California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, April 19.

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Outrage over an ad equating a housing bill to “Negro removal.”
How one man repopulated a rare butterfly species in S.F.
And Mendocino County gets the N.Y. Times's "36 hours" treatment.



A federal appeals court upheld California's sanctuary law, rejecting claims by the Trump administration that the measure interferes with immigration enforcement. The judges said the law "no doubt" makes the jobs of federal agents harder, but California isn't required to help them. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the ruling was an affirmation of states' rights. NPR | L.A. Times

At last count, Becerra had filed 47 lawsuits against the Trump administration. It took Texas eight years to file that many suits against President Obama. CALmatters


A mailer featuring James Baldwin has been showing up in mailboxes.

Michael Weinstein, a deep-pocketed Los Angeles activist, is funding a provocative ad campaign that equates a state housing bill with "Negro removal." The bill, known as SB 50, calls for denser housing near transit stations. The ad features a picture of writer James Baldwin alongside a 1963 quote about policies that displaced African-Americans in San Francisco. That city's mayor, London Breed, lashed out over the ad: "It's offensive, it's hurtful, it's disrespectful." S.F. Chronicle | KGO-TV

A poll found 61 percent of Californians support SB 50. Curbed San Francisco


Here's a reminder of how massive California's population is. A map maker divvied up the U.S. into eight segments roughly the size of California, which has nearly 40 million residents. The rise of Donald Trump, who captured the White House despite losing the popular vote, has led to an intensifying debate over the Electoral College. Several Democratic presidential candidates have lined up behind jettisoning it.


Baby bunnies on a lawn in San Diego.

Sandy Huffaker/Corbis via Getty Images

Easter has traditionally been an ominous time in the lives of bunnies as sales of the animals surge at pet stores. Many of the new owners, however, promptly grow weary of pet care and thousands of little Thumpers get abandoned at shelters. But that's changing in California, which this year became the first U.S. state to ban the sale of commercially raised dogs, cats, and rabbits.


Golden hour in Silicon Valley, an economic engine with a dark side.

On this week's California Sun Podcast, acclaimed urban geographer Richard Walker talks about tech's reshaping of the Bay Area's urban fabric. "It shatters a lot of lives," he said. "And even if it doesn't do that, it leaves people just discombobulated, just wondering, 'Where did my city go? What's happened? Who are all these new people?'"

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Northern California


The drinking water in Paradise, the site of the nation’s worst wildfire in a century, is contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical benzene. Officials believe toxic gases got sucked into the water supply as homes burned. They said it posed a very real health hazard. "It is jaw-dropping," a water official said. "This is such a huge scale. None of us were prepared for this."


Sacramento Republic FC faced off against Newcastle United in Sacramento in 2015.

Stephen Lam - NUFC/Getty Images

Sacramento has been vying to land a Major League Soccer franchise for years. On Thursday, that effort got a major boost as the soccer league announced plans to expand by three teams and invited Sacramento, along with St. Louis, to present a formal bid. "Everyone is through the moon," a Sacramento soccer official said.


Strawberry season is here.

Fun fact: California grows 90 percent of strawberries in the U.S.
Fun fact No. 2: In Fresno County, 95 percent of strawberries are grown by farmers from the Hmong and Mien hill tribes of Laos.
And a pro tip from the Fresno Bee: The strawberries at farmer's markets and roadside stands are way better than those at the grocery store.

The picturesque town of Mendocino is perched along dramatic coastline.

Marla Mayer/Fotogloria/UIG via Getty Images

The N.Y. Times travel desk gave Mendocino County the "36 hours" treatment: "Rural Mendocino County has managed to escape San Francisco Bay's tech hype and buzz, and for visitors, that means bucolic hikes, farm stands, local cheese and vintage bars."


"Oregon St."

Ian Wood

In Berkeley, the city's free spiritedness is expressed in the artsy garages of homes all over the city. For the past few years, local photographer Ian Wood has been creating a visual chronicle of the handiworks. "Kids have their forts," he said, "adults have garages.”


Southern California


The San Andreas Fault, seen north of the Salton Sea, runs nearly the length of California.

David McNew/Getty Images for Lumix

Turns out earthquakes shake Southern California 10 times more often than seismologists had thought — it's just that most are so tiny they pass unnoticed. New research documented 1.8 million temblors in Southern California over the last decade — about one every three minutes. Scientists said the discovery represents a major step toward filling in large gaps of knowledge about earthquakes.


Columnist Steve Lopez on L.A. baseball fan Anne Goldfarb: "She gave 60 years of her life to the Dodgers, beginning in 1958, and what did all that loyalty get her? A TV blackout, a box of dusty memories, a broken heart. So she switched to the Angels."

For six years, most people in Southern California haven't been able to get Dodgers broadcasts because of a stalemate between cable and satellite companies over the price to carry games. Lopez says it's a long-running, greed-driven debacle.


The Yuen Residence is an example of the postwar influence of Japanese design in Southern California.

Cameron Carothers

A Japanese-influenced post-and-beam house in Los Angeles, a 1953 ranch house on a lagoon in Sarasota, and a six-family retreat in New York's Hudson Valley. Here's what $1.1 million gets you right now. N.Y. Times

And here's a comparison of five homes on the market for about $950,000 across Los Angeles. One, in Elysian Heights, has a wooden deck perfect for summer barbecues. Curbed Los Angeles


Today I learned


Tim Wong posed with pipevine swallowtails.

A San Francisco man repopulated a rare butterfly species by planting its favorite flora in his backyard.

The pipevine swallowtail, a magnificent iridescent blue butterfly, called San Francisco home for centuries. But as development spread, they all but disappeared.

In 2012, an aquatic biologist named Tim Wong learned about the swallowtail's plight and became enthralled by the idea of bringing them back. The butterfly relies on a specific plant — the California pipevine — where the females lay their eggs and young caterpillars feed.

The plant was scarce, but the San Francisco Botanical Garden had some and let Wong take clippings. Then, using self-taught techniques, he created a pipevine swallowtail paradise in his backyard and carefully introduced a group of 20 caterpillars. They grew into thriving adults. Success in hand, Wong went on to populate thousands of swallowtails that can now be seen flying around the garden during the spring and summer.

"It's gorgeous," Wong told Vox. "If most people saw it in S.F., they wouldn't think it’s a native butterfly."


In case you missed it


Small boats have been squatting off Sausalito for years.

Eric Risberg/A.P.

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

A community lives on the bay by Sausalito: "Known as anchor-outs, they make their homes a quarter mile from the shore, on abandoned and unseaworthy vessels, doing their best, with little or no money, to survive." Harper's Magazine
Winding 211 miles along high granite wilderness, stark blue lakes, and glacier-carved basins, the John Muir Trail has been called the No. 1 trail every hiker should do. Outside magazine | Outdoor Project
Built by star architect Richard Neutra, a home dangling over a canyon in Sherman Oaks is up for grabs. Floor-to-ceiling windows give the sensation of floating on air. Dwell
Aside from the stunning views, the valley's rural community of Etna is a surprise food capital of the North State. The S.F. Chronicle included it among 10 hidden gems to visit in California. S.F. Chronicle
Charlie Chaplin was accused of being a communist and all but exiled from the U.S. Then in 1972 he was awarded an honorary Oscar and received the longest standing ovation in the Academy's history. Here's the video. YouTube

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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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