Good morning. It’s Thursday, March 24.
|•||Teacher strike closes schools across Sacramento.|
|•||Bay Area suspect in Jan. 6 riot wins asylum in Belarus.|
|•||And 18 photographs of California’s surfer nomads.|
Every vehicle owner in California would get a $400 debit card — or $800 if they own more than one car — to offset rising gas prices under a plan announced Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Eligibility would be linked to vehicle registration, not income, meaning both the rich and poor would get the same. Environmentalists criticized the proposal, saying it would steer people away from public transit. Republicans asked why it was taking so long. S.F. Chronicle | L.A. Times
The California State University system agreed Wednesday to end its use of SAT and ACT tests in admissions, making it the latest in a nationwide departure from standardized testing that now includes nearly 80% of American colleges and universities. Cal State trustees said its new approach would “level the playing field” by relying on a set of 21 factors, including high school transcripts, work experience, life hardship, and military service. Critics said the change would inject more subjectivity into admissions. A.P. | L.A. Times
After a century of overusing groundwater, California farmers and water managers are embracing a deceptively simple solution to replenish underground aquifers: intentionally flooding fields and wetlands with rainfall that would otherwise flow to the sea. In some ways, the strategy mimics California’s pre-settlement era, before dams and canals, when floodwaters commonly filled valleys. “The water cycle wants to operate the way it’s done for millennia,” said Kaymar Guivetchi, a state water manager. National Geographic
When the British photographer Matthew Brookes began shooting young surfers in Venice Beach, he discovered that they all lived out of their vans. Their philosophy, he told the art magazine CAP 74024, seemed to align with their sport: life is about finding balance and “flow.” AnOther magazine published 18 pictures from Brookes’ new book, “Into The Wild,” which chronicles six months on the road with California’s surfer nomads.
Months after Sacramento schools reopened, they were shut again Wednesday as roughly 2,800 teachers walked off the job in an indefinite strike over pay and working conditions. Labor experts said teacher unions nationwide have been seizing the opportunity posed by tight labor markets to press their demands. Shavaun Diallo, like many parents, said she sympathizes with the teachers but worries about her children. “I understand,” she said, “but what are we supposed to do, as far as educating, what do they expect parents to do?” Sacramento Bee | A.P.
A Bay Area man who fled the country after facing charges in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has been granted asylum in Belarus, officials said. In a video posted by state media, Evan Neumann, 49, of Mill Valley, said he had started a new life in the autocratic Eastern European nation. “It is very bittersweet,” he said. “So, very happy and very sad at the same time.” The U.S. authorities said Neumann used a metal barricade as a battering ram, assaulted a police officer, and at one point declared, “I’m willing to die, are you?” NPR | BBC
A catamaran flipped over during a practice run Monday in the San Francisco Bay.
Catamarans are expected to fill the San Francisco Bay this weekend in what has been called the Formula 1 of high-speed sailing. The yachts, capable of hitting 120 mph, are outfitted with twin hydrofoils that allow them to hover above the water and execute quick 180-degree turns. Accidents are common, but also part of the hype helping to fuel the ascendancy of the sport. A training run in the bay Monday delivered the latest spectacle when a 50-foot catamaran toppled on its side. No one was hurt. S.F. Chronicle
A glass-domed bedroom overlooks the Pacific at Mickey Muennig’s former home in Big Sur.
Mickey Muennig, the late architect known for undulating creations perched along the Big Sur coast, suspended the bed in his own residence within a glass dome to maximize views of the night sky. His living room included a lush indoor garden with banana trees under a massive skylight. DWELL shared 14 pictures of Muennig’s 30-acre property, just listed for $7 million.
USC said it would pull its education school from U.S. News & World Report’s graduate-school rankings after discovering “a history of inaccuracies” in data reported by the program. Details were scarce, but the campus hired a law firm to investigate the matter. Earlier this month the former dean of Temple University’s business school was sentenced to 14 months in prison for inflating the school’s rankings. And at Columbia University, a math professor recently accused the school of submitting shoddy data. L.A. Times | Inside Higher Ed
Police responded to George Floyd protests in Los Angeles on June 1, 2020.
Kent Nishimura/L.A. Times via Getty Images
Nearly half of the Covid-19 relief funds sent to Los Angeles last year was quietly used to pay police officers. The disclosure came to light after Kenneth Mejia, an accountant running for city controller, noticed gaps in a city report on how $680 million from the American Rescue Plan Act was spent. A public records request revealed that $317 million went to police payroll. Less than $13 million was allocated to support local businesses and workers. L.A. Taco
After police cleared a homeless encampment from Los Angeles’ Echo Park last spring, a councilman who pushed for the contentious sweep said his office had found “housing solutions” for 200 people. But a new report by UCLA researchers tells a different story: Out of 183 displaced homeless people, just 17 found their way into long-term housing. Some ended up in worse straits than they were in before, the report said. Six died. The Guardian | City News Service
People are flocking to towns like Pioneertown, above, along Highway 62 in the Southern California desert.
A gaggle of friends from San Francisco and Los Angeles lounged at the luxury AutoCamp resort near Joshua Tree National Park. “I love Joshua Tree — its weirdness, its hippiness,” one said. “I don’t want it to become commercial.” But the fashionable corner of the Southern California desert may have reached a tipping point after the pandemic led city dwellers to search for wide-open spaces. “In their eagerness to feel those desert vibes, they’ve set off a full-blown boom,” the L.A. Times wrote.
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