Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Sept. 20.
- Bills clear way for affordable housing in California.
- Prosecutor sues Sacramento over homeless camps.
- And five California restaurants make N.Y. Times list.
State lawmakers didn’t do it with one big bill so it went largely unnoticed. But a patchwork of measures may soon remove the remaining hurdles to affordable housing projects in California, including lawsuits filed under the California Environmental Quality Act. Taken together, said housing advocate Mark Stivers, the laws “effectively make it possible for affordable housing providers to develop nearly all viable sites in California by-right and exempt from CEQA review.” CalMatters
Over the last few years, California lost more than 700,000 residents while adding nearly 380,000 housing units. So why does the housing crisis remain so dire? Experts cited a few reasons:
- We have spread out. The population is aging, people are delaying marriage, and the birthrate is falling. All of those factors mean fewer people per household.
- A generational bulge. Millennials outnumber members of the preceding Generation X. Around 2010, millennials exploded into the housing market, creating surging demand for rentals and sales, driving up prices.
- It’s still not enough. By some estimates, California is more than 3 million units short of what it needs to accommodate a population of our size. L.A. Times | CapRadio
Between 2020 and 2022, roughly 30,000 more nurses moved into California than out to other states, according to estimates by a UC San Francisco researcher. The influx, a striking contrast to the state’s hemorrhaging population, has been attributed to simple economics. Registered nurses in California on average make more than $133,000 a year, the biggest salary of any state and 50% more than the national average. They have strong unions to thank for that, wrote the L.A. Times
A Korean restaurant with wonderfully unpredictable plates, a ramen place that will leave you “delightfully gobsmacked,” and a pizzeria where the perfection of sides almost steal the show. Five California restaurants, all in Los Angeles and San Francisco, made the New York Times’ 2023 “Restaurant List.”
Sacramento’s top prosecutor sued the city’s leaders on Tuesday, saying their failure to clean up homeless encampments had caused a once-vibrant city to suffer an “utter collapse into chaos.” Homelessness has surged 67% across the county since 2019. “We are giving a voice to those that feel as if their cries for help have fallen on deaf ears,” said District Attorney Thien Ho, a county official. Mayor Darrell Steinberg dismissed the litigation as a political act. Sacramento Bee | A.P.
Two stories in the Chronicle on Tuesday:
- According to newly released data, San Francisco is on track to have the most drug overdose deaths ever in 2023 — by far. “It’s crazy, so sad out here, it’s like a zombie apocalypse,” said Georgia Taylor, a fentanyl addict. S.F. Chronicle
- A recent Gallup poll revealed that Americans see San Francisco as much scarier than they used to. Just 52% of respondents rated San Francisco as “safe to live in or visit.” That’s down 18 percentage points from 2006. S.F. Chronicle
A reporter’s recent tweet expressing appreciation for the logo of the Santa Rosa airport, above, recently unleashed a wave of love of online. But it’s not just the logo. Tributes to the “Peanuts” characters created by Charles Schulz, who lived in Santa Rosa, appear all over the airport, where a mural shows Peppermint Patty and Marcie racing to their flight, Charlie Brown directs travelers to check-in terminals, and a Lucy-inspired help desk offers travel information. A quick tour. 👇
California regulators on Tuesday ordered the company that owns Arrowhead bottled water to stop taking millions of gallons of water that it has been siphoning from springs in the San Bernardino Mountains. The decision was a major win for environmentalists who have for years accused Nestle’s bottled water business, later purchased by BlueTriton Brands, of draining an important creek. The regulators issued the ruling after determining that the company lacked valid water rights. L.A. Times | A.P.
Bijou Phillips filed for divorce from Danny Masterson in Santa Barbara on Monday, 12 years after they were married and 11 days after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for two rape convictions. Phillips, 43, an actress, stood by Masterson throughout his criminal trial, writing a letter in support of his character and crying out in court when he was convicted. In a statement, her lawyer said Phillips was focused on the couple’s 9-year-old daughter. TMZ | Hollywood Reporter
“It cannot be this hard.”
It’s hard to find defenders of Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in liberal Los Angeles. But local officials have been oddly circumspect about calling for its removal, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has declared that once a star is dedicated on the Walk of Fame, it is there to stay. People familiar with the chamber’s thinking say they worry that giving in would invite chaos, as activists object to any number of honorees, among them Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby. The Guardian
In 2005, to his family’s bewilderment, a restaurant chain owner paid $425,000 in cash for Amboy, a former mining camp on Route 66 in the middle of the Mojave Desert. He died in January of this year, leaving the hamlet to his son, Kyle Okura. Managing a ghost town is a life he never anticipated, but Okura said he’s embraced the wonder of it. Amboy is a place where, on any given day, someone like Olivia Rodrigo may show up for a video shoot. An airplane may land on the dirt unannounced. Or a horde of Harley riders may arrive and have a water-gun fight. SFGATE
The popular drone photographer, Carlos Gauna, shared some chilling new footage of great whites lurking near beachgoers in Southern California. The encounters coincided with recently published research that showed juvenile white sharks and people swimming in near proximity 97% of the time at two spots off the coast of Santa Barbara and San Diego. Stay for the shark-surfer encounter at the 2:50-minute mark. 👉 YouTube
Thanks for reading!
The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.
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