Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Oct. 11.
- Kamala Harris faces doubts after nearly three years in office.
- Former Dodger Steve Garvey announces bid for Senate.
- And backyard cottages grow in popularity across California.
Nearly three years after Kamala Harris became vice president, Democrats have still not embraced the president in waiting. This year, an NBC News poll found that the Bay Area politician has the lowest net-negative rating for a vice president since the poll began in 1989. Some say she should be pushed aside, while Harris’ allies complain of naysayers and even “saboteurs within the administration.” Astead W. Herndon interviewed 75 people for a profile of a candidate who, he says, is still struggling to make the case for herself “and feels she shouldn’t have to.” N.Y. Times Magazine
“Several Newsom aides were bombarded with messages before sunrise on the West Coast. One recalled being pinged in the 4 a.m. hour with a long list of possible Senate appointments — a text message they said landed like a sack of bricks on a car hood.”
A reporting team reconstructed the madcap 48 hours that led up to Gov. Gavin Newsom handing California’s next Senate appointment to Laphonza Butler, a gay Black woman whom he saw as an embodiment of California values. Politico
On reverberations of the Middle East conflict in California:
- Cal State Long Beach denounced a student rally held on Tuesday that was promoted with a flyer depicting a paraglider, a reference to how Hamas crossed into Israel. “We reject any glorification of war or celebration of death,” a spokesman said. Press-Telegram | Long Beach Post
- Hersh Goldberg-Polin, a 23-year-old who was born in Berkeley, left Friday night for the Supernova music festival in southern Israel. The next morning, his mother saw two messages from him: “I love you” then “I’m sorry.” She hasn’t heard from him since. L.A. Times | Washington Post
- A Jewish temple and an Armenian bakery in Fresno found their windows broken early Tuesday, officials said. A note found at the bakery contained a message threatening Jewish-owned businesses. Police said are investigating both cases as hate crimes. Fresno Bee | KSEE
The first Californian to be convicted of murder for fentanyl was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Tuesday. Nathaniel Cabacungan, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Placer County in July after providing fentanyl to a 15-year-old girl, Jewels Wolf, who died shortly after consuming the drug in June 2022. Prosecutors said Tuesday that Cabacungan had a chance to save Wolf, but instead left her to die in her bed without calling for help. Sacramento Bee | KCRA
Caroline Ellison, a top deputy and former girlfriend of Sam Bankman-Fried, took the stand as a star government witness in the FTX founder’s fraud trial in a packed Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday. Asked to identify Bankman-Fried, Ellison, 28, took more than 10 seconds to point him out. Then she repeatedly blamed him for criminally fraudulent acts that led to FTX’s implosion. “He directed me to commit these crimes.” she said. N.Y. Times | Wall Street Journal
Young people in Silicon Valley believe they have found a way to fix societal ills: prediction markets that allow users to wager on everything from the outcome of the war in Ukraine to whether Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg will actually meet in an octagon. Proponents believe that by rewarding people who are good at forecasting, the markets would cultivate more reliable information about the future. “We live in this delusional world full of things that people are cheering for,” said Eliezer Yudkowsky, an A.I. safety researcher. “And if they had to bet money, boy, would they back off quickly.” N.Y. Times
When Berkeley’s code enforcers caused the shutdown of a popular sidewalk chess club, members responded with a highly unusual revolt: dozens of chess players sat cross-legged on the floor during a City Council meeting shuffling pieces around boards in silent protest. Lawmakers appear to have gotten the message. On Tuesday, the council moved to open up a median for the club and possibly even build new permanent chess tables. Daily Californian | Berkeleyside
Steve Garvey, the former Dodgers first baseman, announced Tuesday that he is running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Dianne Feinstein. Some analysts reacted to the development with skepticism: Not only is Garvey, 74, a political newcomer, no Republican has won a Senate race in California in 35 years. “It is completely delusional to think a conservative Republican can win in California regardless of what sport they played and how good they were,” said Adam Mendelsohn, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s former deputy chief of staff. L.A. Times | A.P.
