Good morning. It’s Monday, May 16.
|•||Californians move east to Riverside and the Central Valley.|
|•||The Oakland Athletics are “the loneliest team in baseball.”|
|•||And a gunman attacks a Taiwanese church in Orange County.|
Los Angeles and San Francisco saw significant population declines during the pandemic. But as those cities shrank, adjacent counties grew. “We were paying all this money to be at the center of things, but everything was shut down, and there was no center anymore,” said Natalie Camunas, who bought a home in Lake Arrowhead for $189,000. “Looking at homes in L.A., it was ridiculous. Even if we could afford a $900,000 home, we didn’t want that. We didn’t want a mortgage that was $5,000.” L.A. Times
The broad boulevards of Los Angeles County consume precious real estate.
Adam Millard-Ball, an urban planning professor at UCLA, highlighted a factor in soaring home prices that gets little notice: our unusually wide streets. In Tokyo, the typical street is about 16 feet across. Street widths in San Francisco average 50 feet. In Los Angeles, they’re 52 feet. Millard-Ball says the girthy rights of way are often unnecessary. In those cases, cities could make better use of valuable real estate by adding bike lanes, green spaces, and housing. “People are already using streets for housing, just not in a sanctioned way,” he said. “Why do we rule out 20% of a city’s land and declare it off limits for that?” Bloomberg
This month, the toll of the pandemic in the U.S. reached the grim milestone of 1 million deaths. A new analysis calculated how many lives would have been lost if the U.S. had the same death rate as the Bay Area, which was among the lowest in the country. The result: roughly 350,000. Medical experts attributed the lower toll in the Bay Area largely to behavior as residents lined up for vaccines and readily adopted public health strictures. Mercury News
Mono County has the most expensive gas in the state that has the most expensive gas in the nation. A gallon of gas in the county, home to Mammoth Mountain and the eastern gateway to Yosemite National Park, now averages $6.81 a gallon, surpassing $7 at some stations. Sierra Chaltry, who commutes 90 minutes round-trip daily, said she’s spending $200 a week on gas. “I fill up my gas tank and I don’t look at the price,” she said. USA Today
Jason Yu wanted to open a soft-serve shop in San Francisco. After two years and $200,000, he gave up. The Atlantic’s Annie Lowrey: “What would cost $250,000 to build in rural Texas might cost $750,000 in San Francisco; what would take weeks to get approval for in Idaho might take years here. Many reasonable projects never get built at all, driving up housing costs, pushing families into homelessness, sapping the city of new businesses, and squeezing Bay Area residents out to the far-flung suburbs.”
The stands were bare as the Athletics played the Rays at RingCentral Coliseum on May 2.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
“The Loneliest Team in Baseball.”
On May 2, just 2,488 fans attended an Athletics game at the Oakland Coliseum, the lowest number for the team in more than 40 years. Through the first five and a half weeks of the season, the A’s are last in Major League Baseball in attendance, averaging about 8,400 fans in a stadium that can hold 57,000. It’s no surprise after the team gutted its roster and raised ticket prices. Some fans suspect it’s all part of a plot to force a move to Las Vegas. N.Y. Times (gift article)
A high school drummer from Mill Valley sat in with Pearl Jam at Oakland Arena on Friday after the Seattle band’s dummer contracted the coronavirus. A day earlier, 18-year-old Kai Neukermans had reached out on a lark to offer his services. The band asked him to send a video of his playing, which he did. Then he got a call from call from Pearl Jam’s manager: he was in. SFGATE | S.F. Chronicle
A grief counselor comforted a woman after a shooting at a church in Laguna Woods on Sunday.
Allen J. Schaben/L.A. Times via Getty Images
A gunman opened fire during a Taiwanese Presbyterian banquet at a church in the Orange County city of Laguna Woods on Sunday, killing one person and wounding five senior citizens before congregants tackled him and hog-tied him, the authorities said. Undersheriff Jeff Hallock described the churchgoers’ intervention as an act of a “exceptional heroism and bravery” that undoubtedly saved lives. Officials described the suspect only as an Asian man in his 60s who does not live in the area. No motive was disclosed. A.P. | L.A. Daily News
Over the last decade, Hawthorne, a sleepy, largely working-class city near LAX, has transformed into an aerospace boomtown. Thank Elon Musk’s Space X, which established its headquarters there in 2002. For years, it was the only startup to attract venture capital to the city. By 2020, startups not owned by Musk brought in $105 million. Last year, they attracted $357 million. That number is on pace to double this year. Bloomberg
Graduates at the Otis College of Art and Design reacted after receiving excellent news on Sunday.
Robert Gauthier/L.A. Times via Getty Images
☝️ The moment you learn your student loan debt just vanished.
During commencement ceremonies at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles on Sunday, graduates learned that a billionaire was paying off every penny of their college student debt. The benefactor, Evan Spiegel, took summer classes at Otis during high school before founding Snapchat and becoming the world’s youngest billionaire in 2015. The median federal loan debt for Otis graduates is $27,000, according to U.S. News & World Report. L.A. Times
The famous beachfront home of Maverick’s love interest Charlie in “Top Gun” just reopened as nostalgic pie shop. Boarded up for years, the 1887 Victorian cottage in Oceanside was refurbished with a Naval decor. A motorcycle parked out front recalls the one ridden by Maverick. A grand opening for “The High Pie” on Saturday included a flyover. NBC News | Fox 5
America the beautiful
Since 1972, government satellites have collected millions of images of the earth’s surface, providing crucial data for researchers and policymakers. But starting in 2001, the USGS began publishing photos for an explicitly nonscientific reason: they’re beautiful. The “Earth as Art” program showcases the land, sea, and sky in creative combinations of visible and infrared light that would not look out of place on the easel of a great abstract artist. Here are five selections from across the Western United States. 👇
ARIZONA: The Painted Desert, shown in purple, adjoins the Sitgreaves National Forest, in green.
UTAH: The Green River and the Colorado River meet within Canyonlands National Park.
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