California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, July 20.

San Francisco police bring the heat in lip sync battle.
Salesforce faces pressure to sever ties with border agency.
And protesters burn a U.S. flag near Maxine Waters' office.

The lede


Dropping lyrics

The San Francisco Police Department went above and beyond in its lip sync video.

A lip sync battle among police departments has swept the nation — and California has been answering the call.

Worthy performances have been delivered by, among others, the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, the Tulare Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

But perhaps none has been so glorious as that of the San Francisco Police Department, whose officers lip synced the Oakland rapper Too Short while driving motorcycles across the Bay Bridge.

Behold. (The crucial section starts around 1:40).




A customer bought weed at the Barbary Coast Dispensary in San Francisco last March.

Jeff Chiu/A.P.

“The rose-colored glasses are off." Six months after the end of marijuana prohibition, how is California's green rush going? Not so great. Blame taxes, regulations, black market competition, and a supply chain "in shatters." Revenue has been far below expectations, and it isn't expected to improve soon.


The November ballot has more than $16 billion in bond proposals. As it happens, California voters almost always approve bond measures, which instruct officials to borrow money for specific projects. Less clear is whether they appreciate the trade-offs. California is currently making debt payments of $6 billion a year, or about triple what the state spends on firefighting.


As mayor of San Francisco in 2008, Gavin Newsom spearheaded a policy requiring the police to report undocumented youth who had been charged with violent crimes to I.C.E. Now he says he was wrong. "I'll just say this to my critics: Fair game," he said. Newsom's rival in the race for governor, Republican John Cox, called him a flip-flopper.


Burney Falls isn't the tallest waterfall in California, but it might be the most beautiful.

Ann Marie Brown wrote a guide book on California waterfalls. Asked by a podcast host to name her No. 1 must-see waterfall, she gave two. Everyone has to see soaring Yosemite Falls. But perhaps just as dazzling, she said, is lesser known Burney Falls. Located not far from Redding, it was once called the eighth wonder of the world by none other than Theodore Roosevelt.


Northern California


Rep. Devin Nunes used political donations to pay for winery tours, trips to Las Vegas, and nearly $15,000 in tickets to Boston Celtics games. The Fresno Republican has been a Celtics fan since high school. When approached by a reporter, Nunes said, “I wish I could help you.”


U.C. Merced held graduation ceremonies last year. The university closely mirrors the state’s demographics.

U.C. Merced

The majority of high school students in California are Latino. But the same is true at only one U.C. campus: Merced. About 53 percent of undergraduates at the Central Valley university are Latino. That's compared to about 21 percent at U.C.L.A., and less than 13 percent at Berkeley.


Marc Benioff at an event in San Francisco in 2016.

Marc Benioff, the Salesforce C.E.O., is known for supporting liberal causes. But he's been facing pressure from critics, including many of his own workers, to sever his San Francisco company's contract with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. This week, an immigrant rights group turned down a $250,000 contribution from Salesforce over the issue.


As California's housing crisis has worsened, Bay Area faith organizations have increasingly opened up their parking lots to people living in their vehicles. Pastors say it's an extension of their mission to serve humanity. But some neighbors don't like it. “I’m concerned about the traffic in that area as it is,” one resident complained.


Sea otters in Morro Bay.

In the waters stretching from Sonoma to Humboldt, marauding armies of sea urchins have been laying waste to kelp forests that serve as vital habitat for marine life. Researchers have an intriguing theory about what's going on: sea otters that traditionally fed on the urchins may have experienced a sort of "cultural memory loss.”


Southern California


People burned a U.S. flag outside the Los Angeles office of Rep. Maxine Waters on Thursday.

Jae C. Hong/A.P.

About 50 people showed up outside the South Los Angeles office of Rep. Maxine Waters to counter an expected protest by a far-right anti-government group called the Oath Keepers. When the organization didn't show up, the counterprotesters lit a United States flag on fire and chanted “America was never great.”


Michelle, Elaine, Sol, and Mitchell Salomon, of Northridge, vanished on Oct. 12, 1982.

Marty and Dorene Laffer

In 1982, a family of four disappeared from their San Fernando Valley home — seemingly without a trace. The case triggered one of the longest and most unusual murder investigations in California history. Now, after years of reporting, a magazine has published a chilling chronicle of justice denied and the man that investigators believe got away with murder.


An anti-gentrification group tried to shut down the opening of the kosher Asher Caffe & Lounge in Los Angeles's Boyle Heights neighborhood. Protesters said they opposed the shop's owner for supporting President Trump. “So what’s the connection?" the Israeli-born businessman said. "This is what I don’t understand. I’m confused — the connection between Donald Trump and good coffee.”


A cosplayer dressed as the comic book superhero Hawkman at Comic-Con in San Diego on Thursday.

Spider-Man, Deadpool, Groot, and Gamora. Comic-Con, the annual gathering of more more than 130,000 comic book and pop culture fans, has taken over downtown San Diego. Here are some of the best photos.




San Francisco's Telegraph Hill, seen in 1890, got its name from a signal station that was used to alert people in town about ship arrivals.

Library of Congress

Here are five newsletter items that got big views over the past week:

Tribal words, tycoons, and Tarzan. A high school student created infographics on the etymologies of place names in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Etymology Nerd
Here's a road trip through the Eastern Sierra that includes aspen-studded lakes, otherworldly landscapes, and ghost towns. Sunset Magazine

Skaters tore down a street in San Francisco during a flash "hill bombing."

Skateboarders are flying down some of San Francisco's steepest streets — often withouts helmets — and posting the videos on Instagram. They're called "hill bombs." Curbed San Francisco
Bombay Beach, Mono Lake, Salinas, Mount Shasta. California abounds with beauty, and a videographer tried to squeeze as much as he could into a four-minute time-lapse video. Vimeo | Fstoppers

The Hart family. From left are 14-year-old Hannah, 12-year-old Abigail, 10-year-old Ciera, 12-year-old Jeremiah, Jennifer Hart, 13-year-old Devonte, 17-year-old Markis, and Sarah Hart.

Tristan Fortsch/KATU News, via A.P.

"Abuse, neglect, and a system that failed." The Washington Post published a devastating account of the family that was driven off a Mendocino cliff by their adoptive mother. Washington Post

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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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