Good morning. It’s Thursday, Feb. 23.
- Snow falls in places unaccustomed to it across the state.
- San Francisco merchants are exasperated by burglaries.
- And a profile of West Hollywood’s unconventional mayor.
The mountain areas of Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties remained on track for one of the largest snowstorms in decades, with a highly rare blizzard warning set to go into effect Friday and Saturday. Updated forecasts called for wind gusts up to 75 mph, surf as high as 16 feet, and as much as 7 feet of snow at mountain elevations above 4,500 feet. L.A. Times | N.Y. Times
A breakdown of the expected timing. 👉 @NWSLosAngeles
The weather was mostly calm Wednesday, but snow and other forms of icy precipitation fell in places unaccustomed to it across the state. Snow plows were out in force in Humboldt County, Public Works Director Tom Mattson told the Times Standard: “Virtually everything above sea level is getting snow and we’re plowing everywhere.” Here’s a roundup of videos posted to social media across California. 👇
- Arcata, Humboldt County
- Los Gatos, Santa Clara County
- Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo County
- Madera, Madera County
- La Crescenta, Los Angeles County
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
In January, a month after facing the largest academic strike in U.S. history, the University of California announced that it was investing $4.5 billion in the Blackstone Real Estate Investment Trust. Blackstone’s strategy, the Financial Times reported, is to maximize returns by filing hundreds of eviction lawsuits as pandemic tenant protections wind down. Three UC professors co-authored a piece criticizing the “unconscionable” move by California’s public university system to strengthen the hand of corporate landlords. Law and Political Economy Project
“Rural schools get forgotten.”
For more than a century, California schools located in forested areas that cannot be taxed relied on payments from the U.S. Forest Service. But in the 1990s, the logging industry cratered, and so did the funding. Since then, the schools have been kept afloat by a temporary federal program called Secure Rural Schools. It’s now set to expire in October. School leaders are so worried that a group of them flew to Washington this month to plead for help. L.A. Times
Democratic state lawmakers expressed skepticism about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to cap oil companies’ profit margins during its first public hearing in the state Senate on Wednesday. Sen. Bill Dodd summed up a view held by others on the panel: “What the hell are the unintended consequences that could hurt people to an even greater extent?” he said. Big Oil spent about $34 million lobbying California legislators during the last two-year session. Politico | A.P.
“We’ve gotten to the point where we want to close the business.”
“It’s kind of ridiculous. My insurance thinks I’m lying.”
“I’ve never seen people so angry and frustrated.”
Merchants in San Francisco neighborhoods hardest hit by burglaries are at the end of their ropes. Their loss of confidence that anything will be done has ominous portents for a city already reeling from layoffs, homelessness, and departing companies. S.F. Chronicle
In 2021, Elon Musk moved Tesla’s headquarters from Palo Alto to Austin after harshly criticizing California’s regulations and taxes. But on Wednesday, he revealed that Tesla would make Palo Alto its global engineering home, saying he was looking forward to “an exciting partnership” in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom was on hand for the announcement, where he credited Tesla for accelerating the shift to electric vehicles. “It’s a point of pride for me that Tesla is a California company,” he said. Bloomberg | Wall Street Journal
There’s a community in the Sierra foothills where the homes have hangars. Pine Mountain Lake is a pilot community, where residents park their airplanes at home and taxi directly to an adjacent airfield and take off as they please. Joe Sobczak, a 69-year-old test pilot, commutes by plane to work at San Francisco International Airport. “I plan on being here for quite a while,” he said. “I can live up here, fly airplanes, stay out of the congestion of the Bay Area, breathe the fresh air and take a trip to Yosemite in 30 minutes.” CNBC
The photographer James Piper captured video of the moment when a giant piece of granite peeled off the east side of El Capitan on Monday. “Holy God,” a man in the background can be heard saying. Researchers estimate that the park has seen more than 1,000 rock falls, caused by tectonic stress and erosion, in the last 150 years. See Piper’s video: @JAMESPIPERPHOTO
Another view. 👉 @al3xjw
Eric R. Holder Jr., the Crips gang member who killed Nipsey Hussle, was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Wednesday. Holder’s lawyer, Aaron Jansen, acknowledged that his client fatally shot the Crenshaw rapper on March 31, 2019, but argued that he became incapable of rational thought after Hussle invoked neighborhood rumors that Holder cooperated with police. Jansen suggested Holder may not survive his sentence. “It’s going to be brutal,” he said. “It’s going to be short. He’s already received numerous death threats.” A.P. | L.A. Times
Police response times more than doubled in five of San Diego’s nine police districts between 2018 and 2022, an analysis found. Citywide in 2018, it took police 27 minutes to respond to a report of active domestic violence. In 2022, it was 49 minutes. In a memo, Police Chief David Nisleit attributed the slide to staffing shortages, a trend he blamed in part on the departure of 250 officers between July 2021 and early August 2022. Many left in protest over San Diego’s Covid vaccine mandate, he said. Voice of San Diego
West Hollywood’s new mayor is a lawyer, Reiki master, and self-described spirit medium. Sepi Shyne has described herself as “the first out LGBTQ Iranian elected anywhere globally.” Her company, Soulillume, offers a range of services, including channeling sessions during which she confers with the “guardians and the ascended masters” and long-distance communication with pets, alive or dead. Ben Kawaller wrote an entertaining profile of the unconventional politician and her “West Hollywood revolution.” Los Angeles Magazine
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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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