Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Sept. 21.
- Northern Chumash seek return of Diablo lands.
- Oakland is shaken by series of deadly shootings.
- And 11 cabin getaways from the Sierra to the coast.
While heavy rain this week helped douse some of the state’s most menacing fires, it wasn’t enough to end fire season, experts said. Alex Hall, a climate scientist at UCLA, said extreme heat had already evaporated much of the water from the landscape. “I would say we’re pretty much back to square one, as if that didn’t happen,” he said. “It just wasn’t enough, and we’re still losing a lot of whatever water did come in.” L.A. Times
California’s latest drought status: nearly 100%. U.S. Drought Monitor
A berry-picking robot has been among the most elusive goals of technologists in agriculture: a machine that can identify a ripe berry, pluck it without damaging the fruit, and place it in a plastic clamshell. But they are now being tested in California. Some farmers see the devices, along with self-driving tractors and other machines, as the only way forward in an industry short on labor and altered by climate change. The Guardian | L.A. Times | S.F. Chronicle
Columnist Anita Chabria on the the political ambitions of Gov. Gavin Newsom: “My teenage daughters would describe Newsom and [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis as ‘pick me boys,’ desperate for attention and equally desperate to pretend they’re not. It’s Newton’s Third Law of Modern American Politics: Every loudmouth sparks an equal and opposite loudmouth.” L.A. Times
If President Biden declines to seek a second term run, Newsom is “unequivocally” running, sources told political reporter Tina Daunt. The Wrap
“Chic minimalism” in the Sierra Nevada, an Airstream campground in Santa Ynez Valley wine country, and an A-frame cabin with a loft in the Southern California desert. The travel writer Lyndsey Matthews recommended 11 “cozy California cabins where you can escape to nature.” AFAR
A spasm of gun violence in Oakland left four people dead and five others wounded in 18 hours on Monday and Tuesday. One of the shootings unfolded outside City Hall on Tuesday, disrupting a City Council meeting. Council Member Noel Gallo called for the California Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Office to patrol Oakland, a step activists have opposed. “We are in a state of emergency,” Gallo said. East Bay Times | S.F. Chronicle
During a Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting last November, a Native American man advocating for renaming the town of Squaw Valley turned his back to the officials as he spoke, saying that’s how he felt the board was treating him. Board President Steve Brandau responded, “Get this guy out of here,” and had him escorted out. Since then, a national push has led hundreds of places across the country to purge the name Squaw, a derogatory term for Native American women. Yet Squaw Valley remains. Fresno Bee | S.F. Chronicle
In 2017, San Francisco unveiled a plan to cut chronic homelessness in half in five years. “This is going to be huge,” then-Mayor Ed Lee said. But while the city housed thousands of homeless people over the subsequent years, it didn’t keep pace with the number of new homeless. As a result, San Francisco now has more chronically homeless people than it did in 2017. S.F. Chronicle
Apple spent $120 million on “Emancipation,” a Civil War-era film starring Will Smith that it envisioned as a surefire Oscar contender. But that was before the slap. Now Apple faces a decision: Does it release the movie by the end of the year, making it eligible for award consideration, or push the release to 2023? “This one is lose-lose,” said Stephen Galloway, dean of the film school at Chapman University. N.Y. Times
In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom apologized to Native Californians and proposed $100 million in funding to help them buy back land. The Northern Chumash are now asking him for help obtaining land their ancestors occupied for thousands of years: the coastline where Diablo Canyon power plant stands. Tribal Chairwoman Mona Tucker said Newsom has been receptive. “When we talk about Diablo lands,” she said, “we’re really talking about our home.” High Country News | The Tribune
The trial of a young sailor accused of destroying a $1.2 billion dollar warship in San Diego began on Monday. Prosecutors said Ryan Mays, 21, found himself working essentially as a janitor on the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard after failing to become a Navy SEAL. Furious, he set a fire as “a mischievous act of defiance gone wrong,” prosecutor Commander Leah O’Brien said. Mays has denied any role in the fire. USNI News | A.P.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta seized control of a controversial investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department into county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, a vocal critic of Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The unusual move came after days of concern over the department’s handling of the probe and allegations by Kuehl that Villanueva was misusing his powers to attack political foes. L.A. Times | City News Service
In 1975, a 21-year-old photographer named Penny Wolin checked into the pay-by-the-week St. Francis Hotel in the heart of Hollywood and began to make portraits of her neighbors. It was a place, she said, filled with people whose dreams were bigger than their rooms. “It was people that needed a place to be, whether they were on their way up, or maybe on their way down.” she says. Wolin’s pictures are now collected in a new volume called “Guest Register.” NPR
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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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