California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, Aug. 23.
Today's edition: 13 items, < 4 minutes

Sacramento train collision leaves 27 people hurt.
Lawmakers push a measure to let 17-year-olds vote.
And a kid walks two hours to school after bus cuts.



Maria Velez, 17, took part in an early voting event in Los Angeles County on Oct. 24, 2018.

Mindy Schauer/O.C. Register via Getty Images

State lawmakers advanced a measure that would let 17-year-old Californians vote in primary and special elections, if their 18th birthday falls before the following general election. A Republican assemblyman called the move a ploy to lure more Democratic-leaning young voters. "That's what is really going on here," he said. A.P.


California's ethnic studies bill is now on hold. The law that would require all high school students to take an ethnic studies course faced criticism over a proposed curriculum seen as overly PC and insensitive to Jewish people. Even the bill's author agreed it needed work. L.A. Times

Supporters of the curriculum said people are misunderstanding its purpose. "Ethnic studies is about interrupting racism in America," a Chicana/o Studies professor said. L.A. Times


California is notorious for having some of the country's worst air pollution. But it's a big and windy state. To help visualize exactly where the air is unhealthy right now, the S.F. Chronicle created a continually updated map depicting air quality ratings and winds across the state. S.F. Chronicle


For all its flaws, California is a paradise.

As a reminder, here's a gorgeous time-lapse video featuring the lakes, beaches, deserts, and skylines of Southern California. To create it, the husband-and-wife team Ryan and Sheri Killackey spent a year collecting more than 10,000 photos. It's called "A Day in California." Vimeo

Here's a sequel, "Imagine California," which captures some of the beauty up north.


Northern California


A light-rail train collided with a maintenance train in Sacramento late Thursday, leaving 27 people hurt, officials said. No injuries were life-threatening, but two people suffered moderate injuries, an official said. A passenger told CBS Sacramento that he flipped over the top of his bike and saw another rider hit a bench so hard that "his leg opened all the way across." CBS Sacramento | Sacramento Bee


The Mountain Fire burned near Redding on Thursday.

Cal Fire

A wildfire near Redding exploded to 600 acres and forced evacuation orders for nearly 4,000 people, including Shasta College. The so-called Mountain Fire, burning not far from last year's devastating Carr Fire, was 20 percent contained late Thursday. Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean said the hot weather wasn't helping. The forecasted high for Friday: 104 degrees. Record-Searchlight | Sacramento Bee

A court filing revealed that PG&E conducted an unusual inspection of the power line that sparked the Nov. 8 Camp Fire just weeks before it failed. It raised questions about what the company knew. Wall Street Journal


The N.Y. Times visited Camp Tawonga, a 90-year-old Jewish sleepaway camp in the foothills west of Yosemite, which for the first time this summer offered an all-gender cabin option to its campers. "Here I don't have to hide who I am," a nonbinary 11-year-old said. "I can play soccer and braid my hair and nobody judges me." N.Y. Times

A Sonoma County principal irked some parents when he greeted returning students with a rainbow flag. Now the school board is examining "social inclusion symbols" on campus. Press Democrat


Children’s Bell Tower is located just off Highway 1 in Bodega Bay.

Wikimedia Commons

Today I learned: When the wind blows in Bodega Bay, the sound of 140 hanging chimes echoes softly across a grassy knoll. It's part of a memorial for Nicholas Green, a 7-year-old boy who was killed in an armed robbery during a family trip to Italy in 1994. Nicholas's parents, who lived in Bodega Bay, decided to donate the boy's organs, giving precious gifts to seven Italians. The Italian people were so touched that the country's rate of organ donation tripled in a decade. It became known as the "Nicholas Effect." Atlas Obscura


Southern California


Jose Luis Perez started walking to school after his bus was eliminated.

Adriana Heldiz

Jose Luis Perez, a sophomore at San Ysidro High School, gets up at 4:30 a.m. every day and walks two hours to get to school. Why? His mother works nights, and his bus route was eliminated thanks to a budget crisis. A reporter joined Perez on his trek to school. He doubts he'll get into a good college, Perez told her. "No one wants a kid from San Ysidro." Voice of San Diego


Southern California must plan for 1.3 million new homes over the next decade, a figure more than triple what local governments had proposed, according to an assessment by state housing officials. The target is being seen as a warning to cities and counties, which have resisted efforts by the state to override local restrictions on growth. L.A. Times


A homeless man slept in Hollywood.

Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles lawmakers are considering new rules that would bar people from sitting or sleeping on sidewalks near schools, parks, or daycare centers. More than 36,000 people sleep on the streets of Los Angeles, far more than the city could handle in homeless shelters. That means any new sleeping restrictions would face legal challenges. "You can't do this and expect that you'll have something that's enforceable," a lawyer said. L.A. Times | LAist


On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Paul Koretz and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, two powerful City Council members who represent polar opposite districts in Los Angeles. "When an American city — one of the most well-off regions in the most well-off state in one of the most well-off countries in the world — can't provide basic housing and basic health care for its citizens, I think rightly we start asking real questions about how we structure our society," Harris-Dawson said. California Sun Podcast

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In case you missed it


The Yuba River has an abundance of picturesque swimming holes.

Five blurbs that got big views over the past week:

The N.Y. Times explored the magic of California's many swimming holes. The accompanying pictures are fantastic: From Southern California to Yosemite to Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties. N.Y. Times
Architectural Digest called The Oasis at Death Valley one of the world's 11 most beautiful national park hotels. It has spring-fed pools, horses for desert rides, and the world's lowest-altitude golf course. Architectural Digest
Far from the subcultures of San Francisco and Los Angeles, it can be hard to be gay in California. The L.A. Times profiled a gay shopkeeper who stands his ground in the hardscrabble town of Mendota. L.A. Times
Frank Meza, a retired Los Angeles physician, was a devout runner who late in life began running marathons — and getting astonishingly fast times. Then doubts began to surface. They grew into amateur sleuthing, accusations, and then tragedy. L.A. Magazine
A legendary waterfall loop in the Shasta-Cascade region takes you to 13 epic falls in a single weekend. Active Norcal

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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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