California Sun

Good morning. It's Wednesday, June 20.

Anger spreads across the state over immigrant family separations.
Searing summer temperatures prepare to make an entrance.
And seven must-see Bureau of Land Management spots in California.

The lede


I.C.E. anger

A protester outside of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Jeff Chiu/A.P.

California has plunged headlong into the debate over immigrant family separations.

Some highlights:

The state's Democrats and many Republicans have forcefully condemned the separation of nearly 2,000 children from their parents at the border. Senator Kamala Harris and Rep. Nancy Pelosi both called on the Homeland Security secretary to resign. Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the Republican mayor of San Diego, said "families shouldn’t be used as bargaining chips." Sacramento Bee | S.D. Union-Tribune
Other Republicans stood with President Trump. "There is a simple protection against being separated from one’s family," said Rep. Tom McClintock. "Don’t break the law." KCRA
Hollywood heavyweights turned their ire toward Fox News over its immigration coverage. The creator of “Modern Family” raised the possibility of cutting ties with Fox's empire. Seth MacFarlane, the “Family Guy” creator, tweeted that he was “embarrassed" to work for the company. Then he donated $2.5 million to NPR and KPCC. L.A. Times | N.Y. Times
Regular Californians also expressed disgust. Hundreds protested in San Francisco, holding signs like “ICE = American Gestapo." S.F. Chronicle | A.P.
Others opened their wallets. A Bay Area couple launched a drive to raise $1,500 for immigrant families at the border. Within three days, they got more than $5 million. Mercury News | N.Y. Times



Antonio Villaraigosa, left, pledged to support Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Richard Vogel/A.P.

A poll showed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom with a commanding lead over Republican John Cox in the race for California governor. The Democratic former mayor of San Francisco led Cox by a margin of 17 percentage points among likely voters. Another result from the poll helped explain Antonio Villaraigosa's third place finish in the primary: Only 14 percent of Latinos voted, compared to 41 percent of whites.


State lawmakers advanced a proposal restricting use of deadly force by the police after an emotionally charged debate. Law enforcement groups oppose the legislation, introduced in the wake of the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark in Sacramento. It would permit deadly force only when the threat of injury or death is imminent.


The median price of a home in California hit a new milestone, surpassing $600,000 for the first time. That's nearly double the figure nationally. Leading the charge is the San Francisco Bay Area, where five counties now have median home prices of more than a million dollars.


Data from California's state retirement systems revealed some of their highest pension earners. Hundreds of retirees are getting more than $200,000 a year, with a dozen or so pulling in more than $300,000. The top earner? A Solano County administrator making $390,485 a year. California retirement systems have faced scrutiny over large unfunded liabilities.


A National Weather Service map showed temperatures as high as 104 degrees in the inland valleys.

Buckle up for the first real heat in a while. Forecasters said a warming trend starting midweek would last into the weekend, pushing high temperatures into the triple digits in many places.

Northern California


Researchers said receding groundwater under the Napa and Sonoma valleys may have triggered an earthquake in 2014 that killed one person and caused half a billion dollars in damage. The study suggested that declining groundwater during the summers, possibly as a result of pumping, stretched the land and added stress to the West Napa Fault.


Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, sent an email to employees claiming that a disgruntled worker had broken into the company’s software systems and committed "extensive and damaging sabotage." He called on employees to be vigilant in patrolling for “outside forces.” “As you know," he said, "there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die."


Bullards Bar is one of the more popular watersport lakes in Northern California.

Sacramento Valley

Bullards Bar Reservoir is a gorgeous lake nestled in the foothills of the Northern Sierra at an elevation of 2,000 feet. Set in the canyons of the Yuba River watershed, it's known for great fishing and some of the best camping in California. A drone videographer recently did a flyover.


A view of North Beach from Telegraph Hill, circa 1856.

U.C. Berkeley, Bancroft Library

Less than a decade after the Gold Rush kicked off, San Francisco had transformed from a quaint village into a resolute and established metro by the bay. A British immigrant captured a series of fascinating images of the city in the 1850s. They represent the earliest existing photographic record of an American city.

Southern California


An S.D. Union-Tribune reporter visited Casa San Diego, a facility that houses children after they are separated from their parents at the border. It has classrooms, a play area, and a medical clinic with superheroes on the walls. The conservative commentator Laura Ingraham drew criticism when she cited the Union-Tribune story to argue kids were essentially going to "summer camps."


The famously discreet Beverly Hills Hotel was a favorite of Donald Trump's during his trips out West as a reality-television star. Now, records of his visits could become evidence in what is growing into a serious legal threat brought by a woman accusing him of improper sexual advances. The hotel has been subpoenaed.


The four mountain lion kittens are all females and about five weeks old.

National Park Service

Park rangers found four very cute mountain lion kittens living with their mother in the Simi Hills. It's the first litter found in a "critical habitat linkage" area between nearby mountains and natural areas to the north. Officials posted two videos of the blue-eyed kittens meowing and hissing.


The iconic Stahl House, also known as Case Study House No. 22, is perched in the Hollywood Hills.

Sean Davis/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Between the 1940s and 1960s, Arts & Architecture magazine commissioned the major architects of the day to design and build experimental homes for the postwar housing boom. Most of the so-called Case Study houses were built in Southern California, and they came to define an extraordinary moment in America's architectural culture. Curbed put together an online tour.

