California Sun Podcast
California Sun Podcast
Jeff Schechtman
The California Sun presents conversations with the people that are shaping and observing the Golden State
Julie Johnson and the threat of smoke to California's firefighters
Julie Johnson, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, recently examined the overlooked health crisis facing California's firefighters. While the public takes precautions against wildfire smoke — from wearing masks to closing schools — firefighters are alarmingly unprotected. Her reporting revealed that, despite evidence linking smoke exposure to long-term health risks like cancer and dementia, there's a glaring absence of protective measures or federal studies. 
Sep 14, 2023
27 min
Tony Platt unveils UC Berkeley's original sins
Tony Platt, author of "The Scandal of Cal," peels back the layers of UC Berkeley's esteemed reputation. Beneath its status as a hub for innovation and progressive thought lies a troubling history of plunder, warfare, and white supremacy. Platt's research serves as a clarion call for the university to confront its original sins, from its role in the military-industrial complex to its large-scale hoarding of Indigenous remains. 
Sep 7, 2023
31 min
Dashka Slatter explores virtual harm and real consequences
Dashka Slater, in her recent New York Times Magazine story and in her new book, "Accountable." unveils a shocking discovery in liberal Albany, California. She delves into a high school student's private Instagram account filled with disturbing and hateful content. Who was involved? What were the consequences? And what does this reveal about online accountability, societal norms, and the dark side of digital culture? Slater's exploration exposes a complex puzzle that challenges our understanding of responsibility in the virtual world.
Aug 24, 2023
35 min
Pico Iyer's half known life
Pico Iyer gives us an end of summer lift in today's podcast. The long-time travel writer and philosopher reflects on the persistent human struggle to understand the world and find peace. Despite millennia of evolution, division and conflict remain central to civilization. While science offers definitive answers, understanding life and relationships is more complex, according to Iyer, a longtime California figure. He says we each search for solace, aiming to piece together life's puzzle to form an ideal picture, a theme that runs through his work, including, most recently, "The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise."
Aug 17, 2023
23 min
Kate Flannery on L.A.'s fashion faux pas
Kate Flannery takes us back to the glamorous haze of early 2000s Los Angeles, where she embarked on a tumultuous journey with American Apparel, a company once synonymous with hipster chic but later a textbook case of financial mismanagement and “me too” behavior. Her story, captured in her provocative and candid memoir "Strip Tees," explores the salacious euphoria of youth, the ideals of feminism, and the gritty reality of exploitation and ethical ambiguity.
Aug 10, 2023
24 min
Faith Pinho on fortunetellers and the Romani community
Faith Pinho, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, created and hosted a new nine-part podcast series, called "Foretold," that delves into the rich history of the Romani community in California, with a focus on Los Angeles. The narrative unfolds through the perspective of a young Romani American woman, Paulina Stevens, who defies her predestined path as a fortuneteller to rewrite her own story. Pinho's storytelling takes us beyond the neon glow of "psychic" signs and the allure of trendy tarot card shops, challenging us to confront our preconceptions about fortunetellers and the Romani people.
Aug 3, 2023
24 min
Margot Kushel explains homelessness in California
Dr. Margot Kushel is the co-author of a recent groundbreaking report by the UC San Francisco Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, which represents the largest study on homelessness since the 1990s. Offering a sobering portrait of societal failures, the study underscores homelessness as perhaps the state's most compelling and pervasive crisis. An authority on homelessness and health, Kushel discusses the mosaic of factors contributing to the struggles of roughly 171,000 individuals experiencing homelessness on California's streets.
Jul 20, 2023
31 min
Joe Hagan wonders if anyone can fix California
Joe Hagan, a Vanity Fair special correspondent, holds a mirror up to California today. In his recent story "Can Anyone Fix California," and on this week's podcast, Hagan talks about the fears and lost dreams in the world's fifth largest economy. Even with all of its economic assets, its beauty and its geographic magic, the state is a far cry from the future it once represented. He wonders if we can really say we want to make America into California.  
Jul 13, 2023
36 min
Andy Dolich and the exodus of Oakland sports teams
Sports executive Andy Dolich, co-author of the new book "Goodbye Oakland: Winning, Wanderlust, and a Sports Town’s Fight for Survival," discusses Oakland's bad sports luck. He talks about the exhilarating highs of victory and the painful lows of abandonment as the Raiders, the Warriors, and now the A's, all depart for ostensibly greener pastures. Once a celebrated sports hub, Oakland boasted a remarkable collection of national titles, star athletes, and colorful personalities. So, what led to this decline? Furthermore, does Oakland hold any potential for a future in sports?
Jun 29, 2023
28 min
Greg King saves the Redwoods
Greg King has dedicated his life to the appreciation and protection of California's majestic redwoods. Sadly, only 4% of the original 2 million acres of redwood ecosystem remains intact. Witnessing the devastation first-hand in the 1980s was a life-changing experience for King. In 1987, he discovered and named the Headwaters Forest in Humboldt County, the largest remaining ancient redwood habitat outside of parks. This sparked a decade-long struggle that led to its protection by state and federal governments. In his new book, "The Ghost Forest," he tells the story of the exploitation of California's redwoods going back to 1849. 
Jun 22, 2023
30 min
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