California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, July 19.

A backlash against misbehaving tourists in Big Sur.
A $130 million megachurch for California Catholics.
And the state's largest land offering in the East Bay.



Bixby Bridge, irresistible to tourists.

"Overtourism is killing Big Sur."

Someone spray-painted those words in gold lettering on a pullout near the iconic Bixby Bridge. A banner was hung with the same message less than two weeks earlier. Big Sur locals have expressed increasing frustration with the behavior of tourists who disturb wildlife, clog roads, and venture onto private property. "People disregard signs, they disregard the environment," one man said. "They're just trampling all over the place." KSBW | Monterey Herald


Map by Eric Fischer

A mapmaker named Eric Fischer was interested in how tourists interact with cities compared to locals. Using social media data from 2010–13, he plotted each photo taken by the groups — red for tourists, blue for locals, and yellow for either — to create a revealing look at what places they are drawn to. For example, in San Diego, above, locals seem to like Ocean Beach. Tourists: Sea World. Brilliant Maps | arch daily

Here are maps for San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Pasadena. See all of Fischer's maps here, and the whole state in this interactive map.


Biologists gave an apricot-faced California condor along the Central Coast the nickname Puff Daddy.

Tim Huntington/Audubon Photography Awards

The honorees of the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards included beauties from Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Cruz, and Oakland. Here are the photos. The Atlantic | Audobon Magazine

Among the honorees was a picture of a California condor, above, a species that nearly went extinct. Now there are plans to reintroduce them to Yurok land in California's far north, where they are held as sacred. North Coast Journal


A Sherman Oaks home has a dramatic sunbeam ceiling.

Juwan Li, via Compass

A few eye-catching properties on the market:

Up for grabs for the first time in 69 years is one of earliest residential commissions by the star architect John Lautner. The Sherman Oaks home is curvilinear and clad in redwood. Asking: $1.6 million. Archinect | Curbed Los Angeles
"Like your own national park." A ranching family is seeking a buyer for their 79-square-mile property southeast of San Francisco. It's got canyons, woodlands, grasslands, and a 4,090-foot peak. Yours for $72 million. S.F. Chronicle | Mercury News
The listing for a Los Feliz house calls it "classic" and "breathtaking." It's also the site of Manson "family" murders in 1969. "I don't think anybody cares about what happened a long time ago," a listing agent said hopefully. Asking: $1.98 million. L.A. Times | Curbed Los Angeles

Northern California


McKesson, the San Francisco drug giant, distributed more than 18 percent of the nation's opioids.

Jeff Chiu/A.P.

From 2006 to 2012 there were 8,057,279,422 prescription pain pills supplied to Californians. Much of it flowed into California's rural north, which is now in the grips of an opioid abuse crisis. The Washington Post produced a jaw-dropping presentation how opioid pain pills have flooded over American society. You can look up how many pills were sold near you and by whom. Washington Post

California's rates of overall opioid-related death are among the country's lowest. But one county has rates rivaling those of states like Maine and Vermont: Humboldt. N.Y. Times (2018)


Everyone seemed to have something to say about Berkeley's move to eliminate gendered words from its municipal code, as the Washington Post, CNN, Fox News spread the story nationwide. Hate mail, naturally, streamed into the inboxes of Berkeley lawmakers. (For example: "Maybe, you can let the city's homosexuals rape your wife and children.")

A Berkeley council member, Lori Droste, responded: "Your gender has no relevance in whether you can perform work or receive services. Yeah, 'manhole' clickbait is fun but language matters." Twitter


No. 30. Llamas at Redwood Regional Park.

No. 1. Right-field bleachers crew at the Oakland Coliseum.

No. 8. The dormant volcano in the Oakland Hills.

No. 97. Watching the scraper bikes roll by.

Some things about Oakland have vanished. Others, like those above, remain in all their glory. Here's a great compilation of 101 things to love about The Town. Curbed San Francisco


Joe Talbot.

Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman chats with Joe Talbot. The director of "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" talked about how the changes sweeping through his hometown take form in ways both small and large. "It's whole blocks feeling different," he said. "And then it's a smell from a bakery that you remember as a kid not being there anymore." California Sun Podcast

Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.

Southern California


I.C.E. officials accused L.A.P.D. Chief Michel Moore of hindering their work.

