California Sun

Good morning. It's Thursday, Sept. 24.

Governor announces aggressive bid to curb emissions.
Democrats doubt Dianne Feinstein in Supreme Court fight.
And Berkeley bans candy and sodas in checkout aisles.



San Francisco commuters.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring that all new cars sold in California have zero emissions by 2035. The commitment, the first among U.S. states, was portrayed as the beginning of the end for gas-powered cars nationwide. “For too many decades," Newsom said, "we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe." Honda and Ford applauded the announcement. The White House signaled a fight. CalMatters | L.A. Times | A.P.

The governor also called for phasing out fracking permits. Leaders in Kern County, California's oil heartland, denounced the moves: "Gov. Newsom today has decided that Kern County and our hard working 900,000 people don’t matter." Bakersfield Californian


Sen. Dianne Feinstein at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 3.

Alex Edelman/Getty Images

At 87, Dianne Feinstein is the oldest member of the U.S. Senate. With a bruising Supreme Court nomination fight ahead, some Democrats are questioning whether she is up to it. One Democratic senator said a group of Feinstein's colleagues want to oust her from the top spot on the Judiciary Committee and replace her with a junior male colleague. “She’s not sure what she’s doing,” the senator said. Politico


Joseph Castro, a grandson of Mexican immigrants, has been named chancellor of California State University, the largest four-year system in the nation. After the recent appointment of Michael Drake as the head of the University of California, the elevation of Castro means all three leaders of California's public higher educations systems are Black or Latino. EdSource | A.P.


Five of the six largest wildfires in recorded California history started in the past six weeks. In 2020, nearly 8,000 fires have burned roughly 3.6 million acres, an area 14 times larger than what was burned in all of 2019. Alex Fuller, a hobbyist mapmaker from Britain, used a relief map to create this jarring depiction of California's 2020 blazes — so far. 👇


The pallid bat is a master insect hunter.

Connor Long

There's a movement to make the pig-nosed pallid bat California's official state bat.

California has more than 40 official symbols, among them an amphibian, bird, bear, and insect — yet no bat. Fans of the pallid bat say it's the right flying mammal to rectify that oversight. A California native, it has exquisite hearing and a golden sheen to match the Golden State. Moreover, the pallid bat and its bat cousins play a significant role in the state's well-being. As voracious insectivores, they provide massive savings to farmers in the form of free pest control. Pallid bats also eat scorpions, making it safer to put your shoes on.


Northern California


Berkeley just banned candy in checkout aisles. The new policy, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, aims to remove what one City Council member called "poison" from the place where shoppers are most vulnerable to temptation. "I can’t stand the idea that they’ve figured this out and have been doing this to us,” the official said. Howls of nanny-statism abounded. Berkeleyside | Mercury News


Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress on Oct. 23, 2019.

Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Verge published an inside view of the turmoil at Facebook, where the employees are liberal, the users are conservative, and Mark Zuckerberg is trying to hold the center. One fascinating tidbit: Facebook's own engineers are terrified about what the platform's algorithms are doing to people. “That’s where the bubble generation begins," one said. "A user enters one group, and Facebook essentially pigeonholes them into a lifestyle that they can never really get out of.” The Verge


Will Andrews, 23, was homeless and addicted to opiates. He wanted to get better. But in San Francisco, where the drug marketplace booms and treatment programs are difficult to navigate, he felt hopeless. One day he called his mom. "I feel like there is a demon inside of me,” he said. It was their last conversation. Here's the story of one personal tragedy from San Francisco's widening drug epidemic. 👉 S.F. Chronicle


Forecasters warned of a mixture of searing temperatures, strong gusts, and low humidity this weekend that could put Northern California in critical fire danger. PG&E said it may preemptively cut power. “When we say we are waiting for fire season, this would be the classic look,” a meteorologist said. Washington Post | Mercury News


Southern California


Activists are campaigning to shut the Valley Generating Station in the San Fernando Valley.

David McNew/Getty Images

Residents of the northeast corner of the San Fernando Valley breathe some of California's worst air. So when officials revealed last month that a gas plant in the mostly Latino community had been leaking methane for three years, outrage was loud and swift. “For Black folks, it’s police kneeling on their necks," one activist said. "For a community like Sun Valley, it’s poisoning you slowly for 75 years." L.A. Times


Someone got their Jeep Wrangler stuck on a biking trail outside Loma Linda. Details of how the predicament came to pass were scarce, but it seemed certain that some poor decision-making was involved. The Drive

Video of the recovery operation 👉 @theanklefixer


Joseph Rodriguez

In 1994, the photographer Joseph Rodriguez rode along with LAPD officers as they patrolled crime-ridden communities. He was on assignment for the N.Y. Times Magazine to chronicle how the police force was trying to restore its reputation after the Rodney King beating. The images, included in a new photo book, convey the empathy of a photographer who had himself been a subject of police attention as a heroin addict in his younger years. Huck Magazine | N.Y. Times


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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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