Good morning. It’s Thursday, Oct. 26.
- Gov. Gavin Newsom meets with China’s Xi Jinping in Beijing.
- San Francisco housing approvals are slowest in the state.
- And Light and Space artist Robert Irwin dies in San Diego.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, in China to negotiate climate deals, got a surprise audience with the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, in Beijing on Wednesday, a display of friendliness that departed from recent tensions between the U.S. and China. Newsom said the pair discussed climate change, trade, and the fentanyl crisis as well as Xi’s memories of past trips to California, including the Golden Gate Bridge. According to an official Chinese readout, Xi told his guest that climate cooperation could become a “new highlight in the development of China-US relations.” S.F. Chronicle | Wall Street Journal
Developments in California connected to the war in Gaza:
- In San Francisco, vandals smashed the windows of a Jewish ice cream shop and spray-painted “FREE PALESTIEN” on the storefront early Wednesday. In Los Angeles, someone broke into a Jewish family’s home and threatened to kill them, police said. Mayor Karen Bass denounced “the vile act of hate.” Mission Local | Politico
- Tensions mounted on California’s university campuses, as students in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Berkeley protested over the war in Gaza on Wednesday. UC Berkeley’s provost warned faculty about limits on political advocacy in the classroom after an instructor offered extra credit to attend a rally. Reason
- “We are very worried for the safety of our children.” Muslim parents accused Los Angeles school leaders of releasing statements on the war that made targets of their children. L.A. Times
Some scientists think that many of California’s redwoods may not survive the next century. “We’re already pushing up against the boundaries of what these trees can tolerate,” said Park Williams, a climate scientist at UCLA. For the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, the answer is clear: The species must be moved to more hospitable areas. But rather than try to move the trees — an impossibility — the group is planting clones of sequoias in the Pacific Northwest. N.Y. Times Magazine
“Oh yeah, that’s the good stuff!”
The first measurable snow of the season fell on California’s Sierra and Cascade mountains on Wednesday. Lassen National Park was expected to see as much as 8 inches of snow by Thursday morning. Ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe region could get up to half a foot of accumulation, with the snow line dropping as low as 5,000 feet, forecasters said. SFGATE | Mercury News
- See snowy scenes at Palisades Tahoe.
It takes 10 months longer to build a house in San Francisco than in any other city in California, according to a searing new report by state officials. The study found that San Francisco takes an average of 523 days to give an initial go-ahead to housing projects, followed by another 605 days to grant permits for plumbing and electrical hookups. In January, the city adopted a plan to add an average of roughly 10,000 new housing units per year through 2031. In the first half of 2023, it approved 179, the report said. “It is egregious,” said Gustavo Velasquez, California’s top housing official. S.F. Chronicle | SF Standard
The Wall Street Journal compared X’s performance to other social media businesses in the year since October 2022, when Elon Musk took over the platform. It’s fairly grim. Here are some figures on the change in U.S. ad spending:
- TikTok, up 72%
- Reddit, up 21%
- Pinterest, up 9%
- X, down 54%
This summer, the ephemeral art specialist Thomas Jackson had a team of volunteers help him attach colorful puffs of fabric to roughly 800 poles in a park on the edge of San Francisco Bay. The installation, called “Collaborative Nature,” came alive in the wind and light, creating what Jackson described as “something between a wildflower superbloom, a fire and whatever the beholder wants to imagine.” See photos. 👉 Colossal | Thomas Jackson Photography
The driver of a BMW that struck and killed four Pepperdine students in Malibu on Oct. 17 pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder on Wednesday. Prosecutors said their investigation revealed that Fraser Bohm, 22, had been traveling 104 mph in a 45-mph zone along Pacific Coast Highway. “The only conclusion is you have a complete disregard for life,” said District Attorney George Gascón. Bohm’s lawyer said his client was being chased after a road rage incident. L.A. Times | L.A. Daily News
Give something they’ll open every day.
Robert Irwin, one of the most important American artists of the late 20th century, died on Wednesday in San Diego. He began as a painter in the 1950s before questioning the limitations of the form and delving instead into ephemeral and sometimes intangible art environments. “The art he would produce over the next 50 years took a stunning array of forms,” wrote art critic Christopher Knight. Irwin became the leading figure in Light and Space art, the only wholly original art movement to begin in Los Angeles. He was 95. N.Y. Times | L.A. Times
Last fall, Alex Clausen, an antique map dealer in La Jolla, was taking a virtual tour of an estate sale for oil heir Gordon Getty and his wife, Ann, an avid collector who died in 2020, when something caught his attention. An antiquated nautical map known as a portolan chart was dated between 1500 and 1525. But, to his eye, that just didn’t seem right. Reporter Hannah Fry told the Indiana Jones-like tale of how Clausen uncovered the map’s true age — and made himself a potential fortune. L.A. Times
A coalition of California universities and tribes has created a fascinating series of maps that depict the Los Angeles Basin of centuries past, featuring the settlements that once thrived there and a 2,500-mile network of paths that connected them. Matt Vestuto, chair of the Barbareno/Ventureno Band of Mission Indians, said he hoped the project would facilitate a reappraisal of local Native American history, one that “doesn’t start out depicting our people as California mission slaves.” L.A. Times | Bloomberg
- Explore the “Mapping Los Angeles” project.
“Los Angeles. Maybe the most filmed, most televised, most looked at place on Earth. It’s the landscape of our collective dreams. But what if we look at L.A. from the point of view of the largely unphotographed, the 47 percent of Angelenos who don’t show up so much on idiot sitcoms and superhero films, the people doing much, if not most, of the hard work of getting things done in this town?”Anthony Bourdain
Ryan Bedsaul wrote a poignant reflection on finding Los Angeles with Anthony Bourdain as a guide. Current Affairs
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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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