California Sun

Good morning. It's Wednesday, July 11.

The wealthy stick with California despite high taxes.
Insiders tell the wild story of Facebook's early days.
And a Big Sur destination is voted the No. 1 resort in California.

The lede


Coming and going

Nevada has been a popular destination for Californians fleeing the state.

Californians are indeed fleeing to states with lower living costs — just not the wealthy.

That's according to a new study from researchers at Stanford University and a state tax agency who wanted to find out if California's top income-tax rate of 13.3 percent was driving high earners to leave for lower-tax states.

The finding goes against the presumptions of tax critics, who often cite anecdotes of rich Californians taking their money and jobs to places like Nevada or Texas.

The migratory trend of middle- and low-income residents, however, is another story.

According to government figures, California had a net in-migration of people earning more than $110,000 a year between 2007 and 2016. Yet across all income groups, over a million more people moved out of the state than moved in.

Read more at CALmatters and the state's Legislative Analyst's Office.



Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California during a news conference on Capitol Hill on May 8.

Andrew Harnik/A.P.

"Civilization as we know it today is at risk in this election." In an interview with Rolling Stone, Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, talked about the midterms, impeachment, and challenges to her power. On Democrats who have been calling for a new generation of leadership? "Inconsequential," she said.


Democrats and Republicans in the state capital have finally found something they can agree on. They all hate a tech billionaire's proposal to split California into three. "It’s hard to see what the natural constituency for this proposal would even be," a political science professor said. "It’s a rich guy’s whim."


Last year was the deadliest and most destructive on record for wildfires in California. Now 2018 is off to the worst start in a decade. Since Jan. 1, an area seven times the size of San Francisco has burned. Fire experts blame historic dry conditions, miles of dead fuel, and erratic weather.

Northern California


The Bay Area's economy is growing about twice as fast as the rest of the country, according to a new report. If it were a nation, the region would command the 19th-largest economy in the world, surpassing those of the finance center Switzerland and the oil kingdom Saudi Arabia.


Mark Zuckerberg in Palo Alto in 2007. He and his buddies built a corporate proto-culture that echoes today.

Paul Sakuma/A.P.

There was a lot of drinking and little sleep. They commissioned X-rated office murals. Mark Zuckerberg printed business cards that read “I’m CEO ... bitch” and led chants of "Domination!" during company meetings. A cast of insiders told the wild story of Facebook's early days in Palo Alto.


"It was like a nuclear bomb had gone off." The tiny city of Rio Dell sits on the banks of the Eel River in Humboldt County. After taking an economic fall from the region's logging heyday, it had in recent years been on the cusp of a renaissance. Now, residents say Caltrans has knocked the town back down by closing a critical bridge into town.


Diners at the Post Ranch Inn restaurant enjoy sweeping views of the Pacific.

Perched 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean, the Post Ranch Inn offers some of the best vistas in Big Sur. That's one reason that readers in a Travel + Leisure poll voted it the No. 1 resort in California. "Guests feel like they’re tucked into a glamorous, remote corner of the world," the magazine said.


Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius Green in “Sorry To Bother You.”

Annapurna Pictures

Oakland is having a moment thanks to a wave of homegrown filmmakers. Among them, the Coup frontman Boots Riley has crafted a debut feature, “Sorry To Bother You,” that critics are calling the one of the summer's must-see movies. Set it Oakland, the absurdist comedy follows a young black telemarketer who has to weigh his ambitions against a surrender to corporate evil.

Southern California


Residents who live near the Hollywood sign have complained for years about the congestion caused by tourists at the landmark. Now Warner Bros. says it has a solution. The film studio wants to build an aerial tramway that people could board at its Burbank lot and ride to and from the sign. The company said it would foot the bill: $100 million.


A brush fire burned through 25 acres at Griffith Park.

Richard Vogel/A.P.

A wildfire broke out in the hills near the iconic Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The blaze sent up a giant plume of smoke visible throughout the city and forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 people from the observatory, built in the 1930s. Firefighters were able to get the blaze under control.


A Fontana woman was arrested after she left her two young children, ages 1 year and 9 months, locked in a car in 95 degree weather, the police said. The woman, Crystal Reyna Gonzales, went shopping at a Walmart, the police said. A shopper leaving the store noticed the kids and panicked.


Michael Avenatti has represented Stormy Daniels with swagger that rivals his adversary, President Trump.

Andres Kudacki/A.P.

Michael Avenatti, the Newport Beach lawyer trying to take down the president, thinks of himself as a mercenary. As his client, the porn star Stormy Daniels, put it: "Every time I watch him work, I think, This is what it must have been like to see the Sistine Chapel being painted. But instead of paint, Michael uses the tears of his enemies."


Parrots hanging out in Southern California. The birds are notoriously noisy.

California's brightly colored wild parrots are a lovely sight. Their songs, however, are less charming. In Pasadena, the birds' maniacal squawking at dawn and dusk is driving some residents mad. "I feel like my bedroom is located in the velociraptor exhibit at Jurassic Park," one local wrote on Twitter.



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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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