Good morning. It’s Tuesday, April 4.
- China vows response over Taiwan leader’s California visit.
- Disney chief lashes out at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
- And 10 places to see wildflowers across the West.
China vowed on Monday to “resolutely hit back” if House Speaker Kevin McCarthy follows through on plans to meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in California on Wednesday. Tsai’s stopover, en route to Central America, is part of a bid to raise Taiwan’s profile internationally. Her meeting with McCarthy, at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, would be one of the highest-level in-person meetings between U.S. and Taiwanese officials on U.S. soil. Bloomberg | Reuters
A roundup on California’s epic winter:
- The Sierra snowpack is now 237% of average, state scientists reported Monday. That equates to more water than Lake Mead. A.P. | L.A. Times
- In only three other years on record — 1952, 1969, and 1983 — has the snowpack surpassed 200% of average in April.
- All told, 17 atmospheric rivers have hammered California since late December, or one roughly every five days. @Weather_West
- About 72% of California is now drought-free, according to federal scientists. At the start of the year, it was 2%. U.S. Drought Monitor
This year, fewer than 170,000 fall Chinook salmon are expected to return to Central Valley rivers, down from highs of more than a million in the 1990s. As a result, regulators are planning to shut down all salmon fishing off California for 2023, only the second time salmon-fishing season has been canceled in the state. Catrin Einhorn gave an eye-opening account of how the forces of history, politics, and industry have pushed an iconic species toward extinction. N.Y. Times
One of California’s most dazzling spring displays is in the Pacific Ocean. On the Channel Islands, the hillsides break out in luminous pinks, yellows, and purples surrounded on all sides by magnificent ocean views. If you’re lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of housecat-sized island foxes, a species found nowhere else on earth. The N.Y. Times included the Channel Islands in a list of 10 wildflower destinations across the West.
A $137 million verdict awarded to a Black man who had accused Tesla of ignoring racism at its Fremont factory has now been slashed by 98%. The enormous original sum, awarded to Owen Diaz during a 2021 trial, was among the highest ever for an individual suing over discrimination in the U.S. When a judge reduced the figure to $15 million, Diaz rejected it, opting for a new trial. The jury in that case delivered its decision Monday, ordering Tesla to pay $3.2 million. Bloomberg | Wall Street Journal
The columnist Ezra Klein identified a major hurdle to affordable housing in San Francisco: A 1984 ordinance discourages public housing projects from using large contractors, which are successful precisely because they are good at delivering projects on time and under budget. “You might assume that when faced with a problem of overriding public importance, government would use its awesome might to sweep away the obstacles that stand in its way,” Klein wrote. “But too often, it does the opposite.” N.Y. Times
Tess Winston wrote about how fear of social ostracism is suppressing open inquiry at Stanford University:
“… as a third-year student at Stanford Law School, I see a more troubling problem: an academic environment with two loud camps, one aligning with far-right politics, one aligning with the far left. In between, where most students can be found: silence.” Washington Post
A new barbershop in San Francisco offers silent haircuts so you don’t have to talk to your barber. The owner of Beyond The Pale Barbershop said he came up with the “silent mode” service after noticing that some customers would rather put their Airpods in than chat. The shop also offers free beer and the chance to walk away without paying a cent for your cut if you hit a bullseye with a dart. SF Standard
Walt Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger lashed out at Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida on Monday, calling him “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.” The two sides have been feuding since early 2022 when the Burbank entertainment giant criticized Florida legislation prohibiting classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity through the third grade. DeSantis responded by trying to strip Disney of its self-governing powers in Florida. Iger said DeSantis was punishing a company for its exercise of free speech: “And that just seems really wrong to me.” L.A. Times | Wall Street Journal
“Somehow, miraculously, I survived all of this.”
In 1988, Paul Edmonds learned that he had HIV. He was 33 years old and expected to die within a year or two. Now 67 and living in Desert Hot Springs, Edmonds is in full remission after becoming one of just five people in the world to receive a successful stem-cell transplant from a donor with a genetic mutation that makes the body resistant to HIV. Washington Post
NASA on Monday named a crew of four astronauts headed to the moon in 2024 for the first time in more than half a century. Among them is Victor Glover, 46, who was born in Pomona and graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo before becoming a naval aviator and astronaut. He would become the first Black American to embark on a lunar mission. In a livestream event Monday, he described the mission as “the next step on the journey that gets humanity to Mars.” The Tribune | L.A. Times
Viewers of Keith Loutit’s films often respond with a similar sentiment: This is how God must see us. The Australian photographer combines the photographic techniques of tilt shift and time-lapse to transform the world into toy-like dioramas. The Tehachapi Loop, where trains pirouette through the Southern California mountains, made for an ideal subject. YouTube
See more of Loutit’s work. 👉 @keithloutit
Thanks for reading!
The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.
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