California the beautiful


Must-see wilderness

The territories of the Bureau of Land Management have sometimes been overlooked by nature lovers.

The best spots, the thinking goes, were snapped up long ago by homesteaders or the more glamorous forest and park services.

Yet the B.L.M. oversees roughly 15 percent of California’s landmass — more than 23,000 square miles — which includes insanely beautiful stretches of coastline, desert, and mountains.

Few people have been so immersed in the federal lands as Bob Wick, a wilderness specialist at the B.L.M. famous within the agency for his nature photography.

We asked Wick to share his favorite California B.L.M. spots, along with some of his pictures. Below are descriptions of the seven places he chose, in his own words.

Note: If you go, make sure you’re prepared. Some of these areas are remote and get hot.

Point Arena offers magnificent views of the Mendocino coast.

Bob Wick

1. California Coastal National Monument, along the state's entire coastline

"Much of California’s coastline is bordered by this unique national monument, which is comprised of the many rocks, small islets, and sea-stacks jutting from the Pacific just offshore. These tiny pieces of real estate are important habitat for seabirds and marine mammals, and offer outstanding wildlife viewing and photography opportunities. Use binoculars or a telephoto lens so that you can get the best photographs and viewing and avoid disturbing the wildlife. One of my favorite areas to visit and photograph is in Mendocino County, just north of Point Arena. Here the national monument also includes an onshore area of picturesque headlands backed by rolling coastal meadows and forest. The Point Arena Lighthouse provides a scenic backdrop for photography, and visitors can tour a small museum and climb the lighthouse."

The Sacramento River Bend offers lush riparian habitat home to bald eagles, osprey, deer, and salmon.

Bob Wick

2. Sacramento River Bend, just south of Redding

"This area contains a rare segment of California’s largest river corridor that is still in its natural condition. A network of trails offers access through the oak-studded grasslands to blufftop viewpoints of the meandering river below. Boaters can also float this stretch of the Sacramento, which has a fast current but no rapids, in canoes or rafts. The area can be quite hot in mid-summer, and my favorite time to visit is during the spring greenup and wildflower bloom."

The rounded contours of the Alabama Hills contrast with the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada.

Bob Wick

3. Alabama Hills, in the Owens Valley west of Lone Pine

"Sitting in the shadow of Mount Whitney, California’s highest peak, the Alabama Hills have a long history of serving as a prime Hollywood filming location. It’s easy to understand why when one views the dramatic rounded boulders backed by snowcapped peaks. Just a short drive from Lone Pine, the area offers a number of short trails, and endless opportunities to explore. I like early morning here the best, as the first light catches the boulders and the Sierra."

Only a few hours from Los Angeles, the Carrizo Plain is a grassland and dry lake bed in a remote spot east of San Luis Obispo.

Bob Wick

4. Carrizo Plain National Monument, in southeastern San Luis Obispo County

"This large plain encircled by rolling peaks is the largest remaining example of the vast grasslands that once covered the San Joaquin Valley. Lucky wildlife photographers can capture tule elk, pronghorn antelope, or the San Joaquin kit fox. The eastern side of the plain is split by the San Andreas Fault where offset streams offer a visible example of the north-south fault slippage. During a brief period in the spring, if winter rains are adequate, the area is covered in some of California’s most spectacular wildflower displays."

The Amargosa is the only free-flowing river in the Mojave Desert.

Bob Wick

5. Amargosa River, in the Death Valley region of the Mojave

"The Amargosa Wild and Scenic River filters through gravels below the surface for much of its length, but briefly flows above-ground along this stretch. Saltier than the ocean, the river still serves as an oasis in some of the harshest desert landscapes in North America. Over 200 species of birds have been observed here. The stark landscape appears much the same as it did when the Old Spanish Trail traversed the rugged terrain in the early 1800s. One of my favorite hikes goes from the China Ranch Date Farm down to the Amargosa Canyon. The colorful rock formations here are especially photogenic."

Amboy Crater is an extinct cinder cone volcano in the Eastern Mojave Desert.

Bob Wick

6. Amboy Crater, in the Mojave Trails National Monument east of Barstow

"Route 66 fans are familiar with this stretch where the old National Highway crosses the heart of the Mojave. The cinder cone of Amboy Crater was an attraction to travelers coming from the Midwest and east who had never seen a 'real volcano.' Today, visitors can hike to the crater and climb to the summit. For those with a high-clearance vehicle, the nearby Cadiz Dunes Wilderness has a very photogenic area of shifting dunes backed by stark desert mountain ranges."

In the King Range National Conservation Area, 4,000-foot peaks plunge to the ocean in a span of just three miles.

Bob Wick

7. King Range National Conservation Area, along the Lost Coast in Humboldt County

"In a state as populous as California, it’s hard to believe that we have one of the longest stretches of wilderness coastline in the U.S. The heart of the King Range National Conservation Area is 35 miles of beaches and rocky coastline backed by peaks rising up to 4,000 feet above the surf. Over 80 miles of trail traverse the area, offering day hikes and backpacking opportunities into the heart of the wilderness. Some of my favorite photo spots are right in the community of Shelter Cove, where a short hike on Black Sands Beach provides dramatic views of the coastline and wall of peaks."

Thanks for reading!

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

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