California Sun

Good morning. It's Thursday, June 21.

California's net neutrality effort is "eviscerated."
Schools are shortchanged by the California Lottery.
Chilling 911 audio from the Turpin child abuse case.

The lede


Net neutrality 'eviscerated'

Miguel Santiago, who chairs the State Assembly's Communications and Conveyance Committee, did not give a specific reason for the amendments added to a net neutrality bill.

Damian Dovarganes/A.P.

After the Trump administration did away with net neutrality rules last year, California's legislature swept in with its own measure that would have gone even further to ensure unfettered access to the web.

Then, after the bill won approval in the state Senate, members of a key Assembly committee got hold of it.

During a tense hearing on Wednesday, lawmakers stripped the measure of several central elements, among them a prohibition on certain access fees.

Critics said the lawmakers had been swayed by broadband industry lobbyists who warned that aggressive rules would hurt consumers. "The level of corruption we just witnessed literally makes me sick to my stomach,” one internet activist told the Mercury News.

The author of the original bill, state Senator Scott Wiener, said it was “eviscerated.” He added, "It's no longer a net neutrality bill."

Read more in WIRED and the Mercury News.



The lottery ticket line at Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

This year, the California Lottery's revenue will soar to a record $6.9 billion, twice what it was a few years ago. That should be good news for the state’s schools, the lottery's only beneficiary. Yet an investigation found that contributions to education have been essentially unchanged from 12 years ago, even as revenue has risen by billions.


In the courtroom, California has been virtually unstoppable against the Trump administration. That streak could continue in the legal test of the state's so-called sanctuary laws. A federal judge on Wednesday seemed to poke a number of holes in the Justice Department’s argument that rules limiting cooperation with immigration agents are unconstitutional.


State lawmakers are advancing a bill that would require restaurants to offer only water or milk with meals marketed to children. That means no soda, juice, or chocolate milk. The sugary drinks could still be provided upon request. Nutritionists love the idea. Critics see another example of nanny statism.


A nursing assistant helped an elderly inmate with Alzheimer's disease at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville.

Rich Pedroncelli/A.P.

There are about 18,400 inmates over the age of 55 in California prisons. It's a swelling population that has led officials to move toward opening a dementia unit at the state's main prison medical facility. Here is a powerful series of photos showing what it looks like to grow old in California's prisons.

Northern California


Workers at Facebook's Menlo Park campus, which is undergoing a major expansion.

Jeff Chiu/A.P.

“Facebook is just ruining the community.” As Facebook expands its campus in Menlo Park, working class Latino families who have been in the city their whole lives are losing their homes. One landlord is raising rents 72 percent, citing proximity to the internet giant's headquarters. It doesn't help that Silicon Valley has failed to add enough housing to meet demand.


A developer has spent four years trying to build an apartment building in San Francisco's Mission District. Neighborhood opponents first moved to block it by claiming a run-down laundromat had historic value. That failed. Now they're raising concerns about how noise and dust from the construction might affect nearby schools.


At 602 feet, Shasta Dam is the fourth-tallest dam in California.

California fiercely opposes the Trump administration's $1.4 billion proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam, which is on federal lands. But it's moving ahead anyway, with plans to award the first construction bid next year. San Joaquin Valley growers want a higher dam. Critics say it will swamp sacred Indian sites and harm wildlife.


“I want people to pass cocaine. Everybody needs to do cocaine.” That's the Warriors' Nick Young after being asked about the legalization of marijuana. The 33-year-old Young has been on a bit of a tear, getting a huge neck tattoo and declaring himself a national treasure on Twitter. (He said later he was joking about the cocaine thing.)


A zoo in Humboldt County announced plans to open North America's first redwood canopy walk. The suspended bridge would give people a bird's eye view of the forest while letting them peer down at mountain lions, black bears, and coyotes from 60 feet off the ground. Supporters say the project could be an adrenaline shot for the region's tourist economy.

