Good morning. It’s Monday, March 28.
|•||Oscars is overshadowed by Will Smith’s attack on Chris Rock.|
|•||The former filmmaker bankrolling Shasta County’s rural revolt.|
|•||And wrenching portraits of the inhabitants on L.A.’s Skid Row.|
F-15s from the California Air National Guard flew with a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-27 over Ukraine in 2018.
Col. Rob Swertfager
When Russia invaded its neighbor in February, it was said to be stunned by the ferocity of the Ukrainian military. But the California National Guard wasn’t surprised. Under a partnership that began after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the California Guard has been training Ukrainian forces for nearly 30 years. Our pilots have been telling people for years that the Ukrainians are not to be trifled with, said Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin: “A lot of other people in the West were pooh-poohing them. Well, the proof is in the pudding.” Task & Purpose | DOD News
An analysis of how often homes change hands across the country found that California locales are among the markets where homeowners stay put the longest. In the Los Angeles market, homes have typically sold every 18 years, the longest homeowner tenure in the country. Critics have blamed Proposition 13, the landmark law that limits property taxes, for creating a disincentive to sell property in California, perversely excacerbating the state’s housing shortage. N.Y. Times (gift article)
Annie Lowrey on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to give $400 to every vehicle owner in California:
“Newsom’s plan sounds reasonable, given that gas costs $5 a gallon or more in much of the state. It is not. The governor’s scheme, like many others put forward across the country in recent weeks, would fail to protect the most vulnerable families from increasing costs. It would waste the money of California taxpayers and damage the environment. And it might even make the nationwide inflation crisis worse.” The Atlantic
Only the hardiest species survive in Death Valley.
A Pasadena astrophysicist named Cameron Hummels trekked 170 miles across Death Valley National Park with just 2 liters of water in hand in four days — cutting the previous record nearly in half. Hummels is part of an endurance subculture that competes for fastest known times, or FKTs. After a harrowing journey that included nausea, nosebleeds, and hallucinations, he sat on a thin pad, victorious. “It’s silly,” he said. “It’s totally silly.” L.A. Times
From left: Agnes Bruckner, Val Kilmer, Reverge Anselmo, and Rachael Leigh Cook in 2004.
The L.A. Times profiled the man who bankrolled the recall campaign that locked in a far-right majority on Shasta County’s Board of Supervisors. Reverge Anselmo is a former filmmaker who went to war in the courts over permitting on his wine estate east of Redding. He grew so embittered that he left for Connecticut. “You have no notions of how raped you are on a daily basis out there,” he said of living in California. Of county officials, he said: “They’re evil, and they deserve what is coming to them.”
On Feb. 9, California sued Tesla on behalf of the carmaker’s Black workers in the largest racial discrimination suit ever brought by the state by number of employees affected. Three former employees at the carmaker’s Fremont factory have now spoken out:
|•||Monica Chatman: “You would hear n— this and n— that. It was the norm. It was Tesla’s tradition.”|
|•||Kimberly Romby said Black workers were segregated into a crowded corner of the factory without air conditioning. They called it “the plantation.”|
|•||Nigel Jones said his boss called him and two Black co-workers “monkeys.” “Once, he walked away saying, ‘Oh you lazy n—.’ We looked at each other and said, ‘What?’” After complaining, he was fired, Jones said. L.A. Times|
The Pioneer Tree smoldered before toppling last Thursday.
One of the few remaining old-growth coastal redwood trees in Marin County’s Samuel P. Taylor State Park was destroyed by fire last week and officials think an illegal camp fire could be to blame. The Pioneer Tree stood 200 feet tall and was estimated to be at least 800 years old. “It’s like a loss of a family member for the staff and for the members of the community,” said Vince Anibale, a park ranger. KGO | SFGATE
“They have these fat little bellies. And when they walk, they wiggle their little bottoms.”
Brigades of volunteers are coming to the rescue of Pacific newts that get squashed by cars along a rural road in the Petaluma hills north of San Francisco. They operate like school crossing guards, working in pairs and scanning the road with flashlights. When they spot a newt, they gently ferry it to safety. Less fortunate newts get scraped off the road with spatulas. The Guardian
Will Smith partied after an Academy Awards ceremony where he assaulted Chris Rock and won an Oscar.
Kevin Mazur/VF22/WireImage for Vanity Fair
At the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday, Apple TV+ made history as the first streaming service to win best picture, Jessica Chastain nabbed her first career Oscar, and Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win in the acting category. But all of that was overshadowed by Will Smith striding onto the stage at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre and slapping Chris Rock across the face after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had likened Pinkett Smith’s baldness to Demi Moore’s character in “G.I. Jane.” Some reactions:
|•||The S.F. Chronicle’s Mick LaSalle: “Is this where we are now? If you don’t like a joke, you can just hit the comedian?”|
|•||The Atlantic’s David Sims: “The exchange was, without hyperbole, the most shocking moment in Oscars history.”|
|•||Deadline rounded up highlights from Twitter. “I’m tripping that you can assault someone on live television on stage at the Oscars and just take your seat and watch the rest of the show,” wrote the journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.|
Southern California grocery workers voted to authorize a strike if supermarkets don’t meet their wage demands as contract negotiations resume this week. Workers, conscious of their “essential” status during the pandemic, say their pay has failed to keep up with the cost of living in Southern California. The potential walkout would involve hundreds of Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions stretching from Central California to the Mexican border. Ralphs has begun hiring temporary workers. L.A. Times | A.P.
A San Diego craft brewer prevailed in a yearlong David v. Goliath court battle against the beer conglomerate MillerCoors. Stone Brewing had accused MillerCoors, now known as Molson Coors, of stealing its customers by marketing beer with an “Own the Stone” advertising campaign. A jury agreed and awarded $56 million in damages. Molson Coors said it was considering an appeal. Courthouse News Service
☝️ This is Jenny. She doesn’t speak much English and is thought to be a victim of sex trafficking who was forcibly hooked on drugs. She sometimes goes into fits, scratching her face.
That account was shared by an anonymous photographer named “Suitcase Joe” who has spent much of the last decade chronicling the plight of the inhabitants on Los Angeles’s Skid Row. His photos are as raw as any you’ll see from California’s homelessness and mental illness crisis. See a few below and many more at his Instagram feed. 👉 @suitcase_joe
Suitcase Joe said Michael showed up from Montana looking like an average kid. This photo was taken about four months later.
Jerry, who was disfigured in a shooting, always had a smile on his face, Suitcase Joe said. He died during the pandemic.
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