California Today: California Today: Everywhere You Look, $1 Million Homes

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A bungalow in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood sold this month for $1.35 million. It came with two bedrooms and one full and one half bathrooms, and a separate guesthouse. Credit Lauren Moore

Good morning.

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Today’s introduction comes to us from Jennifer Medina, a national correspondent based in Los Angeles.

If I had a million dollars …

In California, that may or may not buy you a house.

Sales of $1 million homes in the state in the first part of the year are at a high, according to a new report from CoreLogic, a data company that tracks economic trends across the country.

The report refers to $1 million homes as luxury homes, but in many California markets that price tag is hardly enough for a move-in-ready three bedroom. And on the flip side, the report also found that home sales for less than $500,000 were at an all-time low in the first quarter of 2017.

The report is just the latest sign that the state’s pricey housing stock is increasingly out of reach for many middle-class would-be buyers.

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California legislators are struggling to find some kind of policy solution to increase access to affordable housing. But there are already signs that one consequence of the housing market is people moving out of state. The enticement, as one real estate broker put it, is moving from a “matchbook” to a single-family home.

But renting outside of the cities may not be all that more enticing. Rents in the suburbs of Los Angeles are rising more quickly than they are in the city itself.

Have you made a major move — or left California entirely — because housing is too expensive? Where did you go? How much does your money get you there compared with California’s major cities? Tell us here:

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California Online

(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)

• A news report revealed that the University of California regularly pays for its regents to throw themselves parties. Now, it says it will stop. [San Francisco Chronicle]

• Three people died in the swollen Kern River over the weekend. Nearly a dozen others had to be rescued. [The Bakersfield Californian]

• A secret plan is in the works to create a giant solar farm on rolling hills east of Los Angeles. [San Gabriel Valley Tribune]


Jay Ruskey, in Goleta, is one of the first farmers to be growing coffee commercially in California. Credit Morgan Maassen for The New York Times

• There’s a new crop growing in Southern California’s famous avocado groves — coffee. [The New York Times]

• The Central Valley’s nut industry is under attack by thieves. Since 2013, more than $10 million worth of nuts have gone missing. [Outside]

• A small but growing number of older women are becoming marijuana entrepreneurs. [The New York Times]


Credit David Plunkert

• The rise and fall of Yik Yak, a messaging app that became associated with sexism, racism and more. [The New York Times]

• The warnings signs are piling up: Silicon Valley’s success is not a given. [Opinion | The Mercury News]

• “Sacramento is California’s newest real-estate hot spot.” [The Wall Street Journal]

• The Nationals’ Bryce Harper and the Giants’ Hunter Strickland were both ejected after a benches-clearing brawl. [The Associated Press]


John Severson working at San Onofre State Beach outside San Clemente in 1959. Credit John Severson/Puka Puka

John Severson died at 83. He was an artist and publisher who bucked against the Hollywood stereotype of the surf culture. [The New York Times]

• “To this day I resent having to play out this life thing all by myself, without him.” The story of a Vietnam War widow in California. [Opinion | The New York Times]

• Tributes to the Californians who have died in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. [Los Angeles Times]


Kulap Vilaysack, showrunner for Seeso’s “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$,” in Burbank. Credit Brad Torchia for The New York Times

• Kulap Vilaysack is part of an emerging group of first-time series creators and showrunners who are younger and more diverse. [The New York Times]

• The chef at Dad’s Luncheonette in Half Moon Bay may very well be the happiest in Northern California. [The New York Times]

And Finally …


The Californian published its first edition on Aug. 15, 1846, from Monterey. Credit California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside

California’s first newspaper was published in Monterey in the summer of 1846, just weeks after American forces took control of the port city.

The inaugural issue of the Californian as it was called, printed in both Spanish and English, included news of the United States’ proclamation of war against Mexico as well as a journalistic manifesto.

The weekly newspaper was founded by Walter Colton, the judicial and administrative leader of Monterey, and Robert Semple, a frontiersman from Kentucky. They pledged to be fiercely independent, “unawed by power and untrammeled by party.”

But those weren’t the pressures that would ultimately spell the Californian’s undoing.

The newspaper moved to San Francisco, where it was buffeted by the chaos of the Gold Rush in 1848. The city virtually emptied of inhabitants who, along with the Californian’s subscribers and advertisers, flocked to the Sierra foothills to seek their fortunes.

It was this week in 1848 that the Californian announced, bitterly, that it would halt publication, two years after starting.

“The whole country,” it said in a note to readers, “from San Francisco to Los Angeles and from the sea shore to the base of the Sierra Nevada, resounds with the sordid cry of ‘gold! GOLD!! GOLD!!!’ while the field is left half planted, the house half built, and everything neglected but the manufacture of shovels and pickaxes.”

The Californian published sporadically for a time before being absorbed into another newspaper, the Daily Alta California. It too folded under financial distress in 1891.

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The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Davis. Follow him on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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