Good morning. It’s Thursday, June 29.
- California looks to Texas for homelessness solutions.
- A faith healing megachurch conquers city of Redding.
- And how Netflix cut “Squid Game” writer out of profits.
“The major difference is how much housing they have, how quickly it’s getting built.”
In Texas, homelessness has fallen 28% since 2012. In California, it’s up 43%. According to the latest data, Texas has roughly 80 homeless people per 100,000 residents. In California, the figure is about 440. That’s despite the fact that Texas funds their main homelessness programs with about $800 per homeless person, while California spends $10,790. What’s going on? In an analysis, reporter Marisa Kendall noted that Texas builds a lot more houses. CalMatters
When California established a new law last year aimed at boosting salaries for fast-food workers, industry groups responded by gathering signatures for a voter referendum that put the measure on hold until 2024. Now Democratic leaders appear to have found a way to raise worker pay anyway. The state’s new budget includes funding to resurrect a long-dormant regulatory commission with the power to regulate wages. Industry leaders are furious. A.P.
Ward Connerly led the successful fight against race-based affirmative action in California in the 1990s. As the Supreme Court prepares to rule on a pair of affirmative action challenges, the country appears poised to follow Connerly’s lead. “The Founders had it right when they said that this was an effort to make a more perfect union,” he said. “It’s a work in progress. It began with slavery, it went through Jim Crow and then the effort to ‘build diversity.’ There’s nothing wrong with diversity — it’s great. But ‘building diversity’ is just a euphemism for discrimination.” Politico Magazine
In Redding, the largest California city north of Sacramento, roughly 12% of the population and a majority of the City Council belongs to Bethel Church, a nondenominational ministry that preaches faith healing. Young believers wander the city in search of strangers with ailments, then try to cure them through prayer and touch. In 2019, congregants tried for days to resurrect a toddler from the dead. Pastor Bill Johnson says “glory clouds” have floated into church and rained gold dust on the worshippers. Reporter Eric Ting wrote about Bethel’s long-term vision: “complete cultural transformation.” SFGATE
San Francisco lawmakers on Tuesday halted a project that would have replaced a single-family home with 10 townhomes after neighbors objected in part because the complex would cast shade on an adjacent basketball court. Critics portrayed the latest defeat of desperately needed housing as a gut punch. When San Francisco committed in January to building 82,000 homes by 2031, housing advocate Louis Mirante heralded it as a moment for optimism. Turns out, he wrote, “They aren’t serious about their grand plan to build housing after all.” S.F. Chronicle
“I understand, Roberto.”
Roberto Socorro and Joaquin Ciria were boyhood friends in Cuba. They fled for the U.S. in 1980 and ended up as refugees together in San Francisco. Then Ciria was convicted of murder on dubious evidence and given life in prison. He spent the next three decades in prison even as Socorro harbored a secret: He had witnessed the murder, knew the real killer, and never told authorities. Reporter Joshua Sharpe told the story of a friend’s devastating betrayal and his quest for forgiveness. S.F. Chronicle
“‘How many of you know someone — a family member or friend — who has been shot?’
Eighteen students raised their hands.”
The reporter Abené Clayton analyzed shooting data in her hometown of Richmond and found that 41% of the 2,300 shots fired in the city over the last decade were within half a mile of a school. Stege elementary, on the city’s southeast side, saw an average of six shootings near the school every year. “You drive around and there are memorials all over the place,” said Hannah Geitner, a fifth-grade teacher. The Guardian
Long ago, an island made of soft, volcanic tuft rose like a giant white chalkboard from Tule Lake in what is now far northern California. For dozens of generations, beginning as long as 6,000 years ago, people arrived by boat and carved thousands of symbols into the soft rock. Archaeologists have only been able to guess at the meaning of the art at Petroglyph Point, which is largely restricted to curious geometric patterns involving dots, squiggles, and circles. But they tend to believe it has spiritual significance, making the canvas akin to a church wall — an open-air Sistine Chapel of prehistoric California. NPS | Outdoor Project
Give something they’ll open every day.
“All of a sudden: Smack!”
“I thought we were goners.”
“It feels like somebody took a sledgehammer and just whacked me 50 times.”
A Coast Starlight Amtrak train carrying nearly 200 passengers derailed after slamming into a county water truck in Ventura County on Wednesday, critically injuring the truck’s driver and causing minor injuries to 15 passengers, officials said. The train, en route from Los Angeles to Seattle, sustained “severe damage” in the collision. An investigation into the cause was opened. Ventura County Star | A.P.
Last October, Paul Flores was convicted in the 1996 murder of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Kristin Smart. But her body was never found. Now three men — an engineer, a scientist, and a FBI research-chemist-turned-professor — are using a novel soil-testing technique in a quest to find it. They collected gases from the soil along the property line of Paul Flores’ mother’s home in Arroyo Grande; the samples, the chemist said, indicated the presence of a decaying body. L.A. Times
The dystopian thriller “Squid Game” was estimated to have created almost $900 million in value for Netflix. It also made the writer and director Hwang Dong-hyuk famous — but not wealthy. In his contract, the South Korean forfeited all intellectual property rights and received no royalties. As Hollywood weathers an ongoing writers’ strike, workers say Netflix’s South Korean content boom has been driven by exploitative labor practices. “There is a staggering amount of unpaid labor being done,” said Kim Ki-young, a labor leader. L.A. Times
- Some of the shows that have halted production because of the strike: “Severance,” “Abbott Elementary,” “Euphoria,” “The Last of Us,” and the final season of “Stranger Things.” NPR
There’s a street in the city of Pico Rivera named Dork Street. It first appeared on a Los Angeles County tract map in 1936, long before the slang term for a socially awkward person was coined, but its etymology is a mystery. In a 2005 Associated Press story, residents complained that living on Dork Street was a hassle. “I had a resume kicked back because someone thought I was kidding,” said resident Mario Saucedo. Yet the name doesn’t appear to be depressing home values: Zillow shows properties hovering close to $1 million and higher. LAStreetnames.com
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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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