Cindy Yamanaka/Press-Enterprise via Getty Images

When word spread of impending immigration raids, L.A.P.D. Chief Michel Moore stood beside the mayor as he told residents they did not have to open their doors for anyone without a warrant. That infuriated I.C.E. "It's just really disappointing to us," an immigration official said. "We see that as they're really putting politics ahead of public safety." L.A. Times


The Marine Corps issued a cease-and-desist letter to San Diego-area congressman Duncan Hunter, a former Marine, telling him to stop using the official Corps emblem and phrase on a campaign mailer that links his likely 2020 opponent to terror. Critics have called the mailer Islamophobic. It shows photos of Hunter's political rival, Ammar Campa-Najjar, along with Muslim members of Congress and a terrorist from the 1972 Munich Olympics. Campa-Najjar is Christian. NBC News


Clergy members walked toward the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove on Tuesday.

Leonard Ortiz/O.C. Register via Getty Images

The Catholic Church spent about $130 million to acquire and renovate a megachurch in Garden Grove that will become the spiritual center for 1.6 million worshippers in the Diocese of Orange. Originally named the Crystal Cathedral, it was previously home to the flamboyant televangelist Rev. Robert H. Schuller. "This particular cathedral on the West Coast will be as important to the Catholic Church as St. Patrick's Cathedral is on the East Coast," a church official said. O.C. Register | N.Y. Times


In a landmark decision, the nation's first cannabis restaurant was approved by West Hollywood's business commission. Lowell Café will be full-service rooftop restaurant with an outdoor smoking patio and an on-duty cannabis sommelier. It's set to open Sept. 1. A rabbi from a synagogue across the street is furious. Eater Los Angeles | L.A. Times


Charles Manson in 1970.

Bettmann Archive, via Getty Images

Michael Brunner has guarded his privacy for 26 years, never speaking publicly about his notorious bloodline. His father was Charles Manson. Brunner never met his dad. Yet he decided it's time to set the record straight. "I would say 95 percent of the public looks at Charlie as this mass-murdering dog, and it's really, obviously, just not true," he told the L.A. Times. He added: "I mean, do we believe in brainwashed zombies out killing people?" L.A. Times | L.A. Magazine


California archive


An illustration of the hounds, circa 1849.

Found SF

In 1840s San Francisco, a band of former New York City gangsters known as the "hounds" formed ostensibly to protect the peace in the lawless Gold Rush city. They would strut about town in exaggerated uniforms, beat business owners who disrespected them, and order drinks from the bars without paying.

But the group's specialty was menacing Peruvians, Chileans, and Mexicans in the name of patriotism. It was on this week in 1849 that the hounds reign of terror reached a climax. The gang's leader, Sam Roberts, paid a drunken visit to his Chilean mistress only to find her lying with a German man. Enraged, he pummeled the man and dragged a spur across his face. Unsatiated, Roberts led his hounds in a violent raid on Little Chile at the base of Telegraph Hill. A boy was killed, and many were seriously injured.

San Francisco, circa 1856, during its rowdy early days.

San Francisco Public Library

"In every direction were heard the cries and shrieks of women and children, mingled with the oaths and demoniac laughter of reckless and impious men," the Weekly Alta Californian reported.

By then, San Franciscans had had enough. A vigilante force was organized that chased the hounds out of town. Yet for generations to come, many Californians — both officially and interpersonally — carried the torch of hate, punishing and excluding Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, and blacks.

For nearly all of its existence, California was the most xenophobic state in America, wrote columnist Gustavo Arellano. It helps explain why a state Legislature replete with Generation X Latinos has essentially declared California a sanctuary for people in the country illegally, he added. "It's not just because it's the right thing to do, but to atone for the sins of their predecessors." | SF Weekly


In case you missed it


The majestic valley.

Here are five blurbs that got big views over the past few weeks:

Two photographers hiked more than 200 miles over the course of 10 months in Yosemite National Park, hunting down the most beautiful views to create two epic time-lapse videos. Yosemite HD | Yosemite HD II
The food team at the S.F. Chronicle spent months eating and debating to create a list of the Bay Area's top 100 restaurants. They don't only have great food, they "are places we'd want to return to again and again." S.F. Chronicle
In the 1950s, a Czechoslovakian sociologist tried to create California's next big metropolis in the desert east of Bakersfield. It didn't pan out. Here are fantastic images of the surreal landscape that is California City. | aperture
"For every Yosemite, the Sierra holds hundreds of equally lovely but barely known alpine valleys; for every Tahoe, dozens of high mountain lakes." Here are 21 wonders of the Sierra Nevada. Sunset magazine
Every so often, San Francisco plays host to the Dolores Street hill bomb, a word-of-mouth bacchanalia that involves helmetless skaters rocketing down a steep hill. The latest gathering included epic, seamless descents and numerous wipeouts. Twitter | Instagram

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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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