California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, July 16.

California Republicans remain silent on racist tweets.
Nipsey Hussle was the subject of a gang investigation.
And a city declares itself a Second Amendment sanctuary.



Assemblyman Chad Mayes appealed for decency after the president's racist tweets.

Rich Pedroncelli/A.P.

In California, the nation's most diverse state, just one Republican legislator spoke out on Twitter after President Trump's racist tweetstorm against four Democratic lawmakers. "This is beyond unacceptable," wrote Chad Mayes, an assemblyman from Yucca Valley. "It is wrong and abhorrent." Among the silent: The head of the California Republican Party, the Republican leadership in the state Legislature, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Politico

Iranian-American reporter: "I'm sure my parents would love it if I went back to where I came from: the suburbs of San Diego." L.A. Times


Uber and Lyft promised drivers up to $100 to attend a rally in Sacramento against a bill that could force the San Francisco companies to treat their workers as employees instead of contractors. They've also been using their app to get drivers to sign a petition that asks legislators to "protect" their flexibility. Uber and Lyft want desperately to avoid the added cost of labor protections and benefits to which employees are entitled. L.A. Times


Yosemite Valley's historic Ahwahnee Hotel has been operating under the name Majestic Yosemite Hotel.

In 2016, Yosemite National Park changed the names of several of its most cherished properties during a trademark battle with an ousted concessionaire that claimed ownership of the names. Now, under a $12 million deal, the former concessionaire has agreed to drop its claims. Among the names to be restored are the fabled Ahwahnee Hotel, Curry Village, and the Wawona Hotel. Fresno Bee | KQED

Daniel Duane once wrote eloquently about the genocidal history of Yosemite's place names, calling them "linguistic equivalents of Confederate statues." N.Y. Times


A new report showed that Latinos are faring worse than their fellow Californians on nearly every measure of economic well-being: "Almost every problem elected officials have struggled to solve seems even worse for Latinos, who have almost double the poverty rate of white Californians and less than half the growth in household income over the last two decades compared with Asian Americans." L.A. Times


Coast redwoods hoist hidden worlds into the sky.

Today I learned: The tops of California's soaring coast redwoods were once viewed as virtual deserts, containing little more than branches. It wasn't until the 1990s that scientists climbed up for a look and found them teeming with life. Hoisting dense mats of soil in the sky, single trees supported more than 100 species, among them mosses, ferns, huckleberries, other trees, and salamanders thought to never touch ground.

One of the more surprising residents: crustaceans normally found in stream beds on the forest floor. How did they get up there? Scientists speculate that they crawled up rain-drenched trunks during winter, the crustacean equivalent of summiting Mount Everest. "Redwoods," a biologist wrote, "are quite simply the most productive ecosystems on Earth." Mother Nature Network | Save the Redwoods League


Northern California


The movement to break up Big Tech is making for some strange bedfellows. On the progressive left, people are appalled by Facebook's handling of disinformation campaigns and Silicon Valley's consolidated power. Members of the Trumpian right worry that social media companies are controlled by young liberals. "Now those who have found mutual understanding need to figure out if they can actually get along." N.Y. Times

Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor and Facebook board member, said Google should be federally investigated for its "seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military." Axios


Jason Allen and Lindsay Cutshall took this photo of themselves days before being killed in 2004.

Family photo

Shaun Gallon, a survivalist who admitted fatally shooting two campers as they slept on a Sonoma County beach in 2004, was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The Jenner Beach killings became one of the region's most notorious murder cases in part because of its seeming randomness. Gallon had no connection to the young couple visiting from the Midwest. To this day, his motive remains unknown. Press Democrat | A.P.


A federal judge in San Francisco called Monsanto's behavior "despicable" even as he lowered a jury's damage award from $80 million to $25 million for a Sonoma County cancer victim who used the company's weedkiller. The judge said even as scientific concerns mounted, Monsanto focused on undermining them. Thousands of additional claims could end up costing the company billions. S.F. Chronicle | Bloomberg


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 lined by cheering spectators. The latest gathering was last Thursday. It included epic, seamless descents along with numerous gut-wrenching wipeouts. Here are a couple highlight videos. Twitter | Instagram


The Sacramento skyline.

Fun fact: From June through September, Sacramento is the sunniest city on earth, averaging between 12 and 14 hours of sun a day. According to data from 1961 to 1990, the California capital got an average of 14 hours and 12 minutes a day in July — its sunniest month of the year — when it's virtually always sunny between sunrise and sunset. | Sacramento Bee

California's capital, land of bills and bureaucrats, also happens to be one of the world's lushest big cities, bedecked by an urban canopy thick with elms, oaks, and sycamores. California Sun


Southern California


In Needles, perched along Route 66, folks don't see eye to eye with liberal California.

Local governments across California have passed sanctuary policies on immigration enforcement. Now a small city in eastern San Bernardino County has declared itself a Second Amendment sanctuary. Needles passed the resolution last week, promising lenient enforcement of California's rules governing, for example, ammunition and concealed carry permits. CALmatters


In 2011, California's local governments spent $2 billion on overtime. In 2018, the figure ballooned to $4 billion. Among those who benefited was Ricardo Frias, a security officer at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, who took home an extra $313,865 last year by clocking in 3,764 hours of overtime. That amounts to more than 70 overtime hours a week. An official said it's all legit. A watchdog used another word: "infuriating." O.C. Register


A Nipsey Hussle mural near Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.

After the shooting death of Nipsey Hussle, the mayor called him "an artist who touched our city." The police chief hailed him as a peacemaker. Yet at the same time, the Los Angeles authorities were investigating Hussle. They were trying to determine whether a strip mall he owned in South Los Angeles was a hub of gang activity. N.Y. Times

Months after his death, Hussle's visage pulses throughout Los Angeles — emblazoned along highways, on basketball courts, and in galleries and breweries. L.A. Times


A Huntington Beach woman who disappeared last Friday while camping in a remote area of California's White Mountains was found by rescuers on Monday — dehydrated but OK. Sheryl Powell, 60, said she had been chased by a man wielding a knife. Lost, she survived on stagnant pond water and cactus fruit. A.P. | L.A. Times

Separately, a 69-year-old woman went missing last Friday in the Mojave Desert after going for a walk in triple-digit heat. A.P. | KTNV


Atsuko Okatsuka improvised when the ground started shaking at the Ice House in Pasadena on July 5.

"You know what it feels like to come up dancing and then everyone's like, 'Stop it! You're shaking the earth!'"

Here's the moment that a standup comedian's set was interrupted by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Kern County on July 5. She handled it pretty perfectly. Twitter

"Depending on where we live, Californians are just one spark, one mudslide, or, yes, one earthquake away from severe destruction." The Atlantic


Miriam Pawel, Mike Davis, David Kipen, Audrey Cooper. The California Sun Podcast tells the state's story through interviews with its most fascinating thinkers and personalities. Listen and subscribe.

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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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