Good morning. It’s Thursday, Feb. 9.
- Bay Area developer launches hunger strike over red tape.
- Former Twitter executives rebut conspiracy claims.
- And Monterey’s Dennis the Menace statue is back.
The conservation group Ventana Wildlife Society has given away thousands of boxes of copper bullets to California hunters since 2009. Seemingly counterintuitive, the program is part of a desperate effort to rid carrion of lead ammunition that poisons scavenging California condors, a species clinging to existence in the wild. A state law banned hunting with lead bullets in 2019, yet poisonings have continued to rise. The problem too often: the supply of so-called “green ammo” doesn’t remotely meet demand. Revelator
“Matthew left his campsite in Mammoth Lakes on July 17, 2013. He’d had car trouble in Mammoth, and he often hitched rides or took shuttles to trailheads while it was being repaired. He didn’t tell anyone where he was going that day and never returned.”
The reporter Jason Nark wrote a deeply moving story about love, grief, and climbers who never abandon their search for the dead in the great outdoors. The Alpinist
Data journalists ranked urban areas in the U.S. where college students make up the highest share of the population. Five California towns were included among the top 200 areas: Arcata, Chico, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and state’s “collegiest” town, Davis, where students make up 40% of the population. Davis led the nation in a narrower category: Its population has the largest share of Asian college students in the U.S. at 14.1%. Washington Post
In the Bay Area, notorious for its red tape, a developer has been on hunger strike for nearly a week after officials halted work on his construction project. Navneet Aron said his team forgot to get a required approval before installing a plastic sheet under a foundation in Sunnyvale, an oversight that he said could put his crew out of work for months. “They don’t have any other income,” he said. “So that’s why I’m here. … I don’t know anything else to do.” Mercury News
On Wednesday, Google live-streamed a presentation to show off its new artificial intelligence chatbot, Bard. But in response to a question about the James Webb Space Telescope, Bard made an error, saying the telescope “took the very first pictures of a planet outside of our own solar system.” Astronomers pointed out that those were actually taken by a different telescope. Shares of Google parent Alphabet slid as much as 9%, wiping out $100 billion in market value. Reuters | Bloomberg
Former Twitter executives summoned to Washington by House Republicans faced accusations that they colluded with the Biden administration and tried to silence voices on the right during a combative hearing on Wednesday. The White House called the hearing “a bizarre political stunt.” Three takeaways cited by the New York Times:
- The former executives said the F.B.I. did not directly pressure Twitter to block a New York Post article, a central accusation leveled by Republicans.
- Twitter changed its internal rules on prohibited speech to avoid limiting former President Trump’s tweets.
- Trump tried to get the model Chrissy Teigen censored after she called him a “pussy ass bitch.”
A few weeks ago, Jennifer Lee, 21, shared a short TikTok video of her father standing inside his empty restaurant, Lee’s Noodle House, in Santa Rosa. He fiddled his hands and looked pensively toward the door. “It makes me so sad to see my parents just wait for customers to walk through the door to eat at their Vietnamese restaurant,” the caption read. TikTok users went bananas for it, driving the number of views over a million. Now customers are finally coming. Press Democrat
Monterey’s Dennis the Menace statue is back. In August, thieves used a grinder to sever the mischievous icon from his perch in Dennis the Menace Park. A dozen law enforcement officials gathered on the lawn outside the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office in Salinas Wednesday to deliver the news. “Today is a happy day,” Sheriff Tina Nieto said, the Dennis statue standing by her side. “And the reason it’s such a happy day is because we have found Dennis the Menace.” There’s no word on a suspect. Monterey Herald | KSBW
On Jan. 22, a Bakersfield high school teacher was quoted in a New York Times story on schools that allow students to socially transition genders without their parents’ knowledge: “My job, which is a public service, is to protect kids,” Olivia Garrison said. “Sometimes, they need protection from their own parents.” Calls are now growing for her firing. An overflow crowd packed into a district school board meeting on Monday. When a local pastor called for an investigation of Garrison and “possible termination,” the room erupted in applause. Bakersfield Californian | KGET
The Huntington Beach City Council voted Tuesday to reverse a plan to raise the rainbow flag during Pride month in June. The 4-3 vote, along party lines, came after tense public comments, an overwhelming majority of which condemned the move. Councilmember Pat Burns, who introduced the proposal, said the city should avoid actions perceived as divisive. Ashley Williamson, an activist, likened opposing the rainbow flag to “disagreeing with mountains. There’s still going to be mountains out there.” Voice of OC | L.A. Times
In his first earnings report since coming out of retirement to return to the helm of Disney, Robert Iger announced Wednesday that the company would lay off 7,000 employees. The reductions are some of the deepest in the history of the company, which has seen its stock price fall 40% since early 2021 as it contended with streaming economics. Iger vowed to reshape Disney around creativity. “It’s time for another transformation,” he said. L.A. Times | Wall Street Journal
You can see how tectonic forces yanked the earth along the bluffs of La Jolla. The cliffs, rising as high as 350 feet, tell a geologic story going back millions of years to when the coast was mostly flat. Mighty faults rammed rock and seabed into the continent’s edge, where they were then fractured, folded, and carved into the dramatic shapes that exist today. The photographer Cole Parker got a great drone shot from above Black’s Beach. @colepark.er
Here’s the trail. 👉 Traveling Nirvana
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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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