California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, Sept. 27.
Today's edition: 15 items, < 6 minutes

California Democrats embrace Elizabeth Warren.
A billionaire couple gives $750 million to Caltech.
And a tour of California's eight best-kept secrets.



Last week, President Trump accused San Francisco of allowing used needles to enter the ocean. Now, in a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has scolded the state for failing to prevent water pollution from sources such as "piles of human feces" on sidewalks. He included a veiled threat to withhold federal funding.

California leaders dismissed the move as political. "There are no needles washing out to the bay or ocean from our sewer system, and there is no relationship between homelessness and water quality in San Francisco," said the city's mayor. "It's just not a real issue." A.P. | S.F. Chronicle


Sen. Elizabeth Warren hosted a town hall at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Aug. 21.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic California is looking more and more like Elizabeth Warren country. That's according to a new poll from U.C. Berkeley that shows her dominating the Democratic presidential field. She's now the first choice of 29 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, 9 percentage points higher than her closest rival, Joe Biden. California's own Kamala Harris? A distant fourth at 8 percent. L.A. Times | S.F. Chronicle

President Trump is on track for the poorest showing by a Republican presidential candidate in California since the Civil War. L.A. Times


Three years ago, California passed one of the strongest laws in the country to prevent "surprise" medical billing, which happens when a patient is treated by a doctor who is not in their insurance network. Doctor groups have opposed the measure, which is now being viewed as a national model. But two new reports say it has worked as planned. Their conclusion: Some doctors may be hurting from a pay cut, but that doesn't seem to be hurting patients. N.Y. Times


A trail leads to a granite dome off the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway.

Liz Christie/Visit California

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway sets off from the geographic center of California then meanders nearly 100 miles into the heart of the Sierra, passing granite domes, glaciated peaks, and high mountain meadows. A crucial pit stop: Jones Store at Beasore Meadows, a century-old country store known for its homemade pies. "People say it's like going back in time," the owner said. The byway is included in a list of California's eight best-kept secrets. |

Here are some gorgeous photos from the drive.

On Saturday, all nine of California's national parks will be free to enter. KQED |


"I'd like to showcase our contributions to humanity," Proudfit said.

On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Dr. Joely Proudfit, a professor of American Indian Studies at Cal State San Marcos and a leading voice on behalf of Native Americans in California. She discussed the need to infuse school curriculums with the indigenous story, including contributions to the arts, culture, and the environment. "If you love California and you love the land that you're on," she said, "thank an Indian." California Sun Podcast

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Northern California


A protester held an illustration of Stephon Clark during a march in Sacramento on April 4, 2018.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Federal authorities declined to pursue civil rights charges against two Sacramento police officers over the 2018 fatal shooting of Stephon Clark, a killing that sparked protests and changes to state law governing the use of deadly force. Minutes after the announcement, the Sacramento Police Department said its own internal investigation had cleared the officers.

"This incident has been thoroughly investigated by law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels," Chief Daniel Hahn said. "Every one of these independent examinations has reached the same finding — the use of deadly force in this case was lawful." Sacramento Bee | A.P.

Columnist Marcos Breton: "I'm tired and sick to my soul over conflicts of interest that are perfectly legal and utilized each time a cop kills someone in the line of duty." Sacramento Bee


A 28-year-old skydiver was killed when she collided with a big rig trailer and landed on Highway 99 near Lodi Airport, the California Highway Patrol said. It was unclear what caused the accident, but a witness said the winds were strong. KCRA | Stockton Record


As more people flee California's costly coast, a suburb for 120,000 people is sprouting from the dirt 5 miles outside of Fresno. Hundreds of homes have been sold. There's an elementary school, a cafe, and a fire station. "The assumption was this was just going to be another bedroom community," a county supervisor said. "But when you drive through it you see it's something different. In the next 20 years, it'll truly be a new city." Fresno Bee | Archinect


The "Gourmet Ghetto" moniker was coined in the 1970s.

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

"In this day and age, it's seeming a little tone-deaf."

For decades, a culinary-rich neighborhood in North Berkeley has been known as "Gourmet Ghetto." Then the co-owner of a new cafe told the local news site Berkeleyside that the name was racially insensitive and should be changed, triggering a debate. Now, the local merchants' association has weighed in: It's removing street banners promoting the name. Berkeleyside


Southern California


Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the billionaire owners of bottled water and agriculture companies, announced a gift of $750 million to Caltech for research into climate change and sustainability. It's the second-largest donation ever to an American university. The Resnicks said they aimed to protect future generations. "A lot of the adults are not concerned, but the kids are concerned," Stewart Resnick said. "And rightfully so." L.A. Times | N.Y. Times


Paola French, whose son Kenneth was killed by a cop, held the hand of her son Kevin French during a news conference in Corona on Aug. 26.