Southern California


Louise Turpin, left, and her husband, David Turpin, second from right, appeared in a Riverside County courtroom on Wednesday.

Watchara Phomicinda/The Press-Enterprise, via A.P.

A hushed courtroom listened as audio was played from a 911 call placed by the 17-year-old daughter of David and Louise Turpin, the Riverside County couple accused of imprisoning and torturing their 13 children. “They abuse us and my two little sisters right now are chained up,” she said. And later, when asked her address: "I've never been out. I don't go out much."


Anaheim is putting an initiative on the November ballot that would hike hourly wages for workers at Disneyland and nearby hotels. The debate is an emotional one. Workers say low wages force them to choose between things like medicine and food. Business leaders warn that higher wages will kill economic growth. Separately, Disney just offered $71 billion to buy 21st Century Fox.


This is crazy: Compton residents have been complaining about brown, smelly water coming out of their taps. But at a town hall meeting to discuss the problem, a small contingent of people showed up holding signs with slogans like “Bad water myth created.” Now the district is being accused of paying the defenders to pose as residents.


In surfing’s social hierarchy, skimboarding falls somewhere just above bodyboarding. But it's been gaining respect thanks to wizards of the sport like Blair Conklin, who started skimboarding at the age of 4 in Laguna Beach. Here's a highlight reel.

Today I learned


Did you know?

On the one-year anniversary the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, the Arrowhead landmark was illuminated for 14 days in honor of the victims.

Here are three random facts about California:

One of the most recognizable landmarks in the San Bernardino Valley is a formation on a hillside in the near perfect shape of an arrowhead.

According to Native American legend, it was created when an arrowhead fell from heaven and pointed the way to hot springs below. Scientists say the shape formed as light quartz supported the growth of white sage and contrasted with surrounding chaparral and greasewood.

A couple years ago, on the first anniversary of the 2015 San Bernardino mass shooting, the tribe that oversees the arrowhead pointed powerful beams of light toward the hillside, a symbol of light cutting through the darkness that had enveloped the city. City of San Bernardino

Members of the Kaweah Colony lived by socialist ideals in the Sierra Nevada foothills in the late 1800s.

The world's largest tree by volume is a giant sequoia in the Sierra Nevada called General Sherman. But a nearby settlement once knew it by a different name: the Karl Marx Tree.

In the 1880s, a group of timber men conducted a grand experiment in utopian socialism known as the Kaweah Colony. Its leader, Burnette Haskell, a union organizer in San Francisco, was inspired by the Marxist idea that cooperative economics could serve as an antidote to capitalist exploitation.

With timber sales as their primary income, the colony used a "medallion" system to swap labor for goods and provided free healthcare and housing to its roughly 160 members. They also built the first road into the forest region.

Then, in 1890, Sequoia National Park was formed. The socialists were ordered out of the forest. Their leaders were arrested — and later acquitted — for cutting timber inside the park. Kaweah was over.

Haskell returned to San Francisco, where he died penniless in 1907. He once wrote, “And is there no remedy, then for the evils that oppress the poor? And is there no surety that the day is coming when justice and right shall reign on earth? I do not know; but I believe, and I hope, and I trust.” Timeline | 48 Hills

The S.S. Point Reyes, also known as the Inverness Shipwreck, is a popular tourist stop.

Tri Nguyen/CC BY 2.0

Fingers of rock jutting from California's coast have devoured thousands of ships over the centuries.

Among the most voracious has been Point Reyes. The cape, diabolically, is the windiest and foggiest place on the West Coast, thrusting 10 miles out to sea just north of San Francisco.

Countless lost passenger liners, schooners, and other vessels rest eternally in a sort of mass watery burial ground along the coast. A beached fishing boat, known to some as the Inverness Shipwreck, is an Instagram favorite.

The introduction of lighthouses, and later radar, led to a sharp drop in shipwrecks. But the California coast remains treacherous. Pretty much every year, according to the National Park Service, another vessel is lost to Point Reyes. National Park Service

Thanks for reading!

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

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