the back of a tactical truck, reports said. In an obituary, his family said being a Marine was Forringer’s lifelong dream. “He never met a stranger and was one of the humblest, kind-spirited individuals you could meet,” the obituary said. Marine Times
On this week’s California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Nicholas Goldberg, an associate editor and op-ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Goldberg talked about how “partisanship and polarization and anger and bitterness” has infiltrated local politics, citing the time audience members shouted down candidates for Los Angeles County district attorney during a debate. “It’s a difficult time to try to be reasonable,” he said.
In case you missed it
Five items that got big views over the past week:
- An intense solar storm meant that the burst of colors known as the aurora borealis appeared farther south than usual on Sunday and Monday evenings, including parts of California. Some standout photos:
- In 2020, a small-time mom influencer named Katie Sorensen posted a viral Instagram video claiming that her children were nearly kidnapped at a craft store in Petaluma. On Wednesday, Sorensen was led out of court in handcuffs. Press Democrat
- There’s a trailer park in Malibu where the homes sell for $5 million and more. Here’s a tour of what is widely believed to be the most expensive trailer park in America. Wall Street Journal
- In 1996, a real-life Mr. Plumbean, the children’s book character who paints his house to resemble his dreams, built a home in Berkeley in the shape of two giant saxophones. Opinion on the Saxophone House, which just went on the market for $2 million, appeared to be mixed. SFGATE
- The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is one of the world’s biggest annual music festivals. But it’s just as much a place for people to be seen showing off their boho-chic fashions. The Wall Street Journal published a gallery of notable looks.
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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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