Jeff Gritchen/O.C. Register via Getty Images

"If anyone else shot three people in the back from a distance, they would have been arrested."

The parents of an intellectually disabled man fatally shot by an off-duty LAPD officer inside a Costco expressed disgust at the Riverside County district attorney's decision not to charge the cop. Grainy video of the shooting was released. The parents said it confirmed that the officer was not in imminent danger. L.A. Times | CBSLA


One in 4 Los Angeles commuters have quit a job because of commuting agony, a study found. It was the highest percentage of 16 U.S. metropolitan areas surveyed. Allen Prom called it quits and started a hot sauce business from his home. Now, he said, "We go on morning hikes. I get to make lunch at home. I make dinner for us. Two hours of the day, you can get a lot done." LAist


"Every day is a complete and utter joy," said owner Francie Rehwald.

David Hertz, Carson Leh & Laura Doss

Today I learned: There's a home in the Santa Monica Mountains made from a decommissioned Boeing 747. The owner, Francie Rehwald, whose family founded the first Mercedes-Benz dealership in Southern California, spent years scouting the ideal location and bought the scrap parts for $26,000. The construction, which included a Chinook helicopter flying in the wings, took six years and permission from 17 government agencies. Rehwald said her motives were equal parts whimsical and environmental. "I am as much a part of this world as a bird, the frog in the creek," she told the Wall Street Journal. "This is my antidote to the malling of America." Daily Mail | Aviation Geek Club

Here's a great photo essay on the Mojave Airport boneyard where the 747 was sourced. Lost America


California archive


A painting depicted Cabrillo's arrival to San Diego Bay.

National Park Service

Long before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Iberian explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo set off from Mexico in a bid to confirm long-told myths of a paradise abounding in gold at the edge of the known world.

After three months at sea, he found it. It was on this week in 1542 that Cabrillo's fleet of three ships became the first known Europeans to set foot on the California coast, sailing into San Diego Bay.

Accounts of the expedition are scarce, but the Spaniards were said to have first encountered the Kumeyaay people, hunter-gatherers who lived in thatched homes, used seashells as currency, and were terrified by the exotic visitors.

A portrait of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo.

Huntington Digital Library

Claiming the bay for the Spanish crown, Cabrillo continued north. He hugged the coast, hoping to find a strait that would link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He explored the bays of San Pedro, Santa Monica, and Monterey, but missed San Francisco Bay.

After charting the coast as far as the Russian River, they turned back in foul weather. Camping on the Channel Islands, possibly Catalina, Cabrillo shattered a limb on a jagged rock during a skirmish with natives. He developed gangrene and died weeks later.

Point Cabrillo Light Station in Mendocino County. Cabrillo namesakes are scattered across California.

Cabrillo was credited with discovering California. Yet having failed to find a fabled water passage through the continent, his expedition was deemed a failure. Exploration of the great "northern mystery" largely halted for the next two centuries.

Then in 1769, spurred by competition from rival powers, Spain returned to upper California, establishing its first permanent settlement in San Diego. Joining the expedition was Junípero Serra, a Franciscan monk with a colonizing zeal as fervent as Cabrillo before him. Instead of gold, however, Serra was in pursuit of souls. KCET | San Diego History Center


In case you missed it


Five items that got big views over the past week:

The autumnal equinox, when daylight and darkness are in near-perfect harmony, was on Monday. Sunset magazine has a nice selection of 18 fall getaways across California — like Edna Valley, pictured above. Sunset magazine
In 2011, photographer Lisa M. Hamilton traveled nearly 10,000 miles around California. Her project, called "Real Rural," is a fantastic catalogue of the state's diversity of lifestyles. | Popular Photography
Ghost towns, high mountain passes, sweeping views of the Pacific, and the largest intact grove of giant sequoias in the world. Outside magazine named the best hike in every National Park, of which California has more than any state. Outside magazine
California authorities issued an Amber Alert over the weekend for a 2-year-old boy believed to have been abducted by his father, who was in the midst of a divorce from his wife. Then their bodies were found on a remote road in the Stanislaus National Forest. KFSN | Merced Sun-Star
A San Francisco neighborhood trucked in about two dozen boulders and lined them up on the sidewalk to keep drug users away. "It has helped," one resident said. KTVU

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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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