Give something they’ll open every day.
A U.S. sailor stationed at Naval Base Ventura County pleaded guilty on Tuesday to accepting nearly $15,000 in bribes from a Chinese intelligence officer in exchange for sensitive military information, federal prosecutors said. Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao, 26, a Chinese-born naturalized U.S. citizen, used his security clearance to collect information on Navy exercises, operations, and facilities, then transmitted them using a “sophisticated encrypted communication method,” prosecutors said. Zhao faces up to 20 years in prison. L.A. Times | A.P.
More than 13,000 migrants have been dropped off in the streets of San Diego since Sept. 13 as a sudden surge of people from around the globe has shown up at the southern border. While San Diego has a well-oiled system to shelter asylum seekers, it has struggled to keep up as shelters reach full capacity. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a $3 million infusion for local nonprofits serving migrants. “You can’t just leave people in the middle of the street,” said Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. A.P. | S.D. Union-Tribune
California is experiencing an ADU revolution as more homeowners embrace the backyard cottages known as accessory dwelling units. In Williams Ranch, a master-planned community near Santa Clarita, about 20% of home buyers have selected floor plans that include ADUs, at an added cost of between $80,000 and $100,000. “For some buyers it’s really becoming a strategy, how to afford the home they want or maybe a little more home than they otherwise would have gotten,” said Daniel Faina, the chief marketing officer for the builder Williams Homes. Wall Street Journal
In 1829, Mexican California deployed a small military contingent to subdue a band of rebellious Indians led by a young tribal chief named Estanislao near modern-day Modesto. When they made contact, according to a near-contemporary history, the Mexican commander Antonio Soto marched hotheadedly into a willow grove where the rebels were hidden only to meet a barrage of arrows, one of which pierced Soto’s right eye, killing him.
Six months after the failed foray, the Mexicans tried again with a larger force of more than 100 fighters, who amassed on the river bank opposite the insurgents’ camp. They fired a cannon and stormed the beach, but after hours of indecisive battle they were forced again to retreat in humiliation.
Days later, the presidios of both San Francisco and Monterey dispatched a third force, said to be the largest so far assembled in California. It was heavily armed and numbered more than 150 men under the command of Lieutenant Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, the Californio who would later found Sonoma and help write the California Constitution. Again, the Indians responded fiercely, raining arrows and temporarily beating the Mexicans back. But the rebels were outmatched. Those who avoided capture fled to a village about 10 miles away. When Vallejo’s fighters caught up, they began a “merciless slaughter,” according to accounts cited by the historians Thorne Gray and Jack Brotherton. They shot three elderly Native women and hanged nine men and women from the trees.
The rebels were defeated, but their uprising aroused a Native resistance in the San Joaquin Valley that lasted more than a decade. By the 1840s, Indian raids not only made Mexican operations in the valley intolerable, wrote the historian Sherburne Cook, but “they had also actually begun to drive in the Spanish frontier.” But everything changed in 1848, as the world rushed into California upon news of gold on the American River. Over the next two decades, the Americans took over and tore California’s tribal communities from their ancestral lands, forcing them onto five reservations established across the state.
Details are scant about the Indian leader Estanislao. He is said to have been born in 1798 to the Lakisamni tribe, part of the Yokuts ethnic group estimated to have once numbered in the tens of thousands. He was a mule breaker who spoke Spanish and was educated at Mission San José. One of Soto’s men described him as a tall, muscular figure “with a head of heavy hair and a heavy beard on his face.” After Estanislao’s defeat, Mexican histories say, he sought sanctuary at the mission and died 10 years later of smallpox. Folklore has him living out his days along the river where he had defied a nation.
When the explorer John C. Fremont mapped California in 1844, he labeled that river “Stanislaus,” anglicizing the name of the legendary Indian warrior. Stanislaus in turn became the name adopted by the surrounding county, a national forest, and a public university.
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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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