California Sun

Good morning. It's Wednesday, June 27.

Supreme Court sides with California abortion foes.
Bears get into mischief in the Northern Sierra.
And a tour of the happiest place in California.

The lede


Anti-abortion win

Abortion protesters rallied outside the Supreme Court in March.

Andrew Harnik/A.P.

Abortion foes were celebrating after the Supreme Court effectively struck down a California law that required “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide information about abortion options.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court's conservative justices sided with clinics that said the 2015 law ran afoul of free speech guarantees.

“California cannot co-opt the licensed facilities to deliver its message for it,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority.

Critics said the decision was a step toward dismantling abortion rights. The centers, often run by Christian groups, try to encourage women to carry their pregnancies to term.

The ruling, along with another on Tuesday upholding President Trump's travel ban, made powerfully clear how the court had been reshaped by President Trump's nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch, who voted with the majorities in both cases.

To the extent that California's legal clashes with the Trump administration reach the court, a law professor told the Mercury News, "It doesn’t look so good.”

Read more at the A.P. and NPR.



Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, with officials from Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and the American Beverage Association, among others, at the governor's mansion on June 6.

Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban cities and counties from creating new soda taxes. Public health advocates have called it a cynical ploy to protect profits. Weeks before it was negotiated, beverage industry officials had a private dinner with Gov. Jerry Brown. The Sacramento Bee got ahold of a picture.


Lab technician Jessica Ibarra, left, and chemist Tommie Griffin worked at CW Analytical Laboratories, a marijuana testing lab in Oakland.

Jeff Chiu/A.P.

All weed must go! Starting July 1, all marijuana sold in California will be subject to new testing and packaging standards. Everything else must be destroyed. That means cannabis retailers have been scrambling to sell old, non-compliant stock.


For $200,000, you could get 3,249 square feet in San Antonio, 3,769 square feet in Cleveland — or 260 square feet in San Francisco. It's not much better in California's other coastal cities.


A drive through cattle country at the edge of San Luis Obispo.

San Luis Obispo has been called the happiest place in America — for good reason. Perched near the Pacific and graced by rolling hills, the historic college town seems to have it all. The Guardian had a look around.

Northern California


Kevin Moore, a black firefighter in Oakland, inspects yards for wildfire hazards. Residents have confronted him, called 911 on him, and sent security camera footage of him to the police. “I’ve never had anyone wonder what I’m doing in their yard,” a fellow firefighter, who is white, said. “But with Kevin, it’s a different attitude. They are suspicious.”


In Silicon Valley, dozens of public transit drivers sleep between shifts in trailers parked at a San Jose lot. Why? Because even though they earn roughly $80,000 a year, the nearest homes they can afford are as far as 100 miles away.


Cyberbullies have been targeting any business named Red Hen after President Trump attacked a restaurant by that name in Virginia for asking White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee to leave. Among the targets has been Napa’s Red Hen Bar and Grill, which has faced threats and calls for a boycott. Police have been checking in periodically.


Jonathan Franzen at a book event in New York in 2015.

Mary Altaffer/A.P.

"Insightful," "lovely," "genius." People are raving about this magazine profile of the author Jonathan Franzen, who lives in a humble two-story house in Santa Cruz, a place he says is a “little pocket of the ’70s that persisted.”


A South Lake Tahoe family captured video of a bear breaking into their home.


Bears have been getting into mischief in the northern Sierra. One somehow got inside a Subaru Outback, where it got stuck and mangled the interior. A courageous sheriff’s deputy broke a window to let him out. Another squeezed through the back window of a home in a robbery captured on surveillance camera. The bear made several food trips to the kitchen.

Southern California


Father Richard Estrada was arrested in Los Angeles on Tuesday during a visit by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Richard Vogel/A.P.

Clergy members were arrested in Los Angeles while protesting migrant family separations during a visit by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Speaking to a criminal justice group, Sessions attacked what he called the "open border crowd." "This is the Trump era,” he said. "We are enforcing our laws again."


Anthony Avalos, a 10-year-old Lancaster boy who died last week after suffering head injuries, had come out as gay in recent weeks. The authorities are now investigating whether homophobia played a role in his death. Separately, officials ordered a review of the boy's case. At least 16 calls had been made to a child abuse hotline and to the police before he died.


"One of the most interesting properties in Los Angeles, if not the world." The former Bel Air home of basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain was inspired, according to the architect, by Frank Lloyd Wright, the redwood groves of Yosemite, and the triangle. Now it's on the market for $19 million. Curbed has the pictures.


A performance at the Hollywood Bowl.

Los Angeles Philharmonic

From July through September, you can drop by the Hollywood Bowl and watch the L.A. Philharmonic rehearse — for free. The little-known treats typically happen on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and last a couple of hours. The N.Y. Times music critic Zachary Woolfe once called the Los Angeles Philharmonic “the most important orchestra in America.”

Today I learned


Did you know?

The San Francisco Bay is considered one of the world's finest harbors.


Here are three random facts about California:

San Francisco Bay and the adjoining delta comprise the largest Pacific estuary in the Western Hemisphere. Depending on whether sub-bays are included, it covers about 550 square miles, roughly 50 miles long and 12 miles wide.

It was formed during the waning of the last ice age, when rising seas spilled into the valley and created an enormous new bay at the mouth of the great Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.

Roughly 40 percent of California's landmass drains into the bay, where the water flows out to sea through the strait known as the Golden Gate. For centuries, explorers sailed by the narrow opening, unaware of the jewel that lay beyond. Once discovered, the tip of the peninsula bordering the gate, now San Francisco, was recognized as the ideal location for a city looking out on the world. San Francisco Estuary Partnership | E.P.A.

Auckland, New Zealand, is very far from Oakland.

In 1985, a California man made a travel blunder so epic that it put him 6,600 miles off course.

Michael Lewis, a 21-year-old college student from Sacramento, was returning home from a vacation in West Germany. He arrived aboard Air New Zealand's London-to-Auckland flight at Los Angeles International Airport, where the passengers disembarked so the plane could be cleaned.

Lewis was supposed to hop on a connecting flight to Oakland. But as he left the plane, he heard airline agents direct passengers bound for Oakland to wait in a lounge. What they were really saying was "Auckland."

Lewis re-boarded the plane. His first clue came shortly after takeoff when he heard the word "Tahiti" over the intercom. "They didn't say Auckland," Lewis later told the L.A. Times. "They said Oakland. They talk different."

In New Zealand, the airline agreed to fly Lewis back home free of charge. The misadventure yielded some perks: a chance to tour Auckland for the day during his layover, and a run of media stardom that included an appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. L.A. Times

An early version of the Bear Flag, circa 1846, held by Peter Storm, a saddle maker who was said to have designed it.

Sonoma State University Library

There's been a lot talk lately about designs to break up — or break off — California. But the separatist impulse has a long history in America's continental frontier. In fact, it's stitched into the state flag.

In 1846, a group of settlers revolted against the Mexican government, in power at the time. They proclaimed an independent California Republic, and raised a flag emblazoned with a grizzly bear. But the experiment was fleeting.

America was at war with Mexico, and the U.S. Army moved into California. Weeks after declaring independence, the California rebels stood down. Even so, the bear flag lived on. A refined version was adopted as the official state flag in 1911. National Park Service | Bear Flag Museum

Thanks for reading!

The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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